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Steel pigeons


BinaryB
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I have for a while been curious as to the performance of steel shot on live quarry. After speaking to a good friend who only shoots a 20 bore (mainly on driven game), he told me he was sold on the performance and recommended the Eley VIP Steel. This is the loading with the ‘Eco wad’ which magically disappears in front of your eyes when put in a glass of water or such like.

Anyway after getting over the eye watering price, the curiosity got the better of me and I went to my local ground (Mickley Hall) which I highly recommend you visiting if you are in the area, and bought a slab of 5’s. This is the 32g load which my friend said pattern very well.

I was looking forward to using them but before I did, I thought I would pattern them at 30 yards with modified choke.

The result was as follows:

F2017457-F2DA-496F-811B-2C9C76FEF3C9.jpeg.c613e1d4e42692506b228743fb1c25b1.jpeg

Slightly disappointed in the dense distribution at the top, I thought maybe too much choke and so dressed back to improved. This being in my A400 Lite semi auto. For the purpose of scale, the orange patch is 2” in diameter.

Yesterday I went to one of my favourite woods which is good for pigeons coming into roost and decided to try them out. 

I ended up with 10 for 21 which comprised of 9 pigeons and 1 magpie. I have to say I thought they killed well and even though it’s only 10 birds shot I got the impression it was no better or worse than my go to lead load for pigeons which is the Eley Pigeon Select or Hull Superfasts.

All in all a great hour and a half up to last light and an interesting experiment. 

F9A9F29E-4AC7-4775-B2A1-AFBCB3B29CE2.jpeg.f8b76d8326a9c7f9903b1e53d0f63dad.jpeg

I picked 7 in total and lost 2 in heavy cover but a great early evening bit of sport.

 

AB0457B6-2B48-4426-BE25-3C0510CA3E62.jpeg.a5226610173c837de1fa3df9843811c6.jpeg

Edited by BinaryB
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Agreed and I will be using lead for as long as it is available. An interesting point to note is that I was told steel pattern better than lead when in actual fact, in my limited test with these, I get a more distributed pattern with my lead loads using half choke.

Edited by BinaryB
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1 minute ago, BinaryB said:

Agreed and I will be using lead for as long as they are available. An interesting point to note is that I was told steel pattern better than lead when in actually fact, in my limited test with these, I get a more distributed pattern with my lead loads using half choke.

Yes we have long been told to go up a size or two and down a degree of choke or two.

 

Best bet is to just carry on with what we know works

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1 hour ago, BinaryB said:

I have for a while been curious as to the performance of steel shot on live quarry. After speaking to a good friend who only shoots a 20 bore (mainly on driven game), he told me he was sold on the performance and recommended the Eley VIP Steel. This is the loading with the ‘Eco wad’ which magically disappears in front of your eyes when put in a glass of water or such like.

Anyway after getting over the eye watering price, the curiosity got the better of me and I went to my local ground (Mickley Hall) which I highly recommend you visiting if you are in the area, and bought a slab of 5’s. This is the 32g load which my friend said pattern very well.

I was looking forward to using them but before I did, I thought I would pattern them at 30 yards with modified choke.

The result was as follows:

F2017457-F2DA-496F-811B-2C9C76FEF3C9.jpeg.c613e1d4e42692506b228743fb1c25b1.jpeg

Slightly disappointed in the dense distribution at the top, I thought maybe too much choke and so dressed back to improved. This being in my A400 Lite semi auto. For the purpose of scale, the orange patch is 2” in diameter.

Yesterday I went to one of my favourite woods which is good for pigeons coming into roost and decided to try them out. 

I ended up with 10 for 21 which comprised of 9 pigeons and 1 magpie. I have to say I thought they killed well and even though it’s only 10 birds shot I got the impression it was no better or worse than my go to lead load for pigeons which is the Eley Pigeon Select or Hull Superfasts.

All in all a great hour and a half up to last light and an interesting experiment. 

F9A9F29E-4AC7-4775-B2A1-AFBCB3B29CE2.jpeg.f8b76d8326a9c7f9903b1e53d0f63dad.jpeg

I picked 7 in total and lost 2 in heavy cover but a great early evening bit of sport.

 

AB0457B6-2B48-4426-BE25-3C0510CA3E62.jpeg.a5226610173c837de1fa3df9843811c6.jpeg

Hello BinaryB, 

Thank you for the post - interesting. Could you please let us know how the ‘improved’ choke worked out? Did you pattern it as you did with the half?

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Hello, I've come to the conclusion that shooting pigeon today either hide or roost why spend more on cartridges than needed, but saying this it's interesting the steel shot comparison over lead, I am going to try gamebore super steel 28g 7.5s , chokes 1/4 1/2 , oh I just looked on JCs web site, cartridge prices are shooting up🙄

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1 hour ago, BinaryB said:

Morning Fellside

I was thinking the same myself but haven’t got round to patterning with improved - but I might get chance at the weekend and if so will post an update.

 

Just if you get the time BinaryB - it would be interesting to see the results. From your photo above, the half choke produces excessively centre dense patterns, and high too. Encouraging for longer ranges perhaps….?

Heavy lead loads with tight chokes often pattern a little high. I wonder if we’re seeing the same ‘crowded choke’ phenomenon here - due to the non malleable nature of steel. 

 

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7 minutes ago, Fellside said:

Just if you get the time BinaryB - it would be interesting to see the results. From your photo above, the half choke produces excessively centre dense patterns, and high too. Encouraging for longer ranges perhaps….?

Heavy lead loads with tight chokes often pattern a little high. I wonder if we’re seeing the same ‘crowded choke’ phenomenon here - due to the non malleable nature of steel. 

 

His gun could shoot high or pulled the shot you can't get an accurate answer with one shot you could do it 5 times and get a different pattern with each one  

1 hour ago, oldypigeonpopper said:

Hello, I've come to the conclusion that shooting pigeon today either hide or roost why spend more on cartridges than needed, but saying this it's interesting the steel shot comparison over lead, I am going to try gamebore super steel 28g 7.5s , chokes 1/4 1/2 , oh I just looked on JCs web site, cartridge prices are shooting up🙄

I use 32g 4s steel your covered for duck,pheasants, and pigeon  only have to buy one lot of cartridges Instead of buying 2 or 3 different shot sizes and loads for different quarry

14 hours ago, TIGHTCHOKE said:

That is why I will continue using lead.   

Until its banned then you have to switch 

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Hi all. 

I've been reloading steel for over a year now for my 20 bore and I've done extensive pattern and load testing. 

The optimum I've found is 23 gram 5 steel producing good patterns at 30 meters. I now use this load all the time and it works really well. 

I've tried 7.5 which resulted in a lot of runners. Then 6 steel which i struggled to get any sort of a decent pattern. 

These were all done through 1/4 and half choke as my silver pigeon is fixed choke. 

So on the whole steel works for me. 

 

 

 

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19 minutes ago, yickdaz said:

His gun could shoot high or pulled the shot you can't get an accurate answer with one shot you could do it 5 times and get a different pattern with each one  

I use 32g 4s steel your covered for duck,pheasants, and pigeon  only have to buy one lot of cartridges Instead of buying 2 or 3 different shot sizes and loads for different quarry

Until its banned then you have to switch 

Yes agreed, it could be shooting high for all sorts of reasons - and one pattern isn’t rigorous science. Just interesting to muse over the potentials. Still very centre dense however. 

I had similar patterns experimenting with tungsten years ago for use in wildfowling. I couldn’t get the stuff to separate. Very centre dense and a touch high. I used cylinder in the end to get a decent pattern. The patterning cost me a fortune, but got there in the end. I still have a strong hunch that steel, being non-malleable, may demonstrate similar characteristics. 

P.S How do you get on with steel 4s for pigeons?

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2 hours ago, mellors said:

Hi all. 

I've been reloading steel for over a year now for my 20 bore and I've done extensive pattern and load testing. 

The optimum I've found is 23 gram 5 steel producing good patterns at 30 meters. I now use this load all the time and it works really well. 

I've tried 7.5 which resulted in a lot of runners. Then 6 steel which i struggled to get any sort of a decent pattern. 

These were all done through 1/4 and half choke as my silver pigeon is fixed choke. 

So on the whole steel works for me. 

 

 

 

Hi Mellors,

May I ask - what is performance like beyond 30 yards with the steel 5s? In other words how far can you push the range for clean kills?

Asking as thinking about buying a 20 bore. 

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3 hours ago, Fellside said:

Yes agreed, it could be shooting high for all sorts of reasons - and one pattern isn’t rigorous science. Just interesting to muse over the potentials. Still very centre dense however. 

I had similar patterns experimenting with tungsten years ago for use in wildfowling. I couldn’t get the stuff to separate. Very centre dense and a touch high. I used cylinder in the end to get a decent pattern. The patterning cost me a fortune, but got there in the end. I still have a strong hunch that steel, being non-malleable, may demonstrate similar characteristics. 

P.S How do you get on with steel 4s for pigeons?

Very well been using them for nearly 4 years now and they are as good as anything 

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1 hour ago, Fellside said:

Hi Mellors,

May I ask - what is performance like beyond 30 yards with the steel 5s? In other words how far can you push the range for clean kills?

Asking as thinking about buying a 20 bore. 

I would say 40 yds ish on steel still patterns well but i would think penetration would reduce. 

You'll never look back once you have 20 gauge. It's the perfect tool for pigeon and pheasant. Lighter gun lighter cartridges. 

Steer well clear of the Turkish stuff though mostly ally actions and poor internal finish. 

I'll be clearing my 12 gauges soon i haven't fired one for so long now. 

 

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1 hour ago, mellors said:

I would say 40 yds ish on steel still patterns well but i would think penetration would reduce. 

You'll never look back once you have 20 gauge. It's the perfect tool for pigeon and pheasant. Lighter gun lighter cartridges. 

Steer well clear of the Turkish stuff though mostly ally actions and poor internal finish. 

I'll be clearing my 12 gauges soon i haven't fired one for so long now. 

 

Many thanks 👍

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4 hours ago, mellors said:

I would say 40 yds ish on steel still patterns well but i would think penetration would reduce. 

You'll never look back once you have 20 gauge. It's the perfect tool for pigeon and pheasant. Lighter gun lighter cartridges. 

Steer well clear of the Turkish stuff though mostly ally actions and poor internal finish. 

I'll be clearing my 12 gauges soon i haven't fired one for so long now. 

 

Hello, that will be interesting depending what you have, a young chap I know looking for his first O/U ?

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