During the 8 – 11 June Molesworth Station goose shoot, discussion among the nine shooters inevitably got around to shotgun shells.
Apart from Mark & Col, none of the other shooters load their own shot shells and naturally used only factory loads. As the rules for these goose shoots stipulated only ‘steel shot’ Mark & Col also used factory shells.
One of the shooters mentioned that he was using ‘Remington Hypersonic Steel’ shells which Remington claimed achieved 1700 feet per second.
1700fps???? That’s the highest velocity shot-load that we have ever heard of. What level of pressure was required? The shooter then very kindly gave Col five rounds to chronograph.
A couple of weeks later these rounds were chronographed and recorded an average of 1655 fps from a Mossberg M930 semi-auto with 28-inch barrel.
An intriguing aspect of this is that the hulls are stamped MAX 1050 BAR which equates to 15,229 P.S.I. while the American Sporting Arms and Manufacturers Institute (SAAMI) states a maximum allowable pressure level of 11,500 P.S.I. for 12 gauge 2-¾ and 3-inch shells. For obscure reasons, the exception to this is the 12 gauge 3-½ inch shell which may be loaded to 14,000 P.S.I., although still way short of these Remington shells at 15,229 P.S.I. and .410 bore shells may be loaded to 13,500 P.S.I.
If, in fact, these Remington shotshells ARE producing pressures in excess of 15,200 P.S.I. as indicated by the hull-stamp, then that is clearly a matter for some concern.
We are not suggesting that modern well made shotguns will NOT withstand these 15,200+ P.S.I. pressures, as SAAMI allows an average of 19,800 P.S.I. for ‘proof -loads’ for the purpose of testing shotgun barrels.
While on the subject of ‘steel shot’ (which is actually iron) it may be worthwhile to remind shooters of the possible dangers involved when firing ‘steel shot’ through a full choke.
Quite simply, it is NOT recommended and can be detrimental to the barrel and choke tube.
Obviously, ‘steel shot’ does not compress as readily as lead shot and can produce a ‘pressure ring’ behind a tight choke tube. In a worst case a ‘steel shot’ load can blow a tight choke tube completely out of the barrel. This problem is naturally exacerbated with high pressure shells.
Anyway ‘steel shot’ produces tighter patterns than lead shot through any given choke size.
STEEL SHOT PATTERNS.
Some shot-gunners may not realize that ‘steel shot’ produces tighter patterns than does lead shot through any given choke constriction.
Additionally, for safety reasons there is less choice of chokes recommended for use with ‘steel shot’. However, this fact does not necessarily restrict the shooter to appreciably shorter ranges.
Assuming a shooter is using two sizes larger of ‘steel shot’ than they would when using lead shot and the ‘steel shot’ load is driven at considerably higher velocities in order to partially compensate for steel’s inherent lesser density, weight and penetration capabilities, it is then possible that the ‘steel shot’ will approximate the terminal effect of lead shot.