Two Major Differences Between Lead and Steel Shot
Steel is less dense than lead. The pellets weigh one-third less than lead pellets of the same size.
- Steel retains less energy and may not kill birds cleanly at the same ranges.
- Steel with the same weight and shot size contains more pellets than lead, making loads that contain more shot than necessary.
- Compensate for the lighter weight by using a shot one or two sizes larger than the lead shot size.
Steel is harder than lead shot.
- Birds may bleed more freely because the steel penetrates better without clogging the wound channels with feather balls.
- Steel shot spreads less and has denser shot patterns, resulting in less margin for error in gun handling and trigger timing.
- Compensate by using a more open choke like an improved cylinder or modified choke rather than a full choke. This is especially true for shots within 50 yards.