I was recently taken aback by an
acquaintance telling me, “I did some testing with that
new Hevi-Shot in my Model 12.” It seems almost incomprehensible
that after the 1981 mandate of nontoxic shot for waterfowl
hunting, many hunters and shooters still do not understand
the consequences of shooting very hard steel and steel-shot
derivatives in shotguns not designed for this shot. Conversely,
they don’t seem aware of the ready availability
of alternative nontoxic shot that is compatible with any
shotgun in good condition, designed for modern ammunition.
Shotguns not specifically made
to shoot steel shot, i.e. Model 12s, Browning Auto-5s, all
the classic doubles, etc., should not be fired with steel
shot, Federal’s tungsten/iron or Remington’s Hevi-Shot.
The barrels and choking systems are not made for the very
However, bismuth pellets
loaded by the Bismuth Cartridge Company and Kent’s
Impact Tungsten/Martix, that blends micro-fine tungsten
with a polymer, are specifically made for our “old”
shotguns, new ones too. Bismuth better approximates lead
in density than steel, and Kent’s Impact closely matches
the density of lead. Both respond to choking like lead,
furthermore, both are available in 2 1/2-inch cartridges.