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Reloading steel, what I need to know?

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  • Reloading steel, what I need to know?


    Been thinking about reloading steel. Since I only plan on loading 2 3-4" duck loads, I'll probably be using my stash of Xpert hulls I have stocked up or federal top gun hulls as they're plentiful and free. The federals woul be shoot one time and pitch. Plan on using #3 shot. I can't find much load data for federal top gun hulls for steel shot but I would think you would load the same as lead using gold medal data. From what I've read, Alliant Steel seems to be the powder of choice for steel shot but there is none locally available. Would 800x be a good powder or any other powder from IMR? How about hodgdon? Would Accurate Nitro 100 be a good steel shot powder? I have heard that its also necessary to weigh each shot charge, which doesn't bother me. What it the prefered primer?

    I didn't find the right solution from the internet.
    whiteboard animation

  • #2
    You should check out Ballistic Products loads of the week and their loading manuals here is one sample load they have lots of info on their site.
    "I am not ashamed to admit, that I am ignorant of the things I do not know"!
    I am not a lawyer, and never played one on TV!
    All the usual and standard disclaimers apply. Do not try this at home, use only as directed,


    • #3
      The deep, cavernous, Reifenhouser-style hulls are what you want (also Gold Medals and Federal's new .090" basewad All Plastic Hunting Hull).

      Steel uses the slowest of the shotgun powders to try to control pressures, Blue Dot, Longshot, Steel, and the like (Pro-Reach, Accurate #'s 7 and 9 maybe). Nitro100 would be a VERY not-appropriate powder.
      800X, I doubt as well.

      Steel never ever loads like lead, in anything. The shotcups have no cushioning sections which help moderate powder burn pressure, steel, you hit it hard in the rear, it bounces unlike lead which squishes, that rebound effect causes pressure spikes.

      Alliant Steel meters like crap, it is very big flakes, meters very poorly, like chunky crap. Fortunately I only use it for 10-ga Goose Howizer Shells, so the "throw it light and trickle it up in the scale pan" isn't a big deal to me. If I was needing a bunch for skeet or some other silliness,,, oh heck naw.
      I also personally use Acetate or Teflon shotwraps to help insure against pellet-bore-contact, I also personally buffer.
      NO pellets over the top of the wad lips,,,, not if you like your barrel smooth and shiny................................

      Ballistic Products Status Of Steel manual, Precision Reloading's steel manual, BP's Advantages manual has some steel loads in it even though it is predominantly lead. There are probably other online sources as well.

      Once I have a bar adjusted to throw volume, I do not see any point in weighing the shot charges, unless for some reason the bar throw is very erratic, like 40 or 50 grains erratic.

      As light-weight as steel pellets are, they slow down in flight like they have braking chutes on. The commercial makers discovered how useless lead-speed 12-1300fps steel hunting loads were back in the 80's, literally bouncing off duck feathers.
      Velocity is needed badly, my Goose shells, 1600fps launch velocity (because all the 1700fps ones are 3 1/2" 12-gauge).

      All that comes to mind right now, Step 1 is get some recipes and the right components.
      Last edited by Damannoyed; 10-09-2017, 08:12. Reason: typo


      • #4
        Also please be aware that steel shot passes through tight chokes and fixed full chokes very poorly. Pressures can really spike. As said earlier Ballistic Products is a go to source for wads and loads. They have a ton of data (mostly for their own products though) but can be a bit pricey. That said I really think they know what they are doing. Here's a link to their steel manual either in paper copy or for a download fee.

        As a safety pointer, altering loads or substituting components is not a good idea for shotgun reloads in general, but can lead to disasters when using steel. Tread carefully. RD
        Every once in a while in life we need a policeman, a lawyer, a doctor and a preacher. We need a farmer three times a day, every day.


        • #5
          I loaded a ton of steel back when I was living right under the Pacific flyway. The Federal Gold Medals hull were my go to and #3 steel, ducks over decoys nothing out pass 40yds, big pitails and green heads.Speed is the key to good steel loads, remember that the volume of steel is much longer the a lead load. Ballistic products Status of Steel is worth the price, I loaded them like center fires. Shotgun loading block, one at a time, weight everything, Started with SR 4756, end using Steel, go at least one or better two chock size open, Malar warps, and 47 mix filler cushion the pellets against each other. Never grooved a barrel, steel will bridge, and rust buy the better shot.Ballistic Products is your friend, heed RDS warning on switching components.
          Mtman714; A man can do no better then to leave a good garden patch. Thomas Jefferson