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Copper-Plated Lead Shot

This is a discussion on Copper-Plated Lead Shot within the Ruger Shotguns forums, part of the Rifle & Shotgun Forum category; Hey All. I just acquired an H&R 176 10gauge with 36 inch barrel...I'm very excited about this gun. It has a fixed full choke. I ...


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Old June 13th, 2016, 09:15 PM   #1
 
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Copper-Plated Lead Shot

Hey All. I just acquired an H&R 176 10gauge with 36 inch barrel...I'm very excited about this gun. It has a fixed full choke. I spoke with H&R who said that only lead shot should be used (no steel). My question to you all is this...is copper plated lead safe for this gun? (I forgot to ask the H&R rep!). I have read mixed things online and wanted to pose the question here. Also, do I have to worry about using to large a quantity of shot? (Is 2 1/4oz of #4 shot too much for this gun?) Any advice is welcome, along with where to buy the ammo at the best prices. Thanks in advance!




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Old June 14th, 2016, 02:09 AM   #2
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walsh, What you have is a classic "goose or turkey gun", made for those high fliers or long range shots. Your 10 gauge has a 3 1/2" chamber and will safely shoot any factory 10 gauge load.

The harder copper plating helps prevent the shot from deforming and becoming fliers, which is it's sole purpose in a shotgun .... mostly because the shot is contained in a plastic wad (shot cup) so it never contacts the bore. The size of the shot should be determined by the distance you are shooting .... larger pellets for longer distances. Shot sizes are the opposite of their numeric value .... meaning the larger the pellets, the smaller the number, based on the old English "gauge" measurements.

Be prepared ... these 10 gauge shotguns kick like a mule .... the heavier the shot charge, the more they kick. Federal laws prohibit using lead or copper plated lead shot when hunting federal migratory birds (ducks & geese), however for turkey, lead shot is usually OK ... except on any federal land (or in California). Some state laws also prohibit the use of lead or plated lead shot. So ..... check your laws before you buy ammo. Your LGS should be able to help you.

I posted a document in the Forum Library titled "Shotgun Chokes and Related Issues" that you might find interesting. It will help you determine what size shot to use for the type of game and shooting distance and much more. Here's a link: http://rugerforum.net/library/83808-...ed-issues.html

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Old June 14th, 2016, 02:55 AM   #3
 
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Iowegan...thanks for the reply. Are you saying that even steel shot would be safe for the gun? The manufacturer was adamant that only lead shot should be used. Again, this is a fixed full choke 10 gauge from 1979. This seems to be a contested topic from the research I've done. Also, I found a brand called RST that sells 10 gauge lead ammo in 2 7/8 shells...anyone familiar with that?
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Old June 14th, 2016, 03:26 AM   #4
 
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Steel shot is NOT ok in that gun.
Copper plated lead shot is ok. Even though shot contained in a plastic shot cup (wad) doesn't touch the bore the problem is there is very little give in steel pellets. The choke must be capable of withstanding the higher forces of steel shot and yours is not.

You might be able to get away with it but the odds of permanently damaging the choke is very high. So don't use steel shot in guns that are not rated for steel shot.

Copper plated lead shot is OK.
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Old June 14th, 2016, 07:03 AM   #5
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walsh, Although Petrol and Powder's post is the classic answer, it is no longer true for most higher grade shells. When steel shot first started to be loaded in shotgun ammo, manufacturers used a cardboard over powder wad versus a one piece plastic wad. With the older style shells, you definitely DON'T want to use them in a shotgun not rated for steel shot. In more recent years, just about all premium grade steel pellet shotgun shells now use plastic wads that prevent the shot from touching the bore. As for wearing out a choke .... this is mostly hype from days gone by however it could still happen if you shoot cheap ammo without a plastic wad. Another factor is repetition ..... if you shoot a lot of ammo, it is more likely to harm the choke than if you just use your gun just for hunting. Believe me .... you won't want to go skeet shooting with a 10 gauge.

I have an old 12 gauge Remington Wing Master ...made long before steel shot barrels came on the scene. Throughout many years of duck and goose hunting, I have run well over 500 rounds of steel shot through this gun plus countless rounds of lead shot. It has a fixed modified choke and still measures the same as when new .... .709" at the muzzle and it still patterns excellent. I wish the rest of the gun had survived as well as the bore. Point being .... if you use steel shot ammo that has plastic wads and don't go crazy shooting tons of ammo, likely your 10 gauge will out last you.
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Old June 14th, 2016, 02:53 PM   #6
 
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It may be an anecdotal story but I know of an event in which a single round of steel shot damaged a screw in choke tube on a friend's Mossberg to the point it could not be removed. It ringed the tube and barrel, locking the tube in the barrel. That was a screw in tube and not a integral choke but I do think the potential is there.
Now, I do not know what type of wad was used in that shell but I do know it damaged the choke tube.
Now he was shooting waterfowl so the shot was likely large pellets. I don't know if smaller shot is less likely to damage chokes or if screw in tubes are more susceptible to damage.
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Old June 14th, 2016, 04:22 PM   #7
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Petrol and Powder, The fact that steel shot was used probably had nothing to do with the tube getting locked in place. I have worked on dozens of shotguns with the same exact problem and in all cases, it was "pilot error" where the choke tube was not tightened properly. A loose tube will indeed lock in the threads and it will be a bear to get out. Normally I will use a tap and clean out the threads in the barrel. You would be surprised how much powder pucky can be forced in that tiny space between the threads. I do agree ... choke tubes are more vulnerable to damage than a fixed choke. As the OP noted, his shotgun has a fixed choke so I will go with my original assessment .... used strictly for hunting, the OP's shotgun will last a lifetime or more .... even if steel shot is used (with plastic wads of course).
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Old June 14th, 2016, 05:10 PM   #8
 
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Isn't the issue with steel more about the choke?

I have a new Benelli and they specifically say not to use steel with full choke.

I have an old 870 with fixed full choke. When I posed the question to Remington about steel shot and they said they don't recommend steel shot in any barrel with fixed full choke.

To the OP, I have shot a lot of copper coated lead through my old 870 and it is still going strong. I won't shoot steel through it.

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Old June 14th, 2016, 05:19 PM   #9
 
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True Grit...having a new benelli and being advised not to use steel shot, can you confirm if copper plated lead is OK from what you've heard?
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Old June 14th, 2016, 05:29 PM   #10
 
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My Benelli owners manual only says that you you should not use steel with full choke. Steel is OK for modified and other more open chokes. Nothing specific is said about copper plated lead.
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Old June 14th, 2016, 05:31 PM   #11
 
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Guys let me throw another monkey wrench into this conversation...Federal makes a heavy turkey load that is made of tungsten. If the manufacturer states that steel is not safe, then how about tungsten?
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Old June 14th, 2016, 11:53 PM   #12
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Tungsten or bismuth is almost as soft as lead and is safe in all gauges, chokes, and velocities.

Tell you what .... take your 10 gauge out and shoot it just once ... then come back and tell us how you are going to wear out the choke.

Last edited by Iowegan; June 15th, 2016 at 12:25 AM.
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