steel or bismuth

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steel or bismuth

Postby Maurry » Tue Oct 29, 2019 8:43 am

I am curious to learn what loads people are using? Bismuth is so pricey...is it worth it?
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Re: steel or bismuth

Postby AvianAddict » Tue Oct 29, 2019 8:55 am

Maury, I recently started shooting bismuth this year. I haven’t shot enough birds to know how much better it is but it does give me more pattern density. This is my third season with the 20 gauge and I can’t get anything bigger than 4’s to pattern well. If I’m shooting a woody hole or know shots are in 20-25 yard range I’ll shoot steel 4’s but more often than not the mallards skirt at 30 yards and there always seems to be geese around and I’ve killed them with steel 4s but would like something with a bit more power. I bought a case of Boss Copper plated bismuth 4’s and so far so good, there are 172 pellets in the 1 1/8th load. They come out to be about $1.18 a shot. I don’t shoot all that much so another 60 cents a shell isn’t a big deal. I get very good patterns and the bismuth 4’s are pretty much the same as steel 2’s.


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Re: steel or bismuth

Postby Maurry » Tue Oct 29, 2019 9:20 am

AA, thanks for the in depth answer. It is helpful to me to hear what more experienced hunters are doing. I asked because, after I saw all the birds at Baymen's, at the last minute before the hunt, I ran into Walmart to buy additional ammo. They had a terrible selection. The only thing I could get was 2 3/4 inch steel 6 shot, and in my haste I didn't even notice that they were low brass. My son pointed out the low brass and, of course, made fun of me. We did have a limited amount of 3 inch no. 4, 1 5/8 bismuth on hand to see us through, but, because of pride, I used the shells I had just bought and did manage to knock down a bird. Now I need to go out and get some more ammo.
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Re: steel or bismuth

Postby AvianAddict » Tue Oct 29, 2019 9:39 am

I’ve had good luck with any of the 7/8 oz steel 4’s traveling around 1500 FPS through an IMP Mod choke. Also if you go on Boss shotshells website they will ship to your doorstep.


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Re: steel or bismuth

Postby Farmhunter » Tue Oct 29, 2019 11:34 am

Yea they are super pricey so probably not for everyone and every situation. But yea I use it and they are a good addition.
Opens up the options a bit to have a slightly more deadly round.

I bring a few on every hunt and run them as the first round in the gun.
Fun to have “special” rounds.
You’ll aim better more careful on your first shot.
Drop that first bird dead in the dark no running away..
Blast a goose if you’re tempted.
Water blast a black duck who landed 80 yds off and swam in to 55yds just outside the dekes looking over at you..

Some guys run it as the last shot in the gun and have a list of other reasons... but that’s not my style.
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Re: steel or bismuth

Postby Dog Tired » Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:24 am

i can vouch for AA's in depth concern and -even if he isnt a scientist- thorough looking into the bismuth thing.

once i run out of what i've already paid for i'll transition over to 100% bismuth, likely boss but the kent and hevi shot offerings arent bad, will just need to pattern them.
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Re: steel or bismuth

Postby Dog Tired » Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:27 am

Maurry, i wouldnt feel too bad about the low brass 6 shot. for early season woodies, ive watched it hammer birds just fine. its also a good load for cripples instead of wasting expensive and larger sized shot that will not pattern as densely as the high pellet count 6s.
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Re: steel or bismuth

Postby spider316 » Wed Oct 30, 2019 12:44 pm

Love my Kent bismuth. 20ga 2 3/4" 1 oz #6s. Stone cold killers :thumbsup: !
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Re: steel or bismuth

Postby AvianAddict » Wed Oct 30, 2019 1:40 pm

The ones that fell over the side of the boat probably aren’t.


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Re: steel or bismuth

Postby rms516 » Wed Oct 30, 2019 5:06 pm

Steel! Pet loads are expert 3" 1.25 ounce of 2/3/4 depending on species and where hunting. The last three days of hunting I used my ic choked 20 gauge 1100 with 2 3/4" expert steel #6 3/4 ounce and killed a limit of mallards and woodies in the decoys in equally as many shots no cripples.
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Re: steel or bismuth

Postby spider316 » Thu Oct 31, 2019 6:12 am

AvianAddict wrote:The ones that fell over the side of the boat probably aren’t.


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Oh they are, just cant reach em :fingerpt: !
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Re: steel or bismuth

Postby Maurry » Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:12 pm

Interesting comments all around. Thanks for the encouragement and advice, DT. I would be sticking with the steel (I have some #2 in steel also) except that my son just emailed me that he bought some Kent tungsten matrix for us. I can only hope that the Kents don't cause my gun to explode.
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Re: steel or bismuth

Postby dennisducks » Sun Nov 17, 2019 2:36 am

I switched over to bismuth last season, thought id share my experience. I have shot the same shell forever, Kent 3" 1-1/4oz #2 for sea ducks and #4 for everything else. It never let me down, I have only had one dud over the years. It patterned well out of my gun with a carlson full choke, and best part was that it was cheap (about $15/box). I decided last year to give the boss bismuth shells a try, and was really impressed. I bought the 2-3/4" #4s for sea ducks, didnt take the time to pattern them, and took them right out on some hunts. I figured with the higher density and higher pellet count, they were gonna be magic shells. It took about half a box to start hitting anything, I didnt think the 75 fps difference would matter but i was behind everything. Im not going to tell you they were some magic auto-tracking shell, but my brother and i noticed that we had far less cripples on the hunts that we used those shells, and there were noticeably more birds that went down stone dead. The extra $9 per box is definitely a big increase, but we ended up deciding at the end of the season that it was absolutely worth it, and bought more for this season. I am going to pattern the shells with a few different full chokes (factory, carlson, and muller), and report back at the end of this season.
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steel or bismuth

Postby Farmhunter » Sun Nov 17, 2019 5:56 am

Sea duck can be cold hunts..
If it’s below 20 degrees the slower #4 rounds go even slower in the denser air. Super heavy wind too.
Had a hunt or two it was noticeable pellet penetration was crap (slowest bismuth rounds)
Now for cold I keep a box of the steel 1650 #3 and might bring 6-8 bismuth #2s if I’m feeling deadly.
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Re: steel or bismuth

Postby dennisducks » Sun Nov 17, 2019 9:31 pm

No doubt that every shell runs slower in colder temps; lower combustion pressures and denser air. That said, a couple 3*F days we hunted, they were still dropping birds. I never worried about cold temps and my shells when shooting Kent, and don't plan on starting to worry now. How do those 1650's pattern? I personally don't want to abuse my body shooting super hot loads with un-needed recoil, not to mention every shell I've patterned that was over 1500fps patterned like swiss cheese.
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Re: steel or bismuth

Postby Farmhunter » Mon Nov 18, 2019 5:54 am

Yes the faster rounds pattern like crap I’ve had that experience too.
Ones I had an issue with were the 1 1/2 Kent bismuth loads, slow to begin with. Just avoid those on the coldest windiest days I guess.
I checked and the faster rounds I got are 1550 #3. Basically a size up and a little faster than my go-to.
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Re: steel or bismuth

Postby AvianAddict » Mon Nov 18, 2019 5:58 am

When I know it’s wiodies only I shoot Kent Fasteel 7/8 oz of 4’s at 1550 and they pattern pretty good for me. I do have to choke them pretty tight. I run them through a Trulock IM. There should be some pattern pics on a previous thread.


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Re: steel or bismuth

Postby JB35 » Mon Nov 25, 2019 2:39 pm

AvianAddict wrote:I’ve had good luck with any of the 7/8 oz steel 4’s traveling around 1500 FPS through an IMP Mod choke. Also if you go on Boss shotshells website they will ship to your doorstep.


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Were you able to order Boss Shotshells to your door in MA? I placed a order and got a confirmation email of my order. Waited two weeks with no confirm of shipping. Called today and said they dont ship to MA. Had to call to follow up or they would not have refunded me.
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Re: steel or bismuth

Postby AvianAddict » Mon Nov 25, 2019 5:58 pm

Right to my door. Also Rogers and Midway will deliver as well.


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Re: steel or bismuth

Postby JB35 » Tue Nov 26, 2019 3:30 pm

AvianAddict wrote:Right to my door. Also Rogers and Midway will deliver as well.


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Hm strange that Boss wouldnt ship direct to me, must be a new policy. Cant seem to find them for sale anywhere else?
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Re: steel or bismuth

Postby AvianAddict » Tue Nov 26, 2019 8:19 pm

They only sell direct you won’t find them anywhere else.


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Re: steel or bismuth

Postby dennisducks » Fri Nov 29, 2019 9:04 pm

I am down on the cape, and Boss shipped straight to my door about a month ago.
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Re: steel or bismuth

Postby Southcoast hunter » Thu Jan 09, 2020 12:33 pm

Do you guys still use 3 inch shells with bismuth?


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Re: steel or bismuth

Postby AvianAddict » Thu Jan 09, 2020 7:48 pm

The boss shells I’m shooting are 3 inch 20 gauge 1 1-8 oz of 4’s at 1350fps.


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Re: steel or bismuth

Postby mawtrfowler » Thu Jan 09, 2020 8:47 pm

I'm using 2 3/4" with the 12 gauge
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