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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Recently I have been playing with finalizing my 2oz Bismuth loads for the 10 bore and have been very very happy with the patterns I am seeing out of my Ithaca Mag-10 with a Briley Thin-Wall 10ga .745" Light Full choke. 90%+ at 40 yards makes for quite the devastating pattern with the #2 pellets (pattern pics for the two wads types I've tested attached and in the video I created on the load at the link below). Both versions of my load are buffered and cushioned, and the Sphero pellets seem to be holding their concentricity VERY well, so I am looking forward to patterning the same load when I get the copper plated Boss #2 pellets in hand (I ordered 10lbs of loose shot from them). I love the Boss 10ga load, but am pretty stoked about the pattern potential of this hand load.

I still need to confirm patterns with other constriction chokes and in my fixed choke Mag-10 as well as the Gold 10, but thus far it looks great!

So who else has some pet bismuth loads in the 10 bore they'd like to share?



10ga 2oz Bismuth "Devastator"
Ched. 3-1/2" 10ga Mag Hull
Vihtavuori 3N38 (41gr BPI MM Wad, 43gr Rem SP-10 Wad)
Rem. SP-10 + Mylar Wrap + 5cc PR Spherical Buff OR BPI Multi Metal (TPS Sub. OK) + .25" 12ga Foam Cushion wad + 5cc PR Spherical Buff
Star Crimp


Video on load:


Wood Art Tree Circle Pattern
Art Font Circle Pattern Drawing
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You going to pattern it out further than 40 yards?
Yes. I will be doing more patterning with the finalized loads and collecting velocities to average with a higher number of shots than what I collected in load development. I am waiting on receiving more shot currently, but will resume testing when I get it in. I will be patterning the Mag-10 Deluxe with the .745" and .735" Briley chokes at 50, 55, and 60 yards. I will also be checking patterns at 40, 50, 55, and 60 yards with the G10 using the .720 Terror Tube and the Mag-10 Standard Grade (32" barrel, .725" fixed 'FULL').

So, ultimately I will have pattern data on 3 barrel lengths (28.75", 29.4", 32" - solid non-ported choke lengths considered) 4 choke constrictions (.720", .725", .735", .745") at 4 distances (40, 50, 55, & 60 yards). For this load I won't be patterning closer than 40 yards as with a Mod or IM choke it will still be incredibly dense and anything that is placed in the pattern will die.

Ultimately I am going to be doing as much testing as I can without burning through a large amount of hard to get and expensive components.
 

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That's a lot of bismuth down range! Wonder how you could reclaim it. Some kind of backstop that wouldn't deform it... hm..

Why'd you choose VV powder? I've seen some steel data for various VV powders and hav always been curious. In the past, it cost too much for me to try. But now...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That's a lot of bismuth down range! Wonder how you could reclaim it. Some kind of backstop that wouldn't deform it... hm..

Why'd you choose VV powder? I've seen some steel data for various VV powders and hav always been curious. In the past, it cost too much for me to try. But now...
Honestly, I think trying to reclaim by more than 30-40% would be more trouble than it's worth, unless you are sending 10 lb bags of it down range for development of loads for retail sales (which I may do in the future, among other 10ga related endeavors...). But I would say a big piece of plywood with a tarp under it about 5 yards past the target would work fairly well. Deformation of the pellets is going to occur regardless, so honestly reclamation of the shot would be for smelting and creating home-made shot. Not a bad idea though!

I settled on the Viht 3N38 for a number of reasons. The powder is very clean burning, extremely versatile, show little in the way of developing excessive pressures quickly with payloads of less than 2-1/4oz, and offer some great velocities. For a pistol and shotgun powder, 3N38 is fantastic. I came across a lot of load data from the Finnish that had to be translated then deciphered a little (conversion from metric to imperial, interpreting literal translations into English native terms, confirming components, etc.). I also had a viewer in Scotland share some lab results with me for a 1-1/2oz steel load he was assembling for pink and light-foot goose hunting over there. The only problem with the Finnish data was that it could run some high pressures and if you did not make an accurate conversion of the powder, wad, shot charge, etc., cause some very high pressures and cause some hull failures. Most guns would take it and not have an issue, but it would stress operating components. I have not come to a determination if this is conversion errors on English speakers' parts, or if this was a flaw in the original creators of the data. That said, it does not detract from what can be accomplished with the powder when reasonable and well balanced loads are the goal. Being able to potentially use the same powder for payloads of 1-1/4oz through the 2-1/2oz range is very attractive, but I find that 3N38 is best suited in the 1-1/2 to 2oz payload range.

What I have come to find is that 3N38 has some seriously advantageous properties that can be quite useful in the mighty 10, as well as some considerable versatility in the 12. I however am solely using it for 10ga loadings. at an average street price of $50 a pound it is not the most cost effective, but the goal with the Mighty 10 for me is the best loads possible for the purposes and roles that the bore fits in so well. So, I will take the extra $0.10 a shot in cost for 10-15% better performance potential.

I also have a 1-5/8oz steel shot load using 43gr of the Viht 3N38 that averages 1,425 FPS in hunting temps out of a 28" barrel and usually patterns 50% or better at 50 yards with the G10 and .720 TT.

That load video is here:
 
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I've seen some of that Finnish/Danish data. Some of it is pretty edgy. But I'm intrigued because VV powder is usually easier to find than A.Steel.

I feel like we're in a cul-de-sac with steel ammo right now. With alliant steel, we can easily achieve good enough performance in 20, 16, 12, and 10 gauges, and any push for better than good enough is channeled into HTL shot. How many other powders out there could do what steel does and more? Maybe none, but I dont think a lot of folks are looking.
Obviously, we're never going to turn steel into lead, but is 1.25 oz at 1450-1500 fps really as far as we can go?

This is merely a matter of curiosity on my part. One thing that annoys me to no end is the stick-in-the-mud mindset of so many shotgunners. Mention a 3" 16 ga hull and then find cover fast!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I've seen some of that Finnish/Danish data. Some of it is pretty edgy. But I'm intrigued because VV powder is usually easier to find than A.Steel.

I feel like we're in a cul-de-sac with steel ammo right now. With alliant steel, we can easily achieve good enough performance in 20, 16, 12, and 10 gauges, and any push for better than good enough is channeled into HTL shot. How many other powders out there could do what steel does and more? Maybe none, but I dont think a lot of folks are looking.
Obviously, we're never going to turn steel into lead, but is 1.25 oz at 1450-1500 fps really as far as we can go?

This is merely a matter of curiosity on my part. One thing that annoys me to no end is the stick-in-the-mud mindset of so many shotgunners. Mention a 3" 16 ga hull and then find cover fast!
If only looking at the two, say Alliant Steel and Viht 3N38 (or 3N37), both are capable of the same performance and relative pressures of the same payloads. VV seems a bit more versatile with the 1-3/4oz and up loadings in the 10ga, but overall steel works well and is very useful for 10, 12, 16, and magnum 20 loads. I will say that in my experience Alliant Steel is the less efficient and dirtier burning of the two. Is it enough so to make a significant difference? I'm not able to really collect hard data on that, but anecdotally I would say it is enough of a difference for me. I still keep a couple pounds of it around though!

I completely understand the question of asking if the current decade old industry standards and "limits" of steel shot are really the pinnacle, and the answer is unfortunately "Yes". I have chased the white rabbit enough to find some very hard data that has proven to me the physical limits of the different shot types. Really, when launching steel (iron) shot, pushing velocities past 1,400-1,450 FPS offers no appreciable ballistic advantage. The physics of a sphere dictate that the harder you push it the greater the exponential increase of drag function that sphere encounters traveling through air. In tandem, the same is true for increasing the diameter and thus surface area of the sphere. That's why the old adage of big, slow pellets being ideal for geese will carry over from days gone by lead waterfowl loads to today's steel shot (or any other shot material). Since steel has such a low density at 7.86g/cc, shoving any size pellet past that "magic" 1,400 FPS range, +/- 50 FPS, does more harm than good; higher recoil, greater risk of pattern disruption, slower return to target for follow-up, more component in the shell (powder), and higher cost per shot for a ballistic advantage that is completely depleted in the first 25 yards. Even when shoved at 1,700 FPS the material just won't retain its energy and penetration down range. Further, if you are able to shove a steel payload past 1,900 FPS you will only see incremental gains in extending the increased energy potential.

The same can be said though for any material of higher density. You loose so much from throwing round balls faster that you really end up with what I SWAG as a 35/65 ratio on ballistic benefit to cost/detriment. I've shot some thumpers of lead loads using super hard and round plated shot with high antimony and typically the patterns have been atrocious to "meh", with no appreciable difference on game at normal and "extended" ranges. Federal used to put out a 12ga 2-3/4" 1,500 FPS 1-3/8oz load in this category that was impressive but not super useful, IMO. Fiocchi Golden Pheasant in a similar 1,485 FPS load can be considered much the same, although I have had much better luck getting it to pattern well out of new and old guns. The bottom line is though that the same pellets launched at 100-150 FPS less will have the same terminal ballistics past the 30-35 yard mark, and especially at 40+ yards.

It is a shame that physics has to come and ruin our party when it comes to these sorts of things as steel shot is very affordable when compared to the alternatives. Hell, if money and rarity wasn't a factor we would all be shooting a 19g/cc density super malleable shot that could be blended with tin and nickel plated to create the densest, most ballistically effective shot man kind has ever devised; GOLD.

Once you get to 9g/cc density though, the deficiencies (or should we say, limits?) of steel shot becomes even more apparent by penetration tests when the shot is all propelled at the most effective velocities for each shot material's density.

Now when it comes to something like a 3" 16ga?.... I can argue for and against that one. HAHA!

It would not bother me one bit to see modern shotshell technology and a 3" chamber applied. The 16, much like the 28, is such a wonderful cartridge as is. However, true fans of the 16 bore would most likely come to appreciate the efficiency of a sweet-16 magnum chambered shotgun capable of delivering the lower end of 12ga Magnum payloads. It might even potentially be the most efficient and effective bore ever if such a change was made. BUT, the recoil in a true 16ga framed shotgun would not be the most pleasant and that would be your brick obstacle to overcome.
 

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I agree with you for the most part. However, I wasn't thinking about speed alone so much, but payload as well. Say a 3" 12 ga 1.375 oz at 1400 fps. (And yes, it would kick more, but not everyone has the same limitations,)

There's nothing magical about the 2.75" hull length. We're super excited about advances in other areas (like scope technology), why be bound by "square load" thinking? Sure, English gunsmiths honed a design style--but they weren't divinely inspired.
To my mind, a 3" 16 ga would allow for higher performance ammo because it would preclude older firearms. 1.125 oz of steel shot at 1350-1400 isn't too far on recoil from standard 16 ga field loads, but will require more space than a 2.75" hull will give. Only problem is there are only 5 people who'd buy one...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I agree with you for the most part. However, I wasn't thinking about speed alone so much, but payload as well. Say a 3" 12 ga 1.375 oz at 1400 fps. (And yes, it would kick more, but not everyone has the same limitations,)

There's nothing magical about the 2.75" hull length. We're super excited about advances in other areas (like scope technology), why be bound by "square load" thinking? Sure, English gunsmiths honed a design style--but they weren't divinely inspired.
To my mind, a 3" 16 ga would allow for higher performance ammo because it would preclude older firearms. 1.125 oz of steel shot at 1350-1400 isn't too far on recoil from standard 16 ga field loads, but will require more space than a 2.75" hull will give. Only problem is there are only 5 people who'd buy one...
It's all about marketing. There is a significant presence of "small bore" shooters in the water fowling culture of Americans, which for some reason see anything less than a 12 as "small bore". If the manufacturers saw a market large enough to add an "innovative" product like a 3" 16 gauge hull, to they will do it.

The square load theory does have validity though. Shot string has a direct correlation between the bore diameter and payload height. The longer the shot column, the longer the shot string at a given range. This becomes even more apparent at distances past 45 yards. For lesser bores like the 24, 28, and 32 this is not so much a problem as payloads do not allow for the same ranges of effect as higher payloads in larger bores, so the shot stringing is a mute point. The 16 sits in a great but limited middle ground though between the big 12 and 10, and the smaller 20 and subs. It does a ton of things very well, but it really is hard to convince folks it can be even more capable with greater payload.

Being that payload determines hull length, I would say you would find 1oz to 1-1/16oz payloads of steel shot in the 16's bore would be ample for a 3" hull. 1-1/8oz to 1-1/5oz could be done as well in a 3", but you'd probably land around the 1,300 FPS mark, and while that would work, the best velocities for effect and marketing would be in the 1,375 to 1,425 range. So, you'd have to stay at right about 1oz, give or take a few pellets. The payload height of current 15/16oz steel loads in full length 16ga wads is about equal to a 1-1/8oz (+/-) of lead shot in the same space, so at 1-1/8oz you are filling to the equivalent of a 1-1/4 to 1-3/8 lead shot load. Sooooo, your payload is getting kind of long, which means you are looking at not the best chances at a good shot string. Go to a more dense shot type like Tungsten-Iron, Tungsten-Polymer, Bismuth, ITX-10, etc., and this changes a little bit since you are approaching the same density of lead shot and reducing the shot columns height. Then again, if you just want that payload, then there you go, mission accomplished. It's just really a balance of how much you can stuff into a specific sized hull, how fast you can propel it, how it will pattern, and how long the shot string will be. There was such a wildcat as the 3.5" Supermag 20 gauge believe it or not, and I'm sure that there are some that would like to see that monstrosity be a commercial reality as well! haha.

For me, the 16ga in a 3" chambering would have much the same application as a 3" 12 does, Heavier payloads for deer, turkey, and geese. For the most part, the 16 does what it needs to out to 40 yards and is very efficient, but the higher payloads always have their utility. And hey, I hear you about the recoil. A very versatile light gun easy to carry in and out of the marsh or prairie always has its place, even if the price is a little more push!
 

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Sounds like a cool project. You could definitely reclaim it by making a giant t-shirt trap. Big box full of old clothing, it stops 100fpe rifle rounds for reclaiming the shot so it will stop those little bizzy pellets for sure. Im guessing they wouldn't be prime for shooting again but maybe have value for remelt.

How much does boss charge for shot? I tried to ask and was told they dont sell it, then another guy (the owner i suppose) said they do sell it and the other guy was mistaken. But never replied to my followups about pricing
 

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I ventured down this road a few years back with 10gauge load options and bismuth.

initially, I wanted to repurpose the 400+ rounds of factory 10gauge federal hw15 turkey ammo. I made Loads with steel shot and bismuth shot with factory components, 52grain powder (federal factory), flight stopper wads, federal hull and primer. Steel results pattern well, and kill geese with steel 3’s, 2’s, 1’s, B’s.

Searching for advise on bismuth and the 10gauge, many on this forum and others, I moved away from the 10gauge bismuth load options. I will say 1.6oz of bis 1’s in a 3.5” 12gauge throws awesome patterns at 40yards.

I loaded a few Lyman’s 3.5” 12gauge 1.875oz bismuth 1’s loads as well. I’ll get around to shooting those soon. I did find good results and data with the original repurposing of federal components and using bismuth in 10gauge, the load was also a 1.875oz buffered load.

In testing Boss Bis 10’s, their pressures are around 12,300psi, at 2.0625oz, they offered bis 4’s, 2’s and 1’s. I think they more recently bumped up their payloads to 2.125oz, but did a limited run. I’ve found in my loading, sometimes less payload to be better.

regardless of overall payload, I routinely shoot 1.125oz of bismuth 4’s or #3.5’s in the 12gauge and can kill geese at 45yards. 1.5oz in 3” #2’s kills geese well, buddy used those to kill sandhill cranes and a swan this past season.

thanks for continuing the data on 10gauge options.
 

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Nice. Never dabbled in 2 oz. of Bismuth in one pull of the trigger. Did so well with Steel BB's and T's couldn't justify the cost, but I'm a bit of a tight wad. Good on ya.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Sounds like a cool project. You could definitely reclaim it by making a giant t-shirt trap. Big box full of old clothing, it stops 100fpe rifle rounds for reclaiming the shot so it will stop those little bizzy pellets for sure. Im guessing they wouldn't be prime for shooting again but maybe have value for remelt.

How much does boss charge for shot? I tried to ask and was told they dont sell it, then another guy (the owner i suppose) said they do sell it and the other guy was mistaken. But never replied to my followups about pricing
I just placed an order with Boss a little over a week ago for 10lbs of #2’s and the price was $20/lb. Not the greatest, but you can’t get copper plated bismuth anywhere else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thank you for the load details and the video, Well done.
Do you have any pressure data on these 2oz buffered bismuth loads?

harkom
I unfortunately do not have pressure data. My assumption based on hull conditions is that they are still well within CIP and SAAMI specs. I will eventually have some loads sent for lab testing, but it won’t be anytime soon.

Load development was performed at 1800 FASL in 80-85 degrees Farenheight, about 29.9 inHg, and 75% humidity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
As part of this project I decided to order a stamp sized appropriately for the shotshell hull. No clue yet as to how durable the stamp will be once the shells have been handled (maybe a different ink/die will work better) but so far I am liking the ease in which I can label my loads and their boxes/bags.


Hand Finger Lipstick Line Nail
 

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I looked, boss bumped their payload up to 2.125oz in their most recent 10gauge offering. I shot a box or 2 of their original 10gauge options in a browning gold (cycling issues) and a BPS, as well as a single shot H&R.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
I looked, boss bumped their payload up to 2.125oz in their most recent 10gauge offering. I shot a box or 2 of their original 10gauge options in a browning gold (cycling issues) and a BPS, as well as a single shot H&R.
I did see that. I missed out on this year’s production run, but I still have about 120 rounds in reserve from the 2020 production run. I am not sure why they went up on payload 1/16oz, but I suspect it was for a more consistent crimp. They had some trouble getting the load crimped consistently on the first run, which was most likely due to their powder choice and the election to utilize a PT1044 Gualandi wad, which is fairly short to begin with. 2-1/16oz is also a slightly odd payload weight but it was close to 2-1/4oz lead payload heights in the same wad/hull.

I had seen some guys complaining about the Boss 10ga loads not cycling in their guns, but all issues I had were the bow and not the arrow. I had some major issues with my G10 that required servicing. After that was done, Boss 10ga shells have never missed a lick in the G10 and my Mag-10’s gobble them up as well.
 
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