As a final note around Hevi-Steel, the shotshell length would not allow the new ammo to function in many foreign autoloading shotguns. It seems that the shells were made to exact SAMMI standards based on the old roll crimp method of closing the shotshell. Well, across the pond the roll crimp was not given any consideration, and as a direct result of that little problem a whole pile of guns didn’t want to cycle the long maximum length 3” Hevi-Steel hulls.
Author with Hevi-Steel and Canada geese. This shot type is being completely redesigned from the primer up.
The solution here like in the other problems associated with Hevi-Steel has been to rebuild the whole shotshell line including a new 3” star crimped hull, a different softer shot that won’t require massive amounts of poly bead buffer, and again new powders that should hold up in cold weather. I have indicated the word “should” as time will tell as we get these new loads into the field. Hopefully, we will have luck on snow geese in a few weeks.
Another very new load offering by Enviornmetal Inc. is Hevi-13, a pellet type that at this time is a turkey load, but hang on, because I predict that Hevi-13 will be a waterfowl killing machine to end all bird terminating systems very soon. This shot is a full 13.5 density by my measurements, and that means very heavy, and very hard hitting at long range. Keep an eye on this development for sure. Hevi-13 will run a good deal faster and harder then Hevi-Shot and even with a turkey photo on the box I’m sure it will become a duck killing monster. Even in a #4 pellet size Hevi-13 will produce ballistics down range that can be associated with a #1 lead shot pellet, or even close to a “B” 17 caliber lead ball. Add the fact that this load will retain the smaller #4 pellet in a full 1 3/4 oz payload and you have a buzz bomb hornets nest heading at any airborne target. After the 2005 spring fling on snows I will report my findings as to just how effective this ultra heavy weight shot is against the white hordes.
Being known for a very high grade steel shot loads, and a very well balanced low budget line of iron shot fodder, Winchester is knocking at the advanced development door with “Xtended Range”, that to my way of thinking will be a waterfowl load quite soon. Xtended Range is a blend of non-toxic elements that end up as a pellet of shot that is easy on barrels, and retains a density of about 13, or right with most of the other designer non-toxic loads out there today.
While I have only put Winchester Xtended on paper thus far I do plan to take it afield this spring re turkey hunting, and also if cleared in time by the federal fish cops, some gunning against snow geese, as well. It is not that Xtended is a toxic element, but by law every new shot types has to jump the federal hoops. Winchester is playing the “hoop” game right now as I write these lines.
On paper Xtended is looking great. Shooting 50 yard 30” circle these loads print a nice tight core pattern of about 68%, and fill in the rest of the circle to 87% at that range. Move up to close range work as in a 40 yard target and Xtended by way of a Benelli Super Black Eagle, and a full choke will plaster the daylights out of a 20” core ring. Winchester Xtended will adapt well to tighter chokes versus coming apart as the special blend of hard tungsten iron is forced through the tighter tube constriction. I’m sure it has something to do with the mix of materials that makes Xtended different in term of being bore friendly. Density, quality shot production and materials are the keys to this puzzle, and we are about to see a whole lot of this new development in smooth bore fodder.
The Avery Outdoor crew in North Dakota during a very positive waterfowl hunt by way of the new Federal High Density Tungsten.
Remington will offer their complete line of both steel and Hevi-Shot loads in 2005 with changes in packaging as to the low budget loads (Green head duck on the box). With Nitro Steel in iron shot loads, and Hevi-Shot in the advanced non-toxic line Remington hits all the bases when it comes to feeding the water fowlers shotgun chamber. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, can best describe Remington's load selection for the upcoming waterfowl hunting season.
Starting as a small company some years ago Kent has become known for steel shot loads that go very fast out of the muzzle. Added to that reputation are the outstanding “Matrix” soft non-toxic loads that are completely bore safe, and retain great energy to the target. This season Kent is again right in the mix with their load offerings. Watch for value in Fast Steel, as well as those Matrix non-toxic load options when you want to shoot bore safe non-toxic loads through that very high end double that grandpa gave you way back when.
As a current project with Kent I’m working up loads via my 12 bore muzzle loader with Kent Matrix Impact shot. Because Impact is easy on any barrel even when almost no wad is applied, which is the case in a muzzle loading waterfowl gun, this shot is a joy to work with lacking the personal stress of possibly damaging my gun high quality muzzle loading gun systems.
Currently Kent is offering a newer “All Purpose” precision steel shot load in 12 and 20 gauge that is hard hitting with very high muzzle velocities of 1475 f.p.s. in the 12 bore 3” 1 1 / 8 oz load, and a blistering 1490 f.p.s. in the 20 gauge duck killer at 7/ 8 oz. With shot sizes from #2’s through #4 ‘s in the sub gauge 20 bore, and BB or #2’s in the 12 bore, this low budget package fills a nice niche market for the over goose decoy hunter that can old his shots for the best possible target range and angle.
Being the very first out of the gate regarding advanced non-toxic shotshell ammunition, Bismuth Cartridge is still offering loads that fit gun chambers unknown to other manufacturers. Word has it that additional development is in the wind regarding Bismuth Cartridge during the 2005 hunting year. As to exactly what all that double talk means I guess time will tell, as I have not got a clue. I do know, however, that Bismuth shot is a darn good product, and because it is completely bore safe it has been a part of my specialty muzzle loader duck gun, and small bore projects for quite a few years to date. I will be keeping an eye on Bismuth Cartridge during the coming year, and as developments unfold, reporting back to you.