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Hevi-Steel - It is New, Low Cost, and Effective

by L.P. Brezny

With the exception of some of the more common iron, or as we know it steel shot, non-toxic shotshell ammunition designed as an advanced pellet system is not what anyone would call a bargain. Poly plastic bonded types of shot are costly to make, as are the tungsten iron shot products that shoot well, but cost up to $ 2.00 per round. As we move into the fall of 2004 there will be one difference at the ammunition counter of some outlets, and that change will be a new type of shotshell called Hevi-Steel. If you do any amount of waterfowl hunting or even upland shooting in some restricted areas here in South Dakota you are quite aware that Hevi-Shot has taken the game of non-toxic shotgunning by storm over the past several years. Now Environmetal, the company that developed Hevi-Shot, has come up with a second advanced non-toxic shot type, but at a greatly reduced cost to the hunter.

Hevi-Steel is also a heavy metal tungsten based product, but it uses less of the costly heavy metal and is made by way of a very low cost production process. Add the two elements of the production process together and the hunter comes out the winner in terms of how hard he is being hit in the wallet. Hevi-Steel will sell for about $186.00 hard earned bucks per case of 250 rounds. And, those rounds will come in a real old time 25 round shotshell box.

Now, with a new advanced shotshell or what I call designer loads selling for what a high end box of steel sells for today anyone can be in the driver’s seat when they are trying to upgrade non-toxic ballistics in terms of hitting game harder with less rounds fired in the process. During the first week of September, while hunting with Knock'm Down Productions at Clark South Dakota, and under the wing of the folks at Oak Tree Lodge & Kennels, I got a chance first hand to drops some early season Canada geese with the new shot as produced in a B .17 cal size pellet.

The ammo used in this test was the new 3 inch 12 gauge 1 1/8 oz Hevi-Steel package, and it was loaded to a muzzle velocity of 1450 f.p.s. Being a very hard pellet and in fact the same hardness as barrel steel this shot is "floated" in poly bead buffer that amounts of a massive 40 grain charge. Floating the shot in this way allows the pellets to be cushioned during the setback of firing, and also stay away from the wad wall reducing any chance of the pellets cutting the wad and contacting the bore itself.

This new ammo was designed and developed by Polywad Inc and outfit run by Jay Menefee out of Macon, Georgia. Jay is a sharp ballistics head and came up with a way to drive this new shot that the folks at Enviornmetal were not even sure could work out as a production product during its early stages of development. Well, it works judging by my testing that has taken place over the past five months in handloads and paper targets at my Black Hills range, and with the culmination of test events taking place this past month at Clark, South Dakota.

Hunting at Oak Tree the first of September 2004 were members of the press, pro staff hunters representing Knock'm Down Production, and myself with the new loads in hand. As a group, the hunters were very willing to give the loads a try, and as such when anything went down it would be the result of the new Hevi-Steel’s payload.

Hevi-Steel retains a balance of tungsten iron and common iron making it a pellet with a density about half way between steel shot and lead (9.16 density). I'm rough here in terms of exact pellet weight / density because our information to date is still in the development stage. However, the fact is Hevi-Steel at least on paper was shown to crush even big geese in a pellet size of B .17 cal to 60 yards, and even run up some added energy beyond that point, if necessary. As to all that information coming into the realm of actual hard facts, a few minutes after first light a grain field at Clark, South Dakota was about to give up some answers.

Geese On the Deck

With our backs against a bright blazing sun, and a hot wet wind to our backs three giant Canada's came lumbering in so low that their bellies almost touched the bright yellow cut stems of wheat that covered our field. As the trio closed to under 40 yards, Matt Gindorff, pro staffer and short reed goose caller, gave the order to "take'm”. At the call the first goose hit the deck as if it had been hit by a French 75 mm round, but the remaining pair were pulling for clean air and away from the spread, now falling away on the wind. Again, more shots and a second bird rolled over in mid air and dropped like a wet sack of grain into the wheat stubble. I was watching the last goose as it put about 55 or 60 yards between the gun muzzles and itself. Now my Beretta Xtrema 3.5 that contained a tight shooting Rhino extended choke tube took over and at the shot the final bird also headed for the ground.
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