The Shot

There are different kinds of shot. At this time lead and steel are the most common. Lead and steel shot are not interchangeable. Reloading with steel shot requires special wads. Using wads designed for lead shot will not only ruin your gun, but could cause high pressures that could burst the gun causing injury or death to the shooter or bystander.

There are two kinds of lead shot - chilled and magnum (hard). Chilled shot is manufactured with an antimony content of 0.05% to 2.00% which was the standard shot used for many years for target shooting and factory field loads. Magnum, or sometimes called hard shot, has an antimony content between 3.0% and 6.0%. The increase in the antimony content produces less shot deformation and also maximum pattern density. Chilled shot weighs more than magnum shot of the same pellet size because of the percentage of antimony being used. The higher the antimony level the less the shot weighs.

When loading with steel shot, it is imperative that steel shot components be used and the instructions for these components be followed to the letter. Select only components that are suited for steel shot reloading.

Steel shot is approximately three times harder than lead shot and must be used with components that are designed specifically for steel shot reloading.

As the size of the shot increases, fewer pellets can be loaded into the hull. The smaller sizes are used for trap and skeet, doves, varmints, small game, etc. The larger shot sizes are for heavier game -ducks, geese, turkeys, etc.

All Powder Is Not Alike.

Different powders have different burning speeds, which make them useful for different jobs. The heavier the shot load, the slower the powder must burn. It takes longer to accelerate a heavy shot load than it does a light one.


A fast-burning powder ignited behind a heavy shot load could cause excessive "breech pressure" which might cause damage to the gun and even injury to the shooter or bystander.

Breech pressure is the pressure of the gas which is created by the burning powder. It is this breech pressure which forces the shot through the barrel.

On the other hand, using a slow-burning powder to propel a light load of shot will not work effectively. Without the proper pressure buildup, many powders will not burn uniformly and provide sufficient velocity to the shot. Never interchange powders for reloading steel shot. A powder that generates acceptable pressures on 1 Va oz. of lead shot cannot be used to propel 1 Va oz. of steel shot. The pressures will raise to dangerous levels.

Which Primer to Use?

The primer ignites the powder. When you pull the trigger, the hammer falls on the firing pin, denting the primer cup. This causes the component in the primer to detonate, igniting the main powder charge.

Different primers have different characteristics depending on their purpose. Use only the primer that is recommended by the component manufacturer for the hull, powder, wad, and shot load you are using.

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    Where to buy lead shot for reloading?
    8 years ago
  • kaiju
    How to load steel shot with a mec 9000?
    3 years ago

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