Steel Shot: The Attack on Hunters

For steel to be "roughly equivalent" to lead, 1330 fps of #6, 1-1/4 oz. of steel would be roughly equivalent to 1330 fps of #6, 1-1/4 oz. of lead. No one suggests that, except in France.

Mr. Tom Roster (and others) have suggested you go up two shot sizes in steel and call it good, an absurd statement considering his own three year study that showed #2 steel to be more effective on pheasants than #4 or #6 steel, all with only 1 oz. loads.

As has been said many times, facts are stubborn things. There are known ballistic facts when it comes to shot: ballistic coefficients. With the same launch velocity, for a sphere to have the same exterior ballistics it must have the same ballistic coefficient. With the same ballistic coefficient, you have the same time of flight and the same strike velocity. Buffered #5 lead has a ballistic coefficient of 0.0252: it is about 168 pellets to the ounce. A common 12 gauge pheasant load is 1-3/8 oz. #5, or around 231 pellets. The ballistic equivalent of buffered #5 lead in steel shot is B shot, with a very close ballistic coefficient of 0.0253. Steel B shot is 86 pellets to the ounce. In order to have a ballistically equivalent load to 1-3/8 oz. #5 buffered lead, you would have to have to fire over 2-5/8 oz. of B size steel shot at the same velocity, actually about 2.686 ounces of it. Facts are stubborn things: whether we just happen to like them or not, they are no less facts.

Lead comes from the ground in the first place, is naturally occurring, and is not soluble in water. There has been no credible study to show that it is a hazard to doves, pheasants, big game, or the folks that eat wild game.

Apparently, those fixated on the elimination of hunting have no clue that pet household cats kill more birds every year than all hunters combined. They are unaware that ducklings have high mortality rates, and that wind farms, roads, and man-made vehicles and structures slaughter countless animals every single day, indiscriminately.

They are oblivious to crop damage. They are seemingly oblivious to what stresses wildlife populations. With ducks, botulism, duck plague, etc. Habitat destruction, as in lack of wetlands (tiling), with pheasants: again, habitat. More grass, more birds. They fail to comprehend what raptors live on: ducks and pheasants. Save the hawks . . . but kill more doves, ducks, pheasants, rabbits . . . devoured alive. Skunks, coyotes, muskrats, raccoons, crows . . . all happily suck duck and pheasant eggs if given the chance.

Hunters are an easier target, far easier to tax and harass than agricultural practices, disease, and wind farms. That's all that has been happening, when the vast majority of unwanted heavy metals and toxins in the environment are there due to our giant government itself. The larger issues, like pollution and more recently algal blooms and eutrophication of the "Dead Zones" of Lake Erie and so forth have nothing to do with shooting or hunting. There are a total of 43 areas of concern within the Great Lakes, 26 being in the U.S, areas of severe environmental degradation. No rational person could possibly believe that hunting has anything at all to do with it.

The attack on lead has been little more than a thinly veiled attack on firearms and hunting. If we want to draw a "red line," well we have already done it with sarin gas. The false pretense of environmental damage is obvious: considering Iraq, Afghanistan, and even Vietnam . . . we don't mind inflicting it one bit. Duck hunters never did use Agent Orange, they just get treated as if they did.


Copyright 2013 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.


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