Steel shot performs equally to lead shot, new ballistics study shows
A new ballistics study has revealed steel shot lethality is on a par with lead shot in ranges up to 50 yards.
Commissioned by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) and the Gun Trade Association (GTA), and undertaken at Cranfield University the study tested the theories behind moving two shot sizes larger when transitioning from lead shot to steel shot.
The study originated following the shooting organisation’s call for a five year voluntary transition away from lead shot for live quarry shooting in February 2020.
The findings showed lead shot penetrating on average 10mm deeper than steel shot against bare gelatine, but when tested against a gelatine block wrapped in pheasant skin and feathers, simulating the real environment, the two materials performed equally.
Peter Marshall, BASC’s head of training and education, said: “These findings show that standard performance steel shot has the same impact capabilities as lead shot when you move down two shot sizes.
“The results show that the deformation of lead shot impacts negatively on penetration power when shooting wild game compared to the harder steel shot.”
Steven Champion head of lethality studies at Cranfield University, said: “This test highlights that up to 50 yards the lethality of the shot is more a matter of patterning rather than penetration capability.”
Simon West, executive director of the Gun Trade Association, said: “Game shooters have been asked to go into the field with new ammunition products that have different pattern and penetration characteristics. This academic study will help provide confidence in these new sustainable solutions.”