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Reclaimed Shot on the Patterning Board.

posted Sep 10, 2013, 8:56 AM by Peter Lucas   [ updated Sep 11, 2013, 8:33 AM ]
    The price of lead shot keeps going up and up.  In an effort to keep the cost of shooting down, I have been using less and less lead; both in my muzzle-loader and in my modern gun.  My current muzzleloading load is 7/8 of an ounce of shot on the skeet field and 1 ounce on the trap field.  In both cases, the propellant is an equal volume of black powder.  With my modern gun, I am currently shooting skeet with 3/4 ounce loads in my 12, 20 and 28 gauge barrels.  

    To further reduce the cost, I also started shooting reclaimed shot. A local range had cleaned and graphited reclaimed shot for $28 per 25 pound jug (the shot was delivered in used juice jugs).  That compares favorably to new shot which currently going for $45 per bag.  

    The 3/4 ounce load of reclaimed shot seems to work pretty well on the skeet field.   As a general rule, misses are the result of operator error and not holes in the pattern. However, I decided to pattern both the new and reclaimed shot and get better idea of the actual differences in the patterns.  

    Given the number of patterns which would needed to get statistically meaningful information, initial testing was done with a modern gun.  Right now, I only have the modern 12 gauge results tabulated. As things progress I will post additional patterning results, including the results for the muzzlelaoder.

12 Gauge Loads --- Reclaimed vs. New Shot.     

    The first round of tests was done with a 3/4 ounce 12 gauge load (17 grains of Red Dot and the Clay Buster CB0175-12 wad).  Ten patterns were shot with the reclaimed shot and 10 patterns were shot with the new Number 9s.  Other than the shot, the loads were otherwise identical.  All patterning was done at 20 yards with a Browning Citori Skeet gun with fixed skeet chokes.  Here are the averages for the two ten shot strings:

Number of Pellets
Reclaimed ShotNew Shot
10" Diam7999

Reclaimed ShotNew Shot
Probability of Hit - Full On Probability of Hit -- Edge On Probability of Hit -- Full On Probability of Hit --Edge On
0-10"100%98% 100%`98%
0-20"100%90% 100%91%
0-30"96%67% 95%69%

    As can be seen, the new shot load contains more pellets than the reclaimed shot load.  This is a function of the fact that the reclaimed shot is a mix of 7 1/2, 8 and 9 shot.  The extra pellets do not, however, translate into a greater probability of a hit on the Skeet field.   The probability of a hit is virtually identical for the reclaimed and new shot.