.177 BB's

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smo

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FYI, I did find these while staggering around the Internet a few weeks back.

0E470C77-D40E-4DF1-A2E0-584A5C7599E9.jpeg
Kinda’ expensive, but I automatically had visions of a .177 cal Muzzleloader!

It would take a small ram rod, but it’d be cool...

By the way 2 ozs of bbs in a 16 gauge is a pretty good stack of bbs!

Which oddly enough patterned better with small charges of fffg vs 100 grn plus loads of ffg or Fg.
 

Zonie

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Currently, Daisy BB's are zinc coated steel.
They used to be copper plated steel.

https://www.daisy.com/product/PrecisionMax-2400-ct-BB-Bottle-Model-24/?itemnumber=980024-001

In any case, if anyone is shooting BB's in their smoothbore, make darn sure there is a good protective sleeve around the BB's to keep them from contacting the bore.

It would be hard to find a steel that is softer than the steel most muzzleloading smooth-bores barrels are made from.
That zinc coating might protect the steel bore but I wouldn't want to bet my shotgun on it.
 

Britsmoothy

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I have seen faint lines in barrels from using steel shot. Probably from a shot poking through the wad some how. Talking breech loaders.
Any way, rather than inducing fear I pondered how such scoring is detrimental to the function of a shot gun barrel especially how faint they are.
I came to the conclusion in my tiny head that it's not really an issue, why some of us tolerate a slightly rust damaged barrel all the time so.....
 

Carbon 6

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I have seen faint lines in barrels from using steel shot. Probably from a shot poking through the wad some how. Talking breech loaders.
Any way, rather than inducing fear I pondered how such scoring is detrimental to the function of a shot gun barrel especially how faint they are.
I came to the conclusion in my tiny head that it's not really an issue, why some of us tolerate a slightly rust damaged barrel all the time so.....
Right on!
Been using them for almost ten years and haven't destroyed a gun yet. I shoot over a 100 rabbits year in my gardens and then there's raccoons, possums, and ground hogs a plenty.

The reality is, lead shot is only going to get harder to find and more expensive. I decided ten years ago to get ahead of the curve and make the switch. Much less painful that way.
 

Carbon 6

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Price wise, steel shot runs about 25 cents more per pound than lead, on sale they are almost equal. That makes steel an economical choice for a lead replacement.
 

Historian

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Let me interject something here. I have been a longtime loader of Non-Toxic shot. Steel Shot, various Tungsten shot types to include Hevishot/TSS and I make my own bismuth shot. Any of the hard type shot material to include commercial BB's are not safe to shoot without a steel shot type wad. Period. They can damage your gun barrel. Paper shot cups do not work in that protection. Hard pellets like steel and the tungsten based pellets create significantly higher chamber/bore pressures than soft types of pellets like lead/bismuth. The reason is they do not compress upon setback. This can drastically raise chamber and bore pressures. 2 oz's of commercial BB's as mentioned above is about equal to 3 oz's of lead. The largest commercial steel shot load made is 1 3/4 oz's in the 3 1/2 inch 10 ga. Also as the BB's are lighter they take up more room (volume) in the barrel which also contributes to higher pressure all around. If you shoot hard type shot in your ML you really need to use a steel shot type plastic shot cup.
 

Juice Jaws

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Let me interject something here. I have been a longtime loader of Non-Toxic shot. Steel Shot, various Tungsten shot types to include Hevishot/TSS and I make my own bismuth shot. Any of the hard type shot material to include commercial BB's are not safe to shoot without a steel shot type wad. Period. They can damage your gun barrel. Paper shot cups do not work in that protection. Hard pellets like steel and the tungsten based pellets create significantly higher chamber/bore pressures than soft types of pellets like lead/bismuth. The reason is they do not compress upon setback. This can drastically raise chamber and bore pressures. 2 oz's of commercial BB's as mentioned above is about equal to 3 oz's of lead. The largest commercial steel shot load made is 1 3/4 oz's in the 3 1/2 inch 10 ga. Also as the BB's are lighter they take up more room (volume) in the barrel which also contributes to higher pressure all around. If you shoot hard type shot in your ML you really need to use a steel shot type plastic shot cup.
Do you need a shot cup if using only bismuth?
 

smo

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Would you Please explain to me how 2 ozs of bbs = 3 ozs of lead?

2 ozs of feathers, should weigh the same as 2 ozs of lead....

Maybe I’m missing something..?
 

Zonie

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What he's saying is 2 ounces of steel shot will produce the same chamber pressures as 3 ounces of lead would produce. He's not saying 2 ounces of steel shot equals 3 ounces of lead in the actual weight of the load.

His reasoning for this increase in chamber pressure is, when lead shot is loaded and the gun fires, the lead shot pellets are jammed together and because lead is soft, they each deform some at the points of contact with the other pellets. When this happens, the shot columns height or length is slightly reduced. This allows the over powder card and the lower pellets to move forward slightly before the upper part of the shot load begins to move.

This small movement will reduce the chamber pressure while the powder is burning.

Because steel shot doesn't deform when the gun fires, the movement allowed by lead shot doesn't happen so, the chamber pressures are higher.
 

Britsmoothy

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Here we go again.
Evidence please Historian.

Steel in shot shells on nitro designed to get as high a velocity as possible and this gent has a point.

Black powder is different, it burns slower and works by producing a huge amount of gas....quickly.
In a muzzleloader set back in the shot is minimal compared to nitro shot shells.

For years I have examined lead shot recovered from game and I am always impressed at the lack of dimples from neighboring pellets under acceleration forces compared to nitro fired pellets.
 

Historian

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Zonie is correct.
Volume for Volume steel shot takes up more room than lead shot. This is due to the density difference. Because of this greater volume as well as the hardness factor ( compressability) 1 oz of steel shot #2's takes up the same volume as 1 3/8oz of lead 2's. However because the steel 2's will not compress upon setback (ie load ignition) the steel #2 load will usually generate much higher chamber pressures. Steel shot tends to have much higher pressure spikes than loads with softer shot material like lead and bismuth. This is why they use only a select few of publicly available powders for us hand loaders. Alliant STEEL was developed just for this purpose. While black powder is no where near as powerful as smokeless powder throwing in hard shot material like unannealed Commercial BB's is not something I recommend. I would highly recommend buying annealed steel shot and using a steel shot type shot cup. That 2 oz load of Steel BB's in your 16 ga creates more chamber pressure then you loading 3 oz's of lead BB's. I might also add that free recoil has nothing to do with chamber pressure. The 3 oz load will kick more but I can assure you that the 2 oz load of steel shot has much more dangerous pressure. Again this is due to the volume and compressability issues of steel shot. Ballistic Products and Reloading Specialties have 16 ga non toxic wads that you can buy. Use an overpower hard card wad under the shot cup and you will have no problems. Your patterns will also tighten up. I am in no way trying to be a know it all I am just trying to help a fellow Muzzle Loader shoot safe.
 

Britsmoothy

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Zonie is correct.
Volume for Volume steel shot takes up more room than lead shot. This is due to the density difference. Because of this greater volume as well as the hardness factor ( compressability) 1 oz of steel shot #2's takes up the same volume as 1 3/8oz of lead 2's. However because the steel 2's will not compress upon setback (ie load ignition) the steel #2 load will usually generate much higher chamber pressures. Steel shot tends to have much higher pressure spikes than loads with softer shot material like lead and bismuth. This is why they use only a select few of publicly available powders for us hand loaders. Alliant STEEL was developed just for this purpose. While black powder is no where near as powerful as smokeless powder throwing in hard shot material like unannealed Commercial BB's is not something I recommend. I would highly recommend buying annealed steel shot and using a steel shot type shot cup. That 2 oz load of Steel BB's in your 16 ga creates more chamber pressure then you loading 3 oz's of lead BB's. I might also add that free recoil has nothing to do with chamber pressure. The 3 oz load will kick more but I can assure you that the 2 oz load of steel shot has much more dangerous pressure. Again this is due to the volume and compressability issues of steel shot. Ballistic Products and Reloading Specialties have 16 ga non toxic wads that you can buy. Use an overpower hard card wad under the shot cup and you will have no problems. Your patterns will also tighten up. I am in no way trying to be a know it all I am just trying to help a fellow Muzzle Loader shoot safe.
Do you have any data for black powder in a muzzleloader using Steel?
Or are you assuming via available data for nitro?
 

Historian

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Bismuth does not require a shot cup.
Brit: I did test years ago where I loaded 1 1/2 oz steel and the same but with lead and bismuth, all under 110 grains 2Fg Goex in my Pedersoli 10. I used hard steel shot wads for the steel and softer lead style wads for the lead and bismuth. The lead wads I could almost use again if needed to but the steel wads were unusable and the shot had made the same deep impressions in the wads almost as if they had been shot from my Remington SP10. No I do not have pressure trace PSI data and I am not going to argue a point that is mute. Steel shot causes higher chamber pressures due to greater volume and hardness. The hardness itself can and will do damage to any gun barrel left unprotected. Modern cartridge or Muzzle Loaders are all susceptible to this. I would not be worried if he was shooting 2 oz's of lead in a 16 ga but 2 oz's of Unannealed steel BB's is a little too much especially without a protective shot cup.
 

Zonie

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Out of curiosity, I looked in my Lyman's BLACK POWDER HANDBOOK & LOADING MANUAL, 2nd Ed., to see if it said anything about steel shot vs lead. It did.

My book shows the results of testing a 12 guage, 26", modified choke barrel with both types of shot.

For a 1 oz load of lead #7 1/2 shot with 2, .125 over powder cards, 1, 1/2" fiber cushion wad and 1, .030 over shot card, using GOEX 2Fg powder, the muzzle velocity and breech pressures were:

75 gr = 1090 fps mv, 1,300 psi
82 gr = 1160 fps mv, 1,500 psi
89 gr = 1170 fps mv, 1,900 psi
96 gr = 1180 fps mv, 2,400 psi
102 gr = 1200 fps mv, 2,500 psi

For the same loading using 1 oz of steel shot the results were:

75 gr = 980 fps mv, 2,700 psi
82 gr = 1000 fps mv, 3,000 psi
89 gr = 1020 fps mv, 3,100 psi
96 gr = 1100 fps mv, 3,600 psi
102 gr = 1180 fps mv, 4,200 psi

The only difference in the loads was the lead shot was # 7 1/2 while the steel shot was #2.

The book also shows several other lead and steel shot loads but the wadding was a bit different so I won't show the results except to say, in every case, the steel shot loads all showed noticeable increases in the breech pressures when compared with the lead shot load and powder charge of the same size.
 

Historian

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Thanks Zonie. I honestly forgot about that test. What's really weird is the steel shot shows lower velocity while higher PSI. Alot of times but not always, higher PSI can include better better powder burn rates. However that is not the case there as the FPS is a little lower.
 

smo

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This conversation is way over my head...

Thanks for the advice.
 

Britsmoothy

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Out of curiosity, I looked in my Lyman's BLACK POWDER HANDBOOK & LOADING MANUAL, 2nd Ed., to see if it said anything about steel shot vs lead. It did.

My book shows the results of testing a 12 guage, 26", modified choke barrel with both types of shot.

For a 1 oz load of lead #7 1/2 shot with 2, .125 over powder cards, 1, 1/2" fiber cushion wad and 1, .030 over shot card, using GOEX 2Fg powder, the muzzle velocity and breech pressures were:

75 gr = 1090 fps mv, 1,300 psi
82 gr = 1160 fps mv, 1,500 psi
89 gr = 1170 fps mv, 1,900 psi
96 gr = 1180 fps mv, 2,400 psi
102 gr = 1200 fps mv, 2,500 psi

For the same loading using 1 oz of steel shot the results were:

75 gr = 980 fps mv, 2,700 psi
82 gr = 1000 fps mv, 3,000 psi
89 gr = 1020 fps mv, 3,100 psi
96 gr = 1100 fps mv, 3,600 psi
102 gr = 1180 fps mv, 4,200 psi

The only difference in the loads was the lead shot was # 7 1/2 while the steel shot was #2.

The book also shows several other lead and steel shot loads but the wadding was a bit different so I won't show the results except to say, in every case, the steel shot loads all showed noticeable increases in the breech pressures when compared with the lead shot load and powder charge of the same size.
Excellent Zonie.

Just as I expected to see. Even the highest pressure listed is not in realistic terms excessive!
 

smo

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How much pressure does it take to blow apart a modern steel Muzzleloader barrel ?
 

Bo T

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If I understood the information that I read, 8000 psi or thereabouts for a revolver was listed as the maximum load. But I also read somewhere that someone had pushed the loads to 21,000 psi for something else (cannon perhaps?). Since rifles tend to have thicker chamber walls than revolvers, the 8000 psi is most likely safe in a modern rifle, with a considerable fudge factor.
 
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