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SlapShot USA: Shot Talk

SlapShot USA Non-Toxic Shot

SlapShot USA is constantly seeking non toxic materials to use in projectiles. Although our primary focus is on ammunition for defense and professional services, we have been experimenting with sporting munition and applying what we know to that industry. We have looked at typical steel materials which are widely available, tungsten, red metals, and of course lead. The industry has provided us with a variety of shot options that basically are light and hard, heavy and hard, heavy and soft. SlapShot USA has learned to make projectiles fly fast so we like to work with what we know.

What we know is fast moving steel shot is hard on chokes. The same can be said for tungsten which will not move as fast but due to density, tungsten carries a lot of energy at comparably equal velocities. We elected to search out a material that we can move fast, will be softer than other non-toxic options, and will enable more projectiles to be released per shot than heavy soft options such as lead.

SlapShot USA’s home defense projectiles are lead free and in some cases biodegradable. SlapShot ToxSafe materials meet California lead free standards. Look for the ToxSafe label on our products to be sure it is lead free. That’s the basics, read on if you want to learn more…..

ToxSafe Single Aught Buck

SlapShot USA has introduced its single aught steel shot. At 1500 feet per second and good pattern control, it is suitable for a range of shotgun hunting applications. It will also be very effective for self defense purposes but it does not share the controlled penetration characteristics of purpose built SlapShot defensive munitions. SlapShot uses rigid wadding to protect the bore of the shotgun but we believe this shot can damage a choke. The wadding used, provides a spread rate of approximately 1/2 inch per yard of travel.

Going to the Birds

Being a manufacturer of projectiles of all sizes, shapes and applications, SlapShot USA has the capacity to create new and novel projectiles made from non traditional materials. Our experimental ToxSafe #5 shot is just such a project. We are seeking to hit our brand mark of fast moving, non-toxic, and effective.

Applying equal impact to each of the three pieces of shot it can be seen that the Toxsafe pellet is softer than the steel and harder than the lead. We are hoping our tests prove that the shot is easier on shotgun barrels and chokes.

Steel, Lead and ToxSafe Pellets

The SlapShot ToxSafe projectile is softer than steel with slightly higher density. The steel #5 is around 2.1 grains, #5 Toxsafe shot is 2.2 grains, lead #5 is around 2.5 grains. Specific gravity of the materials are basically 7,8, and 10 from left to right as shown in the above picture. Although tensile strength is not the exact index I would like to use here, I happen to have this data. The tensile strength gives some understanding of how much pressure it takes to cause the material to change shape plasticly and enables a comparison with other materials. The material used in ToxSafe bird shot is around 15k psi and typical tensile of steal used in shot is around 50k psi, and lead shot is around 8k psi. The picture of the three pellets above illustrates what we know about the amount of pressure it takes to cause the pellet to permanently compress. This matters when the shot slams into the choke and it matters when it hits the target.

The advantage of steel is you can send more pellets at the same weight, but it is hard on guns. The advantage of ToxSafe is you can send more pellets at a given weight or you can send the same number of pellets faster and it is easier on the gun. It is also lead free.

Rifled Barrel and Choke Damage

Over the past couple years we have abused a couple shotguns by testing over pressure loads and loads with an array of projectiles. We advocate for the rifled barrel on home defense shotguns because we have learned that the rifled barrel allows the use of a variety of buck shot and our high power Precision Home Defense ammunition. To solve the question “will the rifling get damaged?” we fired some commercially available loads.

We shot numerous rounds of basic lead buck shot and aside from lead fouling there was no damage to the rifling. We then shot a couple dozen of the SlapShot ToxSafe steel buck shot and there was no discernible damage. Not all of the steel buck was contained in a shot cup, some loads were made with 21 balls of buck shot sitting on a gas seal so they impacted the full length of the bore.

We fired a half dozen tungsten birdshot loads and noted substantial damage to the rifling. The rifling was pitted all through the bore. We attribute the damage to the combination of density and high tensile strength or compressive strength of tungsten.

Don’t shoot tungsten through a rifled barrel. We did not shoot any of these through choked barrels, but I feel comfortable extrapolating that the tungsten increases the risk of damaging a choke compared to other available materials. Also, do not fire SlapShot high velocity home defense ammunition through choked barrels, read the box before using.

More Speed or More Shot?

A typical one ounce load of lead #5 shot will have around 175 pellets and a one ounce load of ToxSafe #5 shot will have 199 pellets. At SlapShot we have taken some small polls of customers and colleagues to determine if they would prefer to have a turkey load that had an equal number of pellets as a lead load but moved faster or more pellets and equal speed. All of the hunters we talked to, hunt in Oregon and Washington and they all opted for speed over pellets. Of course at SlapShot we opt for speed also and we were happy to hear their responses. However, I suspect it depends on where you hunt and right now somebody is reading this and saying “&^$#% more pellets not more speed.” So we will test both and probably provide both options.

ToxSafe: Talking Consistency and Quality

One advantage of the ToxSafe materials is it has more consistent sphericity. The more consistent the shape of the projectiles the more predictable the patterns. Going back to the 0 aught steel shot used in the SlapShot 12 gauge ammunition, we are able to achieve approximately 1/2 inch of spread per yard of travel when fired from a smooth bore 22 inch barrel. We believe the shot’s consistent sphericity and tight diameter specifications contributes to reliable shot to shot performance. We anticipate this will hold true with the #5 ToxSafe bird shot. We also noted that load weight was very consistent.

The ToxSafe shot load weight was within 1/10 of one grain +/- with 185 pellets in the load. This was consistent across 10 test shells. Shot shells are typically less precise than rifle rounds with velocities varying around 3% from shot to shot. The shot shell has more components and that has some impact on shot to shot consistency. We are satisfied that the shot weight and size consistency will improve the quality of the performance.

We are sending some new loads with a hunter for an eastern Oregon upland bird hunting trip in a few weeks. He asked for fast loads so we loaded him some at 1600 FPS keeping those pressures in the 10k range.

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