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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
SO I thought I might reignite an old topic with a new approach. We're always examining ammo as a group (i.e exotic, hunting, target etc.) and I've wondered for some time about just doing a flat out comparison. In this case we'll be looking at steel and lead as title would suggest, along with a set of pro's & con's for each. As a hunter, my primary concerns are effectiveness x availability. This combo is because I can't get too hot on any ammo type for which there isn't immediate terminal results on my quarry - & but at the same time, I would hate to get hooked on a sweet ammo type that I couldn't readily source.

As an aside, I feel I should mention that for the quarry I was hunting and the purposes listed above, my previous favourite ammo was glass marbles. There are some drawbacks, such as being a bit of a hassle; being slightly bulky & noisy, sometimes having inconsistent weights, & busted glass in the catchbox. But we're not here to talk about marbles, are we?

Having used both lead & steel for my own purposes in many variations, I feel that they have their own merits depending on ones intended use or preferences. For example, when hunting rabbits we might want to consider the distance we generally find them at. If they're at the further stretches of our comfort zone, we might take medium steels (8-9mm) and roll with some fast tapers. If we're doing pest control on Crows or Starlings at shorter ranges & need some extra punch, we might opt for the .45 leads & some powerful straight cuts. Some might even take the '.40 calibre avenue', and roll with 1/2" steel to get the most surface area x speed without the drop associated with .50 cal lead x some looped tubes. The combinations are ENDLESS!

So I ask you fellow slingers; what say you to this discussion? Have you a preference? No preference? Do you use them in separate roles for different purposes? Or like I was, are you simply stuck with what you have because you haven't yet found a source for something different? All thoughts & opinions, pro's & con's of your own, even price comparisons would be excellent.

Thanks for looking guys happy shooting!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I agree with all points there Matt, especially on the energy properties of lead. It really sinks the critters, especially with the right setup. I too hoard my last few leads when I get low, but Im not even kidding when I say the gun shop is a two minute walk from my house & I've just recently gotten chummy with the owner. He's now slowly selling out his remaining stock of Hornady roundballs to me (in .36,.44,.45 & eventually a few boxes of .50) before he reorders new muzzleloader stock - for whatever reason he didn't explain. All I know is I'm getting 100 rounds of .36 which would normally be $10 for $7.50 so 2 boxes for $15 which to me is a good deal considering they only get used in my catchbox & when I hunt. If I EVER 'plink' with lead, its with a bedsheet backdrop and trough so I *hopefully* don't waste them. As for the marbles I'd have to agree. I took ALOT of game/pests with them before I moved up to lead and to be fair, when I go shopping later I'm buying 1000 marbles as backup ammo. They might not be 'perfect' but IMO their as good as you're going to get in the event steel or lead becomes a hassle to find.

I always joke that in a SHTF I'll probably have ammo for days, because who's looking in the shops for marbles during a crisis? No one lol. As a sidenote - the weight inconsistency seems to be less of an issue if you roll with 'solid' marbles i.e. solid blue or green etc. as opposed to 'cat eyes' or otherwise decorative marble. They seem to hover within 75-80 gr. with pretty little deviance so if you're keeping your shots inside say 40' you're golden. :)
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Nothing transfers it's energy like lead. Great for hunting. Steel is good too but a square hit on an oak tree will send steel right back at ya at the same speed you shot it. So for squirrels I carry 7/16" steel and .40 cal lead. The lead for a close brushy shot.
Lead for targets requires a soft target to avoid flat spots on the ball. I like steel for targets.
I like glass for snakes as the 5/8" ones weigh bout the same as 7/16 steel but don't penetrate the snakes head. It's like hitting him in the head with a hammer.
Anyway I like anything that shoots straight! LoL just my $.02
I'm with you in all points there Joe, I've been lucky not to have any steel come flying back at me yet knock on wood. Haven't used 7/16 ammo yet but I'd love to give it a go, I've heard nothing but good.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It is at these moments I wish I was 7 years old again. I took squirrels, doves, quail, rabbits pheasants and one duck throughout my youth on round granite pebbles that I was always on the lookout for while running the river. My jar never got below half full. I would use marbles only when I didn't mind to lose a few raggedy ones I'd score shooting marbles with the other kids.
Even when I got a clean headshot me or one of my buddies would be running towards the critter to step on its head or stick them in the ear with our Buck knife.
I only run if I am chased now so that option is out. Fishing sinkers are easy to get. I did get a richochet once from a missed 9.5mm steel shot that was about two whiskers away from the 'no way zone' once, but I am done having kids.
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That was some lovely po boy nostalgia there Mo I love it, felt like I was right there on the trail with you debating on glass or stone for a tricky shot LOL! Yeah out of a hot set those sinkers are the devil on small game and birds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
LOL - As a kid I always had pockets full of round river stones. They were actually hard to find - area had a lot of shale. Marbles were so coveted so only used when I knew the chance of finding them after was high.

Had a ton of lead at one stage which I used to cast sinkers - and made ammo from. This was my high-spec hunting ammo and only used for shots I was darn sure of. Still have that mould and made a few rounds from lead I managed to scrounge.

Later found bicycle bottom bracket BB's in 6mm - they were ridiculously small compared to everything else I shot (up to 20mm lead sinkers) and did make a 'special' target setup with those.

I wish I knew what I know now about shooting at age 10 or so.
I hear you on that 'if I only knew then' sentiment lol! I wish I'd had access to lead ammo making, heck I wish I could set up for it now and I'm damn near 30 hahaha.

But alas, I am an apartment dweller.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
A pop corn popper, now thats just plain awesome hahaha...now I've heard it all. I'm looking for a cheap single ball mould or two, in probably .36 & .44. Been looking online and the prices vary widely so I'm having a tricky time. Also I'm trying to source my lead before I get myself too far into the game so to speak lol.
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Yeah I've heard that, so much lead free crap out there these days.

Where would I get one of those cups you have? I honestly have no problem making my lead Civil War style i.e. over an open fire, with a little melting pan, and a single shot mould or two. I've wanted to do this for some time and I want to get set up to do it before spring is in full swing lol.
 
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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Ther just what a need how do a find tge 8 or 9 mm size buddy ther a good price thanks man
No worries man glad to help, the one that says '.36 cal' thats basically 9mm. The closest I can find is what Im using which is .36 cal (.375) which is on that page.

Sounds like we're after the same moulds lol.
 
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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Thanks man a found a big old lump of lead afew week back and thought about making some shots up a think am gony buy one o them moulds never shot lead but seems I works well for hunting awesome thanks dude for your help
Nice score man that should work out for you & no worries always happy to pass on what I find! You'll be a convert once you shoot lead, its really a whole different animal. Just be sure to post your results or make a thread with some photos when you make your first batch of homebrew 9mm!
 
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Discussion Starter · #42 ·
Hello All,

I prefer lead over all other ammo types , in my book it is the perfect material for ammo.

I cast my lead ammo in an old fishing sinker mould that I found in a second hand shop , it makes quite acceptable slingshot ammo.

Steel is good , but hard to find where I live , steel also ricochetes badly , I don't like that :D.

But I also shoot anything that is more or less round and is of reasonable weight , I don't get overly hung-up over these things.

:D :D :D :D.

Cheers.
Thats good stuff ZS1 - and me neither, if it looks like it'll shoot - its going in the pouch!

When I started on slingshots again as an adult, I was shooting cat eye marbles exclusively. They are quite cheap here, $1 gets me 100 of them. I then bought 10 and 12mm lead mould of Ebay, I recycle lead from old car batteries (yes, I know it is risky, dangerous , messy....) but it is the only reliable source I got.
Steel is expensive to buy and ship, but I discovered local car garages that demolish cv joints and discard steel balls, I once collected two 20lt bucket loads of mixed steel ball sizes.
I'm now searching for an 8mm fishing mould, that cast 10 balls or more at once. I have a Lee precision mould for 2 ball, but I can't use it because I don't have a melting pot with a "tap" to pour the led into it.

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Thats me too man, marbles were my primary ammo for a long time. You're a roughneck for breaking down those batteries for their lead content, I'll give it a try at some point, but as anyone who knows me knows - I've already done my dance with an acid burn from an accident as a kid - no fun at all.I agrree with your points on steel as well, I'll be looking more into casting my own lead as the days pass. Thanks for chiming in. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
Yeah I've heard that, so much lead free crap out there these days.

Where would I get one of those cups you have? I honestly have no problem making my lead Civil War style i.e. over an open fire, with a little melting pan, and a single shot mould or two. I've wanted to do this for some time and I want to get set up to do it before spring is in full swing lol.
Shoot BC.. you can heat lead in a small cheap frying pan. Anything that will hold together at a higher temp than lead. Wheel weights aren't lead anymore? Guess you'll have to pick an old tire shop.
I've been beating this idea around for a while, theres quite a few small (5" dia.) cast iron pans at the thrift store, or should I just roll with modern steel pan? Either way theres a TON of them for between $0.25-$2.00 so I can try a couple. And Im acutally looking at an old tire shop near where I used to live Im going to give them a try tomorrow.
 
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Discussion Starter · #47 ·
As a comparison, if you shoot 8 mm lead ball and 9.04 mm steel ball (both weighting 3.04 g) with an arbitrary setup of 4.667 kg draw power and 75 cm draw length, then you have:

attachicon.gif
comparison.jpg

Both having same weight and shot under same parameters, lead (of course) performs better:

- it will reach longer range than steel

- its terminal energy will be higher (at the moment of impact with the ground)

- if both shot at a target at 15 m, 1.5 m high, than lead needs less elevation.

Besides other advantages of lead, such as less ricochet, and (at least with me, availability and possibility to mold my own ammo), still a steel ball of some 9 mm (same weight as 8 mm lead) is more manageable for me due to my arthritis.

(9.5 mm steel ball being even more manageable for me and not too heavy.)

So, as always, it seems that it boils down to personal preferences and circumstances..

cheers,

jazz
Wow @jazz thanks for that info and chart my friend - dropping that knowledge! I must say the one thing that stuck out to me was that even though the projectiles have the same weight, the lead requires less elevation. Is this primarily due to surface area of the larger steel ball causing drag to slow it down faster?

Fascinating stuff. :)
 
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Discussion Starter · #50 ·
Ther just what a need how do a find tge 8 or 9 mm size buddy ther a good price thanks man
No worries man glad to help, the one that says '.36 cal' thats basically 9mm. The closest I can find is what Im using which is .36 cal (.375) which is on that page.
Sounds like we're after the same moulds lol.
Guys to figure caliber size multiply by 4. Ergo 9mm X 4 = 36.
Jeeeze there's a useful little bit of info thanks man that's awesome!
 

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Here’s the clays, lead & glass I typically shoot with their weights for comparison. Note the similar weight between the 20mm clay & 5/8 glass, but the 20mm ball (obviously) has substantially more surface area. I use the 20mm’s on doves, pigeons, grackles, starlings & even a few unlucky HOSP’s I hammered with them.
 

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