Caribou Gear

School me on non toxic shot, please.

fleabagmatt

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I have jumped into learning upland bird hunting this season - specifically pheasant and quail for now. I've managed to find some boxes of lead shot for now, but there are some places here that require non toxic. My father "loaned" me his early 80s era Browning BPS with a fixed choke and I'm unclear on what type of shells to look for. It's my understanding that steel is a no no. Bismuth is an option, are there others that this older gun can handle? Do I want to choose a different shot size than I would with lead? I currently have boxes of #8 and #5 and a turkey load in lead.

I've been looking all season and I cannot find anything local, so I will probably have to order online. Not that it matters much with the season ending soon, but I'd like to get my hands on something eventually.
 

Rzrbck918

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What choke is the barrel? I wouldnt worry about steel shot if its not a full choke. Ive shot steel out of a modified or improved barrel on a browning for years. I have used hevishot and some of the bismuth with good results. I also generally size up with steel.
 

JLS

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For pheasants you’ll want #4 steel. Keep in mind you typically go down a choke size when using steel. If it’s a modified fixed choke, you can shoot steel but it’s pretty tight.

I’d look for bismuth or tungsten if it were me. With those just use the same size shot you would with lead. 5-6 for pheasants and 6-8 for quail.
 

MTLabrador

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I use 3-4 steel for pheasants, sometimes 2s if that’s what I have. I agree that Bismuth would be better, pheasants are pretty tough birds. I just picked up some Boss bismuth, they are getting more things in stock.
 

MNElkNut

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I use #2s in steel. Typically Black Cloud or Blindside. They work very well.

#8s are too light for pheasants in my experience. I use #5s.
 

Mthuntr

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I tend to use #5 for pheasants and grouse and 6 or 7-1/2 for smaller birds and rabbits. #8s are for doves and targets.
Steel for upland birds I use #3s because that's what I have for ducks but #4s work well too. Use those for jump shooting or decoying ducks.
I've never used Bismuth but I'd go same sized shot as you would for lead.

As mentioned choke will be the rule on some of this. If you have a full or a tight modified then you're looking at Bismuth or similar like ITX or NICE (I don't even know if this is still made). The major issue is cost. You're going to spend twice the cost on Bismuth as you would steel, if you can find it. At that rate, you may benefit from a purchase of a new shotgun if you get serious about shotgun hunting.
 
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D4570

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Any shotgun made after about 1980 you can use steel or anything with any choke rated for steel. I use full to extra full all the time there rated for steel up to BB at 1500 fps.
That said
Steel sucks.
If you used to use #5 lead I go to # 2 steel.
Bismuth is closer to lead so a #4 would be perfect.
But it cost more, use the chock you would normally use.
Tungsten ( heave shot) Costs close to $3 a shot or more.
I have never shot upland with it but people claim you can use #7 for most anything it is WAY heavier than lead. There again use any choke that is rated for tungsten at the speed it's rated for.
I did not see why you're wanting to replace the lead?
 

fleabagmatt

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Some google searching gives me the following info:

1981 BPS Hunter Field Model 30
There is a single asterisk stamped on the barrel, I think indicating the non-replaceable choke is a full choke.
 

fleabagmatt

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I did not see why you're wanting to replace the lead?
There are lots of places here that do not allow lead shot to be used and I'd like to try hunting those spots.

The choke is not replaceable on this gun, so I am stuck with what I have, I believe it is a full choke.
 

OntarioHunter

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There are lots of places here that do not allow lead shot to be used and I'd like to try hunting those spots.

The choke is not replaceable on this gun, so I am stuck with what I have, I believe it is a full choke.
One * = full choke. Don't shoot steel through a Browning fixed full barrel. They can't take it. Browning scrimped on barrel metal to keep weight down. I shot 3" heavy steel goose loads through my 1968 Wingmaster 870 fixed full for several decades with no damage but those barrels were tough. It doesn't give a great pattern. I would strongly suggest having a gunsmith ream that barrel out to modified and stamp it with **. Full choke is pretty much useless for anything but trap shooting and turkey hunting. Modified barrel with steel shot would give a full choke pattern and steel should kill a turkey just fine with head shot at reasonable range. Or you could have Brileys put choke tubes in it. Last I knew they charged $150 + $50/tube.
 
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OntarioHunter

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I have killed pheasants with #6 steel but #4 is better (and easier to find). #2 is usually more available and tears the birds up some but I'll use it if that's all there is. On occasion I have seen #3 on the shelf and wouldn't hesitate to use it.
 

texwest44

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I'll tell you right now that I do not approve of 7 and 7.5 steel shot for grouse hunting. Bad patterning, very weak hits. This goes for every brand I've tried (Federal, Winchester, Kent, etc) Two shots minimum per bird at 20 and 30 yard flushes all of last season, it was absolutely insane. Had to chase down and finish off a couple mano a mano. Using a 20ga mod choke.
 

fleabagmatt

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E WA
Two days after the end of upland season a local spot managed to get some non-toxic shot on the shelf. Perfect timing!

So now I have a box of this for next year:
EM-HEVIBISUP122_1.jpg


The quote on the box really should read: "I didn't pay this much to miss!" I certainly won't be using it unless I am required. I'd like to pick up a box of something more appropriate for quail at some point as well.
 

OntarioHunter

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Two days after the end of upland season a local spot managed to get some non-toxic shot on the shelf. Perfect timing!

So now I have a box of this for next year:
EM-HEVIBISUP122_1.jpg


The quote on the box really should read: "I didn't pay this much to miss!" I certainly won't be using it unless I am required. I'd like to pick up a box of something more appropriate for quail at some point as well.
Hard to find #6 and #7 steel but it's out there. I have part of a box of #7 Federal leftover for sharptails but it doesn't work very well. Several years ago in a pinch I picked up a box of #6 low base Remington steel dove load and my those shells killed pheasants! First dozen of the season without a miss. But back then there were lots of birds and fewer hunters so it was easy to get good shots.
 

Ben Lamb

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Bismuth is good. Kent is the least expensive. You can also have that barrel opened up to modified for about $60 or so. Then you can shoot steel.
 

neffa3

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Wenatchee
Two days after the end of upland season a local spot managed to get some non-toxic shot on the shelf. Perfect timing!

So now I have a box of this for next year:
EM-HEVIBISUP122_1.jpg


The quote on the box really should read: "I didn't pay this much to miss!" I certainly won't be using it unless I am required. I'd like to pick up a box of something more appropriate for quail at some point as well.
There's a couple of posts in my thread that might be of interest to you.
winmag with this one I didn't know.
 

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