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Review: Small Bore Hevi-Shot Ammo

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September 27, 2011

Review: Small Bore Hevi-Shot Ammo

By Phil Bourjaily

The good news is, if you want better-than-lead non-toxic performance from your small bore, Hevi-Shot now comes in 28 gauge and .410. The bad news is, it will cost you $2-$3 per shell. The further bad news is, no, the price of tungsten-iron loads won't ever come down, because raw tungsten is very scarce and expensive stuff.

Nevertheless, some people love to hunt with little guns and, at decoying duck ranges, a light load of Hevishot 4, 6 or 7 shot is completely adequate. My friend Dave (shown below with his Lab, Jazz) is a smallbore nut, and when we duck hunted together last week I brought him some of the new 28 gauge 6s to shoot out of his SKB.

Hevi-Shot has sold some softer, lighter stuff called Classic Doubles for small bores in the past, but this is real, Original Recipe Hevi-Shot loaded into smaller gauges. The 6 shot pellets I weighed averaged 2 grains apiece, making them heavier than lead 6 shot, which averages around 1.94 grains. That density translates into improved energy and downrange performance, despite the comically mis-shapen nature of Hevi-Shot pellets (in the shell I cut open to inspect there were lots of the usual snowman shaped pellets, plus one jumbo blob that weighed as much as five of the average-size pellets put together).

We had a few chances the other morning, and the ducks Dave shot were impressed with the Hevi-Shot loads. A bluewing teal, which decoyed to 20 yards or so, was hit hard enough that some of the 6 Hevi-Shot shot went all the way through and out the other side.

Obviously expensive ammunition for a marginal waterfowl gun is a niche item, but it’s nice to see that niche filled anyway. The loads come in 28 gauge at 1300 fps in 4 and 6, and ½ ounce loads of 3-inch; .410 in 7 shot at 1250 fps.

Comments (22)

Top Rated
All Comments
from RES1956 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Niche is right. I don't see them making a living off 28 and .410 shells for waterfowl hunters, but it is nice to know that it is available. It may be the answer to a question never asked. I would like to know at the end of the year what the total sales would be, I envision them selling tens of boxes of these line extensions,,,
As far as being an efficient killer, there is no doubt in my mind that a hevi shot #6 @1300fps would kill teal dead as a wedge, even @40 yards.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Phil, I love to shoot doves and upland game with my light little Berreta silver pidgeon 28 ga O/U. This is the answer to a prayer. Now I can hunt ducks. There is not doubt in my mind it will do the job. It folds pheasants with Win. AA no 6's. BTW at $12.00 or more a box they don't exactly give away lead AA's either.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from OutdoorEnvy wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I can only see this if you're dead set on taking a 5 year old duck hunting. Other than that I think this is another deal for those spoiled hunters who look to make it more of a challenge because it's too easy with a 12ga. I've never been that spoiled and need all the help I can get and thus will stick with my 12ga.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Me too outdoor.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Lee Woiteshek wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I'm sold on Hevi Shot. You actually shoot less, and the birds drop stone dead. I don't use it during the early October season, but after that the birds are spooky and Hevi Shot while pricey, pays for itself in spades.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark-1 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Thanks for the Info, Phil. Unfortunately I shoot too poorly to see the price of a six-pack of Yinga-ling with two-shots scattered over the marsh without bringing anything home. :-)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Armchair Mike wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Bring on the minus ones, but is this not more evidence of how steel is not "just as good" if one keeps shots to "reasonable ranges?" I say again that if steel were so great, we wouldn't spend time, money, and ink on the alternatives. If you like steel, shoot it, but don't tell me those grapes are probably sour if you choose steel over the good stuff. Shoot less and save money. Life is too short.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Drew McClure wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I would like to see some Hevi-shot offering for #1 16, AND #3 20 GAUGE BUCKSHOT. After burning 50 bucks in gas who cares if your better ammo is more expensive?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

AJM...Lots, and lots of folks..."Who cares that a 25 box would cost you $75 bucks?!" Please! I would guess that many of the folks I see shooting it on tv shows get it for free, otherwise learn to be a better caller, and bring them in closer.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from wingshooter54 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Phil,
What happened to Bismuth or Bismaxx shotshells? Did they go out of business? I still have 10 boxes of Bismuth 12 ga. duck loads hoarded away. That stuff was amazing. I plan on trying some of the Hevishot Classic Doubles in my old Fox this fall.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Remember here, we are not talking about packing a heavy 12 around upland bird hunting, we are set up duck hunting. I doubt that the shell makers will recoup their investment in small bore heavy shot for those wanting to use their light, small bore, upland guns in the waterfowl blind.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Anhinga wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Before steel shot was mandated for waterfowl, I shot nothing but a 20ga for ducks (not Geese); and everything else that flew. The 20ga was more than adequate for both decoying and 40 - 50 yd pass shooting. I reloaded lead and shot the equivalent of a standard 12ga, 1&1/4 oz load in a 3" 20ga. The variety of shot loads currently available for all gauges is wonderful compared to 20m years ago; and to those that want to use and pay for the pricey alternatives to lead, great also! I find the tungston-iron pellet loads very effective at killing waterfowl, and the price causes me to be a bit more selective in my shots - which is a good thing.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from azduane wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

It will open a market for shooting their small guage shotguns for upland game where non-lead shot is required. So far I haven't been affected by that but it seems more hunting destinations are requiring non-lead shot for hunting upland game.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

No market for me azuane! I can't shoot with that much pressure on me! Like watchin a pro golf tourney, and thinkin how you would do having to make a 5 ft put worth a lot of money. My knees would be knockin having to make the shot. No autoloaders, and bang, bang, bang to make a kill for sure!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from New Age Bubba wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Why not just 'man up' and use a 12 ga? And not to say Hevi-Shot isn't great stuff, but have some respect for the game.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from HogBlog wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Wingshooter, I'm with you on the Bismuth. My old SxS can't handle Hevi-Shot. I'd heard that someone finally picked up the Bismuth patent or somesuch, and was going to start marketing it again. I love that stuff.

As far as sub-gauge guns... I enjoyed hunting waterfowl with my 20ga, and would do it again if I hunted enough to make it worthwhile. And if I did, I'd use Hevi-shot. I was never a fan of the 28 or .410 for ducks, but with Hevi-shot performance, I can see a place for it. But really, I think those #6 loads are going to find a better place with upland and small game hunters in the no-lead zones that are popping up all over the map.

Question though... is it strange that no one has questioned the toxicity of Tungsten? Both the National Park Service and the DoD were trying it out as "green" alternatives, until they found that it contaminated groundwater. Initially touted to be more stable than lead, they found out real quick that it was the opposite. Not to raise a flag for the anti's cause, but doesn't anyone else find this a little fishy?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from philbourjaily wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Wingshooter54 -- Good question on bismuth shot. Someone sent me a few boxes a year or so ago and I have seen nor heard nothing from them since. Their website doesn't seem to be active, either. My favorite old-gun friendly ammo is Kent Tungsten-Matrix which may not be around much longer. Buy it whenever you see it!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 3shotburst wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Are these new shells the answer for shorebirds like snipe and woodcock? More and more, nontoxic shot is being required where they are hunted. I shoot Hevishot in 12 and 10 at all manner of waterfowl and used it on turkey because I think it is more effective.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

IMO, the shell makers are putting out new products in limited quantities to see what the market will bear, and a lot of this stuff will be short lived. Steel is the answer, and the shooter has to compensate with its effective range. It has gotten better and better. Heavy stuff for turkeys, OK...one bang. Mfgers can make a small box, and the demand will be there. But for the best selling autoloaders where you often go bang, bang, bang, $3 a shot isn't going to fly, especially in this economy, and we will be consumer, demand down predicted out to 2020.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Randy S. Breth wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

I think this is a niche product - but more options are always nice.
The 3" 1-1/8-ounce #6 20-gauge load is a decoying duck stomper. I'll pay the price to use one of my other guns for Ducks a couple of times a year. Like I said - more options are a good thing.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

I have made the statemnet many times in defense of using quality ammo for any game that your ammo is always the cheapest part of your hunt. Were I to go to Hevishot for waterfowling, I may have to retract that comment. None the less, it is THE best alternative we have been offered to date.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from brendanfagan wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

Can't wait to take the kid out with the 410 and do some shooting. To bad she's only 10 months.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from OutdoorEnvy wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I can only see this if you're dead set on taking a 5 year old duck hunting. Other than that I think this is another deal for those spoiled hunters who look to make it more of a challenge because it's too easy with a 12ga. I've never been that spoiled and need all the help I can get and thus will stick with my 12ga.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Niche is right. I don't see them making a living off 28 and .410 shells for waterfowl hunters, but it is nice to know that it is available. It may be the answer to a question never asked. I would like to know at the end of the year what the total sales would be, I envision them selling tens of boxes of these line extensions,,,
As far as being an efficient killer, there is no doubt in my mind that a hevi shot #6 @1300fps would kill teal dead as a wedge, even @40 yards.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Me too outdoor.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Lee Woiteshek wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I'm sold on Hevi Shot. You actually shoot less, and the birds drop stone dead. I don't use it during the early October season, but after that the birds are spooky and Hevi Shot while pricey, pays for itself in spades.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Armchair Mike wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Bring on the minus ones, but is this not more evidence of how steel is not "just as good" if one keeps shots to "reasonable ranges?" I say again that if steel were so great, we wouldn't spend time, money, and ink on the alternatives. If you like steel, shoot it, but don't tell me those grapes are probably sour if you choose steel over the good stuff. Shoot less and save money. Life is too short.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

AJM...Lots, and lots of folks..."Who cares that a 25 box would cost you $75 bucks?!" Please! I would guess that many of the folks I see shooting it on tv shows get it for free, otherwise learn to be a better caller, and bring them in closer.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from wingshooter54 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Phil,
What happened to Bismuth or Bismaxx shotshells? Did they go out of business? I still have 10 boxes of Bismuth 12 ga. duck loads hoarded away. That stuff was amazing. I plan on trying some of the Hevishot Classic Doubles in my old Fox this fall.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Phil, I love to shoot doves and upland game with my light little Berreta silver pidgeon 28 ga O/U. This is the answer to a prayer. Now I can hunt ducks. There is not doubt in my mind it will do the job. It folds pheasants with Win. AA no 6's. BTW at $12.00 or more a box they don't exactly give away lead AA's either.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark-1 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Thanks for the Info, Phil. Unfortunately I shoot too poorly to see the price of a six-pack of Yinga-ling with two-shots scattered over the marsh without bringing anything home. :-)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Drew McClure wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I would like to see some Hevi-shot offering for #1 16, AND #3 20 GAUGE BUCKSHOT. After burning 50 bucks in gas who cares if your better ammo is more expensive?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Remember here, we are not talking about packing a heavy 12 around upland bird hunting, we are set up duck hunting. I doubt that the shell makers will recoup their investment in small bore heavy shot for those wanting to use their light, small bore, upland guns in the waterfowl blind.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Anhinga wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Before steel shot was mandated for waterfowl, I shot nothing but a 20ga for ducks (not Geese); and everything else that flew. The 20ga was more than adequate for both decoying and 40 - 50 yd pass shooting. I reloaded lead and shot the equivalent of a standard 12ga, 1&1/4 oz load in a 3" 20ga. The variety of shot loads currently available for all gauges is wonderful compared to 20m years ago; and to those that want to use and pay for the pricey alternatives to lead, great also! I find the tungston-iron pellet loads very effective at killing waterfowl, and the price causes me to be a bit more selective in my shots - which is a good thing.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from azduane wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

It will open a market for shooting their small guage shotguns for upland game where non-lead shot is required. So far I haven't been affected by that but it seems more hunting destinations are requiring non-lead shot for hunting upland game.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

No market for me azuane! I can't shoot with that much pressure on me! Like watchin a pro golf tourney, and thinkin how you would do having to make a 5 ft put worth a lot of money. My knees would be knockin having to make the shot. No autoloaders, and bang, bang, bang to make a kill for sure!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from HogBlog wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Wingshooter, I'm with you on the Bismuth. My old SxS can't handle Hevi-Shot. I'd heard that someone finally picked up the Bismuth patent or somesuch, and was going to start marketing it again. I love that stuff.

As far as sub-gauge guns... I enjoyed hunting waterfowl with my 20ga, and would do it again if I hunted enough to make it worthwhile. And if I did, I'd use Hevi-shot. I was never a fan of the 28 or .410 for ducks, but with Hevi-shot performance, I can see a place for it. But really, I think those #6 loads are going to find a better place with upland and small game hunters in the no-lead zones that are popping up all over the map.

Question though... is it strange that no one has questioned the toxicity of Tungsten? Both the National Park Service and the DoD were trying it out as "green" alternatives, until they found that it contaminated groundwater. Initially touted to be more stable than lead, they found out real quick that it was the opposite. Not to raise a flag for the anti's cause, but doesn't anyone else find this a little fishy?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from philbourjaily wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Wingshooter54 -- Good question on bismuth shot. Someone sent me a few boxes a year or so ago and I have seen nor heard nothing from them since. Their website doesn't seem to be active, either. My favorite old-gun friendly ammo is Kent Tungsten-Matrix which may not be around much longer. Buy it whenever you see it!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 3shotburst wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Are these new shells the answer for shorebirds like snipe and woodcock? More and more, nontoxic shot is being required where they are hunted. I shoot Hevishot in 12 and 10 at all manner of waterfowl and used it on turkey because I think it is more effective.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

IMO, the shell makers are putting out new products in limited quantities to see what the market will bear, and a lot of this stuff will be short lived. Steel is the answer, and the shooter has to compensate with its effective range. It has gotten better and better. Heavy stuff for turkeys, OK...one bang. Mfgers can make a small box, and the demand will be there. But for the best selling autoloaders where you often go bang, bang, bang, $3 a shot isn't going to fly, especially in this economy, and we will be consumer, demand down predicted out to 2020.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Randy S. Breth wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

I think this is a niche product - but more options are always nice.
The 3" 1-1/8-ounce #6 20-gauge load is a decoying duck stomper. I'll pay the price to use one of my other guns for Ducks a couple of times a year. Like I said - more options are a good thing.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

I have made the statemnet many times in defense of using quality ammo for any game that your ammo is always the cheapest part of your hunt. Were I to go to Hevishot for waterfowling, I may have to retract that comment. None the less, it is THE best alternative we have been offered to date.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from brendanfagan wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

Can't wait to take the kid out with the 410 and do some shooting. To bad she's only 10 months.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from New Age Bubba wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Why not just 'man up' and use a 12 ga? And not to say Hevi-Shot isn't great stuff, but have some respect for the game.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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