Author Topic: Bismuth shot  (Read 10904 times)

northmn

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Bismuth shot
« on: June 01, 2010, 02:48:58 PM »
FYI while browsing Precision Reloadings page I saw that they had Bismuth shot on sale for $136.99 for 3 kilos, 6.6 pounds, which is considerably cheaper than Nice shot at $60 for 2.2 pounds (actually after postage it is $70.  6.6 would likely be very similar in shipping charge.  I have used Bismuth with some success in modern and BP cartridges.  Makes a good lead substitute where needed.  I am still hardly jumping up and down for joy at these prices.

DP

Offline Robby

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Re: Bismuth shot
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2010, 04:52:01 PM »
DP, I have some bismuth I plan on using for geese. I haven't really experimented with it yet, but I did take one pellet and hit it with a hammer, it turned to dust. That got me to wondering if some of the pellets might breakup during ignition, when they all cram together. Maybe I'm over thinking. Have you done any experimenting, or heard anything in this respect. The stuff is so expensive, I really want to think it out, before I start blasting away.
Robby
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northmn

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Re: Bismuth shot
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2010, 05:36:42 PM »
I killed a couple of snow geese with a 3" 1 5/8 load of 4's.  They had landed on my field and I snuck up on them but still shot at at about 40 yards when they got up.  Not a real test but it worked then.  Earlier complaints about Bismuth was that the set back was destroying the bottom pellets in the load.  They were supposed to have fixed that somewhat by adding more tin, and also I noticed for those I cut apart for shot for my 16 hammer gun that the heavy loads were loaded with a cushion wad and a sleeve instead of a plastic cup, which also adds cushioning.  Also some of the earlier stuff I saw was less than round.  I have can of 6's that look pretty good.  I have knocked pheasants silly with the stuff and a few ducks jump shooting.  Its a little lighter than lead such that a 4 Bismuth may weigh in at about a #5 lead and will take up a little more space in a case which does not matter for a ML.  Mostly I shoot steel in my modern guns as I get kind of cantakerous about paying that much for shot, but for 20 bore fowler shooters, I think that Bismuth is about the most reasonable priced alternative where needed.  I have had promising results with steel in my 12 bore fowler.  Mostly its a matter of shooting a little closer.

DP

Offline Ken Prather

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Re: Bismuth shot
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2010, 11:19:56 PM »
another option that I think is cheaper than bismuth (and closer ballistically to lead) is ITX non-toxic shot.

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joelvca

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Re: Bismuth shot
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2010, 09:45:56 AM »
Ken,

Do you, or does anyone here, have experience with ITX?  Much discussion on other boards and B.P.'s warnings about it suggest that it is reasonably ductile but very abrasive, and requires serious bore protection, and is thus unsuitable for traditional loading.  Unfortunately, I have not yet heard from anyone who had actually used it.

Thanks,
Joel
« Last Edit: June 04, 2010, 07:36:06 PM by joelvca »

Daryl

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Re: Bismuth shot
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2010, 02:52:01 PM »
ITX seems to have about 85% the specific gravity of lead.  The .490" round balls have a band, which increases their weight slightly to 88% that of a typical .490" round ball of pure lead.  I suspect without the band, the weight would be around 150gr., which would reduce to specific gravity to 85% of lead.  I suggest bore protection for sure, but - I haven't tried any of their products so cannot know or speak from experience on this.

northmn

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Re: Bismuth shot
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2010, 04:35:33 PM »
I am hearing more and more about using brown shopping bag type paper for bore protection.  One individual uses two wrappers for steel whcih I may try.  If your worried about it use a short starter about the depth of the shot charge and then seat the over powder wad and insert the bore protector, add shot then the over shot was and seat the whole thing.  For ITX one sleeve would probably do it.  Bismuth does not require a bore protector.  As to cost you get 7lbs of ITX for about the same price as 6.6 of Bismuth.  Bismuth used to be sold in 7 pound containers.  For what its worth Bismuth also comes in more shot sizes.  I really don't get all that excited about that except that you can get it in 7's where no-tox is needed for smaller birds.

DP

Offline Acer Saccharum

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Re: Bismuth shot
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2010, 05:59:48 PM »
Can you eat Bismuth OK?  I mean, if it pulverizes on impact with bone, will this be harmful contamination?
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BrownBear

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Re: Bismuth shot
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2010, 06:15:02 PM »
Ah man, so THAT is why all my hair is falling out!   :D  Couldn't have anything to do with genetics and the candle count on my birthday cakes.

Seriously, I've never heard of any concerns about injesting Bismuth and I've used a whole lot of it over the years.  I still have quite a hoard in 12 and 20 gauge to keep some fine old shotguns in operation. 

I'm slowly arranging to get back into muzzleloading waterfowl after many years without, and Bismuth will be my first choice at any cost.  I've been really impressed with performance on everything from quail to honkers in cartridge guns and expect the same from a muzzleloader.  Other non-tox might be as good or at least workable, but it's a "why bother" situation for me.

Offline Ken Prather

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Re: Bismuth shot
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2010, 10:45:46 PM »
I have tried ITX shot in my smoothbore a few times... It shoots fine and patterns nicely. The only warning I was given was that it creates more pressures than lead and so I backed off on the powder 5-10 grains... They also warned me NOT to use it in a choked barrel, but a cylinder bore would be fine.

I am not sure as to the abrasive aspect of it... the engineer who makes it told me personally that he is confident that it will not scratch the bore of a smoothbore...

Ken
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northmn

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Re: Bismuth shot
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2010, 04:37:53 AM »
Can you eat Bismuth OK?  I mean, if it pulverizes on impact with bone, will this be harmful contamination?

Theres this product called Pepto Bismal that has Bismuth in it.  Read that when it was being developed. May help prevent diahrrea.   Some steel shot is coated with zinc to prevent rusting, that would be worse.
I would double check the warnings for ITX as something does not seem right.  With BP I doubt if pressures should increase much.  Choked barrel problems ???

DP

Offline FlintFan

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Re: Bismuth shot
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2010, 04:41:24 AM »
ITX shot contains tungsten.  It is combined with other material to make the pellets softer (or more accurately, they are able to be deformed).  The tungsten in the pellet is very hard and abrasive, and there is a high likely hood they can score any barrel over time without proper protection.  The only truly safe alternative to shooting naked lead shot in a muzzleloader (i.e. no shotcup) is bismuth.  Even Niceshot contains tungsten and iron, both which can easily score your barrel.   If you have a high end gun I would highly recommend not shooting anything but lead or bismuth out of it, it's just not worth risking a fine firearm for the sake of shooting the new "super" shot.  Now if you have a modern shotgun shooting plastic shotcups, that's a whole different story...

Daryl

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Re: Bismuth shot
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2010, 05:48:30 AM »
As far as I know, the primary English makers only warrant or recommend bismuth as a non-toxic shot for their old shotguns, including those with Damascus barrels. Westley Richards, H&H, etc.

The warning about ITX in chokes speaks volumes as to it's propensity for flaring or enlarging muzzles with chokes.

I loaded a .487" ITX ball in a pistol barrel. It turned sideways, rocking on the trip down the tube- that was just loading it, not firing.  The corners in contact with the lands, were peened over, showing the metal will move, however so did the corners of the lands. It was a GM barrel, which is harder than some ML barrels. I've warned the makers of this and they are going to try to reduce the size. The band on the RB's is the problem as corner to corner, it is larger than the bore by some .005".

Due to the speed of discharge, I am concerned - for the rifle barrel, and also for the choke. Of course, their warning about chokes should be adhered to.

joelvca

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Re: Bismuth shot
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2010, 08:16:25 AM »
Even Niceshot contains tungsten and iron, both which can easily score your barrel.
NiceShot is made with tungsten/iron particles suspended in a tin matrix, then finished with a tin coating.  One of my hunting partners and several people on other boards have reported good success with traditional loadings and no sign of bore damage.  I do not have B.P.'s loading data for ITX, but in this article from Guns and Ammo,
http://www.gunsandammo.com/content/retro-waterfowlers-delight?packedargs=pagenum%253D1
is the statement "Because of that abrasiveness, BP ITX loads all call for heavy-duty wads much like you'd use for steel shot to protect your bore from scoring. And as I do with steel shot handloads, I add the extra insurance of a thin mylar wrap to the inside of the shotcup before adding the shot."  In part because of this, I have tended to be cautious about ITX until further information is available.

Regards,
Joel
« Last Edit: June 05, 2010, 08:24:10 AM by joelvca »

roundball

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Re: Bismuth shot
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2010, 02:09:11 PM »
I've done a fair amount of testing with Ecotungsten/Niceshot #6s and #4s, in the bare bore of my .20ga Flintlock, and as advertised the stuff works perfectly...does not score the bore at all...its soft like lead in that regard.

It is also a direct ballistic substitute for lead, so in spite of the higher cost of Niceshot, you can do all your load development with the same size, less expensive lead shot, then run a couple charges of Niceshot down range to satisfy yourself that its printing the same and you're ready to go.
In fact, I tried a few shots with Niceshot #6s as my Turkey load and they made a more dense pattern at 40 yards than my normal magnum lead 6's did.

In my opinion, all waterfowl hunting is expensive but the number of shots taken at ducks & geese isn't like going on a Dove shoot where you might go through a couple boxes of shells in one day...so given that practice can be done with the same size lead pellet, that Niceshot patterns so well, and that Niceshot can be used without a shot cup makes it the ideal choice for me personally.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2010, 02:17:18 PM by roundball »

northmn

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Re: Bismuth shot
« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2010, 04:59:07 PM »
For a muzzle loader Bismuth is enough like lead that there should be no diferences in load development.  Due to its slightly lighter weight it takes more space up in a case, but with a black powder cartridge load I use a litle less wadding.  For fussier modern shotshell loads one may have be more careful.

DP