What should I know about steel ammunition?
Alternative ammunition to that of lead is increasingly gaining in importance but, do we really know it or do we just continue to believe in our old ways?
The alternatives to lead that we currently manufacture at our plant in Iruña de Oca are bismuth, tungsten and steel. In ballistic terms, both bismuth and tungsten perform similarly to lead as they are metals of a similar density, however, steel is the alternative to lead preferred by hunters and shooters because it is the least expensive option. Also, because of its excellent features which have been improved over time, plus the technological advances we have applied to our ammunition, as well as in the manufacture of shotguns.
Nevertheless, what are the facts you should know about steel ammunition ?
According to the CIP, there are two types of steel cartridge : Standard and High Performance. This cataloguing is due to the characteristics of steel which, being a lighter metal than lead requires greater velocities in order to reach the distances gained by lead ammunition.
Standard ammunition is that which, due to the size of the shell, velocity of the cartridge, weight and size of the shot, generates pressure and tension in the firearm which are similar to that of conventional lead cartridges. These loads can be used in any shotgun marked with the standard arms test stamp and with any choke, although the advice from RIO is not to use chokes with a reduction greater than ***, basing this on choke manufacturers’ recommendations.
High Performance ammunition is that which, due to a combination of different factors, i.e. weight, height of the shell, shot size and/or velocity produces higher pressure or tension and therefore requires firearms that are prepared for taking the pressure safely.
Shotguns prepared for High Performance steel cartridges must carry the CIP fleur de Lys stamp.
Within our range of steel cartridges, the high performance type is easily distinguishable by the inscription “MAX 1050 BAR” on its label, which refers to the maximum pressure generated by the cartridge.
How should I use my chokes with steel ammunition?
In ammunition defined as standard, any choke size can be used, according to CIP specifications, whereas with high performance cartridges, there are a series of limitations that must be taken into account:
|Cartridge type||Standard||High Performance||Standard||High Performance|
|Choke||Full||≤0.5 if shot ≥4mm||Full||≤0.5 if shot ≥3.25mm|
|Choke recommended by RIO||≤0.5||≤0.25||≤0.5||≤0.25|