#3 Steel Shot Explained

#3 steel shot is the perfect substitution for the regular style ammo for areas where lead is prohibited, you want less penetration or if you’re just not a fan of using lead. #3 buck is quite a versatile load because the extra pellets compared to #2 shot make it a tad easier to hit what you’re aiming at whether it’s a bird in flight, a fast animal running through brush or any unwanted animals on your property. For home defense, the steel option here gives you slightly less penetration than the lead round, making it a little safer than larger ammo types like 00 buck where you may have over-penetration issues.

Hunting Use

Pellet Size ChartLike most shotguns, the range combined with the multiple points of entry can get you the deer or birds you’re hunting a little easier if the area has a large canopy of branches overhead and thick growth around, you’ll get good results. The steel shot allows you to hunt in areas that have restrictions on lead as well like some national forests and protected areas. Today, #3 steel shot is commonly found in duck blinds and with the advances in shotshell technology, these specialty loads for duck hunters are comparable to lead shot.

Large geese and ducks are often one of the primary targets of the #3 shot due to their thickness and size but deer can be taken down just as well. Some states do not allow the use of buckshot for hunting deer, be sure to check your laws before heading afield.  Beyond that, if it is legal, it becomes a personal choice whether or not to hunt deer with a shotgun some feel that buckshot is not as effective as a rifle, while others swear by it.

Home Defense

Like any shotgun ammo the #3 steel shot will definitely put a stop to an intruder in typical confrontation ranges. Across a room, down a hallway and across the yard will all hit their mark as long as you know your weapon and have put in some time at the range patterning and trying targets at a variety of ranges. Steel is a popular option because it is less likely to blow through your neighbor’s home if you live in an apartment or very close housing. This type of ammo won’t stop at the wall though, it’s definitely got some punch.

To get a good idea of the penetration, setting up a few chunks of old drywall to test the limits is a fun and fairly accurate way to get an idea of it. Of course, there are studs and wires in our homes so it’s not 100% accurate.  If you are looking for some great ideas on how to do your own research with drywall, check out The Box O' Truth site.

Overall the #3 steel shot ammo is a good choice for multiple applications and it performs very well in all of them. You can get various loads to suit your specific needs better and this ammo is available for all the popular gauges, with 12 gauge being the most commonly found.