#6 Lead Shot Explained

#6 lead shot is pretty much dead center when it comes to weight, number of projectiles, and diameter of your birdshot. This particular shot, as “birdshot” implies, is for birds of various sizes but leans more toward large game birds. Turkey, grouse, chukker, partridge and ducks are going to be your prey here and you won’t find a more versatile shot around. You can easily choose from different shell lengths for added pellets and spread. This shot will give you roughly 35 yards of almost guaranteed killing range on a large turkey and out to about 45 yards on smaller birds when used in a 12 gauge shotgun.


Brass Cartridge CaseAs mentioned, this is primarily a mid-large game bird shot and it functions flawlessly in this aspect. At 35 yards you’ll have between 10-15 inches of kill zone so if fired at the head and neck of a bird, you’ll be taking it home with no problems. At longer range you’re bound to have some runners and if you use dogs, you can really extend that range a bit more if you like that hunting style.

Birds aren’t the only thing #6 lead shot shines with however. Squirrels and rabbits have the right type of hide that #6 offers you the right amount of penetration and range. Larger shot can mangle too much meat while smaller shot can wound or even bounce off a thick skinned hare.  Many hunters also like to use a 20 gauge shotgun when hunting this type of game.

Quite a few hunting areas, especially on public lands, don’t allow lead shot and you’ll get a hefty fine if you’re caught using it. The easy solution is to use #6 steel shot but this will impact your range a bit so close in an extra 5-10 yards when possible or test it out at the range to check the pattern and penetration you’ll get.

Target Shooting

For competitive shooting, you won’t be using this type of ammo for skeet or sporting clays, however, many three gun competitors swear by the mid sized bird shot like #6. For your backyard or local shooting range using a #6 is just fine. It’s a blast to shoot your old cans and bottles with any type of shotgun rounds but try to avoid very thick glass and metal targets or items as they can cause a bit of pellet ricochet.

Overall, the #6 lead shot is a great middle of the road birdshot that you can use for lots of different kinds of hunting. Small mammals, waterfowl and game birds should go down quick and if you find you’ve got too little or too much power, go up or down as needed. Always make sure you spend some time at the range or with proper targets set up somewhere so you can pattern your gun with the round you’re planning to use. This step can save you a ton of grief later on because you’ll know for certain your effective range and what the spread will be at various ranges.