#7 1/2 Lead Shot Explained
#7 ½ lead shot is one of the most easily found shot sizes on the market and is made by a variety of manufacturers and for several different applications. Although is typically sold to dove, quail and pheasant hunters because it really excels at taking down these fast moving birds, squirrels rabbits and other small game can easily be taken with this shot size. It offers a high pellet count leading to a dense pattern, #7 ½ lead shot will give you great stopping power with an optimal range of 35-50 yards.
Lead shot is very regulated in certain states, parks and recreational areas and based on the area it could be a complete ban or a ban only certain weights of lead ammunition. If it’s a weight ban, if you use a smaller shell you might be able to hunt there with no problems without having to switch to steel.
This ammo is commonly called “dove shot”, you’ll be using it mostly for small birds and animals because of its light weight. Doves, grouse, pheasants, ducks with decoys, squirrels and rabbits are perfect for #7 1/2 because it won’t destroy the meat like larger sized pellets or ruin a trophy if that’s your aim. Some hunters even say that inside of 35 yards, this shot size is great for turkey as well, while other hunters speak of its effectivenss on crows. Many hunters find this about as small as they want to go for squirrel and rabbits, as the potential for a quick, clean kill diminishes with smaller shot.
Most shooters agree that lead shot travels faster, farther and penetrates better than steel shot, but it’s all about your personal preference combined with the local regulations where you’re planning to shoot. Some people think that if you’re used to using a certain size lead shot and switch to steel, you should use a shot that’s about two sizes larger. So, if you’re using lead #7 1/2, #6 steel could be a good substitute. This is really a matter of opinion so try the normal steel option before going larger.
Clays and Targets
#7 1/2 shot, #8 shot and similar sizes are perfect for shooting clays and stationary targets at a range or on your own property. The range combined with the spacing of the pellets guarantees a high hit probability at a fair distance so even a small target moving at high speed can be hit most of the time.
#7 1/2 lead shot is powerful enough that you won’t end up with a lot of wounded or lost birds compared to smaller shot or steel so that can save you some hassle if you aren’t using dogs. Nothing is as frustrating as knowing you’ve gotten a good hit only to lose your bird as it has enough left in it to wander away or go down in thick brush and become impossible to find.
Whether you are shooting birds, clays or squirrel, 7 1/2 lead shot is a great all around shot size that will fit most of your shotgunning needs.