#9 Lead Shot Explained

#9 lead shot is the most popular pure skeet shooting round you’re going to find. This shot has the high pellet count and range to take down skeet discs even when launched simultaneously and at a high rate of speed. #9 shot is often used for the Olympics around the world with lead being used almost exclusively even though steel is gaining popularity in some countries.

In some regions, #9 is used as a small bird or squirrel hunting ammo but people tend to have mixed feelings about this. Hand loaders use #9 as a filler for larger pellets such as #7 1/2 shot to increase their ability to take down mid-sized birds or quick little varmints.

Clay Shooting

Brass Cartridge CaseSome people confuse skeet with trap and clay shooting and this is pretty understandable as they share some similarities. The main way to help understand what skeet shooting actually is to visualize these three sports and know their differences.

Sporting clays – This has various stations on a course and at each station, the clays are launched in a specific fashion to emulate animals. There may be a “rabbit” station where they bounce along the ground and a “duck” station where they sail over a body of water, etc.  This can be compared to golfing with a shotgun depending on the course.

Trap – Trap shooting launches the clays away from your position about 10-20 yards in front of you. Competitive shooters use the 16-yard marker. There are normal straight flying traps and the more difficult wobble traps where the clays are thrown at random angles.

Skeet – Skeet is launched from towers on your left and right and sometimes in front of you as well. They tend to go from right to left and left to right only. This is probably the most commonly known type of clay shooting because it’s popular on television and even video games. In the 80s sports bars often had some skeet shooting arcade games.

Olympic Use

This round has been one of the preferred and mandatory shot sizes since the late 1960’s when skeet shooting became a legitimate Olympic sporting event. You can find skeet clubs in most major cities and smaller cities where outdoor sports and firearms based events are popular. It can be very thrilling to unload your #9 shot into clays and is a great way to meet people with similar interests in firearms.

Other Uses

#9 is fairly well developed for breaking discs but since it has so many pellets it makes for a great snake shot or small bird shot. You won’t want to shoot anything larger than maybe a pigeon from 20-yards because it simply won’t have the power to kill and you’ll end up wounding things instead. If your goal is ducks or garden pests, you’ll definitely want to go up to a #6 shot or maybe a #7 steel shot  for those to make sure you take care of them the first time.