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#6 Lead Shot Ammo: #6 Lead Shot Explained

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#6 Lead Shot#6 lead shot is pretty much dead center when it comes to weight, number of projectiles, and diameter of your bird shot. This particular shot, as “bird shot” 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 – giving you roughly 35 yards of almost guaranteed killing range on a large turkey and about 45 yards on smaller birds when used in a 12 gauge shotgun.


At 35 yards, you’ll have between 10 to 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.

Beyond game birds, squirrels and rabbits have the ideal hide for #6's 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 caught using it. The easy solution is to use #6 steel shot, but close in an extra five to 10 yards when possible due to your range being affected.

Target Shooting

For competitive shooting, many three-gun competitors swear by mid-sized bird shot like #6. And for your backyard or local shooting range, using number 6 shot is just fine. Just remember that while shooting old cans and bottles with shotgun rounds can be fun, try to avoid thick glass and metal targets, as they can cause pellet ricochet.

Overall, the #6 lead shot is a great middle-of-the-road lead birdshot that you can use for different kinds of hunting. Small mammals, waterfowl, and game birds should go down quickly. For those who frequent the range or hunt regularly, purchasing bulk 12 gauge ammo can be a cost-effective way to ensure you're always prepared. If you find yourself with too little or too much power, you can adjust up or down as needed. As always, make sure you spend time at the range or with proper targets to pattern your gun with certain rounds. This step can save you grief later by showcasing your effective range and spread.

Molly Carter
Written by
Molly Carter