Antimony - Makes For Better Shot
Antimony is a liquid chemical added to lead to make the lead harder. When shot is fired from a gun, shot with a low amount of antimony will deform the physical shape of each pellet. They will basically flatten out like river rocks, which will distort the flight path. Shot with a high level of antimony will keep its round shape and therefore have a straight and truer flight path. 2% is the lowest amount of antimony used in shot with 6% the highest amount that you can find.
So, how do you find these numbers? It is not easy, usually you will need to contact the manufacture and ask them directly. Some of the more expensive shells will advertise “High Antimony Lead”. Since Antimony is very costly for manufactures, it is fairly safe to say that the 4 pack of shotgun shells that sell for $15.00 at your local high volume retail store have the lowest level of antimony that they can get away with. Do to this reason I would not recommended them for hunting or target shooting. However, the larger the shot size, the less that antimony is a factor. Once you get larger than size 6 shot, antimony does not have much effect on the pellets.
But you already have a huge stash of cheap shells that have low levels of antimony. You can compensate for this by changing your choke tubes. Since low level antimony shells have a less dense pattern, you can drop down to a tighter choke size; this will help to keep more of your shot in the kill zone. As a general rule of thumb, the low level antimony shells are okay for shots up to about 30 yards, beyond that; your pattern is not going to be very dense. Spending a few extra bucks for a quality box of shells will save you a ton of frustration in the field.
As I Mentioned earlier, manufactures don’t display how much antimony is used in a specific load. Pretty much the only way to get this information is to ask the manufacture directly, and in some cases you won’t even get a straight answer. Below I have listed the responses I received from some major ammunition manufactures. I started to put together a chart listing all of the individual loads by each manufacture with their antimony levels, but quickly found out that some of the vague answers left me guessing, mainly Remington’s response.
Fiocchi – Has the information displayed on their website, listing 3% antimony in some loads and listing other loads with “Magnum Lead” which falls in the 3% - 6% range.
Kent - Lists 4% antimony in all of their shots.
Their response - “We don't have anything written down that we can give out. However, our shots have 4% antimony levels.”
Remington – Loads range from 2% antimony up to the highest level of 6% in their STS Target Loads
Their Response - “We don't list the antimony levels for our products but I can give you a range. Levels range from 2% up to 6% based on the product. Lower cost shells fall in the lower 2% range while our target loads run in the higher 6% range. Plated loads typically fall in the 4% range. We hope this helps. Thanks!”
Winchester – Loads range from 3% up to 6% in the AA loads.
Their Response - “Winchester AA's have 6% Antimony, the others have 3%”
Federal and Estate have not responded to my inquiry as of yet.