Hevi-Shot Classic Doubles Shotshell Test
As mentioned in an introductory article, the Hevi-Shot “Classic Doubles” are the latest from Hevi-Shot, designed to fill the frustrating niche left by the general unavailability of bismuth for solid choked guns, and vintage guns in general when we are compelled to use no-tox shot either for waterfowl or even for upland in some state-run areas.
Hevi-Shot Classic Doubles appears to be very close (in terms of density and resultant pellet count) to Hevi-Shot Duck. The engineers at Hevi-Shot have reported that the Classic Double Shot is approximately 9.7 to 9.8 grams per cc in weight, with the pre-existing Hevi-Shot Duck at a published 9.7 grams / cc. I’d expect pellet counts per ounce to in the same ballpark. Both are lighter than elemental lead, lead showing up as 11.35 g / cc on the periodic table.
My results were a mixed bag of both positive and negative. The good news, of course, is the suitability of these loads for use in older, fixed choke, vintage guns with thin wall barrels. The bad news is, particularly in the case of 20 gauge (available only with 7/8 oz. in 2-3/4 in format and 1 oz. payloads 3 in. shell payloads) is the anemic pellet count is not enough to give me the type of pattern performance at range that I need for the 99% chance of a three pellet hit in the vitals of ducks or pheasants. Due to the lighter shot charge, they do not compare favorably in pellet count with the better 3 in. 20 gauge lead loads tested (Fiocchi 1-1/4 oz. Golden Pheasant, Federal 1-5/16 oz. Mag-Shok, and Winchester 1-1/4 oz. Super Pheasant). That said, for close range work where no-tox is required you might find them adequate for the smaller species of upland birds. I hope that Hevi-Shot can bump up the payload for these shells in the future, and also in their soon to be available 16 gauge offerings.
The Hevi-Shot Classic Doubles in 12 gauge was a different matter. The 3 inch, 1-1/4 oz. #6 shot loads did far better than the 20 gauge loads, good enough to offer some utility. However, it is still anemic based on my testing compared to many other loads. For example, the 1-1/8 ounce, 2-3/4 in. Hevi-Shot Pheasant loads gave far better patterns than the 1-1/4 #6 shot Classic Doubles with the same barrels and constrictions.
Classic Doubles is best described as an available non-toxic solution for vintage “lead only” guns, but it does not approach the better lead loads nor is it anywhere close to the more advanced tungsten alloy loads in pattern quality.
Copyright 2007 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.