Kent Tungsten-Matrix Shot Shells: No-Tox, No Barrel Damage
The tested shotshells were Kent Cartridge Tungsten Matrix loads in 20 and 12 gauges. The test guns were a Beretta Urika 2 Gold 12 gauge and a Browning Silver Hunter 20 gauge. The Beretta used a 28 inch barrel for the patterning work, while the Browning has a 26 inch barrel.
The Kent TM 12 gauge load is 1-3/8 oz. of #5 tungsten-matrix shot in a 2-3/4 in. unfolded length hull at 1375 fps. The Kent TM 20 gauge load is 1-1/8 oz. of #5 tungsten-polymer shot loaded in 3 inch hulls at 1360 fps. Both factory choke tubes and Trulock Precision Hunter tubes were used in each test gun.
There is a very good reason to consider these loads: they are safe to use in older, fixed choke guns and perhaps a bit safer to use in modern shotguns as well. Although improvements in wad design have reduced the initial scratching and scoring attributed to early steel shot loads, it remains either a possibility or just a matter of time depending on who you tend to believe. Regulations require no-tox for waterfowl, but often (as is the case here in Illinois on public land) you’ll need no-tox to hunt pheasants as well. Regardless of the fact that the majority of lead in our environment comes from car batteries, television sets, computer monitors and poor mining / smelting practices, the hunting and shooting sports industry has been singled out (despite the total lack of any evidence that pheasants try to chew on lead shot). We can all hope for a sudden injection of common-sense, but lacking that “No-Tox” is here to stay despite its problems of rust, ricochet and dental damage, as well as its toxic cost.
Kent Tungsten-Matrix is heavier than steel and heavier than bismuth. It is effectively very close to lead at 10.6 g/cc and both patterns and kills like lead, a very good thing.
We noticed that the Kent TM shells don’t mind tighter constriction chokes. In fact, we feel that going at least a half notch to one full notch of constriction tighter than normal (improved modified or full) would give most shooters what they would like to see as “improved modified” performance levels at 40 yards: approximately 65% patterns with good distribution. Our best patterns, with both the Browning 20 gauge and the Beretta 12, were with Trulock Precision Hunter “Full” extended choke tubes that got us into the 75-80% range.
We also further tested the Kent Tungsten Matrix 1-1/4 oz. 16 gauge shells in #5 shot, rated at a peppy 1265 fps out of a Browning A-5 Sweet Sixteen with Invector tubes. Again, we were impressed, the Kent Tungsten Matrix no-tox loads proving to be the equal of any 16 gauge shells on the market.
Congratulations to Kent Cartridge for offering a superior product. Kent calls their tungsten-polymer shot the “one true alternative to lead.” From what we have seen, Kent has got it right. You can bet we will be hunting with some Kent loads this fall; this stuff is too good not to use to achieve “wild pheasant and wild rice under glass.” Dining reports to follow.
Copyright 2008 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.