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Lyalvale Hevishot Cartridges
Tom Wylie tests the first Hevishot cartridges to be available commercially in Britain

It feels like an eternity has passed since I brought back my first batch of Hevi shot from the states, a loose bag of shot that cost a fortune.  I thought I was a mug having just paid over $10 a lb for stuff that looked like slag; misshapen with small attached nodules and hardly a uniform sized pellet to be seen. My instinct was this was going to fly and pattern, well, like shit. How wrong I was. 

For 4 seasons now I have loaded this shot loose into my 10, driven on by its effectiveness for it is absolutely stunning when used on geese. I remember the long drive to Birmingham proof house with the first ten loads, all the way I was convinced that they where going to break the barrels with excessive pressure, instead they sailed through at 1300fps and 890bar for a 2oz load. I remember when I first patterned tested them and looked, in awe, at the pock marked half inch steel pattern plate, then immediately look down by guns barrels fearing the worse; the barrels where as smooth as a politicians tongue. But, alas, thought it was excellent and a new non-toxic material available, it was only available to the homeloader.  

Times have marched forever onward and at last Hevishot is available in the UK in the form of commercial cartridges. Well how do they perform, do they live up to expectations? 

But first let’s step back –Let’s reflect on what Hevi Shot is?

Hevi-shot is a dull metallic grey compound metal. It’s a combination of Tungsten, Nickel, and Iron, amalgamated in approximately a 50%, 35% and 15% mix respectively.  Hevi-shot has an average density of 12.0g/cc (grams per centimetre cubed), which is greater than the 11.4g/cc for pure lead, 10.9g/cc for the high antimony premium hunting lead shot and approximately 7.8g/cc for steel shot. This makes Hevi-shot approximately 10% heavier than hunting lead and 52% heavier than steel when compared with a similarly sized premium lead or steel shot pellet.

In sizing Hevi-shot is must be said that a uniform pellet may be hard to find, for in this respect Hevi-shot is definitely an oddball. Hevi-shot pellets where anything but uniformly spherical; to be honest they tend to be all shapes of oval with or without attached smaller nodules. On initial viewing this un-uniformity is a source of ridicule, however this ridicule is short-lived once the ballistics results are viewed.  

Hevi Shot is hard, bloody hard if you excuse the French. This hardness of Hevi Shot is the reason why EnvironMetal, the manufacturers, do not recommend its use in shotguns that are not designed for Steel Shot, and for those that are, it is recommended that you do not use any chokes not designed for steel shot with modified being the maximum recommended restriction. You won’t need more anyway.  For home loaders another important consideration is that the shot must be enclosed in a special wad. This special wad is to ensure that whilst the shot is making its way up the barrel it does not come in contact with the barrel else wise barrel damage may occur. 


Hevi-shot’s pattern is tight, very tight, even when passed through an improved cylinder choke. This increase patterned density enables a 12 bore cartridge containing a load of 36g to be used effectively at 40+ yards against the smaller species of waterfowl. This 40ish yard range is the debateable limit of use of steel shot, as beyond this the pattern has a greater tendency to “flare” hence producing large gaps within the pattern.  

So,  to the result from patterning the Lyalvale cartridges. 

The Test 

Each test was shot through a Semi-Auto Benelli Super Black Eagle (SBE) which has a 28 " barrel, 0.724"  ID bore ( classically under bored). The Gun has a 3.5" chamber. The sole choke used was a Briley X2 in Light modified (3/8) which is of a conical profile.

The weather details are, Wind 0mph, Temp 15’C, Pressure at Doveridge = 1017mB

The loads tested were

A) Lyalvale Hevishot 2.75" No 5 ( measured at 3mm average *) 36 grams ( taking 3 apart confirmed that they where 36 grams and had an average of 210 pellets ) . Measure muzzle at 2.5 (average of 10) 1305fps SD 23
b) Lyalvale Hevishot 3" No 4 ( measured at 3.3mm average *) 40 grams ( taking 3 apart confirmed that they where 40 grams and had an average of 175 pellets ) Measure muzzle at 2.5 (average of 10) 1238fps SD 26

( *measure the median size pellets, it was like quality street they come in all shapes and sizes)

A synopsis of the results are in the 30" circle ( average of 10)

30 yards, Cart A -- 208 (98%) SD 7 , Cart B --161 (92%) Standard deviation 7
40 yards, Cart A -- 185 (87%) SD 11 , Cart B --156 (88%) Standard deviation 6
50 yards, Cart A -- 136 ( 64 %) SD 10 , Cart B -- 96 ( 54 %) Standard deviation 5
60 yards, Cart A -- 75 ( 35 %) SD 4 , Cart B -- 80 ( 45 %) Standard deviation 4  

For Pattern Plate illustrations, CLICK HERE


I would class these as two different loads for two different quarry my own requirements for a clean kill of a goose and large duck load are 80 and 120 appropriately penetrating pellets in a 30” diameter circle, respectively, and at the range I intend to shoot.  

Load A) the 2 ¾ load, achieves the figures for duck and geese to 50 yards, however when working out the energy density, it is debateable if this pellet size has the energy to bring down a goose at 50 yards, it is on the edge, and I mean right on it. 

Load B) the 3” load, because of its pellet size it will quite happily demise a goose at 50 yards, but the pattern at 50 is a bit light for a large duck, and at 60 is again on the edge, the very edge, for geese.  

Hence, in my humble opinion, Load A and B will perform on Geese and Duck to 40 yards, but divide into a goose ( 3 inch cartridge larger pellet) and a duck ( 2 ¾ inch cartridge smaller pellet) load after 40 yards. This is not surprising really, as I am sure that this was Lyalvale’s intention. At 30 yards both will shred the quarry and you will have to be “on form” to hit the bird.           

In summary  

So what is Hevi-shots future in the UK? Even at the current RRP I reckon it will sell, but it will only be used in sparing quantities for the red-letter days or a swatter load to kill a fleeting wounded bird, but wherever and whenever it is used it will needed to be used carefully as it will excel in its ability to put a hole in anything, more so than lead ever could.  One word of caution, this stuff will penetrate well, very well, so bear this in mind when you sit with 200 yards of the next Fowler, especially if he is the one shooting Hevi.

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