When it comes to shotgun shells there are hundreds of options. Most people pick up a 4 or 5 size bird shotshell with lead pellets and hunt with it. Lead has always been a good option for birdshot delivering a good amount of energy downrange. There are environmental and health concerns when using lead shot though. Studies have consistently found that lead pellets which are deposited all over the woods every spring can be detrimental to local waterfowl and fish populations. Having lead pellets in the meat you’re feeding to your family also raises some concerns. The problem is that the common alternative to lead for years has been steel. Steel is just a bad material to make birdshot out of. It has a lower density than lead which means that it loses energy faster and reduces your effective range.
There is another way. Modern shells featuring tungsten offer a much more environmentally friendly option. The main drawback is that tungsten is more expensive than lead and steel—by a lot. One shotgun shell with tungsten pellets can cost up to $10. Yes, you read that right, $10 per shell. The cost makes it a prohibitive choice for any hunting where you will be shooting a lot. Waterfowl and upland bird hunting would get expensive real quick shooting $10 shells. There is, however, one type of hunting that tungsten makes sense for: Turkey. When turkey hunting, you really only need a couple of shells at the most. Also, not only is tungsten environmentally friendly, but It is a lot denser than lead. In fact, one tungsten #7 pellet packs about as much punch as a #4 lead pellet. So instead of shooting a #4 or #5 lead shotshell, you can shoot a #7 or even #9 tungsten shotshell. The #7 shot will hit as hard or harder than the #4 lead. It will also contain a lot more shot in it since the pellets are a smaller size.
So, while paying $10 a shell for ammo this spring may seem crazy, when it comes to tungsten for turkeys, it is well worth it. The tungsten shell contains many more pellets which equals more chances to hit the turkey. Also, because of the increased density, you can reach out further than you could with the lead shell. Shooting a tom at 60 yards is much more feasible when shooting a tungsten shell. I highly recommend picking up a box or two of Federal Tungsten Super Shot (TSS) shells this spring. It is one of the single largest improvements you can easily make to your turkey game.