The way several of your posts were written, anyone not familiar with TSS and Bismuth could very well take away that the two shot types were similar. I added their respective densities as a point of info for the uneducated.
Since most are acquainted with lead shot and it's performance, I'll add that Pb runs roughly 10.5-11 gr/cc, depending on % of antimony.
Similar and not. My gripe with TSS is the commercial loads are stretched too small.
Couple constants here:
1) For purposes of my dialogue, I am referring to waterfowl. Shooting a duck/goose pitching in at 20-30 mph is a little different than shooting a turkey staring at your decoy 40-50 yds out. The ability to put the shot right in the bean speaks volumes. But once again, I think both bismuth and TSS are fantastic in both cases. Both types of hunting take skill. I do both but much more waterfowl. It's just different being able to put the bead on the head of a gobbler vs. trying to lead a duck cupped up pitching in changing directions.
2) This is assuming the proper choke is used.. This is a whole other can of worms. I spent several $100 dollars getting this right. I could go on and on about this for a long time. I can't tell you how many people I've spoke to who "hate bismuth/TSS because it doesn't choke right" only to find they are using a choke designed with wad-studs like Patternmaster. My suggestion to them: Dig out your shotgun box, pull out the factory full, and go from there.
3) I don't hate TSS in fact, I love it. It's just different. It takes longer to pattern out, even more so than bismuth. TSS, based on the ballistics testing we have, carries a lower velocity but (supposedly) more penetration in gel. Bismuth, seems to carry more velocity, slightly less penetration, but is semi-frangible to some extent or at least considered to be so. Patterns out somewhere between steel and TSS. I prefer bismuth for waterfowl, TSS for turkey, and lead for upland. Brandon at Boss has a reason he makes TSS for turkey and bismuth for waterfowl.
4) If you're comparing lead v. bismuth v. TSS. Lead is deformable/malleable, bismuth is semi-frangible, and TSS is neither with properties similar to steel but much denser. Now the whole concept of nickel plated bismuth changes the convo a little but Boss is in the early stages of this process. There's a movement to make the pellets less prematurely frangible, but frangible at the terminal end. Whether you want something that's terminally-frangible is a personal decision.
5) I think a lot of it really comes down to, as I said, the factory TSS ammo being too small. But then again, some people are successful with it. To me shooting a #8-9 pellet for geese is hard to wrap my head around. That here just will not fly. Black ducks, pintails, etc forget it. I'd like to see maybe a #5-#7 for TSS and a #4-#6 in bismuth. You want to shoot greater snows in NJ, DE or MD with a #8-#9 TSS you will be very, very sorely disappointed.
6) People forget displacement is displacement at the end of the day. We aren't talking polymer tipped bullets. These are rudimentary, albeit well researched, pellets. A TSS #8-#9 pellet isn't going to displace a bigger wound channel (to my reading knowledge) than a bismuth #5-#6 pellet. It's just a simple fact. Now the only instance where this could be different: lead. It deforms and is malleable. Then it almost, in a way, could act in an expansionary fashion. But once again, no go for waterfowl in the USA. If you're shooting a turkey in the head with lead, bismuth, or TSS chances are it's going to be pretty dead regardless.
There's a lot of talking points:
- They aren't both the same.
- For most people with the right choke it will be a vast improvement over steel for waterfowl.
- A lot of people aren't willing to pony up and spend the extra money. Where I am, guys (and gals), have to work friggin hard for these birds. Rough bays and sounds, 6' tides, gale winds at times, ice, mud that will kill you, and then the birds still don't work sometimes. The last thing in my mind at that time is "I'm glad I saved $5-$15 a box on my shells!"
For some people, steel just works. I wish I could say I killed all these birds with bismuth shot but that's not the truth. Most were 3.5" Hevi in BB. Which now I realize, even that, was overkill.