There is a lot of rhetoric in the sporting press about non-toxic shot.
And rightly so, as although DEFRA have currently shelved plans for formal testing of wildfowl from game dealers (due to cutbacks no less), they are trying to find an economical way forward to check up on us shooters.
Like it or not, the law is the law and it is up to us to comply with current legislation or risk losing our sport.
Sermon over, so what’s new? Well lots actually.
Gamebore have thrown their hat into the non-toxic ring with a product called Tungsten Matrix Extreme – so how is this different to the now well known Impact Tungsten Matrix (ITM)?
ITM is basically tungsten mixed with a polymer, whereas the new TMX is an alloy of tungsten and iron and the addition of the iron (and therefore the reduction of the pure tungsten content) means the cost is reduced. Which can only be a good thing from our point of view!
“More importantly, as TMX is going to be cheaper, how does it compare with Hevi-Shot?”
This is where it gets interesting, because on paper TMX performs less well. The density of premium lead (high antimony content) is 10.9gm/cm3, Hevi-Shot exceeds this at just shy of 12gm/cm3 and TMX comes in at 10.25gm/cm3, however the iron content makes it hard and therefore it penetrates well.
It is also not quite as malleable as the pure tungsten, but we do have that all important penetration.
The interesting bit about all this, before you all nod off with boredom, is the boys at Gamebore have worked out how to project this stuff at amazing speed – 1400fps to be exact, or so they assure me.
“Compare this with the Hevi-Shot loads at around 1300 fps at best and you begin to understand how the gap is being narrowed.”
Gamebore rushed me the product to test, which was so new the printing on the cartridges was still wet when it was packed. This would explain the slightly tardy appearance of said cases which I received, but it certainly did not affect their performance which was impressive to say the least.
Packaging is sexy, packed as they are in good quality, glossy black boxes and loaded in a gold case with 16mm nickel head, they certainly look the business, but do they do it?
I used them on a day’s game shooting with so much success, I couldn’t tell the difference with lead. I also tried them on clays the following day and was amazed at the ranges I could achieve more than convincing breaks. At the pattern plate, the good news continued with around 90% patterns in the ubiquitous 30 inch circle at 40 yards.
This is comparable with Hevi-Shot and in fact the appearance of the shot is spookily similar, being akin to banded spheres, which we have already determined are more aerodynamic than a true sphere.
“In short, I was chuffed to bits with them. And there is more good news! TMX is available in Gamebore’s patent Fibre Shot Cup, as well as a plastic wad.”
A truly all round, eco friendly cartridge! I tried a 32gm load in both plastic and fibre wad and was amazed to find the latter was lighter in recoil.
This isn’t right, thought I, as fibre wads generally have a little more recoil due to being loaded at a higher pressure. So I rang Gamebore to find out if I was right and they confirmed I was indeed correct due to, they said, the cushioning effect of a fibre driver wad under the actual shot cup itself.
I have another theory, but who am I to argue, the fact is the fibre alternative definitely gives less recoil, not I might add, at the expense of performance.
“So what is the bottom line? There is no doubt Hevi-Shot outperforms everything, but as I have said before, you need to be able to shoot some to extract every ounce (no pun intended) of performance that it offers.”
For us mere mortals, the new TMX has a lot of advantages, not least including cost. For me, these advantages include the increased speed of a non-toxic shot which makes it comparable with Hevi-Shot and the fibre option is a real boon, making it a truly eco-friendly lead alternative.
So what is the cost I hear you say?
Expect to pay £27.50 for 25 of the new TMX in a 32gm plastic wad, compared to £33.50 for the 32gm ITM and £36.50 for Express’s Hevi-Shot in a similar load (comparable quantity cost). The fibre option should cost you £28.50 for a box of 25.
For this reason alone, they must be worth a try in my view, for I was truly impressed.