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Tungsten super shot – what is it?

Richard Atkins explains

TSS is attracting attention amongst wildfowlers

Q: What is TSS? It seems to be a new type of shot for shotgun cartridges. I am particularly interested to know if it is non-toxic and could provide an option to steel if we lose lead shot? (Read will my shotgun be safe with steel shot cartridges?)

tungsten super shot

Tungsten super shot explained

A: The TSS shot you have heard mention of is tungsten super shot (TSS). This is an emerging form of shot for loading into shotgun cartridges. (Read more on testing non-lead alternatives to steel.)

Being manufactured from the heavy metal tungsten, which is considerably weightier (much higher density) than lead (and even more so than steel), TSS offers some exceptional ballistic possibilities. Yes, TSS is classed as nontoxic, but there are two main issues:

• Tungsten is much harder than lead (and steel) shot.

• Tungsten super shot shot is much more expensive than either lead or steel shot.

Tungsten super shot has great ballistic performance; some shooters who home-load TSS cartridges (there are currently no commercial TSS cartridges available in the UK) are taking ducks at range with TSS shot as small as No 9 shot and geese with TSS No 7 shot. (Read the steel shot cartridges for wildfowling reviewed.).)

However, TSS hardness requires strong full-cup wads, plus an internal Mylar wrap. Any failure in the wad’s protective performance can ruin forcing cones and bores. Being more expensive than lead or steel, TSS will never become a mainstream replacement for either. However, for some specialist applications, such as wildfowling, it is attracting attention.

(Read more on home-loading cartridges here.)

Prices of tungsten super shot

Clay & Game has TSS available in available in 18g/cm3 density. Prices range from £76 for 1kg. The websites advises users to use cylinder or maximum 1/4 choke to avoid choke damage. You can find out more here.