Ammo: Blindsiding Waterfowl With Hex Steel Shot

Ammo: Blindsiding Waterfowl With Hex Steel Shot

The impressive engineering in Winchester's Hex Steel Shot in Blind Side Shotshells delivers superior results on the hunt.

How Winchester is gleaming the cube:

    • Winchester Blide Side shotshells are filled with coated Hex Steel Shot.
    • Hex refers to the shot's shape — hexahedron.
    • The hexahedron delivers energy to a target quicker due to its flat surfaces.
    • They also pack tighter into a shell allowing more pellets per load.
    • A specially designed wad allows more powder and thus more velocity.
    • The extra velocity makes up for the less aerodynamic shape of the Hex shot.

On a Texas teal hunt, I used Winchester Blind Side No. 5s. Jimmy Wilson, product management specialist for Winchester Ammunition, also brought along some 3½-inchers. A couple other hunters talked about grabbing 3½s, but 3-inchers would be plenty for teal.


Blind Side shotshells caught the attention of hunters because they are filled with coated Hex Steel Shot. The “Hex” is trademarked and refers to the shape of the shot, which is not a hexagon, but a hexahedron. It’s cube shaped with rounded corners — kind of like dice — but the edges are also rounded.

The hexahedron shape delivers energy quicker because the flat surface packs more punch, trauma and wound channel than round shot. It’s like the difference between getting hit with a ball or getting thumped with a brick.

The flat surface delivers the punch on impact, acting immediately like lead pellets do, which can cause the softer lead to deform and flatten. And what if a rounded corner or edge hits first? More penetration. Either way, the teal we shot came down like they’d been hit with a ton — well, 1 3⁄8 ounces — of bricks traveling 1,400 feet per second. (The 3½-inch 6-shot shells fire 1 1⁄8 ounces of shot at 1,675 fps, so I did give up velocity with my choice.)

The cube-shaped shot also packs tighter in the hull than round shot, allowing for more pellets in a shorter shot column. The space saved allows for the unique over-powder wad, which consists of two wads connected by a hinged section. Upon firing, the hinged section of the over-power wad collapses, cushioning acceleration of the shot and essentially reducing peak pressure of the load.

“When ignition occurs, the gases start to expand rapidly; they compress that wad, and it acts like a shock absorber,” Wilson said. “We truly get the reduced pressures, which allow us to bring the pressure back up through higher velocity with the addition of more powder.”

If you’re thinking, There’s no way a cube can fly as well as a ball — you’re right — and Winchester thought of that, too. The additional initial velocity makes up for the less aerodynamic shape of the square, compared to round shot, “making up for the aerodynamic flaw of the square,” he said.

Also helping deliver the payload on target is the Diamond-Cut Wad, from which three diamond-shaped petals flap out from the middle of the wad, causing it to drop back without affecting the flight of the shot column.

Blind Side also incorporates Winchester’s Drylok Super Steel System, comprised of a sealed primer and watertight seal between the wad and hull so moisture cannot get to the powder. and spoil the round. Not that I know anyone who’s ever had to fish a shotshell out of the freezing fall slough water.

Editor's Notes: This article originally appeared in the January 2018 issue Gun Digest the Magazine.


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