teel and lead are the most common and most affordable shotgun pellet materials. Steel is mandated for all waterfowl hunting and for some other types of hunting and shooting in some places because it’s non-toxic and won’t harm animals that ingest it. Lead is ballistically superior and still allowed for most upland hunting and target shooting. To switch back and forth successfully between the two, you need understand the differences between them. Here are ten things to know about the differences between lead and steel: Shot Size Lead is much denser than steel, at an average of 11.1 grams per cubic centimeter versus 7.86 g/cc for steel. Because steel is so much lighter than lead, you have to choose two or three pellet sizes larger to achieve similar results downrange in terms of energy delivered to the target. Steel 2 or even 1 shot is the equivalent of lead 4s, for example.