How Shot Towers Revolutionised Lead Shot Making – History in Short

There is a lot of excitement with clay shooting, which is similar to live pigeon shooting events. A good shot is referred to as a "kill," while a missed one is referred to as a "bird away," even though that practice has been forbidden owing to its barbarian nature. As a result, the ammo used in the shooter has a significant impact on the game. The history of shot towers and how lead shots were created will be covered in great detail in this essay.

How to Make Clay Target Lead Shots?

Shot towers were used primarily for the creation of lead shots. Lead is melted in this process and then discharged from a peak level in the tower via a copper sieve after being exposed to extreme heat. As the liquid lead falls to the bottom, it forms small spherical balls and solidifies. Once the balls have reached a semi-cooled state, they are collected in water-filled drums.

A Quick Overview of shot tower History

William Watts, a British chemist, was the first to develop this method. In 1782, he built the first shot tower in Redcliffe, England, by enlarging his own house. An efficient and cost-effective alternative to the prior process of pouring molten lead slowly into water drums, this approach quickly became widespread.

Duck hunters and clay pigeon shooters alike relied on these lead shots to meet the rising demand. It has now been outlawed by the US government and many other countries since lead poisoning has a devastating effect on waterfowl.

Since then, shot towers have faded away due to the rise of wind towers. A blast of cold air was used to reduce the drop's height drastically, and the T.O. LeRoy Company in New York City patented it in 1848. As a result, no longer were shot towers required. Despite this, the construction of these structures proceeded into the 1880s, & two specimens remain today.

Shooting Towers: How Do They Work?

Shot towers are simple and only require a furnace, iron, copper sieves, and water basins. Models with fans are also possible.

Even while the process of making a lead shot in a shot tower is much more complex, the basic idea is the same: you cool molten lead until it falls to the ground, where it forms flawless spheres.

The lead is heated to a molten state in a furnace at the tower's very top. A copper sieve is placed high in the tower, and molten lead is dripped through it using gravity and surface tension to form spherical balls. The cooling process is completed when the balls are assembled in a water-filled basin that partially solidifies.

Falling from a shot tower, the ball hardens and cools down.

Several shot towers even had fans that blew upward when the balls fell. As a result of the additional drag force, the balls took longer to fall during the updraft. In addition, this fresh airflow reduced the tower's heating, which could have lengthened the cooling duration or decreased convectional cooling. This made it possible to shoot larger-diameter lead shots from a predetermined height.

Shooting Clay Pigeons with a Shotgun

In trap/skeet shooting sports, the appropriate shotgun pellet is crucial and can significantly impact your success. In most cases, a 23/4-inch chamber will hold all 12 gauge ammunition.

A 3-inch chamber duck gun can still be used, but your pattern may suffer. It's up to the individual to decide on the shot's size. A larger pellet is required to break the bird, according to those who favor using a size 8, while those who favor using smaller pellets, such as a 7-12 shot, say more bullets are needed to hit the bird. One thing to keep in mind is that a size 8 is slightly smaller than a size 712.

Shot Towers Remain in Place in the United States

Sparks, Philadelphia, PA: 

Built in 1808, this is the country's first shot tower.

Peters, Kings Mills, OH: 

This tower was used to manufacture ammunition for the Union Army during the American Civil War.

Jackson Ferry, Wytheville, VA: 

It has been claimed that Moses Austin and his brother have been using this tower to shoot drop shots as early as 1800, even though it was built in 1807.

Phoenix, Baltimore, MD: 

At the time of its construction in 1828, this red-brick shot tower was the highest building in the country.

Remington, Bridgeport, CT: 

It has survived numerous flames, including one that raged for a week but now appears to be on the verge of death.

Dubuque, Dubuque, IA: 

The 120-foot-five-inch-tall tower is visible from the Mississippi River's riverwalk. It has recently undergone minor renovations.

Wisconsin Shot Company Shot Tower, Spring Green, WI: 

Helena, the first shot tower built in 1832, was demolished and rebuilt in 1902.


Shot towers have played a significant part in the manufacture of musket pellets and lead shots ammunition. While they were once utilized in warfare, trap/skeet shooters today use them in clay pigeon shooting. Shot towers are still regarded as historical artifacts in America if nothing else. Their manufacturing has gone through various stages and evolved significantly over the years, but shot towers are still considered as historical artifacts in America if nothing else.