MAXAM, the parent company of Rio Ammunition, was founded in Spain in 1872 by Alfred Nobel.
Their subsidiary, Rio Ammunition, was developed in 1896 and introduced to US shooters in 2002.
In 2015, they opened a new plant in Marshall, Texas, incorporating state of the art equipment and machinery.
Rio Ammunition produces all the cartridge components, including cases, primers, powder, wad and shot, for their ammunition.
With over 500 million shells produced annually, Rio Ammunition is sold in more than 60 countries to millions of shooters and hunters worldwide.
Rio sponsors competitive shooters that have been in the Olympic Games and have won numerous world shooting championships.
With all of their achievements, Rio Ammunition has also developed the first hydro-soluble wad for hunters and sport shooters worldwide.
What Is Rio Royal Eco BlueSteel?
Royal Eco BlueSteel is Rio’s new, environmentally-friendly line of shotshells developed to lessen the negative environmental impact that traditional ammunition can cause.
The main benefits of the Royal Eco BlueSteel line are environmental.
These shotshells incorporate a zero-plastic, hydro-soluble wad that improves the soil because, as it degrades, it turns into compost and works as fertilizer for the surrounding land.
These wads are 100% biodegradable and reduce the overall impact of the shotshell on the environment.
Having ammunition that actually improves the ecosystem is incredibly valuable for current and future hunters and shooters worldwide.
Here’s how Eduardo Baeza, General Manager of Rio at the time the wad was developed, describes it:
“The hydrosoluble wad is a testament to RIO’s commitment towards innovation. We continuously work to make our shotshells more precise, more reliable and also reduce its impact on the environment. Now we can offer a shotshell with the two elements that are expelled from the shotgun — the shot and wad — having a limited, even positive impact on the environment.”
Rio Royal Eco BlueSteel Specs
Royal Eco BlueSteel is available in 12-Gauge 3” shells with BB, #2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 shot sizes. Rio also has Game Load Eco BlueSteel available in 12-Gauge 2 ¾“ shells with #5, 6 and 7 shot sizes.
The specific ammunition reviewed was the Royal Eco BlueSteel 3” #2 and #4 birdshot shotshells.
The shotshells are comprised of 1 1/8 oz. steel shot with Rio’s biodegradable wad.
This shotgun ammunition is designed specifically for duck (waterfowl) hunting. Rio advertises the “velocity with choke” at 1,450 fps.
How Did It Perform?
I patterned the ammunition at 25 yards on a 23” x 35” paper target (you can extrapolate that data for whatever distance you typically shoot at).
The ammunition shot well, both the #2 and #4 patterned similarly to comparable traditional ammunition from Federal or Winchester.
Reliability was perfect, big surprise for a single-shot firearm…
Though I did have a nice guy at the range fire a few rounds out of his semi-automatic Beretta to further test reliability, and the shells cycled fine without any hang-ups.
Recoil was normal for this type of loading and with proper shotgun handling, it is perfectly manageable.
After examining the firearm after shooting, the ammunition didn’t appear to be any dirtier than other shotshells.
Overall, I couldn’t determine any drawbacks to Rio’s Royal Eco BlueSteel lineup.
This 12-gauge ammunition is great for environmentally-conscious hunters to use out in the field.
The biodegradable wad lessens the negative environmental impact and actually fertilizes the soil.
These shotshells are incredibly accurate, reliable and powerful for their intended use.
They are perfect for hunting waterfowl, one of the longest traditions of shotgun hunting in the US.
Rio’s Royal Eco BlueSteel is an accurate and dependable round that provides a unique, environmentally friendly benefit.
Its ability to biodegrade and protect the environment for future generations is unmatched by competitors, and with its solid performance, there’s no reason to not choose this round.
When we camp, we use the motto: leave the site cleaner than it was when we arrived, let’s apply the same thought process to hunting and shooting.
What’s your favorite shotgun ammunition? What are your thoughts on eco-friendly ammo? Let us know in the comments section!