Review: Rio Royal Eco BlueSteel Shotgun Ammo

Rio Royal Eco BlueSteel Boxes and shells

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.

Rio Royal Eco BlueSteel Ammo Boxes
Rio Royal Eco BlueSteel is a great option for hunting waterfowl.

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 Ammo and Shotgun
Royal Eco BlueSteel has modest recoil and solid accuracy.

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.

Rio Royal Eco BlueSteel Boxes and shells
These shotshells are not only accurate, they also protect the environment.

How Did It Perform?

For this review, I utilized my single barrel, break-open shotgun. The shotgun has a 30-inch barrel with a fixed, improved cylinder choke.

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.

Shotgun Pattern on Paper
Pattern at 25 yards on a 23” x 35” paper target.

Intended Use

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.

Final Thoughts

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!

About the Author:

Alex Cole

Alex is a relatively young firearms enthusiast who’s been shooting consistently for around seven years. Though he is fairly new to the industry, he loves consuming all information related to guns and is constantly trying to enhance his knowledge, understanding and use of firearms. Not a day goes by where he doesn’t do something firearms-related.

Alex tries to visit the range at least a couple of times a month to maintain and improve his shooting skills. He also enjoys disassembling and reassembling firearms to see how they work and to keep them properly cleaned and maintained. He installs most of the upgrades to his firearms himself, taking it as a chance to learn.

Additionally, he is very into buying, selling and trading guns to test different firearms and learn more about them. He is not only interested in modern handguns and rifles, he appreciates the classics for both historical value and real-world use.
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (5)

  1. The high volume shooters are the trap and skeet guys. We also have to contend with environmental issues. I’m surprised this ammo is not offered in both 71/2 and #8 shot sizes…

  2. RIO shogun ammo does not work in my Mossberg International Silver at all. During a sporting clay event recently shot, I had a failure to eject the shell from my shotgun. I was unable to complete the event with my shotgun, as I did not have anything to push the hull out of the chamber.

    This may work in other weapons, but I refuse to purchase or shoot any RIO ammo (and I have several boxes remaining). I my experience, this is inferior, low grade shot shells not worth any use at all.

  3. I like the idea of environmentally safer ammo. I often shoot skeet on my own land but I have concerns about poisoning the birds and the water supply. I would like to try this ammo but I’m not sure where to begin. It would have been helpful if your review included a comparison of price and availability of Eco Blue Steel vs conventional shotgun shells. I googled around a bit and target loads seem hard to find or are incredibly expensive, I saw a box of 25 going for $50 on one site. I’m not sure if that is standard or it’s a price gouge given the current market conditions from the corona virus pandemic.

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