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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  CAS TOPICS  |  The Darksider's Den  |  The Dark Arts (Moderator: Lucky Irish Tom)  |  Topic: Shot shell loading 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Shot shell loading  (Read 44375 times)
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« on: June 01, 2006, 11:55:07 am »


First thing first, componants....I've loaded plastic and paper hulls but never brass with black powder. The principle remains the same no matter what type of hull one uses. You have to have a primed hull,  powder, a way to seal the powder off from the rest of the componants, some kind of cushion to protect the shot, and some way to retain all these things inside the hull. The method I use most is the old card & cushion wad system. With this type of loading one measures powder into a primed empty hull, followed by a heavy card wad that is usually called an over powder wad, then a 1/2" cushion wad is added followed by shot, and the whole thing is crimped in a normal manner with a star crimp.
The other most common method is to use modern componants instead of the card and cushion wads. Most folks find the Winchester red wads are pretty good for loading over black powder. Pretty much the same scenerio, load a primed hull with black powder, seat a plastic wad, add shot, and crimp. The plastic wad acts both as a gas seal and a cushion. These will work fine in most guns! However they will leave copious amonts of melted plastic in your bore. No big deal though, at clean up time simply squirt windex down the tubes, let it set for a few minutes, and then push a heavy paper towel or wad of news print down the bore. The plastic will come out in a stringy mess, but it will come out!

Other aspects: I have found that older scatterguns, say pre 1960s, tend to work quite well with the tradtional card & cushion wads system. They have very short forcing cones, which is what these type of wads were designed for originally. Later guns tend to have longer forcing cones and sometimes are even back bored. This type of gun is intended for modern shot shells using plastic wads and they don't usually pattern very good when loaded with the old card & cushion wads. This seems to be because the longer forcing cones allow powder gasses to get into the shot column as it passes through the long forcing cone. Combine that with the lack of chokes in most "coach guns" and you have disasterous patterns. I have found that a combination of technology is the best solution in these guns, using a heavy over powder card wad in combination with a plastic shot cup with the cushion cut off! This keeps the gasses from disrupting the shot charge and also cuts down on the plastic fouling building up in the bore!

Roll crimping: I don't do roll crimps, but they are a very authentic method of loading paper hulls, and can even be done to plastic hulls. This utilizes a thin card wad on top of the shot and the sides of the shell are "rolled" down to secure it.  Orginal roll crimping tools are often seen for sale at gun shows and on e-bay. If you are into that sort of thing go for it! They are cool looking when folks can see ya popping them into the chambers, and they work just as well as any star crimp!

Brass hulls: As previously noted I have never messed with brass hulls. The Cool Factor with them is MAJOR! But the expense has always put me off my stride when it comes to investing in them. I HATE the idea of stepping on one and ruining it during a stage! Nevertheless lots of pards use them, for the cool factor if nothing else. Loading them is not much differnt than loading any other hull, powder, then wads, then shot, topped off with a thin overshot wad glued in the top of the hull. Some pards use authentic watergless to seal the overshot wad, but hot glue seems just about as prevelant as anything, with plain old Elmers white glue near the top of ythe list too.

Loads: The ancient rule of thumb is to load with the same volume of shot as powder. Ergo a measure that throws a given amount of shot such as 1 1/8 oz is the same volume that you want to use to throw your powder charges with. This is not a hard fast rule but is always a good starting point. I've noticed that if I want to make changes it is best to go in the direction of more shot than powder, in order to maintain a good pattern. When I have tried it the other way, more powder than shot, I always end up with really crappy patterns. I can't explain it, but that's the way it works.

Finally: You are going to have to experiment with your loads and gun to find what works best for you. I started loading black powder in an ancient Crescent 12 bore and got fabulous patterns with the old card & cushion wads. This gun was designed for them and its chokes throw thier very best patterns with them. Your gun is different than mine and what works in mine may or may not work for you, particularly in an unchoked gun. But the above information should get you started in the right direction to find happiness with black powder and scattergunz! Wink

Pards, please feel free to add information that you have discovered! This is a topic that needs all the input we can get!
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« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2006, 12:17:41 pm »

Just a word on plastic.

I mixed Claybuster wads with Pyrodex.  They didnít like one another in my Stoeger.  After five stages, my 12 turned into a 20.

Between me Ďn another BP shooter, we tried different solvents without a bit of luck at the end of the day.  Finally got the crap out with Edís Red with a heavy acetone content and a bronze brush.  The barrels ainít been the same since.

Usiní Goex now but I donít mix it with plastic unless I stick a card wad twix the powder Ďn the plastic.  Just ainít no sense in haviní ta scrape plastic out yer barrels.  Wads suitable for BP are just too easy ta come by.  Grits makes a good filler ta get the column height proper for a solid fold crimp.
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« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2006, 01:22:33 pm »

I use Goex FFg, 1/8" card wad, 1/2" fiber wad, shot, overshot card. Sometimes I roll crimp. Sometimes I star crimp. And, sometimes I glue an overshot card in. I found that when ya don't crimp, ya can get more powder and shot in the shell. For instance, my current load for 12ga Magtech brass shells hold 1 3/8oz of shot and FFg Goex.  Grin

For brass shells, some people say ya need ta use one gauge bigger wads ta make a good gas seal. For instance, with 12 ga shells you would use 11 ga wads. I would agree with that if you are using the shells for hunting, but at CAS ranges I have not had a problem moving/knocking down any shotgun targets with the same gauge wads.
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« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2006, 02:26:31 pm »

Problem I've seen with that is the overshot wad comin' undone.

Wanna make it plain I ain't loaded them brass thingys.  I do shoot regular with someone who does (Slim, I still hate ya didn't meet him).  Watched while he worked 'em up in the Mag Tech stuff.  He couldn't keep the 12 ga. overshot wads glued in.  He'd load two, drop the hammer on the right barrel 'n the shot would pour out the left barrel.

Went to 11 ga. o/s/w stuff, made sure the mouth of the shell was clean ah lube before 'e glued 'em in, problem solved.
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« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2006, 04:33:05 am »

Problem I've seen with that is the overshot wad comin' undone.

Wanna make it plain I ain't loaded them brass thingys.  I do shoot regular with someone who does (Slim, I still hate ya didn't meet him).  Watched while he worked 'em up in the Mag Tech stuff.  He couldn't keep the 12 ga. overshot wads glued in.  He'd load two, drop the hammer on the right barrel 'n the shot would pour out the left barrel.

Went to 11 ga. o/s/w stuff, made sure the mouth of the shell was clean ah lube before 'e glued 'em in, problem solved.


Arcey, I have had 11 gauge wad cards do the same thing.......Till I know better I am blaming heat(from the barrel) travel and the glue. I have cut some new cards that are a bit bigger and am going to try them next load session
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« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2006, 06:51:34 am »

I am  the fella who shot many blanks with the brass shot shells Arcey was talking about.  What I have found works with the Magtech shells is #11 over powder (1/8") and pre-lubed cushions (1/2") and then a #10 over shot wad glued in with Elmers white. 

After cleaning and putting in the primer, I pour 75 gns of FF (Goex) manually and put in the overshot wad.  I then manually compress the load with a 7/8" dowel.  Then the pre-lubed cushion goes in.  Because of the oversize of the cushion it leaves bits and pieces so that gets wiped off with a dry cleaning patch.  Next I use 70% rubbing alcohol on a cleanning patch and wipe down the inside of each shell twice.  The second time the patch looks pretty clean.  Then I scoop 1 1/8 oz of #8 shot.  I cap it off with the #10 over shot wad and compress with the dowel again.  Then comes the Elmers white glue.  I run a bead around the edges of the wad and then put a gob on top to completely cover the wad. 

With new shells I found I needed to rough them up with the brass brush to have something for the glue to grab onto.

I have not had a bad shot since I started this ritual.  Some of what I do may be a bit of overkill, but I put out some good smoke and fire and I have not found a knockdown I can not take down 10 -15 yards.  I have not tried to check the pattern on paper but it works at match and looks and sounds great. 

As for the concern with getting shells that get stepped on I have had a couple but I have always been able to reshape by hand enough to get them into the SxS and then they get resized nicely after firing. 
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« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2006, 06:27:26 pm »

I load both Metalic, Steel and Brass, as well as Plastic Hulls, and some Paper Hulls.

1.  Metalic:  I bought a case of Russian 12 Gage copper plated shot shells about 10 years ago.  After experimenting with them over the past few years I ended up pulling out their guts and reloading them with Black Powder, Pyrodex, and 777.  Most of the hulls were restuffed with their original felt fibre cushion wads and a charge of 1 1/8 oz of #7 shot.  The shot was kept in place by the original plastic plug that held the old shot charge in place.

Once the berdan primer was popped, I drilled out the primer pocket with a 15/64th drill bit and seated a Winchester # 209 primer.  Next came a 4.0cc or two 2.5 cc dippers of FFg, Pyrodex RS or FFg 777.  They were followed by Circle Fly Wads and a shot charge as above topped with an 11 Gage over shot card glued in place with Elmer's Glue.  I have also squirted a bead of Blue and Gray revolver grease or Bore Butter over the cushion wad prior to dropping the shot charge on top of it.  This keeps the crud down in the barrel.

The brass hulls are loaded the same way, except that a Large Rifle Primer is used.  The primer Pocket was deepened with a special primer pocket cleaner/reamer and the flash hole opened to 3/32nd inch.

The Plastic Hulls are picked special.  I like to use high brass hulls that had been used for slug rounds.  I prefer the LightField Hybrd Hull, but Winchester and Remington will work as well.  In lieu of those I have also used Breneke hulls with the translucient hulls.  Kind of neat to see all your components through the walls of the hull.  I have to use a MEC collet style sizer to squeeze the brass head down to fit into the chambers of my double barrels.  The standard sizing die on the MEC 600 Jr doesn't allow the brass head to clear the die on the up stroke.  The primer decaping pin doesn't push the hull clear when using the high brass hulls.

Although these are my prefered hulls, I have also used Remington Gun Club and Active Hulls with good results.  On all the Plastic Hulled loads, I find that 4.0cc's of Powder, BP, Pyrodex RS or 777 will work equally well.  Again, Circle Fly 12 Gage components are used and a MEC 600 Jr is used to drop the shot charge and crimp the hulls with a six point fold with all Slug Hulls.  Any hull that originally crimped with an eight point fold requires me to switch crimp starters.  No big deal.

I recently came into a windfall of old Alcan Wads that seem to work well with my old Federal Paper Hulls.  They are loaded as described above with the plastic hulls.  I am looking forward to trying these out ASAP.
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« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2006, 05:55:19 pm »

One thing to add about roll crimps.  If you are using paper hulls, the older hand-cranked crimpers work fine but give mixed results with plastic hulls.  If you want to use plastic hulls, my experience is that the roll crimpers powered by a drill worked better for me.

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« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2006, 10:33:07 am »

I just returned from the NCOWS Nationals in Kentucky.  The match had a lot of shotgun knockdown
targets.  The first day I was using AA hulls with 65 grs. of Pyrodex RS and an ounce of 9 shot.  I had no problem knocking down the targets.  The second day I was running low on the double As so I switched to the brass hulls which were loaded with the same load.  In both cases I was using felt cushion wad, paper over shot and no plastic cup.  I had trouble knocking down the targets with the brass hull loads.  Now I admit I have never patterned this load and will soon.  But the shot was hitting the targets fairly hard but the targets just wouldn't go down.  needless to say since these were must knock down targets I lost a lot of time and I was extremely embarrassed.

Any ideas what the problem might be?  Huh

Will Ketchum


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« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2006, 11:08:03 am »

Did you have shot cups in the AAs, Will?
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« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2006, 11:18:33 am »

What kind of chokes do you have on your scattergun?  I've experienced a problem with knockdowns using the metalic Shotshells when I wasn't using shot cups.  I had been cutting off the cups of 12 gauge claybuster wads but that was a chore I didn't want to start doing on a regular basis.  When I wasn't using shotcups I had to increase my shot charge by an eighth of an ounce to knock over the targets.

I've been experimenting using aluminum foil as a shot cup in the metalic shotshells.  Just wrap a double thick cylinder around a mandrell and glue the edge to the cylinder and fold over one end like you would a roll of dimes and push it up against the cushion wad and fill with your shot load.  Any excess just fold over the top of the shot column and seat an 11 gage overshot card wad over that and glue in place.  Works well for me.
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« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2006, 11:31:58 am »

Here's the difference:

Pyrodex is actually a smokeless powder, designed to work somewhat similar to black powder.  As a smokeless powder, it wants to have a certain amount of pressure to burn efficently.

In an AA hull, with a crimp, it had that pressure.

In the brass hull, the wads are looser, and you just have the overshot wad holding things in.  The Pyrodex couldn't produce enough pressure to burn as well as it should have.

If you chronographed the two different shells, I think you would find a large difference in velocity.

The cure, and I know you don't want to hear this, is to use real black powder. 

In the CBC 12 guage brass shells, I use 90 grains of FFg, a cushion wad dipped, but not soaked in lube, 1 oz of shot, and a 10 guage overshot card, pounded in with a dowel nearly the size of the inside of the brass shell. 

They make a lovely boom, a fine cloud of smoke, knock down anything I have encountered, and get out there fast enough to break clay pigeons.


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« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2006, 12:13:37 pm »

FWIW I found that my old double (cylinder bore choke) patterned very poorly with a square load of BP and shot without a shot cup using Magtech hulls.  Big wide patterns with huge holes.  If you don't want to use a shot cup there are a couple of ways to tighten the pattern.  1) Use a larger shot size or 2) use 1/3 more shot than powder. Either will tighten the pattern somewhat but doing both tightens the pattern the most.  If you want or need a really tight pattern a shot cup is probably needed.

I now only use the Magtechs in my 1887 Winchester and use AAs in my SxS.  I found that the SxS chambers experienced extensive fouling that made extraction difficult after 4 to 6 rounds with the brass hulls.  I aslo load with a shot cup over the fiber wads and use a Universal shot cup that a pard gave me.  They are a 2 part wad column so I just discard the base.  Soon I will have to find a source for these wads.
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« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2006, 12:15:11 pm »

Thanks for the replies.  Arcey, didn't use a cup in either.  Heck I don't even know how to use one Huh

Rob, I am using Pyrodex because I was given 4 pounds.  Thought I might as well use it up in the shotguns.  They have a very satisfying BOOM and I did compress the powder before I put the over powder wad in.

Grapeshot, I am using a TTN shotgun.  I believe they have cylinder bore or IC chokes.  Thing is I have never failed to knock down the targets at my home range even with the brass hulls.

Will Ketchum
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« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2006, 12:17:07 pm »

Oh I agree with you Griz.  The wads need to be TIGHT, and at least 100 pounds of pressure to seat the wads on top of the powder so it will compress the powder somewhat.  Then, everything else being equal, you'll get a big bang with plenty of punch.
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« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2006, 12:39:35 pm »

I'm going to chime in here also, what Griz says sounds like most likely the problem, but "Will pattern that durn thing, not pattering a shotgun is like trying to shoot a rifle that ain't sighted in, a mistake made by almost all bird hunters and even trap shooters."
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« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2006, 01:12:10 pm »

I have had some decent luck with using powder, a nitro over powder card then AA wads in Magtechs.  I think the over powder card heips give a better seal than the AA wad alone.
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« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2006, 01:52:43 pm »

I have had some decent luck with using powder, a nitro over powder card then AA wads in Magtechs.  I think the over powder card heips give a better seal than the AA wad alone.

So what size AA wad to you use?

Will Ketchum
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« Reply #18 on: June 23, 2006, 02:15:11 pm »

What I usually do is to shoot at a gallon mile jug at about 15 to 20 yards.  If it hits it good and solid I figure it's good to go.  Guess I'll have to rethink that. Sad

I am going to our cabin this weekend and I'll pattern it then.  Any suggestions as to the distance?  Certainly not the standard 40 yards Huh

Will Ketchum
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« Reply #19 on: June 23, 2006, 03:03:11 pm »

I always pattern a shotgun at the distance it will be used.  My little 28 gauge skeet gun has been patterned at from 10 to 40 yards, the distance it will be used in the field.  By doing that I know with my 7/8's oz of very hard #7's it will kill pheasant out to close to forty yards, but the pattern is to thin for quail at much more than 30.  And maybe 20 on doves.  By going to #8's I can extend the range it's used on quail and dove, but the penatration is less than desired on pheasants at any distance.  I use this as an example because I've done so much work with this gun in the almost 30 years I've used it.

What I strive for is a pattern that is even as much as possible from the center to the edge.  A tight center does you little good if you are off a bit and catch the target with a ragged edge. 

I mention this because you may not like what I sugest you also do.  Put it on the bags and see if it really shoots where it looks, this is not an uncommon problem with double guns or sometimes even single barrel guns.  This should be done esp if you have screw in chokes, they are often not threaded straight.  One should also do this with each choke tube.

I used to work part time at a friends gunshop that specialized in shotguns.  Both guys who ran it took me under their wing and taught me a lot about shotguns and chocks, loads and such when I started reloding in 1979.  There are lots of little tricks one can do to change the pattern, they will work with both nitro and black loads.  If you don't like what you find patterning it, let me know what is wrong and I'll pass on what I know to improve it. 

Since I learned to make my loads work for me, I've seldom felt under gunned with that little gun, that skeet barrel is right there in between cylinder and improved cylinder in choke.  I only use the modified barrel on doves and pass shooting. 

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« Reply #20 on: June 24, 2006, 07:33:33 am »

Mr. Ketchum,

I figure your load must have blown a hole down the centerof your pattern....those KDs where some of the easiest to put-down (& reset) as I've encountered.

I suggest increasing the shot to 1 1/8 oz, using the same amount of powder. This will increase the resistance upon ignition (better pressure / velocity) fill-out your pattern & put more goodness downrange. To pattern, how about some cardboard cut to approximate the size of typical KD targets and place at 15-25 yds.

I don't believe you "missed" the target by not aiming correctly, but I'll share for the benefit of pards reading along & might need some additional tips:

You also may want to find the POI of your shotgun vs. your aim. Do this with a larger piece of cardboard or sheet of paper. Make a center mark on the target stand 10 yds back & fire standard commercial birdshot loads. The wad will hit the target & make a hole (repeat for the other barrel....this is the POI for each barrel. Try this several times to see if it is the repeatable & on-target. This is similar to finding out whether your rifle/pistol are "zeroed"...Consistently shouldering the shotgun, head placement, etc are key to shotgun shooting as your dominant eye is the rear sight.

I know your not a big fan of the shotgun, bit shooting it will help your score.

Slim
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« Reply #21 on: June 26, 2006, 07:48:51 am »

Here's a trick I learned from hard hitting duck and phesant loads.  I took apart some of the shells just to see why they patterned so tight.  What I found is that the shot was buffered.  So, I tried some of that same buffer, Ballistic Products has it, and my patterns really got religeon.

Since I roll crimp all my bp shotshell ammo I can write on the over shot card.  I simply put a "B" on the buffered ones.  From my lil 20ga, they're a death ray out to 40 yards.  Last weekend at Hang um High I consistantly took down knockdowns that many others had trouble with.  I was shootn' a lil 20ga and others were shootn' 12 ga.

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« Reply #22 on: June 26, 2006, 09:36:38 am »

Buffering is a wonderful thing, it dates to at least the middle 19th century, of course they used ground bone meal instead of that plastic sawdust we use today.  One caution, it does raise pressures a bit so use caution when working with this and Nitro loads, never bed a load that is close to maxiumum pressure. 

Another item I picked up that helps patterens is to take a bit of 220 grit wet and dry sand paper and right at the end of the muzzle put this in and turn it enough to put a few spirals at the end of the muzzle, but not enough to remove any metat.  The wads will hit this and slow down a fraction, this keeps the wad from hitting the back of the shot string.  The shot flies truer because of this.

Shot with higher antiomony will also help, the best shot one can buy is the high antimony shot that is nickel plated, this comes from Italy and can be bought through Ballistic Products.  It is a bit expensive for CAS?WAS but is worth every penny in the hunting fields.

One other note, the high antimony shot will also have more of a chance to bounce off of steel targets.
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Always get the water for the coffee upstream from the herd.

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« Reply #23 on: June 26, 2006, 09:42:22 am »

Almost forgot, Will are you using the same wad in the brass shells as the plastic ones?  If so the larger id brass shell might not be sealing as well as gas may be leaking past the was and disrupting the shot column a bit.
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Always get the water for the coffee upstream from the herd.

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The time has passed so quick, the years all run together now.
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« Reply #24 on: June 26, 2006, 01:31:35 pm »

Sunwapta Haze ........


Quote
Use a larger shot size or 2) use 1/3 more shot than powder. Either will tighten the pattern somewhat but doing both tightens the pattern the most

I could not agree more my little ol 16g (Sarah to her friends Wink), wuz givin my terrible patterns till I added more shot and that cured my little prob!!

Paladin (What lurvs his scatterguns Grin) UK
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