Author Topic: Shot shell loading  (Read 57897 times)

Offline Sir Charles deMouton-Black

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Re: Shot shell loading
« Reply #75 on: November 27, 2013, 07:42:04 pm »
I find that most of the R-P shells seem to accept the same loads.  STS, GunClub, Peters blue field hulls and the prizes are the gold NITRO hulls that look awfully like brassers.  8)

And all of them seem to slip out of the breach with a quick jerk where most others seem stickier. 8)

AND they LAST 8) 8)
NCOWS #1154, SCORRS, STORM, BROW, 1860 Henry, Dirty Rat 502, CHINOOK COUNTRY
Those who are no longer ignorant of History may relive it,
without the Blood, Sweat, and Tears.
With apologies to George Santayana & W. S. Churchill

"As Mark Twain once put it, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”

Offline Grapeshot

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Re: Shot shell loading
« Reply #76 on: April 30, 2014, 06:44:47 pm »
Russian 12 Gauge Steel Shotgun Hulls, How to Modify Them for Use in the Reproduction Winchester 1887 Lever Action Shotguns or the Reproduction Winchester M1897 Pump Shotguns. 
By:  William C. Oxx

The Model 1887 was the first truly successful repeating shotgun. Its lever-action design was chosen at the behest of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, best known at the time as manufacturers of lever-action firearms such as the Winchester model 1873. Designer John Browning suggested that a pump-action would be much more appropriate for a repeating shotgun, but Winchester management's position was that, at the time, the company was known as a "lever-action firearm company", and felt that their new shotgun must also be a lever-action for reasons of brand recognition. Browning responded by designing a breech-loading, rolling block lever-action.
Shotgun shells at the time used black powder as a propellant, and so the Model 1887 shotgun was designed and chambered for less powerful black powder shotgun shells. Both 10 and 12-gauge models were offered in the Model 1887. It was soon realized that the action on the M1887 was not strong enough to handle early smokeless powder shotgun shells, and so a redesign resulted in the stronger Winchester Model 1901, 10-gauge only, to handle the advent of the more powerful smokeless powder. No 12-gauge chambering was offered, as Winchester did not want the Model 1901 to compete with their successful 12-gauge Model 1897 pump-action shotgun. Other distinguishing characteristics of the Model 1901 are:
•   a two piece lever
•   the Winchester trademark stamp was moved to the upper tang, behind the hammer
•   serial numbers between 64,856 and 79,455
Although a technically sound gun design, the market for lever-action shotguns waned considerably, as John Browning had predicted, after the introduction of the Winchester 1897 and other contemporary pump-action shotguns. Model 1887 production totaled 64,855 units between 1887 and 1901. Between 1901 and 1920, an additional 14,600 Model 1901 shotguns were manufactured before the Model 1887/1901 product line was discontinued. Serial numbers for the Model 1901 started where the serial numbers of the Model 1887 left off at 64,856 and ran through number 79,455. Thus, only 14,600 Model 1901s were produced indicating the declining demand for the lever action shotgun.
Over the years, a number of gun companies tried to produce Model 1887/1901 shotguns that could chamber modern, smokeless shotgun shells—largely for the cowboy action shooting discipline—but with little commercial success. Recently however, three firearm companies have successfully produced viable models for the commercial firearms market:
•   ADI Limited of Australia, produced a small trial run of modern Model 1887/1901 shotguns, chambered for modern smokeless 12-gauge shot gun shells. This was ostensibly to exploit a loophole in newer tighter gun laws in Australia which prohibited semi-automatic rifles and shotguns and pump action shotguns, amongst others, but still allowed bolt-action and lever-action rifles and shotguns. Commercial production on this firearm by ADI was anticipated for 2007, following several years of delays due to distribution issues, but this has not yet happened.
•   Chinese arms manufacturer Norinco currently produces the Model 1887 shotgun chambered for modern smokeless 12-gauge shells, a version of which (featuring a 20" barrel) is manufactured for the American firearms firm Interstate Arms Corporation (IAC) and exported for sale in the United States, Canada, and Australia. As the only legal repeating shotgun (besides Mossberg bolt-action shotguns) for non-Primary Producer firearms owners in Australia, it has proven very popular with hunters and sporting shooters alike. U.S. and Canadian sales, however, have been largely focused on cowboy action shooting participants, owing to the ready availability of affordable pump-action and semi-automatic shotguns in most parts of the U.S. and Canada.
•   The Italian firm Chiappa Firearms manufactures modern reproductions of the Winchester Model 1887 series shotguns. The shotguns appeared on the Australian and the European firearms markets in late 2008

Ever a get a line on a deal that was too good to pass up?  Yeah, me to, mine was back in the mid 1990’s.  I was working at Gunpowder Indoor Range, in Bel Air, MD and was perusing one of our trade flyers from Century Arms and found a deal on a case of Russian Bi-Metal 12 Gauge Shotgun Shells.
My co-worker and I bought a case and split it up.  The shells worked great in my Rossi side-by-side, but wouldn’t function in his Mossberg pump.  The nomenclature indicated that they were 2.75 inches shells and they did fit in both my Rossi’s three inch chambers and my 2.75 inch chambers of my Baikel SxS.  They did have a serious drawback.  Sometimes the primers were duds.  These I would disassemble and put aside.
I used my metal hulls competing in Cowboy Action Shooting and collected lots of style points but they weren’t reloadable being Berdan primed, so I found the right size drill bit, fifteen-sixty fourths of an inch, and drilled out the old Berdan Primers, counter sunk the hole to insure that the # 209 shotgun primer would fit flush and reloaded several to see how they’d work.
I wasn’t impressed with the performance of my reloaded metal hulls.  I did use Circle Fly wads and was able to snag a five gallon bucket of Alcan 12 gauge fiber wads, but I lost interest and put both the empties and loaded rounds in storage in my reloading shed.
Fast forward to 2000.  I had decided to switch my shooting discipline from Traditional to Frontier Cartridge.  I bought an 1866 “Yellowboy” from one of my shooting partners who had upgraded to a ’73, and started to reload my .45 Colt, .44WCF cartridges and Plastic 12 gauge hulls with Black Powder, Pyrodex, or 777 and more recently with Goex Pinnacle.
Then I remembered my stash of Russian shells.  I disassembled all the Russian shells and separated the shot, wadding, and smokeless powder into separate containers.  I was surprised to see the powder was a square flake and a pale green in color.
The shells that still had live primers I charged with 4.3cc’s of Pyrodex and reinstalled the heavy felt wads and replaced the #5 shot with 1.5 ounces of #7.5 shot.  The Russians used a plastic cup that fit tight in the mouth of the hull that held the shot in place.  I used those until I found about using white glue or Duco Cement to hold the over shot wad firmly in the hull.
Typical Black Powder clean-up procedures work well with these cases, but the copper plating does darken up very fast and green corrosion sometimes formed around the hull and had to be cleaned off before you could load or shoot them.  I did try to shoot a few that had this verdigris around the case mouth and had to resort to using a cleaning rod to punch them out of the chambers of my double barreled shotgun.  So from that point on I coated the hulls with Brasso, let them dry and threw them into my tumbler.  They came out nice and shiny.
Out of all of this, I found that any #209 shot shell primer works with Black Powder or the subs.
So what does all this have to do with modifying these Russian hulls for use in repeaters?  Well you had to get the background so you can see how much work I went thru to bring this information to my fellow shooters.
I’ve had a lot of time on my hands since I returned from Iraq and started hunting for a job, so as I was getting ready for the next Cowboy Shoot I thought I’d see what I could do with this stash of metal hulls because I wanted to use them in my IAC Lever Action 1887 12 gauge Shotgun..

In this photo you can see the original length of 2.75 inches of the Russian hulls and the tarnish that covers them.  On the right are the modified hulls that were shortened to 60mm and cleaned up with Brasso.  Above the hulls are the rings that were cut from the front of long hulls.  I used a tube cutter which causes a slightly crimped look to the mouth of the shortened hulls.  The next time I start shortening any more hulls, I plan to get a small chop saw from Harbor Freight. 
Once I had 25 hulls shortened, I tried to see how well they fed thru my 1887 lever action shotgun.  All but eight chambered.  I attributed this to old hulls that were fired using smokeless powder and the pressure expanded the hulls so they only fit in my double barreled SG.  I had to go through my stash and find eight that would chamber freely in my 1887.
Once I had all the hulls shortened, polished, and ready to be reloaded, I retreated to my reloading shed.  I did not have the disposable funds to get the Chop Saw, so I bought an eighteen inch length of three-quarter inch PVC tubing and measured and cut a 60mm length off of it to act as a case length gage and used a hack saw to score a ring around the circumference of the hull and then used the pipe cutter to shorten the hull to the proper length. Once I had my old Lee Loader, pin block and wooden mallet out I proceeded to punch out the old primers.  Once that was done I began re-priming using Fiocchi 209 primers.  Again, the Lee Loader and some antique reloading tools I picked up some years ago came in handy.

The antique tools seen here are great for reloading brass hulls, but they did not work all that well with the Russian Steel hulls.  I was real leery using the priming tool with the 209 primers, so I went with the Lee Loader’s priming tool/wad seater and the wooden mallet.
Once the primers were seated in the hulls, I used a Lee 4.0cc dipper to charge the hull with Goex Pinnacle 3Fg.  I then seated a Circle Fly 11 gauge .125 inch over powder wad and applied pressure to compress the powder.  I then seated a Circle Fly one half inch thick, 11 gauge fiber wad.
I then seated the shot cup I cut off from a smokeless12 gauge Federal wad.  I then added a one and one-eighth ounce charge of #7.5 shot dropped from the dipper included in the Lee Loader Kit.  After the shot was dumped into the hull I used a Circle Fly 10 gauge over shot card wad to secure the shot in the hull and put a bead of white glue around the inner perimeter of the hull to seal and secure the card in place.

I normally use either Federal paper hulls, or any of the various plastic hulls I pick up at the matches I go to for my Black Powder shot shell loadings.  I wanted to try something else and since I did not have any brass hulls I decided to experiment with the old Russian hulls I had.  I can see a sizing die in my future to bring these hulls down to the correct diameter and circumference so they will feed easy in my particular shotgun.
I do have a MEC collet sizer, but it does not size the full length of the case so I haven’t been able to get more of these hulls to chamber in the 1887 SG.  I’m known to do things the hard way, but I don’t look at it like that.  I see a problem that needs a solution.  A quick call to CH 4D Tool and Die and I had a 12 Gauge sizing die in a few days.
Again I retreated to the reloading shed and, with a little effort, I removed the screw in bushing from my RCBS Rock Chucker and installed the 12 Gauge Sizing Die and an RCBS 12 Gauge shell holder in the press and ram.  I removed the de-capping stem from the die body as it wouldn’t remove the No. 209 primers from the hulls.

After coating the hulls with RCBS’s case sizing lubricant I ran them up into the sizing die.  Some were hard to push up into the die and some weren’t, but after a trip through the die then just dropped into the chamber of my 1887 shotgun.  But not all of them would allow the breach block to fully close.  It seems that the rims are not uniform in thickness on these hulls.  So I had to take a needle file and take metal off the forward edge of the rim until the hull allowed the breach block to close completely.  This would have been easy if I had a small hobby lathe, but it was time consuming having to file a bit, check the fit, and file some more until it fit, and was able to chamber, locking the breach, and eject using the lever and extractors……..  This is so much fun.

(I noticed some closing problems with my Double Barrel but chalked that up to the hulls needed to be resized.)  This project was becoming a real chore.  I can only offer this conjecture; the Russians make their shotguns with sloppy specs to match their ammunition’s sloppy specs. 
Listen!  Do you hear that?  The roar of Cannons and the screams of the dying.  Ahh!  Music to my ears.


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