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Slick
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Posted: December 19 2018 at 12:20am | IP Logged Quote Slick

I’ve been posting on the forum here for a while, and to this point have yet to see any real discussion of reloading shotshells. Is there a specific sub-forum I should post in to address the loading of shotshells? I know there are other forums more specifically oriented towards shotshell loading, but thought I’d like to raise the subject here.

Being a long-time reloader of metallic cartridges, I kind of fell into shotshell reloading because of the high cost of premium shells. Dove loads are the basis for many experimental loads I’ve created. A lot of those custom loads – from wax to birdshot re-cast into a slug perform in the range of shells that are normally rather expensive. Go price a box of discarding sabot slug loads and you’ll know what I mean.

There are also lots of videos on Youtube that detail the many ways that one can reload custom shotshells have some ideas that have grown out of watching videos and testing new concepts. I have some ideas that will likely add an extra shot to the average riot-shotgun, yet still provide reliable functioning and matched lethality of current load offerings.

Another area I’ve found interest in is larger-bore projectile loading. Once I get moved, I’m planning on re-acquiring an FFL with and 07 and 10 as I have some ideas for creating a daytime-visible “flare” that won’t present the fire danger of current signaling offerings. Outside of that, I plan to offer other types of custom reloading services - so long as insurance doesn’t make the effort impossible.

Sorry to ramble here, but I’ve discovered a whole new world other types of munitions to load and experiment with. The upside is that 37mm shells are like handling cans of Redbull and are easy on arthritic hands…    

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richhodg66
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Posted: December 19 2018 at 5:48am | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

We had this thread a while back;

http://forums.handloads.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=36061&PN=4

I currently have stuff for loading 12, 20, 16 and some basic stuff to load brass .410 shells when I get to it.

Unless it's for specialty shells, I don't think it's worth it, but...

I like my 16 gauges. I am mandated to use non-lead shot on the public land I hunt. Won't shoot steel in my old guns and not a lot of other options. I bought ten pounds of bismuth 7 1/2s from a guy getting started in shot making relatively cheap. I plan on making the dove season someday with the old Stevens double and that shot.

I've played with round ball loads in a few 20 and 12 gauge guns, no doubt in my mind I could bring home venison with one if I needed to and one day I will.

I am also toying with heavy 3" and 3 1/2" loads for coyotes. Haven't done much on that one but read so far.

On another forum I am on, there is a shotgun sub forum and it's mostly guys attempting to get the most out of their home cast slugs. I basically came to the conclusion that if you are mandated to use shotguns for deer, every place I've looked at that does allows the use of a muzzle loader as well. A cheap inline is MUCH easier and cheaper to get good deer killing performance out of than any kind of shotgun, so that killed it for me except for the curiosity of using those round balls in smoothbores and that's mainly because I like the versatility of a shotgun. Truth be told, they are the closest to being a "do everything gun" that we have.

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Tom W.
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Posted: December 19 2018 at 10:55am | IP Logged Quote Tom W.

The very first things I handloaded were 20 ga. shotshells
on a MEC 600 in 1970, shortly after moving to Upstate
N.Y. and getting married for the first time. Later when I
moved to Eufaula, Alabama I bought a Lee 12 ga loader, and
used it to kill a lot of squirrels, but mostly it was a
learning curve, with books and a bunch of stuff that the
higher end presses had, but the Lee didn't. I soon traded
it to a friend of mine and just bought a box or two of
shotshells.

Now it's strictly metallic and 99% cast.....that I cast
myself.

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RT58
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Posted: December 19 2018 at 12:40pm | IP Logged Quote RT58

When the price of bagged lead shot skyrocketed a lot of guys stop loading shotshells.

But shotshells have a large payload and can be used for a lot of other things. I used to load my own slugs and buckshot, and some specialty items, until I became disabled. There are, or were, some specialty dealers that offered some unique items, but making a business out of it is hit and miss depending on what people want to buy.
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joed
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Posted: December 19 2018 at 2:39pm | IP Logged Quote joed

Slick, it's good to hear from you!   At one time I was looking at reloading 410
and 12 gauge and posted about it here.   I think the price of shot pushed me
away from it in the end.

All I have left anymore is 12 ga, sold the 410 because of the cost of shooting it.   
I'd love to hear about reloading shot shells though.

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richhodg66
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Posted: December 19 2018 at 4:49pm | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

As luck would have it, I happen to own a couple of .410s. One is an old Iver Johnson in real nice shape they found in my uncle's stuff when he passed, haven't shot it yet. No one remembered him ever owning a shotgun so it's a mystery where it came from.

The other is a little Taurus made on the old "Snake Charmer" patterns that holds a few shells in the stock. I now live on 18 acres and wanted a gun to carry around when I was mowing or walking to the mail box for snakes, varmints etc. Neat little gun and I can sure hit a small, fleeting target with it better than a handgun.

Like you said, .410 shells are pricey. So I found this article by Ed Harris on loading brass shells for it; http://www.grantcunningham.com/2014/07/ed-harris-how-to-make -and-load-all-brass-410-shotshells/

I bought 25 of those 2 1/2 inch Mag Tech shells, seems you don't even need to resize them, they'll probably last indefinitely. Haven't done it yet, but will eventually.

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John Van Gelder
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Posted: December 20 2018 at 6:15am | IP Logged Quote John Van Gelder

Back in the 60's I found a very nice old Damascus double barrel shotgun, in the "junk" barrel at my local gun shop, the gun cost me $20.00.

I started loading 12ga black powder shells for that gun using a Lee loader.

I think that I still have the lee loader, but haven't used it in a very long time.

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turbo1889
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Posted: December 24 2018 at 9:24pm | IP Logged Quote turbo1889

I load a lot of shotgun slug loads, almost
all of which I cast myself.

Long story short, almost any specialized
load that isn't just lead or steel
birdshot for 12, 20, or 10 guage it's
worth it to roll your own. But for lead
and steel bird shot in those three guages
it usually isn't worth it.

I've never messed with 37mm (Is that a
punt gun? Where you get one?) But
considering I've never heard of it and
I've delved pretty deep into the shotgun
world it's got to be worth loading for.
I've never seen even empty cases for that
size so I hope you have a supply.

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Slick
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Posted: December 25 2018 at 3:14am | IP Logged Quote Slick

During the past few years, I haven’t had an Internet access account – so I rarely post since most of the time unless I’m sitting in a McDonalds snarfing down $1 burgers and using their WiFi.

Being more “mobile” these days – I needed an Internet solution that I could use when I needed it. So, I wound up buying a “hotspot” that gives me 50GB per month for only $50 – AND (get this) I get to roll over unused GB’s (up to 50GB) in a given month. That effectively gets me back on-line for pretty much all my needs.

Through an estate deal a few years back I acquired numerous moulds, a (brand new) lead furnace as well as everything I needed to start casting my own slugs. I figured that I’d have my best success if I started casting 12ga slugs first. Then later on I could start with larger bullets. I got into loading and testing various 12ga slug loads and got sidetracked just traveling and looking for a new piece of property to move to. Kalifornia is not a place that I would ever recommend anyone to try and live. You really can make a lot of money in this crappy state, and had I not been able to do so – I’d be flat-out homeless.

Anyways, without any kind of employment (or disability) \ to drive my experimentation, I gad to figure out things at a slower pace. It was through the previously mentioned estate sale that I acquired my new interests.

Sorry to ramble on so – but getting “here” has been quite a journey. I’ve been loading all kinds of various 12ga loads and having a LOT of fun testing them! I must say that buying the Keltec KSG really has driven my interest in developing 12ga loads. In the end, I’m considering working up to the point of having commercial offerings.

For the 37mm loads just think of it as a clone of a 40mm grenade launcher that launches flares and other non-lethal signaling rounds. I picked up one of the Ordnance Group’s Tac -79 launchers, as it’s a terrific platform for testing some new ideas I have for non-pyrotechnic daytime signaling loads. They look kind of cool sort or like the originals:



All I will say is that for anyone to buy one of these launchers take plenty of time to read over what you can LEGALLY do with one. These are something that one could get into lots of trouble with the alphabet boys if you’re not careful. To be honest, the mere appearance of the launcher was reason enough for me to postpone testing of some of my planed loads. Things can get ambiguous in a hurry – even if you are simply filling cardboard tubes with hot-melt glue of various weights for testing payload (launch) charges.

Fortunately, my new state of residence is going to my legitimate use (to prevent burning up entire forests) far more easy to accomplish. I’m just feeling so glad to *finally * have a [place outside of Kalifornia to move to and live on. And for everyone, I’ll wish a merry Christmas and Happy New Years!


Edited by Slick on December 25 2018 at 4:41am


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Slick
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Posted: December 25 2018 at 3:20am | IP Logged Quote Slick

Well, nothing that I've tried has made it possible to share a photo of the launcher that I'm playing with...

Too bad they locked their website down to prevent sharing the photo - their loss!!!

Here's the best I can do trying again...........



This one is actually my own - the M203 grenade launcher sight and the adapter plate are my own junk - these come with a piece of plain old picaninny rail on top instead of the sight. I'm gonna get some new laser-cut sight blades to work using this sight base and the tip of the barrel. Not sure how much that's gonna cost - or even if it will be worth the trouble. But that's what reloading is all about anyhow, so I will figure it out.

Oh yeah - I also have an original front sling swivel and M-79 sling, I just need to cut an inlay for the front sling swivel and am trying to create a hybrid mount that will capture the front hole in the sling swivel and thread into the front handguard / barrel mount to match up with a mount hole that is already there that mounts the hanguard.

Well even tho I can't get a photo to show up here, you'll just have to trust me - It looks somewhat similar to an original M-79 and I have plan here for an innovative means of day-time signalling WITHOUT danger of fire..

Edited by Slick on December 25 2018 at 5:07am


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John Van Gelder
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Posted: December 25 2018 at 7:49am | IP Logged Quote John Van Gelder

Slick

"Cool"..how many ounces of bird shot will that put out per shot..?..:)
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Slick
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Posted: December 25 2018 at 8:32am | IP Logged Quote Slick

John Van Gelder wrote:
Slick

"Cool"..how many ounces of bird shot will that put out per shot..?..:)


I honestly couldn't say for certain. I've made up a number of inert test-rounds using cardboard tube filled with hot-glue in various weights - so I can test to find an appropriate "lift charge".

Here's the catch... You cannot shoot (or even have in your possession) any type of "anti-personnel" load without having a DD (destructive device) NFA tax stamp. So without the stamp, you can only launch flares and smoke.

While I actually bought the launcher to use for developing a non-pyrotechnic day time signal load, once I get fully moved to Idaho I'll just go ahead and get the stamp to be safe as I have plans to sell loads off of a FFL 10.

Bird-bombs are apparently legal (according to the ATF rules I've read), so long as the combined lift and report charge weighs no more than 1/4 ounce. Such loads are useful for scaring birds out of your garden..

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turbo1889
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Posted: December 25 2018 at 9:16am | IP Logged Quote turbo1889

Interesting !!! Didn't realize you were
talking about a gernade launcher not a
shotgun.

Since anything anti-personel is out how
about a grapple hook and line launcher
load? That should be okay and cool as
heck !!!

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John Van Gelder
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Posted: December 26 2018 at 6:19am | IP Logged Quote John Van Gelder

The ultimate ping pong ball gun..
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Slick
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Posted: December 29 2018 at 4:16am | IP Logged Quote Slick

Just to clarify - I don't load or reload any cheaply available birdshot loads - since they are so cheaply available at retail. My foray into 12ga loading mostly got started with me buying 1oz dove loads and recasting the shot into a slug. I then load the slug back into the shell and re-crimp it. In my way of thinking, it should be OK since the gun (cylinder bore) shouldn't be able to tell the difference between loads - so long as they weigh the same..

While I doubt I'll ever make much $ selling custom 12ga shells, I do think that I could come up with some (non-lethal) offerings in 37mm. Depending on where that goes, I may be able to find a niche to fill.

But other than that, I just load these kinds of loads for fun and because they are so expensive to buy outright. The appeal of loading larger shells is simply because they are so much easier to handle (with aging hands).

The other thing is that casting 12ga slugs has been a really good way for me to learn how to cast decent bullets. I'm almost ashamed to admit that I reloaded for nearly 35 years before I finally dropped my first cast bullet. I had no illusions that I would be very good at it starting out, but having the Internet as a resource has certainly made it easier to pick up. My next step is to try casting buckshot from a gang mould..

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turbo1889
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Posted: December 29 2018 at 6:34am | IP Logged Quote turbo1889

Slick wrote:
. . . . My foray into 12ga
loading mostly got started with me buying
1oz dove loads and recasting the shot into
a slug. I then load the slug back into
the shell and re-crimp it. In my way of
thinking, it should be OK since the gun
(cylinder bore) shouldn't be able to tell
the difference between loads - so long as
they weigh the same . . . .


Actually, there is actual pressure test
data on doing exactly that and contrary to
popular belief slugs of equal weight all
things being constant and within normal
range actually produce lower pressures
then an equal weight payload of shot. The
reason behind this has been fairly well
explained as being the loose shot acts as
a group in a semi-fluidic way and under
acceleration it "squashes" to the sides
and increases friction drag on the inside
of the barrel walls even compared to a
tightly fitting hard alloy led slug that
is a few thousandths of an inch oversize
and fired through a rifled slug barrel
where the slug must be engraved into the
rifling.

I do have pressure trace equipment myself
that although not the same as a commercial
pressure test system does allow me to
check the pressure of my loads and the
shape of the pressure curve in a normal
gun including shotguns via a engineering
strain Gage that glues with special space
age fancy glue to the barrel right over
the guns throats just forward of the
cartridge mouth. Under firing every gun
barrel with the possible exception of
something like a heavy bull barrel 22-lr
the barrel under firing stress actually
stretches microscopically like a balloon.
You can't see it with the naked eye but it
happens. Same with any mechanical device
made from metal that is under stress.
Bridge beams actually slightly bend when
you drive your car across the bridge just
usually not enough for you to see unless
it's a very weak bridge beam and/or you
have a very heavy car.

Well an engineering strain gage is an
electrical resister that is incredibly
sensitive to any stretching and stretching
of one even microscopically will result in
a large change in electrical resistance.
Use the right glue and glue one to a metal
bridge beam and hook up a multi-meter to
one and drive to different cars over that
bridge and I will be able to tell you
which of the two cars is heavier. Heavier
car will strain the bridge bream just a
little more stretching it a little more
and showing noticeably more resistance on
my multi-meter. Take that information and
give me some conversion factors or the two
different weights of the two cars and I'll
be able to convert the electrical
resistance reading on that engineering
strain gage attached to that bridge beam
to very close to the exact weight of any
car you choose to drive over the bridge.

The same thing works with an engineering
strain gage glued to a steel rifle barrel
right over the chamber/throat only it
happens a whole lot faster. No way your
going to capture that on a simple multi-
meter. Depending on the gun an entire
pressure curve firing cycle takes place in
like only 0.001 seconds !!! So you need a
very fast computer micro processor unit
that measures the resistance like a
hundred times in that 0.001 second
pressure cycle and saves that information
and graphs it for you. A normal computer
processor doesn't clock fast enough to do
that so you need to buy a unit that goes
between your laptop and the engineering
strain gage. I have such a unit and along
with the appropriate software it cost me
about $700 and then the individual
engineering strain gages cost a good $30
plus each with the tiny little tube of
special glue to attach them. And those
engineering strain gages don't last
forever and you can't remove and re-glue
them. Only way to get them off is a lot
of scraping with a razor blade and
destroying them in the process.

But I have done all that and I have
developed my own loads that I know the
actual pressures they develop and the
shape of the pressure curves as well.
Including for shotgun slug loads. And I
can confirm not just what has been stated
by actual commercial ammo developers like
James @ Dixie Slugs that slugs all things
being equal actually reduce pressure
compared to an equal weight of shot but I
can actually confirm it from my own
records including some pressure trace
curves I actually measured myself that are
posted in an old thread about shotgun
slugs over on the cast boolits forum when
I used to post over there.

The only time I could get a shotgun load
to pressure spike on me with the same load
weight as a shot load with a larger more
solid projectile was when using buckshot
loads where the buckshot was cast of very
hard lead and the buckshot balls were just
a little more then half the internal bore
diameter. And it didn't happen with every
test shot, but rather randomly happens. I
was able to trace this by examination of
the buckshot pellets fired into a non-
projectile-damaging capture medium (big
snow drift). Every test load that
pressure spiked hat at least two buckshot
pellets that clearly locked together with
one trying to pass the other on one side
while going the bore and acting like two
wedges acting on each other to direct
pressure to opposite sides of the inside
of the bore. So for example with a 12ga.
With a 0.729" internal bore diameter you
don't want to use really hard .38"
diameter cast balls as buckshot because
that ball size is just a little bit over
twice the internal bore size and it's a
"crap shoot" as to whether two of the
balls will lock together and bind like two
little wedges while going down the bore
and will produce pressure spiked at
random. Interesting the pressure spiked
aren't that severe with most powders only
a couple thousand extra PSI but I did get
on load using Longshot powder to spike
from a safe load running about 12,000 up
to about 16,000-17,000 which is enough
overpressure to cause problems. Most
modern shotguns are proofed with 20,000-
psi proof loads and are supposed to be
able to take one load at that level of
overpressure without damage. But an older
gun? Or a new gun that was just a lemon
from the factory with a flaw that went
undetected? That could be enough for the
gun to let loose because of this two hard
balls that are just slightly over 1/2 bore
diameter.

Long story short, when substituting by
weight with shotgun loads. You can
substitute slugs or buckshot in for load
that is made for bird shot. But don't try
to load birdshot with slug load data. And
then with buckshot, watch out for that
double ball problem with hard balls that
are just the wrong size!

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Slick
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Posted: December 31 2018 at 4:29am | IP Logged Quote Slick

First, I just want to say "thanks" Stephen!

I greatly appreciate you taking the time to write all of that, and in terms that a guy like me (who has no engineering degree) can actually understand.

That's a LOT to think about and is "food for thought" for more hours than you could imagine. It does make perfect sense that even in a cyl-bore barrel how individual pellets can act upon one another to exert a force of restriction. All the more reason to respect the adage of "start low and work up".

I've had no shortage of discomfort in working up various shotshell loads, mostly due to the concept of duplicating a specific column height within a shotshell. Because my shotshell loads do not conform to a specific column heights (I typically roll-crimp). I've had some less than stellar performance from some loads - which is far preferable to load that creates too much pressure.

Given that I'm moving towards working with larger pellets (like 0 & 00), your advice will prompt me to carefully scrutinize any and all loads that use pellets whose combined diameter exceeds that of the bore through which they pass. While I always cross-check loads that I'm working up, your input on the subject has given me a lot more to think about.

It's entirely possible that you've saved me the trouble of unexpectedly breaking or ruining a shotgun / barrel.

While I've successfully been able to extrapolate load data in safely working up loads for metallic cartridges, things aren't always the same when it comes to shotshells - and it seems as if there's far less load data out there that isn't already a "specific recipe".

One area I've been interested in is loading 2-inch shells that will allow my 1897 Winchester not only to hold an extra round but also to have sufficient space for the crimp to open in a barrel that has not been reamed for modern 2 3/4 shotshells. This also gives me the opportunity to use once-fired shotshells by simply cutting off the crimp-worn end and making a fresh new crimp.

As far as the 37mm "flare gun" goes - I did in fact buy one that resembles a VietNam-era grenade launcher to conduct my tests. I'm really looking forward to getting a chance to have some fun. It's a perfect means to launch some types of fireworks that are legal in Idaho (but NOT in Kaliforneeya).

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