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Saturday, June 23, 2012

The how to reload; Brass Shotgun shells with Black Powder.

Part One, Priming and hull prep.

   Back in the late 70’s and thru the 80’s I was a serious water fowler and upland bird hunter. Spent many days and much of my time shooting and reloading shells to save a few bucks. Never had an expensive reloading machine then, did most of them on a Lee Load All. I now have a Mec 600 and hardly use it. I do most of my shot shells regardless of powder type the slow old fashion way stage by stage. I enjoy it. It is relaxing and I have fewer mistakes, a progressive loader offer. I don’t nearly load the number I did back then.  However I do load several hundred every year. I also load some hunting loads with 00 and round ball.  In my Cowboy world I shoot mostly Black Powder shooting mostly double barrel “coach guns” reproductions of course. For these I started loading the MagTech Brass hulls. I have bought more than a hundred of them and maybe stepped on one and I believe ejected one in the cull bucket at one time. Over all they have lasted 6 going on 7 years for me. I must warn any who thing they would like the cool awesome I want to be like you factor. If you shoot more than 1 Double barrel you might want to have separate hulls for each gun. The chambers diameters maybe a bit different, from gun to gun. The brass hulls will fire form to the size. So you may find that they will be hard to chamber in one gun or the other. There are some commercial tools available for sizing and are pretty expensive. If your handy and have a shop available you can build most of what you need. I am not here to discuss which powders primers or shot that is best. I don’t have a dog in the fight over who makes the best loading equipment. None of the manufacturers are sending me items to review. I don’t have a big breasted wife that looks great in front of a camera opening the package to tell you how great the item is. I will share with you over the next few weeks the items I have found to work best for me. Believe me I am a tight ass I will buy things that make my life easier, but usual resort to my own devises first. I at one time made a power point on priming and prep but am unable to down load it here. So I will dissect it and add the photo’s with some additional ones as we go.
Items you will need:

Brass Hulls
Large Pistol Primers of your choosing
Shot- for cowboy action shooting, Reclaimed shot works well.
Powder (for this application FFg of any true Black Powder)
The following wads for 12 ga. Refer to your on line source in the reloading section. You will need what Darksiders refer to as a Nitro card. Normal a ¼” thick. You will also need ¾” fiber wads your preference if they should be lubed or not. I lube my own. Finally you will want top or overshot cards. These are just plain white stock card. You could stamp these out of recycled milk or juice cartons if you wanted. I have in a pinch but that’s one of those items that make my life easier and they don’t cost too much.
 You will need a Mandrill I have a brass one you could make one out of a oak dowel rod and a wood screw. Insert screw half an inch in rod and grind head to a dull point.
A mallet, a small dead blow will work;
An anvil will also be needed.  A 7/8” by ¾” drive deep well socket works great.  Spent primers will fall thru the hole and collect inside the socket.
A ¾” by ½” cooper pipe reducer will help you size the mouth of the spent case back in shape and you can also tap it with the mallet and but a slight roll to it.
Then a primer pocket tool/Small flat tip screwdriver again of choice and I also use a ¾” pipe brush Plumbers use them for cleaning cooper fittings and pipe found near the solder and torches in the stores. Some steel wool or 400 grit paper would also work.
You will need a devise to measure shot and powder. There are many available thru typical gun supply stores. I have a couple adjustable ones. Also the Lee Dippers work.

Again I am not being paid to pander any name brands or any particular product. The items in the photo’s are one I use because of my choosing. If you are interested in the Brass mandrill set contact Rocky Mountain Cartridge- Lolo Sporting Goods- in Idaho also has a kit and also Circle Fly Wads and I think the fine folks at both Track of the Wolf and Buffalo Arms can help you out with most needs. Google them.

De-priming mandrill and anvil sizer over brass hull

Misc. Wads and components

Priming mandrill note recess area for primer pocket

Misc. items I have found to make the best possible reloads
also note the rolled crimp shell in back ground I will touch on 
that late in this article

Next installment getting started.

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