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Friday, July 13, 2012

Finally Part III shot shell loading

Part 3

The load column

   I am not going to get into science of the load, or any fancy formula’s for loading shells. These will be basic by volume loads. I will leave the experimenting and tweaking to the user. I can tell you that they work for Cowboy action shooting and small game hunting. There’s enough room left over in the case for any adjustment and the same load can be used in a plastic or paper hull. You can also experiment with wad columns for improving patterns.  Again I will leave that to the discretion of the user. What I hope to accomplish is just simple easy learn to load techniques’.  The following items will be needed; 

Powder I prefer the true Black Powder and for shot gun and most of my other cartridge needs I like FFg.  Debates on brands to use will continue as long as we shoot these. Let’s say in my case price matters. We're not shooting silhouettes at 400 and 500 meters away. 
You will need the following wads and all are available again at many on-line retailers
You will need 12ga. fiber wads. These come in packs of 500 and they are specific in size and they are also available pre lubed. It again is the user choice, to use lubed or plain ones.  I lube my own. I would share that information if my readers are interested.
My friend Tom uses 11ga. wads I believe. Because of some sizing issues.
You will also need the ¼’x 12ga. Nitro cards.
Finally order some at least with new shells 11ga. or 10ga.  Top cards. The top card should be a little bit bigger; I will go into detail later. However if you had bought some older used brass or as they get fired some you might want to use 10ga. Top cards
You will need some shot of choice.
Then along with your assortment of mandrills and other tools you will need the powder and shot scoops and a couple containers to hold loose powder and shot in, while you scoop it out. A couple of old cool whip dishes will work.
As you can see in the picture I have taken to pieces of some scrap lumber and used a ¾” flat boring bit.  Boring thru one sheet with 50 holes. Then screwing and gluing it on top of a second piece of scrap wood cut the same size.  You can buy some and if you have a steady table to line them up on between stages it will work.

clock wise Duco cement 
assorted scoops
shot and powder
10 gauge over shot (white)
12 gauge fiber wads (dark)
12 gauge Nitro cards (light brown)

Shot mix, NOTE; Shining pellets are reclaimed shot

I load what is often referred to as a 1 ounce equivalent load.  By volume. This simple means both the shot and powder take up the same equal amount of space. This has nothing to do with it actual weight. That said,  you will get approximately 101 shot shells per pound of powder using my method. Not 16 rounds. This will leave the shot columns a little low.  You can do several things and again this is total to the user discretion. The easiest fix is to split a fiber wad in half. Using 1 ½ wads in the columns.  I don’t concern with it. As you will see.

Take a fresh primed hull and pour into the bottom one scoop of  FFg Black powder. I am using a 1 ounce equivalent load. This works out to about 4.3 cc if you are using the Lee scoops, or around 65 grains of powder.

Place one nitro card on top of the powder and with your mandrill or a dowel rod press down firmly.

Follow this up with your fiber wad, again press this down firmly assuring there is no
air space between wads or powder.

Now with the same size scoop, Add one dipper of shot. I generally use number 8, however. When I buy or acquire shot I just add it to what existing shot I have on hand. Meaning some times it’s a mix of size.

On top of this place and press down firmly one Top Card. Again it is important that the Top Card or Over Shot card be larger than the hull size you are loading.

You will notice if you exam that the top card. You will see the outer edge rolled up on the sides.  This helps hold it in place.

Now to seal it off! Thru out the Gun Forums you see people swear up and down their method is best.  You will have to form your own opinion on this. I have tried several methods, including Hot glue, White Elmers, and Wood glue. I currently use Duco Cement it’s liquid. I may use Water Seal and this is a alternative option. The Duco seems to be as good as any of the glues.

Place a large drop on the edge of the card where it meets the inner brass wall. I now take the hull between my thumb and fore finger and roll the glue drop around the entire edge. Note; sometimes when I have had these pre-made for several months, I will re-glue them the day before needed.  When you use a double barrel, there’s nothing worst than shooting the first round off and then watch the shot from the 2nd round pour out the barrel. Making the round unusable in a timed event. Really sucks since you have now wasted the shot and the time to reload a shot that is needed.

Let these dry overnight. Before boxing or using in competition a user may one to give the hull a coat of a silicone based wax. I do this with my brass, paper and plastic hulls.  The double barrels we use have no ejectors. The silicone wax aids in the ejection of the spent hull.

I have just given a cheap viable method of reloading shells be it for cowboy shooting and or for your anarchist ways. It is one of the most asked questions on the major Cowboy forums. I won’t get into smokeless loads in Brass shells my opinion plastic hulls remain best for this. However you could use the same methods for loading them. Including the plastic wads.  Have fun with this and be safe.

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