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Old April 19, 2010, 08:59 AM   #1
Hardcase
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BP Shotgun Shells

I finally got to the range yesterday, after a few weeks of agonizing weather and a bout with the flu. Ahh....heaven.

As usual, the black plastic rifle guys were there, setting up their thousand dollar spotting scopes, polishing their carefully loaded ammunition and squinting out at the 400 yard targets. Good on 'em.

Me, I was loading up a few cylinders of yummy Pyrodex and noticing that the breeze was out of the west...and they were due east. Such is life.

Anyway, all went well, as far as I'm concerned. The pistols all worked quite nicely and the shotgun patterned well. But that leads me to my question about loading the shells.

They're 12 gauge Magtech brass shells, the ones that use the large pistol primer. I load them with Pyrodex RS using a 4.3cc Lee dipper, and the same amount of 7.5 lead shot. I've got a .130" nitro card between the powder and the shot, then an overshot card on top of the shot. But that only takes up about half to 2/3 of the shell volume. It works fine, at least on paper, but should I be concerned that I'm not filling up the shell with...something?

Oh, the long range dudes were all happy to take a turn with an 1858 Remington. One thing about BP guns: if you're not a sociable fella, you'd be best off shooting alone!
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Old April 19, 2010, 09:02 AM   #2
Lavid2002
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You just made these loads out of the blue? No recipe?
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Old April 19, 2010, 09:56 AM   #3
Hardcase
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No, not out of the blue. That's the consensus of several web sites. It goes something like this: 4.3cc BP, overpowder wad, same of shot, overshot card. The issue is what happens between the powder and the shot.

There's sort of this hand waving about filling up metallic cartridges that goes along the lines of "if you're not all the way to the mouth of the shell, that's OK because the shells aren't crimped." But there's "not all the way" and "not even close to all the way".

I know that I don't want to use a shot cup or anything plastic. But I wonder if I should be adding some filler wads to raise the shot stack up some. There just isn't much discussion that I can find about that.
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Old April 19, 2010, 05:51 PM   #4
B.L.E.
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There's certainly nothing dangerous about your load. It's only important for the powder, wads, and shot to fill plastic and paper shells so that they crimp shut properly. If you are just going to use an overshot wad to close the shell, then it's not really important to fill the case.

One cc of black powder weighs about 13.6 grains so 4.3 cc = about 58 grains, that's a pretty light 12 gauge load but if it does the job, no problem.

My black powder trap load is 70 grains of FFFg Goex black powder, two .135 nitro cards, a 1/2 inch fiber wad, and 1 1/8 ounce of shot loaded in a plastic Winchester AA case. That takes up just enough room to allow a good star crimp. If the case is too full, you can't close the crimp all the way, if there is too little stuff in the case, the crimp folds inward and shot spills out through the center.
But since brass shells aren't star crimped, it doesn't matter if the powder, wad, and shot don't completely fill the case.
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Old April 19, 2010, 07:49 PM   #5
noelf2
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What B.L.E. said.

I look at the brass shells like an ordinary muzzle loading shotgun. Whatever gives you the best pattern and energy is what you stick with (within reason of course). Some find that 1/2 inch of fiber wad works for them and some swear by just using a nitro card between powder and shot. I use 2 lubed felt wads (1/4" total) between powder and shot. Seems to give the best results for my 10 gauge muzzle stuffer.
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Old April 19, 2010, 08:21 PM   #6
Hardcase
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Thanks fellas, I'll go back to havin' fun!
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Old April 19, 2010, 10:13 PM   #7
darkgael
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brass

Yeah. What they said. I load my BP brass hulls with 85grs of FFg (about 3 drams) and 1 1/8oz. of shot. A .125 Nitro card, two fiber wads and an OS card. The hull is sealed with Duco cement.That all fills the case pretty well. All cards and wads are 11 gauge for the BELL and the Magtech cases.
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