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Old December 16, 2012, 12:13 PM   #1
wyobohunter
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.45 Colt Shotshells w/444 Marlin Cases

I've found a lot of info on making pistol shotshells but never a step by step. This is what I've done. It throws a pretty nice pattern to 30' with a 4 5/8" bbl Blackhawk and an excellent pattern to the same 30' with my snubnose SRH Alaskan .454. I initially did the same without a wad but found that there was too much lead to scrub out. With the wad I lost a little bit of shot capacity but have no leading to deal with, a worthwile trade IMO.

.45 Colt Shotshells Using 444 Marlin Cases

Creating the “hulls”
1- Using a tubing cutter, cut 444 Marlin cases to 1.7” minimum.
2- .44 Remington Magnum sizing die needs to be set up to size the portion of case that will run into the necked down (bullet) area of the cylinder. Make small adjustments and test using the cylinder.
3- Size the case necks.
4- Trim the cases to 1.65”. Use a .41 caliber pilot and a #28 shell holder.
5- Camphor and de-burr the cases.
6- Test each case to verify that it fits in the cylinder and turns freely (doesn’t bind the cylinder.
A-Lightly dress the case rim thickness with a fine file an all cases that do not have enough rim clearance to allow free rotation of the cylinder.
B-If any cases do not fully seat, the neck sizing die must be adjusted.
7- Prime with Large Pistol (Rem. 2 ½) primers.
8- Throw 4.0 gr. Alliant Red Dot powder.
9- Cut .410 wads so that the end is just below the case mouth (enough room for an overshot card) when it is inserted into the case over the powder.
10- Insert wads into cases and seat firmly (do not compress powder).
11- Using a file, cut “saw teeth” and a camphor/de-burr tool, sharpen a case for cutting overshot cards (cutting cards is much faster with a ½” drill).
12- Pour shot into case/wad leaving just enough room to insert an overshot card just below the rim. (#8 shot yields 170 grains = 130 pellets = 3/8th Ounce).
13- Crimp the case mouth a .44 magnum roll crimp to hold overshot card in place.
14- Seal the overshot card with nail polish (George & Roy’s).
15- Fire form the cases (in other words... use the ammo you just made).

Reloading
1- Size and de-prime the fired cases with a standard .45 colt die.
2- Size the neck with the .44 Magnum sizing die.
3- Trim to 1.65” & camphor/de-burr.
4- Clean primer pockets & prime with Rem. 2 ½.
5- Throw 4.0 grains Alliant Red Dot.
6- Seat cut .410 wads.
7- Pour shot (≈170 grains).
8- Seat overshot card.
9- Crimp and seal card.
10- For survival kit ammo, seal primer and double seal overshot card.

Pretty time consuming but results are fun. These would make great snake loads and I know for a fact they work on bunnies & grouse. Also cheaper and pattern better than the CCI stuff. That is, cheaper if you have a lot of the stuff on hand like I did. I haven't bothered with an actual cost comparison CCI vs. homebrew, and probably never will.
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Old December 16, 2012, 02:13 PM   #2
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Cool, been thinking of making some shot loads for my single shot .45 Colt carbine. I would have to trim to my chamber length instead of cylinder length, but otherwise I think your method would work.
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Old December 16, 2012, 02:45 PM   #3
wyobohunter
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I wouldn't expect it to pattern as well as a pistol. I've heard a longer bbl (more contact with rifling) scatters the shot more so you end up with a very thin donut hole pattern. I notice my shorter bbl pistol patterns a bit better although the difference is neglagible. Have you tried the CCI stuff? I'd give that a try before investing much effort in the DYI. If CCI works ok you can probably do better yourself.
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Old December 16, 2012, 03:10 PM   #4
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You may be right about the longer barrel causing a donut pattern. For the single shot maybe a .410 shot cup/wad would be the way to go, but they're a bit small for the bore.

I've even though of making custom shot cups from .452" fiber wads and sheet plastic. I could make them long, up to 2" or more, to hold the same load as a .410 shell.
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Old December 17, 2012, 07:39 AM   #5
wyobohunter
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If you make the shot cups will you IM me & post pics or a procedure? That'd be neat.
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Old December 17, 2012, 08:34 AM   #6
Sport45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyobohunter
1- Using a tubing cutter, cut 444 Marlin cases to 1.7” minimum.
Ouch! That brings tears to my eyes.

I hope they had split mouths or something that rendered them useless for their intended purpose.

Any idea about how penetration compares to say, a .410 from a Judge?
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Old December 17, 2012, 10:41 AM   #7
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I reload full length 444 Shot loads ( equal to .410 ) for a fraction of what .410 shells cost
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Old December 21, 2012, 01:57 AM   #8
wyobohunter
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Yeah, it would seem a shame to cut down 444 brass for this but I no longer have the rifle that went with the brass and that niche is now filled with my 45-70 so it's unlikely I will ever load for 444 again.

Not sure how penetration compares to a Judge. But it'll penetrate to snowshoe hare vitals from a solid 10 Paces.
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Old December 21, 2012, 09:01 AM   #9
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Here's another take on building shot shells for hand guns, with pics.

I made some in 45 Colt, and they work fine.

http://www.castbullet.com/reload/44shot.htm
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Old December 21, 2012, 04:48 PM   #10
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I do the same thing with .303 British and .30-40 Krag cases, for .44 Mag (.220 Swift is also acceptable, but not ideal).

.41 Mag shot shells can be made from .30-30 brass.

Those are, of course, 'extended', 'bottleneck', or 'heavy payload' shells that extend into the cylinder throats. There's no need for the rifle cases, if you can fit your desired shot payload in a charged standard case.
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