View Full Version : Thoughts on shells.....

Dave McC
October 25, 2000, 07:45 AM
While stumbling around yesterday in the large walk in closet the family calls, "Daddy's Store",dropping coins in choke tubes, once more the tremendously complicated logistics of my shotgunning became apparent to me.Bear with me a second....

There's shells everywhere. Just in 12 ga, there's large quantities of two kinds of slugs,00, some #4 buck, high brass 6s, low brass 7 1/2s AND 8s, turkey loads of divers makes,and more.

A long time dedication to bulk buying hasn't helped, especially since it took a while to realize that bulk buying works best when it's something one really needs.That's why I still have some #2 lead,2 3/4" "Short Magnums".

Steel shot in BB and T sizes, lead 2s that were excellent goose loads but now lack a purpose, some high brass, max dram 4s that were my presteel mallard load and now occasionally serve for spooky late season ringnecks. Low brass 6s that are great upland loads for the modified tube on squirrels and bunnies,and a plethora of orphan loads including some homebrewed fletchette loads from a guy who I regarded as less tightly wrapped than needful for a ballistics researcher.

H*ll, I still have some paper case WWs that must be older than I. And then there's the ammo for the 20 ga I got the kids...

And the point to these maunderings?

Just that it can get real complicated, and expensive, buying shells you may or may not need.

Just what are your shotgunning ammo needs? Of course,for the purposes of this discussion, wants equate to needs(G).

Are you doing clays,three gun,IDPA,CAS,trap, skeet,live pigeon, and/or turkey shoots? Does your bird hunting(if any) cover doves, grouse of many species and conditions, quail, waterfowl, turkey, or do you also hunt ground game like rabbits?

Or, do you not hunt,but use a shotgun and have same because it's an uncertain world out there,and not everyone is as nice and well behaved as we?

If you hunt quail and grouse, shoot some fun clays with your buddies, and figure your Sterlingworth Fox is enough shotgun for HD as it is(And you're probably right), you'll get by just fine on a case of low brass 8s and some 6s, maybe.

Or, if you're more concerned about self defense,and your more careless friends think of you as a tad paranoid, maybe buck and slugs are your thing, and birdshot is of limited value.

Trouble is,shotgunning in all its myriad forms leads to doing other of its forms. The WIHTF types find banging away at ringnecks is fun, and a local crime wave may find that bird hunter above loading his Fox with a heavier load.

So how do we keep it simple?

Let's say that we've found a good patterning clay load,7 1/2 shot,3 1/4 dram. This works on clays, but also for skeet,maybe trap when suitably choked,smaller birds and even close pheasants and teal if I do my part.And at typical HD ranges, it makes the same size wound as a 15 pellet 00 load.

Or make it 8s, if you like.

One good load of 5s or 6s for larger birds, one steel load, the right slug and buck load, and there's the lot.

As for bulk buying, my rule is, keep a year's supply around, more for the shells one needs only on occasion, like slugs or buck.
If a years supply gets into a case or so, buy in bulk, or so buy when a real deal comes along. That's why I've what's probably a lifetime supply of those KO Brennekes.

Questions, comments, donations?

October 25, 2000, 09:34 AM
It is simple for me. I keep stocked up on Federal tactical 00 buck and factory slugs for defense and them make (reload) whatever I need for a specific situation including casting and loading my own slugs. I make #9 1 oz. 3 dram loads for skeet and use reclaimed shot with that same loading for shooting steel in combat type matches. I can also load up heavy payload shot shells, slugs, and buck shot shells. All you have to do is have the necessary components and shot sizes and you can make whatever you want.

October 25, 2000, 11:48 AM
I recently had a connected problem, though not as severe.

We moved from Nebraska to Pennsylvania. The moving company would move my long guns, but not handguns and not ammunition.

The airline allows one to carry on 11bs of ammo in checked baggae - not bad I thought. Then I started pulling out the ammo

3 Boxes of stell shot for ducks/geese.

half a case of 8s for informal trap and doves

I don't know how many 6s & 4s - several unopened boxes, several boxes worth in a shell carrier, plus what I had in a bandoleer, hunting vests and jackets

Then the rifle and pistol ammo -several boxes of .30-06, 9mm, .357, .38 Special, and bricks of .22

Wow! 11 lbs wasn't anything now.

I ended up giving the steel shells to my father in law -he got me into duck hunting anyway. Getting my trap shooting and hunting buddies to take the other shells and the .22s
And bringing the rest with me.

Now pheasant season opens this weekend and I have to go out and stock up again.

October 25, 2000, 12:37 PM
Well, I do have a question. Where does one buy "in bulk"?

Also, "s for bulk buying, my rule is, keep a year's supply around, more for the shells one needs only on occasion, like slugs or buck."

I'm curious as to how one judges the amount of slugs or Buck "necessary" for a supply. Keep in mind that I'm the type that enjoys stocking up and looking at piles of ammo that I may or may not need ;) .

Always a pleaseure to read your threads Dave.


NRA? Good. Now join the GOA!

CMOS's Site (http://www.hal-pc.org/~thehaugs/second.htm)

October 25, 2000, 04:06 PM
Bulk buying...
There are several ways to approach this. For clay target loads the local trap and Skeet club or range will usually provide leads to purchasing ammo in bulk. Often a group of shooters will buy in large quantities to get better prices, go and ask around. At major shoots you may be able to purchase cases of shells directly from distributors, particularly the lesser known brands such as Eley, Kent, Victory and others.

Locally here we have a gun dealer who works out of an industrial park type building who sells cases of remington and winchester shells at gun show prices. At times he moves inventory and lowers his prices even more. Gun shows often have good prices on case lots.

Lastly, look to the discount stores like Sports Authority, Wall mart and K-mart. they often have cheap shells (I particularly like the Wall Mart Federal value packs-great shells). At the end of hunting season they sometimes try to move unsold inventory and sell cases cheaply.

I reload, and when I am shooting regularly I try to purchase components in bulk to get the cheapest price. I get my shot from a local gun club that puts in an order to a major distributor 2X a year, try to buy 10 - 20 bags at a time, saving 5 to 8 dollars a bag! My wads come from Gamaliel supply in Kentucky via UPS, My primers come from the local gun show guy (5000) at a time. Powder comes from the same joker, usually in 12 pound kegs (700X) or 5 LB caddies (Unique and Green Dot) bulk powder is cheap, It behoves you to standardize on one or two powders. Hulls I obtain from buying new shells (and shooting them) or from the range (no charge, if I get them from the Sporting Clays course, they frown on picking them up on the Trap and Skeet range)

Metallic ammo is a different story, I try to use the same powders as my shotgun shells (Unique). Primers I buy from the local indoor range, the owner gives me a discount because I shoot there so much. Bullets I buy either from the range or through mail order depending upon what I want.

Factory ammo I buy when I can get it cheap, from the local Mart stores when they have a sale or from other local sources.

What all this means is that you have to know the market and look around and ask other shooters, sometimes you may get leads to bargains.

Never buy from gun stores, they have to make their overhead.

Geoff Ross

I am no expert but I DO have an opinion.

crow slayer
October 25, 2000, 07:01 PM
Might I suggest taking up the grand sport of crow hunting, you'll use up you mixed bag of shells in a hurry. Best of all the crow don't complain if you kill them will 8 shot or 2 shot! He HE
See ya

Dave McC
October 25, 2000, 07:53 PM
Thanks, guys, looks like I have company.

Crow slayer, sorry but I never liked the taste, so I leave them alone these days.

Bulk buying can be done lots of ways. I go in with some friends sometimes and we divvy up a few cases we get a break on. Or, I hit the gun shops post season and pick up, say, a case of 00 about 30% off,plus my LE discount.

Wallmart's Fed value pack got me 5 boxes of decent shells for $15, good dove loads in 7 1/2 shot or 8, from my 870.

I do get the circulars from Cheaperthandirt and Sportsman's Guide, but I rarely see any real savings over what I can forage for locally.

Steel is easy to get cheap here in Md since the goose moratorium, which figures.

Handgun ammo,1000 at a time,centerfire rifle ammo 60-100 rounds, or milsurp by the case, 22s by the 5 case discount(oft 25%) and so on.

I don't reload anymore, life's too short.

October 26, 2000, 07:15 AM
For Federal tactical buckshot and slugs, Eric the Ammoman has good deals on case (or sleeve) lots, shipping free. http://www.ammoman.com

For S&B 00 buckshot for "plinking", Clafin Cartridge has decent deals on case pricing -- see http://www.ammodeal.com



Justin T. Huang, Esq.
late of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania