View Full Version : where can I buy paper 12 ga. shotgun shell hulls?

February 17, 2010, 01:42 AM
I'd like to buy a couple of hundred paper hulls for hand loading black powder shotshells. Does anybody know an internet source?

Federal makes them but I don't know who carries them. I'm guessing that Federal doesn't sell direct to consumers.

February 17, 2010, 02:39 AM
I have not seen paper shotgun hulls for several decades. I would be surprised if you can buy any.

February 17, 2010, 07:20 AM
Federal loads Gold Medal paper hulls. You can frequently find paper hulls for sale on both EBay and Gunbroker. I bought about 1200 "used" paper hulls from EBay not too long ago. I ended up with about half usable - but they were cheap in any case.
Here's a link to new paper hulls available from Ballistic products, primed at $15.99/100:


February 17, 2010, 07:21 AM
I doubt you'll find new empty Federal hulls for sale, you'll have to settle for used. Your best bet is to head to a major shotgun event and buy once fired paper hulls from the club. Another way to get once-fired paper hulls is to make them from new shells. (I'll be happy to return the hulls from the ammo you send me ;)) Federal still makes paper hulls (if the internet is to be trusted), but they are no longer called "Champion." Now they're Federal Premium Gold Medal and are available in the following 12-ga 2-3/4" loads:

Paper target (traditional trap and skeet) loads:
T117 1145 fps 1-1/8-oz / 31.9-gr Size: 8, 9, 7.5
T118 1200 fps 1-1/8-oz / 31.9-gr Size: 8, 9, 7.5
T175 1180 fps 1-1/8-oz / 31.9-gr Size: 8, 8.5

Handicap Paper HV
T171 1235 fps 1-1/8-oz / 31.9-gr Size: 8, 7.5

International Paper
N119 1325 fps 7/8-oz / 24.01-gr Size 7.5

Extra-LIte Paper
T172 1100 fps 1-1/8-oz / 31.9-gr Size: 8, 7.5

I've listed these loads in the hope that those of you who've never shot paper will find a suitable one and give it a try. The Federal Premium site (http://www.federalpremium.com/products/shotshell.aspx) has a dealer locator bot.

February 17, 2010, 10:03 AM
Zippy forgot to mention that wonderful smell of a newly fired paper hull, better than Hoppes! :D

There was a show on TV where they showed the process it takes federal to make paper hull shotshells. They have two employees who do it. IIRC, it takes about a week to make them, which is why you rarely find them. I believe they run the old machine only a few times per year.

You might be better off finding brass hulls and using overshot cards

February 17, 2010, 11:18 AM
I doubt you'll find new empty hulls for sale,

Then you didn't try the link that I provided above. I just bought brand new primed paper hulls from BPI.
The Federal Gold Medal paper hulled shells are at Midway..


Brian Pfleuger
February 17, 2010, 01:05 PM

February 17, 2010, 03:34 PM
Pete, the first place I went was Midway and saw the FITASC load you mentioned. You're correct, and Midway's pic of the Fed TF175-7.5 shows a paper hull. The Federal Premium site doesn't mention them as being paper. Since I was confused, I decided not to mention that particular load. I suspect Midway used a generic hull pic.

About my "I doubt you'll find new empty hulls for sale..." I thought I'd qualified it with "Federal" but, I didn't. Thanks for keeping me on my toes.


February 17, 2010, 03:43 PM
Zippy forgot to mention that wonderful smell of a newly fired paper hull, better than Hoppes!:D
Most comp shooter are on auto pilot as they pass their hulls from gun to pouch. If they happen to pass 'um under their nose, you can bet they're shooting Fed papers. ;)

February 17, 2010, 03:50 PM
Just curious, but what makes the paper hulls more desirable than standard plastic hulls?


Old Grump
February 17, 2010, 04:00 PM
A little easier to reload and some competitors think they are more accurate. I saw a PBS show once where the only plant still making paper shells was in Minnesota but I don't remember the details. I still have a few boxes of old ones and I shoot them like any other shell, they go bang and wreck the target, that's all I care about. Yeah, yeah, I'm a heathen.

February 17, 2010, 05:13 PM
I like paper hulls for two reasons: Black powder loadings do much much better in paper hulls; BP is not kind to "modern" plastic hulls; they melt.
I find that paper hulls roll crimp better than plastic.

February 17, 2010, 05:22 PM
AlaskaMike, there's a tremendous nostalgia factor with paper hulls. Many of us gray beards recall the pre-plastic days when there were only paper hulls. For clay applications, the paper hulls seem to hit targets harder and kick less than than comparably loaded plastic hulls.

When plastic hulls were first introduced, their main selling point was their water resistance. Plastic hulls were great in a boat or blind, they didn't swell-up like the paper ones. But, it the beginning, plastic hulls were at a premium price.

For the dry weather target shooter, there was no advantage of going to plastic. It was the reloadability of the plastic hulls, specifically the Double-A's, that eventually swayed most shooters. Being able to reload the plastic hulls two or three times more than papers made it a pocket book decision. And, eventually changes in overall supply and demand took away the paper hull's price advantage.

If you've never shot paper hulls, give some a try at your next tournament. I think you'll be pleaded by their performance. If you're a casual field shooter, you'll probably not notice a difference. If you shoot in wet/damp conditions, I'm sure you'll be happier with plastic.

February 17, 2010, 05:35 PM
You may find them on GunBroker, but shotshell hulls are now on the forbidden list for eBay.

A while back they stopped allowing the sale of brass, shotshell hulls, bullets, and non serial numbered gun parts like barrels.

February 18, 2010, 12:44 AM
Thanks for all the information guys. Somebody mentioned I should just use brass, and I intend to do that too. In fact, I ordered 10 brass (12 gauge) shotshells from Rocky Mountain Cartridge a month ago, plus a set of their brass hand-loading tools. They told me when I ordered that I'd have to wait until they had enough orders to make a run, which they said would be at least a month. Its been well over a month now and I haven't heard from them since my order. Not even a written acknowledgement. I think they're an ok company though, several guys on the forum have mentioned them, so I'm not worried (yet).

In the meantime I picked up an antique James Dixon & Son 12 ga. roll crimper in good usable condition on ebay - so cool! -and a hand primer. I want to use this stuff and load some blackpowder. Thus the need for paper hulls. Do any of you other guys use old stuff like this? I'm thinking I need new paper hulls because I'm not sure the once-fired ones will work in the roll crimper. They may, but I'm a rookie at this -in fact I've never hand-loaded in my life - so I don't know.

It just looks like it should be fun!

February 18, 2010, 01:05 AM
...Do any of you other guys use old stuff like this? I'm thinking I need new paper hulls because I'm not sure the once-fired ones will work in the roll crimper. They may, but I'm a rookie at this -in fact I've never hand-loaded in my life - so I don't know.

It just looks like it should be fun!
Talk about learning to swim by jumping in the deep end of the pool!
Good luck and have fun.

There's an old trick with paper hulls that's seldom mentioned these days. You can rejuvenate them by redistributing the wax. Place the empty hulls (brass down) on a cookie sheet and briefly bake them. The oven doesn't have to be very hot and it doesn't take too long. Watch them closely and you can tell when the wax is melted, and that's when they're done. This method will bring the turgor back to the crimp area and may allow a successful roll crimp in a once fired star crimped paper hull.

February 18, 2010, 06:09 AM
A couple of things: I ordered 10 brass (12 gauge) shotshells from Rocky Mountain Cartridge a month ago, plus a set of their brass hand-loading tools.

Those are the best that you can buy. Absolutely a step above any other brass hull (not that there are many). With proper care, they will last long enough that you can leave them to your children. A great convenience is that they use 209 primers as opposed to LP primers and you can use 12 ga components whereas the drawn brass hulls require 11 ga wads.
Yes, you may have to wait. I had to wait four months for my order to be filled. RMC will make them. You will get them. You will be happy.
I, also, use an antique roll crimper for my hulls. I find that it gives me a better crimp than the drill press versions. May be that is just me.
One of the other things that I like about paper hulls is that fired hulls in good condition, even if they have been star crimped, can still take a nice roll crimp. I made a simple tool from a piece of broomstick - sanded a long bevel into one end and use it to burnish the mouth of the hull, straightening the star crimp/erasing it.
You can also just cut the star crimp off and still have enough case left to roll crimp most loads.

February 18, 2010, 05:37 PM
Great tips from zippy13 and darkgael. Many thanks. DG

PS: I used the hyperlink to the company that makes the primed paper hulls and the prices seemed very reasonable - less than $16 per 100, EXCEPT if I'm reading correctly their minimum order is 500. Is that correct? Thats 300 or 400 more than I need. I'd just like to get 100 to 200. If I have to buy 500 just to get the 100 or 200 or so that I need, does anybody out there want 300 or 400 of them, or some part of them, for my cost per 100, plus shipping?

February 18, 2010, 06:46 PM
DG: Did you use the link to BPI? If so, you can order a single bag of 100. I just did. They have already shipped it.

February 18, 2010, 09:08 PM
Yeah, it was the BPI hyperlink I looked at. I must have either misunderstood or misread what their ad said. After reading it, I thought they required a minimum order of five of their packages of 100, but if I can just buy one package of 100, I'll have them ordered in the next 5 minutes. Thanks much Pete! DG.

February 18, 2010, 09:44 PM
Pete or DG

Please, how about one (or both) of you guys posting a pic of one of your papers with the old time rolled crimp. Do you go whole hog and make custom labels for the over shot wad?

Thanks, Z13(re-Pete)

February 18, 2010, 10:01 PM
Forget hulls. Just get a muzzlestuffing shotgun.

February 18, 2010, 10:44 PM
Just get a muzzlestuffing shotgun
Got that covered. Navy Arms 12 ga. SXS and a Matt Avance 20 ga. flint fowler.
Pictures will have to wait, unfortunately. I will be away from home for the next ten days.

February 19, 2010, 02:43 AM
I'll let Pete post the pictures, I've never loaded one of these things yet and still don't have the hulls. But I'm getting there.

As far as muzzle loaders go, I don't have one but I do have a 110 year old single barrel hammer shotgun. It shoots regular 2 3/4 inch shells and is fine for "vintage" smokeless powder loads, or comparable black powder loads. It's old-timey enough for me. Its was made in the Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid era, pre automobiles.

I don't have anything against muzzle-loaders though. My great-grandaddy used one in the Civil War. (True story. Battle of Bentonville, March 19-21 1865) Slow rate of fire though. Particularly when the Yanks were using repeating Spencers that you could load on Sunday and shoot all week.

The great advantage of my shotgun over a muzzle loader is that I can carry however many shells I want to, and shoot em as fast as the ejector will shuck the old hull out and I can stick another loaded one in, snap the gun shut, pull the hammer back and pull the trigger. I can fire blackpowder shells just as fast as I can fire anything else - I just can't see the target as well through the smoke. Much easier to clean than a muzzle loader, too.

February 19, 2010, 06:49 AM
DG: Oh, those RMC hulls.....they can be used for smokeless loads as well as BP. In fact, that was my purpose in buying them. I have an old Parker VH that I didn't want to abuse and so load the RMC hulls with a low pressure (7000psi) load using IMRs 7625 and 1 1/8 oz shot.

February 19, 2010, 10:40 AM
I can fire blackpowder shells just as fast as I can fire anything else - I just can't see the target as well through the smoke.
It's the smoke that makes skeet's double shots so interesting while burning BP. :D

February 19, 2010, 04:13 PM
Give Graf and Sons in Mexico Missouri a call. 1-800-531-2666 They have paper hulls at about $131 per thousand for 12 gauge. They also have paper Gold medals around $85 a flat.

February 21, 2010, 09:25 PM
I buy American if I can.

February 21, 2010, 11:03 PM
Mexico MISSOURI. I see. I'm just a little skow.

February 22, 2010, 07:01 AM
I run a turkey shoot and we use federal gold medal paper hulls and we just toss them all in a big wooden box. If someone wants them we let them have them. We have one guy that will clean the box out of it gets full. It takes at least 1 55gal trash bag to empty our shell box if it is full.