View Full Version : Hand loading for winchester 97 for sass

December 8, 2010, 01:38 AM
I load 45lc,now i need to load 12 ga. Question: What cases,primers powder, wads and shot do i need? What brands? What is the best?i have been told to use #4 shot or smaller,federal or remington primers, etc. Whats is the best place to purschase? Any help would be great.

December 8, 2010, 08:04 AM
Greetings JOHNACM and welcome aboard

The Winchester 97 is a modern (smokeless powder) shotgun. Some older, unaltered, Winchester shotguns may have short chambers. Before you shoot yours, have the chamber length verified -- there's a very small chance that it may not be suitable for standard 2 3/4-inch shells (you can load them, but they won't work properly). If it isn't, not to worry the gun can be updated (most old Winchesters already have been) or you can use short shells.

Do you intend to load smokeless or black powder? Let's assume that you're going to use smokeless powder, it's much easier to start with. Next you'll need a shot-shell loader. There are many threads devoted to loader selection.

Before you start worrying what components to use, what are you going to do with the gun? With shotguns, it's the use (intended target) that determines the load type. Turkey shooting uses different loads than hunting doves. If you go to the shot-shell manufacturers' web sites you'll get an idea of the broad variety of loads available and their suggested applications.

After you decide what load you want (like a 12-ga, 2 3/4-inch, 1 1/8-oz, 3 dr. eq., #7-1/2 shot, Trap/target load), then get a recipe for that load from one of the many data sources. For the trap load, one recipe, from the Alliant Reloader's Guide is:
• Remington STS Plastic hulls
• Remington 209P primers
• Alliant Clay Dot powder, 18.6-gr
• Winchester WAA12 wads or equivalent
This is just one of many recipes that will work for the example load. With shot-shell loading it's not a mix-n-match situation. You must use the recipes exactly as they are shown in the guides.

You may want to reverse engineer your loads based on component costs. Determine which components are the cheapest and then find a recipe for the load you want using those components. With shot-shell loading the most expensive component is the shot. For economy (and reduced recoil), many shooters reduce their 12-ga loads to 1-oz or 7/8-oz. There are many recipes for reduced loads.

Good luck

Oops… I just noticed the reference to SASS, do they not have shot-shell load guidelines?

Fingers McGee
December 8, 2010, 12:25 PM
What Zippy said.

There are probably as many pet shotshell loads as there are SASS shooters. Since you are going to be using a '97, I'm assuming you're gonna be using smokeless powder since the '97 is not SASS legal in any BP category. Any good shotgun reloading manual will be of infinite value to you for smokeless loads.

A Lee Loadall II is a great beginning shotshell reloader. They're cheap (can be had for under $30 used) and easy to use.

The only limit that SASS places on shotshell loads is "Shotgun shot size must be number 4 lead birdshot or smaller for all events (no steel or
plated shot)." Some clubs/ranges require #6 or smaller. You'll find that most people use #7 1/2 or #8 shot.

Check with shooters at your local SASS club. They'll be glad to help you along.


December 8, 2010, 02:15 PM
One hint that I can pass along is that if you're on the quest for "authenticity", do not use brass cases. They look great and very old-timey, but the '97's action will manhandle them to within an inch of their little metal lives.

I load them up with black powder for my ancient SxS shotgun, but after one trip through my ~1903 '97, I found out why I shouldn't have done that.

December 9, 2010, 12:14 AM
One reply said the 97 was not for sass. Let me quote the rule: The only slide action shotgun allowed is the model 1897 shotgun, wether orginal or replica. My is a orginal.

December 9, 2010, 04:06 AM
You misunderstood Fingers, he said they are not legal in BP (black powder) events, the Model-97 is permitted in smokeless powder events.