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Old February 27, 2020, 11:32 AM   #1
gregnsara
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8ga double barrel

I recently bought a Belgian 8ga double barrel shotgun, percussion, pre 98 muzzle loader. I can't seem to find much of anything as far as information on this gun. I've had it looked at by a gunsmith and he says it's in very good condition and safe to shoot. Thing is, I can't find any loading data for this gauge. Anyone here have a good resource for loads for this gun? I currently have some 5 shot but I'm wanting to try out as wide a range of load sizes as possible.
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Old February 27, 2020, 01:46 PM   #2
T. O'Heir
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Prior to W.W. I, there were literally hundreds of small gun shops all over Belgium(mostly in or near Liege) making all kinds of firearms. Usually with Damascus barrels, that are not considered safe to shoot with any ammo.
Keep in mind that you cannot use it for migratory birds due to the Migratory Bird Act.
Anyway, these guys talk about a guy named Tom Armbrust who wrote a book about the 8 Gauge. You have to join the forum for any of the links to work.
http://parkerguns.org/forums/showthread.php?t=18512
There might be 8 gauge data in the Lyman BP Handbook and Reloading Guide too. I'm not at home to look.
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Old February 27, 2020, 04:21 PM   #3
gregnsara
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Not really sure where the migratory bird thing came from, but I'm just planning on shooting it for fun, and probably will only shoot it a few times a year. Also, as I originally stated, it has been inspected by a gunsmith and he determined it to be safe to shoot. Anyway, thanks for the link, I'll check it out.
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Old February 28, 2020, 12:47 PM   #4
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"...the migratory bird thing..." Saw it mentioned on a site. Didn't know there was a gauge restriction myself. Just knew about the 3 in-the-gun rule.
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Old February 28, 2020, 01:32 PM   #5
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The feds don't want people to have an unfair advantage to shooting migratory birds.

While pursuing migratory game birds, it is illegal to:
c) Other Methods
Take migratory game birds with a trap, snare, net, rifle, pistol/handgun, swivel gun, shotgun chambered for a shell larger than 10 gauge, punt gun, battery gun, machine gun, fishhook, poison, drug, explosive or stupefying substance or possess any shotshells larger than no. 10 gauge.
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Old February 28, 2020, 01:44 PM   #6
Jim Watson
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In the 1901 Sears catalog, the only load shown for 8 ga SHELLS was 5 1/2 drams powder and 1 1/2 oz shot. I'd start with less powder. The old rule of thumb for BP shotguns was equal volumes of powder and shot. That gives low velocity but close patterns.
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Old February 28, 2020, 01:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blindstitch View Post
The feds don't want people to have an unfair advantage to shooting migratory birds.

While pursuing migratory game birds, it is illegal to:
c) Other Methods
Take migratory game birds with a trap, snare, net, rifle, pistol/handgun, swivel gun, shotgun chambered for a shell larger than 10 gauge, punt gun, battery gun, machine gun, fishhook, poison, drug, explosive or stupefying substance or possess any shotshells larger than no. 10 gauge.
The operative word there is "shell". A muzzle loader doesn't use shells. (but I don't know if "punt gun" has a legal definition so they might get you on that with an 8 ga)
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Old February 28, 2020, 07:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zxcvbob View Post
The operative word there is "shell". A muzzle loader doesn't use shells. (but I don't know if "punt gun" has a legal definition so they might get you on that with an 8 ga)
Punt gun most likely refers to any shotgun not intended to be fired from the shoulder. Most likely. You might ask a federal fish cop for his opinion should you ever get the inclination. A cloud of #2 bismuth from an 8 bore gun would be a fun way to take a few Canadas...

WRT Damascus barrels, if they are in good condition, no pits or dents, they can be fired safely with black powder loads. We do so all the time. Keep great grandpa’s shotgun alive!
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Old February 28, 2020, 10:09 PM   #9
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I think you may want to sleeve it for 12 gauge and shoot it for posterity and hang it on the wall. If you try and shoot smokeless powder loads in a damascas gun and it delaminates you are going to be hurt and people near you as well.
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Old February 28, 2020, 11:00 PM   #10
Jim Watson
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It's a muzzleloader.
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Old February 29, 2020, 05:52 AM   #11
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This ^^^^^. Posts lost sight of that with all the talk of shells and sleeving, etc.
The OP can find appropriate wads and cards at Circle Fly. https://circlefly.com/products.
They have nitro cards, fiber wads, overshot cards available down to 4ga.
Loading. The good news is that, since it is a muzzleloader, you have a great deal of leeway in how to load it. Use black powder or a substitute with a granulation no finer than FFg. I would load it, if it were mine, with Fg. I would start with a “square” load.....use the same measure for both powder and shot. I suspect that an 8 gauge digested a pretty heavy load....the gauge translates to two ounces (Eight pure lead round balls of 0.835” diameter = 16 ounces)
Using the same measure for both powder and shot.....two ounces of shot....the measure will give you 146 grains of Fg Swiss BP ( a 5 1/2 dram load). I suspect that is enough to get your attention. You can choose to load down. Maybe start with a four dram load....108 grains of BP.
Make sure that you use tight overshot cards and that you check the second barrel charge after firing the first barrel....to be sure that recoil has not moved the load forward. It is recommended to use an OS card one gauge larger than the bore.
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Last edited by darkgael; February 29, 2020 at 06:14 AM.
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