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V.I.P. Member
Posts: 90
(8/9/01 9:49:39 am)
Reply | Edit | Del All Hey Polish, it's MO! About those 12 GA. loads!?
All right, buddy, now you got me goin' on this, yur gonna' have to help me out here. I have never handloaded before. Over the years I've accumulated alot of the equipment (Lee single stage and a scale, mics, veniers, etc.)thru swaps and such, but never did anything with it! I shoot mostly military stuff and could never justify putting the time and money into handloading, being that surplus ammo is so cheap! Anyway, I was wondering, Is shotshell reloading a good place to start? If I'm only going to be experimenting(low volume), can I get a single stage press for shotshells. Can I get into this on a limited scale with not to much clap-trap?
Any feedback would be appreciated!
Anybody else have any thoughts?

Senior Chief Moderator Staff
Posts: 1427
(8/9/01 10:04:26 pm)
Reply | Edit | Del Re: Hey Polish, it's MO! About those 12 GA. loads!?
Sorry Mo, I've been away for a few days, not on much at all.

I actually use a Lee Load-All Jr, that cost me about $12 about 20 years ago, it still does the job, but it's getting kind of loose, especially when I use the base sizing ring. I don't resize them any more because they work fine through my pumps, if I had an auto I would. I always intended to "upgrade" to a $30 Load-All, but haven't done it yet.

It's slow as hell, and you have to use dippers, but shotgun shells are pretty low pressure and pretty hard to screw up.

The first thing you HAVE to do is get the free catalogue from

Then after you get it, order the "Slug and Buckshot Manual," it will be the best $5 you ever spent.

Interestingly, I paid $5 for mine about 15 years ago, it's ratty as hell after all those years, but I still use it alot. No inflation there!

They have all KINDS of neat loads, like SWAT loads with Slug and buck, two slug loads, High Vel 12 loads that use a 16 ga slug in a cup that acts like a sabot, etc.

Plus you learn all about temperature, and it's effect on loads and pressure. It's pretty noticeable in a shotgun.

That's one of the reasons to reload, all factory loads use "compromise" loadings designed for 70 degrees F, so it can be used safely at any temperature, but you lose ALOT of energy in cold weather, and get high pressures and blown patterns in hot weather.

You can use roughly the same loads with different powder for the conditions and get top performance in any weather.

I love loading shotgun, just have trouble with some crimps opening on loads that aren't shot for years.

I started using a cardboard overshot wad, and it solved the problem.

Believe it or not, I like reloading paper hulls best.

After you load some 1 oz target/hunting loads and get good at it, try dropping a roundball into the center of the shot, no real precision, just "by eye," doesn't matter what size, try like a .45 cal first, then crimp as usual. I've used everything from single 00B (.33) to .50 roundballs for this test.

Take a couple of off hand shots at about 30 yards at a silhouette target, and you will be surprised how easy it is to keep the ball in the kill zone, then keep moving back, until you miss.

Once you do this, and see your nice little "group" of .45 hits in the A/B zone of a target, surrounded by all those little pellets, you'll start to appreciate the area/point capability of the shotgun, and REALLY start your experimenting with buck-n-ball loads, bird-n-ball, bird-n-buck, etc.

It's eye-opening, AND fun as hell.

Eibar Pimp. "Pssst! 'Ay Meester..."

Senior Chief Moderator Staff
Posts: 1428
(8/9/01 10:16:20 pm)
Reply | Edit | Del Re: Hey Polish, it's MO! About those 12 GA. loads!?
Oh yeah, as to cost.

I usually use #7 1/2 for everything I hunt, so I don't have to buy tons of lead, that's where most of the cost is. Lead shot fluctuates in pice quite a bit, it's cheaper to buy 25# at a time, so I always have some on hand.

Buck is pretty expensive, I have a couple of 5# bags of 00 and 0 buck. I am going to just start using .30 cal lead roundballs I can buy at Friendship as a test.

Slugs work best with a roll crimp, but the crimper is an extra expense, and you'll wreck some hulls til you learn the technique.

Hang around any range where novices are shooting clay for the first time, and you'll get tons of once fired brass for free! I got about 300 rounds of once fired AA one day like that! (I love stupid people )

Primers are negligible, I usually only buy a couple of hundred at a time, not thousands like when I loaded for my .45.

Powder is pretty neat, because most shotgun powders also double for handguns also. I use 700x mainly, because it was my IPSC .45 load, and there are lots of shotgun loads with it.

A few cans of faster or slower powder and you're all set to experiment.

I use either Versalite wads (Only because I still have a ton, I'm not sure they are better or worse than others!) or the Ballistic Products Gas seal with cardboard and felt wads. (The seals work great for slugs/buck, and I picked up the felt/cardboard for a SONG at a flea market one time, the guy didn't know what he had, I got like 5 boxes, I'm set for life!)

Yeah, you can load shotgun pretty cheaply...
Eibar Pimp. "Pssst! 'Ay Meester..."

V.I.P. Member
Posts: 91
(8/10/01 8:45:39 pm)
Reply | Edit | Del Re: Hey Polish, it's MO! About those 12 GA. loads!?
Hey Polish,
You Da' Maaan! I'm gonna start checking out the big sporting goods houses around here. It should be fun and educational cause I don't know where squat is around here yet! I've got Ballisticsproducts in my favorites and I'll be checkin' em out soon. I'd like to try BB with round balls about 350-375cal. Like to see how they'd work together. Does the right size shot act as a sort of buffer/load unit when it's mated with the right size ball? Because of my love of shotguns, I can see how this could become a whole pastime in itself. Kind of like those guys that reload for a rifle at their bench on the range. I just picked up an 870 from the gunsmith today. Bought it about 3 weeks ago in CT. Had him cut the barrel to 18 1/2". Now all I need's a +2 mag ext. The best gunsmith in this part of the state has his home/shop about 10 minutes from my new house. There's a real nice shootin' club about 5 minutes from my house and the smith said he'd sponser me. The people up here are real nice, not like down there in the New York MEGALOPOLIS! Before I go live back NEAR a city I'll "drink muddy water an' sleep in a hollow log" just like the song says! Thanks for all your guidance, all you guys have been helpful. It's been nice havin' good people to talk to, you know, not knowin' anybody here after leavin' my home and all.
( I hope that wasn't too warm an' fuzzy an' unmanly)
Your Buddy,

Edited by: MO JENKINS at: 8/10/01 9:48:12 pm

Senior Chief Moderator Staff
Posts: 1810
(8/10/01 9:45:04 pm)
Reply | Edit | Del Re: Hey Polish, it's MO! About those 12 GA. loads!?
Hea! MO, you can also load split shot on 100lbs mono line for some big fun............smooth bores, they bring good things to light..............
"am not" R2

Senior Chief Moderator Staff
Posts: 1430
(8/12/01 9:52:59 pm)
Reply | Edit | Del Re: Hey Polish, it's MO! About those 12 GA. loads!?
Mo, buffering is usually done with a plastic/teflon mix BP sells specifically for it. I have also used other types of powders, up to and including talc, corn starch, and flour. (Use too much flour, and your buddies will think you are shooting Black powder!) I loaded a squib load once as a joke when some friends and I were screwing around with a trap and had my buddy shoot it, it was mostly flour, you shoulda seen the cloud! Screwed him up for the next few shots too, he never knew if I stuck any more in the box!

Small birdshot can buffer coarse shot and buck, but not as well as the powders. Birdshot acts more like a "fluid," while coarse shot and buck act like solids.

The purpose is to keep the pellets from deforming on "setback." Round pellets fly farther and straighter and keep a good pattern farther.

HOWEVER, the converse COULD be advantageous for a short range "stopper" load, I haven't done any comparison testing yet, but if you could somehow control the "flattening" of the bottom pellets in the stack, to intentionally get them to "fly" then you just MIGHT get it to open faster for very close range work. And a "deformed" pellet should transfer more energy and not overpenetrate.

Don't think I haven't given the split shot idea some thought, LTS...

This is just a theory of mine so far...more excuse for testing...

Remember, the heavier pellets must be towards the top of the load, they retain energy and speed longer, so they will "Blow through" the smaller stuff, if you mix them or load the heavier stuff on the bottom.

If you use shot for bufferring, you really aren't trying for a pattern of the small stuff, it's just along as a "kicker" anyway.

The frontiersmen used bird and ball loads for hunting in their muskets and fusils, you could take birds and small game like a shotgun on the wing, and you (usually)wouldn't have to worry about hitting it with the ball, but you were ready with the ball in case you ran into a bear or a Shawnee warrior.

They loaded the ball LAST, it went out in front of the pattern of shot when fired.

Eibar Pimp. "Pssst! 'Ay Meester..."

Edited by: polishshooter at: 8/16/01 9:59:29 pm

V.I.P. Member
Posts: 86
(8/13/01 9:37:26 pm)
Reply | Edit | Del Re: Hey Polish, it's MO! About those 12 GA. loads!?
If you check the auction sites you might find a Lyman EZ loader for not much money..I think it is the machine Lee copied to make there inexpensive machine..It is all metal and
works great..It was made in all gauges and conversion kits
were available also..Bought mine back in the early 70's and it
still does a great job,slow but time is cheap..
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