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Can someone enlighten me about reloading pistol-caliber shot shells? I have reloaded for several years, but only standard shells.

Larry
 
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Larry, what caliber? and are you going to use shot caps, or shot and card?
Thanks for the answer. Trap, I don't know enough to ask questions about the construction of the shell, Please, lead me through it or give me site and I will do the research. I have been using Spreer Shot Shell and they are constructed with shot caps (blue plastic). I was unaware of the use of shot cards. As far as caliber, I have been using 38/357, but I am open as long as I can buy components.

Larry
 

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Larry, I could probably write a volume on it, and leave you more confused.:)
I started experimenting with it 50yrs ago in my 1917 Colt with the 12" bbl. I used '06 and .308 blanks cut off flush with the cylinder when chambered with the half moon clips. used an old steel .45acp case to cut cardboard and cork wads. Used the blank powder in increments until I had flame coming from the muzzle and shot scattered every where for a pattern. .45acp roll crimp over the cork gasket material wad.
The biggest problem is the centrifugal spin a rifled barrel puts on the shot or cap, making the pattern spread way to fast. I got a substantial improvement by dripping beeswax into the shot. It was a Quail killer at 10yrds, most likely illegal, but when you're living in the sticks and hungry, nothing is illegal!
Few years later, a buddy had a Contender with the .44/410 barrel, a bunch of brass, and bucket of Speer shot caps. If we could fit it in a shot cap, we tried it, with, and without the beeswax which always made an improvement. Pieces of piano wire with the wax was the most impressive. After seeing the results on coffee cans full of water, watermelons, and some unfortunate squirrels, I sure wouldn't want to get hit with one.
With the shot caps, we used the Speer loading data with some small changes for the loaded cap weight. BTW...if you use the wax, compensate for the added weight. When I was loading the 45 shotshells, standard LP primers, figured out a powder charge, waxed cardboard disc about the thickness of a credit card seated down snug on the powder, filled the case just short of the case mouth, cork disc, and crimped. I was young, dumb, and bullet proof back then.:rolleyes: Later I got a "little smarter", and did some looking to compare BP loads, and the smokeless equivalent. I did try some cut down .410 shot cups, but that turned into a waste of time and powder, as they took up have the case capacity anyhow.
If you have some specific questions, I'll do my best to help you out. I'm not the only one to experiment with this, just do a Google search for "reloading pistol-caliber shot shells?", and there's pages of results from guys like me that found what works, and what doesn't.
 

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If you go over to the Cast Boolits forum site there is a whole section devoted to loading "Shot Loads for Pistols" it is located under the heading " Casting & Reloading " . The "Shot Loads For Pistols" is right below the title "Reloading Equipment" and above "Smokeless Paper Patching" .
A lot of them ole boys are plagued with Carpenter Bees and enjoy woking up shot loads to dispatch the Carpenter Bee's with handguns ... You can read but if you want to ask questions ...you might need to sign up and become a member . See if this link will get you there www.castboolits.gunloads.com I'm not computer smart this link might drag you off into the weeds ... I don't know .
Gary
 

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Larry, I could probably write a volume on it, and leave you more confused.:)
I started experimenting with it 50yrs ago in my 1917 Colt with the 12" bbl. I used '06 and .308 blanks cut off flush with the cylinder when chambered with the half moon clips. used an old steel .45acp case to cut cardboard and cork wads. Used the blank powder in increments until I had flame coming from the muzzle and shot scattered every where for a pattern. .45acp roll crimp over the cork gasket material wad.
The biggest problem is the centrifugal spin a rifled barrel puts on the shot or cap, making the pattern spread way to fast. I got a substantial improvement by dripping beeswax into the shot. It was a Quail killer at 10yrds, most likely illegal, but when you're living in the sticks and hungry, nothing is illegal!
Few years later, a buddy had a Contender with the .44/410 barrel, a bunch of brass, and bucket of Speer shot caps. If we could fit it in a shot cap, we tried it, with, and without the beeswax which always made an improvement. Pieces of piano wire with the wax was the most impressive. After seeing the results on coffee cans full of water, watermelons, and some unfortunate squirrels, I sure wouldn't want to get hit with one.
With the shot caps, we used the Speer loading data with some small changes for the loaded cap weight. BTW...if you use the wax, compensate for the added weight. When I was loading the 45 shotshells, standard LP primers, figured out a powder charge, waxed cardboard disc about the thickness of a credit card seated down snug on the powder, filled the case just short of the case mouth, cork disc, and crimped. I was young, dumb, and bullet proof back then.:rolleyes: Later I got a "little smarter", and did some looking to compare BP loads, and the smokeless equivalent. I did try some cut down .410 shot cups, but that turned into a waste of time and powder, as they took up have the case capacity anyhow.
If you have some specific questions, I'll do my best to help you out. I'm not the only one to experiment with this, just do a Google search for "reloading pistol-caliber shot shells?", and there's pages of results from guys like me that found what works, and what doesn't.
Sounds just like some snakeshot 'wadcutter' I have made in 357. Used trail boss and an over powder card..some 8 or 9 shot and another card and a good roll crimp. Not good past a few yards..but good enough on snakes and rats.
 

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Sounds just like some snakeshot 'wadcutter' I have made in 357. Used trail boss and an over powder card..some 8 or 9 shot and another card and a good roll crimp. Not good past a few yards..but good enough on snakes and rats.
sg, that's pretty much it. I haven't loaded any since TralBoss hit the market, but it would be the best powder I can think of to play with. Did you ever try the beeswax for more range? The smaller the shot with the wax, the better the distance.
 

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If you go over to the Cast Boolits forum site there is a whole section devoted to loading "Shot Loads for Pistols" it is located under the heading " Casting & Reloading " . The "Shot Loads For Pistols" is right below the title "Reloading Equipment" and above "Smokeless Paper Patching" .
A lot of them ole boys are plagued with Carpenter Bees and enjoy woking up shot loads to dispatch the Carpenter Bee's with handguns ... You can read but if you want to ask questions ...you might need to sign up and become a member . See if this link will get you there www.castboolits.gunloads.com I'm not computer smart this link might drag you off into the weeds ... I don't know .
Gary
If you use shot loads in a revolver you might (will) have to drill out the flash hole, When I used a shot load in my TC super 14 I never had a problem, but when I used them in my Redhawk the primers would back out and lock up the gun!
If you do drill out the flash hole keep those cases just for shot loads,
 

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sg, that's pretty much it. I haven't loaded any since TralBoss hit the market, but it would be the best powder I can think of to play with. Did you ever try the beeswax for more range? The smaller the shot with the wax, the better the distance.
I never tried the wax idea in the shot..though have used wax bullets or plugs for fireforming.
 

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I tried a few different ways with the 357. Ended up just using about 4.5 grains of 231, push a gas check down against the powder, put in 110 grains of #6 shot, top it with another gas check, and then do a heavy roll crimp to hold the check in. 5 grains is okay also and it kicks about like a light mag load (1200fps in 5.5" barrel) - so I saw no need to go hotter than that. Suggest lead shot so your rifling doesnt get ratted out.

#2 shot makes a pretty stout load and will go through 7/16 cd plywood at 10 yards with no trouble. I keep two of those in my bedside revolver as it is hard to miss even in the dark with it.
 

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I’ve tried them on and off since I been loading. I find them fairly useless. I think people get carried away when they talk about effective range. Any that I’ve put together are useful only in feet not yards.
If you use big enough shot for any kind of penetration the pattern is so sparse as to make them a joke.
Talk about killing Rattle Snakes at 25’ tells me somebody is stretching a tale or the snake is having a very unlucky day.
The most effective type I’ve made is to clip lead solder into lengths that fit in Speer shot caps. Like little tube of pencil lead. I think for the volume of a cylinder this will give you most weight vs shot. It’s still not good for more than 8-10’ on a snake.
They are good for shooting things at close range when bullet is not practical.
 

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I had been wondering how to construct these type of cartridges as well. I know I can buy some for .22 but thinking if I was to encounter a dangerous snake I’d probably want more shot than what fills a .22LR case.
I assume I probably wouldn’t want to shoot out of a semi auto pistol, strictly revolver? Do they sell the cardboard pieces or need to make own? Sounds like it’s tedious to place those into the cases. Does the roll crimp hold the final cardboard cap tight enough or do you need to apply some wax like they do with some blanks?
TD
 

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I use two gas checks. One right side up on top powder and one over the shot, lightly crimped. If doing 357/ 38 hard to beat Speer capsules 44 & 45 you can do better DIY.
 

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I played with loading them a few years ago, and like Dem27 said, they are pretty useless. I bought one box of the .44 Magnum capsules and one box of the .38/.357 capsules and that was the extent of my loading them. I still have seven of the .44 magnum ones left.
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These things are the only reason I ever bought a Speer Reloading Manual, it is the only manual that had a recipe for them, because the capsules are made by them. I gutted old shotgun shells to get the shot for them. These capsules are self-enclosed, so you don't really need any kind of shot card (I don't think), or at least I did not use any. I screw up a bunch of them trying to figure out the crimp on them until I realized that they don't need any kind of heavy duty crimp.
 

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I played with loading them a few years ago, and like Dem27 said, they are pretty useless. I bought one box of the .44 Magnum capsules and one box of the .38/.357 capsules and that was the extent of my loading them. I still have seven of the .44 magnum ones left.
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These things are the only reason I ever bought a Speer Reloading Manual, it is the only manual that had a recipe for them, because the capsules are made by them. I gutted old shotgun shells to get the shot for them. These capsules are self-enclosed, so you don't really need any kind of shot card (I don't think), or at least I did not use any. I screw up a bunch of them trying to figure out the crimp on them until I realized that they don't need any kind of heavy duty crimp.
Looks like you used a roll crimp on the seven you have left?
 

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I was engaged in snake hunting for skins back in 80s. Copperheads. A guy was paying [email protected] Me and a buddy not only hunted them but prepared a line of “hides”. We ran them just like trap line. We didn’t want to shoot snake at all. Any hole would dock $25 price. We would shoot it with shot capsule only if it was going to get away before we could grab it. They would stop a snake at 3’- 4’ enough to grab it but you had to be careful that aggravated them.
I have never had to shoot a snake to prevent getting bit. So moral of story is if you are caring to shoot snakes you are better of with light loaded cast bullet. At snake range shouldn’t be a problem to hit it.
 
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