12 Gauge "Dime Loads" (Crazy idea tonight)


Travis McGee
June 21, 2005, 02:16 AM
I had a crazy idea tonight, brought on by the discussion of best weapons for home defense. What would a 12 guage load consisting of about 15 dimes stacked up be like, at close range? Would the stack fly out like a slug, and then start to tumble and flip all over the place? I wonder if it would make a "cloud" of shrapnel, and then slow dramatically after a short distance?

Don't get me wrong, I don't think this would be a great defense load. It just made me curious, from a physics/ballistics point of view, to know how a stack of dimes would fly. If anybody is loading 12 guage this week, maybe try a "dime load" and pattern it, and let me know.

I know, it's a nutty idea. I'm just curious, that's all.

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June 21, 2005, 02:24 AM
The pattern would be a royal mess. Ball is stable, and a proper bullet with rifling is even better. A stack of disks would fly out with no aerodynamic stability whatsoever. We generally shoot lead shot from shotguns because it is nice and soft and carries a good deal of mass. Dimes are really light, and would probably tear up the barrel. If you could keep them in a shot cup, it would probably not damage anything, but it's still going to be really light. Frankly, I wouldn't even consider trying it.

Kind of a funny thought to try it out, though. Anybody got an old shotgun they don't like?

Malone LaVeigh
June 21, 2005, 02:27 AM
That was referred to in an old '70s cowboy movie which I can't remember. Maybe an early Clint Eastwood or Butch Cassidy. Anyway, I always thought it was one of those laughable myths. There was a discussion of such myths here or on THR a couple of years ago. I referred to the dimes thing and someone else claimed it was used in an old west gunfight.

June 21, 2005, 02:30 AM
It's called a dollar fourty load 'cause you can stack 14 dimes in a AA wad in a 2 3/4" shell. It's a poor performer. Stick with 00 Buck.

June 21, 2005, 02:35 AM
Please do not try this in a choked shotgun or with MODERN DAY PLASTIC WADS. This was supposed to be an old riot control load used by cowboy sheriffs, so when you mentioned it I went and tried a dime in a 12 gauge , it wouldn't go through the choke but will go through my choke less short barrel cowboy action shotgun, then I tried it in a plastic shot cup wad, it might be forced to work but now you have the added thickness of the wad petals. So if you are going to try this don't use the shot cup on the wad and use an cylinder bore shotgun.

June 21, 2005, 02:41 AM
That was referred to in an old '70s cowboy movie which I can't remember Young Guns
Billy shot the sheriff Bob with the sheriff's own shotgun loaded with dimes
"Hello Bob... Good bye Bob, best dollar eighty I ever spent." ...

June 21, 2005, 02:48 AM
"Young Guns". (Eighteen dimes in a 12 GA) "Goodbye Bob!" (BOOM) "Best dollar eighty I ever spent.

I love that line.


( joab is a bit faster then me.. :D )

June 21, 2005, 03:56 AM
seen an episode covering that on history channel"s wild west tech a while ago. seems to me to be a waste of dimes figure 00 wolud be considerably better. They showed some death picts of that shotgun load. fairly nasty. I don't think I would try it in modern weapons with choke inserts, might be a "bad" thing

June 21, 2005, 08:35 AM
I doubt that this was EVER a popular load of anykind. Consider how much $1.40 was back in those days and you will quickly discover what a huge waste of cash that would be. Not to mention the fact that a thin sheet of a light metal is about the crappiest balistic performer that can be imagined.

June 21, 2005, 08:45 AM
Pretty sure the History Channel's Myth Buster series completely debunked this in an episode last fall.

June 21, 2005, 08:52 AM
Not to mention the fact that a thin sheet of a light metal is about the crappiest balistic performer that can be imagined.

Up until 1965, dimes were made of silver, which has 93% of the density of lead.

June 21, 2005, 09:05 AM
Yup, Mythbusters. They shot dimes at a pig carcass at closs range. Most of the dimes didn't even break the skin. The buck shot at the same range did much more damage with complete passthrough.

June 21, 2005, 09:06 AM
What about pennys? Why not pennys? Too big?


Just cut up a bunch of pennys into jagged little shards.... :what:

Travis McGee
June 21, 2005, 09:17 AM
I knew I'd find out all about it if I asked! Thanks.

June 21, 2005, 09:30 AM
According to the legend that's what Billy the Kid used to shoot a deputy during a jailbreak. I would imagine if there is any truth to it at all, that he had gotten access to a muzzleloading shotgun, with powder but no shot. I guess he had dimes in his pocket.

June 21, 2005, 11:12 AM
Click here: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=70006

Some research by the in house research and de-development crew.


June 21, 2005, 11:24 AM
How about the old flechette rounds they used in Nam?

June 21, 2005, 11:37 AM
Although "dime loads" may have been popular in the days of the Old West, I don't recommend them now . . . remember, it's the 21st Century, and money doesn't go as far as it did back then. :neener:

June 21, 2005, 11:58 AM
I believe I have heard of steel darts being used as well. Not sure if that is legal or not.

Even if Dimes are a poor performer, I doubt grand juries would look at that as a good think when the review came around.

June 21, 2005, 01:22 PM
If it didn't work, could you ask for your change back?

Or would that be considered "bad taste?"

June 21, 2005, 03:48 PM
What year of dime should you use for Zombie horde control? or giant spider bears? :neener:

June 21, 2005, 07:43 PM
The fluchetts were aluminum "nails" with formed fins on one end.

These were tried in Vietnam, and were a failure.
The darts are like needles and can cause fatal penetrations of body organs and death.

The problem is, they are fatal........eventually.
Since the shotgun is, at best, a short range gun, eventually is not something you want in your face.

The light, nail-like fluchetts have no mass and often the recipient didn't even know he'd been fatally hit until his system suddenly collapsed.
There were reports of even the small Vietnamese continuing to run and shoot even after an effective hit.

The dime idea has been around a long time, and was used as late as Vietnam where various Special Forces experimented with it.
SEAL's were heard to refer to these as "Keep the change, Charlie", and believed the flat dimes would cut through brush better.

However effective, or ineffective the dime load was, it was a load of SILVER dimes, not the modern bi-metal coins.

The TV show that showed an ineffective dime experiment against a pig carcass was a show about Billy the Kid.
The shooter was actually using a 10 gauge shotgun.
In this case, the load would not work due to the bore being too big for the 12 gauge sized dimes.

The bigger 10 gauge bore would allow too much gas leakage.

There may well be something to the dime load idea, since even Jeff Cooper once remarked that he loaded his house shotgun with loads of dimes.
I assume he would have checked to find out if it actually worked.

What we need is a volunteer with a Cylinder Bore 12 gauge and some real silver dimes to try this and report back.

In truth, dime loads, fluchetts, Rubber balls, Dragon Flame loads, string shot, and all the other "gimmick" loads never works as well as standard #4, #1, or #00 buckshot.

NOTHING says "Stop that" like a load of buckshot.

June 21, 2005, 09:25 PM
""gimmick" loads never works as well as standard #4, #1, or #00 buckshot"

Amen to that. And let's not forget the "forgotten buckshot size", #0. The old standard single ought load was 12 .32 cal pellets in a 2 3/4" 12 ga shell. Sometimes hard to find, maybe hard to sell, but certainly an excellent choice for serious purposes. :D

June 22, 2005, 01:26 AM
I'm almost tempted to try this. My HDSG is a Stevens 311 with trimmed back tubes, hence no choke. Problem is, last time I checked, silver dimes cost more than 10 cents and I'm pretty sure that a trip down a 12ga barrel and the impact into a backstop would drop them down a grade or four. A co-worker is a big coin collector, he may be able to secure me a handful of poor condition silver dimes. Would be interesting to say the least.

And BTW, said 311 is currently loaded with a couple of #4 shot, but the buttcuff is full of Federal Maximum Load 0 buck. Stuff patterns great, and I seriously doubt the guy on the wrong end would notice the missing "0".

Dave McCracken
June 22, 2005, 03:53 AM
Real silver dime loads may have some positive effect when fishing in werewolf territory, but otherwise it's best to stick to standard ammo. The stuff works.

June 22, 2005, 03:05 PM
I really get tired of all the convoluted discussion about using silver bullets and shotgun loads of silver dimes to deal with the occasional werewolf.

Besides being expensive, shooting guns in the city limits brings unwelcome questions from the neighbors and the police, and disturbs the wife.

Why make things complicated?

Just use your large size "Have-A-Heart" live trap to trap the little beggar.
Haul him down to the nearest city park, or even better, the local college campus and release him.

Considering the people usually present in these places, who'll ever notice him?

June 22, 2005, 03:09 PM
Actually, I think it was "Young Guns II" that had that scene, along with Billy the Kid's supposed "thick wrist, small hands" feature that allowed him to slip the cuffs.

June 22, 2005, 05:30 PM
I got a Werewolf that lives around these parts, but he seems like a nice enough fella, wouldn't want to shoot him with dimes or any other metallic objects. Catching him in a live trap might be kinda amusing tho', how big do they make those things? :evil:

June 22, 2005, 05:41 PM

June 22, 2005, 05:47 PM
The TV show that showed an ineffective dime experiment against a pig carcass was a show about Billy the Kid.
The shooter was actually using a 10 gauge shotgun.
In this case, the load would not work due to the bore being too big for the 12 gauge sized dimes.

The bigger 10 gauge bore would allow too much gas leakage.

Wait- you saw poor "scientific" method on Mythbusters?!!!
Say it isn't so! :rolleyes:

(Seriously, as much as I try to enjoy the show, Jamie and Adam need to get their act together or only instead just honestly end each myth with "inconclusive due to sloppy testing".)


June 23, 2005, 01:49 AM
The TV show that showed an ineffective dime experiment against a pig carcass was a show about Billy the Kid.

The shooter was actually using a 10 gauge shotgun.
In this case, the load would not work due to the bore being too big for the 12 gauge sized dimes.


Assuming that they were using a wad/cup, the diameter of the dimes vs. the diameter of the bore shouldnt have made much difference. I mean really, the most common projectiles fired out of shotguns are nowhere near large enough to creat a "gas seal" on their own, think about 000 buckshot for moment.

June 23, 2005, 06:46 PM
The first movie that featuring the dime load was the classic 1973 Western Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid starring James Coburn, Kris Kristofferson and Bob Dylan. Highly Recommended to all western lovers (director's cut only)

Billy the Kid (after blowing away the deputy with the dime load):
-"Keep the change, Bob"

June 23, 2005, 08:35 PM
Bob keeps "ten thin dimes" in each of the barrels of his shotgun. He begs Billy to try and escape so he can "spread [him] out like a crazy woman's quilt." (http://www.einsiders.com/reviews/videorisks/sp-patgarretandbillythekid.php) There must be some truth to the dime load, or the writer and/or director of young guns saw the other movie

Connecticut Yankee
June 26, 2005, 07:18 PM
This is off topic, slightly, but this whole thread is making me a bit dizzy. All I could think of was Pahoo in the old "Yancy Derringer" TV series in the late fifties. What load did he use in his sawed-off 12 gauge double? Think first, then scroll down.
"Nine split 00 Buck in each shell...that's 18!"
Okay, what was the name of the actor who played Pahoo?
"X- Brands as Pahoo-Ka-Ta-Wah"

Ref.: http://www.fiftiesweb.com/tv/yancy-derringer.htm

June 26, 2005, 10:17 PM
Might be in interesting idea for CSI....kind of like the meat bullet. Something to throw off the criminalists.

June 26, 2005, 11:07 PM
How about dimes? What about pennies? Why not brass coat buttons or old aspirin tablets? :rolleyes:

I've got an idea, how about buckshot size #1 thru 000! :D

June 27, 2005, 01:32 AM
that's crazy talk.

June 29, 2005, 04:41 AM
As the guy who has DONE this with a 12 ga shotgun with 90 gr of ffg black powder and a thick over the powder wad to keep the pressure up I certainly would NOT want to stand in front of it.

My thought was the dimes would hit in a column en mass, and then scatter... so you'd have an 'explosive slug' sort of effect. Granted, at short range.
PS I've used plastic wads, cigarette paper and just plain fiber pads and loose shot... makes little to no difference in how it patterns.

I just might try the experiment again... anyone want to loan me a pig carcass?

I know nine .36 caliber balls over 90 grains is a stoat load for the old Pedersoli... and we know buckshot works...the trick is could real old dimes work?

June 30, 2005, 05:14 AM
How many dimes would it take to load both barrels? In today's money I imagine that'd be around 25 or 30 dollars per barrel. After watching them bounce off the coat wrapped around the animal carcass on the History channel, I can't help but wonder if somebody forgot to seperate fact from fiction--not that it hasn't happened before. Emergency use only in rare circumstances? Maybe. General practice? Hardly.

Might work to stop stage holdups. Shoot a couple barrels, and the bandits would be jumping off their horses fighting over the dimes. :D

July 3, 2005, 10:38 PM
Flechettes are made from parkarized steel and they come in several different sizes, from the army "beehive" rounds. Some might be aluminum, but I don't have any so they just don't exist :neener: , I've loaded pretty much anything and everything and shot it, done a large amount of pressure testing on steelshot way back in the 90's (seems like yesterday- oops; it was) and the flechette rounds suck because they don't have enough weight to get any kind of actual load to build pressure in a hull. 38 darts equals almost 300grains, the load doesn't even fit a 12ga hull properly, some of the darts have to be put in backwards to get a proper "pack" and then roll crimping with a overshot card is a must. They don't pattern worth a darn, BUT at 30 yards they will get some SERIOUS action providing you load 43gr of "Steel" powder and doctor the purpose steel wad AND have a 30" or longer barrel- the powder doesn't even reach 10 grand in a 28" with this load and a tight-a crimp. It is almost as effective as a .410 #4 birdshot load :banghead: BTW: the dime thing Does work, but is a real joke as compared to #1 or #2 buckshot. I sifted and sorted thru my bags of hevishot and ended up with about 200 pellets that each weighed over 24gr, so I think (but don't know) they will more than likely outperform anything I've tried soo far.Super fast steel (1600fps) kills a lot of ducks/geese and is relatively cheap- soo -- It will continue to be a staple in my expermintal reloading habits. Grafs currently has steelshot on clearance for anyone interested.

July 4, 2005, 03:00 AM
What about devising some sort of "slicing slug" device? As in this:

(sorry for the crappy MS Paint representation... it's all that this computer has)

The entire contraption hits the target, with the reddish outer "casing" disintegrating. The lead tip moves forward, but the disks move outward in strange, unpredictable directions causing massive damage.

What do y'all think? The biggest problem I see is the reddish casing. What material could it be made out of that would hold together during ignition and in-flight, but disintegrate upon impact? Maybe if the lead tip was a hollowpoint, and the mushrooming effect would split or possibly shatter the casing away from the disks... :confused:

Sorry, just my mind going 225 mph in the middle of the night with waaaaay too much coffee... :D :uhoh:

Giolli Joker
July 6, 2005, 04:08 PM
@ Dionysusigma
Isn't this similar?

QB 8 - 8 pellets (Armor Piercing) - Quadrangle Buck is made from a steel cylinder cut into two layers of four pie-shaped pieces per layer. The numerous sharp edges gives excellent penetration; however, the light weight and poor ballistic shape limits its effective range. The Quadrangle Slug (12 gauge shotgun only) is a revolutionary slug designed as a nonexplosive fragmenting munition intended specifically as an anti-vehicle or anti-material slug. It is capable of disabling automobiles, light aircraft, and marine vessels. This is due to eight pie-shaped hardened steel pellets wrapped in a cylindrical plastic boot (to protect the bore of the shotgun).


July 8, 2005, 01:37 AM
Someone should do testing of dime loads at different ranges. If they'll penetrate like a slug at room distances, but scatter and bounce off a pig at 30 feet, that might just be a good alternative to birdshot for apartment-dwellers.

July 8, 2005, 11:48 AM
One of my shooting budds tried this trick several years back...Now please note that I always knew he was not the sharpest knife in the kitchen. . . .

Anyway, he heard of the dimes in the 12-ga trick, so he thought he would try it out. . . Took one of his Magnum waterfowl loads, and dumped the shot, cut off the shot cup portion of the wad, and put in a stack of dimes. Took said ammo and shotty, and set up a gallon water jug. The particular shotty in question was a fairly new [at the time] Rem 1100, with a 28" or so FULL Choke barrel.

Just before Bud*** let loose with his [ahem] 'Custom' ammo, I asked "Hey, what choke is that barrel?"

"Full", Bud says while shouldering the 1100.

ME: "I don't think the dimes will... BOOM!!!

Bud, staring at undamaged gallon jug 7 yards away "*** ? ? ? ? How did I miss ? ? ?" Raises 870 to shoulder to blaze away again with a standard #4 load, but can't see the jug, due to the last couple of inches of the barrel looking more like a "Blunderbuss" than an 1100. "***? ? ? ? What happened to my gun ? ? ? ? ? ? :what:

Me: "Did you see if a dime would go through the muzzle?"

Bud: "Yeah, I checked and it wouldn't. But I KNEW the dimes would moosh down, just like a slug does. . . "

I never went shooting with "Bud" again, nor did I EVER shoot any of his reloads.

***Names have been changed to protect the guilty.

Carl N. Brown
July 14, 2005, 08:52 PM
The dime is about the worst aerodynamic shape for a projectile
you can come up with. They deccelerate to about 120 fps within
20 feet or so and do not penetrate denim.

Also, double barrel 10 gauge, eighteen dimes per barrel, $3.60,
in the late 1800's that about three days wages. You could buy
ten boxes of 10 gauge buckshot, twenty-five shells per box, from
Sears for less than $3.60, or buy seventy-two nickel beers at the
saloon. Only a hollywood screenwriter would load a shotgun
with silver dimes.

July 18, 2005, 02:16 PM
This has probably already been brought up, but this is in line with a story associated with Billy the Kid. This load was tested on some show in the history channel and it was found that the dimes did way less damage than regular buckshot does.

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