All-brass shotshells


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TMM
December 29, 2005, 02:02 PM
saw these in a MagTech catalouge. what are the benefits? better longetivity? somthing else? how do you crimp it to keep the shot in?

~TMM

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MCgunner
December 29, 2005, 02:18 PM
No thanks!!!!!!!!! I'm a waterfowler. Read my "bring back Active shot shells" post. :D I'm getting sick of sticking shells from corrosion. Salt marshes are hard on shells. I duck hunt, about all the shot gunning I do anymore.

Oldnamvet
December 29, 2005, 02:30 PM
All brass shotshells - I have used them for the hell of it. All I usually see are disadvantages. They take large rifle primers and you don't load them on a normal shotshell reloader. I had to fabricate some crude tools to take out spent primers and put in new ones. Then you put in the powder, wad(s) and shot followed by an overshot card. I used plastic wads but some people go for the old fiber wads. Then you can dribble in some white(Elmers) glue to seal it off or use what used to be called waterglass. Makes cleaning the barrel a mess anyway. No crimping of the shell. Maybe the cowboy action shooters looking for real period ammo will use them with black powder.

Fred Fuller
December 29, 2005, 05:58 PM
Once upon a time long long ago... but not in a galaxy far far away...

Shotgun shells were made of paper, coated with wax in an attempt to keep them water resistant. That worked reasonably well, considering that the previous alternative to self contained cartridges was one-shot-at-a-time frontstuffers- which is to say, muzzle loaders. Folks today who have not studied history and/or taken up black powder shooting have little appreciation for the differences modern ammunition and the repeating firearms that series of developments made possible for us in the here and now. Used to be when people referred to a fellow as being heavily armed, it was because he had to carry a separate firearm for every shot or two he wanted to fire.

But developments in self contained ammunition changed all that very quickly and in completely revolutionary fashion. Repeating firearms first showed up as revolvers, first pepperboxes which had a separate barrel for each shot, then Colt type repeaters with a fixed barrel and revolving cylinder. These were still frontloaders fired by percussion cap, but they still proved a revolutionary development and a great leap forward in firearms technology. There were revolving rifles and revolving shotguns produced at the time as well.

With the massive amount of firearms development and fielding brought about in the crucible of the War Between The States, wide use of the self contained cartridge became a given. First came rimfire technology as produced in the Henry and Spencer repeating rifles with tubular magazines. The need for stronger cartridge cases to contain larger powder charges brought developments in centerfire ammunition, to include shotgun shells. Early shells were made of brass, as were other cartrige cases. Later paper was employed in shotgun shells to save money and ease manufacture, since shotguns are low pressure firearms.

Wars are almost always both the reason for new developments in firearms technology, and the proving grounds for new technologies. World War One was no different. The Great War saw fairly widespread use of the shotgun in trench warfare, growing out of its early successes in the fight with the Moros in the Philippines. ( http://www.bakbakan.com/junglep/jp-17.html ) The shotgun employed on both occasions was the Winchester Model 1897, a pump action tubular magazine repeater. Much of the ammunition was paper hulled.

In the rigors of warfare however, soldiers cannot always provide ideal conditions for their equipment. Paper hulled shotgun shells, in spite of their wax coating, swell when they get damp. When they swell, they will not function through the action of the shotgun. Thus the military went back to using all brass shotgun shells for combat ammo. This persisted through World War Two and on into the early years of Vietnam- I have friends who used all brass hulled 00 buck loads in Winchester Model 97 trench guns in Vietnam, and found them quite useful- as had their fathers and grandfathers before them.

The war in Southeast Asia brought about its share of new developments also, among them the plastic shotgun shell, heat sealed at the crimp and lacquer sealed at the primer to make it prety much waterproof. Nirvana had arrived...

I am reasoably sure the shells you saw are there for nostalgia more than for everyday use, and priced accordingly.

lpl/nc

MCgunner
December 29, 2005, 06:11 PM
I have an old 20 Gauge Wanda somewhere, see through yellow hard plastic with a plastic wad at the end to seal it. Remember those? I kept it all these years just because I figured it'd be a curiosity someday. Not real sure where it is, but it's around here somewhere.

I still say the Activ was the best plastic shell I ever used. Only metal it had was in the base encased in plastic to hold the primer and facilitate extraction. They were corrosion proof. Today's shot shells are NOT the best they could be. I posted on this in another thread, but the steel part ("brass") rusts soon after being carried in a salt marsh environment. You probably wouldn't know this if you don't hunt waterfowl in salt marshes.

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