Old Shells...


February 20, 2008, 12:39 PM
Remembering old shotgun shells:

- Paper hulls with a wax coating.
- All brass shells.
- Buying loose shells from a tin bucket on the counter.
- Wood crates shotgun shells came in.
- When shotgun shells were made to specifications.
- The back of the box had a chart with suggested shot size and choke for various game.
-Activ, the all plastic shotgun shell.

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February 20, 2008, 01:41 PM
I remember the "waxed paper" shells. Have seen a few all-brass ones, but never shot any.

Have bought a few 'bucket rounds'

Anyone else remember when powder charge specs were in "Dram Equivalent", and the suggested shot size/choke info was on the back of the box?

I very vaguely seem to recall an all-plastic shell in 12-Ga called Alcan. Red plastic, very slightly tapered at the front, with a kind of press-in plug holding the shot charge in place.

February 20, 2008, 03:14 PM
All of the above with the exception of all brass shells. I rememember when the brass had designs embossed into them and the boxes qualified as works of art.

February 20, 2008, 03:33 PM
How about 20 boxes of shells to a case.

I don't need the extra cardboard they use to make 10 box flats. I need MORE SHELLS!

February 20, 2008, 06:43 PM
I still have a half box of paper Eley 20 ga. (made in Canada) #6 shot. Kind of a dried corn color, certainly not the yellow of today. My father bought them back in the 60's for pheasant.

February 20, 2008, 07:45 PM
Getting brand new box of shells , I mean whole box was pretty neat as a kid.
Opening the lid right there in the Mom & Pop Gun, Hardware, Feed, Seed & Tractor store and looking at all them brand new shells , one going one way, the next one the other...

"We got a drawing for knife going on, just tear off that box top, put your name on it, don't need a phone number, we know how to reach you, and you might win a brand spanking new knife..." - the nice man or lady said.

Whole box of brand new shells ...but the thought of a brand spanking new knife...still a whole box of brand new shells....but that knife...

Wooden floors creaks as a little kids puts weight on one foot, then the other, looks up at a mentor, "Up to you, gotta pay to play you know" and then looking at the brand spanking knife you might win.

Little boy starts to hand the box to mentor, pulls back and then finally he hands the box to a mentor.
Mentor tears the lid off perfect and writes the little boy's name on that box top and the little boy is picked up and he puts his box top in the sealed box.

Some stiff paper is put on top of that new box of shells and tied with string.

Drawing is held and folks have shown up, kids up front, all antsy and hoping really really hard. Adults, watching kids, and looking at each other...

A girl wins that knife, she is so excited, and everyone claps. All the kids go over and congratulate her, and get to see that really neat knife.

Then the kids look for that box top that had been in that drawing box with their names on them.

Cellophane tape puts box tops back on boxes with some of the shells missing...

Take a look at some old shells in a box, with tape holding that lid on, and see if a name was written on the inside on the lid...

There just might another story that old box of shells could tell, if it could talk.


February 20, 2008, 09:01 PM
Before I was old enough to carry a gun, I used to follow along with dad while he was hunting. when he shot and shucked that pump gun, I'd grab the hull and put it in my pocket before I took off running to get the rabbit/pheasant/ whatever (he seldom missed). Later at night I used to keep those empties in my room and sniff them. It would instantly bring back going hunting with dad. Still does. Hulls kept that smell a long time. Usually mom would find them and throw those "dirty old things" out. OK, I'd always get some more. I used to also stick my head out the car window and smell the gas when dad used to fill up on the way out of town to go hunting. Hmmm ... sniffing gas and old shotgun hulls as a kid. That might explain a lot.:D

February 20, 2008, 09:20 PM
I remember Activ shotshells. I liked 'em. Easy to reload.

I also remember when factory paper shells had a small circle of paper over the crimp, marked with the shot size.

John Peddie
February 21, 2008, 08:57 AM
Earliest memories of shells are the old (here) dark blue 12 ga. made of paper.

Just a kid, only a BB gun, hunting rabbits with shotgun-toting "elders" in winter.

Those old shells had a smell all their own when freshly fired...nothing ever smelled that good to a small boy. Well,maybe Christmas dinner, but that was only once a year. Shells could be anytime there was snow on the ground.

February 21, 2008, 04:46 PM
What's up with this 20 shell box??? That's like getting a 18 or 20 can case of beer. Niether works for me.

February 21, 2008, 07:10 PM
Activ plastic shotshells were packed 20 shotshells per box. That's what kept the price per box the same as regular shotshells. Later you realize you only got 20 shells. Nevertheless, Activ did reload very nicely. I still have a couple hundred squirreled away.

February 21, 2008, 07:29 PM
20 shell boxes are a marketing ploy. Hunters don't count their rounds like clay shooters. They buy a "box" and dump it into their hunting coat and hit the field. Some of them take a while to realize that they aren't getting what they used to get in a box. I'm surprised the marketing gurus haven't made the boxes the same size and just somehow packed the shells to take more room.

February 21, 2008, 11:44 PM
Did they look like this?





Remingtons on the left, and a couple of Winchester Ranger from the same era on the right.

February 22, 2008, 12:05 AM

Thank you for posting them pictures!

I remember...

Do you have any other old shells you could share with us please?

How about one with chart on the back with suggested shot sizes and chokes for various game.

Some of our newer folks have never seen any of this and ...err...they are a great excuse for over the hill folks like me to see these again.


February 22, 2008, 12:17 AM
Dogone it, that's all I have that are appropriate for the Shotgun forum. I do have a couple of boxes of S&W 9mm rounds. Don't see those much anymore either. The shotgun shells turned up when I helped move my father a couple of years ago, and I thought they were pretty neet too, so I kept them.

February 22, 2008, 12:21 AM
Hey, since we are talking about old paper shells, I remember a trick my cousin showed me when we were both kids. We would take a shell, and cut it vertically down the side so we could determine where the shot stopped. We would then cut most of the way through the paper sides, so that when the shell was fired, the front of the shell would seperate and theoretically hold the shot together longer for a tighter pattern. Seemed to work. Probably a miracle we didn't blow ourselves up. Anybody else ever heard of this?

February 22, 2008, 12:23 AM

I understand and really do appreciate your great pictures.
About what year are those shells? I am trying to peg a year.

S&W 9mm, how neat! I remember them and the other loads like 38spl special as well.

Hornet 6
February 22, 2008, 07:26 AM
We would then cut most of the way through the paper sides, so that when the shell was fired, the front of the shell would seperate and theoretically hold the shot together longer for a tighter pattern.

Yep done that, with plastic hulls, works ok.
Gives almost the same result as a slug, which we ain't allowed to have over here on a shotgun certificate.


February 22, 2008, 10:08 PM
Snarlingiron - thanks! Those pictures bring back memories. . .

Hornet 6 - Another trick is to open the crimp and pour melted wax into the shot load. This holds the load together and hits like a slug.

Hornet 6 - for a Brit, you write a lot like a Yank. :)

February 22, 2008, 10:34 PM
I have a friend who still reloads a Federal paper hull. I'm not sure on the specifics but I think they are the Gold Medal hull. I guess his neice was in the Junior Olympics and got a whole bunch given to her. When she stopped shooting she gave a bunch to him.

February 22, 2008, 11:34 PM
J.C. Penney
Montgomery Wards
Sears Roebuck "Ted Williams"

They all had their own brand of shotgun shells and shotguns

Hornet 6
February 23, 2008, 08:51 AM
Another trick is to open the crimp and pour melted wax into the shot load. This holds the load together and hits like a slug.

I have tried it and it works well, but cutting is quicker, and I may only do it once or twice a year.

for a Brit, you write a lot like a Yank.

To much time on USA based forums :neener:


February 23, 2008, 12:34 PM
Just looking at my old shell display. I have a few brass shells from the 1940's. Quite a few paper shells with the shot size on the end of the shell. A couple of Activs, a few Smith and Wesson shotgun shells with the silver colored heads. Paper buckshot faded out over the decades of sitting in my display case. Bunches of old rifle cartridges that were obsolete when I was born.

Just picking up old pieces that I found at estate sales and at older gun shops that let me rummage around in their junk rooms.

February 24, 2008, 03:29 AM
winchester super x's still have shot recomendations on the back last time i bought 'em (about 2 months ago).

February 24, 2008, 07:57 PM
Oh I miss the smell of recently-shot 16ga. paper hulls mixed with that *unique* Permian Basin aroma in west Texas. As a child I spent many an evening with my father, sitting around a tank waiting for the dove to fly in. The sun would set and we'd head back to the car, through the cantaloupe or watermelon patch, pick one up and take it home.

Dad was a Methodist minister who would occasionally sneak a Viceroy on the way home too. Come to think of it, the smell of that burning ember was an important part of the olfactory mix as well. Sorry if that offends the modern politically-correct among us.

I do miss you dad.


February 24, 2008, 07:59 PM
I do believe I've got several boxes of Federal paper-hulled 12ga. *copper-6's* that I loaded back in the mid-70's for duck hunting. Think I'll dig them out.


February 24, 2008, 09:50 PM
Fiocchi still makes a paper shotshell; it's stock number is 12FPH8. It's 3 dram equivalent with 1 1/8 oz. of #8 shot. I use it when I shoot trap. The paper shell just makes for a nice bit of nostalgia, and their performance is pretty good, too.

February 25, 2008, 02:33 AM
How about one with chart on the back with suggested shot sizes and chokes for various game.

I have one of those old charts from Remington posted in my gun run room. Not a great work of art but does have a decent sized drawings of all the North American Game animals and the suggested sizes for each. Maybe I will take a picture of it next time I am home.

Larry Ashcraft
February 25, 2008, 02:00 PM
Found some interesting ones last Saturday while going through my dad's shop. Way back in a corner, on a top shelf, was a box labeled "hunting vests and shells". I brought it down and opened it. Inside were two hunting vests full of shells plus a bunch of loose shells.

One vest had 56 shell loops and no game pouch (dove hunting vest ;) ). The shells were 4's, 5's and 6's with a few buckshot thrown in, so that box held duck and goose loads and had been stored up there before the lead ban.

There were a mix of paper and plastic, but the interesting ones were some bright yellow 3" magnum sixes with a very shiny finish (lacquer?) and the headstamp "Imperial, Canada". These wouldn't have been my dad's shells, since he never owned a 3" gun. Probably belonged to my brother.

I can post a picture tonight if anybody's interested.

February 25, 2008, 02:07 PM
I can post a picture tonight if anybody's interested.

Yes, would you please.

February 25, 2008, 06:38 PM
My father used to buy these Imperial shells from Canada in the late 50's because they were a little cheaper than other brands. Osco Drug in downtown Waterloo Iowa used to have them right next to the Kentucky Club pipe tobacco at the check out lane. Dad used to pick up a box of each. Maybe once a year I shoot one of them. The smell takes me back to 1959 again for a while. The shells were around $2 a box then and minimum wage was either $.75 or $1. Compare that to the ratio today. We complain a lot but is it really warranted?

Larry Ashcraft
February 25, 2008, 08:20 PM
Well, they're more orange than yellow, I guess. There's a couple of Peters and one Winchester paper loads in one picture. I still have quite a few of these. I also have some old paper 3" Peters 4 buck loads I occasionally use on coyotes. They all still go bang.



February 25, 2008, 11:08 PM
But I'm not having any luck posting pics.:banghead:

My 1st venture into reloading was with a Lee Loader...the hammer-whacker kind...and paper hulls in 16 guage.
We'd go out in the Everglades and shoot 'em up,then get the equipment out of the trunk and load some more. :D

February 25, 2008, 11:24 PM
But I'm not having any luck posting pics.

Dang it! I don't think I have ever seen Activ shells.

February 25, 2008, 11:37 PM

Thanks for posting those!

Would you get your butt in gear! - please *smile*

Activ shells are neat! I shot and reloaded slews of Activ.
I wanna see 'em again - and many have never seen...or heard of...

Those Activ really mess up the myth of - " a shell with higher brass is more powerful than one with lower brass".


February 28, 2008, 12:33 PM
I took some pics too. Some paper, some all metal.




February 28, 2008, 02:23 PM
Nice! I love those all brass ones.

February 28, 2008, 02:49 PM
I cut the size and will try from P.bucket.


YAY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

February 28, 2008, 02:50 PM
I still have some old Peters, Kent and Remington Express shells in a box in the closet.

February 28, 2008, 08:18 PM
Thank you!

Activ were great shells. WE used other offering of Activ and even reloaded them.

February 28, 2008, 08:19 PM

Thanks for sharing those!

Larry Ashcraft
February 28, 2008, 10:02 PM
I think this is a 9mm shotshell, standing next to a 12 ga one:


February 28, 2008, 11:45 PM
Neat !

February 28, 2008, 11:52 PM
I think this is a 9mm shotshell, standing next to a 12 ga one:

What kind of firearm used a 9mm shot-shell ?

February 29, 2008, 12:33 AM
We need a nice picture of a gun that shoots a 9mm shotshell please. *smile*

Hang on, John is good at this stuff and posts great pictures.

*I'm delegating*

February 29, 2008, 01:23 AM
Interesting article in February's Gun's & Ammo on the "paper" shot shells still being made. Federal's Gold Metal Paper shot shells are available.

March 1, 2008, 09:14 PM
Here's a cute one...


I think this is a 9mm shotshell, standing next to a 12 ga one:Larry,
Is this 9 mm a rimfire? Do you have any more information on the what or where of that cartridge?

Today I came across a Anschutz 9 mm rimfire single-shot shotgun. I have never heard of one, all I could find on the caliber is in a older "Cartridges of the World", which was not much, only that Winchester made guns for the round from 1920 to 24. Nothing on the Anschutz is the Blue Book or any of several other's I own, or if the rounds can be found or are available. A neat curiosity if nothing else.
Anything would be appreciated.

Larry Ashcraft
March 2, 2008, 11:39 AM
Yes, it's a rimfire. The headstamp is a "W".

I found some information here (http://www.ammo-one.com/9MM-SHOTGUN-SHELL.html). Apparently Winchester made the Model 36 from 1920 to 1927. "Cartridges of the World" says the only real use was probably pest control.

March 2, 2008, 01:09 PM
I read in an old book that the 9mm rimfire was a "garden gun" you could get shot shells or a round ball load . I have seen the rb shell it had a round ball crimped in the mouth of a brass case .
that aluminum cased 410 shell pictured could be military the air force issued aluminum cased 410's in a spam type pull tab can with those m-6 410/22hornet survival guns

March 2, 2008, 02:29 PM
"Model 36 Winchester bolt action 9mm Shotgun"



Sorry I'm late, I was on the road. Now, where's my camera and that box of 28 ga. Shurshot shells. Anything to keep from working on tax forms.

(Look at the second gun on this page www.euroguns.co.uk/acatalog/Second_Hand_Guns.html a current production 9mm garden gun.)


March 2, 2008, 02:39 PM
John knows stuff and shares with pictures.


March 2, 2008, 02:58 PM

This pic is titled "Bunch of old stuff." A Hay & Co. compass, my grandfather's hunting horn and a BGI & Co. adjustable shot & powder measure with an 1890 patent date.


March 2, 2008, 02:59 PM
You're quite welcome. I don't really know a lot, I just read and type real fast. :)


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