Muzzleloading Shotgun Loads and Patterns


Play Hard
May 6, 2008, 09:25 AM
I am working on getting a tighter pattern from my various muzzleloading shotguns. Aside from the powder and shot charge issues (which I am still trying to figure out), my intuition is that the overshot card gets in the way and acts as a shot spreader as it leaves the muzzle. Does anybody have thoughts or remedies in this regard?

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May 6, 2008, 11:20 AM
They make the overshot cards as thin as possible so it doesn't interfere, or at least not very much. I have seen some people who had overshot cards made of cork. They were a little thicker than the paperboard but they break apart when they leave the barrel and perhaps present less of an influence on the pattern. I did know one guy who improved his patterns by using a heavy paper shot protector similar to the plastic wads in modern shotgun shells. He cut the petals so it would rip apart when it hit the air and it also protected the bore from leading and the malformed pellets that result when there is direct contact with the interior of the barrel.

May 6, 2008, 01:36 PM
I have a shotgun that's threaded for choke tubes and the best pattern that I was ever able to obtain was by using modern plastic shotshell wads. But I did find that I needed to unscrew my extended choke tube to load them past it.
I used crumpled up newspaper and/or triple size cotton balls as an over powder wad which didn't seem to interfere with the pattern at all. I also made sure to protect the base of the plastic wad from melting with another layer of newspaper and/or cotton over the powder, and the plastic didn't melt at all using substitute powders.
But the wadding did smolder on the ground and flutter in the air after the shot.
I have more modern OP & OS wads to use now though.
Then I came across these CVA plastic shotshell wads, but I never did try them out to compare the results with the performance of the modern smokeless wads.
The label shows that the diameter of these are .718 for loading past the choke, and they have a large 1.5 oz. capacity.
Is your shotgun choked or threaded that would make loading modern plastic wads too difficult?

May 6, 2008, 01:56 PM
Playhard I`m not sure if you are talking front stuffer or shells rear loader ...but From what you say ( muzzle loader shotgun ) I`ll take it you mean front stuffer , as in smoothbore ....The best patterns I have gotten , is when I can find it I use wasp nest as a over powder cusion , and as a over shot material , it`s light weight yet packs well ..and when you fire your charge , it`ll break up fast ..I get good patterns out of my smoothbore useing it , gotta look for it in the winter when the wasps aren`t home will hold your shot colum in place better than a over shot card , by forming to fit .

Play Hard
May 6, 2008, 02:42 PM
Good scoop guys. I have used plastic shotgun wads and it makes sense that they would work better than a over powder card which may tend to punch thru and spread the lead shot right after leaving the barrel. I have not had any trouble with melting and it appears the flaired cup at the base of the plastic wads serves it's purpose as a seal quite well. Have seen no sign of melting.

The plastic wads are a pain getting through the chokes though. I have tried knurling in the base edges in on a hot frying pan and then they load through the choke, but it ruins the flair cup.

I do worry about setting the woods on fire while bird hunting and hurling burning paper all over... The wasp (hornet) nest material is a great idea. It probably burns too, but if it holds the shot in place I can see how it would disintegrate after you pull the trigger.

Does the newspaper or wasp next material hold tight in the second barrel after the first shot for double guns?

I have some of those big thick and loosely constructed fiber wads. Do you suppose one of these would disintegrate after the shot?

May 6, 2008, 02:57 PM
Never have used a double barrel front stuffer ..only single barrel smooth bore 54 cal .which would be something like a 20 ga shotgun with open choke , I have shot skeet with it and done well ...Just don`t throw me dubbles ..LOL
I figure the wasp nest material must burn up on the way down the bore , I`ve never found any of it on the ground after shooting .It must be the little holes in it that help hold the shot together , probally much better than a smooth face cardboard card ..I wonder what the cardboard card over the second barrel load does when you fire the first barrel ? That could be a problem , I`ve never thought about it ..

May 6, 2008, 04:22 PM
I have some of those big thick and loosely constructed fiber wads. Do you suppose one of these would disintegrate after the shot?

You can also cut those in half or even thinner and try that. Easier to find than wasps nests.

Play Hard
May 8, 2008, 03:35 PM
Ok, next question: I'm trying to shoot roundballs from by 12 ga double Pedersoli with screw chokes. I bought two cyl tubes from Carlson, but the tubes are slightly larger than the bores of my gun, and there is a sharp ridge that snags my patched roundballs and makes loading difficult to impossible. It appears to effect accuracy too. I'm trying to find out from Pedersoli and Dixie if they have Pedersoli matched cyl choke tubes to sell but have no luck getting a solution from either. Has anybody dealt with this? Any ideas on getting a tube that matches the Pedersoli 12 ga bore?

kentucky bucky
May 8, 2008, 05:37 PM
Some folks make "shot cups" out of paper to enclose the whole shot charge and give it a tigher start out of the barrel.

May 8, 2008, 09:54 PM
I don't know where the sharp ridge is, where the choke tube meets the interior bore there is a step? Or is the ridge on the upper inner lip of the choke tube?
Choke tubes usually do create an internal step where it meets the bore which shouldn't affect an exiting projectile much, only loading one. But an improved cylinder choke may shoot more accurately, at least they do for modern slugs.
If the ridge is on the upper inner lip of the choke, then an extended choke tube is easier to remove and replace.
Most smoothbore shooter's use an undersize ball by at least .020 and a thicker patch which should resist tearing and helps to make for easier loading.
Are you using a ball larger than a .69? Those reportly do shoot well in fixed choke Pedersoli doubles.
The gun may shoot better with a ball or slug that can be loaded into a plastic shotshell wad and rammed without a patch and which will not be as affected by the rough spot.
Buying new chokes may not solve the problem, but you can always ask this Pedersoli distributor for advice and/or about Pedersoli choke availability:

Slugs & Molds:

Play Hard
May 9, 2008, 02:50 PM
The ridge is the internal step from bore to choke. It's sharp and cuts my patch or snags to make loading impossible. Accuracy is horrible. I shoot three foot groups at 35 yards! even with light loads (50-60 gr). The balls I bought from TOW are supposed to be .690, maybe go smaller? Also, have you ever heard of anybody using a minie in a smoothbore 12 ga? I'm looking for deer hunting accuracy out to 50 yards if possible.

May 10, 2008, 05:20 AM
If you read this Wikipedia article about shotgun slugs carefully, it provides some useful insight about what kind of projectile is designed to shoot well through smoothbore shotgun barrels.

I don't recall hearing any reports about the accuracy of using a minie in a smoothbore. Any projectile can be test fired through a smoothbore if it's properly sandwiched between 2 wads or cards though.
May 21, 2008, 06:03 PM
I have been diddling around with a T/C Treehawk 12 guage which I bought having been told it was a full choke but which turned out to be IC. Pattern was very sparse, not nearly tight enough for its intended purpose, turkey hunting. I have finally come up with a load which gives me the equivalent of an extra-full choke: 1/14 oz volume equivalent Triple 7 FFG, then a thick cardboard over powder wad, then a plastic shot cup slit NSEW 1/2', then 1 1/4 oz copper plated #6 shot, then a thin over shot card. I tried splitting a fiber wad for over-powder and over-shot but it didn't give me the density I want out to 40 yards. Couldn't find anybody to install chokes or back bore the bbl so this is my solution. :D

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