Shotshell - overshot wads


July 6, 2010, 10:18 AM
Does the use of an overshot wad raise pressures at all? I am working on some (undocumented) 20ga light loads and may need to resort to an overshot wad to keep the crimp from collapsing. Having never done that before, I'm curious what the potential ramifications might be (altho I must stress that these are really light loads that I have worked up in stages).

I'm also curious if anyone has ever patterned a load with overshot cards to see how the card effects patterning. I would expect the pattern to be blown in places due to the card deccelerating much faster than the shot and obstructing part of the pattern, but that's just a guess.

Lymans is no help WRT the ramifications of using overshot cards - just says that sometimes ya gotta use 'em.

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July 6, 2010, 11:54 AM
The overshot wad won't raise pressures, but as you noted it will probably put some holes in the pattern. The only way you'll know for sure is to put some loads on the patterning board and see where the shot falls.

I've still got some of the old paper shells with overshot wads. Maybe one of these days I'll try to pattern some and see if it really did make a difference.

Hope this helps.


July 6, 2010, 12:00 PM
I dropped my 20 gauge from 7/8 to 3/4. I added a Cheerio on top and the dished crimp went away - MUCH easier than dealing with overshot cards

July 6, 2010, 12:42 PM
Or, you could put the filler wad in the bottom of the shotcup and not affect the pattern.

If the shot charge fits the wad correctly, the crimp will not need an over-shot card wad.


July 6, 2010, 01:33 PM
The issue that I'm having is that I want to make light 5/8oz or 3/4oz 20ga loads and most any wad that I have found is sized for 1oz or 7/8oz shot loads.

My specific combo that I'm trying to get to work is 3/4oz of #8 1/2 shot in a BP Sporting 20 ( wad set in a Federal straight wall hull. At 3/4oz, the shot column is well over the shot cup petals but the OAL is just too short for the hull. Since this is the longest wad that I could find, I am trying to find a way to make it work.

I have found that the six-point Remington promo hulls are strong enough to hold a good crimp even with a gap between the shot and the crimp. They rattle a bit, but they seem to shoot OK. Sadly, the Federals will not hold a crimp properly with the combo as described, and I have a ton of the Federal hulls that I'd like to be able to use... :)

I may try the cheerio idea (that's CLEVER!) since I expect it to have no net effect on the pattern, or move to a Win AA 20ga wad and use a filler on the bottom.

Thanks for the help, gang.

July 6, 2010, 02:10 PM
Claybuster AA clones are for 7/8 - the standard load for 20 gauge - All I did was drop to 3/4 and use a Cheerio. Then I read about adjusting the cam, and along with a little tweak on the precrimp and final crimp, the dish went away and I now shoot 3/4 oz only

July 6, 2010, 02:30 PM
What hulls do you use - Remington?

July 6, 2010, 02:39 PM
I use both Remington Gun Clubs and Winchester AA

July 6, 2010, 06:27 PM
I also load both Remington and Winchester AA the same, but in 12 gauge. I also prefer the undershot filler. You just place the wad, or whatever you choose to take up space, in the wad before dropping the shot. It works like a champ. In fact, Lyman recommends this process with some of the lighter loads in 12 gauge, using a 20 gauge card wad under the shot.

Hope this helps.


July 6, 2010, 07:35 PM
I reload 12 gauge and I have a 3/4oz. load using no extra wad cards or fillers. This gives me a 28 gauge load in my 8-1/2# gun - talk about soft shooting.

RBERNIE - Federals are straight-wall hulls, Gualandi, or similar style wads designed for those hulls will work fine. One thing, if you're using a press that is adding wad pressure, adjust so there isn't any - modern hulls and wads don't need any. Making that adjustment, along with the ones I mentioned earlier, eliminated the dished crimp without using a Cheerio anymore. I really like the way my 3/4 oz loads work with my new 20 gauge SxS with a wood butt plate - shooting 100 sporting clays is no issue with the recoil

July 6, 2010, 08:05 PM
My standard load is 7/8 oz. of 7.5 shot in the 12 gauge, with no fillers using the Downrange XXL wad and Red Dot powder. It's mostly for Cowboy Action shooting, but I also use it for trap and sporting clays and I hold my own with it.

There are wads for just about any hull and load. You just have to look for them and search out data. I buy my shotgun components from Connie's Components: With the exception of shot, which I buy wholesale from the manufacturer, Connie's has about the best prices I've found.

I know this thread is about 20 gauge, but some of the same principals apply.

Hope this helps.


July 6, 2010, 08:09 PM
Good point about components - I buy them in bulk through my local club - they get a truck delivery from the wholesaler about every three weeks - saves on shipping AND hazmat - when you add in these lower loads, the savings from reloading start to really add up.

Fred - if you like 7/8, try 3/4 using the AA clone from Claybuster or downrange (AA12L, grey).........use your same load and drop the payload to 3/4 - recoil reduction will be a minimum of 15% doing no other changes

July 6, 2010, 08:45 PM
I've considered the 3/4 oz. load, and may give it a try when I finish up with the 7,000 wads I've got on hand now.

When I last bought shot from the manufacturer, it was $22.00 per bag, with a 1,000 pound minimum. That was less than half the retail price. I'm hoping with lead prices going down that it will be even less when I place my next order.


July 7, 2010, 05:54 PM
What's the preferred under-shot wadding?

July 7, 2010, 06:42 PM
You can use a card wad under the shot, inside the wad. Some recipes call for two card wads, so you can experiment and see what works best. You can also use the appropriate size punch and make fillers from thick felt. Ballistic Products sells felt wads for this purpose, but I think I'd make my own first.

I've punched card wads from various types of cardboard, prefering either cereal boxes or shoe boxes. They all work and you just have to experiment until you get the thickness you want.

Hope this helps.


July 7, 2010, 07:51 PM
Or use pre-made veggie card wads one bore size smaller.personally, I like the Cheerio or press adjusting - both are cheaper and easy to do

July 8, 2010, 03:44 PM
Find a piece of steel tubing or pipe with inside diameter close to what you want. Cut and dress end square, grind the OD to a sharp even edge and make your own undershot wads punched from desired cardboard thickness.

July 8, 2010, 06:42 PM
Thanks, all. This is all great information to tuck away for a rainy day.

For the moment, I've cured my immediate issues by switching to the AA 20ga wad; it's longer in OAL and (most importantly) longer in the length of the cushion between the gas seal and shot cup.

July 8, 2010, 07:18 PM
I developed a 1/2 oz. 12 ga load to duplicate .410 ballistics and a friend and I shot well over a 1000 rds in sporting clays with no problems. I contacted Ben Ammonette (sp) at Alliant Powder to get some pressure testing as I already had done chronographing work. I sent him a dozen rounds after explaining the load to him and the results from their lab is as follows:
12 ga AA case
15.3 Red Dot
AA white wad (the 1 1/8 wad)
Winchester 209 primer

1283 FPS
31 FPs ES
4720 PSI avg
850 psi ES

The wad choice matters very little because filler takes up all the room in the case. The filler is Puffed Rice cereal, and it is put in the case after you dump the shot. You simply fill the charged case to the top with puffed rice or puffed millet and continue the loading process ie. start crimp and final crimp. Patterns are excellent ,actually better than you will get with a .410 due to the short shot column and lack of damage to the shot. You WILL take some ribbing from your shooting buddies when the powdered puff rice floats by in the air but they are fun to shoot and let you shoot .410 loads out of 12 ga guns.

As far as 3/4 oz 12 ga loads use the AA gray wad, a bulky powder like Red Dot or Clays and adjust your crimp. It will be deep in the center but done right will not leave a hole that shot will leak out of.

3/4 oz in the 20 ga is really easy. Use 13.5-14 grs of Intl Clays, the current 20 ga Winchester AA wad in a Gun Club 20 ga case. Fits like a glove.

PS I'm with the Cheerio guy

July 8, 2010, 08:57 PM
Thanks for the info - one thing I would wonder though - millet is very small and heavy compared to Cheerios or puffed rice.............have you weighed the final charge before crimping? What did it weigh? I suspect you will be closer to 5/8, maybe 11/16 with millet.

How did they pattern?

July 8, 2010, 09:27 PM
I was talking "puffed millet" which is essentially the same as puffed rice and total buffer wt is in the range of 10-15 grs total which is a negligible amount. As I said in my post patterns are as good as you will get with 1/2 oz. of shot. Unlike the .410 shell with a tall shot column where more shot is crushed and distorted at the base and sides of the column, the shot charge in the 12 is very short and wide deforming almost no shot. The puffed rice or millet is just there for the crimp, when the shell fires it disintegrates into dust and probably acts a little as shot buffer. I used the pink 1 oz wad, the grey 7/8 wad and white 1 1/8 wad they all gave the same velocities the only difference was the amount of puffed rice. I loaded on my Mec Grabber and scooped the puffed rice out of a container with a 12 ga hull that had the crimp cut off. I filled the hull to the top (after the shot had dropped) before it advanced to the crimp starter.Try them they work great.

July 8, 2010, 09:38 PM
Thanks for answering - didn't know about "puffed" millet - always nice to learn something new every day.........12-15 grains is only about 3-4 pellets in that from a pet store or???? Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the Cheerios......have used them in 28, 20 and 12 light loads.but always nice to have alternatives............

July 8, 2010, 11:10 PM
Got the puffed millet from a grocery store, it's breakfast cereal same as puffed wheat and rice.

July 10, 2010, 04:04 PM
I use instant grits. Under the shot in the wad. I use the appropriate Lee powder measure to throw the needed amount of "grits" then the shot and then crimp. I used this mostly to load 1-3/8oz duck loads back when lead shot was legal for waterfowl hunting ('70's-80's)

I also use grits to buffer my buck-shot loads. I've also used grits as a filler under a .40S&W bullet to make .410 slug loads. (yes, they were accurate at 50'- haven't tried them any further as they were for a self-defense load at bed-room ranges from a SnakeCharmer for a friend).

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