Shotshell reloading question


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Busyhands94
May 15, 2012, 02:26 PM
I have an old 16 guage shotgun that I'm hankering to put some BP shells through. It's a Farwell Arms break open that is choked down nice and tight so you can reach out far, plus I really like the 16 guage. I'll try and post pictures as soon as I can.

My question is if plastic shells are okay to use with BP (or substitutes) without them melting or weakening. I have used some APP loads in a 20 guage pump before with plastic shells, but something didn't seem quite right about it. I just think paper shells would be a better way to go but I'll use plastic ones if it's not going to hurt anything. I also have a big bag of soft iron shot, I don't know if that would be okay to use with BP. I don't think it will hurt anything, I mean if anything the residue from the powder would deposit on the iron shot pellets and make them break down faster.

Also, what are some load recipes for 16 guage BP shells? And can I use pyrodex FFFG in a shotgun despite the larger bore?

What really gets me stoked is the idea of getting some brass 16 guage cases and filling them with #7 1/2 birdshot and BP so I can shoot trap at the local gun club. I can't wait to see the heads turning when everyone is shooting smokeless and I'm not! :neener: Priceless!

Take care!
~Levi

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joecil
May 15, 2012, 03:11 PM
Yes the plastic shells can be loaded perhaps 1 time with black powder or pyrodex. I have loaded 12 ga in both plastic and brass. I have never tried to load the plastic much more than twice however the brass can be loaded a number of times. I also use wads I get from Buffalo Arms and not the plastic wads. I don't crimp either and use liquid glass to seal them.

arcticap
May 15, 2012, 03:34 PM
Duelist1954 made some videos about reloading shotshells using different methods. He does mention that plastic wads can be used.

1. Shotshell reloading without a press part 1 nail & dowel method.mov

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZ4IBv0Bg9U&list=UUOrzQir9WP9UpH8qtWx_ppw&index=101&feature=plcp

2. Shotshell reloading without a press part 2 Lee Loaders.mov

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBRX6i8Rp6o&list=UUOrzQir9WP9UpH8qtWx_ppw&index=10&feature=plcp

3. Shotshell reloading without a press - part 3 using antique tools.mov

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhT2l6808v4&list=UUOrzQir9WP9UpH8qtWx_ppw&index=9&feature=plcp

rcmodel
May 15, 2012, 03:41 PM
The iron shot in an old soft steel barrel with a full choke doesn't sound like a good idea to me.

Not good atall!

rc

Loyalist Dave
May 15, 2012, 03:45 PM
I never had a problem reloading shotshells and crimping the ends, when using Remington hulls, but the plastic wads were a no no. Left way too much crud in the barrels of my SASS shotgun. Switching to old time fiber wads fixed the problem. As it was only targets, I used 70 grains of 2Fg, and 1 oz. of shot in a 12 gauge hull.

LD

Busyhands94
May 15, 2012, 03:59 PM
Sounds like a plan! I just located a website that sells brass shells and wads, so I'll be set for a while!

It's good to know that steel shot isn't too good an idea out of a full choke, I'll probably just get a bag of lead shot or figure out how to make them. I am wondering about slugs though. Would a foster slug work given it has the ribbing on the sides to force down the full choked barrel or would that just create a pipe bomb?

Arcticap, I have used the nail and dowel method to load 20 guage with BP before, it worked marvelously! I used craft glue to seal the shells and homemade wads. For the shot I just used some buckshot. They were very fun! :)

I'd love to load some brass shells for this ol' beauty, what a lovely shotgun! Sorry to post such huge pictures, I'm just not sure how you re-size them.
http://i1178.photobucket.com/albums/x372/busyhands94/shotty2.jpg
http://i1178.photobucket.com/albums/x372/busyhands94/shotty.jpg

Y'all have a good day!
~Levi

drsfmd
May 15, 2012, 07:57 PM
I would have that gun checked out by a competent gunsmith before attempting to shoot it.

Busyhands94
May 15, 2012, 08:27 PM
That sounds like a good idea. It is old, and I'm not sure how old. But I wouldn't want a pipe bomb as I mentioned before. If I had to guess I'd say it was made around the 1950's or so. It does have a rubber recoil pad that doesn't look too old, but I'm still going to have it checked to be sure.

Hellgate
May 16, 2012, 02:10 AM
You risk shooting the choke out and scoring the barrel with any kind of steel or iron shot. I have used Pyro-P for shotgun as well as APP and real BP in the 12 ga with anywhere from 55-85 grs BP and from 7/8 to 1 1/8oz shot. I use plastic wads all the time. It will come out with any BP solvent. Even if I use card and fiber wads I always use a plastic over powder wad (or a cut off portion of a one piece plastic wad) to get a good seal in any tapered hull plastic shotshell (Remington and WW). A straight walled brass hull uses 11ga card and filler wads. With BP and the subs, any powder and wad combo that gives a decent crimp and a good pattern will work.

Busyhands94
May 16, 2012, 12:24 PM
A straight walled brass hull uses 11ga card and filler wads. With BP and the subs, any powder and wad combo that gives a decent crimp and a good pattern will work.

I guess I'll just have to play around with it and see what my shotgun likes best. I of course have no objections to testing loads, that just means I'll get to have fun making smoke! :D So from what I understand for brass hulls I'm supposed to get a wad that is size larger. Shot cups are rather tempting because I think it will make it pattern better.

Yet another question, does my crappy camera make this shotgun look like an old junker? It looks a million times better in person. It does have a nice brown patina on the steel, and there is still some color case hardening on the hammer. It does lock up tighter than a vault and feels sturdy. But of course I'm still taking it to a gunsmith to have it checked out to make sure I can use smokeless loads.

Hellgate
May 16, 2012, 12:40 PM
Patterning need not be complicated. Get a cardboard box if you can't find a flat sheet of cardboard. All you need is a staplegun, magic marker to draw an aiming point, butcher paper and a ballpoint pen to lable the paper. Staple a sheet of butcher paper onto the box, mark your center, get back 10 yards and blam at it. If you have holes in your patten they will show. A full choke pattern should put 90% of the shot into 10" at 10 yards. You will quickly see what loads produce the tightest and most even patterns. Shot sleeves do help produce more even patterns. Steel shot cups tighten them even more in cylinder bore guns.

drsfmd
May 16, 2012, 01:10 PM
That sounds like a good idea. It is old, and I'm not sure how old. But I wouldn't want a pipe bomb as I mentioned before. If I had to guess I'd say it was made around the 1950's or so. It does have a rubber recoil pad that doesn't look too old, but I'm still going to have it checked to be sure.

It's likely several decades older than that. It was a cheap gun when new, and may be nothing more than a pipe bomb now. You *really* want to get this checked out by a COMPETENT gunsmith, and have the chambers measured as well. My guess is that you will NOT get the OK to shoot it from the gunsmith, as it's probably not safe to shoot.

Busyhands94
May 16, 2012, 01:18 PM
I'm going to get it seen, I don't want to be missing any fingers.

It does have a serial number, I don't know if shotguns before the sixties generally had serial numbers but I'll be making dead sure it's safe to shoot before even buying shells.

Of course if I find that it isn't safe to shoot I could re-line it to .22 Hornet or something like that and put some iron sights on it.

arcticap
May 16, 2012, 02:01 PM
Farwell Arms single shot shotguns were made by the Crescent Firearms Company. The company was created in 1888 in part by taking over the former Bacon Arms Company of Norwich, CT and forming a new company. Production was moved from Norwich, CT to Chicopee Falls, MA after it closed down in 1931 and Savage Arms took it over in 1932.
According to the Blue Book of Gun Values, Crescent made guns with over 100 different trademarks for retailers, distributors, mail order houses, etc...
It further states that almost all remaining specimens today are priced as shooters rather than collectors, with the 16 ga. single shot having a 15% higher value than the 12 ga. single shot.
From the description about its condition and lock up, it sounds like a solid gun that was made from modern steel, essentially by a division of the Savage Arms Company.

A list of the various brands made by the Crescent Firearms Company is
listed on this linked page:

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080215191929AAWc1pb

Busyhands94
May 16, 2012, 05:57 PM
Thanks for the info Arcticap! I have been scouring the web and can't find anything on Farwell Arms. It is a very interesting and cool old shotgun!

I also failed to mention that the bore looks nice and shiny! It is just rough cosmetically as far as I know. But I'm still going to see if it would be safe to shoot even though I'm 99% sure it is. Better safe than sorry!

~Levi

Driftwood Johnson
May 16, 2012, 11:58 PM
What really gets me stoked is the idea of getting some brass 16 guage cases and filling them with #7 1/2 birdshot and BP so I can shoot trap at the local gun club. I can't wait to see the heads turning when everyone is shooting smokeless and I'm not! Priceless!


The heads will turn for the first or second shot. After that eveyone will not think very highly of you. I shoot Black Powder loads in CAS all the time. I also shoot Trap every week. I wouldn't dream of bringing Black Powder loads to the trap range. Most trap shooters are pretty serious about it, and don't look too kindly at somebody showing up just to have fun at their expense.

If you shoot BP out of modern plastic hulls you can expect to get 3 or 4 loadings out of them at most before they turn too crispy to crimp. BP burns hotter than Smokeless, and tends to burn tiny holes in the hull right at the crimp. After three or four rounds they are too crispy to form a good crimp.

I use separate wads when I load BP. I pour in my powder, then a 1/8" over powder wad, then a 1/2" cushion wad, then my shot. I always use 1 1/8 ounces of #8. I also use 4.3CC of FFg powder. Usually something around 65 grains or so. After the shot I put in an over shot card, then I crimp as normal on a MEC Jr. But most of the guys I know in CAS who run BP through their shotguns actually use modern plastic wads. For 12 gauge the old Winchester Red Wad was perfect for 12 gauge, not taking up too much space in the hull, but I dunno what anybody would use for 16 gauge. Using modern plastic wads does tend to leave melted plastic in the bore, but it is easy to clean out when the shooting is done.

Jim Watson
May 17, 2012, 01:48 AM
A late friend shot BP 12 ga along DJ's lines.
He would, by agreement, bring his Ithaca hammerless with two sets of Damascus barrels to the club once or twice a year to shoot BP trap and skeet. Everybody thought that was kind of neat... on limited exposure. He took it hunting one time and was told not to bring it back for fear of setting cornfield stubble on fire.

Loading ANYTHING in 16 ga is kind of a challenge these days.

Busyhands94
May 17, 2012, 03:07 AM
That is a good point I didn't even realize, if I'm out hunting I don't want to start a fire.Just out of curiosity, why would handloading 16 guage be hard these days?

~Levi

mykeal
May 17, 2012, 07:44 AM
Most trap shooters are pretty serious about it, and don't look too kindly at somebody showing up just to have fun at their expense.

What is 'their expense' in this scenario? Are they prevented from shooting somehow? Does it cost them more? Do they get to spend less time on the range? What's different about a black powder shotgun that somehow costs them more than anyone else with a smokeless powder shotgun?

I think you're being unfair to 'most trap shooters'. The ones at my club, who are as serious about their sport as anyone can be, bear no ill will towards black powder shotgun use, nor towards the occasional shooter who's just out to enjoy the day.

junkman_01
May 17, 2012, 10:16 AM
It breaks the concentration of other shooters caused by the action of the BP shooter and that may actually be against the ATA rules. :neener:

arcticap
May 17, 2012, 01:39 PM
Most trap shooters are pretty serious about it, and don't look too kindly at somebody showing up just to have fun at their expense.

I understood it to mean that some folks might consider black powder smoke to be an irritant or distraction. Every range has different rules and it could depend on who happens to be there at the time.
That's why there's black powder clubs and events that are dedicated to black powder shooting only. Not everyone welcomes it.
Conversely, many black powder clubs have rules against shooting smokeless powder on their range. Mine didn't allow it. :)

Here's an example:

Thrown off the skeet range!

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=635372&highlight=hazard

Busyhands94
May 17, 2012, 02:16 PM
I just got off the phone with a buddy of mine who works at the trap club, apparently I'm allowed to shoot blackpowder shells as long as they aren't going to cause a hazard or irritant to other shooters. Of course he wanted to try shooting a couple BP shells, can't blame him. :D

I think as long as I am safe and respect other shooters we shouldn't have a problem, perhaps I'll post a video once I get a good camera and have a couple things taken care of regarding this ol' shotgun.

Take care and thanks for all the great replies!
~Levi

J-Bar
May 17, 2012, 03:22 PM
Take extra shells so the gawkers can have a few shots too. I bet you convert some of them!!

Busyhands94
May 17, 2012, 03:27 PM
I'm sure if I bring extras I'll get a couple people hooked on BP shooting! :neener:

We need more shooters to cross over to the dark side! I mean I like smokeless for some things, for example it's good if I want maximum power from my mouseguns. But if I had to choose only one powder to use it would be black! Hehe!

~Levi

mykeal
May 17, 2012, 04:00 PM
I understand some ranges restrict the use of black powder to certain times, and a few even ban it altogether.

I do not understand the shot against 'most trap shooters'. There are a few bad apples in any bunch, but 'most' trap shooters? Come on.

I still don't understand the remark about 'showing up just to have fun at their expense'. I interpret that to mean somebody walking up and saying, "Hey you. If all you're going to do is have fun during our match, using our clays and taking our time, take your antique junk and hit the road." Are 'most trap shooters' really like that?

joecil
May 17, 2012, 04:25 PM
I shoot at Bud's new indoor range and can shoot black powder pistol loads there, but then they have a state of the art range and ventilation system so the smoke isn't a problem. Now shotguns are different only 2 days a week in the evening and buck or slugs only can be fired. When I asked why no target ammo they simply said to much spreed in some cases doing damage to others targets. Now shooting out doors as I do with my cowboy action group black powder or smokeless on means you shoot in a different class in some cases.

Noz
May 17, 2012, 04:26 PM
My father was not a shooter. Everything I learned about shooting, I learned by myself. I went away to college and Dad called me one day to ask about using my grandfathers musket in a turkey shoot. My standard load for it was about 80 grs of black and a plastic package of BBs screwed down into the barrel. Ram it home and put a wad of toilet paper on top of it in case you bust the plastic package. I capped with musket caps.
Now the gun was converted from flint to percussion some years before I ever saw it by turning the barrel and screwing a nipple into the touch hole. The percussion hammer had to be bent and welded to make it hit the nipple. This system cause a situation in which the gun would almost never fire the first time you pulled the trigger. Maybe on the second time and almost always on the third.
Dad took it to a turkey shoot and had terrible luck with it. Couldn't get a pellet on the 8" square pieces of paper with a penciled x drawn on it. (Closest pellet to the x wins)
He decide I didn't know how to load it so he doubled the powder charge, pointed it kinda down range to get the first trigger pull out of the way.
It fired. Turned him completely around. When the smoke cleared, the target, wood backing and the stake that held both were gone.
They gave him a turkey and told him to take the gun home.

junkman_01
May 17, 2012, 04:48 PM
Great story Noz!

Busyhands94
May 17, 2012, 05:11 PM
Awesome story! I liked reading that! :)

Driftwood Johnson
May 17, 2012, 08:01 PM
I can't wait to see the heads turning when everyone is shooting smokeless and I'm not! Priceless!

Howdy Again

I knew my comments would singe some eyebrows. I have quoted the sentence that I was objecting to. All shooting disciplines have a certain etiquette. Trap is no different. The etiquette of the trap range is that every shooter waits his turn to shoot, and does not do anything distracting to the other shooters while they are waiting. I have often heard it said that trap shooters are snobs. Most are not snobs, they are just intent on their game. If somebody shows up and basically says, 'Look at me! I'm shooting Black Powder, and making lots of boom and smoke!', that is distracting, and frankly it is not respectful of the game of Trap.

I think as long as I am safe and respect other shooters we shouldn't have a problem,

Respect is the key. If you show up and are respectful of the game and the other shooters, you will have no problem. If on the other hand you show up with an attitude of 'I shoot Black Powder and I'm really cool and you Smokeless guys are not', then I would have a problem with you.

Just so you know, as I said, I shoot Black Powder all the time, pistols, rifle, and shotgun. I even showed up at my club's Trap range one day when I had just bought a nice old Stevens SXS and wanted to try some Black Powder loads out of it. A couple of guys were quite clear that they did not want to shoot a round next to me. That was fine with me, I respected their wishes. There were quite a few who came out of the clubhouse to watch. And there were several who wanted to try a few shots.

Respect is the key. Don't show up expecting to 'turn heads.'

mykeal
May 17, 2012, 10:14 PM
A couple of guys were quite clear that they did not want to shoot a round next to me. That was fine with me, I respected their wishes.
That's not respect in my book. It's also not how the trap shooters I shoot with would act. That's a very sad story. But I now understand your earlier comments about 'most trap shooters'.

Pulp
May 17, 2012, 10:32 PM
Busy, when said gunsmith checks out the shotgun have him measure the chamber length. Many of the old 16 gauges are chambered for 2.5 inch shells, not the current 2.75 we now have. No problem though, I just cut off mine at the crimp line, use an overshot card and put a starter crimp on just enough to help hold the card in.

With brass shells you won't have to worry about that.

Driftwood Johnson
May 17, 2012, 11:56 PM
That's not respect in my book. It's also not how the trap shooters I shoot with would act. That's a very sad story. But I now understand your earlier comments about 'most trap shooters'.

You misunderstand my position on respect. As I said, there is a certain etiquette in trap shooting. The etiquette is that one does not disturb the concentration of the shooter next to you. So you don't talk while he is shooting, you don't make sudden movements that will be in his peripheral vision, you try to respect the shooter standing next to you. Most serious trap shooters have set routine. Anything that disturbs that routine can be enough of a distraction to make them miss a target. Being a trap shooter myself I recognize this. So if somebody says they don't want to be standing next to me when I am launching clouds of smoke down range, then I respect their desires. They did not tell me I could not shoot on their squad, they declined to shoot on the same squad with me. These guys are not strangers, I know them all, they are friends. So if a friend of mine tells me he does not want to shoot next to a distraction like me blasting clouds of smoke down range, I respect that.

arcticap
May 18, 2012, 12:18 AM
If there's a lot of smoke and odor lingering in the air then I suppose that it could interfere with the others who are shooting.
The same can be said for anyone shooting any black powder guns at any range facility.
Black powder shooters often joke about how they create clouds of smoke while others are shooting.
But because everyone is target shooting informally and mostly for recreation, most folks don't consider making clouds of BP smoke to be inconsiderate to the other smokeless shooters.
However, folks who pay money to shoot each round of trap are sometimes shooting more competitively, even if only among themselves or to train for competition. One trap club that I go to hands out a patch for a perfect score which some people really try hard to accomplish during each and every round. And trap shooters will sometimes make side bets among themselves. So shooting trap can be taken much more seriously than simple casual shooting is at any other range.
Not everyone wants to pay up to $10 per round or more including the cost of shells to shoot a round of trap to have to shoot through lingering smoke, or need to wait for smoke to dissipate after each BP shot.
But not everyone feels that it's an inconvenience either.
However it is being respectful to ask the other shooters in advance if they mind if you shoot black powder shells along with them. Someone with a real aversion to it may want to choose to sit out.
Of course each club has its own rules. But if a club doesn't have established rules concerning shooting with black powder, then the range officer in charge of the trap field can simply decide to be arbitrary and not allow it.
Driftwood Johnson makes some good points in that it's important to understand the reasons why in advance. :)

Pulp
May 18, 2012, 01:14 AM
I reckon that means no razzing other shooters like we do in a CAS matches! Probably wouldn't be a good idea to throw a firecracker behind the guy on the line would it?

Just kidding Driftwood. If that's the way they want to be, then I'll respect their wishes, but for me, life's too short to be serious about anything short of family, religion and freedom.

junkman_01
May 18, 2012, 08:58 AM
In my younger days I shot competition trap for 16 years. Disturbances are not tolerated well on the trap line. DJ is correct, Mykeal is wrong. That's just how it is.

Busyhands94
May 18, 2012, 02:39 PM
I'll be sure when I go to shoot to talk to all the guys and gals on my quad to make sure they are all okay with my blackpowder handloads. Of course I'll bring an extra box worth so they can all see the loads in action before hand and possibly try them.

mykeal
May 18, 2012, 08:06 PM
I called the president of our trap leagues. He told me using a black powder shotgun would not be considered a distraction in any of our leagues (a little weird maybe, but a distraction - no), and he'd never seen anyone refuse to shoot next to one at any of the away matches he'd shot in the past 25 years. He further said a distraction would be someone loudly talking out of turn or walking around just behind the firing lines. And since he and several others in our league compete at state level and national level matches I just assumed the majority were like that. I guess that's where I was 'wrong'.

Busyhands94
May 18, 2012, 08:14 PM
Thanks for the info Mykeal!

Driftwood Johnson
May 18, 2012, 08:24 PM
I reckon that means no razzing other shooters like we do in a CAS matches! Probably wouldn't be a good idea to throw a firecracker behind the guy on the line would it?

That's exactly right. There is a different etiquette at a CAS match than there is at a Trap range. I razz shooters while they are on the line all the time at a CAS match. I wouldn't dream of doing so at the Trap range, even at weekly practice.

Well every once in a while I will razz somebody at the Trap range, but only after the shooter has fired, and only if I know him real well. At a CAS match, we razz guys before they reach the firing line, while they are shooting, and after they have left the firing line. Of course even at a CAS match I only do that to friends I know well. Once or twice a stranger has not taken kindly to it. You see, there are intense competitors in CAS too, and we know when to keep our traps shut so we don't disturb them while they are shooting.

Different sports, different etiquette.

I'll be sure when I go to shoot to talk to all the guys and gals on my quad to make sure they are all okay with my blackpowder handloads. Of course I'll bring an extra box worth so they can all see the loads in action before hand and possibly try them.

That is a good attitude. Letting folks know that you plan on doing something different, not just showing up and trying to impress folks.

mykeal: I'll bet the president of your Trap league has never seen anybody shooting Black Powder in all those 25 years of away matches. Nobody would show up at a match with Black Powder. Nobody. Not when the score counts for the league. We are talking about somebody showing up for informal practice at their local club. And I guarantee you that if it happens, somebody will get their nose out of joint.

mykeal
May 19, 2012, 07:30 AM
Well, I know it's happened at our local matches because I've done it. That's why I find the descriptions of trap shooters as a discipline that you and others have posted so incredible. They're an indictment of an entire sport. From what you've written I am lead to assume that there are people who won't shoot in our leagues because they're accommodating to the unusual; frankly, they're a bunch of nice guys who enjoy shotgun shooting and welcome anyone to participate with them. I had assumed trap shooting as a discipline was like that, but I guess not.

I inferred from his response yesterday that he had seen black powder shot elsewhere as well, but I'll ask him directly this morning. We built a new combined trap/skeet range last year and we're kicking off a landscaping project today, so I know he'll be there.

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