bp 16 ga


November 6, 2012, 04:52 PM
i recently bought me an old husqvarna , double barrel black powder centerfire shotgun.
i cleaned the gun and its in really good shape , so now im trying to get some info
for a good load for this gun.
its going to be used for a occasional clay bird shooting , and the cartridge of choice would be the plastic hulls.
the gun itself is an husqvarna model 20 , late model , lefaucheux underlever in
the caliber 16-65 and its build in 1908. barrels are both mirror bright ,action and folding piece real thight.
so , what powder to use and more important , how much ?
also how much [lead] shot should be called for , and of what size?
i intend to make me a "shotmaker"for casting my shot .


If you enjoyed reading about "bp 16 ga" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
November 6, 2012, 05:06 PM
questions , that i have enough....
like this one , i noticed that a bp shotcartridge would need a overpowder wad.
would it be okay to stamp this myself out of felt or maby thick paper?

i ve also read that after the overpowder wad i need a lubricated fiberwad.
so i took some tissuepaper , put this in a bowl of water and grind them with a kitchenmixer to a wet pulp.
i took out the pulp and with my thumb in pressed it in a mould , this i had fully dried on the radiator in my home.
the result was a nice "wad" , maby i could use it as a fiberwad?
over here in holland a 12 ga wad is readily available , but a 16 ga not so much.
[besides i like to make my own stuff as much as i can....]

in making these wad as described above i could substitute the water for a
ballistol/water mix , for a lubricated version , i could also experimend with some other sort of paper , like newspaper or so.

Jim, West PA
November 6, 2012, 06:42 PM
Wait 'till Levi, Busyhands gits here Edwin. He'll hook ya right up ;)

November 6, 2012, 06:45 PM
I've got plenty of experience loading the 16 gauge with BP. It's actually my favorite gauge personally speaking, it handles like a 20 and shoots like a 12. The 3" 20 gauge supposedly made it obsolete, but that's not true. With uncrimped hulls using card wads and glue to seal the shell I can put a 3" load in there safely, no problems at all. Not to mention it patterns great with #4 buckshot.

On Sunday I took 3 starlings, all flying very fast with my 16 gauge shotgun and my 3" 16 gauge shells. They were all either high and close, hard left or right, all of which I consider more challenging shots. That's 3 drams of powder, 1 1/8th ounce of chilled lead shot. All 3 kills were with BP shells. As soon as that gun went off they all dropped like a lead brick! :D

For a good target load I suggest 2.5 drams of FFG or FFFG (that's what I use) and an ounce of 7 1/2 or #8 shot. For wads you should go to ballistic Products Inc. They have everything you need to load 16 gauge with either BP or smokeless powder.

Deer slugs? Here's what 3 drams, a card wad, and a 1 oz slug will do, in case you are interested in loading some slugs. No doubt that would work for deer, that's a solid 4" of pressure treated lumber.

I also know how to convert empty low brass 20 gauge hulls into 16 gauge plastic cup wads, they do work with BP. If you'd like I could explain a little more about that process and tools you need, it's quite simple but yields outstanding results.

Have fun with that 16, that's a great gauge to experiment with and a hoot to shoot! :)


Pete D.
November 6, 2012, 06:46 PM
The ideas that you have are good ones. Yes, you can make your own overpower wads from thick paper, though cardboard is better. You want them to be about 3mm thick. Many people have made cushion wads from newspaper, the dried out pulped paper will work. For an overshot wad, cut then from thin (1mm) cardboard and glue them with a household cement. Here in the USA, I use Duco cement.
Loads....try a 2 1/2 dram load of FFg black powder (70 grains) and 1 1/8ounces of shot (492 grains/39 grams).

November 7, 2012, 09:50 AM
Since blackpowder and lead are expensive, and I'm cheap:D, I use a lower powered load for my 16 gauge. I have a dipper that throws 7/8oz of shot, and I use that same dipper for powder. I use wads from circlefly.com. This load works fine for Cowboy Action, never used it for hunting.

The idea of making your own wads is intriguing. I may give that a try.

November 7, 2012, 04:10 PM
thanks for the quick replies , guys!
really appreciate it , gonna be tinkering with this gun a bit.
i like the idea of a scoop that will measure powder as wel as shot.
still dont know what shotsize to use , and i still have to make me a shotmaker.

as for the cushionwads , im thinking of getting a hard wooden block , and drill
some holes in it of the correct diameter and lenght , lets say some 30 holes or so.
then i would mix me some water with ballistol , put this in a bowl , add some tissue paper and grind it to pulp with a kitchen mixer.
the pulp i then could press in the holes to dry out . with the ballistol/watermix think i would end up with a nice lubricated cushionwad of correct lenght.
that mentioned 7/8oz by pulp , what would that be in volume? [grains]

November 7, 2012, 04:20 PM
good info there busyhands !

the target load you mentioned got me somewhat puzzled.
like 2.5 drams , what would that be in volume [grains] ?
the mentioned 1 ounce [?] is that also a by volume measured ammount.

for me the goal would be to be able to use scoops rather then a scale.

November 7, 2012, 05:34 PM
A dram is 27 grains, I believe a spent .38 Special casing should hold that amount. 27x2.5=67.5 grains of powder. This isn't precision rifle shooting at long ranges, so you aren't going to be in deep trouble if you are off by a grain or two.

Another helpful thing, I am finding that heavier charges of shot at slower velocities pattern tighter, YMMV.

November 7, 2012, 07:46 PM

 50 grain setting = 3/4 ounce of shot
 60 grain setting = 7/8 ounce of shot
 70 grain setting = 1 ounce of shot
 80 grain setting = 1 1/8 ounce of shot
 90 grain setting = 1 1/4 ounce of shot
 100 grain setting = 1 3/8 ounce of shot
 110 grain setting = 1 1/2 ounce of shot
 120 grain setting = 1 5/8 ounce of shot

Here are some equal volume loads:

oz. shot-----Dr. powder-------Grains
7/8-------------2 1/4----------62
1---------------2 1/2----------68
1 1/8-----------2 3/4----------75
1 1/4-----------3--------------82
1 3/8-----------3 1/4----------89
1 1/2-----------3 1/2----------96
1 5/8-----------3 3/4----------102
1 3/4-----------4--------------109
1 7/8-----------4 1/4----------116
2---------------4 1/2----------123
2 1/8-----------4 3/4----------130
2 1/4-----------5--------------137

November 7, 2012, 09:44 PM
Well, it throws a volume of shot that would weigh 7/8ths ounce if weighed. Since I usually load shotgun with PyrodexRS, I've never bothered to weigh what the dipper actually throws.

I never understood all the fuss about volume vs weight. Except when using subs, since most of the subs weigh less than BP.

November 8, 2012, 03:51 PM
thanks articap for your clear explination !

November 9, 2012, 06:03 PM
I find that if you pull the base off low brass 20 gauge (Remington Gun Club works best) cut it to the right length for your shot charge, plug the primer pocket with a used shotshell primer, and then cut three slits halfway down the wad you will have some pretty respectable patterns. I call them my full choked wads, they'd probably work for turkey hunting!

They are also thick and hard enough for steel too. And since soft iron shot deform much less than lead your patterns will be EVEN tighter.

These wads don't really get too boogered up if you're using BP as the propellant, they also work great with smokeless. One thing I noticed when I started loading 16 guages is that when I'd load larger pellets in a 20, they wouldn't pattern that well. But in the 16 gauge with the same charge of shot, same charge of powder, the loads patterned considerably tighter. Not to mention there's something quite nasty about 14 .25 caliber soft lead balls propelled by 3 drams of Goex! When we patterned the loads it looked like 14 rifle bullets hit the berm! :D

November 9, 2012, 09:34 PM
Levi, am I understanding that you're saying use the brass base plus some of the plastic of the 20 gauge shell inside your 16 gauge shell as a shot holder???

November 9, 2012, 10:36 PM
You actually pull the brass base off the 20 gauge hulls, so it's just a plastic cup wad. It's basically just a matter of pulling off the base from those spent/crispy 20's, cutting em' to the right length, making a few slits and you've got an excellent shotcup.

They work great! Having nice dense patterns at longer ranges is a great advantage when it comes to breaking clay or making those feathers fly. And with those 3 slit wads you can really reach out there and touch something! On Wednesday I even shot 27 yard trap with the loads containing the aforementioned wads, and I broke 20/25 clays.

Now I'm thinking the fact that it's a 16 may have something to do with it, not just the wads. Oh yes, the shooter has done his part too! :D I was shooting a one oz load @ 1100 FPS (chrono'd it) and I'll admit the gun handles a lot like a 20 gauge. I've said before, I'm a huge advocate of the 16 gauge. It's an outstanding gauge in the right gun with the right loads.

November 11, 2012, 05:29 PM
hmmm, just found out that the use of lead shot is prohibited over here in holland
in fact its illegal , and one could be procecuded for it and his license withdrawn.

dont know if i want my husky exposed to steelshot .
are there alternativs for such an old side by side?

November 11, 2012, 07:22 PM
They have polymer,bismuth and tungston for shot now.Also the steel shot but for an older shot gun like that I wouldnt either but I'd check out the others.I never tried shooting anything but lead but one never knows if one never tries right ? Just type in lead shot alternatives and see what they offer . good luck and hope ya find something good to shoot out of it.Please let us know if you do find something good we might all need to make that switch soon.

November 11, 2012, 11:52 PM
Bismuth is said to be the best non-toxic alternative shot for fine older guns because it's so gentle on barrels and performs well.
Its weight is about 90% compared to lead, but its also relatively expensive.


Bismuth Shot #4 (.130") (6.6 lb. Bottle)

Your non-toxic alternative to lead. No other non-toxic shot performs this similar to lead. Bismuth Shot allows sportsmen to use their older or fine firearms using chokes ranging from cylinder bore as tight as extra full. Contact Precision Relaoding for Bismuth Shotshell Reloading Data.


November 13, 2012, 03:28 PM
i just took a look at the airsoft section of a gunshop nearby.
the sell round bb gun ammunition , 6mm, 0,25 gram.
its made of some sort of plastic , bio degradable.

maby this would be a nice option?

Jim Watson
November 13, 2012, 05:43 PM
Plastic pellets in a shotgun would not be effective beyond a few feet.

Remington once had a riot control cartridge loaded with plastic No 4.
The idea was that they would sting at a range of several yards but if an enraged rioter closed within 5 feet they would retain enough velocity to penetrate and disable or kill him.

November 15, 2012, 10:43 AM
Have you asked anyone in Holland about what kind of shot that they're using in their fine old guns?
Are Bismuth shot shells approved for use in Holland and are any sold there?
Some folks cut open bismuth shot shells just to obtain the bismuth shot to use for black powder waterfowl hunting.


I think that the bismuth shot is being alloyed with tin to make it less brittle.

November 18, 2012, 11:20 PM
If I understand your description of the gun it uses the short 16ga shells 2 9/16 inch. I have a Browning A5 that shoots this shell. I had a hard time finding any shell that fit the gun. Good news is that there is short non toxic 16 ga shells made in England. The other option is to have the chambers honed out to modern 2 3/4 inch size and have the forcing cone lengthened at the same time. I think that I would take the second option and save my self the headache of looking for short shells.

November 19, 2012, 12:08 AM
Mr16ga, an Auto 5 with a 2 3/4" chamber would have me drooling! screw in chokes, or perhaps a modified or full choke and a classy walnut stock with some real classy checkering, and a nice classy cold blue throughout the gun. Oh, and a ribbed barrel with just a brass bead at the end. Yesssss please! This forum needs a drooling smiley!

November 20, 2012, 12:48 AM
Mr16ga, an Auto 5 with a 2 3/4" chamber would have me drooling! screw in chokes, or perhaps a modified or full choke and a classy walnut stock with some real classy checkering, and a nice classy cold blue throughout the gun. Oh, and a ribbed barrel with just a brass bead at the end. Yesssss please! This forum needs a drooling smiley!
I have both 2 9/16 inch and 2 3/4 inch A5's both Belgium made. :-) I do need an A-5 in 20 ga now.

November 20, 2012, 03:02 AM
Are they built on an actual 16 gauge frame? I have fired an A-5 in 20 gauge before, that's a very nice shotgun! :D

November 25, 2012, 09:28 PM
Are they built on an actual 16 gauge frame? I have fired an A-5 in 20 gauge before, that's a very nice shotgun! :D
Yes one was built in 1927 and the other around 1955

If you enjoyed reading about "bp 16 ga" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!