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12 Gauge Reload Recipes

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by kellyj00, Aug 14, 2007.

  1. kellyj00

    kellyj00 Active Member

    Apr 12, 2007
    I've searched THR, and to my surprise, didn't find much information on reloading 12 gauge shells for a beginner. I found one thread....

    and it got into an argument about substituting components vs. not and even one post of "if you can find anyone who's caused any harm by substituting components post them here" and their were no posts of that nature to follow.

    Can I assume it is ok to load a charge of powder behind 1 1/8 oz of shot in any wad in any hull using any primer, or do I have to spend a LOT of $$$ just to find a load that works well for me and my gun? (I'm picky, and my wife wants to shoot with a milder load too)

    If it's that exact of a science and I'm risking hurting myself (or my wife) by using a CCI primer when it mentions a Winchester in the load data, then I'll stick with the wal mart winchester 100 round boxes and just tell my wife to toughen up or get out of the sport and give me her shotgun. I really don't want to do that, but I don't want to blow up her 12 gauge or Heaven forbid, hurt her or anyone else by putting the wrong wad in a shotshell, or using a Winchester when I should have been using a AA.

  2. byf43

    byf43 Active Member

    Jan 3, 2006
    Southern Maryland

    I would say that the 'gospel' for shotshell reloading is the "Lyman Shotshell Reloading Manual".

    IF a manual says to load "X" primer with "Y" wad in a "AA" case with "Z" powder, that's what I'd do.

    Now, that's not to say that YEARS AGO, when "Claybuster" wads first came out, the manuals didn't list them.
    The manufacturer of "Claybuster" wads did the research.

    With that said. . . I HAVE put a different primer in a load, but, I only loaded one or two and test fired them, (and making sure they were safe) before proceeding.

    As for a real good patterning load that is easy on the shoulder, I can highly recommend this one. It is the ONLY load that I have used in many, many years.

    IT WORKS and patterns like it was custom developed for my guns. Yes, plural. GUNS.

    On my old MEC 600 Jr. - - - ->

    Winchester AA cases OR Peters "Blue Magic" or even Remington STS or Remington "Mohawk" cases, or Remington "Gun Club" hulls .
    1-1/8 oz of shot (Most commonly used is #7-1/2 HARD shot)
    CCI 209 Primer
    Claybuster or Winchester WAA12 (white) wad. (Claybuster wads are less expensive for me to buy.)
    18.0 gr. of Alliant (formerly Hercules) Red Dot powder

    My preference for hulls are the Peters "Blue Magic" hulls. They are now obsolete, but, I have a bunch of them, still, that have never been reloaded.
    The older AA cases and the new AA cases are different, from what I've read.
    I still have 'umpteen thousand' (not really) of the 'old' AA cases.

    The 'Gun Club' hulls are good hulls, too.

    This is why doing your research is so important.
    To disallow or ignore safe reloading practice(s), is looking for a mishap.

    Get the manual.
    Pick the hulls that you want to load.
    Pick the shot charge. (Weight)
    Pick the powder
    Pick the velocity
    Pick the pressure in l.u.p. (Lower pressure USUALLY means less recoil.)
    Select the wad from the recipe
    Select the primer from the recipe.

    Go buy your selected supplies or retrieve them from the shelf.
    Set-up the press
    Start loading 'em up.

    Ultimate bottom line. . . I don't think that anyone here on THR will say that it is o.k. to randomly change/alter/ignore what a loading manual states, and tell you to load whatever components that you want.

    Get the manual!!!!!
  3. NuJudge

    NuJudge Active Member

    May 20, 2006
    SE Michigan
    Some links

    There's another website that has lengthy threads on this subject. It is not unusual for just a primer switch to raise pressures by 3000psi. Usually, generalizations can be made, but the unpredictable exception does happen. Some sets of components have been extensively tested and then just one switched, producing repeatably different (Higher, Lower, or the Same) pressures, but this is rare. I would not think of switching components unless it had been extensively tested.

    A quick search gave me these threads:








  4. TnShooter83

    TnShooter83 New Member

    Apr 4, 2007
    Remington High Velocity - All purpose

    There are all Black case, with a Steel head.
    You can load them the same as Gun Club shells.
    The work well for 3 load then I toss them.
    BE SURE you watch some are 6 point crimp, some are 8 point.

    This is the Shell here they can be found cheap.
  5. MattB000

    MattB000 New Member

    Feb 15, 2007
    If you have primer X, hull Y, and powder Z you should be able to find published data for that. That being said, why bother with taking an unnecessary risk?
  6. mc223

    mc223 Active Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Just Down the Road
  7. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Senior Elder

    Dec 24, 2002
    Shotguns are low pressure firearms about 11,000 psi max in 12 ga, and changes in components make more difference than in rifle and pistol loading. There is less of a safety margin to work in and I consider shotshell loading to be a recipe driven operation as I do not with brass.

    There is no need to get hot under the collar and threaten to abuse your wife with hard kicking promotional loads or theft of her gun. There is a tremendous amount of tested data out there if you will look and study, and it will not cost a lot.

    You are already experimentally loading Titewad in pistol ammo, so I know you have that on hand. Hodgdon lists loads for it in three shot loads, seven primers, and four wads, three or four velocity levels each; with a chart of wad equivalents so you can buy Claybuster and other economy brands. If you can't find a suitable load in there somewhere, you aren't trying.

    The main thing is to get a supply of good quality hulls of the same brand and style. Those Winchester promotional shells are about the worst, and AAs are not as good as they used to be. The cheap Remington Gun Club hull loads the same as their first class STS, but not as many times. You could probably load an STS ten or a dozen times before the crimp split and it was worn out.
  8. nitesite

    nitesite Participating Member

    Aug 10, 2004
    North Alabama, USA
    I stay with Remington STS hulls (the green and gold versions) and really love Green Dot powder for my 1⅛-oz 2¾" 12-gage loads. I use hard magnum-grade shot with Remington TGT-12 or Fig-8 wads, and CCI 209 primers.

    For the velocities I'm seeking, I rely on the free Hodgdon reloading manual which takes into account every possible combination of hull, shell length, shot weight, primer and wad. Once you've got your selected hulls and wads and primers, just pick the correct powder bushing for your MEC and go to town making some really consistent shotshell ammunition.
  9. kellyj00

    kellyj00 Active Member

    Apr 12, 2007
    good information. thanks fellas.
    I'm gathering from what's been said that basically a smart shotshell reloader will find a recipe he likes and just stick with it. That makes sense, don't fix it if it ain't broke.

    From the recipes I'm seeing, AA shells are the most universal and seem to show data for quite a few loads. I'm a little confused about what makes the components, such as wads, so different from one another. Are they different diameters inside? Thicker plastic or thicker base metal that decreases the size of the inside giving higher pressures?

    Also, I'm planning on a Lee Load all 2. It seems lots of folks have been loading on these for years, and I'm more concerned with costs than with anything else at this point. I plan to load about 200 shells per month or so for trap and maybe a few buckshot and .690 lead ball loads, if the Lee isn't a good option, let me know.

    I figured that shotshell reloading was so horribly documented on the internet because it was so much simpler than metallic reloading, but I guess things are not what I assumed. I don't understand why there are so few books and internet information associated with shotshell reloading as there are in metallic reloading. I can google search and find videos on the process, as well as numerous articles for newbies. There's very little for shotshell information, maybe a guy just has to buy a book to see if it's for him or not and sell it at a garage sale later for a quarter.
  10. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Senior Elder

    Dec 24, 2002
    The main reason there is less literature about shotshell reloading is that it is a less "interesting" process. Experimentation and extrapolation can be hazardous to your gun. We had a skeet shooter blow a Remington 1100 completely in half. I don't know if he was dumb, ignorant, careless, or though he could do better than the books said. Whichever, it didn't work and he was lucky to come out in one piece.

    The only real basis for evaluation of a shotgun load is the pattern, and counting patterns is a lot less fun than measuring groups.

    There is the Lyman book and some specialty manuals on loading non-lead shot. Otherwise the powder company load data and press instructions will get you by.
  11. snuffy

    snuffy Senior Member

    Apr 4, 2004
    Oshkosh Wi
    It all has to do with the shape of the combustion chamber created by the base wad,(bottom of the case), the height of the base wad, and the shot wad. The AA winchester and the RXP rem. have tapered tubes, and are "compression formed". That's a term describing a method of extruding plastic under pressure to form the tube AND BASE of the shell. The tube thickens toward the bottom, them forms the base wad in one piece. The shape of the base wad was no accident, it was specifically shaped to make it possible to use less powder to do the same job, or reach the same velocity. Refer to the "shaped charges" being used in explosives to magnify a small charge to create a huge hole.

    Wads are different shape, length, and the plastic they're made of varies in composition. Softer wads seal better, but also drag more creating higher pressure. Harder plastic in some wads slide easier, allowing lower pressures. The loading book authors know this, that's why there's so many different loads.

    Then add to that the shot shell primers vary a LOT in their power. The applications they were made for, govern how much propellant or primer compound they contain. Back in the days of alcan powders, the alcan max-fire was the most robust primer around. They were made like that because the alcan powders were notoriously hard to ignite. Using that primer in a target load that was safe with other primers, yielded much higher velocities, and unsafe pressure.

    The Lyman shotshell handbook WILL have a recipe for most any reloadable hull currently produced. Following those recipes will yield very practical, useful loads.

    I would suggest you look into the many 1 oz, or even 7/8 oz. target loads that you will find in the Lyman manual. They would be a godsend for you wife!
  12. scout26

    scout26 Senior Member

    Jul 21, 2003
    Illinois - The Deadbeat State
    Randomly putting components together is playing in a area where Angels fear to tread. Follow the published recipes from powder, hull, or wad manufacturers.

    Ummmm, nope. Shot charge and velocity determine actual recoil. Pressure has nothing to with recoil. See Newton, Isaac, Second Law, something about for every action there is an equal on opposite reaction.

    As the father of a 13yo daughter who reloads for 20 ga, the key is light (7/8 or 3/4 oz loads moving between 1,150 and 1,200 FPS).

    I've been working on the following and am going to post it both here at and www.shotgunworld.com in their reloading forum.

    Kelly, If you have any questions, I've sent you a PM with my phone#.
  13. kellyj00

    kellyj00 Active Member

    Apr 12, 2007
    good write up scout26.
    If google would have shown a link to anything like that, then I wouldn't have ever started this thread.

    Thanks fellas.

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