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A Reality Check....

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Dave McCracken, Feb 2, 2003.

  1. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    Every now and then, I get complacent.

    In the limited amount of trapshooting I've been able to do lately, I noted my scores really slumping. So,I concentrated on the basics, kept my swing going and my cheek on the stock, and still didn't get even close to what I was shooting.

    More worrysome was the fact that usually when I miss, I know why. These misses happened when everything seemed right. I scratched my head, and wondered what was the problem. I was chipping more, smoking not at all. Quite a change.

    Finally,(Smacking self in forehead with heel of hand) I recalled I was still using the load that worked so well last summer. A post by Hsmith on the off season thread jogged my faulty memory and off I went.

    The load used an oz of shot, a CB clone of the WAA12SL wad, Winchester 209 primer,AA hull, and 16.3 gr of Clays. This is a nice lower pressure load that groups tightly but OK at the distance I bust my birds.

    The problem? I was still using 8 1/2 shot, which gives a nice pattern in the summer. Under wintry conditions, the harder and tougher clays and the slower speeds caused by colder powder were enough to render the targets more bulletproof.


    So, I obtained a bag of West Coast shot in 7 1/2, loaded up a couple of boxes, and headed for PGC. West Coast,BTW, is the brand used in my old loads.6% antimony, high quality hard shot.

    My time there was constrained, I taught some newbies instead of shooting. No regrets, I liked doing so. But I did get to do one round of each. The 8 1/2 shot did terribly, with few good breaks and some lost targets visibly rocking but not busting. The 7 1/2s took things back to where I was, and I scored 21/25, not bad after the layoff.

    I've already loaded up another 3 boxes of 7 1/2s and will try them out next weekend if weather and time allow. I may choose to up the powder to the next MEC bushing, which will give me 17.4 gr, a still mild load at medium pressure. But, one change at a time, and I need to pattern just to make sure.

    It goes to show,habit instead of thought carries a comeuppance....

    HSMITH Well-Known Member

    LOL. I can laugh because I have been there, done that, and had to PAY for the T-shirt!:D :D

    At least you did not show up with some new whizbang super self-shucking loudpopper that costs as much as a driveable car and your summer loads to show off your hero-like skills mastering the new gun. Not that it has happened to me or anything........ OK so it was me but I did not do it more than 3 times:D.

    Another good post Dave. Bump that bushing for the next session, take both loads and shoot a round with each.;)
  3. Guyon

    Guyon Well-Known Member

    As usual, Dave, I learned something from one of your posts. Never gave much thought to weather conditions changing the effect of loads.

    Think there should be much difference between hunting dove in the scorching heat and hunting quail in the cold? As far as load selection, that is. . .

    HSMITH Well-Known Member

    There is not a lot of difference in the heavier loads. There is a difference, but not nearly what it is in the really light loads. A traditional dove load should do fine. The loads Dave and I shoot regularly are sub-20 gauge ballistics out of a 12 bore barrel:what: Stay in the 3 dram neighborhood and it should be fine. A 1 1/8th ounce load also helps to add resistance which helps keep the powder burning. If you are loading your own stay with faster powders in the cold weather. Clays, Red Dot, Titewad, 700X, WST, and the like work well in the cold. For superboomer type loads I have been having really good luck with Longshot in the cold too.

    Hope this helps.
  5. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    Guyon, a standard load will show less variation. Like H says, these are very light loads and thus marginal in the cold.Also note that these birds are busted(or not) at 37 to 40 yards.

    Part of my continuing experiments in reloading is seeing how light/slow I can go before performance is severely compromised. Now I know, just forgot about that part for a bit.

    H, will bump up a bushing for comparison, but I'll pattern a few of each first and see how it goes before shooting a round or two.

    Also, I'll run off a few 7/8 oz test loads for 5 stand with 8 1/2s.The more than 10 yard difference
    in shot distance should make up for less energy per pellet.
  6. RussB

    RussB Well-Known Member

    Been there, done that...

    Just recently I might add.

    My "Summer" load consists of 7/8oz of hard 8's, sitting in the Claybuster "Federal SO" wad, atop 17 grains of Clays...(or bump it to 18.5 of Red Dot) Primers are Winchester 209's. Hull is a Remington "STS" Very light recoil out of my 870 Competition (the one with the gas-powered, recoil reduction system in the mag tube)

    This load hits 'em hard, and is still good at the 'cap line (note: I'm not an ATA shooter)

    But, after a few weeks of frustration, and a lot of missed birds, I "re-remembered" my winter load. 1 1/8oz of hard 7 1/2's, WT-12 (orange) wad, atop 18.2 grains of Clays, again in the STS hull w/the Win 209 primer. This is a 3 dram load, and does quite well on our "unbreakable" winter clays.
  7. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    Thanks, Russ, it's nice(I guess) to know that I'm not the only one with a faulty memory(G)....

    Load sounds like a good'un. I may try to build a tight handicap load with Green Dot sometime,or Unique for 1 1/4 oz Pheasant whackers, but I'll stick to Clays for trap loads from the 16.

    HSMITH Well-Known Member

    Dave, I have a 1 1/4oz pheasant load that will knock your socks off. Holler if you want it. I shot a LOT of Green Dot on the trap field, it sure is easy to get nice patterns with a good wad and hard shot. That was back in the days that I shot HEAVY loads, so I highly doubt you would have interest in those loads.
  9. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    I've enough pheasant loads,H,and a recipe using Unique. Socknockers are not as popular with me these days.

    If I ever decide to get serious about ATA competition, I'll get some Green Dot and ask you for those heavy loads. Thanks.

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