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Loading Brass Shotshells with Blackpowder

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by JoshD, Aug 11, 2016.

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  1. JoshD

    JoshD Member

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    I posted this in the reloading thread and was suggested to try the BP forum.

    It's just a new thing for me and I want to make sure I do it right.

    Thanks for all the help.

    I have an old Syracuse Arms New Damascus Steel sxs. I'm wanting to load some era appropriate shells for it. Also, I am wanting something for the home defense scenario as well. (Don't judge, it's what I have.)

    I was wanting to know if there is something besides standard black powder or pyrodex that I could use.

    I can get BP but would rather not. Just too nasty.

    Pyrodex is a little better. Still corrosive to brass and steel.

    Can I use Hodges triple 7?

    If so, what type and how many grains by volume?

    FG, FFG, or FFFG?

    This sounds like a good idea. Raises too many questions for me. I would like to use the old gun. Not blow it up.

    I'm new to shotshell reloading. I have been reloading mainly pistol for the past several years.

    Any insight is appreciated. Thanks.

    Josh


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  2. JoshD

    JoshD Member

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    366f85444915ad68d1b2c7b13771cdb9.jpg


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  3. Fingers McGee

    Fingers McGee Member

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    Since you are not wanting to use BP or Pyrodex, I suggest you use ffg APP. It is closer to real BP - by volume - than T7. If T7 is your choice then ffg would be the correct granulation to use just a lesser load

    A 55 grain load of BP or APP with an 11 ga over powder card, 11 ga 3/4 inch cushion wad, 1 oz 7 1/2 shot and an 11 ga overshot card is my normal CAS loading for an 1882 Remington 12 ga.
     
  4. JoshD

    JoshD Member

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    [emoji106][emoji106][emoji106]

    This is what I have been looking for!!

    Thanks!!!!!

    One question. What is APP? I am not familiar with that powder.

    Josh


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  5. J-Bar

    J-Bar Member

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    APP is Amercan Pioneer Powder.

    Even with the modern substitutes you are going to have to clean your gun after shooting. All of them are messy, some more than others.

    The 55 grain powder charge that Fingers gave you is a fairly stout load. One of the joys of shooting black powder is the ability to tweak the powder charge up or down to suit yourself. I use 37 grains of 2F Goex in my 12 gauge shells under a 1 ounce shot charge. It is a mild, low recoil load.

    As with any black powder loads, make sure there is no air space between the powder and shot charge.

    I have no experience with brass hulls, plastic hulls and shot cups suit me fine. Your biggest challenge will be to seal the top of the shells adequately since there is no crimp to do that for you. Hopefully others will give details on that.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2016
  6. noelf2

    noelf2 Member

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    I load brass hulls in 20 and 12 gauge. My question is what are your intentions with the loads? If you are just going to fun shoot, then light loads like Fingers describes is great. If you want to hunt, then you might want to beef that up a bit, if your Damascus double can handle "era appropriate" BP loads. I use Finger's load for 20 gauge, with no cushion wad, just an over powder card. 12 gauge gets 75-80 grains ffg, overpower card, 1 1/8 oz shot and overshot card. For black powder and equivalents, I get better patterns without cushion wads, and recoil doesn't seem any worse without them. I use high antimony lead shot.
     
  7. Noz

    Noz Member

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    Look for Shockey Gold. Same stuff.
     
  8. dogrunner

    dogrunner Member

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    My Grandfather left me an old single that he bought new in the late 1800's......I HAVE shot smokless hi brass stuff in it, but never felt quite comfortable...mine's fluid steel, but given the era of manufacture, only God knows what sort of formulation it might be.

    With that in mind I decided to load BP & the results I achieved are quite good.....using birdshot/buck and slug the old girl performs very well indeed. All loads are with CBC MagTec brass casings.

    Point of aim with the Lyman cast slugs at 40 yards and excellent patterns with the other stuff.

    The slug load consists of 75 grains of 3f Goex.....felt wad base, followed by two hard cards and topped with a thin 1/8 retaining wad....

    I happen to own an older MEC 650 that has metal crimp starter guides and use that for a partial retaining crimp.....(6 point). Seal the mess with some quick drying two part epoxy.

    Shot load: 7.5's....same load under 1&3/8 oz's.

    Cobbled up some 'make do' buck loads using 10 (ten) .375 round balls from my Navy .36 mould. I dribble Lee's liquid alox on top of the balls and do the hard card and crimp I described.

    I've also used Pyrodex for shot loads only.....seemed that 50 grains gave me best patterning.



    The foregoing work, and are safe in MY gun....your's ??


    As an aside, I don't know what the problem is with avoiding black or pyrodex other than the clean up issue, and that's really easy....I just pull my bbl and hose it out with hot water in a laundry tub. I truly don't think you will reduce the cleaning issue with any of the substitutes now available.
     
  9. JoshD

    JoshD Member

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    Thanks for the tips.

    Yea, as for the powder charge I was going to work up to it a bit. Just like one would do any other rifle or pistol load.

    I have experience with T7 in my old .50 muzzle loader. A lot easier to clean than the old pyrodex. And a whole lot easier than black powder.

    Y'all might can confirm this, but, I have also heard that it is less corrosive than pyrodex.

    Just what I have heard. I am a little concerned about corrosion in my brass shells. Because I might be having to store them for about a year.

    I plan on having some #8 for squirrel and some #4 for anybody else.

    Thanks for mentioning Shockey Gold. I think I saw that at the store.


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  10. JoshD

    JoshD Member

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    Good point about the cleaning.

    Pyrodex is getting a little harder to find. T7 is a little easier.


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  11. JoshD

    JoshD Member

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    Y'all have given me very good information. Thanks.

    I hope to be a bit more active on the forum.

    I'll also be giving updates on the shot shell reloads.

    I think it is cool to have something so simple and be able to get a great result out of it with minimal tools.

    Oh, btw, I plan on sealing them with ducco cement. I heard that was good to use and lasts a while.


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  12. Ironhand54

    Ironhand54 Member

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    You can also seal the load with nail polish. You could even use different colors for different loads.

    Ironhand
     
  13. dogrunner

    dogrunner Member

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    Josh:

    Far as your concern about the corrosive impact on your shells goes I'd suggest you toss 'em in a container with common laundry soap....agitate it to clean and then drain and dry on a low heat in your oven.

    They'l discolor, but you will remove any of the residue and if you want to polish then run 'em thru a tumbler.

    I've shot both .45 colt and these shotshells doing just as I described and they are still good after quite some period of time.

    From my readings the real issue with brass deterioration in the past was the fact that mercury was used in priming compounds and that reacted with the casings.....I believe embrittlement was the primary issue.


    And by the way, it'l be a hoot when you cut loose with that smoke generator around your friends!



    I intended to comment on the T 7 stuff as well.......friend of mine turned me on to it as he hated to wash out the black & pyro.....said water did it just as quickly and with less mess. I got a pound and found it just as accurate and substantially easier to clean..........tho I also found that I was better off to reduce my revolver loads. The same volume of load density with 7 was quite dramatic......sorta like shooting a .357 after a diet of regular .38 spl's.......I noted a lot more recoil and blast with the stuff. Have not tried it in a shotshell but I see no reason that it'd be a lot different than the other powders, just start out substantially lower!
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2016
  14. noelf2

    noelf2 Member

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    Black Powder, Pyrodex, and T7 aren't corrosive. The fouling is. Not sure about the other subs, but probably the same. You don't have to worry about loaded brass.
     
  15. Malachi Leviticus Blue

    Malachi Leviticus Blue Member

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    To be more specific, Black Power fouling is not corrosive, but it does absorb moisture in humid environments and that moisture mixed with the fouling is corrosive. Pyrodex fouling has been said to be corrosive even in the driest environments.
    I have heard of complaints that pyrodex fouling is especially harsh on Brass, which might be of particular concern when loading brass cartridges, although many folks load brass cartridges with pyrodex to their complete satisfaction.

    I personally, would use actual BP over Pyrodex.
     
  16. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Howdy

    Some things you should be aware of regarding shooting a Damascus barrelled shotgun:

    Damascus barrels were made by assembling alternate layers of iron and steel into a billet. The billets were then heated in a furnace and forged together. Then the billets were heated again and run through pressure rollers to narrow their cross section and stretch them in length. The billets were then heated again and twisted like taffy to give a 'barber pole' effect to the alternate layers of iron and steel. Then three or more billets were heated again and twisted around a mandrel, seam welding the billets to form the barrel tube. The rough shaped barrel was then reamed on the inside to form the bore, and machined on the outside to final shape. After all this was done, the barrel was proofed, with a heavy load, then inspected to make sure all the seams held.

    But this was all done many, many years ago. There is no way to know that over the years, corrosion has not compromised some of the many, many feet of welds.

    My point is, if you are going to shoot an old Damascus barrel, the first thing you should do is tie it down in a safe place, tying it down to a tire is a good idea, and step back a good distance and pull the trigger with a string, to make sure it does not blow up on you. I would not dream of shooting an old Damascus barreled shotgun unless I had first 'proofed it' with a heavy load to make sure it is not going to blow up in my face.

    I have been loading Black Powder shot shells for CAS for a long time. I use real Black Powder. I do not use any substitutes. I would not use Tripe 7 in an old Damascus barrel, Triple 7 is more powerful, ounce for ounce than real Black Powder is. I would consider using APP, I have used it on occasion in revolver cartridges. I choose to load my CAS shotguns with real Black Powder because.

    1. It is less expensive, pound for pound than any of the Black Powder substitutes

    2. It is less corrosive than some of the Substitutes, particularly Pyrodex

    2. It is not all that hard to clean.

    No matter what you use, real Black Powder or a BP sub, they are all messy, you are going to have to clean up after all of them. It is no big deal to clean a shotgun barrel with plenty of hot soapy water. It is messy, but it is easy.

    I do not use brass shells, they are very expensive, I load up at least 100 shells at a sitting, so I am not going to go to the expense of buying all those brass shells. I use conventional plastic shot shell hulls.

    My standard load is a regular Winchester 209 shotgun primer, 4.3CC of FFg powder (usually Schuetzen, but I used to use Goex), a Circle Fly 1/8" over powder card, a Circle Fly 1/2" cushion wad, 1 1/8 ounces of #8 shot, and a Circle Fly over shot card. I load my shells on a conventional MEC Jr shotgun press, no different than loading Smokeless shot shells.

    FFg will be your best bet for a shotgun shell, you don't need the extra velocity that FFFg will give you, and Fg is too coarse.

    Forget the 'grains volume' baloney. Just weigh your charges. I use the 4.3CC dipper from an inexpensive Lee dipper set for my shotgun loads. Depending on the brand of powder used and the granulation, 4.3 CC will give you different actual weights of powder. I keep a chart in my reloading notebook. According to my chart, 4.3CC of Schuetzen FFg is 64.4 grains, 4.3CC of Goex FFg is 58.4 grains. 4.3CC of Elephant FFg used to be 71.4 grains, but Elephant has not been made in a long time.

    If you want to try APP, the factory just had a major explosion a couple of weeks ago, but there should still be plenty in stores.

    ***********

    I have to add, it is beyond me why anyone would want to use a Damascus barreled shotgun and Black Powder for home defense, when there are so many better choices.
     
  17. JoshD

    JoshD Member

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    All great info! Thanks!!

    As for why use a Damascus shotgun for home defense?

    It is what I have. It shoot good. I'm wanting a functional piece of art. It hangs on the wall and is visible in the house. It is a beautiful shotgun. I want something besides plastic red shells sitting next to it. Brass is Class. Also, I mostly defend against possums and coons. Very few people. The sigma .40 S&W takes care of them. [emoji6]

    I have also seen a you tube video about the nail polish. Wifey doesn't paint her nails very often. Just doesn't buy the stuff. Ducco is cheaper. (I work at a hardware store and get things at cost)

    T7 FFG is probably what I will go with (easier to find than BP) now I just have to work up a load to a good recipe. Patterning the shot seems like it will be fun. [emoji6][emoji83]

    I'll be posting pictures and hopefully video soon. Give me a couple of weeks for my powder to get in and some good testing to be done. [emoji106]


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  18. Ironhand54

    Ironhand54 Member

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    Most of the original loaded brass shells I have seen are topped with a card wad and sealed with some type of varnish. Usually the load is written on the card. If Ducco does not work you might try spar varnish, maybe thinned with mineral oil to let it spread and soak in better. This should also create an essentially water proof shell. That would remove shell corrosion during storage as a consideration.

    Ironhand
     
  19. JoshD

    JoshD Member

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    That is a great idea!!!

    Never would have thought of that.

    That is why I love THR!!

    Thanks.


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  20. noelf2

    noelf2 Member

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    I made up a batch of 20 gauge buckshot loads a couple years ago with pyrodex, and haven't had occasion to shoot them all yet, so I took one apart yesterday and the inside, after wiping with a dry cloth, is still shiny with no noticeable corrosion. I'm sure they could go for 10 more years with no problem.

    I also prefer black powder and my own home grown sulfurless black powder (I call it shotgun powder) to any subs for shotgun use. And if you are going to shoot your brass shells within a year or so, a ring of good old elmer's white glue will hold in that overshot card.
     
  21. JoshD

    JoshD Member

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    Thanks.

    That puts my mind at rest.

    And thanks for the white glue suggestion.

    Josh


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  22. whisler

    whisler Member

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    "If Ducco does not work you might try spar varnish, maybe thinned with mineral oil to let it spread and soak in better."

    Better to use mineral spirits than mineral oil to thin. Mineral oil will never dry completely and may keep the varnish sticky. (I'm an old paint chemist)
     
  23. JoshD

    JoshD Member

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    Yea. Mineral oil is for cutting boards. Mineral spirits is for thinning oil based paints and varnishes.

    That is why I like THR. So much knowledge.

    That is a very big seller at my hardware store. Paints stains and vanishes. (Mainly Valspar and Minwax products. Along with some Cabot paints and stains.)

    I did have another question about prepping the shells. I have heard of some people pouring lead into the bottom of the shell as a powder cushion. Is this s good idea? Why would you do it? Why should I not do it?

    So many questions.

    Thanks,
    Josh


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  24. Pete D.

    Pete D. Member

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    A couple of things.....like others, I have been loading BP shotshells for years. I hunt the uplands with a 16 gauge flintlock smooth bore.
    I wonder where the idea that BP is "nasty" came from or that it is more difficult to clean up than the substitutes.
    Both of those ideas are false. BP cleans up with a few patches and plain water. Soapy water may be a tad faster.
    BP shotshells clean up the same way.
    As far as brass hulls are concerned, there are two types commonly available. The easier and cheaper of the two are the drawn brass hulls made by CBC/Magtech. These are primed with a large pistol primer and require wads that are one gauge larger than the gauge of the hull.....12 gauge hulls need 11 gauge wads (available from Circle Fly Wads).
    BP shotshell powder loads are traditionally stated as dram weight (a dram weighs 27 grains). Standard 12 gauge loads are 2 3/4 drams (75 grains) of FFg BP and 3 drams (81 grs.)

    The other type of hulls - which I much prefer - are lathe turned hulls. These use regular 12 gauge sized components and are primed with regular 209 shotshell primers. They are very strong and can be used with either BP or with smokeless propellants (not in your gun). They must be mail ordered from Rocky Mountain Cartridge Co. The kicker is that they are much more expensive than the Magtech hulls at six dollars each. Worth every penny.

    There is a lot of discussion about building the wad column - for my muzzle loaders, I use only an over powder card (aka a "nitro" card) between the shot and the powder.
    For shotshells, I use a nitro card, 3/4" of cushion wad, 1 1/8 oz shot and an overshot card that I glue in with Duco cement. Duco works better than any other glue that I have tried and I have tried a few.
    Pete
     
  25. JoshD

    JoshD Member

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    Thanks Pete!!

    That's a lot of good information. I thank you.

    Yea, the wifey didn't like the dollar a hull CBC brass. She is defiantly not going to like the $6 a hull brass. (She thinks I spend way too much money in this already. I tell her, it is doctor's orders)

    Several people have said that about Duco.

    6ad1013fd40d50c32176cab29faea0a4.jpg

    These statements still have me puzzled though. Need some advice. This was taken from midwayusa website.

    Thanks

    Josh.


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