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Low base vs High base

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by m&m, Mar 12, 2011.

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  1. m&m

    m&m Member

    Jan 17, 2010
    I am new to shotguns, please be patient.

    I have read various articles that mention low base or high base shells. What is a brief description of the differences? Is it a difference in the powder load or shot load or a combination???

    thank for any info.
  2. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

    Apr 24, 2008
    Hot and Humid FL
    This dates back to loads from a century ago.............low bras are basically target-level loads, high-brass are hunting loads............depending on what you are hunting, sometimes target loads work well - like for dove and quail
  3. ldhulk

    ldhulk Member

    Feb 25, 2011
    If you look at the ballistic charts for shotshells, they typically give you the weight of the shot charge, (1 oz, 1 1/4 oz, etc) the shot size, (no. 5, no. 8, etc) and either a velocity number like 1200 fps or a number indicating the power level (which went back to drams of black powder) then there are several choices of what the actual shot pellets are made of. the cheapest shells have soft lead pellets, the premium shells use hardened lead. The non-toxic bismuth or heavishot are the most expensive. You can't leagally use lead for waterfowl, and some other places now restrict its use completely. Some shotguns pattern one charge weight a lot better than another, or one power level better than another, so it can get pretty complicated finding the best combination for any particular use, then you can change chokes and start all over again.
  4. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    Oct 22, 2007
    Central PA
    "High-brass" and "low-brass" are sort of short-hand for indicating a heavier load or a lighter one. Loads with a heavier shot payload were/are often packaged in shells where the brass base came up higher on the cardboard or plastic hull (maybe 1/2" or 5/8" tall base). Target loads were often put into hulls in which the metal shell base was fairly short (more like 1/4" - 5/16" tall).

    The taller brass base isn't really necessary these days, (heck those "Activ" shells were/are all plastic with no brass except right at the primer) but it is still often used, and the terms are pretty universal.
  5. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Sep 17, 2007
    Eastern KS
    High-Brass was necessary with the old paper hulls used up until the 1960's when plastic hulls came along.
    Their function was to prevent the powder charge from burning pin-holes in the paper hull.

    As mentioned by Sam1911, it is no longer necessary with plastic hulls, and is a throw-back to olden times still used mostly to identify the power level of the load at a glance.
    But even that isn't always right anymore.

    Especially if you reload your own shotgun shells.
    You can load 1 1/2oz Magnums in low-brass hulls, or 1 oz light target loads in high-brass hulls if you want too.
    There is really no differance in hull strength.

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