Modern shotgun hull frustration

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Random 8, Aug 7, 2022.

  1. Random 8

    Random 8 Member

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    Things are supposed to improve with time and innovation, but this does not seem to be the case with shotgun hulls. Of the Gold Medal, AA and Rem STS of the 90s and 2- oughts, only the STS is not changed for the worse.

    The new GMs seem similar to the economy hulls. HUGE capacity and weak case head and primer pocket. The AAHS is flat garbage with the stupid cup in the bottom and capacity and case length all over the map. Fiocchi and Rio are relatively new and show some promise but generally feature a 6 point crimp requiring tooling changes and adjustments. Load data has not caught up to any of these changes.

    I'm still using my old stock GMs and STS/gun club, but dread the day that they are no longer serviceable.

    How are today's shotgun loaders navigating these changes?
     
  2. MEHavey

    MEHavey Member

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    Personally, I've not had any problems with AA-HS at all -- maybe 9-11 loads before mouth/crimp splits beyond use,
    (And load range pick-up GCs identically --too bad steel head, but then they're all over the place/thrown-away/free/6-8 loads)
     
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  3. Random 8

    Random 8 Member

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    How do you get the AAHS to crimp properly? I end up with holes in the center or ring around the base wad no matter where I set the start and final crimps. The case lengths vary up to 1mm, and internal length also has significant variance.
     
  4. Howa 9700

    Howa 9700 Member

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    Seems the current first choice does remain the STS/Nitro/Gun Clubs and that now also includes Federal HOA, which is said to come off the same line as Remington. The AA HS are no doubt far below the old AA CF, but folks are loading them. Just not sure how many are buying the factory version for the hulls as they used to.

    Also in use, although offering fewer reloads are the inexpensive Federal Top Gun.

    Local club hosted a large state meet a few weeks back, and at end of the day, I dropped in to scrounge around for empties. Came home with 3 garbage bags full. Large mix, but about 30% were Federal Top Gun, 25% were mix of STS, Nitro and Gun Club; 25% were a cheap Winchester target shell (cheap version of the Win AA HS), and rest a mix of Fiocchi, Rio and others. Out of over 1000 hulls, doubt there was one box of Win AA HS, and those look like they had been loaded before. If they were shooting those, they were saving them.

    Unless they are buying hulls to reload as we used to do with the Win AA CF hulls, most shooters do not seem willing to upgrade to the premium shells. But if that is your quest, it is possible to buy once fired hulls. A lot of guys are still sitting on thousands of them. AA CF's, HS and STS and Gun Clubs. Seem to be priced 10 cents per hull, +/- 5 cents......so range of 5 to 15 cents per hull in lots of 500.

    But for 90% of folks, it seems Gun Club and Top Gun are what they are loading. They both work.

    IMG_0281.jpg IMG_0302.jpg
     
  5. Howa 9700

    Howa 9700 Member

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    Finding out that in the modern era, guys pay a lot more attention to the crimps than we used to. They want them factory perfect.

    Getting there starts with selection of the right components to get the stack height right, then working with the crimp starter and depth of final crimp punch. That can be seen in the mix of crimps in the Gun Clubs. A hole in the middle means the crimp starter needs to be lowered, punch lowered or both. A swirl mans crimp starter is too deep. Putting too much material into the crimp petals, so they have no place to go. So trial and error until you get it right.
     
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  6. entropy

    entropy Member

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    I load AA-CF (the pre-2000 AA) AA-HS, STS, Nitro 27 , Nitro Gold, and have a decent stock of Peters Blue Magics. I also have been acquiring Gun Clubs, though I don't currently load them (they stick in my Ljutic)
    I find running the reloads through the final crimp on my 650 reduces the holes in the crimp, as does correct stack height, which is achieved by using the right wad. I only use Downrange wads, and there are several WAA-12 "clones" they make that are different enough in height you can adjust the stack height as needed.
     
  7. MEHavey

    MEHavey Member

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    With the MEC-600JR just now:

    12gs-AA-HS-3-4oz.jpg
     
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  8. Akula69
    • Contributing Member

    Akula69 Contributing Member

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    Those are a work of art MEHavey..

    I purchsaed a bunch of GM from Ballistic Products and have been having success with them. Some had been fired more than one time (evidenced by the primer being other than Federal 209A) but almost all the lot were usable.
     
  9. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    I have been using mostly Gun Clubs as that was what I scrounged the most of (5 30 gal trash bags stuffed full in reserve yet) at my local range. When my crimps get ratty I use a Teflon overshot disk over the load and mark that as a last use. Once I get my MEC 600 dialed in the crimps are good to go.
     
  10. Barbaroja

    Barbaroja Member

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    I have great luck with the newer winchester AA hulls. I also load gun clubs, federal top guns, and sts. I have a bunch of the old blue majoc hills but haven’t loaded any.

    as to crip irregularities in rem gun clubs it is due to them being not all being the exact same length.
     
  11. kalielkslayer

    kalielkslayer Member

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    To the OP, the struggle is real!

    that said, I’ve been loading Original AAs, STSs and Top Guns.

    I like to color code my range shells. Currently the Top Guns are 1 1/8 #8s, STSs are 1 oz #9s, and AAs are 1 1/8 7.5s. The top Guns have so much case capacity, even with the DownRange clone of the federal 1 oz wad, I only use them for 1 1/8 oz.

    I have several 100 of the old Blue Magics I plan on trying a 7/8 oz load in.

    My problem has been that for 40 years, I’ve had 2 Browning B80s. Barrels on both were 3” barrels so I have had to push the load pretty hard to get reliable ejection/feed. I just bought a barrel off of eBay that was chambered in 2 3/4”, and is ported differently. What a difference!!! As soon as I got it, I put it on, loaded some cheap 1 oz loads that would never eject with the other barrrels. I walked outside, bam bam! Both ejected, case fed, bolt locked back on empty.

    I went back in the room , looked at a manual, and built 100, 1 oz rounds that I shot today. I shot an 87 today on a pretty easy sporting clays course with the new barrel and 1 oz loads.

    Pretty damn happy about the entire thing.

    PS: Most of my upland loads are in clear Fiocchi hulls. I like to be able to see the size of the shot in them, and if it’s Nickel coated or plain lead. These cases have a ton of capacity for 1 3/8 oz loads.
     
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  12. Random 8

    Random 8 Member

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    That is precisely the issue I have with the HS and to a lesser extent with the GC. No matter how well I have load stack, crimp start and final crimp dialed in I get erratic results. Some with a hole, most very good and occasionally a buckled case at the base wad. These are random pick up. I suspect with a more uniform batch this issue would be lessened. I was probably spoiled by the old AAs where I could mix and match Super X, 1970s through 1990s and expect near perfect crimps. They are visibly different heights and the caliper confirms variable base wad height. Surprisingly the cheap Winchester "Big W" hulls crimp reliably but the plastic is weak. I only trust those for fast burning powder loads in warm weather. I shoot them once and throw away.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2022
  13. NuJudge

    NuJudge Member

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    Regarding your crimp, if there is a small central hole, but it does not leak shot, it is not a problem. If you notice a wad is sitting particularly low, and therefor the crimp will be dished in or may have a big enough hole to dribble shot, a thin card on top of the shot will prevent both.

    I am still using AA-CF cases in 12 and 20, because I have my Dads stash, in addition to my own. My wife tells me I am not allowed to die until I burn all this stuff up.
     
  14. Barbaroja

    Barbaroja Member

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    Hahahaha my wife was shocked when I gave half of my hull collection to my neighbor before I moved, don’t worry wife I’ve still got 2-3 lifetime supply’s of 12ga hulls.
     
  15. Howa 9700

    Howa 9700 Member

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    Those cheap Win Big W hulls were a large part of my recent haul from the local club. Apparently a lot of shooters using them. After sorting, wound up with nearly 1000 of them. They look a lot like AA-HS, so thought I would load a few to see if they were worth saving or toss. With limited work on the crimps, this is a 1 oz load.

    IMG_0406.jpg

    For comparison, shell on far right was a AA-HS......loaded exactly the same way as the others. The AA gave a better, deeper crimp, which I took to mean that while internals look the same, they are not. Switched from CB1100-12 wad to DR12A......a slightly shorter wad, which gave a better stack height, and the crimps then looked like the AA on the right. Maybe better. But I also concluded that if I was going to load these, it would be a one and done deal. Shoot em and leave em lay. Most good hulls still have a sharp defined 8 point crimp after firing. These don't. Some look almost as smooth as new, un-fired hulls. Or uneven looking pleats, even though it is obvious they started out in life as an 8 point crimp. So if the crimp starter doesn't hit it just right, you can get botched crimps.

    One more thing. I continue to load on my now 50 year old plus Texan DPII single stage. One noted difference between my Texan and most MEC loaders is the crimp starter. The Texan doesn't do nearly as good a job getting them started. Has what I am going to call a shallow angle of attack.....the opening in the shell after started still quite large, vs closed up more with the MEC. End result is the MEC does give a nicer, final crimp.
     
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  16. Random 8

    Random 8 Member

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    On the big Ws, I've found I need to keep them deeply set or they will occasionally pop open a crimp. One and done for me also, but reliable results following AA Recipes
     
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  17. tmd16556

    tmd16556 Member

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    I load junk hulls. I load them until either the crimp tears out or the primer pocket won’t work. It’s pretty variable. The cheap Federal Top Guns are like all Federal hunting cases. The primer pocket is held in by the paper basewad and a little brass plated steel. Usually good for 3 loads.
    The cheap Winchester hulls crimp like you would expect but they seem to hold up to bad crimps. They’re alsobetter in 12 than 20. I use the MEC Sizemaster and if I can get the crimp starter right it’s fine. These are mostly dove hunting loads not competitive target loads. I just keep the bad crimps aside for informal targets.
     
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  18. Random 8

    Random 8 Member

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    Just FYI, the Federal cheapo shells have changed. They now feature a plastic base wad and cavernous capacity requiring very tall wads relative to charge weight.
     
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  19. Poper

    Poper Member

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    Try BPI for reloading data for the Fiochi, Cheddite and Rio hulls. I use Cheddite hulls for my 16 ga. and the BPI 16 ga. loading manual. Good stuff. Fiochi hulls are rated right up there with the old Winchester AA hulls for quality.
    I hope this helps.
     
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