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Pre-plastic shotgun wads.What were they?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by GigaBuist, Jun 9, 2008.

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  1. GigaBuist

    GigaBuist Member

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    Saturday I took a newbie out to the range and while walking out to check targets he asked what all those plastic things were on the ground.

    Well, they were shotgun wads, and I explained what they did.

    It got me to wondering though, what did they use previous to plastics for a wadding. Cardboard? Paper? Is there a huge difference in performance among them? Heck, did shotguns always use wadding? I have no idea.

    Oh, and that trip is part of the reason why I haven't posted another Saiga 20 patterning spread. I want to do it, but taking a total newbie to the range sounded like a much better idea. I got him some trigger time on an 1894C in .357, an AR-15, Walther P22, CZ-75B, Ruger Vaquero in .44mag, and a S&W 1911SC.

    He wants to go again, so the next trip has me thinking shotguns (trap) and scoped rifles at 100+ yards.
     
  2. zinj

    zinj Member

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    Old shotgun shells used two sets of wads. One was compressed over the powder charge (often with felt padding between it and the shot charge), and standard procedure was to place another over the shot and roll-crimp the cartridge like slugs are today.

    Notice that there was no shotcup protecting the charge from contacting the barrel. This resulted in more leading of the barrel and more shot deformation; which in turn meant patterns weren't as tight. If you read some shooting books from the era when the manufacturers went over to the plastic shotcup/wad combination you will find comments that "new shells shoot one choke tighter". The loose patterning of older card-wad loads is a big part of the reason why full chokes used to be so popular.
     
  3. Brian Dale

    Brian Dale Member

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    Of course, and Well Done. Newbies get priority.

    I've seen cardboard wads, used before Remington made a big splash with their "Power Piston" wads that were advertised as protecting and cushioning the shot as the expanding gases pushed them down the barrel.

    I think that shotgun shells always used some sort of wad between the powder and shot, and another cardboard disk over the end of the shell. Beyond that, I'm sure that wiser heads will chime in soon.

    Edited to add: I see that a wiser head was posting as I was. :)
     
  4. Jorg Nysgerrig

    Jorg Nysgerrig Member

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  5. Virginian

    Virginian Member

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    The first step at protecting shot was the Winchester/Western Mark V plastic shot collar. It was a thin sheet of plastic that wrapped the shot column. A tremendous advance. I remember you could see where some shot pellets had penetrated the plastic just barely if you retrieved a fired collar. The one piece wad and shot cup came next.
     
  6. JohnBT

    JohnBT Member

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    "what all those plastic things were on the ground"

    Litter. Ban them.
     
  7. leadcounsel

    leadcounsel member

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    That brings up another question: what were the shotgun SHELLS made of?
     
  8. SDC

    SDC Member

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    Rolled paper or cardboard, with a thin brass head crimped on.
     
  9. JohnBT

    JohnBT Member

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    What were they made of? Chocolate? Okay, gum paste.

    [​IMG]

    "Serves 150

    $4.00 per serving cake only
    Turkey feathers an additional $15 each
    Shotgun shells an additional $7.50 each


    Yes the turkey feathers and shotgun shells are edible"

    [​IMG]


    www.earlenescakes.com/Trees.htm
     
  10. Onmilo

    Onmilo Member

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    "Plastic, it's the future!"

    Vegetable fibre, cardboard, felt, All have been successfully utilized as wadding material with lead shot loads.
    Plastic shell hulls were a tremendous improvement over the old paper tubes and much cheaper to produce than all brass or bimetal shell hulls.
    The hulls are not a litter issue if people would just pick them up.

    The plastic wads are a litter issue but really only on shotgun ranges and rented hunting spots where large numbers of shells are fired on relatively small areas of land.
    This litter can be maintained and recycled if the owners utilize a litter management plan.

    Plastic wads are a now absolutely neccesary evil because the tree huggers insisted on hunters using steel and other non-lead containing shot loads for over water migratory bird hunting.
    The green projectile project is continuing to expand to other areas because of the fear of lead contamination and petroleum based loading materials will continue to be used until other designs are perfected at reasonable cost.
     
  11. Will Fennell

    Will Fennell Member

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    Plastic wads

    Many consider the plastic wad/shotcup to be the biggest advancement in shotgunning in the past 100 or so years. I would have to concur...

    Plastic wads can be troublesome with regards to litter.....some ranges I have visited in England require felt wads just so as to minimize litter.

    I have fired some shells with photo-biodegradable plastic wads, but the performance wasn't quite there yet. I believe that this will be solved, and that will be the next big evolution in shotshell developement.
     
  12. lbmii

    lbmii Member

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    I have an old paper 12 g shell that has come open and it has what seems to be horse hair as the wad.
     
  13. Funderb

    Funderb Member

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    +1 for the above. found some old wool or hair wads.
     
  14. JohnBT

    JohnBT Member

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  15. Acera

    Acera Member

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    Federal makes paper shot shells, and I think that they have the paper wads or at least a biodegradable type of wad.
     
  16. Milkmaster

    Milkmaster Member

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    Here is a couple of pictures I had from a similar post and question...
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2008
  17. MMCSRET

    MMCSRET Member

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    The wads and cards are available from any full service shotgun reloading supply house. I bought mine in 12 and 20 to load new brass Magtech brand shotshells with, just for the fun of it. I also load 444 Marlin brass to use in my single shot .410's
     
  18. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    When I was too poor to support my skeet shooting habit while in the Army, I used to police up all the AA cases & used wads and take them to the Laundromat and wash them.
    (Delicate fabric, low heat setting) in case you were wondering.

    I guess the wads probably didn't work as well the second time they were fired, but they worked well enough to run 25 straight a few times!

    rcmodel
     
  19. Owen

    Owen Moderator Emeritus

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    what do muzzleloading shotgunners use for the over-shot wad?
     
  20. Brian Dale

    Brian Dale Member

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    Wow--I take pride in being a creative tightwad (pun alert) myself, but you've set a new standard with that one.

    Well done, Sir! :D
     
  21. SDC

    SDC Member

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    Again, usually felt and/or paper over-powder and over-shot wads, pushed down with the ramrod.
     
  22. huntsman

    huntsman Member

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    The old-timers used hornet nest paper.
     
  23. flynlr

    flynlr Member

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    :what:

    I sure hope the Hornets were not using the paper at the time.
     
  24. foghornl

    foghornl Member

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    Haven't told this story in a while, but here goes...

    High-school Budd (Let's call him Ron for this story) lived outside town on the farm. Ron's dad told him to keep the crows out of the corn...but he couldn't use his 870 Wingmaster..."Use Gramps Shotgun for crows"....Gramps gun was a old 12-Ga side-by-side muzzle-loader. Ron got tired of having to clean up all the residue, and though that a large chunk of steel wool would make a good over-powder & over-shot wads, by reducing the fouling left behind.

    Ron had busted a bunch of crows with this, but suddenly noticed he was making 5 acres of popcorn.....
     
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