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Pyrodex shotgun shells

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by bernie, Mar 17, 2013.

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  1. bernie

    bernie Member

    Jan 1, 2003
    The great state of Arkansas
    I had an idea for a practical joke I can play on my buddies when we start shooting clay birds as it warms up. A shotgun shell powered by Pyrodex would get an interesting reaction because of all the smoke it would produce. I would run it through a single shot, so cleanup would not be a problem.

    Has anyone ever loaded any modern plastic hulled shotshells with pyrodex as the propellent? Not looking for anything super fast, just something strong enough to break clay pigeons. Now, if there was a load stout enough to squirrel hunt with, I might do that just for fun.

    Thanks in advance.

    351 WINCHESTER Member

    Mar 19, 2007
    Not meaning to rain on your parade, but pyrodex is more corrosive than black powder. If shot in a break open shotgun cleanup would be very easy. However, if shot in a gas operated autoloader it could cause a real problem. Just saying.
  3. rule303

    rule303 Member

    Dec 5, 2010
    It will work fine, loaded equal parts by volume powder and shot. The hulls will be junk after the first firing, they usually melt through. You would also want to use a fiber or felt wad rather than a modern one piece wad/shot cup.
  4. 44 Dave

    44 Dave Member

    Apr 9, 2012
    Northern Wisconsin
    SASS guys shoot black powder reloads in plastic all of the time, can't find much paper any more. Equal volume powder to shot, I think. Was planning to load some with FF and 1 oz. of shot my self, tracking says my 12 gauge reloading press will arrive tomorrow.
  5. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

    Dec 18, 2011
    Land of the Pilgrims

    I load modern plastic hulls with Black Powder all the time. Never bothered with Pyrodex. Yes, a Square Load is equal volume of powder and shot. Volume, not weight. More powder and you will tend to blow a hole in the pattern. Less powder than shot by volume is OK too.

    The problem comes about because a good charge of BP takes up much more space in the hull than a good charge of Smokeless powder. Modern plastic wads do not leave enough space in the hull for a decent charge of powder. A good work around was the old Winchester Red Wads, they left enough room in the hull for a good charge of powder and a good load of shot. But Winchester stopped making them a few years ago. However, Claybusters makes a good knock off of the old Winchester Red Wad.


    CB1138-12, the 7th one down.

    Clean up from a SXS shotgun is easy with your favorite water based BP solvent. However, plastic wads tend to leave melted goo behind in the barrel that needs to be scrubbed out with really hot water and a bore brush.

    That's why I load all my BP loads with separate card and fiber wads that I buy from Circle Fly. I put in a bit less than 2 1/2 drams of FFg and 1 1/8 ounces of #8 shot. Knocks down anything I point them at.

    However, old fashioned separate fiber wads tend to not pattern as well as modern wads in shotguns with modern forcing cones.
  6. BCRider

    BCRider Member

    Nov 15, 2008
    Pacific North"Wet" Coast of Canada
    A local CAS guy loads up "black powder" shot shells for the group using Pyrodex. I'm guessing it's the RS or "Rifle/Shotgun" coarser grind and not the finer 3f equivalent "P" version. The case of these loads I got are all in the Winchester AA hulls.

    I was talking with him and learned that the only issue is to use fiber wads between the powder and shot instead of the plastic ones. The plastic hulls are fine but the plastic wads melt and stick to the bore as they move down the barrel apparently.

    I can't say what his load is but with Pyrodex being volume for volume the same as proper BP I'm guessing that the equal volume rule of thumb for powder to shot applies.

    The Pyrodex delivers on the smoke cloud too.... :D
  7. Hellgate

    Hellgate Member

    Jan 11, 2004
    You can use a Win AA wad and cut the "legs" out of it or cut across the legs then rotate the bottom 90 degrees and get a shorter wad to allow for more room for the powder. Pyro P or RS is fine. With the plastic wad, anywhere from 50-80 grains by volume and 1 to 1 1/8oz shot will work fine. As long as you have a decent crimp and chokes the load SHOULD pattern fine (no guarantees). The barrels get plastic buildup from the plastic wads shaving (scraping) off plastic onto the BP fouling and then having it melted into the fouling by the flame. One round isn't going to be a problem. 25 rounds will cause a pretty good build up. As said before: GEEZE, don't use BP in a gas operated gun or you'll have hell to pay with corrosion. Some trap shooters don't like shenannigans and get ticked off when someone shoots BP when no one is expecting it. Hopefully, you aren't in a group of real serious shooters.
  8. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Strangely enough, we had a guy who would make an annual appearance at the trap and skeet club with his Damascus Ithaca and black powder shells. Everybody thought it was vastly entertaining and nobody complained about the occasional demonstration.

    On the other hand, he got disinvited from a dove field, his partner told to get that dam phool out of here before he sets fire to the field.

    He was strongly in favor of card and felt wads, although he would put up with plastic hulls for the convenience.
  9. the Black Spot

    the Black Spot Member

    Jul 10, 2010
    central arkansas
    I load 50-60 gr by volume pyro rs, over powder card, lubed fiber wad(14 ga size fits in 12 ga hull) 25 pellets #4 buck or 1 oz. #71/2 shot, then an over shot card. dont have a reloader so i cut my hulls with a jig on the table saw and then glue in the over shot card with elmers white glue. Hardly any kick.
  10. dogrunner

    dogrunner Member

    Dec 13, 2006
    E/Cntrl Fla.
    My concoction consists of 53 gr's of Pyrodex RS under a WAA Red plastic wad. 1 &1/8 oz of 7.5' chilled. (Also used about 75 gr. of ffg with same combo)

    Either pattern well. I only use the stuff in my Granddad's ancient single but cleanings easy. Just dismount the bbl & run soapy water thru, rinse it with hot & wipe it down.

    Incidentally, I have had great results with my cast Lyman Foster slugs with that gun & black.......shoots to the precise point of aim at 50 yards.....those loads tho are different. 80 gr's bp, fiber wad over the powder charge & a couple of hard cards under the slug. Either roll crimp or closed, as you prefer. Also have used the full length brass cases by MAGTEC. Volume is somewhat greater & you have to adjust your components to get the right load height. Also it's worth noting that if you have one of the older presses that have the metal crimp starters.....either 6 or 8 point.....that you can achieve a very nice start crimp on those brass shells....just put your thin overshot wad on top & lightly apply that startcrimp. Hope this helps some.

    Press used for the .12 is an older MEC 650...........

    Meant to add that you can reuse those plastic shells, just make sure to clean up with soapy water afterwards.
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