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Shotshell reloading question

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by Busyhands94, May 15, 2012.

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  1. Busyhands94

    Busyhands94 Member

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    I have an old 16 guage shotgun that I'm hankering to put some BP shells through. It's a Farwell Arms break open that is choked down nice and tight so you can reach out far, plus I really like the 16 guage. I'll try and post pictures as soon as I can.

    My question is if plastic shells are okay to use with BP (or substitutes) without them melting or weakening. I have used some APP loads in a 20 guage pump before with plastic shells, but something didn't seem quite right about it. I just think paper shells would be a better way to go but I'll use plastic ones if it's not going to hurt anything. I also have a big bag of soft iron shot, I don't know if that would be okay to use with BP. I don't think it will hurt anything, I mean if anything the residue from the powder would deposit on the iron shot pellets and make them break down faster.

    Also, what are some load recipes for 16 guage BP shells? And can I use pyrodex FFFG in a shotgun despite the larger bore?

    What really gets me stoked is the idea of getting some brass 16 guage cases and filling them with #7 1/2 birdshot and BP so I can shoot trap at the local gun club. I can't wait to see the heads turning when everyone is shooting smokeless and I'm not! :neener: Priceless!

    Take care!
    ~Levi
     
  2. joecil

    joecil Member

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    Yes the plastic shells can be loaded perhaps 1 time with black powder or pyrodex. I have loaded 12 ga in both plastic and brass. I have never tried to load the plastic much more than twice however the brass can be loaded a number of times. I also use wads I get from Buffalo Arms and not the plastic wads. I don't crimp either and use liquid glass to seal them.
     
  3. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    Duelist1954 made some videos about reloading shotshells using different methods. He does mention that plastic wads can be used.

    1. Shotshell reloading without a press part 1 nail & dowel method.mov

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZ4IBv0Bg9U&list=UUOrzQir9WP9UpH8qtWx_ppw&index=101&feature=plcp

    2. Shotshell reloading without a press part 2 Lee Loaders.mov

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBRX6i8Rp6o&list=UUOrzQir9WP9UpH8qtWx_ppw&index=10&feature=plcp

    3. Shotshell reloading without a press - part 3 using antique tools.mov

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhT2l6808v4&list=UUOrzQir9WP9UpH8qtWx_ppw&index=9&feature=plcp
     
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    The iron shot in an old soft steel barrel with a full choke doesn't sound like a good idea to me.

    Not good atall!

    rc
     
  5. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    I never had a problem reloading shotshells and crimping the ends, when using Remington hulls, but the plastic wads were a no no. Left way too much crud in the barrels of my SASS shotgun. Switching to old time fiber wads fixed the problem. As it was only targets, I used 70 grains of 2Fg, and 1 oz. of shot in a 12 gauge hull.

    LD
     
  6. Busyhands94

    Busyhands94 Member

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    Sounds like a plan! I just located a website that sells brass shells and wads, so I'll be set for a while!

    It's good to know that steel shot isn't too good an idea out of a full choke, I'll probably just get a bag of lead shot or figure out how to make them. I am wondering about slugs though. Would a foster slug work given it has the ribbing on the sides to force down the full choked barrel or would that just create a pipe bomb?

    Arcticap, I have used the nail and dowel method to load 20 guage with BP before, it worked marvelously! I used craft glue to seal the shells and homemade wads. For the shot I just used some buckshot. They were very fun! :)

    I'd love to load some brass shells for this ol' beauty, what a lovely shotgun! Sorry to post such huge pictures, I'm just not sure how you re-size them.
    shotty2.jpg
    shotty.jpg

    Y'all have a good day!
    ~Levi
     
  7. drsfmd

    drsfmd Member

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    I would have that gun checked out by a competent gunsmith before attempting to shoot it.
     
  8. Busyhands94

    Busyhands94 Member

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    That sounds like a good idea. It is old, and I'm not sure how old. But I wouldn't want a pipe bomb as I mentioned before. If I had to guess I'd say it was made around the 1950's or so. It does have a rubber recoil pad that doesn't look too old, but I'm still going to have it checked to be sure.
     
  9. Hellgate

    Hellgate Member

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    You risk shooting the choke out and scoring the barrel with any kind of steel or iron shot. I have used Pyro-P for shotgun as well as APP and real BP in the 12 ga with anywhere from 55-85 grs BP and from 7/8 to 1 1/8oz shot. I use plastic wads all the time. It will come out with any BP solvent. Even if I use card and fiber wads I always use a plastic over powder wad (or a cut off portion of a one piece plastic wad) to get a good seal in any tapered hull plastic shotshell (Remington and WW). A straight walled brass hull uses 11ga card and filler wads. With BP and the subs, any powder and wad combo that gives a decent crimp and a good pattern will work.
     
  10. Busyhands94

    Busyhands94 Member

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    I guess I'll just have to play around with it and see what my shotgun likes best. I of course have no objections to testing loads, that just means I'll get to have fun making smoke! :D So from what I understand for brass hulls I'm supposed to get a wad that is size larger. Shot cups are rather tempting because I think it will make it pattern better.

    Yet another question, does my crappy camera make this shotgun look like an old junker? It looks a million times better in person. It does have a nice brown patina on the steel, and there is still some color case hardening on the hammer. It does lock up tighter than a vault and feels sturdy. But of course I'm still taking it to a gunsmith to have it checked out to make sure I can use smokeless loads.
     
  11. Hellgate

    Hellgate Member

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    Patterning need not be complicated. Get a cardboard box if you can't find a flat sheet of cardboard. All you need is a staplegun, magic marker to draw an aiming point, butcher paper and a ballpoint pen to lable the paper. Staple a sheet of butcher paper onto the box, mark your center, get back 10 yards and blam at it. If you have holes in your patten they will show. A full choke pattern should put 90% of the shot into 10" at 10 yards. You will quickly see what loads produce the tightest and most even patterns. Shot sleeves do help produce more even patterns. Steel shot cups tighten them even more in cylinder bore guns.
     
  12. drsfmd

    drsfmd Member

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    It's likely several decades older than that. It was a cheap gun when new, and may be nothing more than a pipe bomb now. You *really* want to get this checked out by a COMPETENT gunsmith, and have the chambers measured as well. My guess is that you will NOT get the OK to shoot it from the gunsmith, as it's probably not safe to shoot.
     
  13. Busyhands94

    Busyhands94 Member

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    I'm going to get it seen, I don't want to be missing any fingers.

    It does have a serial number, I don't know if shotguns before the sixties generally had serial numbers but I'll be making dead sure it's safe to shoot before even buying shells.

    Of course if I find that it isn't safe to shoot I could re-line it to .22 Hornet or something like that and put some iron sights on it.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2012
  14. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    Farwell Arms single shot shotguns were made by the Crescent Firearms Company. The company was created in 1888 in part by taking over the former Bacon Arms Company of Norwich, CT and forming a new company. Production was moved from Norwich, CT to Chicopee Falls, MA after it closed down in 1931 and Savage Arms took it over in 1932.
    According to the Blue Book of Gun Values, Crescent made guns with over 100 different trademarks for retailers, distributors, mail order houses, etc...
    It further states that almost all remaining specimens today are priced as shooters rather than collectors, with the 16 ga. single shot having a 15% higher value than the 12 ga. single shot.
    From the description about its condition and lock up, it sounds like a solid gun that was made from modern steel, essentially by a division of the Savage Arms Company.

    A list of the various brands made by the Crescent Firearms Company is
    listed on this linked page:

    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080215191929AAWc1pb
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2012
  15. Busyhands94

    Busyhands94 Member

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    Thanks for the info Arcticap! I have been scouring the web and can't find anything on Farwell Arms. It is a very interesting and cool old shotgun!

    I also failed to mention that the bore looks nice and shiny! It is just rough cosmetically as far as I know. But I'm still going to see if it would be safe to shoot even though I'm 99% sure it is. Better safe than sorry!

    ~Levi
     
  16. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    The heads will turn for the first or second shot. After that eveyone will not think very highly of you. I shoot Black Powder loads in CAS all the time. I also shoot Trap every week. I wouldn't dream of bringing Black Powder loads to the trap range. Most trap shooters are pretty serious about it, and don't look too kindly at somebody showing up just to have fun at their expense.

    If you shoot BP out of modern plastic hulls you can expect to get 3 or 4 loadings out of them at most before they turn too crispy to crimp. BP burns hotter than Smokeless, and tends to burn tiny holes in the hull right at the crimp. After three or four rounds they are too crispy to form a good crimp.

    I use separate wads when I load BP. I pour in my powder, then a 1/8" over powder wad, then a 1/2" cushion wad, then my shot. I always use 1 1/8 ounces of #8. I also use 4.3CC of FFg powder. Usually something around 65 grains or so. After the shot I put in an over shot card, then I crimp as normal on a MEC Jr. But most of the guys I know in CAS who run BP through their shotguns actually use modern plastic wads. For 12 gauge the old Winchester Red Wad was perfect for 12 gauge, not taking up too much space in the hull, but I dunno what anybody would use for 16 gauge. Using modern plastic wads does tend to leave melted plastic in the bore, but it is easy to clean out when the shooting is done.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2012
  17. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    A late friend shot BP 12 ga along DJ's lines.
    He would, by agreement, bring his Ithaca hammerless with two sets of Damascus barrels to the club once or twice a year to shoot BP trap and skeet. Everybody thought that was kind of neat... on limited exposure. He took it hunting one time and was told not to bring it back for fear of setting cornfield stubble on fire.

    Loading ANYTHING in 16 ga is kind of a challenge these days.
     
  18. Busyhands94

    Busyhands94 Member

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    That is a good point I didn't even realize, if I'm out hunting I don't want to start a fire.Just out of curiosity, why would handloading 16 guage be hard these days?

    ~Levi
     
  19. mykeal

    mykeal Member

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    What is 'their expense' in this scenario? Are they prevented from shooting somehow? Does it cost them more? Do they get to spend less time on the range? What's different about a black powder shotgun that somehow costs them more than anyone else with a smokeless powder shotgun?

    I think you're being unfair to 'most trap shooters'. The ones at my club, who are as serious about their sport as anyone can be, bear no ill will towards black powder shotgun use, nor towards the occasional shooter who's just out to enjoy the day.
     
  20. junkman_01

    junkman_01 member

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    It breaks the concentration of other shooters caused by the action of the BP shooter and that may actually be against the ATA rules. :neener:
     
  21. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    I understood it to mean that some folks might consider black powder smoke to be an irritant or distraction. Every range has different rules and it could depend on who happens to be there at the time.
    That's why there's black powder clubs and events that are dedicated to black powder shooting only. Not everyone welcomes it.
    Conversely, many black powder clubs have rules against shooting smokeless powder on their range. Mine didn't allow it. :)

    Here's an example:

    Thrown off the skeet range!

    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=635372&highlight=hazard
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2012
  22. Busyhands94

    Busyhands94 Member

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    I just got off the phone with a buddy of mine who works at the trap club, apparently I'm allowed to shoot blackpowder shells as long as they aren't going to cause a hazard or irritant to other shooters. Of course he wanted to try shooting a couple BP shells, can't blame him. :D

    I think as long as I am safe and respect other shooters we shouldn't have a problem, perhaps I'll post a video once I get a good camera and have a couple things taken care of regarding this ol' shotgun.

    Take care and thanks for all the great replies!
    ~Levi
     
  23. J-Bar

    J-Bar Member

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    Take extra shells so the gawkers can have a few shots too. I bet you convert some of them!!
     
  24. Busyhands94

    Busyhands94 Member

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    I'm sure if I bring extras I'll get a couple people hooked on BP shooting! :neener:

    We need more shooters to cross over to the dark side! I mean I like smokeless for some things, for example it's good if I want maximum power from my mouseguns. But if I had to choose only one powder to use it would be black! Hehe!

    ~Levi
     
  25. mykeal

    mykeal Member

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    I understand some ranges restrict the use of black powder to certain times, and a few even ban it altogether.

    I do not understand the shot against 'most trap shooters'. There are a few bad apples in any bunch, but 'most' trap shooters? Come on.

    I still don't understand the remark about 'showing up just to have fun at their expense'. I interpret that to mean somebody walking up and saying, "Hey you. If all you're going to do is have fun during our match, using our clays and taking our time, take your antique junk and hit the road." Are 'most trap shooters' really like that?
     
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