Trap and field loads

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Phil from Kansas, May 14, 2021.

  1. Phil from Kansas

    Phil from Kansas Member

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    I was given some old shotgun ammo. Some boxes are trap load and some are field. How do these compare? Would trap load be safe in my old guns that are reccomended to be used with field load? Would trap load be lethal to varmints, or should it only be used on targets?
     
  2. John Joseph

    John Joseph Member

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    I've never met a varmint that could read what's printed on a cartridge box ;).
    7-1/2 (or 8s) are near identical to 7-1/2 and8 field loads unless some of your Trap loads are Handicap loads which will have a bit more oomph
    Certainly lethal within conservative ranges. I wouldn't shoot waaaaay out there with elderly ammo and expect 100% though ( but then I don't take shots that are waaaaay out there either. )
     
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  3. John Joseph

    John Joseph Member

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    FWIW, older Winchester AAs and Remington STS trap loads have darned fine hulls for reloading, and Federal Gold Medal paper hulls smell like shotgun heaven when fired.
    If you have any of those in your stash you are doubly blessed!
     
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  4. kudu
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    kudu Moderator Staff Member

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    Field loads tend to be put together a bit cheaper, softer lead shot, fiber wads. A good target shotshell will have hard shot that deforms less and a premium wad. I prefer to hunt with target shells if I can find them in the shot size I need, the max size is usually 7.5 size shot, which works great for smaller birds.
     
  5. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Me too. From my 1100, I used Rem. Nitro Clays for pheasants. Knocked 'em right down.

    Phil, Trap loads and field loads overlap a bit, but where Trap Handicap shells leave off, field loads can go a bit hotter.
    Trap load are lethal on coyotes atleast to about 30 yards, I've only shot a couple and that was the distance. I shot my first goose with a trap load, but it was a 2-3 yards. DRT.
     
  6. Phil from Kansas

    Phil from Kansas Member

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    Western Xpert Mark 5 Super trap load 25, 12 ga, 2 3/4 ", 1 1/8 oz, 7 1/2 shot, xt12v7 1/2.
    remington shur shot trap loads, 2 3/4", st12m-8, 3-1 1/8-8.
    Federal field load, 12 ga, f121, 3 dram equivalent, 1 1/8 oz, 8 shot.
    I understand gauge, length, and shot size. Are the other numbers meaningful? These are 50+ years old.
     
  7. entropy

    entropy Member

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    The Trap loads will be either 2 3/4 dram or 3 dram. The Rem. Trap load is 3 dram, the Win. doesn't say. The Federal is an upland game load, grouse, pheasant or woodcock. They'd work fine for Trap too, of course. The xt12v7 1/2 is a 'model number, as are st12m-8 and f121. 3 dram equivalent is about 1200 fps, 2 3/4 dram eq. is about 1150 with 1 1/8.
     
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  8. Phil from Kansas

    Phil from Kansas Member

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    Thanks! So how do you convert drams to grains?
     
  9. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    If I'm hunting something like doves or once in a blue moon quails, I use whatever 7 1/2 or 8 shot is available and cheap. Never cared about what else was on the box, and neither did those little birds.
     
  10. PapaG

    PapaG Member

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    You dont. Drams is used to suggest an equivalence between velocity from old black powder loads to modern loads. Black powder was volume measured by drams (which DO weigh 28.5 grains each) and a three dram load would produce about 1200 fps with 1 1/8 ounce shot. Modern shells using smokeless powder get the same velolocity with far less powder, usually somewhere around 17-18 grains of Red Dot for example.
     
  11. George P

    George P Member

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    You don't Drams refers to BP and indicated (somewhat) the intended velocity to be achieved. Grains is a weight measure of the powder.
    What you want to be concerned with in old guns is not only the velocity but mainly the pressure. Older guns do better with low pressure loads like those available from RST in their Vintager line
     
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  12. tmd16556

    tmd16556 Member

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    I guess another question is how old are your old guns. Those loads are good for most anything made in the past century. I consider a 3 dram load in 12 gauge as a dual purpose utility load. I’d feel fine breaking clays or hunting doves with those. They may run a bit dirty if they’ve seen any humidity, and the plastic on federal field hulls gets brittle with age. I’ve had some lose a bit from the crimp but that’s only a problem for reloading.
     
  13. cdb1

    cdb1 Member

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    Same here for the simple reason target loads tend to pattern better.
     
  14. rkittine

    rkittine Member

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    What are the shot sizes in each? You just said some are Trap and some are Field. As pointed out, if they are no 7.5 or 8 shot trap loads and no 8 field loads, as long as they are both 2 3/5", there is not all that much difference, though also as pointed out, the hulls used for the field loads may not be as great to reload. Not necessarily an issue though. I buy Remington Field Loads in 16 gauge with 1 ounce no. 8 shot and reload them for skeet with 1 1/8 ounces of no. 9. They seem to be the same design hulls as the Remington Gun Club.

    Bob
     
  15. Phil from Kansas

    Phil from Kansas Member

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    Western is 7 1/2. Others are 8.
     
  16. rkittine

    rkittine Member

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    I would use either of them than for trap or even skeet.
     
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