View Full Version : Loading 12 ga round balls

05-06-2007, 11:44 PM
I am getting ready to load some full bore round balls for a 12 ga ultra slug hunter. I intend to use some GOEX FF to sent it on its way. With round balls, does one need a cup shaped wad when loading these? I am concerned that if I just use a fiber wad that the unsupported edges will just blow out and not get a good seal??

05-07-2007, 12:04 AM
good luck!

05-07-2007, 09:55 AM
I've loaded round balls in a muzzle loading shotgun, and used standard fiber cushion wads, hard card wads, and both together. At 50 yards, not much difference in group size, but point of impact shifted. I didn't try any modified wads, but recall an old magazine article which recommended punching a hole about half of the ball diameter in the center of a fiber cushion wad to center and hold the ball. This wad was set on top of a hard card wad as I recall. The claim was better sealing and consequently more velocity.


Ohio Rusty
05-07-2007, 09:55 AM
Is your Ultra slug hunter a black powder smoothbore gun or a modern smokeless gun? Round ball can be used in shotshells easily. You just need the right size that is a good fit.
Ohio Rusty

05-07-2007, 09:56 AM
There was a fairly long thread not long ago in this forum about loading round balls. Might scroll down a ways and hunt for it.

05-07-2007, 10:15 AM
Federal shotcups with the pedals trimmed to 1/4' are perfect for this. I use the 12s3, but you'll need the next shorter size to make room for the Goex. Stick with Federal if you possibly can because they are the toughest and because the bottom of the shotcup is contoured for a good fit to your RB.

I picked that up from Gil Sengel in the long ago Handloader article that got me started playing with bore diameter RBs. He reported reaching 1500 fps with black.

You'll need some sort of lube on those RBs, possibly Johnson's paste wax. I've always used LLA, but then I've always used smokeless powder. I've generally cast my RBs from WW because the bearing surface is very small and the twist in slug guns is much faster than is desirable for RBs. I don't know that harder alloy helps, but it makes me feel better.

Make sure that your cases are unmistakably marked. I use a roll crimp for this reason. You do not want to take any chance at all that one of your RB loads will find its way into a choked shotgun.

05-07-2007, 07:56 PM
The rifle is a fully rifled barrel that I purchased off this site. Here is what I was thinking about doing; In a plastic hull, a dose of FF most likely start with 100 gr or so; then a card wad; fill the extra space with fiber wads and a felt wad dipped in SPG. then something for the ball to sit in; then the ball and the a simple folded crimp. Maybe the bottom of a plastic wad with the top cut off, you know the shot cup as wall as the cushion struts. flip it upside down so the gas seal forms a ring or lip to support the edge of the ball. What I am concerned is that the fiber wads are not supported on the edges by the ball, collapse and leak gas.

I have some AA hulls primed and ready to go, though I do need to order the wads from Midway.

Down the road this project will turn into a full bore slug gun, though full bore shotgun slun moulds are hard to come by and are expensive.

This is an ongoing project, but I am cheep and short on time at ther moment so it is taking longer than expected.

Thank to all that responded to this post and ALL others that have helped in the past on this and other projects I have dabbled with!!

05-07-2007, 08:10 PM
if you were going to look at a full bore 20 ga slug mold I'd be up for one, but 12 ga, no thanks, haven't got one... :D

05-07-2007, 09:19 PM
I've loaded .690" roundball in a CYLINDER-bored Beretta 1201FP (riot gun, essentially). The balls fitted nicely into a plastic shotcup/wadcolumn and worked pretty well, except the recoil was bloody fearsome in a 6-pound gun. I used load data for 1.25-ounce shotloads for the one-ounce balls and it worked fine.

More to the point, I made the mistake of loading some blackpowder shotshells for a fine English Damascus-tubed double 12-gauge, using plastic wad assemblies. This led to the gol-darnedest case of plastic fouling I have EVER seen. Heroic measures were needed to get the stuff out of the bores, believe me. I would strongly suggest that you use only "natural" materials for wads etc.....cork, fiber, felt or whatever. Plastic and blackpowder were an utter disaster in my shotgun.

05-07-2007, 10:27 PM
I gave up on round balls and went with the Lee 12 ga slug mold loaded in a AA hull, 1 oz wad,209 primer,with 17.5 grs of Red dot. I take the shot bottle off the 650 mec and load. They come out to about 420 grs using WWs or heavier 430 grs if i use soft lead. Wow they shoot nice out of my Win 1300 smooth bore. I need to add a rifle choke tube to help with longer accuracy. Right now i'm getting about 6" at 50 yds.

05-07-2007, 10:47 PM
BLammer, I might have to keep my eye out for a new toy.... Ultra slug hunter in 20 ga.!![smilie=1:

05-07-2007, 11:56 PM

I have loaded .69 cal. round balls with black in a smoothbore and had lots of fun. I just used standard fiber and card wads with reasonable success but never really checked accuracy at any significant range. You should do pretty well with a rifled barrel though.

I found black very hard on plastic hulls - they burn and curl over at the case mouth after very few shots. Might be better to trim them and roll crimp to get better life - if you care.

Ballistic Products also has lots of loading info here (including black powder loads): http://shop2.mailordercentral.com/bpicart/products.asp?dept=111

~ manuals and brochures and I have found them very good to do business with.

Listen to BruceB about not using plastic wads with black - been there done that, didn't like it much! Card, fiber, felt or other natural stuff is good and felt soaked in black powder lube even better. Maybe they would work better with a card wad under to protect them from the heat.

Also, at Ballistic Products you can find AQ slugs which are essentially round balls with and attached skirt - like a spherical Brenneke. I have gotten 6" at 100 yards using smokeless loads with those but they are expensive. I made a similar slug using a .69 cal. round ball with attached base wad.

Good luck and have fun.


05-08-2007, 12:53 AM
hacklback-funny you should say that, my 20 ga slug hunter barrel just got delivered today. :D

05-08-2007, 01:55 AM
When I load blackpowder for my old (1880s) Alex Martin damascus gun, I cut off the shell at the rear of the crimp folds.

This does two things:

-it eliminates the shell damage referred to above, and

-it offers ABSOLUTELY POSITIVE identification that the load is in fact a blackpowder load for that shotgun. If it doesn't have an overshot wad in a cut-back case, it does NOT get into that gun.

I use a fairly-heavy bead of Elmer's or Gorilla glue to hold an over-shot wad in place. The O/S wad stays in place well enough that even three rounds fired from the other barrel won't dislodge it. This wad is also a convenient place to mark the shot size, too, although I generally use only one ounce of #6 for the old gal, with a very moderate charge of FFg. It is quite tightly choked and shoots murderous patterns at 30 yards....

05-08-2007, 07:30 AM
As for black and plastic hulls, I an thinking using them once and tossing them. Plastic hulls are cheap and avalible. In the future, I intend to buy some Rocky Mtn Ctg. brass hulls, but they are $6.00 each and I am currently not felling that rich. I feel that finding a good full bore slug mould is currently a higher priority. Dixie slugs makes full bore slugs, and I have contacted them to see if they still sell components, have not had a responce as of yet.

05-08-2007, 10:03 AM
Down the road this project will turn into a full bore slug gun, though full bore shotgun slun moulds are hard to come by and are expensive.

Not that bad. I got Buckshot to cut driving bands into a Lyman Forster type mould to bring it up to size. His charge was very reasonable.

Black Jaque Janaviac
05-08-2007, 11:28 AM
I don't know if the fellas are cautioning agains BP in plastic hulls or BP with plastic WADS. I used BP with plastic wads in my muzzle loader 12 gauge an performance was lousy. Lot's of plastic fouling, and I couldn't hit a clay bird to save my life.

Same plastic wads loaded over Pyrodex worked just fine.

I load roundball in some 12 gauge brass cases for my Baikal. Since the balls are .705 diameter I patch 'em with a cotton patch just like for a muzzle loader. I also loaded a card wad over the powder, a couple cork cushion wads, and then a deer tallow grease cookie. The grease cookie supported the round base of the ball pretty well.

I will also try Cream O' Wheat between the wads and the ball to support the base.

My Baikal is smooth bored so I won't brag about the accuracy.

Dixie Slugs
05-10-2007, 08:14 PM
Hello Friends.....There seems to be some misunderstandings as to whether or not Dixie sells slugs as a component.
Let's keep it simple. Dixie Slugs is not in the component business.....however I have told many people that we do sell our slug over runs when the molders get ahead of orders. Ed Humbel, who posts about his Shotgun From Hell, has used our hard cast heat treated slug/bullets in all manner of tests.
I have also told people that if they want some of our over runs to put an order in. Then when we have the slugs available, we will notify the person, and if they still want the order.....we will ship and bill.
The available slug/bullets will be straight off the production line.......hard cast, heat treated, and Alox wash lubed.....the same as goes into our ammo.
The cost is $0.50 per slug/bullet in 12 gauge (.730"-730 gr) and $0.40 per slug/bullet in 20 gauge (.625"-500 gr), plus postage. Please, limit your orders to ten (10) slug/bullets or more. All in All, That is a competitive price for what you get!
We will also send some starting load data
Regards, James@Dixie Slugs

05-10-2007, 09:05 PM
I am working on .575 balls in 20ga. so far, has worked fine in my Savage 24, full choke, using a plastic shot cup with shortened petals, I am still trying to find the correct powder and charge to get more than 800fps.
Results at 25 yds were less than 2".

08-08-2007, 08:29 PM
:Fire: Hackleback, I have the Ballistic Products Slug reloading manuals, I also have a discontinued one piece shot cup(no petals ) that should work great for round ball loads, We just have to find the wads, been a year or two since I've seen them.

08-08-2007, 10:40 PM
MGD, this is one of those projects that progeress at a snails pace. Will be in touch with you soon!!

Lucky Joe
08-09-2007, 03:53 PM
I'm curious, I found a round ball mould today .590 dia. Lyman. Would this work for a 20 ga.. I like drinks have a Savage 24 imp. cyl.


square butte
08-09-2007, 05:48 PM
Lucky Joe, Most guys I know with 20 Gauges shoot .600 Round balls. Bore size for 20 ga. is .615. I have a .60 cal rifle i've been looking for a mold for, should you be interested in selling or trading your .590 lyman. PM if interested. Thanks

08-09-2007, 08:48 PM
Joe, it would depend on you patching thickness, most likely.

08-12-2007, 12:41 AM

You got balls that big? lol

Let me know how it all works out, I may shoot it after I see you fire the thing a few times...


08-12-2007, 10:29 AM
I have a Lyman-ideal 68569 Mould here, should make some interesting 12 Ga projectiles, That cavity is HUGE..... Anybody Know what the weight is?

08-12-2007, 12:03 PM

They list it as 730 grs. in pure lead. It was designed for the .69 caliber Whitney "Plymouth" rifle-musket issued before the Civil War for Navy service (with the Dahlgren knife bayonet) and for other .69 muskets that were re-rifled for CW service. Dixie sells replicas of the latter, both smoothbore and rifled.


08-12-2007, 02:55 PM

They list it as 730 grs. in pure lead. It was designed for the .69 caliber Whitney "Plymouth" rifle-musket issued before the Civil War for Navy service (with the Dahlgren knife bayonet) and for other .69 muskets that were re-rifled for CW service. Dixie sells replicas of the latter, both smoothbore and rifled.


MMMM 1 5/8 ounce slugs..... That outta poke a nice deep hole in something.

08-12-2007, 04:29 PM
I only have one Round ball load for 20 gauge. Someone on here sent it to me but I don't remember exactly who it was.

W/W low brass w/Red base wad
CCI 209
23.0 gr SR 4756
WAA20F-1 wad
2 - .160 cork wads
.575 round ball
1 - .160 cork wad
star crimp

I killed a Doe with this load in a Savage 24, and a friend killed a cow Elk with some I loaded for him. I'm shooting them now out of a Savage 311 out of the IC barrel with no problems. It will stay on a paper plate @ 50 yds, that's good enough for what I want it for.

Lucky Joe
08-13-2007, 02:56 PM
square butte,

Here is a picture of the mould. Just a little surface rust, comes off with a fingernail, I don't think you will have any trouble making this work. If all goes well I'll send it tomorrow.

08-14-2007, 12:56 AM
We have used that big .69 cal Lyman miniball for 12-guage work, and it does well. I was always a little worried about shoving a solid, snug round ball down a choked tube, but that miniball ( mine mikes at .6896 in pure lead) works just fine in our full-choke Win.M-37 barn gun. For kicks ha, little joke there, we stuff about 50grain/volume Triple-7 in a Rem.Green hull, put an over-powder card plus a greasy 1/2 inch veggie wad on that and kind of mash crimp it. Mentioned on another board that it lets daylight thru old appliances. As far as accurate? Well, I did shoot a coyote with it at about 6, maybe 7 yards. Using the paper plate method, I would say the closer you are, the better. 25 yards? Maybe. One thing for sure - use over powder cards and plenty of solid fiber wads or the like. Otherwise, that thing will tumble, rumble, mumble and dive. NO repeat NO grease in the base cavity. Greasy (well, oil-soaked, really) fiber wads do best. Store your loaded hulls slug-down. Why use these? Well, time before last got a fox in with the War Department's production Red layers, and brought about La Zorra's demise with a load of factory # 4's. Killed the fox, allright - along with about 6 of Mom's red hens. When you launch one of these miniballs, maybe your collateral damage amounts to a lot less? Anyway, they are fun to mess around with. Make dead propane tanks jump around. Also boots you a good one, as that little old M37 backs right off of that big slug.

09-07-2007, 01:27 PM
I have used a .660 Lyman mold hard cast water dropped wheel weights sitting on top of 2 1/8" 20 Ga nitro wads in a WW AA wad on top of a 1 oz load with excellent results. Puts a huge dent in 1/2" thick armor plate.

09-10-2007, 08:32 PM
Found the wads, actually laid hands on them. Stop by and I'll set you up.

10-06-2007, 01:38 AM
I use a plastic wad with the petals cut off to leave about 1/4 the ball diameter. I seat the wad then I place 1 (20 gauge) or 2 (12 gauge) 'plastic peanuts into the case. I place the ball on top and seat just deep enough so that it still offers resistance when I crimp the case. Don't overseat the ball as the peanuts are not resilient and will not rebound to fill the case. I started off roll crimping them and it was a waste of time.

I shoot Lyman .735 balls in a 12 gauge M1100 with a rifled barrel and .615 balls in a cylinder H&R single shot. All balls are HTWW. They function flawlessly in both guns. Accuracy is good enough for deer hunting. Round balls have beter ballistic coefficients than factory slugs so it is not necessary to load them to max to get acceptable penetration at hunting ranges. A slightly subsonic load will penetrate 8plus inches of softwood at 75 yards with little noise or recoil.