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Thread: Lee powder charge?

  1. #1
    Retired Moderator, prospective father!
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    Lee powder charge?

    I messed around with my MEC press today and think I want to try loading slugs, buckshot, and maybe some big RB. I have never loaded for shotgun but have had this press for about 5 years.

    Lee has load data with their slugs, I understand hulls, wads, and primers shouldn't be interchanged which is fine because I have AA hulls, WAA12 wads, and Winchester primers, my question is the powder charge they list. 1oz with 36.0gr of Herco is the charge for this combo. Is that the end all be all load or is that a max to be worked up to?

    Would anything need to be changed if I used a .69 RB?

    I'm not doing anything serious with this just blasting stuff with smooth bore pumps and an Ithaca buckbuster.
    Doug
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    Sticks and stones may break my bones but hollow points expand on impact.

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  2. #2
    Boolit Master


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    I recall several reports of increased accuracy and a lot less recoil with charges below the listed charge.
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Come off the listed loads several grains for a better experience and put a 20 ga 1/8" hard card in the bottom of the wad cup to keep the wad from jamming the wad up into the cavity. I obtained much better results using the 7/8 oz slug overall.
    "My main ambition in life is to be on the devil's most wanted list."
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    Be selective on what slug you choose.

    I started out 12 ga. slug shooting about 45 years ago with slugs cast from shot into cut off CO2 cylinders to make a boolit shaped slug that fit the shotcups but of course no stability from a smoothbore so I bought a 0.690" ball mould. I still have it and it casts well but... I have never gotten decent accuracy from 0.690" balls. Too small naked and too large for most shotcups and those I have found it will fit still didn't work, petals sheared.

    A donut wad under a 0.690" ball may be the answer and one day I'll try it but I found other answers.

    I like round balls so didn't give up there but it took about 35 years for me to sort things out. I bought a 0.662" ball mould which is very undersize in regular shotcups so patched it up and got great accuracy of generally 3" to 4" out to 50/60 yards. Found the same with 0.735" RB's. Then graduated to 0.678" RB which is about perfect in many standard shtocups so good fit, perfect weight and easy to load.

    As Hogtamer says, use a nitro card wad or two under the ball (or slug if hollow base) and I like to add a scoop of Cream 'O Wheat for the ball to sit on. This keeps the shotcup from trying to wrap itself around the ball at firing.

    Other good choices are the Lee Drive Key Slugs which cast well and drop into standard shotcups or the Lyman sabot slug. Don't bother with the Lyman Foster slug. The Lee Drive Key slug worked pretty well though not as accurate for me as good round ball loads. My round ball loads outshoot the Lee Drive Key slug at 50 yards. Can't comment on the Lyman sabot slug as I have not loaded that one.

    And no, there is no charge to be worked up to. Follow the recipe as is. Pressure can change quite radically with minor component changes to shotgun load recipes. I have one manual "Reloading for Shotgunners" which shows several powder charges for each recipe for many birdshot loads and a few slug loads so there, yes you can start low and work up to the max powder charge listed but mostly you'll find a single recipe for a given set of components and powder. You can download from that for less recoil but don't "work up" to any powder charge not listed.

    For easy shooting loads with limitless recipes, just use 1 1/8 oz. birdshot loads with a 0.678" RB (+ nitro card wad(s) and COW) instead of shot. Easy to cast, easy to load, easy on the shoulder.

    There's my take anyway.

    Oh, and have fun! There is something inherently satisfying about seeing great bit holes in things... for me anyway.

    Longbow

  5. #5
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    Thank you.

    My main goal is to put slugs on steel at 50 yards. I don't care and pinpoint accuracy 4-6" with a smooth bore is plenty good for my intended purpose. I have an "00" buckshot mold that I use for sling shot ammo I'd like to mess with also.

    There's a county trap club about a mile from my house, I swung in there today to check it out (never been there because I don't shoot shotguns) anyways there's a 55 gallon barrel 1/2 full of hulls. I grabbed a bunch of Remington STS and Nitro gold empties to mess with.
    Doug
    .................................................. ........................................
    Sticks and stones may break my bones but hollow points expand on impact.

    Taxidermists are cheaper than surgeons....keep shooting

    ΜOΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

    Some people measure success in Minutes of Angle

  6. #6
    Boolit Master bikerbeans's Avatar
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    If you plan to fold crimp and you reduce the powder charge you shorten the height of the load and this may cause crimp problems. A roll crimper on a drill press solves this problem and you can look at a round and know it is a slug.

    Good luck!

    BB

  7. #7
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    I have an old school crank roll crimper around here that seems to still function.

    My shotgun shell collection isn't vast so it won't be hard to tell what's what. For bird shot I shoot the cheapest stuff I can buy at Wal-Mart so it's bulk Winchester with aluminum case heads, anything with high brass is steel shot, turkey loads, or factory buckshot/slugs.

    These AA hulls should stick out pretty well.

    Can I use a punch and cardboard for a bottom of the cup card? If so what size punch works the best?
    Last edited by dk17hmr; 06-18-2017 at 08:24 PM.
    Doug
    .................................................. ........................................
    Sticks and stones may break my bones but hollow points expand on impact.

    Taxidermists are cheaper than surgeons....keep shooting

    ΜOΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

    Some people measure success in Minutes of Angle

  8. #8
    Boolit Master bikerbeans's Avatar
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    I put a 20ga nitro card in a 12 ga shot cup so you would want a punch that cuts about a .62" disk.

    BB

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    If you are punching them yourself you'll likely not have cardboard as hard as nitro card wads so use two or three or maybe even four.

    Something else that works pretty well is polyethylene disks. The stuff I have is not very thick but stacked 3 or 4 deep it works well and is tough. It is the only stuff I had that would not shred under my ill fated finned slugs. Nitro card wads just tore up.

    I used one of my kids old "Magic Carpet" snow sliders which is just a thin polyethylene sheet sold in places like Walmart in winter. Several disks punched from milk jug or old oil or antifreeze jugs should work too though softer and thinner than the Magic Carpet.

    A 5/8" gasket punch should work then put two to four disks in the shotcup then a scoop of COW then your ball. If you are using a slug leave out the COW.

    Longbow

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check