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Thread: Loading Speer Shot Capsules

  1. #1

    Loading Speer Shot Capsules

    Speer Shot Capsules are available in 38, 44 and 45. A big advantage of the capsules is the ability to load more shot without having to use special brass. The capsules also come with a cupped plastic gas seal wad which works better than a card wad. However they are not without problems.

    The big disadvantage of the capsules is they must be made of very fragile plastic so they break apart on firing. To prevent pulling out from recoil, you must crimp the capsule securely. When you do this, about a third the time the capsule shatters and you start over. If you do not crimp securely, the capsule will pull out from the light recoil of firing another shot cartridge and bind up the revolver. This limits you to one shot load in the first up position.

    Even with a "good" crimp the capsule will sometimes pull after a shot load is fired. A cylinder full of shot shells is asking for a jam. Don't even think about firing a standard cartridge first, the increased recoil will pull the capsule almost every time.

    To make capsules work, use clean brass. Fired cases are OK but there must be no residue in the case.
    Charge with powder.
    Seat the capsules by hand just inside the case.
    Apply a small amount of rubber cement around the capsule ahead of the case mouth.
    Immediately seat to the recommended OAL and lightly crimp just enough to remove the case mouth bell.
    Wipe off any excess rubber cement.
    Allow to dry overnight.

    Clean out the seating die with lacquer thinner.

    Capsules loaded this way will not pull when a regular round is fired and will not tie up your gun. You can load a full cylinder for “Revolver Skeet” or to fend off a company of Copperheads.

    The least expensive way to get shot for a small number of loads is to disassemble shotgun shells. Number 9 shot is the smallest size commonly available and works well in 38 and 44 capsules. Number 8 or 7 ½ give fewer shot, but greater penetration. Number 12 shot is desirable in 38 capsules, and gives dense patterns in larger capsules, but is usually available only in 25 pound bags.

    Light loads are often recommended with shot loads to improve the pattern. Light loads with Speer Capsules will sometimes fail to rupture the capsule, giving a single projectile. Use Speers load recommendations which come in each box.

    Always test your shot cartridges to confirm performance.
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  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    southern MO
    Eutectic45 thanks for posting the tip on using rubber cement to help hold the shot capsules in the case under recoil. I use the 44 capsules in my short barreled 44 with great effect but have always experienced cylinder hang-ups due to the capsule backing out, and the thin snap cap that holds the shot in the capsule staying in place in the brass case. This results in shot being released into the cylinder ahead of the end cap and the capsule. With this situation it is impossible to push the capsule back into the brass case. I have taken the cylinder out of the frame in order to clear the jam on more than one occasion. I will try your technique when I can. I think I might also put a small amount of rubber cement on the end cap to also help hold it in place.
    Socialism is a philosophy of failure,
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    its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery."
    -- Winston Churchill

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

    Nueces's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Texas Hill Country
    I was thinking about this issue and have an idea that I bet one of y'all will try before I do. These Speer caps are bore size or smaller, not groove size. Thus, they would still fit a case if given a single wrap with clear plastic tape, down on the part covered by the case neck. Place the forward edge of the tape to provide a narrow edge for the case crimp to grab onto.

    This would make a better fit in the case neck and would likely increase pull resistance enough to make a difference. Certainly it's easy to try. I've lost my proving ground shooting area, though, so I'm unlikely to be able to try it soon.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Northern Michigan
    The cheapest way to get shot is to buy a bag of it...or make friends with a skeet shooter who reloads. They will have #9 shot.

    Good tips though!!!
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  5. #5
    Boolit Master Skipper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Behind the lines in Commiefornia
    I use a drop of Duco cement. Works great!

    Some people try to turn back their "odometers." Not me. I want people to know why I look this way. I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Boise, Idaho
    Great ideas. I've had many of the issues previously described. Thanks for posting this thread. Now to find a small quantity of #9 shot.

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    over the hill, out in the woods and far away
    Great thread! I use 242 Loctite to cement the base obturator to the shot capsule, and assemble them ahead. I got nickel-plated No.8 in 10-lb. bags, made by Lawrence from Midway. The No8 works well for me in .44 and .45 cals.o
    The ENEMY is listening.
    HE wants to know what YOU know.
    Keep it to yourself.

  8. #8
    I have found that using a taper crimp die instead of a roll crimp, will greatly reduce the chance of shattering the capsules. Plus, it also lessens the chance of it creeping forward and locking the cylinder....ymmv

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy
    hiram1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    no.1 shot works well to.it holes 3
    We have enough gun control. What we need is idiot control.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master jmorris's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    As far as breaking and pull out, shot loads in rifled barrels pattern better (ok they still are not great but) if you are not pushing them to maximum velocity’s. You can’t help but run them pretty hot in semiautos to get them to run but in revolvers you can find a happy medium between crimp and pull out pretty easy, if you are loading for how they pattern at 10-15ft, you can have all the velocity you want after that and it won’t matter as the probability of a pellet hitting something diminishes pretty quick at further distances.

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    May 2011
    NC Montana
    Good tip but I've loaded 100s of 38 & 44 CCI capsules and I've never broken one, even though I need to crimp them securely, especially for use in a .38 Airweight snubby.

    If you are breaking 1 out of 3, you're using way too much crimp. I use the regular two die set from RCBS for 38s but do have a dedicated crimping die for 44s. I don't load them very hot -- trying for decent patterns. Some years, I use 20 to 30 during the Summer. I've never had one tie up a cylinder and on occasion I've fired all 5.

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    The Netherlands Europa
    Plus one on Larry.
    I fired hundreds of (speer)them in 38 and 44.
    Never had a problem, its all in the proper crimp.
    It must be just enough to hold it firm in place.
    They are really great to solve some problems and food.
    Lucky we have over here a gundealer that is selling all the sizes shot in 2 pound bags.
    He makes good profit to buy big bags and then make it into smaller bags.

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy

    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Salem WV
    Don't try to use wad cutter cases, they are too long for a 38. Don't ask how I know that.

  14. #14

    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    The Pacific NorthWet
    Duco cement also works well to attach fletching to your atlatl darts in a pinch Interesting idea!

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    I've loaded the Speer shot capsules for years, and have never had to use glue or tape to hold things together. I guess fortune favors the noob, but before I got my taper crimp die, I found a crimp that will hold things without breakage, and not result in any creep, either in storage or shooting. But...somebody, somewhere suggested a drap of Super Glue to hold it for sure. Duco is good, too. I must have used gallons of it during my model airplane building days! My mom just hated it when I'd wipe my gluey fingers on my levis! I'll have to try it when next I attach feathers to my Atlatl darts.

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy watkibe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    The Great Pacific Northwest
    I bought a box of Speer 38 capsules, and then realized I couldn't find data. I bought a Speer manual to get it. Then I opened the box of capsules and found the small slip of paper in the bottom with the same data on it. Ha ha, jokes on me.
    Seriously, it's a good manual, and you can't have too many reloading books.
    I bought 10# of no. 10 shot from BPI. I can use it in target 12 ga loads too, so the whole cost isn't just for shot capsules.
    "A society that values equality above liberty will have neither. A society that values liberty above equality will have plenty of both " - Milton Friedman

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy
    Chad5005's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Buena Vista GA
    I load a box at a time in 38,44 and 45,3 grains titegroup in 38,4 grains titegroup in 44 and 45,light crimp and 1 drop model glue and no problems

  18. #18


    I liked the old TC Center Hotshot loads. I wish they were still available. I used to take squirrels with my Contender 44 mag with hotshot barrel. They were a lot longer and contained a lot more shot than the Speer.Name:  Hotshot.jpg
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  19. #19
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    I had use Super Glue on the 38spl and dose not hold to well. I still had problems like was stated in the OP. I will have to try the rubber cement.
    Life Member of NRA,NTA,DAV ,ITA. Also member of FTA,CBA

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Indianapolis, indiana
    looking for a cheap access to #9 shot?

    buy a 12 pack of 12 gauge shot gun shells and cannibalize them. you'l have plenty of shot for
    plenty of capsules ....not expensive and no left overs to sit around gathering dust.

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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