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Thread: BP for old 16ga Double Barrel

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Feb 2018

    BP for old 16ga Double Barrel

    I just won a bid on an old 16ga double barrel shotgun. Itís going to be more or less, a wall hanger, but I would like to shoot it if Iím in the mood. Iím sure it predates smokeless, thatís not a problem for me.

    I have two questions, however, Iíve heard talk that BP can melt some modern plastic shells. Is there any truth to that? If so do I need to find paper shells or even brass?

    Second, where can I find info on loads for it? Both powder and shot? Since shotguns usually use fast powder, would FFF be better than FF?


  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    Springfield's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    San Jose, California
    Use ffg or even fg for lower pressure. BP doesn't melt plastic shells but it can melt plastic wads, but even then it isn't a problem, just use a spiral Tornado brush to clean out the melted wads. The only real safety concern is if it is a Damascus barrelled gun. On that subject I have no advice, except be very careful.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    BP burns holes in Cheddite hulls. not so much in things like Winchester AAs. I use the cheddites and toss after using once. But sometimes they can be reloaded. The shells don't melt however.

    I use whatever powder I have too much of. 1.5 f or 3 f or whatever is handy.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Some other empties get small burn holes from using BP, Federal Gold metals are one, but it's not a problem, just throw them out after. 80 grs. of most any REAL black powder will do the trick, my fav. BP is Swiss though it may be pricey for some.

  5. #5
    Boolit Man heelerau's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Gidgegannup Western Australia
    I have an old Hollis double 12 bore, damascus barrelled. I load with either Fg or FFg, I cut the base off the compression cup and put a couple of fibre wads that I have greased with my minnie bullet lube, 5 parts beeswax to 1part by volume of unsalted lard. I use plastic shells, I guess they do wear out pretty quick, but I get no plastic fouling up the bore because of the greased fibre wads. You could use a thick greased hard felt wad, I would put a thin card over the powder first. I have some of these cartridges loaded for years and they are quite reliable. If your ribs are secure, the barrels lock up nice and tight to the breech face and there is no really bad pitting you will be ok, if not sure get a gunsmith to check it out. My powder load is 2 1/2 drams of FFg with an ounce and an 1/8th of shot. Basically equal volume of powder, wadding and shot.
    Keep yor hoss well shod an' yo powda dry !

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Reverend Al's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Victoria, B.C., Canada
    I've loaded BP for several old shotguns, mostly old damascus barreled hammer guns, and I try to stick with paper hulls if I can get them (Federal or Winchester paper Trap hulls mostly in 12 gauge), but plastic hulls will work. I load them with card and fibre wads rather than plastic wads. The paper hulls don't have a long life and will often burn small pin holes where the paper meets the base, but I simply load them once or twice and then toss them. You can use plastic hulls with card and fibre wads too, but again I usually toss them after one or two loadings and then use fresh hulls. As you say, we don't generally shoot these old shotguns that much anyway. The other thing to watch is the chamber length on those old shotguns. You'll want to measure the chamber length and shorten your hulls if needed.
    I may have passed my "Best Before" date, but I haven't reached my "Expiry" date!

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Outside Rolla, Missouri
    When shooting old 16's that predate smokeless....or even if the don't....I'll use 2F BP, usually Schuetzen because that's what I have a lot of, and the classic 16 bore load of 2 1/2 drams of BP, (so close to 70 grs. it might as well be), the traditional wad column of hard card, fiber wad, shot then over shot card. Usually I put up those loads in brass hulls and use waterglass to seal the OSC. I have and do occasionally use plastic hulls I've cut back to 2 1/2 in. length but as others have said they don't last long and I don't like the plastic in my old guns. Generally I keep the plastic hulls I've cut back for use in my other 16's that are nitro proofed but not 2 3/4 chambered....which is all the shotguns I own.

    I'm not a big shotgunner so the traditional 16 bore load works more than admirably for my purposes.
    "In general, the art of government is to take as much money as possible from one class of citizens and give it to another class of citizens" Voltaire'

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  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    South Jersey
    Greg: I reload used low brass plastic hulls with BP from what ever brand comes out of dumpsters. Never have had a burned hull ... 'with any brand'. I shoot SASS Cowboy matches and go through ~ 50 shells a month, averaging 500 rounds a year in 2 old SxS external hammer guns in 12ga & 16ga.
    Down load this website that has all the information you need about BP rounds ...

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy

    Knarley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Central Minnesota
    One can get fiber wads, over powder wads, and over shot cards from ballistic products. I shoot Cowboy action, and the black will singe the shot shell, making it harder to reload again. Usually, once I shoot them with black, I toss them, and get a "new" supply of hulls out of the dumpster. Equal amounts of powder by volume to shot is called a "square" load. They run well with any gauge. You can use shot cups, but they do melt a bit. I prefer the veg. wadding, I hate raking up shot cups at the end of the season at the range. Pheasant hunting with black is a HOOT! I have done so with front stuffers, and old Damascus cartridge guns too. Having a good dog helps, it's sometimes hard to see the bird fall through the smoke.
    A gun in hand is worth two cops on the phone.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    UPSTATE new york
    I see no mention of brass shells, ALL brass shells. Where is loading data for these? No star crimp of course.

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    In general, for black powder shotgun loads, the data is basically the same for paper, plastic, or brass hulls. The best fiber and card wads for each is kind of a trial and error thing. Some brass hulls need one gauge larger of wads.

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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