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Thread: Best Shot Shell Manual? I'm a bit overwelmed

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy

    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    East Coast

    Best Shot Shell Manual? I'm a bit overwelmed

    So the situation is this. A year or so ago a random stranger at my club sat a old MEC jr 12 ga press, a half bag of #4 shot, and 5 partial bags of wads sitting in the clubhouse with a free sign attached. I recently pulled it out and started toying with it. I scrounged a 00 buck mold from a member here. Luckily I already had a brick of 209's and a couple acceptable powders. My problem, is reliable data seems to be a pain to find. Add in every load is specific to the hull and wad, I'm lost. Finding even wads seems impossible currently, so I'm stuck with what I have. My focus is buckshot and slugs only. Is there a manual out there with good data focused on these? Every review I read complains that buckshot is almost completely left out o most manuals. I'm working with Unique and H Universal powders. Not even sure what half the wads are.

  2. #2
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Mar 2021
    I’m not affiliated in any way with Ballistic products. Check their Load of the Week loads. Also, they have a manual specifically for buckshot:

    The problem is that you might not find a match for what you have on hand. I do NOT have this manual or I’d tell you whether Unique and H are in it.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Alliant and Hogdon both have reloading data on their sites that are shell and powder specific. For buckshot loads check out videos from Bubba Roundtree Outdoors.

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Iíll second Alliant web site. If you a Fed 12S0 wad it will go into a bunch of different hulls.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    I recently got back into shotshell reloading after a 40 year pause.
    The best manual that I found to help answer my questions is the Lyman Shotshell Reloading Handbook, 5th edition.
    A lot of pictures to help identify the type of hull that you have, and beaucoup loads with different wads.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master GhostHawk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Fargo ND
    A I have to second Ballistic's Products for supplys and data. Very good outfit there with reasonable prices and shipping.

    B They push their "Advantages" shotshell reloading manual. Its pretty good.

    C Some of their wads have a reloading data sheet that you can download from the site. This helped me out big time as it explained what hulls that wad would work with and recipes that were known to work.

    D I had nothing but trouble with 00 buckshot. I don't think I ever got a round that would crimp right and chamber.
    However I have had nothing but success with #1 buck. Self stacks, 3 to a layer, 3 layers.

    I'm using old farmers tech for filler. I was around the old kitchen table a few times when they were making up goose loads for opener the next day. They all used corn meal as filler as it was cheap, biodegradable, and readily available.
    Probably will want an overshot card with it to keep it from leaking. I use 3 qt white plastic milk containers and punch them out.

    My buckshot loads are more on the "Tactical" side, designed to not bruise my shoulder. From the recipe I dropped the powder down 2 grains. Which pretty much gave me exactly the amount of room I needed for my overshot cards.

    I have not loaded any shot shells for a couple of years but I have several hundred primed new hulls ready to go. Some 6 or 7 different wads depending on what I am wanting to do. And data based on which hull and wad in a 3 ring binder.

    I also load the lee 7/8ths oz slug.
    I truly believe we need to get back to basics.

    Get right with the Lord.
    Get back to the land.
    Get back to thinking like our forefathers thought.

    Anyone that wants to use this, feel free. Spread it wide and far.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Shawlerbrook's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Central NY
    Ditto on the Lyman manual. I had mine for almost 50 years.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

    rancher1913's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    plains of colorado
    a member here has a facebook page called "buck and slug reloaders" and a mewe page called the same, join either one and get all the info you could want.

    of course you would still need to follow all the advice above as well.
    if you are ever being chased by a taxidermist, don't play dead

  9. #9
    Boolit Master trapper9260's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    I was going to say Lyman Shotshell book. It will give you all you need to know and like stated it show the different hulls there is .
    Life Member of NRA,NTA,DAV ,ITA. Also member of FTA,CBA

  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master

    Join Date
    May 2005
    Castlegar, B.C., Canada
    You will likely find that buckshot and slug reloading data is a bit limited and even scarce at least compared to birdshot load data.

    There is more available now than I saw when I started slug loading many years ago but still not as much as I would like to see.

    As you are likely aware, shotshell reloading is different than for metallic cartridge and you should use published pressure tested load data. Substitutions can be made but should be done with some knowledge and experience. I don't worry much about wad substitutions to suit payload and crimp height for a given set of components. However, a simple primer change can have a significant effect on pressure so primers should not be substituted without cross referencing... 209 primers are not created equal!

    Due to lack of information I started collecting whatever I could find for slug and buckshot reloading and bought 3 editions of the Lyman Shotshell Reloading Handbooks as they came out, I got the Federal, Winchester, Hercules, Alliant and Hodgdon powder manuals, I bought the BPI Slug Reloading Handbook and Buckshot Reloading Handbook. I also bought Reloading for Shotgunners which I think is better than the Lyman manuals mostly because it shows various powder charges for a set of components along with pressures. Lyman does not tend to do this or didn't anyway. You get one powder charge with one set of components then they change the primer or wad or both. Reloading for Shotgunners also has slug and buckshot data but somewhat limited so again you need multiple sources due to the large variety of components available.

    Hulls can generally be categorized as tapered wall hulls like Win AA or straight walled hulls like Federal Gold Medal. Straight walled hulls are better for buckshot due to larger volume. Do not substitute a straight walled hull load data and use it in a tapered wall hull! Not only isn't it likely to fit well there will likely be a significant increase in pressure.

    You can use equal payload weight and replace birdshot payload with buckshot or slug but... buckshot will take up more room than birdshot of equal weight and a slug usually takes up less room so you have to adjust your wad column to suit. Also, birdshot loads tend to be lower velocity than dedicated buckshot and slug loads so functional but not high performance.

    If you want to start with just one manual I would recommend Reloading For Shotgunners over Lyman but both are good. I am sure there are other good manuals out there as well but I do like to see multiple listings of powder charge with each set of components along with pressure.

    As mentioned above, several of the powder companies have websites listing slug and buckshot data as well so look those recipes up, they are free. BPI has their Load of the Week archives which also have buckshot and slug data though they do tend to use their products but worth looking at and downloading for reference.

    I hope that helps some.


  11. #11
    Vendor Sponsor

    W.R.Buchanan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Ojai CA
    As Longbow stated above the biggest problem is in substituting Primers. Some are definitely hotter than others.

    I don't know what your goals are with buckshot loads, but I can assure you that there is very little to be gained by pushing them up in velocity. About the only thing you accomplish is adding to the recoil. There are Factory Loaded Low Recoil Buckshot and Slug loads, that will accomplish just about anything you would need to do short of taking Polar Bears or 1200 lb. Pigs. You'd want the 1600 fps loads for those options.

    These light loads can be made by simply using data for your favorite Trap Load (1200-1300 fps) and substituting the 9 buckshot pellets for the 1 1/8 oz of #8 shot. Many people buy Factory made Trap Loads, open them up and dump the shot, and then sub in Buckshot or a Slug and reclose the crimp.

    This is perfectly safe to do because you are dealing with relatively low pressures in these kinds of loads and the new payload weighs the same as the original payload, and the shell doesn't know the difference. These will do anything you need to do under most circumstances. No need to push them any harder.

    Not surprisingly,,, this same concept holds true for loading metallic cartridges as well. Seldom is there really a need for the hottest round you can load for your rifle. Back off a little and you will be just fine.

    I have not heard of one animal that knew the difference between being shot with a .308 or a .300 Win Mag.

    Maybe some are more sensitive than others, but I doubt it.?

    "It's not how well you do what you know how to do,,,It's how well you do what you DON'T know how to do!"

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Thanks for the link, Longbow.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Greater Portland OR.
    DuPont when it sold powder under its name had a brown paper manual that had buckshot loads. Used it to load some light loads in Blue Magic hulls. Really impressed my sons and their friends when I would plow up dirt at about 50 yds. I have (I think) copies of that manual but please don't ask where. They got packed away in the move and am still trying to get shelves up so I can unpack reloading stuff. If some one needs data ask in a month or two.

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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