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Thread: Paper hulls?

  1. #1
    Boolit Grand Master


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    Paper hulls?

    There is a great little brick and mortar gun shop in a town about 30 miles south of me which is on the way to where I go visit Dad and I try to stop there periodically, the kind of shop that is becoming rare nowadays.

    I walked in and it was clear right away he is closing up, no guns on the racks as they are at auction. There's still a good bit of reloading odds and ends, which I looked through and will likely go back in a few days when I have more time. Among other things were hundreds, maybe thousands, of what appeared to be once fired old paper 12 gauge hulls in good shape from the estate of a deceased avid trap shooter who lived there.

    Worth making an offer on? I am beginning to delve into loading my own trap shells, and I can pretty much get all the Federal top gun once fireds I want. Any advantage to these old paper hulls besides nostalgia and that great smell paper hulls seem to produce when fired? I'm pretty sure I could have them very inexpensively.

    I hate that shop is closing. Owner is a real nice guy and knowlegeable too. Never bought a gun there, but almost always leave with some reloading doo dad or other when I stop buy.

  2. #2
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    I like loading and shooting federal papers, but really just for nostalgia. People say they are softer shooting, beats me but they smell good! Look at them at the top of the brass, oh and they will be brass not steel, to see if they are starting to burn thru. Also they should be waxed, smooth to the touch. If stored in a hot attic or somewhere wet they arenít wort fooling with for free. Need straight wall wads like federal hulls.
    Kinda neat running them thru my WS1 M12 at a skeet shoot, kids are interested in the M12, fascinated with the papers! Most have never seen them. I remember hunting with paper Peters in the early 70s, no idea how old the shells were then. I believe Federal has stopped loading their paper gold medals fairly recently.
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  3. #3
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    I'd get them if it was a super great deal.

    Other than that, I'd try to get a few just to show young folks.
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  4. #4
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    How does a guy wax these hulls? Can you describe the process?

  5. #5
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    Herter's used to make an electric "shell ironer" in several gauges. Consisted of a vertical metal post of the correct gauge, with a heating coil inside. You put your paper shell over the post and it would cause the wax to melt and redistribute through the paper.

    Now, to the OP..................I'm always interested in getting Federal paper hulls for my black powder loads. Contact me if you score on those.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master 15meter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by richhodg66 View Post
    How does a guy wax these hulls? Can you describe the process?

    They come from the factory waxed. I'd love to have a batch of Federal paper hulls, that's what I start with using a Lee Whack-a-mole. They loaded great.

    When I switched to Winchester AA hulls the Lee just couldn't give a good crimp with the plastic. That's when the first MEC 650 arrived. The added leverage would crimp the plastic hulls.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3006guns View Post
    Herter's used to make an electric "shell ironer" in several gauges. Consisted of a vertical metal post of the correct gauge, with a heating coil inside. You put your paper shell over the post and it would cause the wax to melt and redistribute through the paper.

    Now, to the OP..................I'm always interested in getting Federal paper hulls for my black powder loads. Contact me if you score on those.
    I was in a hurry, seems like these were Winchester, but I wouldn't swear to it. He said he'd be around until late August, gonna try to get back down there in the next few days, if they turn out to be Federal, I'll let you know.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by 15meter View Post
    They come from the factory waxed. I'd love to have a batch of Federal paper hulls, that's what I start with using a Lee Whack-a-mole. They loaded great.

    When I switched to Winchester AA hulls the Lee just couldn't give a good crimp with the plastic. That's when the first MEC 650 arrived. The added leverage would crimp the plastic hulls.
    I have an old Herters 72N shotshell reloader I am going to set up and use at some point, I'm sure it's from an era where paper hulls were the norm. There might b some value in having these now that I think of that.

  9. #9
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    Long time ago my wife had a hair curler that just fit a paper hull. It worked great for a 12 ga hull rejuvenator.

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    Boolit Master Cap'n Morgan's Avatar
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    I once bought several hundreds primed "new" 2-1/2" paper hulls - probably at least 50 years old. They work great for slug loads as the walls are a little thicker than plastic ones.
    After shooting some, I tried "re-vaxing" some by dipping the first half inch in melted paraffine, and wiping them down afterwards. It worked fine.
    These were size #57 primers. You should probably check yours before buying.
    Cap'n Morgan

  11. #11
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    Depending how old they are they may take a 97 primer???

    I would not buy them but I am set up for one type of hull.
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  12. #12
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    If they're Federals, they probably take a 209 primer. They're obsolete by most standards, but I use them for blackpowder 12 ga. loads. Heck of a lot of fun and can usually be reloaded several times.

    Note: paper shells use a "roll crimp", not the modern type, so you need a roll crimper to finish everything up after loading. You can still find them on Ebone or other online sources. DON'T buy one from a guy that claims they're "vintage", "antique" or "hard to find". Bull puckey. The factories turned out thousands of them over the years and they're still out there.
    Last edited by 3006guns; 07-26-2021 at 03:23 PM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3006guns View Post
    If they're Federals, they probably take a 209 primer. They're obsolete by most standards, but I use them for blackpowder 12 ga. loads. Heck of a lot of fun an can usually be reloaded several times.

    Note: paper shells use a "roll crimp", not the modern type, so you need a roll crimper to finish everything up after loading. You can still find them on Ebone or other online sources. DON'T buy one from a guy that claims they're "vintage", "antique" or "hard to find". Bull puckey. The factories turned out thousands of them over the years and they're still out there.
    Older paper hulls were roll crimped. The more recent had folded crimps.
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    Quote Originally Posted by woody1 View Post
    Older paper hulls were roll crimped. The more recent had folded crimps.
    Whoops! Thanks for the correction! In my case, I cut the hulls down to 2 1/2", well below any original crimp and then load black powder, wads, shot, then roll crimp. Works well and a lot of fun!

  16. #16
    Boolit Master scattershot's Avatar
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    Not much experience, but they make plastic hulls for a reason.
    "Experience is a series of non-fatal mistakes"


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  17. #17
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    They make a lot of things for a lot of reasons, what's your point?

    I'm kind of intrigued by the superiority of these for black powder shells. Never thought about trying that, but it sounds fun and after muzzle loading season ends here, a guy can usually buy Pyrodex for half price from Wally World.

  18. #18
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    If they are Winchester papers, they will likely have a ridiculously high inner base wad. Takes a really short wad, they recipes used to call for the Winchester 12R wad, a red wad, made for tapered hulls. It worked but only because there weren’t too many wads for straight walled hulls at the time. I loaded some, considered them not worth my time. Federal papers were much better.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master 15meter's Avatar
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    Don't think they are obsolete:

    https://www.federalpremium.com/shots...-GMT171+8.html

    Still in Federal's sales information.

    Some people just prefer them. I always liked them, only draw backs to them was hull life wasn't as good as AA's and the AA hull lends itself to reduced loads better. 3/4 oz. Skeet or cowboy loads work very well.

    And I believe there are places where plastic hulls are not allowed for hunting.

    If I came across some Federal papers at a reasonable price I think I'd have to grab them.

    I don't go as far back as roll crimp just 6 point.

  20. #20
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    I have a bunch of the old fiber wads for the paper shells but don't have many paper shells. When I first started loading for shotgun about 60 years ago most paper hulls were 6 point crimp but I would run into roll crimp ones sometimes. Some case volumes were quite a bit different than others because the inner base wads were thinner or thicker than others and you had to add or subtract wad column thickness to match the shot and powder load.

    I learned how to reload with a lee whack a mole in 12 ga and a Speer manual about 1962 at the age of 14.

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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