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Thread: Breaking Down 12 ga. Slug Loads in Plastic Hulls ~ Tip!

  1. #1
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Breaking Down 12 ga. Slug Loads in Plastic Hulls ~ Tip!

    So, I loaded up some slug loads that had punishing recoil and not so great accuracy. I didn't see any sort of pressure signs but the nasty recoil had me wondering as the powder charge should not have been near max. with the weight of slug I had loaded. No sticky extraction but punishing recoil!

    Since recoil was punishing to say the least and accuracy not very good I decided to salvage powder, primers and slugs if not hulls (yes, I'm cheap!).

    I kinda thought I might make one of those box cutter tools the preppers seem to like for removing most of the fold crimp... these were fold crimped slug reloads, but didn't want to shorten the hulls if I thought I might get another reload or two out of them so I got a bodkin from my fly tying bench and small screw driver to open the fold crimps. Did one then put the loaded hull into a piece of 3/4" pipe to see if "hammering" like with an inertia puller would pop the slug out. No! Maybe with a long handle but not holding the pipe directly.

    Then it occurred to me that if I heated the crimp with a paint stripper it would soften the plastic and maybe let the slug go. So, I popped the crimp open with the bodkin and screwdriver then warmed the plastic a bit with the paint stripper, dropped the hull into the pipe and whacked it endwise on a piece of wood. About 3 whacks and the slug popped out! The hull mouth looked like it had been fired.

    Then I tried heating the closed crimp a bit on the next round and lo and behold, it popped open on its own with a bit of heat! I dropped the hull into the pipe and 2 to 3 whacks the slug popped out leaving the hull looking like it was before loading. I broke down 10 rounds in a few minutes.

    So, the tip is that if you have some loaded rounds and want to salvage components, apply a bit of heat to the hull folded crimp area then drop the hull into a piece of 3/4" pipe or appropriate sized hole in some wood or plastic and whack it down on a hard surface. it didn't take much to get the slugs out with the plastic softened.

    I am not sure if it will work with roll crimped loads but will be trying it shortly.

    I don't see any danger with this as it is really no different than an inertia puller for metallic cartridge rounds and takes less "whack". There is no heat being applied near the primer so no worries there.

    Take it for what it is worth but it was quick, easy and worked for me.

    Maybe someone else has found this out too but I haven't seen it posted anywhere.

    Longbow

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master


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    That is thinking outside the box!
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    OOOH, me be cheap too! Will have to try this. That recoil gets more punishing every year!
    "My main ambition in life is to be on the devil's most wanted list."
    Leonard Ravenhill

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master

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    "That recoil gets more punishing every year!"

    Doesn't it though! I like to blame my brain damage on recoil rather than a misspent youth, even though I know it isn't true, but the recoil is taking a toll!

    Longbow

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    I had some that the primer had a dent but the shell did not fire. I took a box cutter and cut the plastic just above the powder line.

    I put the powder in a pill container and kept the section with the wad and shot all contained within the old hull. Ready to be re used

    and I only need to remeasure the powder for a primed hull.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master


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    I really like this idea. Normally when I want to save a fold crimped hull, I thread in a wood screw, and start prying the crimp open. It's slow and painful, but not the end of the world to do half a dozen. Any time I had more than that, I'd just cut the top off, save the shot/slug, and toss the rest. I'll try your method next time, that sounds slick.

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I should add that I used a Wagner heat gun on low heat.

    I over did one hull and slightly melted the open crimp edges.

    I found that heating the hull at an angle so the air blast heated the end of the fold crimp and edge of the cylindrical hull worked best. A few seconds of heating and the fold crimp would pop open part way. Another couple of seconds in the heat then into the pipe and whack (2 or 3) on a wood block and out popped the slug leaving a reloadable hull. Us cheap guys like that! Plus I'd say it's as fast as cutting the hull or crimp but no chance of cut fingers.

    Also, these are Federal field hulls. I haven't tried any others yet.

    Should have included this in the 1st post!

    Longbow

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Good thinking!

    Might come in handy one day,thank you.

  9. #9
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    I have had to break down lots of hulls but since I have about 2500 in reserve I just cut the ends off them with a PVC/Tubing cutter I got at Lowes. It was $10 and worth every cent. I have tried various of Razor Bladed tools and they all sucked in one way or another and it is almost impossible to get the cut to line up with the start of the cut when you go all the way around it never lines up . With the tool it happens right everytime.

    But I still want to try your method, and I have a heat gun all ready to try it.

    If you remember I posted pics of me heating Federal Blue Hulls that were roll crimped, to bring them back to their Pre-crimped shape? Pretty sure this would work on Fold Crimped Hulls as well. Use a 3/4" dia piece of Aluminum Rod for the mandrel, and you are not rotating the mandrel inside the hull. They both turn together and you just shove the hull onto the mandrel while it heats as it rotates. Last pic is before and after.

    The hulls Roll Crimp Perfectly the second and third time.

    Randy
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    "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!"
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  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by W.R.Buchanan View Post
    I have tried various of Razor Bladed tools and they all sucked in one way or another and it is almost impossible to get the cut to line up with the start of the cut when you go all the way around it never lines up .
    Randy
    Cut you a piece of PVC conduit the length you want the hull and you can get a great smooth cut with a box knife. I have them from 1 3/4" - 3"
    I'm a cheapskate

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by W.R.Buchanan View Post
    I have had to break down lots of hulls but since I have about 2500 in reserve I just cut the ends off them with a PVC/Tubing cutter I got at Lowes. It was $10 and worth every cent. I have tried various of Razor Bladed tools and they all sucked in one way or another and it is almost impossible to get the cut to line up with the start of the cut when you go all the way around it never lines up . With the tool it happens right everytime.

    But I still want to try your method, and I have a heat gun all ready to try it.

    If you remember I posted pics of me heating Federal Blue Hulls that were roll crimped, to bring them back to their Pre-crimped shape? Pretty sure this would work on Fold Crimped Hulls as well. Use a 3/4" dia piece of Aluminum Rod for the mandrel, and you are not rotating the mandrel inside the hull. They both turn together and you just shove the hull onto the mandrel while it heats as it rotates. Last pic is before and after.

    The hulls Roll Crimp Perfectly the second and third time.

    Randy
    That kind of mandrel is exactly what I need to "re-condition" my fired hulls!

    I have BPI Spin Doctor but the angle is too steep to properly repair what's left from my roll crimp.

    EDIT: how come the quote didn't include pics?

  12. #12
    Boolit Master Cap'n Morgan's Avatar
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    I have tried various of Razor Bladed tools and they all sucked in one way or another and it is almost impossible to get the cut to line up with the start of the cut when you go all the way around it never lines up . With the tool it happens right everytime.
    I bought a "Spin-n-Trim" tool, and it soon started to act like you describe. I replaced the flimsy rivet holding the two parts together, with a more sturdy bolt and a locknut. Problem solved!
    Cap'n Morgan

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master


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    Same as you Petlander, I've found the BPI tool is worthless. I've tried it I can't say how many times. I have yet to have it do a good job. Randy's method is way better.

  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master

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    If I am going to cut hulls I use 3/4" pipe cut to length for:

    - removing most or all fold crimp
    - trimming 3" hulls to 2 3/4"
    - trimming 2 3/4" down to 2 1/2", 2 1/4", 2", 1 3/4"

    I have only loaded as short as 2 1/2" but figured if I'm making hull length gauges might as well make a bunch.

    Utility knife and hull length gauge is simple and works when you want to cut a hull.

    However, the purpose of using the heat gun when breaking down a good hull was to do it quickly and easily and to salvage the hull as well as contents.

    Longbow

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy super6's Avatar
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    Thanks Randy! I will crank the old lath up and make me a mandrel!
    takeo Shimizu , The father of organic chemistry

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Petander:

    Not sure what diameter the Spin Doctor is above 3/4" (steepness of taper) but you may get away with chucking it in a drill press and filling the larger diameter down to 3/4" so that you get the lead in you have now but max. diameter of 3/4" or thereabouts to mimic Randy's mandrel. Alternately it shouldn't cost much to get a machinist to turn the larger diameter to about 3/4" or whatever suits the hull... and even cheaper if you know someone with a lathe, that is a few minute job.

    The Spin Doctor is probably steel but that shouldn't make any different to performance in stretching the hull.

    Longbow

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by longbow View Post
    Petander:



    The Spin Doctor is probably steel but that shouldn't make any different to performance in stretching the hull.

    Longbow
    It is aluminum, easy to modify. But it should be longer to really work.

    Lathe,lathe,lathe,lat...

  18. #18
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    You don't have to modify the 3/4" OD of the material, it works just fine at .750. You just put a taper on it, and cut the other end so it will fit in the chuck of your Drill Motor. You want the finish on the Mandrel to be nice and smooth as it will make pushing the hull onto the taper easier as well as when removing it.

    Do wear Gloves as the hull is spinning with the mandrel and will cut you if you don't watch it. All it takes is one burr from a sharp extractor and you've got blood on the floor. I know this for a fact!

    Randy
    "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!"
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  19. #19
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Well, I decided to modify one of my homemade "Spin Doctors" to make a "Randy Mandrel". Mine is steel from old scrap round bar.

    I turned the top end to 3/4" so Spin Doctor taper on the bottom end then a straight section of 3/4". While it was still in the lathe I used it like a Spin Doctor using friction for heat generation. It works just fine. I am sure using the heat gun will be quicker and probably do an even better job but nothing wrong with the results as is.

    There is another product you can market... Buchannan Precision Machine introduces to you the "Randy Mandrel!" Makes used plastic shotshell hulls look and reload like new!

    It worked for me anyway.

    Good idea Randy!

    Longbow

  20. #20
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    I'll take that under advisement? Randy
    "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!"
    www.buchananprecisionmachine.com

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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