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 Post subject: Re: Loading a square load ?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2020 9:12 am 
Crown Grade

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2005 11:25 pm
Posts: 2151
Location: Attica, Mi
If I were still a hunting man then maybe I'd op for more shot in my loads. But clay bird shooting, and not at registered birds, then give me something light. Joe Hunter showed with his limited test that a couple of BBs is the only difference in a 1oz or 1 1/8oz loads, and I mean a " couple " of BBs. At 40yds with LM there was a whole 4 BBs difference. WOW !!! It ain't gonna make any difference if the bird is centered in the pattern. But it sure will on my shoulder and wallet. I would say most birds are 40yds or under, and my 3/4oz 12ga loads work just fine. I also shoot 10ga 1oz loads in my old SxSs.



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 Post subject: Re: Loading a square load ?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2020 10:38 am 
Crown Grade

Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 11:55 am
Posts: 4686
Location: Hemingway, S.C. 29554
"If I were still a hunting man, maybe I would op for more shot in my loads".
"Just a couple more pellets"? Just how many pellets do you think usually land on a game bird? Should it take 4 pellets for a clean kill, two pellets is 50% of the required number. However, I'm with you in regard to lighter loads are often all that is needed. It can be argued that modern shotgun shells with their protective shotcups can be as effective with 1 oz. of shot as the old unprotected 1 1/8 oz. loads. I do quite a lot of my hunting with 7/8 oz. 20 ga. loads & used for the right applications, they are very effective & efficient. I also shoot a lot of 1 oz. 12 ga. loads. Instead of going to heavy 12ga. magnum loads for heavy waterfowl duty, I load anywhere from 1.25 oz. to 1 5/8 oz. in my 10's. They pattern better & don't kick as much. The only time I go to the real heavy 10 ga. artillery is with buckshot & pass shooting goose loads. Somebody on here once said, "Choose wisely and you will be successful". It goes without saying what happens when you choose foolishly!


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 Post subject: Re: Loading a square load ?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2020 11:47 am 
Crown Grade

Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:01 am
Posts: 5944
Location: Newton Kansas
Nebs wrote:
WTF are you talking about? Square loads? Mine are all cylindrical. This is a reloading forum. Gaussian *tuff does not enter into it. Neither do chokes.

"Square" loads are where the shot column is about as tall and it is wide.

It is not a "tall & skinny" cylinder, neither is it a "short & wide" cylinder, it is approximately the same height as width, is is "square".

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I don't always venture out into the sub-freezing darkness, but when I do, it is hunting season, and I carry a Browning. Stay hungry my friends.


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 Post subject: Re: Loading a square load ?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2020 2:59 pm 
Limited Edition

Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:43 am
Posts: 491
Olympic clay target shooters as well as fitasc shooters have had success with reduced loads ,
it seems to me , they aren't handicapped in any way with these smaller payloads of good hard
shot ? It looks like more and more shooters as they gain experience are favoring 1 oz or even
7/8 oz loads ? There's a few shooting 3/4 oz who have recoil issues but I see them breaking
targets just as well ! Maybe there's some common sense coming into play as shooters seek
more and more instructions from the pro's , that lesser payloads that can be managed better
are just as efficient as those Thumpers because the Clay Targets aren't getting any harder to
break ? Square Loads or Reduced Loads sure are fun to shoot , maybe .


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 Post subject: Re: Loading a square load ?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 7:29 am 
Crown Grade

Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 11:55 am
Posts: 4686
Location: Hemingway, S.C. 29554
Hunting loads are a different animal, but as previously noted, reduced loads work for hunting also. Many game birds don't require heavy loads, but some do. I believe the "square load" was conceived before clay pigeons existed.


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 Post subject: Re: Loading a square load ?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:06 am 
Crown Grade

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2005 11:25 pm
Posts: 2151
Location: Attica, Mi
I wasn't saying it took more shot to kill a bird, rather I had a better chance of hitting a bird shooting in the woods. You go grouse hunting in northern Michigan and you'll know what I mean. My understanding of todays meaning of square load is the shot load has the same height as it is in diameter. If that is suppose to be good, then a 7/8 or 3/4oz load in a 12ga is even better. The shot in the back of the shot column has even less pressure put on it so more of it should stay round meaning a higher percentage of shot in the pattern. Back before chokes were invented, the second shot in live bird competition was loaded at a slower velocity and less shot. The pattern was better for the longer distance. It's the way they choked a gun without chokes. Also, any gauge was allowed but only a 1 1/4oz of shot. Many guys used 10, or even 8ga guns because the shot column was so short. They got better patterns. I know my old 10ga Remington 1882 with mod chokes and 1oz of shot will break birds at any distance we shoot in local SCs. I think the shot string is much shorter so more of the shot is at any time in the same place which equals better patterns. JMHO

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 Post subject: Re: Loading a square load ?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 3:02 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 11:55 am
Posts: 4686
Location: Hemingway, S.C. 29554
I got ya! All I meant to say is 2 pellets on target can make a big difference. I have never had the pleasure of hunting ruffled grouse, but I have shot plenty of birds, including other types of grouse, in heavy cover so I know what you mean. I read an article once titled, "Are WE Shooting 8 Gauge guns". The author was arguing that a modern 12 ga. is shooting as much or more shot than the old timers were shooting in their 8 ga. guns. Case in point, we can get efficient loads in much heavier loads today than a square load. The same variables are still at play but the numbers have changed.


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 Post subject: Re: Loading a square load ?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 6:17 pm 
Limited Edition

Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:43 am
Posts: 491
Yep , heavier loads are for everyone shooting Wing or Clay , it's the lighter loads more
experienced shooters use because they're better shots ! I also agree the core of the pattern
is what makes a good load , instead of 30" at 40 yds , a 20" hot core will reach farther and
do more damage than praying for the Golden BB !
Do reduced payloads shoot tighter than heavy loads ? it's being proven certain guns handle
lighter loads better than Big payloads , Why ?


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 Post subject: Re: Loading a square load ?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:15 pm 
*Proud to be a*
*Proud to be a*
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:56 pm
Posts: 7215
Location: Central CT
Not all experienced shooters use lighter loads when they don't have to. Many of the top Sporting Clays shooters still use 1 1/8 oz.

FITASC mandates 1 oz. or lighter loads.

International skeet and trap mandates 7/8 oz. loads.

No such thing as a 30" effective pattern, that is impossible. Patterns do not develop that way and there aren't enough pellets in a 1 1/8 oz. load of #9 shot to accomplish that if they did.

Effective patterns aren't much larger than about 18" maybe 20" on a great day. The fewer pellets you throw, the smaller the effective core gets. Not by a lot but smaller.

Lighter payloads may pattern tighter because all else being equal the pellets do not get deformed upon acceleration as much as heavier loads, but it doesn't overcome the lower pellet count. 6 of one 1/2 dozen of the other.

None of this is new. E.D. Lowry wrote about this back in the 1940's, 50's, 60's and wrote programs illustrating his findings in the 1990's. He worked for Olin/Winchester.

Dr. A.C. Green has backed up his findings more recently.

Nothing new under the sun.

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aka Mr. Tactful.
NSCA#544066


Last edited by dogchaser37 on Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Loading a square load ?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:22 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:43 am
Posts: 491
dogchaser37 wrote:
Not all experienced shooters use lighter loads when they don't have to. Many of the top Sporting Clays shooters still use 1 1/8 oz.

FITASC mandates 1 oz. or lighter loads.

International skeet and trap mandates 7/8 oz. loads.

No such thing as a 30" effective pattern, that is impossible. Patterns do not develop that way and there aren't enough pellets in a 1 1/8 oz. load of #9 shot to accomplish that if they did.

Effective patterns aren't much larger than about 18" maybe 20" on a great day. The fewer pellets you throw, the smaller the effective core gets. Not by a lot but smaller.


That's what I'm seeing too ! Personally I have 1 1/8 oz loads I'm very confident with
but I shoot at farther clay targets with 1 oz with good success ! The SSB software is
very informative too !


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 Post subject: Re: Loading a square load ?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 9:12 pm 
*Proud to be a*
*Proud to be a*
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:56 pm
Posts: 7215
Location: Central CT
I probably have shot more patterns with more different loads than most......do you know how much it has helped me break more targets?

Not a single bit.

What I did learn was.....stop wasting time looking for "the" load. It doesn't exist. Shoot the best ammo you can afford. If you reload use the best shot you can get your hands on and use enough choke to break every target you properly point.

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aka Mr. Tactful.
NSCA#544066


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 Post subject: Re: Loading a square load ?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 9:57 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 11:55 am
Posts: 4686
Location: Hemingway, S.C. 29554
I don't know about clay birds as the only reason I ever shoot at them is to try to keep in shape for the real thing. I won't go in the field with a load I haven't patterned. It gives me a wealth of information on what I'm shooting. It doesn't tell you everything as it is a 2 dimensional representation of a 3 dimensional event but it is an excellent place to start.


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 Post subject: Re: Loading a square load ?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:06 pm 
Limited Edition

Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:43 am
Posts: 491
geometric wrote:
I don't know about clay birds as the only reason I ever shoot at them is to try to keep in shape for the real thing. I won't go in the field with a load I haven't patterned. It gives me a wealth of information on what I'm shooting. It doesn't tell you everything as it is a 2 dimensional representation of a 3 dimensional event but it is an excellent place to start.


I use the 10 shot average for my hunting loads , beforehand knowing the shots size
is adequate for the birds I'm hunting and there's sufficient pattern density to put the
odds in my favor . Having a good idea how your shells perform gives a lot of confidence
when the shot presents itself !


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 Post subject: Re: Loading a square load ?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:33 am 
Crown Grade

Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 11:55 am
Posts: 4686
Location: Hemingway, S.C. 29554
I remember sitting in a camouflaged duck boat duck hunting with a friend back in the 60s. He was proud as a peacock of his new A5 Browning 3" mag. I had Pop's 32" LC Smith. He kept aging me to shoot the mud across the creek so he could show me up with his 3" mag. I kept telling him I didn't want to waste ammo. shooting mud but I finally gave in. My load was a regular old 1.25 oz. of unprotected chilled #4's in a WWAA CF hull loaded with plain old fiber wads. Other than 3" mag., I don't know what he was shooting but I am sure it was at least 1 5/8 oz. & probably #4s. The Elsey printed a nice soccer ball size pattern in the mud. The Browning sprayed the whole bank. He wouldn't talk to me again for a month. I don't think there was anything wrong with his gun. The Elsey was shooting what it was made to shoot & it produced excellent patterns. Those early 3" magnum loads of black shot didn't pattern worth a crap! Nash Buckingham's famous Bo Whoop is legendary but Nash was shooting the best ammo. available with quality copper plated shot!


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 Post subject: Re: Loading a square load ?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 8:20 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2018 12:32 pm
Posts: 472
geometric wrote:
True, but there are still limits. I remember reading Don Zutz describing how that extra 1/8 oz. of shot in the 1 1/8 oz. load really sweetened up patterns. Then in a different discussion about balanced loads, he talked about finding a 10 ga., 3.5" shell that was loaded with 2 oz. of #8 shot, in a goose pit. The 1 1/8 oz. 12 ga. load has been a 12 ga., low brass standard as long as I can remember and for good reason. Two ounces of #8's is somewhere out in the twilight zone, especially for a goose load. I like the concept of a balanced load. Then there is the thing about long shot columns tending to produce long shot strings, but that is another topic.


2oz of #8 would be a great swatter load. Imagine it would be like shooting turkeys on the water.


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 Post subject: Re: Loading a square load ?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:59 am 
Crown Grade

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2005 11:25 pm
Posts: 2151
Location: Attica, Mi
Maybe his auto-5 had a Mod choke where as the Elsie had full chokes.

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Venue shotgun chairman of the LCSC and the LPSXSA


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 Post subject: Re: Loading a square load ?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:56 pm 
Diamond Grade

Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2012 11:31 pm
Posts: 1357
Winchester Blindside is a truly a square load. :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Loading a square load ?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:15 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 11:55 am
Posts: 4686
Location: Hemingway, S.C. 29554
"Maybe his auto 5 had a modified choke-----."
Nope, it didn't. It was full choke. Like I said already, I don't think his gun was the problem. It was the lousy shells, IMHO. Not to mention, the Elsey shoots superb patterns when you feed it the right ammo..


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 Post subject: Re: Loading a square load ?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:16 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 11:55 am
Posts: 4686
Location: Hemingway, S.C. 29554
"Maybe his auto 5 had a modified choke-----."
Nope, it didn't. It was full choke. Like I said already, I don't think his gun was the problem. It was the lousy shells, IMHO. Not to mention, the Elsey shoots superb patterns when you feed it the right ammo..


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 Post subject: Re: Loading a square load ?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2020 8:43 pm 
Presentation Grade

Joined: Fri May 18, 2012 4:41 pm
Posts: 537
Many good Sporting Clays shooters I know use 1.0 ounce loads at 1250 or even 1200 fps.

Now here's my question: Since you can get 1.0 ounce factory loads at 1200 fps in 28 gauge, and obviously in 20 gauge, and if square loads offer no advantage, why not just shoot 28 gauge loads all the time? What are you giving up?




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