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 Post subject: #4 Buckshot Loads
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2021 9:24 am 
Utility Grade

Joined: Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:11 pm
Posts: 7
I have begun reloading STS 12GA hulls with #4 Buck. I am using Hodgdon loading data for this and there just 2 loads. First load was a little concaved and the solution was to use 20Ga. felt spacer wads (3 X 1/16" wads) which turned out a perfect looking in all respects loaded shell.
QUESTION: The advertised load calls for 27 pieces of #4 Buck. The advertised weight for one piece of #4 buck seems to be 20.7 Grs.. So 27 X 20.7 = 558.9 Grs. The #4 buck I'm using averages 19.25 Grs. Again 27 X 19.25 = 519.75. If the load workups are all based on 20.7 Grs. then I have room for 2 more pieces. I have factory loaded #4 buck rounds in the 2 3/4" and 3" sizes and you see stuff with way more than 27 in the 2 3/4" sizes. Not sure if they're using any wads or not but anyway what gives with being stuck on 27? That second and last load had 28. Is this lawyer speak or just allowing for the averages?

Best Regards,
Crossbow




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 Post subject: Re: #4 Buckshot Loads
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2021 10:41 am 
Limited Edition

Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 1:25 pm
Posts: 439
Location: New Mexico
Loading good quality buckshot loads is really difficult. It's an "expert" level class in shotgun ballistics. Right here on this forum, folks have talked about months long efforts needed to get good velocity, combustion, pressure, pattern and also a good stack height so they get good looking shells.

1 - there is not much data available anymore, since so few folks (up until the last few months) wanted to make buckshot loads themselves

2 - the diameter of buckshot is not very standard, and each manufacturer's product varies enough that when a powder manufacturer tests a load, it fits the case, but when others try to duplicate it, they find the stack height is either too tall or too short to work well.

3 - the tradition (from the 1950's forward) with buckshot has been to load it with fiber wads and a plastic sleeve rather than "new fangled" bird shot wads. But now fiber wads are much harder to find than they were back then.

OK, that's SOME of the why behind sparse buckshot loading data and experience.


Now, your load. Using "a couple more buckshot" than the recipe to try to fix the stack height is, generally, not very safe for a beginning shotshell loader. Using the very light card or fiber wads in the bottom of the wad, or even under the whole wad, is a lot less weight and a much safer modification. Don't just toss in more payload than your load calls for. Even IF you find several factory shells that have been designed to have more pellets than your data calls for.

Tinkering with a published load that is already at high pressures (close to the SAAMI maximum allowable average pressure limit for 12 gauge, 11,500 PSI) means that almost any alteration or mistake can put you up in pressures ranges your gun is not warranted to be designed to handle.

"What Gives" with a load being published with 27 pieces of #4 buck? Well, that's been a standard load for #4 buck in 12 gauge for many years. But more important, it's what THAT load data you are using was tested with. It was not tested with 28 or 29 or 30 pellets. IF you could find the recipe the factory uses to make a 30 pellet load (you probably never will, it's closely guarded secret), and could find the components they used (again, you probably never will), then you could load to that factory recipe.

STS and Win AA hulls, being small volume target hulls, are NOT a great choice for loading buckshot. Loading data is very hard to find, and good performance in those small volume hulls is hard to get. You won't find that commercial buck shot is loaded in those hulls. Try a Federal hull or even the European hulls - they are all larger volume and straight walled (like hulls used to be made in the 1950s).

good luck, garrisonjoe


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 Post subject: Re: #4 Buckshot Loads
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:24 am 
Crown Grade

Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 11:55 am
Posts: 5513
Location: Hemingway, S.C. 29554
Garrisonjoe is giving you some good poop! I will add, use the data as written. Use the number of buckshot in standard sizes & forget about exact weight. Nothing in shotgun reloading is exact. There is always a tolerance, in fact no measurement is ever exact. It can be exact only between established tolerances. If you make any significant changes, you are rolling the dice! I would recommend getting any variations in published data pressure tested. Also, it is hard to make recommendations without knowing what you want to get out of your loads. Loads designed for close range applications are relatively easy. Should you be seeking a load to maximize effective range for varmints such as coyotes, that is a whole new ball game. That can involve such things as hard buckshot, buffer & pattern testing which is often gun specific like tweaking a accuracy load for a rifle.


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 Post subject: Re: #4 Buckshot Loads
PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 5:13 am 
Shooting Instructor
Shooting Instructor

Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2004 9:35 am
Posts: 900
Location: Alabama
Well, the arcane world of handloading buckshot is changing - abeit slowly.

Yes SAAMI voluntary standards are loose, to say the least. So # 4 buck, while a nominal .24", has a + tolerance of .015"! That is .225" to .255" in diameter. Modern high speed swaging equipment does not need that large a tolerance range. Nonetheless, most commercial swaged buckshot are produced on the low side of nominal.

Yes, buckshot load data should always state the total lead payload weight as well as the size. Yes, buckshot data should be presented in both with and without buffer formats for a particular powder / charge weight. Note, I said should.

However, in data provided by the component industry, and other specialty load data sources, it is now quite common for the actual lead payload weight to be stated along with the size and number of buckshot. The actual weight presentation of such data gives the handloader leeway in selecting other buckshot diameters that will fit - particularly smaller buckshot.

Here is an example of such a recently published buckshot load from Ballistic Products titled:

Fiocchi 12ga 3” Buckshot
https://www.ballisticproducts.com/load01152021.htm

Notice the lead payload weight is stated in grains. This gives the shotshell handloader a firm weight standard to work with.

"SHOT: 1-1/2 ounce Lead Buckshot (#1-Buck used in tests, 16 pellets, 656 grains)"


Last edited by RMc on Sun Jan 17, 2021 2:52 am, edited 6 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: #4 Buckshot Loads
PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 10:32 am 
Crown Grade

Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 11:55 am
Posts: 5513
Location: Hemingway, S.C. 29554
Well sort of but but all load data varies within certain limits. If you doubt the specifications of the buckshot you have, weigh it! Should there be a big difference compared to established standards, act accordingly. All shot varies in density with the specific alloy & shot measured by volume also varies with shot size.


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 Post subject: Re: #4 Buckshot Loads
PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 2:42 pm 
Shooting Instructor
Shooting Instructor

Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2004 9:35 am
Posts: 900
Location: Alabama
geometric wrote:
Well sort of but but all load data varies within certain limits. If you doubt the specifications of the buckshot you have, weigh it! Should there be a big difference compared to established standards, act accordingly. All shot varies in density with the specific alloy & shot measured by volume also varies with shot size.


Interesting. The sentence underlined above is indeed, the issue the OP was addressing.


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 Post subject: Re: #4 Buckshot Loads
PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2021 10:17 am 
Crown Grade

Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 11:55 am
Posts: 5513
Location: Hemingway, S.C. 29554
Wow, is that a fact?


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 Post subject: Re: #4 Buckshot Loads
PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2021 10:29 pm 
Shooting Instructor
Shooting Instructor

Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2004 9:35 am
Posts: 900
Location: Alabama
That the original question was even raised, is due to the failure of the data source to provide sufficient information.

The actual weight of the lead payload used to develop the load was left out. Without this information, weighing the buckshot you have becomes rather speculative.


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 Post subject: Re: #4 Buckshot Loads
PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2021 11:36 am 
Crown Grade

Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 11:55 am
Posts: 5513
Location: Hemingway, S.C. 29554
We are going around in circles chasing our tails. Standard buckshot sizes have specific specifications. Pure lead will weigh the most, other alloys will be slightly less. It is not #3 buckshot if it doesn't meat industry standards for #3 buckshot!


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 Post subject: Re: #4 Buckshot Loads
PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2021 6:22 pm 
Presentation Grade
User avatar

Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 6:08 pm
Posts: 814
Location: lapine oregon
Here is what I care about when loading a #4 buck load. How close is it to the velocity when I chronograph it. How well is it patterning. In 12ga I found the Federal 12s4 wad worked to my satisfaction.



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