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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know there probably aren't many forum members who hunt with a shotgun fitted with a sound moderator, but hopefully someone knows the answer to this one all the same.

What I'm looking for is some reloading data I can use to put together a subsonic 12g fox load using BBs (4.1mm diameter shot) from a 2.75" or 3" shell.

Standard velocity factory loads with this size shot are a couple of hundred FPS over the speed of sound, and though the suppressor deals pretty well with the muzzle blast, the sonic crack is still a big issue, especially around the farm buildings where I'm using the gun. I don't think the noise puts any foxes off - though cutting it out surely won't keep any prospective "customers" away - rather, my main aim is to eliminate disturbance to people living nearby since I'm usually out early in the morning or late at night and there must be a hundred houses within earshot, not to mention the farmer and his family.

I'm looking at handloading because all the commercially available subsonic loads seem to be aimed at the clay or game shot who wants less recoil, with the result that the largest shot size I've seen in a factory subsonic cartridge is 6 (2.6mm diameter).

I'm thinking of using BBs because its the size I've found most effective in standard (supersonic) factory loads, but I'd be interested in any subsonic load that uses a shot size over 3mm.

So, if anyone's already tackled this one, I'd love to hear what you use, what you've hunted with it, and what you reckon your effective range is.

Alternatively, if anyone knows a manual or other source that contains subsonic data with large shot please let me know.

By the way, sound moderators are legal and widely-used for hunting here in the UK.
 

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I don't have anything on large shot specifically. However, if it is lead shot, then you might have a look at Hodgdon's data on their website:

www.hodgdon.com

They show 1 1/8 oz loads for most hull and wad variants that can be started around 1090 feet per second, which just barely gets below the speed of sound by some 35-37fps.

I can't offer anything if it's steel or one of the more esoteric metal shot.
 

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I don't think the shot size will matter for loading data. Any lead load that is subsonic should work with either #8 or BB size. I have not tried to load down that far; good luck finding a recipe.

There are special factory loads by Federal called METRO loads used for geese hunting in populated areas here in the US. They are part of a system that includes a very long barrel extension that connects like a choke tube. The loads are definitely subsonic. I don't know how much the barrel has to do with the velocity. Perhaps without the extension they would be even slower. I believe the barrel helps cut the noise somehow. I don't know if these are very large steel (maybe T size) or BB size high density non-toxic. I'm sure they are not lead. They are supposed to work on geese to 40 yards or more, but with increased "forward allowance". I don't think that would matter for fox. Maybe you could order some of these or get a gun shop to order some?

Good luck,

Jeremiah
 

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Julio, the lowest velocity load I found in Precision Reloading's, Blanks To Supersonics, for 12 ga 2 3/4" lead is 993 fps/7130 psi.
Here's the recipe:

Baschieri & Pellagri(plastic hull & basewad)-Win209-15.0 Clays-Fed 12S4-1 1/4 oz lead shot

They advise shooting sub-sonic loads only in pump and double barrel guns.
 

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Just thinking, have you thought about asking Eley to load some in the shot size you prefer? With noise a supreme issue there, I would have though someone would have addressed the issue. If Eley doesn't, maybe they know who does.

Their sub-sonics are 950 fps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Steve, JT & Jeremiah,

thanks for all your helpful suggestions.

JT - thanks very much for the load data: I'll give it a try.

Jeremiah - I'm quite new to shotshell reloading so I'd wrongly supposed there might be some pressure variables produced by using larger as opposed to smaller shot, even for the same charge weight, but I guess the wad/shot cup sorts that out.

The Metro loads you mention sound very interesting. I'm not sure about using steel shot though - I'm worried there might be a greater likelihood of riccochets from walls and hard standing around the buildings - but perhaps it wouldn't be a significant problem. All the same, it's clearly a lead worth following.

Steve - I'd thought of asking a commercial outfit to do some loads for me, but the volumes involved are so low - I'd probably use only a box or two a year (even 25 foxes a year on that specific patch would be exceptional) - that it probably wouldn't be worth their while unless I ordered a (long) lifetime's supply! That said, it wouldn't hurt to make some enquiries, and I might be able to use this or a UK-based forum to get an order together with other interested members.

Thanks, again, guys!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Following up on Jeremiah's post, I found the following on the "Metro" loads:

"In the older tungsten shot Federal is still offering the "Metro" loads designed as a low recoil waterfowl load in a 2 3/ 4" 1 1 / 8 oz BB payload package. These " Metro" loads are designed [...for waterfowl hunting...] any place sound, recoil, or over-extended range is a problem. The "Metro" loads are the last of the Federal line using the older heavy tungsten iron shot, but they are not bore dangerous in that they are shot at a muzzle velocity well under 900 f.p.s so as to reduce report when used in conjunction with the Metro Gun System TM."
http://www.gundogsonline.com/Article/Waterfowl-Shotshells-Page1.htm

Since this was written, Federal have changed the name and specification of this load, which now appears in their current inventory as part of their Premium Ultra-Shok High Density Waterfowl range, with 1 1/8 oz high-density BB (4.57mm) shot in a 3" shell at 850 fps. A mite slow, perhaps, but otherwise ideal. :D

They also list a Game-Shok Metro Sub-Sonic Low Recoil load with 1 1/8 oz size 7 1/2 (2.41mm) lead shot in a 2 3/4" shell at 900 fps. which might come in handy on birds and ground game.

Now to see if they're available in the UK!

I still like the idea of loading my own to get a bit more velocity (and the satisfaction of using homeloaded ammo), but these Federal shells have got to be well worth a try.
 

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Julio said:
Jeremiah - I'm quite new to shotshell reloading so I'd wrongly supposed there might be some pressure variables produced by using larger as opposed to smaller shot, even for the same charge weight, but I guess the wad/shot cup sorts that out.

The Metro loads you mention sound very interesting. I'm not sure about using steel shot though - I'm worried there might be a greater likelihood of riccochets from walls and hard standing around the buildings - but perhaps it wouldn't be a significant problem. All the same, it's clearly a lead worth following.
Julio,
I have never heard of any pressure differences when using lead shot of various sizes, but it is possible. There will be a difference in the volume that the shot takes up. A larger pellet (BB) will leave more airspace as it stacks than a smaller #8 pellet will. This will cause the larger shot to occupy more volume in the hull. That in itself will change the internal ballistics slightly. I don't believe that this would cause a dangerous situation for a low velocity load, though.

Since you mention you are new to reloading, be advised that those handload recipes are well below the normal pressure range of most shotgun shells. Average chamber pressure for 12 ga. is around 9000 psi. The main concern with a low pressure load is if you get too low a pressure the wad may not exit the barrel causing an obstruction. Then the next shot fired may bulge or burst the barrel when the shot hits this obstruction. This could happen with any load that had bad/wet powder or otherwise compromised components. A low pressure load such as these just warrants even more vigilance because the margin of error is less.

Thanks for that metro link, I may have to try some of the Red Dot subsonic loads just to see what they do. I am used to using 18 gr. Red Dot with 1-1/8 oz shot and the standard WAA12 1-1/8 oz wad.

Jeremiah
 

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Were I to try this it would start with a standard 1 1/2 Oz (lead) hunting load already on the low end of velocity and medium end of the pressure scale;then reduce the powder about 10%. Then test it. At your own risk of course, but reducing powder charges is generally not a major issue in shotgun reloading. Just be sure it will consistently clear shot and wad from the barrel.

A suppressed sub sonic .22 would appear (to me) to be a better alternative. A load of BBs will have a lot of energy and carry a considerable distance.
 

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I have some data that could help.

I found this thread when I did a search for 2-3/4" 20 Gauge subsonic data for 1oz lead shot. If anyone has any please let he know.

Here are figures supplied to me by the Ballistics Lab at ADI Australia using ADI AS30N (This is Hodgdons 'Clays')
(The same data should be able to be applied to 'Red Dot' with very similar results as it is reportedly the same bulk density and burning rate.)

12 Gauge
Case: Wichester AA compression formed (Should be the same in the new Winchester case)
Primer: Win209 or Fiocchi 616
Wad: WAA12 (1-1/8th wad)
Powder: ADI AS30N/Hodgdons Clays
Shot: 1-1/4oz Lead Shot

11 grains = 851 fps @ 5970 psi
12 grains = 910 fps @ 6915 psi
13 grains = 944 fps @ 8610 psi
14 grains = 985 fps @ 9840 psi

I have tested them all with good results and for rabbit hunting I have settled on 13 to 13.5 grains with #3 UK size lead shot (US #4) to compensate for the lower velocity (I would normally use UK#4 /US#5 shot supersonic on rabbits) and they work very well. Patterns are tighter so you may want to open up one choke step for other than Foxes.

I have not tried the subsonic loads on Foxes but BB's should work fine inside 30 yards. It may be an advantage to go to UK AAA lettershot if the ranges are longer for retained energy but then of course the shot will also travel further and will do more damage to close buildings etc.

I have also used the same #3 load in the past with great success on Small and medium sized Ducks in a pest control setting at night where noise was an issue but we can't use Lead for that anymore. All the shooting was inside 25 yards in this use and I am quite sure smaller sized shot would have done just as well.

The loads also worked well on sporting clays when loaded with #8 shot and I barely noticed any need to change forward allowance but then most of my sporting clays fun is had with 1150fps homeloads anyhow. :wink:
 

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As stated earlier when reloading lead shot it is measured by a bush or a hole in the charge bar ( by volume) and is calibrated for target size shot. I would not be surprised if an 1 1/4 oz bar threw 1 3/16 oz. The lighter load will reduce pressure and speed.Simply measure what your charge bar throws. Regards Tom
 

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Basically the data in a reloading manual for shot should be fine. They are talking about approximate muzzle velocities, and that should work well for you.

Too many guys worry about minutiae when all the other variables in shotgun hulls and shotgun loading practices amount to a lot more. There are BETTER things to worry about!

Just pattern your loads to find out what load works in your gun!!

BobK
 
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