The biggest factor in changing wads is the difference in peak pressure..... some seal tighter than others and some have a softer "collapse" than others. That's the reason the hull/primer/powder/wad combination should be a listed, tested load.
Different wads in different guns at different velocities may pattern better (or worse) than other combinations. The only way to know is at the patterning board.
I've found that the performance differences between different wads or pretty small..... I buy based on price and ease of loading.
Another major consideration, and one that matters more to me than seal and amount of cushioning, is how well a particular wad fits into the hull with the other components, which will inevitably determine the quality of the crimp.
Most wads, factory or clones, seal adequately and provide more or less cushioning but some wads' shot cups are simply either too high or too low to provide a good crimp.
And there are more than just a few published recipes out there listing components that simply won't crimp worth a damn -- usually because of the wad, but occasionally because of a combination of wad and bulky powder.
To me, yes and NO! Depends on the wad and the situation. Generally, no they don't make a lot of difference, BUT THEY CAN! I've been hacking arround with this shotgun loading since the early '60s. I had to use what I could get my hands on. I've studdied adnausium the differences in performance and hulls and primers etc, etc, and honestly couldn't really tell much difference between any of the combinations other than they didn't always fit in the hull well. Just like Case said,
some published combinations just don't work well, must have been someone's imagination. That is another reason I believe many listed load combinations have NEVER been shot, just extrapolated by the powder manufacturers. Surely they wouldn't have really printed some of those recomendations if they really HAD tried them?? :?
The late, great Don Zutz wrote that no component affects the overall pattern more than the powder. I have always loaded by that rule and have never found it to be wrong (as long as the whole platform is reasonable).
I can't say that I've seen much of a difference between wads. I'm not going to call Zutz a liar since he knew more than I could ever know about shotguns but I've not seen any difference between powders in my pattern testing. Rifles? Now, that's a different story altogether.
Without detracting from Zutz's formidable knowledge about shotguns, I nevertheless think so many variables bear on any given shot pattern I don't see how the hell anyone could validly single out any specific component that has more, let alone the most, influence on patterns.
But I'm sure Mr. Zutz enumerated all his reasons for that, wherever it was printed.
if i am shooting ->30 yard targets---i don't really care too much about the wad, from there on it gets more important. 40 yards and over, it is the most important consideration [given limited shot size] i have. :roll:
When I first started reloading I always thought wads must not be too critical (from the standpoint of dangerous pressure) since Dick Lee never mentions wad choice in the loading guide supplied with the old Loadall. I did find out through experience that some powder/shot/wad combos don't load worth a crap or pattern worth a darn. I guess one could call that "the joy of discovery." Looking at the Loadall chart I thought how wonderfully simplistic the process was--pick a hull, powder, shotweight, and go to town. Before I got too involved I picked up a copy of Reloading for Shotgunners and came to the conclusion--dang, this is complicated! I wonder how the listed velocities on the Loadall chart would look on a chronograph? Good hunting and good luck.
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