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Since I have nice 1 1/8 and 1 1/2 oz loads working nicely, thought Id try a light 7/8 oz load too.
Allthough I dont mind recoil, I
tried this published load-

AA hull
18.3 g hodgdon clays
win 209 primer
win WAA12L wad
7/8 oz. (hard 7 1/2) shot
1250 FPS

Thought to myself, its a little harsh yet, so finally found through testing, that 15 G. of powder was the least I could use and not have unburnt powder in the bore. Must be close to minimum pressure ??

Well, at a light 15 grains of powder and 7/8 oz. , I broke just as many targets as with my normal 1 1/8 oz load. Then later that day, did the same with my old 1 1/8 load. Now I really believe its really the person behind the gun. :)

So, I have a load that is light to shoot, low recoil, low noise, could shoot all day.

Anyways, im paranoid-- is underloading a shotshell dangerous?

Rick618
Shotgun Expert
Posts: 348
(3/31/03 7:09:23 pm)
Reply ...
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Its not all just the person, many of the pro skeet shooters have swapped to 1 and 7/8 loads. One of the benefits is the shooter is not hit with recoil shot after shot. There are several available loads in the 1200fps range.
Another thought is that these are more square loads, like the 1oz 16ga load...this is supposed to relate to better patterns.

One thing that could happen, if there is not enough powder is that the wad may not leave the barrel.

Instinctive Shooter
Shotgunworld Ambassador
Posts: 58
(4/1/03 7:32:06 am)
Reply Re: light 7/8 oz. load
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Regarding your concern about "underloading" shotshells-there do not appear to be the same concerns doing this as there are with rifle/pistol cartridges. As Rick says in his post the big concern would be with getting too light and not having the wad exit the bbl. Rick also makes a comment about "square" loads. This is a reference to the length of a shot charge being equal to its width (i.e.-a 1 1/8 oz 12 ga load will be longer than a 1oz load). There seems to be a correlation of sorts whereby loads that are equal in both dimensions throw the best patterns. Rick is also right about the effectiveness of these 7/8 oz loads. Look at many of the International sports-they are required to use these (or similar) lighter loads, and their scores certainly have not suffered. As far as your concerns about safety, you have taken the proper approach to loading. Start with a known, safe load and work down. I have loaded this same combination you speak of, and at some point the crimp may begin to fold in too much allowing the shot to spill out. That would definitely be a stopping point. Have you considered using a buddy's chronograph to check the speed of your light loads? That is always interesting although it won't tell you anything about pressure. The manufacturers have a standard below which they state that shells won't perform reliably especially in cold weather. This point also seems to be the point where you begin to notice a lot dirtier bore, so you were also right to be looking for this in checking your loads as you decreased the charge.

chad e
Shotgunworld Ambassador
Posts: 39
(4/3/03 7:17:37 pm)
Reply light 7/8 oz. load
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Thanks guys for the replies.
I was concerned about light loading, since I had read about a couple of guys that reloaded metallic cartridges for rifle and pistol too light, and had some air space in the cartridge. The result was a "detonation" -blew thier guns up, there lucky to be alive considering what happened to thier guns.

Well, thinking more about it now, I dont think theres much air space in my shotshells, I use at least 40 lbs or more of wad seating pressure. You can tell from the feel and the sound of the wad seating, hear that powder compress a bit, makes a crunchy sound. The light loads seated at more than 40 lbs, and could "feel" it compress a little.

Off topic, I had what I think was bad Hodgdon Universal powder one time.
Had several shells that were weak, and 3 that were duds. Quite noticeable. One shell I could actually see the shot and wad flying through the air,(nice pattern hee hee) the other two, saw the shot fly about 3 feet and no bang. lots of unburnt powder in the gun. no bang, just a "poof" , and the wad jammed in the barrel. bummer.. Switched to Clays, no problem since..
Keep shooting and reloading guys-

Instinctive Shooter
Shotgunworld Ambassador
Posts: 64
(4/4/03 7:00:52 am)
Reply Re: light 7/8 oz. load
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Chad,
Regarding your light loads...I doubt that your powder was defective. If it was then none of your loads would have functioned properly. Odds are that you had a loading problem-something like a tipped wad, a powder charge that didn't drop properly, a damp hull interior, etc. We have all had "bloopers" from time to time, and as long as it is something that is not consistently a problem most of us don't worry about it. I know the frequency of such loads is greater the more times I load a hull. I have also quit picking them up unless they are ones that I accidently drop.
 
G

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The fact that light loads will blow up a rifle or pistol, has never been duplicated in the lab. The NRA did a study of this phenomenon a couple of years ago, and couldn't make it happen, which led to the conclusion that since there is so much room left in the shell, that it was probably a double, or triple load of powder in the shell. This used to be a big problem with using Bullseye powder in .38 Special loads. There was a popular load ith 6.5 grains of powder, and it soon lead to a lot of guns blowing up, and Bullseye got a bad reputation from it. The .38 Special has plenty of room for three times this much powder, and there is where the problem came from. Some reloaders, like the dillon, have a powder height checker, that checks the powder column for gross errors. This isn't as big of a problem with shotguns, as a double overload will give the obvious result of not being able to close the crimp.
 

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In lightly loaded pistol and rifle casrtridges this light load problem is called DETINATON and is a result of too much air space in the cartridge allowing all of the powder to get burning before the bullet has a chance to start moving down the barrel and when it does the pressure is already well beyond max and there fore the big BANG. The Bull'seye load that mebustemclays is refering to was known as the 2.5 Bull'seye suprise and refered to a published target load of 2.5gr of bull'seye which barly covered the bottom of the case when in a bullet seater. I don't think this is a problem with shotgun shells because the powder is packed down by the wad. Resulting in as mentioned earlier very weak loads and possiably hang or mis fires, both of which I have expierenced in my 16ga reloads.

Sticking to published and established loads is the safest way to go. Some testing that I have been involved with also shows dramatic pressure increases just by changing wad types or primer brands. BE CAREFUL ! ! !
 

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Vic, as mentioned somewhere else already pressure does not exactly coorelate to recoil.

Take a look at some of the published recipes and see how the pressures change. With everything staying the same except one component, say the primer, pressures can change quite a bit.
 

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you are reading my mind. i usually shoot 7/8 oz at trap singles, and skeet. as long as you use the faster powders in the 12, you can download a bunch. i have loaded 7/8 oz down to 1000 fps, and at skeet and 16 yd trap, they still smoke the bird. i use a light full in the trap gun, std skeet in the skeet gun. one of our club officers uses 14 gr red dot w/ 1 1/8 oz. 7 1/2 at 16 yd. low noise, high smoke, at the bird! i use 16 gr alliant E3 with 1 oz, 16.5 gr with 7/8 oz.
 

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Hey John Wall. What components were you using in your 7/8 oz load with 16.5 grains of Alliant E3 powder and what is the velocity of your load?

Also, can you share any of your recipes for 7/8 oz loads in the range of 1000 fps to 1100 fps?

Thanks much!!
Elsy M
 

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I used to load some very light 12 gauge loads using Hodgdon Clays with 7/8 ounce of shot. But I was two or three Mec Bushings under any published data I could find. So I called Hodgdon and it was recommended as I was in northern Ohio that I not use these loads in winter.

So I was looking for a new 7/8 ounce load, when I read in the NSSA monthly magazine an article on light loads. This article highly recommended a recipe using Solo 1000 powder. I found the same recipe in the Accurate data book under the cowboy action data for shotguns. These loads are absolute cream puff loads, and do a wonderful job breaking birds.

Another nice feature of these cowboy action loads in Accurate's manual is that you may increase your shot load from 3/4, to 7/8, to 1 ounce shot charges without any change in powder drop. Also the pressures are nice and low, which has got to be easy on the gun. And with the price of shot having increased I am saving a few pennies as well !!
 
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