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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For those that have watched shotshell development over the last 40 years will well remember breakthroughs. When Winchester-Western hit the market with their Mark 5 plastic collar the race was on!
Shotgunner hunters, like metallic hunters, tend to fall into to vocal groups......one the leans toward lighter weight loads of shot at higher velocity (increased pellet energy) and the other leans toward lower velocity with heavy loads of shot with tight center core patterns for long range.
Now......argue as they will, both are correct! The dividing line in concept is pellet size! For the shooter using #6 and smaller, high velocity is the ticket! For those using #5 and larger the Low Velocity/High Density concept works great! It is this LV/HD concept I will speak of.
In 1976, Don Zutz picked up on the work that Francis Sell had done on High Density loads. After careful tests, Don found that shot size in #4 and larger lost less velocity as the yardages got longer. He found from actual field tests that #4's leaving the barrel at 1050/1100 fps had more than enough pellet energy to kill ducks at 60 yards and geese at 50 yards. Winchester-Western found the same and the 12 ga XX Magnum 2 3/4"- 1 1/2 oz load and the Smith&Wesson "Waterfowl magnun" (of the same loading) found great following.
In my posts, I have pushed for High Density loads at just below the speed of sound. We have continued the work, moving up to 3" shells with nickel and copper plated shot with shot weights
1 3/8 oz up, finding 1 5/8 oz gave the hihest pellet count in 10" kill circle. Most published loads in the heavy shot weights run a little higher velocity (1135-1150 fps), but Don found that a reduction of 3 grs would put you in the right velocity. I tend to agree.
So.....For the High Velocity/Low Density/Small Shot shooters...the best seems to test out at (1) one-piece wads, (2) #6 and smaller...copper/nickel plated or "Magnum" 6% antimony shot, Some load development based on your choke, (3) Medium to fast burn powders
For the Low Velocity/High Density/Large Shot shooters.....the best tested out at (1) Heavy walled shot cups like BP's "Turkey Ranger" and "Multi-Metal" shot cups, (2) #4 and larger copper/nickel plated shot, (3) a stacked wad column like the X12X OP wad, styro filler/cushion wads (wool being second best), (4) Slow burn powder like Blue Dot, (5) Fiocchi, Activ, or Federal hulls with the low base wads, (5) Rolled crimps.
Sad, but since the so-called non-toxic shot came aboard..these LV/HD loads have been lost to the waterfowler, but have great application to the turkey hunter, etc. Readers that are interested in the LV/HD concept should look at the longrange energy of large shot vs small shot. Many consider a absolute minimum of 3 ft/lbs of energy per pellet for larger birds.
Best Regards, James
 
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I have seen the same studies and have to agree with them to an extent. I have troubles when velocity changes more than 100 fps and have settled on 1200-1250 fps as my standard speed for all lead loads. I only alter the shot weight based on the shot size or expected range. I shoot around 10,000 rounds a year at these speeds and find that going slower results in too many passing birds shot in the rear half and too many quartering birds missed to the front. In the 12 ga, I too have found 1 5/8 oz to be the heaviest practical weight, and then mainly with BB lead (a favorite varmint load). Roll crimps have only brought a maximum of 5% improvement in my limited tests which was not enough to make the extra cost worthwhile in my eyes. I feel steel has an effective threshhold in the 1400 fps range but the similarities between them and lead are such that the same principles apply. I reload the non-toxics in the same 1200-1250 fps range as my lead loads with good results. Someday, with increased knowledge, the masses may rediscover the effectiveness of slow-mid velocity loads. Until then, pity their shoulder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Uglydog....If you are speaking of the 10.000 rds per year are target/bird loads, you have found out what a lot of people have not. I totallyy agree with you on this point.....in fact factory test patten results have proven many times a trap load 3-1 1/8-#8 & #7 1/2 loaded with 5%/6% antimony shot gave to most uniform patterns of any of the rest of the line.
However.....going to the heavy loads of 1 1/2 oz up I have to stay with the velocity mentioned. The fact that the pellets at the velocity mentioned do not have a shock wave to affect adjoining pellets and seem to give a tighter center core.
I also completely agree that 1 5/8 oz seems to be the majic weight in the 3" shell. I also know where you are coming from on the rolled crimp.....it is slower to put together. I use it only on specialized shot shells and feel it does give, as you say, some plus factor. I like it also for buffered loads, where a folded crimp does leak at times.
Check out the remaining velocity of the heavy shot, even at 1050/1075 fps. It's interesting how little the impact time difference is out at 50 yards with a 100 fps difference.
Great reply to my post and shows you have delved into the subject! Best Regards, James
 

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I agree on the patterning of the lower velocity loads, it is just that the small difference in time allows the target to travel 4"-8" at 40 yards, more at greater distances and/or speeds. This can lead to a miss on a clay target and a poor hit on a game bird resulting in a cripple. For turkeys where the target is not moving and the target is small, the velocity is secondary to the patterning. I am currently shooting a fair number of Federal's lead "Metro" shells and Winchester Featherlights to prepare myself for a couple hunts using Federal's tungsten "Metro" ammo. My sporting scores dropped 10 birds switching to them and my skeet scores even dropped 4-5. The breaks on longer targets are especially telling, if the clay is not spinning quickly it often will not break or will just fall apart into a couple of pieces. That does not engender much confidence from me. The 10,000 rounds are all combinations, in 12 ga I use 1 oz for 8-9s, 1 1/8 oz for 7 1/2 and 6, 1 1/4 oz for 6-4, 1 1/2-1 5/8 oz for 4-BB.
Rereading my earlier post, I see I did not proof read it very well; in fact not at all. Of the targets missed to the front, that was with the fast loads, not the heavy loads like I read. The similarities with lead were not with steel but with the other non-toxics.
 
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I wonder if lv/hd loads will return out of necessity. After the 3.5 inch shell and heavy steel, the only edge left might be lv/hd loads to push those non deforming pellets for a further pattern.

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How do you return used shotshells? :p
 
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