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I'll take a stab at this... :D

1) DRAM equivalent is a very old-fashioned term. It basically helps you determine what smokeless powder would be equivalent to in black powder. When cartridges switched from black powder to smokeless, people just needed a way to correlate the old and the new.

2) Oz. refers to the ounces of shot (pellets) in that shell. With large sized pellets (see #3 below) you can actually just count them. So, for example, "00 buckshot" typically has nine pellets. But with small shot, it's easier to weigh the shot than to count them all (it's in the hundreds).

3) Shot size (for example: 00, 4, 7 1/2, etc.) refers to the size of the actual pellet itself. The higher the number, the smaller the physical pellet is.

Hope I'm right about all that. If not, someone will be sure to correct me :D
 

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Sander has it right. I would add that most shotgunners wish the dram equivalent would just go away. It's an antiquated way of trying to convey the velocity of the shot; i.e. if X drams of black powder would produce 1200 fps velocity in a particular load, they call it an X dram equivalent load. 1200 feet per second says it all, much more clearly. Why the hell don't the manufacturers stop using dram equivalent?
 

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Willy,
Let us know what you're shooting at and we'll get you to the correct ammo.
 

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12 gauge 1 1/8 oz #7.5 shot

20 gauge 1 oz #7.5 shot

I use Remington Shur-Shot or Winchester Super X Heavy Dove Loads.

If you want to spend more money use the Remington STS or Winchester AA target loads.
 

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Remington Shur-Shot and Winchester Super X Heavy Dove should be around $3.89 a box.

Good Stuff.

DO NOT SHOOT THE VALUPAK stuff that come in the 100 packs unless your shooting a good Semi or break action gun
 

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I'll go out on a limb and take a stab at your second question about price differences...

The shell may look the same on paper, but the materials may be of a higher quality overall. For example, the plastic hull in a more expensive shell may be more rugged and durable and therefore better for those people that are interested in reloading shells. The brass may be better, as well.

The guys who reload at my club all use the "Winchester AA" brand, but they won't even bother with the "Winchester Xpert" shells that I use. However, the Xpert brand is cheaper per box...

I don't think that's the only thing that differentiates shells, but it's just a contributing factor...
 

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Actually any inertia operated (benelli) or gas operated systems set up for light loads (browning fusion, remington 1100) can shoot it, they just burn really dirty and you'll have to clean your guns more often. I'm just of the ilk that you get what you pay for.

The biggest problems are with pumps (remington 870 express, winchester 1300). The crappy metal header on the shells swell and get jammed in the gun until they cool off enough to eject.

In the case of Winchester Super Speeds you get in a 12 gauge load 7/8 oz of very poor quality lead launched at incredible speed meaning the lead will get jammed together, get malformed and fly all over the place rather than in a nice pattern.

The only decent value pak I've ever found that burned pretty clean and also ejected most every time and had nice patterns was the Federal Gold Medal 12 gauge loads.

Trust me on the Remington Shur-Shot and Winchester Super X heavy dove, these are nice clean burning, solid patterning shells that will not break the bank.
 

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If you read up on the ballistics of shotgun shells, it's pretty amazing to see how much is actually going on inside that little piece of plastic.

You've got a hull, a shotcup, powder, a primer, shot, brass, crimps, sometimes buffering media... :shock:

A regular pistol or rifle bullet looks absolutely simple in comparison...
 
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Another difference in the cheaper and the more expensive shotgun shells is the roundness and hardness of the pellets. More expensive target and hunting ammo has high antimony shot and it is a lot rounder the the chilled shot.
Some of the cheap shells use cheaper cardboard over power wads and just wrap the shot in a sleeve instead of the 1 piece plastic wads.

An important difference to the user is the recoil. Higher velocity or more shot both translate directly to greater recoil.

I actually do shoot the stuff that comes in the value pack (remington right now, 3.70 a box, #8 shot). My only complaint is that they jacked the velocity up a little and it kicks more than the AA target loads. I have another gun that is light and has no pad. I pay extra for the 1 oz AA loads just so it won't beat me up.

I tried the cheaper Sur shot with the 7/8 oz shot ($3.00) but it just seemed wrong to me to load a shell with high velocity and little shot.
 

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jlptexashunter said:
The biggest problems are with pumps (remington 870 express, winchester 1300). The crappy metal header on the shells swell and get jammed in the gun until they cool off enough to eject.
Why would this only be a problem with pumps? I can understand the reasoning, that an auto is more forceful in its ejection, but I have never seen a pump jam on promo target shells. In fact the only pump that has ever jammed on me was a BPS. The chamber was out of spec, but it still only jammed with 3" mags, no matter the quality of make.
 

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Pumper,
Do a search on Jamming and or shell not ejecting and invariably it's a Winchester 1300 or Remington 870 shooting crappy valu-pak loads. I bet you find a hundred of them.

Then about 20 of us come on here and say have the innerds polished and/or quit shooting crappy shells.

It's one of the most common posts and there are a few reasons for it but do the search and you'll read about them.
 

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Willy,
They won't hurt your gun nor will they boost your confidence.

Shoot whatever you want. You'll get picky about it later.

Have Fun.
 

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I've shot promo shells out of my 870's for years, never had a problem. Also, while I respect Sander and his knowledge, and while I see his point about "Drams Equivalent," I kind of like the term anyway. It's a connection to our past. Ammo in general has quaint terminology:.30-06, .30-30, etc.
 
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