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On a different thread a conversation was started about an over/under being preferred to an auto loader. One of the reasons stated for an over/under was the benefit of two barrels and, therefore, the ability to have two chokes rather than just one - especially when engaging report and true doubles and the near/far possibilities.

The auto loader fan countered with the theory that different shells could be used to result in differing shot patterns for specific targets. As proof, he cited what he referred to as “spreader” shells for use on close range targets. While discussing this topic with a gunsmith recently he offered to provide some examples of what he referred to as spreader loads that he had had for several years. I also see there are wads available from sources like Ballistic Products, Inc with claims they will cause the shot pattern to “spread” at close(r) ranges.

He gave me some of the shells he referred to as spreader shells as seen in the pic. Wondering about some comments from folks who may have purchased factory ammo advertised as spreader loads or loaded up their own version ? Results - affect on targets at various ranges ? TIA


Wood Font Circle Metal Auto part


On a different thread a conversation was started about an over/under being preferred to an auto loader. One of the reasons stated for an over/under was the benefit of two barrels and, therefore, the ability to have two chokes rather than just one - especially when engaging report and true doubles and the near/far possibilities.

The auto loader fan countered with the theory that different shells could be used to result in differing shot patterns for specific targets. As proof, he cited what he referred to as “spreader” shells for use on close range targets. While discussing this topic with a gunsmith recently he offered to provide some examples of what he referred to as spreader loads that he had had for several years. I also see there are wads available from sources like Ballistic Products, Inc with claims they will cause the shot pattern to “spread” at close(r) ranges.

He gave me some of the shells he referred to as spreader shells as seen in the pic. Wondering about some comments from folks who may have purchased factory ammo advertised as spreader loads or loaded up their own version ? Results - affect on targets at various ranges ? TIA


Wood Font Circle Metal Auto part
 

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The company who manufactured the shells above and inserts for loading are now defunct. Their products were highly rated, but their business practices were not. I wish I could find the inserts to load my own spreaders. The ones at BPI are not the same.

Edit to add that Fiocchi makes a spreader load that works well. It performs best with a relatively tight choke, I believe.
 

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The company who manufactured the shells above and inserts for loading are now defunct. Their products were highly rated, but their business practices were not. I wish I could find the inserts to load my own spreaders. The ones at BPI are not the same.

Edit to add that Fiocchi makes a spreader load that works well. It performs best with a relatively tight choke, I believe.
I was not aware that PolyWad was out of business. The SpredR posts that I have used in reloaded shells worked best of all spreader devices I have tried. I will inquire to see if there is any response.
 

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I never had any good pattern results in any gun with any spreaders, even my reloads which were better than any of the other ones. I’ve said this before but don’t get too caught up in choke selection on SC. There’s never been a target I couldn’t break with IC and if your worried some targets may be too far just run a mod or Lt mod. Set it, and forget it. Focus on the bird, not your choke.
 

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I have had good experiences with factory spreaders (fiocchi 1/18 oz. 8 1/2 @ 1250 fps) and reloads when reloads are permissible with the Ballistic Product Brush Wad or their Insert. All 3 referenced loads perform about the same in my gas auto with the maximum effective distance out to about 25 yds.

When you have a close quick tgt. with a short window followed by a 40 yd. plus tgt. it helps me substantially. You have to be really off to miss inside 25 yds. with a spreader with 1 1/8 oz. 8 1/2.
 

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My post from another thread here regarding spreaders

I went out for a round of sporting clays yesterday and had an opportunity to test out some spreaders that I made up with PolyWad inserts.

I shot the spreaders at rabbits only, here are the simple unscientific results. 100% of the rabbits shot with spreaders were dead. My kill rate with factory 1 oz shells on rabbits had historically been about 50%.

I handed a fistful to my shooting buddy and watched as he shot spreaders vs factory shells. The factory shells made what seemed like fist sized impact into the dirt where the rabbits were thrown while the impacts from the spreader shells were slightly larger than a basketball.

I finished the day with an 88/100, so clearly I’m no master class shooter but that’s a strong day for me.
 

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I have messed with hand loaded spreader loads for a couple of tight choked model 21’s with some success. But I don’t regularly use them while shooting sporting clays. Instead, I have found that burying my face on the stock and looking hard at the target usually gives me the desired results without using spreader loads.
 

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I used to shoot spreaders for anything really within 20 yards carrying around 200 shells to go shoot a 100 bird event got old, and so did having loose shells rolling around and torn up boxes, so I just burned them up, and then moved on.

You will see pretty sizeable patterns with spreaders as that's what they are designed to do, open up, I was told they open up one choke size and that appears to be true.
 

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I have several German 16ga shotguns and shoot Polywad spreaders. I've patterned them and they drop you about 1 choke down or more. I'm building up reloads now using fibre wads to see if I can get better results. For sure Polywads work....
 

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I have been shooting "Bornaghi Gold Spreader Loads" for really close rabbits on our 5 stand. They work good for me. I also have been loading some spreader loads with "X-Stream Spreader Inserts" from Ballistic Products with very good results. I haven't put them on the pattern board yet but they do seem to really bust the rabbits!



 

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I don't know how to post links, but the absolute most detailed, thorough, treatise on spreaders I've seen is on the 16 ***** Society site. I don't think it's a sticky (if they have stickies). I don't use my 16 ga. gun enough to go to the site any longer, and haven't for several years. Hopefully a search of that site will yield the thread. It compares most if not all of the commercially available spreader loading devices; and some homemade too, and shows pattern results, with excellent photographs.

The bottom line, also borne out by my own similar experience, is that the Poly-Wad Spreader was the best of the available devices, and that it works best if about 1/8 oz. of the shot load is reserved and placed ON TOP of the flat spreader disc. They open up Full and Modified chokes about at least one true choke restriction. In an IC choke, the result is less dramatic and I wouldn't even bother. A portion of shot on top of the disc definitely results in significant pattetn improvement.

As far as how much spreaders may help one's Sporting scores and to fill game bags, that's an individual thing. Are they a hindrance by distraction, or an advantage, or an unneccessary waste of effort to no advantage, or a confidence builder? That's up to each shooter to decide for themself. But, they do open up tight chokes. I've used them a few times for both clays and hunting, and likely will again. That said, I'll be perfectly confident without using them.

I remember testing my Model 12 20 *****, choked .012, at the distance I usually break station 8 skeet birds. At that distance the improvement was so minimal it wasn't worth thinking about. Station 8 is basically a learned skill, trick shot, anyway. Full choke or skeet choke...dosen't matter much for that close of a shot.

If I had a tightly choked gun and wanted to render it more efficient, for say jumping bunnies, or hunting grouse or woodcock, I'd definitely take the time to load up a few of those custom "some shot on top" Poly-Wads.

My clays O/U is .010 and .020 using choke tubes. IF I had some in my vest, and was dealing with a certain "in your face" target situation, I MIGHT slip one in my .20 barrel. But I'd not let it be a distraction or, might not even bother. I'd be comfortable shooting any course, anywhere, for the remainder of my shooting days, with a pair of .20 barrels, spreaders or not.
 
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