Dropping ITX Shot

#1. ALL reloading devices shot-drop tubes are relatively small in diameter and will “catch” and “bridge” larger shot – such as larger hunting size shot.  Keep in mind, ITX is hunting shot and most reloading tools are designed to load target size shot. In fact, reloading tools are designed for the loading only the most simplistic of hunting loads.  For instance, shot drop tubes are designed in diameter to fit inside plastic shotcups and utilized as a pusher device to seat wads.  Dropping shot becomes a secondary purpose.  Therefore the “shot-drop-tube” diameter is narrower than the gauge being loaded.  The reloader “crimp-starters” (6 or 8 point) have dull edges because reloading tool makers assume you will never have new hulls requiring a sharp-edge crimp starter to introduce a proper crimp.  Shot shell factory loading machines utilized sharp-edge crimp starters. (C notes: In crimping new hulls a 6-point crimp is easier to apply than the 8-point crimp.)

Utilizing a “progressive” (multi-stage loading tool) to produce hunting loads limits you the most simplest of field loads.  Think of mimicking skeet and trap loads only a bit more shot. You have not had troubles until you bridge shot on a multi-station progressive loading tool.  The progressive loading machines are designed to reload ONLY target type loads and then into previously fired hulls.  C suggests you do not attempt to make machines do things they are not designed to do.

To “bridge” shot means to clog the tube with (usually larger) pellets while dropping shot into the load. Often a sharp knock on the drop tube is required to clear “bridged” shot.

  1. One method prevent “bridging” is to open the shot drop “gate” very slowly – allowing larger pellets more time to trickle down the tube. (Rather than all at once.)
  2. Coating the ITX pellets with Wad Slick (mica dust) will coax the pellets to move along by sliding past each other as they flow down the shot drop tube. (Reducing surface friction.)

#2. ITX shot is slightly lighter in weight than lead pellets.  Therefore, ITX shot of a certain charge weight will occupy slightly more volume than does same pellet size and weight of lead shot.  For example, if one ounce of lead shot occupies a certain amount of space in a shot bushing or a “bar” – then ITX shot will occupy a slightly LARGER amount of space in some larger shot bushing or “bar”.  Many shot bushings (or bars) are set to accurately drop #8 sized lead shot.  Larger lead shot sizes often drop a lesser weight of shot than the bushing describes.  With ITXX #4 shot the 1-1/8 bushing used by C dropped an average of approximately 382 grains, or 7/8 oz of shot.   A drop of #4 lead shot thru the same 1-1/8 bushing will yielded 455 grains of shot – or short (492-455 = 37) thirty seven grains of the expected shot weight.  All shot bushings operate in this same manner.  The larger the shot – the more the drop weight is shorted.  Also – the larger the shot, the more erratic (drop to drop) becomes the dropped weight of shot.  This occurs with any type of large shot.  Just because you are using a described 1-1/4 oz. bushing does NOT mean you are dropping 1-1/4 weight of shot!

For instance.  Using a shot drop bushing marked for 1-5/8 oz. of lead shot… a series of drops with very slippery Nickel Plated #2 lead shot averaged a dropped shot weight of 667 grains.  Or, 43 grains less than 1-5/8 ounce of 710 gr.   Less is “safe” in loading terms, but it may also be far from what was planned.

With larger shot, check the weights and then correct.

#3.  When loading large shot (anything over a #7 pellet) it is far more accurate to:

(a.) Drop the shot from the reloading tool bushing and into your digital scale tray.

(b,) Weigh the shot amount and then add pellets or take away pellets until the correct weight is reached.  They pour the shot into the hull.


CURMUDGEON’S tips for producing hunting loads include the use of BP’s wooden loading blocks.  (This is why they exist.)  Loads can be set up in groups of twenty-five or fifty in these blocks.  The joy of loading with new hulls set up in the loading blocks will move things along at a good pace.  Powder is placed in the hulls, either from your loading tool or scale.  (Powder drops from reloading tools, after being checked by a digital scale, are usually accurate.)  The internal wad items are then inserted.  Then shot is dropped and checked then placed in the hulls.  Now, it is crimping time – and into then your cardboard (carefully marked box) and your hunting loads are read.

Nothing to it.


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Bismuth Pheasant Loads

Happy days -The Curmudgeon was overjoyed to share a wonderful hunting experience with his son and grandson!  This was the first field experience for the grandson after gaining his firearms certificate.

The Pheasants were located in a non-toxic shot setting.  Grandson utilized a Bismuth shot load #161012-9073 (A previous 20 GA. LOWeeK), his dad another load and Curmudgeon utilized the loads listed here. Every flushed bird was taken and everyone scored.

Click here to see the loads the Curmudgeon developed for Bismuth Pheasant Loads.

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16-Gauge Master Field Loads

High-performance field loads designed for upland game

These speedy loads are comfortable to shoot and are field-lethal.  To be effective, the shooter does not require the cloud-of-shot load in order to take a pheasant, Hun, pigeon, dove (et al). Remember that only five striking pellets of substantial energy are more than enough to take these birds.

Note: The #7 nickel-plated lead pellet has greater striking power than most shooters realize and is not used often enough for upland hunting.  The smaller pellet choice also allows the use of a 1/8” felt wad (#1221820) under the shot, which serves many functions – including reducing setback, reducing felt recoil, easing pellet deformation, and simply creating an ideal shot level for the final crimp.

Click here to see the loads developed by the Curmudgeon.

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ScatterMaster 12ga. Spreader Loads

Sporting clays and various upland shots often challenge the shooter with short-range and reactive types of shots. Think of the many times when targets present themselves in close range and you handicapped with a tight-patterning loads. Spreader loads solve this problem and arm the shooter with a distinct ammunition advantage.

The ScatterMaster™ wad is one of a number of spreader wads and spreader load devices offered by BPI. 

The Curmudgeon recently participated in a sporting clays competition in which he ran two stations in a row utilizing the 12-ga. ScatterMaster wad.  All 16 standard-size clays were presented in pairs.  Because of his ammunition selection and some nifty shooting, the Curmudgeon made it easy with four doubles at each station.  Fifteen ScatterMaster loads were fired as two clays were reduced to dust with merely one load. The Curmudgeon used load #9380 (see below). Some may think the Curmudgeon was lucky, but he prefers to attribute his success to reloading skills and proper ammunition selection. Similarly, the Curmudgeon mopped up on a 20-yard station known as Rabbit-Run, which was also navigated without a miss, thanks to the ScatterMaster. Also, high overhead mini targets were demolished by the ScatterMaster.  

Shot selection: The clays loads contained #9 lead shot, but for field shooting the Curmudgeon has used pellets sizes #6, #7, #7.5, & #8 lead shot.

Uses: Consider using this wad for grouse, quail, Hungarian partridge, chukar, early-morning dove and lazy/quick-flushing pheasants. 

Stay on target,

The Curmudgeon

Click here to see the lab-tested load recipes the Curmudgeon has created for the ScatterMaster wad.

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Find your perfect load fit

“Field perfect shot shell loads” are achieved when the loader gains knowledge of the craft. Read diligently and apply your field experience to gain a match with the “perfect load” for your shotgun, weather conditions and the fleeting target. Not altogether difficult. But something that requires some skills, thinking and planning.

C is frequently asked to describe a “perfect load” when he does not know a hoot about someone’s local weather conditions, game habits of the area or the shooting abilities or expectations of the questioner. While C has fired many shots in most states and many provinces… his experience may not cover all lands, waterscapes and shotguns. Two fields or lakes away from where you are hunting may attract different species or produce dissimilar game reactions. This is when your judgments (and craftiness) come into focus. C may be able to describe some excellent loads – but for this day, morning or afternoon, with always changing weather, plus slightly different geography – game reactions – may change “perfect” load choice.

When the harmony of shotgun, weather, geography, loads and game come together – YOU KNOW IT! Perfect alignment is sweet! The largest easily solvable portion of this group is the SHOTGUN LOAD. In most situations – the load could be and should be right on! Why not? You have the information, A “perfect” load likely exists – and it is up to you to learn of it – and apply it. And by golly, you certainly feel good when your load choice is on the mark. C points out that the “ADVANTAGES” load manual published by Ballistic Products contains some 6,000 loads – and hundreds more being added in every new addition. Find your load fit! CURMUDGEON

Click here to see the latest Load of the Week from the Curmudgeon as well as past archived Load of the Week entries.

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Australian Duck Hunters Praise the Power of Fast, Lightweight ITX-10 loads

Curmudgeon was pleased to read a kind review of Ballistic Products’ high-velocity, light-weight duck loads. As you may know, it’s Autumn right now in the southern hemisphere, which mean it is duck season in Australia. The Curmudgeon has created loads that, according to our friends Down Under, “shoot like a butterfly and sting like a bee.”

The Aussie hunters are overjoyed with the success of these loads. Says one Aussie shooter, “Our duck opening was fantastic and the ITX-10 worked brilliantly once we shook off the cobwebs and got our eyes on the target. The 7/8 oz. 12-ga. loads were effective on fast moving ducks. At 50 yards we switched to 1 oz. loads and they proved devastating on small and large ducks out to 60 plus yards. Our bag here is ten ducks per day and we shot our bag on two consecutive days all using fast ITX-10 loads. All birds fell dead with no crippled ducks to swat on the water. Thanks for a great product!”
Neil. P.
Stawell, Victoria, Australia

Come checkout some the Curmudgeons Load of the Week entries.

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12ga 3-1/2″ Special Loads

The 12GA 3.50” hull creates (FOR RELOADERS) splendid opportunities to create dazzling specialized hunting loads!  

For some shooters (certainly not knowledgeable reloaders) larger shot loads translates into superior shot shells.   Of course, BP’s wise customers already know that BETTER shot shells are designed to match particular game, weather conditions, and geography.

C receives some requests that lack any descriptive criteria.  The what, when and where a load will be used IS important. Duck or Goose is not sufficient!  Note: Sea Duck hunting is incredibly different than popping Green Wing over a warm water slough.  Our many friends in other countries hunt some unusual game and often under unusual circumstances.  C describes some of these unusual loads in LOTWeek.  

The reloader may note that many of the loads C prefers are lighter in weight and carry more velocity!  C has found over the years that many difficult shots become much easier when the pellet time-to-target ratio is reduced.  Reminding C of the advice… “float like a butterfly – and sting like a bee.”  Filling the sky with shot is not to your advantage.  Getting shot on the bird IS to your advantage. Remember, more than six pellets in a bird may render it difficult to eat.

Check out some of the Curmudgeon’s favorite 12ga 3-1/2″ Special loads at the Load of the Week archives.

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