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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The Curmudgeon and the Invincible Loads

C expends a great deal of development time in creating new and outstanding shotgun loads.  Loads that cannot be purchased.  They must be put together by YOU (sometimes slowly and carefully) by hand.  C has special characterization for top notch performing loads.  He refers to them as an INVINCIBLE!   These loads are first created in THE CURMUDGEON’S mind.  Then samples are processed through the lab then field tested by C or a trusted lieutenant.     

 An INVINCIBLE load is focused on some particular TARGET with consideration for time, place and variable conditions.  With the TARGET  identified, then all surrounding conditions are included.  Geography, time of the year, temperature, weather… all surrounding the particular situation which the INVINCIBLE load is focused and designed to surmount and conquer.   INVINCIBLE loads are not for all shooters.  Nor at this time is there a matching INVINCIBLE load for every target and/or condition.  It sometimes takes months and often years to proof a load into the INVINCIBLE category.  The effort is a slow progression of time, patience and multiple experiences – then THE CURMUDGEON is pleased to share the findings with you.       

Click here to take a look at some of the Curmudgeons favorite load recipes.

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Reloading Information for Beginning Shotgunners

Here is a questions sent to the Curmudgeon:

“I need loads for beginning shooters. What does The Curmudgeon recommend?”

And here is what the Curmudgeon has to say:

We all may become instructors at one time or other.  It is wise to prepare yourself and the new shooter too for this eventuality.  Less is more when it comes to preparing loads for the new shooter; less recoil will yield more progress for the new shooter.  The shotgun being used by the beginner should be light weight and have a short barrel.  It is obvious that the average woman or young boy or girl usually has short arms.  Watch and see if the shooter leans backwards to counter the shotgun’s weight or overall length.  Don’t proceeding with the training if the gun is a poor fit.  Handling a shotgun is an intimidating thing to a first-time shooter.  A nimble gun and low-recoil loads will point the shooter in the right direction.

Some years back Browning made a 12-gauge Citori O/U with 24” barrels.  This shotgun, with a reduced stock length and tame loads, was a perfect starter/trainer.  Light and nimble, it is also a grouse hunter’s dream.  For auto shooters, the Remington 11-87 20ga youth model is a wonderful gun. These are relatively inexpensive and many can be had secondhand – after the original buyer has outgrown it.

Many people are inclined to teach young shooters on .410 or 28ga shotguns. These guns might be light and nimble, but they can be incredibly frustrating for new shooters.  You are better off by taming a very lightweight shotgun with reduced loads. Lighter shot charges and lower velocities are the physical traits that will reduce recoil down to insignificance. One you’ve reduced the recoil, you’ve all but eliminated the intimidation factor.

Recoil reducing butt pads are excellent for beginners as long as the overall length of pull is not increased.

The average box of 12-gauge shots shells are not for beginners.  A beginner needs light-weight shot charges with powder and wad combinations that do not translate into recoil.  The speed of the load does not reflect into felt recoil as much as weight does.  The mass (weight) is the biggest factor behind the inertia of recoil.  We can calculate recoil with a mathematical formula, however, FELT recoil is what causes beginners to shy away from leaning into the shot.  So… down with felt recoil.

Curmudgeon has found that ¾ oz lead shot loads offer the beginner a good change to break clays, yet does not create harsh felt recoil – even when the velocity creeps up.  Light weight loads often translate into increased velocity with little felt recoil.

Click here to see some of the low pressure and recoil recipes from the Curmudgeon.

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Master Goose Shotshell Loads

… or whatever CURMUDGEON wants to call them.   Our hunting group wants 3” & 3.5” 12-gauge loads that will take geese.  (Sock them HARD!)  We don’t get that many good opportunities and we don’t take unreasonable shots.  But these are tough geese – often moving fast with the wind.   Since we don’t do a great deal of shooting so the cost our loads is not a problem.  Our getting some geese is our problem!   We want some “no holds barred” cracker-jack loads.  We also have some Sand Hill Cranes passing through…  

R. M.   

C understands… the cost of the most lethal non-toxic shot EX-13 is elevated because it contains a high amount of heavy non-toxic tungsten and YES… EX-13 carries an incredible ballistic and is highly lethal.  If you are not foolish with your shooting – the cost becomes very reasonable.  And you don’t have to overload with too much shot!  Smaller amounts of EX-13 have proven to be HIGHLY lethal and permit more load velocity!  The #2 pellet is the largest pellet currently produced as the need for anything larger has not yet been demonstrated.  The #2 carries a huge impact out to a great distance and results in a much GREATER impact than the old lead #2 pellet!   


All shot shell costs become less than other hunting items such as food, travel and lodging.  Everything is relative… and a good hunt – is priceless.  Curmudgeon 

Click here to check out the lab-tested load recipes the Curmudgeon has put together for goose hunting.

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Cold Duck Shotshell Season

Curmudgeon needs to hold a short session here concerning elementary physics.  The shooting situation is this:  Cold weather duck hunting – really cold!  Days that take the “heart” out of ordinary shot shells.  Numb fingers even in gloves and a bitter taste in the mouth. COLD!  How COLD?  Think of Montana creek puddle jumping… and you may have your own experiences.  But the ducks are moving… and so are we. 

The physics part… we need to use a hull and primer that supports a COLD WEATHER load.  Ah, the Federal 12-gauge plastic base 2.75” hull with the snappy Fed209A primer.  This hull has a large volume of interior space.  Next, our powder selection.   We need FAST burn rate powders so our cold weather load will properly ignite and perform as tested – even in the COLD.  In order to employ fast burn-rate powders and not have our load pressure get out of hand, we need light-weight shot loads.  –  Curmudgeon  

Stop by our website and take a look at some of my favorite Load recipes.             

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