#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.
- 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.)
- 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.