16 gauge hard shot reloads for grouse and woodcock

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16 gauge hard shot reloads for grouse and woodcock

Postby Woodcocker » Sat May 02, 2020 3:38 pm

16 gauge moderate pressure hard shot reloads for grouse and woodcock

If anyone is having trouble finding copper or nickel plated shot in factory 16 gauge loadings, here are my experiences rolling my own. I have tried a number of different reloading components and in the absence of a high quality WW or R-P shell anymore (black Remingtons I don’t find very reloadable)I have been reloading Ballistic Products Cheddite high brass hulls. The recipe which follows will also work with Fiocci, B&P, Rio and other metric primer pocket cases.
As the Cheddite comes primed from Ballistic Products it is a decent shell and ready to go. But its primer pocket is about .242 and an US primer pocket about .239. So on your second firing of Cheddite you either have to buy Cheddite primers from Ballistics products and pay a 33.00 hazmat charge, or spend 19.00 for a primer pocket tool and use CCI primers (WW and Federals are too hot for the loads I use).
You will also find that the Cheddite shells as they come unfired do not take a very good crimp and will need a 28 gauge over shot card wad to get a decent crimp.
So here is my one oz. early season grouse and woodcock load which can also work well for pheasants.
Bag of 100 red Cheddite is what they have now. Eleven pound bag 7.5 nickle plated or copper plated shot from Midway (very expensive but worth it to get through the fall leaves)
Bag of 28 gauge over shot card wad.
Bag 250 Guerlandi field 1 0z wads from Ballistics products (there is another they sell for 1 1/8oz which will not crimp properly with 1 0z.)
I use Unique 19.8 grains, Mec bushing 29. When the shell comes to the crimping station, put the card wad on top of shot and rotate shell three times to start the crimp. With new shells most of the time you will see a little card wad in center but with once fired shells the crimp settles down and closes well. Crimp height may need some playing with. Be sure to measure what your press throws with a real scale before use. I use a RCBS digital for the first five loads thrown when I change anything.
When you have shot up your hundred Cheddites, resize and punch the primer out and on a solid bench give the shell on the primer pocket conditioner a good whack with a heavy hammer. If you have a vernier you want to get to around .240 that is .002 better than the metric primer pocket. You will find on second and later shootings that the American primer will start to back out of the Cheddite cases, so you really need to condition these shells. You should feel a solid sense of the new primer going into the pocket. Don’t over do the tightening. And mark shells (with a sharpie) with a dot or something to show it has been conditioned.

I use this load in my under 6 pound Fox and find it shoots with modest recoil, patterns well, and gets through leaves. Warm Barrels.
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Re: 16 gauge hard shot reloads for grouse and woodcock

Postby 3birddogs » Wed May 06, 2020 7:54 am

I have never experienced any problems using Win 209 primers in Cheddite hulls. Yes, I have read that the primer pocket needs resized to use Win 209, but have never done so, I reload almost exclusively Cheddite hulls now and have a lot of RST, Herters cheddite, and have also ordered primed cheddite hulls from BPI. Cabelas used to carry cheddite primers, but haven't been in there for a while( only 15minutes from me).
I have never seen any evidence of primer backing out using the win primers, have had problems with pierced primers using Cheddite 209 primers--was told they were thinner.
I load mostly low pressure, 1200 fps or less, and 3/4 and 7/8 oz loads--maybe that's why I haven't had this problem??
Anybody else have this problem? FWIW, I use a Mec600 jr.
May every spring from now until eternity throb with the drum roll of your wings(RogerLatham)
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Re: 16 gauge hard shot reloads for grouse and woodcock

Postby Silvers » Wed May 06, 2020 9:38 am

Woodcocker wrote:16 gauge moderate pressure hard shot reloads for grouse and woodcock

If anyone is having trouble finding copper or nickel plated shot in factory 16 gauge loadings, here are my experiences rolling my own. I have tried a number of different reloading components and in the absence of a high quality WW or R-P shell anymore (black Remingtons I don’t find very reloadable)I have been reloading Ballistic Products Cheddite high brass hulls. The recipe which follows will also work with Fiocci, B&P, Rio and other metric primer pocket cases.
As the Cheddite comes primed from Ballistic Products it is a decent shell and ready to go. But its primer pocket is about .242 and an US primer pocket about .239. So on your second firing of Cheddite you either have to buy Cheddite primers from Ballistics products and pay a 33.00 hazmat charge, or spend 19.00 for a primer pocket tool and use CCI primers (WW and Federals are too hot for the loads I use).
You will also find that the Cheddite shells as they come unfired do not take a very good crimp and will need a 28 gauge over shot card wad to get a decent crimp.
So here is my one oz. early season grouse and woodcock load which can also work well for pheasants.
Bag of 100 red Cheddite is what they have now. Eleven pound bag 7.5 nickle plated or copper plated shot from Midway (very expensive but worth it to get through the fall leaves)
Bag of 28 gauge over shot card wad.
Bag 250 Guerlandi field 1 0z wads from Ballistics products (there is another they sell for 1 1/8oz which will not crimp properly with 1 0z.)
I use Unique 19.8 grains, Mec bushing 29. When the shell comes to the crimping station, put the card wad on top of shot and rotate shell three times to start the crimp. With new shells most of the time you will see a little card wad in center but with once fired shells the crimp settles down and closes well. Crimp height may need some playing with. Be sure to measure what your press throws with a real scale before use. I use a RCBS digital for the first five loads thrown when I change anything.
When you have shot up your hundred Cheddites, resize and punch the primer out and on a solid bench give the shell on the primer pocket conditioner a good whack with a heavy hammer. If you have a vernier you want to get to around .240 that is .002 better than the metric primer pocket. You will find on second and later shootings that the American primer will start to back out of the Cheddite cases, so you really need to condition these shells. You should feel a solid sense of the new primer going into the pocket. Don’t over do the tightening. And mark shells (with a sharpie) with a dot or something to show it has been conditioned.

I use this load in my under 6 pound Fox and find it shoots with modest recoil, patterns well, and gets through leaves. Warm Barrels.


It sounds like you enjoy reloading for 16-gauge and that’s just fine, good for you. Your post reads to me like a labor of love. I’m not surprised you had only one reply before mine as many on this site say they're "here to learn" :wink: and are reticent to write anything ….. just the way the site norms have developed.

Your post prompts some questions to include, how you know coppered or nickeled shot gets through leaves better than hard lead shot like West Coast Magnum? Is that based on personal experimentation, and if so, how did you do that and would you please share the results obtained? Also on the nickel shot and leaves, I hope your post doesn’t come across to readers as a green light to do spray and pray shooting. To my thinking no game bird deserves to be shot at unless it’s visible and the hunter can positively get on the bird and see the lead before firing. And that means no fire if the bird is getting behind heavy leaves in the instants before firing. Surely, the hunter should be focusing on the bird but the subconscious sees the flight path.

Some additional questions: what’s the muzzle velocity and breech pressure of the "moderate pressure one-ounce" recipe you shared? Me, I don't fret about pressure if within industry standard but I won’t hunt with anything under 1200 speed for lighter game and at more than 30 yards or so. I’ve seen too many shallow pellet wounds from the use of so-called low pressure (read: low velocity) loads. And if heavier game might be anticipated or while doing traditional mixed bag small game hunting, I’ll always have a high velocity/heavier shot size load in the left barrel or second in the mag tube on a Model 12 pump gun.

Also, doesn’t that 28 gauge card wad over the shot and under the pie crimp disrupt the patterning? Any paper testing you want to share with/without the 28 card wad?

Last question: how many shots/year are you firing from your < 6 pound C-Grade 16? I ask that because small bore Foxes weren’t designed to be clay target guns and are too whippy and light to attenuate cumulative recoil over a 50 or 100 bird course except by use of very light loads. Personally I can't justify the time and expense of reloading for my 16 bores and I like the Remington Game Loads (black hull and 1-ounce at 1200) for anything in capability of #6 thru 8 shot as the GL's are supplied. No fuss or muss, fire and discard. The 16-gauge Rem GL hulls have the added advantage of usually running about 2-5/8" long which is nice in properly chambered 16 bores made for the 2-9/16" shell. RST's are also good and JFI while at the RST plant I've seen pallets of West Coast Magnum hard shot.

Cheddite primers are readily available over the counter hereabouts at about $115./5000. I like them for my volume 12-gauge loading for clays and have about 8000 on hand right now. They seat just fine in once-fired Remington Gun Club or STS hulls and I'll load with the Cheddites 3-4 times before switching to Fiocchi 616's once the primer pockets get a little loose.

Thank you for taking the time to post. I do value technical detail like yours even though I might have a different take.

frank
Aan
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Re: 16 gauge hard shot reloads for grouse and woodcock

Postby Woodcocker » Wed May 06, 2020 12:02 pm

Hi, and thanks for all those questions and suggestions. I live in Columbus, Ohio and I can tell you Cheddite primers are unavailable here. And I hate the idea of paying 33.00 Hazmat to get them by mail. I have also been unable to find Remington Dove and Quails loads locally with any consistency. My options were Fiocchi "Herters" at the local Cabelas--now vanished--and various mail order shells. According to my vernier calipher, there is about a .003 difference between a US primer pocket and a Cheddite. The rather nice black Browning shells seem to have a US rather than a metric size pocket and I picked up a box of hulls on the ground at my skeet club. (But loaded Browning ammo is only available by mail to me). By using the BP primer pocket conditioner I am able to tighten a Cheddite maybe .001 but that is still enough to give a noticeable tightness when repriming. The backing out begins to occur with Cheddite hulls after the 2d firing. On my Mec 600 Jr no matter what I do to adjust the the crimp, (these problems are even worse with 28 g. AA which I shoot a lot of for skeet) I still get more than a pellet size opening unless I use a 28 g overshot card wad. I have also found with Cheddite hulls that the first use of them produces a somewhat spread crimp with space at the center and then a once or more times fired shell will crimp with no hole in the center with a card wad over shot. All of this using the Guerlandi Italian 1 oz wad. Other wads such as Remington 1-1 1/8 need a card filler in the shot cup and some experimentation on loading to get a height for smoothly crimping 1 oz load with Cheddite as the built up shot cup increases the pressure.

I have no empirical evidence about copper and nickel shot vs lead but I have patterned all three of my 16 gauge guns, Fox, Parker DHE and Winchester 21 in roughly the same choking IC and M at 30 yards and find the nickel gives a slightly tighter and more even pattern. It is not anything remarkable but any help when one walks 4 hours in thick cover for 2-3 flushes is a help. I hunt in Michigan in the UP early Oct and the leaves are heavy on the trees. Either one tries to get through the leaves or there is no shot at all. The one ounce recipe was offered for light guns such as my Fox which weighs under 6 lbs. I felt the Fiocchi Golden Pheasant 16 gauge nickel load, which only comes in 1 1/8 is too heavy for my gun. I don't have a chrono but am simply following the Cheddite loading data given by BP in their 16 gauge manual. My only real variation is the switch to CCI primers. With 19.8 g. of Unique, the Federal and WW primer shows definite flattening or pressure signs and the CCI does not. Patterning each primer shows the CCI gives a slightly more uniform pattern. There is also the factory of economy. The Golden Pheasant nickel load for 16 g sells for 18.00 24.00 a box of 25. One can make about 175 one ounce reloads with an eleven pound bag of nickel shot costing with shipping and tax 64.00. And then of course there are those long days now with skeet shooting here closed and with not much to do besides making a lifetime supply of 16 gauge shells! This is probably more than anyone cares to know about reloading 16 g. but for the few of us who do it the admittedly anecdotal experience may be helpful.
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Re: 16 gauge hard shot reloads for grouse and woodcock

Postby Woodcocker » Wed May 06, 2020 12:42 pm

Just out of curiosity I measured the primer pockets of 5 of each brand of shells I had on hand. The pockets were not perfectly round, so varied as much as as .001 out of round

Cheddite high brass once fired .242-.243
Remington black game load .240
Browning black game load .241-.242
Thus, even a gain of .0005-.001 from the conditioning tool is a plus.
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Re: 16 gauge hard shot reloads for grouse and woodcock

Postby Jeff S » Wed May 06, 2020 2:21 pm

Mr. Woodcocker, I haven't reloaded an 16 ga. shells, but I do enjoy hunting in the U.P. During the end of September, I like to duck hunt in the vicinity of Trout Lake. I'm guessing that if you hunt ruffed grouse and woodcock, you probably hunt further Northwest. Have you had much success the last few years? Jeff
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Re: 16 gauge hard shot reloads for grouse and woodcock

Postby Woodcocker » Wed May 06, 2020 4:22 pm

This last year after being rained out or not having a single flush in Harbor Springs area, Pigeon River area and near there for the last three years we went back to the Grayling area and lucked out. We generally fish on the Au Sable, so it seemed worthwhile to combine things. We had about 20 flushes on Oct 4,5.6 and my wife got three WC and I got three also. So we hope to try that area again. I have an English cocker and she is too close for a grouse dog, but I always hope a grouse will get up nearby. Good luck, and warm barrels. JF
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Re: 16 gauge hard shot reloads for grouse and woodcock

Postby Stan Hillis » Thu May 07, 2020 7:12 am

Interesting information, Woodcocker. I don't reload 16s either, having no problem finding the factory loadings I prefer for doves, which is all I use a 16 for, here. Addressing your issue of finding specific loadings locally I would suggest you take a look at some ammo suppliers online. I order from two out-of-state businesses who offer very attractive pricing and shipping costs. One of them, Hinterland Outfitters (in TX) offers $9.99 flat rate shipping. What that amounts to is you can order as many flats of shells as you want and you will only pay a total shipping cost of $9.99. They are an excellent company to do business with. Another offers free shipping from time to time.

Best, SRH
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Re: 16 gauge hard shot reloads for grouse and woodcock

Postby Woodcocker » Thu May 07, 2020 8:46 pm

Dear SRH, thanks for the tip on Hinterlands--fabulous selection. I just ordered a case of sixteen gauge #8's from them. Best, JF
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Re: 16 gauge hard shot reloads for grouse and woodcock

Postby Stan Hillis » Fri May 08, 2020 7:11 am

Glad to help, JF. I have mentioned it before that Hinterland is where I order my Fiocchi Interceptor spreader loads. That is actually how I found them, by doing a search for factory spreaders. Great shells, with really dependably even patterns.

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