28 Gauge Reloading


I just picked up a Browning Ultra XS in 28 Ga. It’s a sweet little thing and I can’t wait to shoot it. My question is about shells. After looking around a bit all I can find is # 9 shot in target loads. I guess they sell these for skeet shooters, but I mostly shoot sporting and I’m wondering if anyone makes 3/4 oz. loads with 8 or 7.5 shot. If not, maybe it’s time I thought about reloading my own. If you had the choice, would you go with larger shot or more pellets in 28 gauge?

Thanks for any insight you can provide.

Best regards,


Dear Mike,

28 gauge Ultra XS?! You lucky dog. I had one of the 30″ 425 28s from Millers and sold it. Dumb and dumber. Now I am out of 28s and am just going to have to go and get another. You have to have at least one 28 in the gun cabinet. It is the greatest gauge for fooling around.

Reloading is definitely the way to go with a 28 if cost is any consideration at all. You will pay $15/box for factory 28s. You can reload them for under $6/box AND you will have an instant permanent supply of any shot size you want.

I like the MEC reloaders. They are cheap and they work just as well as anything else. The one you probably want is the MEC 9000GN. It runs under $600 from all the mail order houses. 28s are easy to reload. I would strongly suggest that you start using Winchester AA hulls. They are still the best. The Remington metallic green hulls are pretty good, but I don’t get quite as many loads out of them. Skip the Federal and off-brand Reifenhauser hulls. You will get a reload or two out of them, but not more. Win AA is the way to go.

As to components, I use Win AA primers, but I am sure that Rem/Federal would also be fine. The wads that work well with the AA hull are the Win AA factory wad, CB clone of same and the Remington factory wad. I haven’t tried the Fed wads. I had bad luck with the PC wads in cold weather. They didn’t seal right.

Powder: I use Alliant Unique and have been very satisfied with it. Some friends have recently switched to Hodgdon Universal Clays and are also pleased. Win 540, now discontinued, burns too hot and gives short shell life. Unique or Universal are the way to go.

Shot size: for sporting clays I used to use #8 in the 28, figuring that the extra pellets would be necessary in the little gun. I recently switched to #7-1/2s in the 28 and have come to prefer that size. I’ve generally been a “big pellet” person. Obviously, for skeet situations, use #9. The nice thing about reloading is that you can make up a batch of each and test yourself silly.

Recipes: Obviously, you will stick to published recipes. You can get all the current ones for free on the internet by just going into Hodgdon or Alliant’s site. It’s always best to look at the recipes BEFORE you buy your components- but you knew that.

If you decide to go the factory shell route, I believe that you can get all the sizes you want. Win even makes a one ounce load of #6 for the 28. At least they used to. If you buy factory shells, try to buy the Win AA brand. If you can save your empties, you can sell them for around $.15 each, maybe a bit more. Other brands aren’t worth as much. Some ranges will take once fired AA 28s in on trade towards a fresh case of ammo, though you will get more dealing with your customer directly. Usually once shooters at your club/range know that you have hulls for sale, someone will offer to take all that you can come up with. Those AA 28s and 410s are solid gold.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC
(Often in error. Never in doubt.)

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2 Responses to 28 Gauge Reloading

  1. Kev says:

    For Mike and anyone else interested. I am fairly new to the clay target scene and have not even been a shotgunner since the early 1960’s. Recently decided to take up the sport and bought a cheap Turkish O/U gun to play with. Skeet became a passion but sadly the cheap gun did not last very long, so I bought a Browning Cynergy in 12g. and added a set of Briley Drop In tubes in 28 gauge. The bug began to bite harder and I decided to try Sporting Clays for a bit of variety. As I only had the drop in tubes and they only came with skeet chokes, that was what I used. A look around the Sporting layout made me wonder what I was doing there as the targets were mostly on the long side for range, I had serious doubts about the small bore ability to provide a pattern density sufficient to break the birds. It was a two day event that I had entered with 100 targets each day. My only cartridges were the factory Winchester AA loads 2 3/4″ No.9 shot. Anyway to cut a long story short I was stunned at just how effective the little cartridges were, not only myself but the other members of the squad were also amazed. The little 28g was smashing those clays at what I considered to be realm of a 12g running 32gr loads. It turned out that it was not so much a problem for the gauge but the crucial factor was being able to get that little 3/4oz load of No.9 shot on the target. Since then I have added a beautiful little Beretta Sliver Pigeon to the armoury, it came with 5 chokes, and I find the No.9 shot 3/4oz loads to be really deadly using the IC and M chokes. I acquired a set of Briley skeet chokes for the Beretta and to be honest I can’t think of a reason to use the 12g for clay target shooting. All you need to do is get those 440 pellets centred on the target using the choke that concentrates them optimally for the range you are shooting and those clay targets disappear in a puff of dust. I do reload my shells now of course but still stick with the equivalent factory load of No.9 shot as the pattern density is great and the little pellets retain sufficient energy to demolish the clay.
    Sorry for the late contribution to the thread but only just stumbled across the post.
    Good shooting to all.


  2. Bill Davis says:

    Bruce–I sold you that Millers 30″ 425 years ago. You shoulda kept that one! Hope you’re doing well. Bill D.


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