Reloading For Sporting Clays And The 391

Howdy Bruce,

Thank You again for taking the time to answer my question about the Gas Guzzlers. I FULLY understand what you meant by “it not making sense to go into talking about the advantages of semi-autos here”. I can only imagine how many times you’ve tried to tell a new shooter like myself that semi-autos are the way to go, but it was like arguing with a brick wall.

But there is good news!! I am a different kind of brickwall. One that sometimes listens, but better yet understands what you’re getting at. So that brings me to the asking point again.

Where is a good source of info. for how to reload shotgun shells to change their pattern and do the other things needed to help the semiauto compete w/ the dual choke system?

thanks again,


Dear Wes,

One perceived disadvantage that single barrel guns have in sporting clays is that they only have one choke. This disadvantage is highly over rated, usually mostly of a concern to newer shooters. A good course designer will never give you a ten yard rabbit and a 40 yard crosser on report. That’s just mickey mouse course design and the better designers have long ago given up on that kind of junk.

Most properly designed stations can easily be shot with the same choke/shell combination. A few might be optimized with different chokes/shells. When that occurs, my standard rule of thumb is to set the gun up with the choke and shell optimized for the longer target. For the shorter target I will open my pattern with a spreader load. Note that I do NOT pick the choke that splits the difference between the near and far shot. I choke properly for the far shot.

For reloading, the most reliable spreader mechanisms I have found have been the Poly-wad “Spred-R” inserts from Jay Menafee at Polywad. (Polywad Spred-R, PO Box 7916, Macon, GA 31209, tel:800-913-9310). These are little discs with a tail, much like an umbrella or patio table. They are installed in the reloading process after the shot drop, but before the first crimp station. Full instructions come with the inserts. Though a little slower than loading a conventional shell, they don’t take too much longer and you don’t need that many of them anyway.

In 12 gauge, there are two kinds of Spred-R inserts. One has three holes in the disc and is intended to open the pattern by one degree of choke (say Mod to IC), the other insert has a solid disc and is intended to open the pattern two degrees of choke (from Full to about IC). In my experience, testing them in my Beretta 303 with factory chokes, the Spred-R inserts have worked remarkably well. I’ve been using them for at least 15 years. Get some and try them out in your own gun. Just be aware that patterns from standard shells can vary as much as a full choke designation just on shell to shell variation within shells from the same box. Shotgun patterns aren’t all that precise. Take enough patterns to get an average, not just one or two.

You’ll find that I have mentioned them and alternative spreader load methods frequently. After trying everything that I could find on the market, I still stick with Spred-R inserts as I find them the most reliable. Polywad also makes a factory spreader load if you don’t reload.

Best regards,

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

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