Powder Bulks And Spreader Loads

Powder Bulks And Spreader Loads

O’ Great and Wunderous Wizard of Odds and Thingies that go Bang;

I recently bought a bunch of PC Post wads in an ongoing attempt to concoct a decent spreader load. I have been loading AA Plus powder in my regular Remington RTL hull 1 1/8 loads with Win Red wads (1 1/4 to 13/8 capacity) and the Poly Wad mushroom inserts. All of the mechanics seemed to work; nice crimp, good reliable ignition, and not much recoil. But you know better than most that discovering a different product requires investigation and experimentation even if what you have already works just fine.

When I tried to switch to the PC Post wad the crimps were much to deep set and dished indicating insufficient volume in the case. ( I use very little wad seating pressure so I know that I am not crushing the wad column). The answer seems to be to use a bulkier powder to take up more room.

Now, the problem. Where does one find a comparison of shotgun powders by volume. Most reloading guides list powders in order of their relative burning rates, but I don’t remember ever seeing one that listed powders by bulk or volume. Does such a comparison exist and where can I find it.

Your humble servant,

Prescott, AZ

Dear Jack,

Comparisons of powders by bulk? You got me there. I can only come up with the lame suggestion that you contact the powder companies. I have never used AA Plus powder, but most of the Winchester powders are made by the Ball process and that produces a very fine grain which compacts densely. Alliant Red Dot and IMR 700-X are flake powders and are far “fluffier”. If you can find an appropriate recipe, try one of them. Green Dot would also be a candidate if you want something just a bit slower. Stick to published recipes so that you don’t blow yourself up.

By the way, I got very good results from using the Polywad spreader “mushroom” insert. It opened my 20 gauge pattern from 18″ to almost 30″ at 25 yards when using my .028″ Full choke barrel. I have seen similar performance in the 12. My experience with post-style wads is that they work best with full choke guns so that the shot can be pushed into the post by the heavy choke and then spring back out. Simply having the post in the center also may help, but I don’t think that it the main thing. The post wad was really designed to open a trap full choke to a trap modified. The post wad didn’t work as well for me when I used it in open choked guns. It needs the tight choke to work right. The post wads have never given me the same amount of spread as the Polywad inserts. The Polywad insert works well in any constriction.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid
(Often in error, never in doubt.)


Hi Bruce,

Seizing the chance to add to the Technoid’s volcanic eruption of knowledge:

Pretty darn easy. Look at any of the published reloader’s guides put out by the manufacturers, and checking the MEC bushing charts will give you a pretty good idea. After all, powder bushings throw by volume, not by weight.

Flipping to page 360 of Lyman, 4th edition:

A Mec #30 is listed as throwing 16.5 grains of Red Dot, yet 29.5 grains of Superfield. The lighter the weight thrown for a given bushing size, the bulkier the powder.

Best regards, Randy

Readers: Aarrgghh! Now why didn’t I think of that? Randy adds that I have probably been using my adjustable charge bar for too long. Right again.

The Technoid

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