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I'm new to shooting sports - ammo questions

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by rlvanden, Nov 17, 2009.

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  1. rlvanden

    rlvanden TS Member

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    I

    I'm new to shooting sports and a bit confused by all the choices in ammo. Is there a good online source or book that explains what all the diffrent specifications of ammo are? I can tell from reading the box what the size of the shot is, the velocity, the amount of power, etc., but there are some things that I still don't understand.

    What is the difference between a light load and a heavy target load? What is a light handicap load? What is each type of load good for? What else do you look for when buying ammo? Any recommendations for commonly available shells? Thanks.
     
  2. JLSIMON

    JLSIMON Member

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    Alot of people are looking at this and thinking, where do I start to explain all this? I'll take the first swing...This is 12ga. only.
    For the shooting sports 1 1/8th oz of shot is the Max. Lots of people shoot 1 oz. and a few 7/8. Anything over 1 1/8oz. shot is for hunting. Anything larger than 7 1/2 size shot is for hunting as well.

    Now again, 12ga only/1 1/8th oz shot...historically light loads have been 2 3/4dram(1145 fps) and Heavy have been 3 dram(1200 fps). Heavy can now mean 3 1/4 dram (1235+ fps) These are also called Handicap or Super Handicap or some other such term.
    Dram is an old weight measurement carried over from the Blackpowder days but still used today (by some)to reference the charge/speed of the loading. Some manufacturers are now using feet per second instead of dram to avoid confusion.
    Stick with the light loads. Heavy or Handicap won't be of any use utill you shoot from the 25 yard line or so. Even from the 27 alot of very good shooters stick with 2 3/4 dram.
     
  3. rlvanden

    rlvanden TS Member

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    Thanks JLSIMON. I'll try to make this easier. I plan on buying Winchester AA ammo in 12 gauge 7 1/2. Assuming they are all the same price, should I get the light target load (1 1/8 oz, 1145 fps), light handicap (1 oz, 1290 fps), or international (24 grams (about 7/8 oz), 1350 fps).

    How would the recoil compare among these shells? Thanks.
     
  4. V10

    V10 Well-Known Member

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    Get the light target load. It's good from the 16 to the 27 yard line. Recoil shouldn't be a problem.
     
  5. tanda1

    tanda1 Active Member

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    Yup. Of the three you listed, I also would pick the 1 1/8 oz.-1145fps for a good all around target load.
     
  6. wolfram

    wolfram Well-Known Member

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    The best ammo is the the stuff you can afford to shoot a lot of. If you aren't reloading the hulls then the 'premium' ammo like AA winchester, STS Remington or Gold Medal Federal probably isn't worth the extra expense at this point in your shooting career.

    If your game is trap then try the Estate or Federal Top Gun shells with 1 Oz of #8 shot x 2 3/4 dram for the 16 yard targets and then the 1 1/8 #7 1/2 shot x 2 3/4 dram load for doubles and shorter range handicap. These would be considered light target loads but they break targets just fine. Any lost targets won't be the fault of the ammo.

    If your going to shoot skeet then you will want the same shells with #9 shot.

    Sporting clay shooters tend to like the higher velocity ammo but the down side to that is more recoil which tends take its toll if you shoot a lot.

    After you shoot a bunch of these shells you will have a basis for comparison with other shells you might like to try. Just remember they key to any game is practice practice practice so get the lower cost ammo and shoot as much as you can.
     
  7. samiam03

    samiam03 Member

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    Get a copy of Lyman Shotshell Reloading Guide 5th edition. Tons of information besides reloading. Gamaliel has it for the lowest price I've seen $19.95.

    And welcome aboard.

    Sam
     
  8. wayneo

    wayneo Active Member

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    Since you didn't say what kind of gun your using, (trap gun, sporting, field, length of barrel, choke tubes, fixed choke, etc.). You should buy a box of different shells and get to a pattern board and check your POI vs. POA, and see how well the shells pattern out of your gun. Use different shells and chokes, or different shells in a fixed choke. That should narrow down what you should be shooting.

    Check your POI at 13-15 yards. 35-40 yards for your patterns. Wayne
     
  9. rlvanden

    rlvanden TS Member

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    Thanks Wayne. I do plan on patterning my guns soon. I have a Beretta A302 with a 30" full fixed choke barrel I plan on using for trap, and a Browning Lightning Sporting Clays Edition with 28" Invector Plus barrels I plan on using for skeet and sporting clays.

    I know that 7 1/2s are the most common for trap and 9s are the most common for skeet, but what is a good shot size for sporting clays? Do people use different shells in the same round depending on the target presentation?
     
  10. JLSIMON

    JLSIMON Member

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    I would pick either 7 1/2 or 8 for everything. For me it's 7 1/2. I've never missed a skeet target because I was shooting the wrong size shot. Being in the wrong time zone, maybe. As far as people using different shells on different presentations...some do. To the really good ones it doesn't matter. Keep life simple. Shoot Well.

    Jim
     
  11. kehrby

    kehrby Active Member

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    Oh crap......7 1/2 or 8s. Pick one, its all good!

    Steve
     
  12. Wolfman

    Wolfman Member

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    There are 5 characteristics of a shotgun shell:
    Gauge
    Length
    Shot Size
    Shot weight
    Powder Charge

    Gauge is obvious 0 12,20,28, etc.

    Length - All target shells are 2.75", although you can buy 3 and 3.5" shells in some gauges.

    Shot size - this is the numeric designation of the shot diameter (subtract the shot size from 17 to get the actual diameter). The larger the shot size, the more kinetic energy BUT the fewer number of BB's Because......

    Shot weight - it the quantity of shot in ounces. Typically (12 gauge) 1 or 1.125 oz. Since the number of BB's is determined by the size of the BB and weight of the shot, you have an inverse relationship (Larger shot, fewer BB's for a given weight)

    Powder charge - this is usually measured in Dram Equivalents, which related to the amount of Black Powder that used to be dropped to obtain a given velocity. 2.75 dr eq is about 1150 FPS and 3 dr eq is about 1200 FPS.

    Now to simplify -
    Ask for 12 ga 2.75 in No. 8 1.125 oz 2.75 dr eq for trap. This is good to 22 yds. If you are recoil sensitive, drop to 1 oz.

    Hope this helps.
     
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