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Plastic Shotgun Shell material

Discussion in 'Uncategorized Threads' started by mhanchett, May 2, 2007.

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  1. mhanchett

    mhanchett TS Member

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    Does anybody know the specific plastic materials used for shotgun shells?
     
  2. super-target

    super-target TS Member

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    Shotgun shells are NOT made out of Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) REPEAT - - NOT!!!
    All shotgun shells are made of what is called LDPE or Low Density PolyEthylene.

    Your good shells, like the STS or AA or Federal Gold Medals contain lubricating agents within the raw plastic to make the hull more slick and smooth.

    The good shells are injection molded, or compression formed. As far as I know the only two shells made this way today are STS and Gold Medals. The AA is a directionally extruded hull with the base wad pressed into place after the hull is manufactured.

    Lower priced shells, like Estates, Top Guns, Rio, Diana, and others, are all directionally extruded hulls, or a continuous hollow tube, cut to the exact length, with the base wad (paper or plastic type) inserted after manufacture.

    The plastic used in the lower priced hulls is "basically" the same as the better shells, but is lacking the more expensive lubricating additives.

    If you burn a modern plastic hull with a cigarette lighter or a small torch, and extinguish the flame, you will notice that the plastic will smell similar to candle wax. . .The plastic will actually "drip" when burned. . .That is the LDPE material!

    If shells were made of PVC they would shatter upon firing, and would have little or no resistance to the high heat created at firing. If you've never smelled burning PVC it is really bad. . .Chlorine gas is formed when PVC is burned, and some of you think Top Guns smell bad, you ain't smelled nothing until you've smelled PVC on fire.

    I hope you have enjoyed todays chemistry lesson by a guy who's worked in the plastics field for 36 years.

    Thanks, and I hope this answers some questions.

    Scott Messner = Model 31
     
  3. NintyT

    NintyT Member

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    Scott,

    Very interesting posting, but I have a follow up question about some hulls I have. They are "never fired" but never loaded WANDA shells. Appear to be made of a very hard and brittle plastic. The material is red, but transparent, so you could see the components inside. There is no metal base or seperate base wad. Instead of a crimp, a small black plastic cap is provided to hold the shot in place. I've never loaded or fired any of these. What type of material might these be made of? Steve Johnson IL
     
  4. Mac V

    Mac V Guest

  5. TOOT

    TOOT TS Member

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    Appearently some use HDPE....here is a quote from the Diana website:

    All the plastic tubes used on our cases are made of high density polyethylene which, once it is extruded, goes through a thermomechanical and bi-directional process which helps to provide excellent elasticity and high mechanical resistance that guarantee our cartridges quality. The cases are containers of the different cartridge components.
     
  6. skarloey

    skarloey TS Member

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    Are plasitic shotshell hulls recyclable?
     
  7. Bob Merkov

    Bob Merkov Member

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    Good information, Scott! Thanks.

    Bob M.
     
  8. atashooter

    atashooter Member

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    AA shotshell construction recipe:

    2 parts plastic

    1 part lubricant ( consists of the stuff from the center of a Twinkie )

    3 parts ground up unknown material ( Jimmy Hoffa )

    2 ceremonial blessings from a VooDoo Witchdoctor
     
  9. Mac V

    Mac V Guest

    <blockquote>"Are plasitic shotshell hulls recyclable?"</blockquote>

    All of them are...

    HDPE (high density polyethylene) of #2 plastic is very recyclable and almost all communities tha trecycle plastic recycle it.

    LDPE (low density...) is also recyclable but it's so light that it costs more to transport that it can be sold for...it's what garbage bags are made of.

    Recycling HDPE hulls is labor intensive before the fact because of the time involved in cutting off the bases.

    Mike
     
  10. johnpe

    johnpe Member

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    The first "see through" shells I can remember were loaded by Alcan. These were also sold as a separate component. The first Wanda shells I used all broke ahead of the rim - probably due to excess headspace in my old M12 before I put in a new headspace ring. I didn't buy any more Wanda shells after that.

    Dr. Jones, the only time I've run into "sweating" with plastic shells is on cold days. The water produced by the combustion of the powder condenses in the barrel, including the chamber. The wax from the old paper shells kept those chambers from rusting as did the wax on the old fiber wads for further down the barrels. Since I've not experienced or heard about rusting in the barrels ahead of the chamber with plastic shells, it is probably due to a protective coating of polyethylene from the one piece wads.

    Johnpe
     
  11. whiz white

    whiz white Strong Supporter of Trapshooting Banned

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    Scott: Thanks for the great info.

    I had worked as a safety coordinator for Brown & Root in Houston in the early 70's. One of my areas of responsibility was a safety job at Rhom & Haas working the in the PVC (Chlorine area particularly) and, man talk about precautions! Potent and deadly stuff.

    I believe the LDPE is the same material used on bottoms of skis. We used to buy PE sticks to melt to fix gouges in need of repairs and, yes, it does remind me of a candle wax.

    Again, thanks for the info.

    WW
     
  12. shot410ga

    shot410ga Well-Known Member

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    chauncy: I've got a Model 31 I'll sell.
     
  13. jtgunn

    jtgunn TS Member

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    Hi Guys

    I ran some wads through an FTIR. AA, WindJam, ClayBust, Duster...

    FYI - All tested as HDPE except the Duster, it was LDPE.

    I could run the hulls and check them, but I would bet they are HDPE, at least the premium stuff. Hi-density costs more but is more durable.

    Ran some Eagle shot in the XRF/EDAX - Came up 97% Pb (lead) - 3% Sb (antimony)
    Will check the mag stuff soon as I get some....

    Rich ...back at the fence
     
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