I have been having problems with the Fed smoothies coming apart and lodging in the forcing cone. They are breaking in half. Not burning through above the brass head as papers do. It seems to happen every 3 or 400 shots. It can happen on the first reload or any subsequent reload. It is very difficult to remove from the forcing cone. I have never had that happen with the ribbed hulls. I understand that Federal recalled the smoothies and replaced them with the ribbed hulls.
In any event, I think the ribbed Feds are terrific for reloads
I have loaded thousands of Federal Gold Medal "smoothies", some of them many. many times, without a single case separation.
My understanding from talking to a Federal rep at the 2010 Grand, is that the incidence of failure seems to occur in certain high dollar brands of target shotguns. After discussions with other shooters and in this forum, my understanding is that case separation may occur if your shotgun has an over sized chamber.
I shoot Remington 870's, 1100's and 11/87's which have tight chambers and have never had a case separation problem. I did have one Remington Nitro 27 separate and become a "zinger" (case separates at the base and leaves the barrel perhaps with the shot still in the tube.) However, this case was loaded too many times and was in my "mistakes" bucket where I cull imperfect shells for shoot and discard.
At any rate, Federal has replaced the "smoothie" with the old ribbed hull which I liked better anyway. As I shoot up my remaining "smoothies", I toss them.
If you experience a case separation with a Federal "smoothie", IMO you should stop using them in that particular shotgun.
So.... What if you are shooting an auto and doubles or hunting is what you are doing?
I guess the answer is to not load them at all in multiple shot applications.
I have 3 flats of these loaded in hunting reloads. I can use them for third shots I guess. I don't want a case coming off and then firing another round into the wedged case. I don't think it will blow the barrel but it sure as hell can't be good! Jeff
I have reladed them for over 25 years. I use 19-20 PB/S-3 wad for 1 1/8 oz & 19 PB/SO wad for 1 OZ. This is the lightest recoiling shell in its dram class I have ever found. Also the best patterning,shot thru many diff. guns. I ONLY use Fed 209/209A primers. I have never had a burn-off,yes burn thru but I inspect each shell before loading. Tedious,expensive for sure but then trap shooting is NOT a cheap leasure.