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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So, I have been making the switch from CB wads to Downrange wads. Downside is that DR wads are non existent locally. No store sells it here. Very annoying. Additionally, since I am experimenting with these wads, I don't want to buy a bunch online and find it less useful for my needs.

Anyway, I am playing with the components I have on hand and trying to get a really nice shooting shell. I looked on the Hodgdon data and saw the recipe below. I thought perfect, it is everything I have but the appropriate wad. Luckily enough, I was able to acquire some DRXL 11/8 wads from a local retired reloader selling off his stuff.

My recipe is per Hodgdon:

I am using a Spolar press
Win AA once fired (or more)
Win 209
DRXL 11/8 blue wad
19.5g IMR Green
1.125 oz shot
Supposed to be about 1200 fps @ 9700 psi.

So, I tried to run a batch today, for the first time. One shell only as a test run. As I proceeded with loading my first shell, I immediately noticed that the shot drop was super high on the hull. I measured everything just in case it was a heavy powder drop. Nope, actually 19.3g. I measured the shot drop. Nope, dead on 1.125 oz. I carried on. Pre crimp was nice but shot was right on top, just below the opening. Crimped beautifully and the shell looks great.

I try again with one shell only. Same results. Measured well but shot is high on the hull. If I pulled the handle too quickly, a couple of shot pieces would spill.

I try again with one shell, this time, before pouring the shot back into the hull (from measuring the drop) I stuck my finger on the wad to check for movement. Definitely lots of downward movement to go but the wad would ride back up the hull. Pre-crimp was the same with the shot high on the hull. Again, crimped beautifully and the shells look great.

I only ran a batch of 54 shells. Almost all hulls had the same issue. Measurements were within .2 grains (low) of powder and shot within .02 ounces.

I am planning to speak with Dicksie in the morning. In the meantime, I thought to ask. So, is this to be expected when using AA hulls and this blue wad? Any issue to be aware of since the wad is being re-seated or seated deeper during the crimping process?

I have more AA hulls than STS hulls. That is why I chose this recipe. I wanted to use my AA hulls and experiment with a new to me load. Prior to this, I used STS hulls with 19.3g of IMR Green with zero issues on wad seating depth. Is this blue wad just too big for the base of the AA hull to seat correctly?

Any input would be appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I do want to add that I tried the DRA12 bronze wad for the STS hull recipe but found it to be too short for the load. Crimps were a little dished in but still a good looking crimp. I switched back to the CB equivalent and the shells look like factory.
 

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If you use the DRA series of wads in the WWAA-HS hulls you will get a correct stack height. The DR-xl wads do tend to stack a bit high. Also they tend to want to climb back out of the hull because they trap air under the wad because there are no air vent channels in the side of the over-powder cup on the bottom of the wad to vent the air. Rub the end of a fingernail around the DRA wads and you should feel 3-4 small cast grooves that serve as vents, the XL series does not have them. The DR-XL-1 doesn't and I suspect that the blue ones don't either.
While you may be getting acceptable crimps with the XL series, you may find that the crimps will tend to tent up after a while sitting on the shelf. Not a great thing to find.
 
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I had the same issue as Jet Setter. I also load on a Spolar. Tried Downrange wads in my AA loads and I would need to push the wad and shot down in the hull with my finger before crimping. The wad was apparently migrating back up as if it had trapped air beneath it. Tried different Downrange wads with similar results. Now I use Claybusters with zero problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Phatkaw,
The CB wad left a lot of plastic residue in my barrel. Just thought to try out DR wads since there is a lot of consensus on it leaving less or none at all.

Plus, I like trying different loads to some extent. I was hoping to find a load I liked with the DR wads. If I did, then I would place an online order to stock up. Since DR wads are non existent at my local stores, I may end up sticking to CB wads.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Terry,

Worked great. Delayed my push up and the wads are seated well and no shot spillage. Granted, I am going slowly. Still, finished shells look great. I am looking forward to shooting them.
 

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20 some years ago we reloaded hundreds if not thousands of shells to the AA specs with AA hulls. We were reloading some AA’s the other day and every one wanted to budge and kink at the bottom of the wad. The gun club hulls worked much better. Has anyone else experienced this? I have a mec jr.
 

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20 some years ago we reloaded hundreds if not thousands of shells to the AA specs with AA hulls. We were reloading some AA’s the other day and every one wanted to budge and kink at the bottom of the wad. The gun club hulls worked much better. Has anyone else experienced this? I have a mec jr.
The AA of old not the AAs of today. Use a wad with a shorter crush section. Either (1) use a wad designed to hold 1/8 oz. more shot than you are dropping, or (2) use the DRA12 wad appropriate for your shot drop.

An example of #1 is to use a 1 1/8 oz. wad if you are dropping 1 oz. of shot. An example of #2 is to use a DRA1 bronze wad if you are dropping 1 1/8 oz.of shot.

The bulging is caused be a stack height that is too tall. Using a wad with a shorter crush section will lower the stack height and eliminate the bulging.
 

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I put just a touch more wad pressure since the gun club didn’t always get a full and complete crimp. I haven’t tried to load a AA yet though. Maybe the shells are a little shorter now? Everything is exactly the same as we use to do it. It is even the same powder shot and wads. I was scared the powder wouldn’t be any good after 20 years but they still go bang.
The one thing that is different is the AA hull. If you happen to have an old one and a new one, cut a slice out of the side from the mouth to the base and you'll easily see the difference. The problem is the reloading data hasn't changed to take into acc9unt the change to the hull. If you are using a bulky powder, such as Red Dot, Clays, Promo or Clay Dot, you will need to shorten the stack height to make the components all fit. Otherwise, you will have a blivet. Those DRA12 Bronze (1 1/8 oz) or Pink (1 oz.) wads are the ticket.

You could go to a dense powder, like Titewad or WSH; that would cure any stack height problem caused by using regular wads. Using a denser powder also will shorten the stack height.
 
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