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This term shows up occasionally when someone has an off sounding report when they fire at a target.

I've been loading for over 45 years and as far as I know I have never had a cocked wad.

What causes them and why do some people seem to get them? Is it their loader or their technique?

I'm just curious. Thanks for you replies.
 

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It might be something other than the loader or the technique. It could be the wad. Or, it could be someone claiming some problem was caused by a cocked wad when in reality they have no idea what cause their problem, just theorizing. It may be there is no such thing.
 

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I've been loading for over 45 years and as far as I know I have never had a cocked wad.
What causes them and why do some people seem to get them? Is it their loader or their technique?
I've identified more cocked wads in factory ammunition than I have in my own, which, considering how fast factory shells run through their machinery, isn't surprising. The few I've created have been the result of worn out wad fingers.
 

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I very rarely have it happen on the 12 or 20 gauge shells, I occasionally have it happen on the 28 gauge. Don't know if the wads are more delicate the smaller the get or not.
 

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I used to get them quite frequent when loading Federal paper hulls. The mouth of the hull was just not opened up enough to keep the wad from catching. Happened even after replacing the wad guide. I made a sleeve for the primer punch to open up the end of the hulls a little more and the problem want away. Regards, Bob
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If part of the case mouth somehow gets INSIDE the wad guide fingers, the hull mouth will catch the overpowder cup when the wad's being rammed home. Most of them get discovered when the shot is sitting abnormally high after being added. A folded wad petal can cause the shot to appear overfilled.

I usually figure I'm seeing the results of a cocked wad when the wad seems to go almost straight up after leaving the muzzle. What's funny is the target may break, even get smoked, with this loading glitch.

Bob Falfa
 

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Wad guide hitting a wad off center, because the machine is out of time, in my experience. Sometimes so bad you'll split the case. On the Dillon this is caused as a result of the machine being out of time. That is, the base plate adjusted to the insertion device. Years ago Claybuster wads came with a lot bent in wad petals resulting in a lot of cocked wads. That was a big problem, but they've fixed that issue. But, any wad can have the bent petals in my experience. Old worn out insertion guide wad fingers can also cause a cocked wad.
 

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Check your wad guide by taking it out completely and inspecting the rim. A broken rim will not apply even pressure on the sides of the wad as it goes into the hull, resulting in a cocked wad and possibly a blooper when you fire.
 

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I solved this problem by skiving the hull mouth prior to placing it in the reloader, 500 at a time.

What I found was the still tight crimp mouth, about 3/8” dia., was causing the crimp points to penetrate the wad guide fingers and the points were catching on the base of the wad, hence a cocked wads.

Spolar and Jim’s Eye and Ears make an add device for the Spolar and Ponsness Warren reloaders that spread the hull mouth just prior to wad insert. This will eliminate the time consuming task of skiving each hull prior to placing into the reloader.
 

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I never had a cocked wad. I load manually on a MEC 9000. If the base of the wad catches on the mouth of the hull, the down stroke does not feel normal. I stop; lift up a little and can see the bent case mouth. Open up the mouth of the case, smooth out the base of the wad, make sure the wad is straight in the wad guide. If it still hangs up, take the shell out and manually push the wad in.

Jason
 

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I never had a cocked wad. I load manually on a MEC 9000. If the base of the wad catches on the mouth of the hull, the down stroke does not feel normal. I stop; lift up a little and can see the bent case mouth. Open up the mouth of the case, smooth out the base of the wad, make sure the wad is straight in the wad guide. If it still hangs up, take the shell out and manually push the wad in.

Jason
I do this exact same thing, only I use a Hornady 366. You "feel" it as it starts to happen and you stop and fix the problem, because if you don't you will have a FUBAR on your hands. I just don't see how you can get a wad to "cock" once it's made its way through the mouth and is inside the hull. I have heard some DR 20 ga. wads do not collapse evenly when fired, but I think that is a different issue than what is being talked about here.
 

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No such thing as a "cocked wad". Wad fit (wrong wad for the hull) and wad damage (to the powder seal) are real.
 

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Many, many moons ago, when I first joined this site, I was getting an unusual amount of bloopers with previously great reloads. I thought it might have been because of a change in primers and the cooling weather. A Mr. English advised I check my wad guide, and sure enough, it had cracked at the rim. Replaced it and I got back my great reloads. Mr. English has since passed on. I miss him as I enjoyed reading his posts. Many old timers here will remember him.
 

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It seems like a better description to some of the problems being described is "damaged powder cup skirt" than "cocked wad." I view each as a separate and distinct problem with different causes. As I understand it, a "cocked wad" is a wad where the crush section has partially collapsed on only one side and it's sitting in the hull leaning to one side. Am I misunderstanding what is being talked about?
 

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I would think that if the powder cup is sitting on the powder and only the crush section is collapsed on one side, the shell should fire ok. The only problem would be if the shot is no longer in the shot cup. I think that the pattern would be larger and maybe irregular.
It's when the powder cup is cocked sitting on the powder. With a bad seal, you get less pressure and an irregular powder burn. This is my thinking of a cocked wad.
Jason
 
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