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Login Name Post: loads for a fowler        (Topic#260888)
thomp shooter 
40 Cal.
Posts: 128
09-04-11 08:12 PM - Post#1040259    


Im wondering what everyones loads are for there fowlers/smoothbores. I hunt will be hunting turkey this fall and am wondering where to start for a tight pattern. any help wanted.

thanks aaron

Posts: 17175
09-04-11 09:11 PM - Post#1040278    

    In response to thomp shooter

For 12 bore I use 75 gr FFg and 1-1/4 oz #4 (for turkey). 1/8" over powder card and 1/2" greased fiber wad, then a 0.025" over shot card.
"Don't take life too serious - it ain't nohow permanent."

Grandpa Ron 
45 Cal.
Posts: 565
Grandpa Ron
09-06-11 10:17 AM - Post#1040830    

    In response to thomp shooter

I have played a round with many Turkey loads but the problem I have is repeatability.

Every so often I think I have a tight patterning load but no two shots are the same, even with cleaning the bore between shots.

So I keep my shots under 20 yards and hunt from a ground blind. I set decoys at 12, 14 and 16 yards and stick with 75 grains of 2F, and the standard card wad, cushion wad, 1 ¼ oz. shot and shot wad, which is a bit stout for my 20 gauge flintlock trade gun. Since I am shooting close I use a mixture of #6 and # 7 ½ shot.

I have not given up on finding the best Turkey load, I just have not found it yet. And, since I use my gun for round ball and skeet, a choked barrel is not an option.

I still have to try some of the loading suggestions posted previously. Hope spring eternal.

Passed On
Posts: 17538
09-06-11 11:42 AM - Post#1040855    

    In response to thomp shooter

It would help immensely here if You would tell us what Actual Bore Diameter your gun is, and at minimum, how long the barrel is. Then we can chime in with some GOOD suggestions for loads to try in YOUR GUN.

WHY actual bore diameter? A lot of barrels Are NOT close to the Gauge marked on them. Unless you know the Exact bore diameter in thousandths of an inch, you may not be using the proper sized wads in your gun, and performance with any load we recommend may not meet your expectations.

Why barrel length? Because some loads work better in short barreled guns, than others. It also helps to know the kind of game you intend to hunt with your gun(s).

Bob Spenser has a website- Black Powder Notebook-- with many articles on it. There are two- one written by Bob, and the second by the late V.M. Starr concerning shot loads for shotguns/fowlers. You should bookmark that site, and go back and Read ALL the articles, as you will learn a lot from them all.

I have personally gleaned a lot of useful information from the two articles I have mentioned, and go back and re-read them every-so-once-in- awhile- just to refresh my memory. They are that good.

No, you won't get a lot of MVs or ME data from either, as you expect to get from articles, and handloading manuals for modern shotguns. But, the loads that are recommended have been tested over many years and are sound loads to use in the appropriate guns.

ohio ramrod 
75 Cal.
Posts: 5736
09-07-11 03:46 PM - Post#1041378    

    In response to thomp shooter

I use the same load as Stumpkiller. Except I use a paper shot cartridge made from three thickness of newspaper instead of an over shot card.

thomp shooter 
40 Cal.
Posts: 128
09-10-11 04:48 AM - Post#1042407    

    In response to ohio ramrod

The gun is a .62 centermark

Passed On
Posts: 17538
09-10-11 10:10 AM - Post#1042509    

    In response to thomp shooter

There are two ways of producing the needed " Whomp", as Roundball is fond of saying, on a large bird like a turkey.

1. Use large shot pellets, to deliver mor energy with fewer hits; or

2. Use smaller pellets to deliver More hits, and rely on the aggregate energy of all those hits to kill the bird.

Now, the problems with BP shotguns:

Black Powder cannot produce the kinds of Muzzle Velocities you routinely get with smokeless powder shot shells in modern guns.

Most BP shotguns and fowling pieces are not choked, so that getting tighter patterns at longer distances simply can't be done. NO 40 yd. and beyond shooting for most game if you are shooting black powder.

For instance, my Hodgdon Data Manual shows a "Heavy" Load for your gun being 70 grains of FFg powder, behind 7/8 oz. of shot for a MV of 1014 fps. That is well below the speed of sound.

MY Lyman Shotshell Handbook has tables listing Muzzle velocities, Pellet energy, time in flight, and drop in flight for different pellet sizes at Muzzle, 20 yards, 40 yards, and 60 yards. That Heavy load using #4 shot has 7.34 ft. lbs. of energy at the muzzle, 4.78 ft. lbs. at 20 yards, and approx. 4 ft. lbs. of energy at 30 yards.

Use smaller shot like #6 shot pellets, and you get pellet energy figures of: 4.25 ft. lbs at the muzzle; 2.65 lbs at 20 yards; and 2.24 ft. lbs. at 30 yards.

Now consider pellets counts:

#4 shot will give you approx. 135 pellets in a one oz. load. #6 shot will give you 235 pellets in that same 1 oz. load. you can figure out what that 7/8 oz. load has in it for each of these size shot pellets.

I chose to use #5 shot for a combination of reasons:
A. I get 170 pellets in a one oz. load of shot for one.
B. Velocities are: M= 1014 fps; 20 yds.= 808 fps; and 30 yds.= 835 fps.
C. Pellet energy is: 20 yds =5.7 ft.lbs; and at 30 yds. = 4.6 ft. lbs.

I use a 1 oz. load of #5 shot to fill that pattern, so I have a possible 170 pellets that can hit that bird out at 30 yards, each with 4.6 ft. lbs. of energy to break its neck, or hit its brain to kill it cleanly.

Mostly I use that load because it patterns well, with about 1/2 the pellets landing in a 20 inch diameter circle.

But, the Best NEWS for a new shooter of these kinds of fowling piece is that you can do your Own pattern testing- a necessity to know where the pattern hits ( Impacts) compared to where you point the gun, or aim its sights( if it has a rear sight).

And, Roundball has given us the best idea so far for determining what kind of energy your load delivers at various ranges- Use TUNA cans- the ones made of steel- not aluminum-- to test for penetration. If the pellets penetrate the can, they are delivering enough energy to kill a turkey. If not, you are trying to shoot TOO FAR! Shorten your distance until your pellets do penetrate the can. ( Other metal cans can be used, as there are still lots of products that come in steel cans- not aluminum. Aluminum is too soft for this kind of testing. ) Since turkey hunting involves being stationary and shooting at a standing or walking bird- not when its flying-- you can put out ranging stakes from your stand to tell you when the bird is within range.

How YOU solve the problems with your gun, and how you hunt is up to you. In the meanwhile, enjoy learning more about how to shoot that new gun.

Passed On
Posts: 17538
09-10-11 11:08 AM - Post#1042525    

    In response to paulvallandigham

OOPS: my calculation for the Pellet energy at 20 & 30 yards for #4 shot pellets is WRONG: it should be 7.34 ft. lbs. at 20 yards, and 6.06 ft. lbs. at 30 yds.

As noted, there are no tabled data for 30 yard, and I had to extrapolate the information from the 20 and 40 yd data, and in some cases, from the 40 and 60 yard data, to reflect the true energy of the pellets at the lower velocity for BP loads.( 1014 fps. being my benchmark for all the data above.)

Basically, you get 6.06 fpe.( per pellet) at 30 yards with #4 pellets; 4.6 fpe.(per pellet) at 30 yards with #5 pellets, and 2.24 fpe.( per pellet) at 30 yards with #6 pellets.

#4 shot gives you 135 pellets per 1 oz;
#5 shot gives you 170 pellets per 1 oz;
#6 shot gives you 225 pellets per 1 oz.

At 30 yards, you get almost twice the number of shot leaving the muzzle using #6 shot, but only 1/3 the pellet energy compared to using #4 shot.

Comparing #5 shot to #6 shot at the same distance, you get 20% more shot leaving the barrel using #6 shot, but less than 1/2 the pellet energy using #6 shot.

If you use these Size shot pellets in large caliber, or gauge guns, like a 12, or 10 gauge, where you can put more pellets and still get less recoil, you can stretch the range of use for the #6 pellets a bit, because you will still have more pellets hitting the target. But the performance differences will not change, if you compare #6 shot to the larger shot sizes.

If I were going to use #6 shot, I would restrict my shot range on turkey to 25 yards and less, as someone has mentioned above. At the shorter yardage, your pellet energy is higher, and you have a much greater chance for multiple pellet hits on target, so that the aggregate pellet energy kills your bird cleanly.

Choking a barrel may give you an additional 5 to 10 yards, depending on the degree of choke, your particular gun, and the size shot you use, and the powder charge used.

But, remember, that the basic problem in getting longer range is that Black Powder cannot give you the kinds of MVs we routinely expect from smokeless powders, choke or no choke. Even modern shotgun hunters aim for the head and neck because of the fewer feathers located on that part of the bird, knowing the ability of feathers to stop even faster moving pellets on impact.

bud in pa 
36 Cal.
Posts: 63
09-11-11 03:46 PM - Post#1042982    

    In response to paulvallandigham

I have a book on shotgun gunsmithing by , I beleive, Ralph Walker. I will have to go to the attic and dig it out. He paid close attentin to what the English gun makers recomended for shot loads in the various gauges. I do remember that they recommended 7/8'ths of an ounce for 20 bores. it had something to do with the diameter of the bore and the length of the shot column. I will dig the book out if I still have it.

Passed On
Posts: 17538
09-11-11 06:52 PM - Post#1043042    

    In response to bud in pa

Yes. In the early 19th century, many "experts believed they got the best accuracy and patterns shooting "SQUARE " loads, that is, the volume of shot in that particular gauge was equal in length to the powder charge thrown. A 2 1/4 dram( 62 grains) powder charge is the same VOLUME as 7/8 oz of shot.

Beyond even that, in a 20 gauge, the column is about as long as the bore is wide( 5/8" bore diameter vs. 7/8 oz. shot.)

However, subsequent research( and, probably, more consistently made shot pellets) now indicate that More shot, less powder delivers more killing power on flying birds.

What happened? When those 19th century "experts" were doing their work, it was accepted practice to shoot "ducks on the pond", or at sitting targets. At distance, a raking shot can be expected to kill several ducks with each shot fired. A square load was the economical method in use, because you got the most game for the least cost.

Now that we have to shoot ducks on the wing, and can no longer shooting at sitting ducks, or any other game bird, for that matter, its more important to get a clean kill, rather than wound a bird that can glide many dozens or yards to be lost over a hill, or in the woods, etc. Filling patterns by using more shot than powder has long been accepted as the way to insure kills vs. cripples.

45 Cal.
Posts: 715
09-11-11 07:34 PM - Post#1043064    

    In response to paulvallandigham

We have no turkeys around these parts, and I have a much less scientific bent than a lot of the other fellows here who offer great advice, but in my twenty, I have real good luck with 70gr 3f, heavy card wad, 1/2" lubed fiber wad and 1oz. of shot in a cartridge made of parchment. Seems the cart holds the pattern tighter at longer distances than when I just load loose. But, it sure ain't no 40 yd load, most I'd trust it with is 30. Good luck. Figuring this stuff out for each particular gun is a lot of fun.

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