Shot Size

Help Support Muzzle Loading Forum:

smoothshooter

50 Cal.
Joined
Nov 5, 2005
Messages
1,754
Reaction score
374
Has anybody here had much luck using #8 shot in black powder shotguns/smoothbores.
Most shooters say they go with larger sizes with increased individual pellet energy at the expense of pattern density to make up for the lower velocities attainable with BP.
Do you guys agree?
Is that a good trade-off?
 
Joined
Feb 13, 2021
Messages
229
Reaction score
173
Location
Johnstown Colorado
I use #8 or #7 1/2 lead shot for clay birds and doves. And #5 or #6 shot for rabbits or squirrels. The loads that I use are pretty effective.

The only time I actively go larger is when hunting water fowl and shooting steel shot...then I go 2 sizes larger, than what I used to use when lead was legal. The velocity needs to be at least 1500 ft/sec.
 

PathfinderNC

Pilgrim
Joined
Nov 11, 2011
Messages
193
Reaction score
227
Location
Surry County, North Carolina
Long ago I used #8 shot in my restocked Bess with great results in Trap shooting. (I seated a 12 gauge shot cup over some wadding and loaded the pellets down, then wadding atop it.)
I was hitting 8 out of 10 at the Baretta Range in Maryland. Wonderful times they were :).
 

Britsmoothy

70 Cal.
MLF Supporter
Joined
Feb 28, 2007
Messages
7,584
Reaction score
4,792
Location
England.
Never been a fan of large shot but am a fan of the accumlative effect of multiple strikes from shotgun pellets.
Whether they cause a bleed or strike heads and necks or a wing small shot works for me.
I have used 7&1/2 regularly.
I have a fair amount #7 in stock.
 

oldwood

50 Cal.
MLF Supporter
Joined
Jun 26, 2020
Messages
1,022
Reaction score
1,000
Location
Pa. , USA
For smaller birds , doves , grackles , quail , wood cock , etc , #71/2 ok for me. Always use a stiff properly wadded load w/good results. Bigger birds , stiff load , #5 shot is a favorite for me. Grouse , ringneck pheasants , ducks , luck to ye!!!...........oldwood
 

Flintlock

40 Cal
Joined
Jul 4, 2007
Messages
405
Reaction score
102
Location
Minnesota
For dangerous game such as Panda, sloths, and door to door cookie sales people number 8's seem very light. Were you speaking of clay pigeons, woodcock or.
 
Joined
May 27, 2006
Messages
2,495
Reaction score
149
Typically use 7 1/2 or 8 on anything up to and including quail, I find that 6 is a good compromise of pellet count and energy on pheasant and rabbit.
 

oldwood

50 Cal.
MLF Supporter
Joined
Jun 26, 2020
Messages
1,022
Reaction score
1,000
Location
Pa. , USA
Got a lotta clay pigeons over the years , but never did figure how ta cook 'em. Far as those wood cocks , put them across the band saw , breaded and deep fried real nice . Guys at the camp said they had a tast simular ta fire wood. I dunno.......Still have my job as cook long as I stick to spaghetti........
 

TCMonts

32 Cal
Joined
Jan 4, 2009
Messages
13
Reaction score
7
I like #7 1/2 for birds and squirrels. Have used #6 witth good results.
 

3Setters

40 Cal
Joined
Jan 18, 2021
Messages
116
Reaction score
91
Location
Mountains of Central Pa
Far as those wood cocks , put them across the band saw , breaded and deep fried real nice . Guys at the camp said they had a tast simular ta fire wood. I dunno.......
We breast them out, put a breast fillet over top of cream cheese on a half a jalapeno. Wrap with bacon and grill until the bacon is done. If you have smaller jalapeno peppers, you might have to cut the breast fillet in half.
 

Newtire

32 Cal.
MLF Supporter
Joined
Oct 25, 2009
Messages
382
Reaction score
184
Location
Southwestern Idaho to the left of Boise
Really depends on what you're after. #7 for those import ringneck doves, #7.5 for mourning doves. #6 for cottontails & Squirrel. #5 for pheasants, #4 for ducks (lead or bismuth). That's my #2 cents.
 

Bosteldr

32 Cal
Joined
Feb 5, 2005
Messages
19
Reaction score
3
Your results may vary...
My experience...any shot size will work 20 yds or so. 30 yds or so 7 1/2 just knock them off the limb/tree or rolls them over just to run away. 5 or 6 works best over all for a kill shot for squirrles rabbits or birds
 

THBailey

40 Cal.
Joined
May 23, 2005
Messages
360
Reaction score
110
Location
Orangevale, California
I use #8 or #7 1/2 lead shot for clay birds and doves. And #5 or #6 shot for rabbits or squirrels. The loads that I use are pretty effective.

The only time I actively go larger is when hunting water fowl and shooting steel shot...then I go 2 sizes larger, than what I used to use when lead was legal. The velocity needs to be at least 1500 ft/sec.

How are you getting 1500 FPS out of a frontstuffer?
 

Loyalist Dave

Cannon
MLF Supporter
Joined
Nov 22, 2011
Messages
9,717
Reaction score
2,818
Location
People's Republic of Maryland
Has anybody here had much luck using #8 shot in black powder shotguns/smoothbores.
Most shooters say they go with larger sizes with increased individual pellet energy at the expense of pattern density to make up for the lower velocities attainable with BP.
Do you guys agree?
Is that a good trade-off?
First, I'm not so sure the black powder always gives lower velocities....

I just did a survey of 8 different loads, from 28 gauge up to 12 gauge, and from 1/2 ounce of shot up to 1.25 ounces of shot. The average MV was 1210 fps. The slowest speed was 1165 fps and the fastest was 1330 fps. All were using lead shot.

Now some of us remember when shotshells were sold with labels that listed "dram weight eq" or "dram eq" which was a very old reference to that particular load compared to black powder shells. It became normal for smokeless powder shells to list this information, rather than the fps, because the smokeless powder was competing against the established black powder loads of the time. THEN as black powder shells phased out, the shooters were used to certain "dram equivalents" when selecting shells, even when they may not have understood the origin was in black powder. Slowly as the 21st century arrived, the "dram eq." listings changed to listing the fps of the shot column.

DRAM EQUIVALENT.JPG


So the pellets in a lot of cases in modern guns are not going any faster than their kin when launched from black powder muzzleloaders.

I submit that the difference between the two, muzzleloader vs modern shotshells, is due to choking of the barrels.
A lot of smoothbore muzzleloaders, especially flintlock smoothbore muzzleloaders are cylinder bore, meaning no choke. So as Brit Smoothie pointed out, he likes for several pellets to hit and overwhelm the game..., and when a choked barrel is used, there is a much greater chance that this will happen.

Now the cylinder bore shooter has a problem in that his shot is spreading very wide, over a short distance, so the pellets that arrive on target are fewer in number.

So one solution is to use less but heavier pellets, so that if two or only one pellet hits, the idea is that pellet will do enough damage to harvest the game. So while #6 pellets will work on pheasant from a modified choked barrel, some people want to use #4 pellets from a cylinder bore barrel on the same bird.

The other solution is to use more pellets, so instead of using an ounce or an ounce and a quarter, the shooting will use two ounces. The powder then is upped to move that much mass up to a good speed to get the job done.

I thin through testing, the shooter can determine a combination of more pellets and pellet size to get a good pattern to get success in the field.


LD
 
Top