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Argo44 Offline OP
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I'm down to 2 boxes of 12 ga 2 1/2" RST low pressure shells.

I've been successfully shooting Federal Top Gun 12 ga 2 3/4", 1145 fps, 2 3/4 dram eq., 1 1/8 oz shells out of my French 2 1/2" chambered SxS. It has impressive barrel wall thickness. I'd like to try them in my Damascus barreled Reilly hammer gun. How can one find out the pressures generated by this round? Previous discussions indicated the Federal shells had the lowest pressure in general. Will writing to Federal help?

(I know we've been down this route before but it's time to fish or cut bait on the Reilly hammer gun. RST is still hors de combat. Either put it on the shelf, get back into reloading - it you can find the components, shoot the French gun with its 3/4 chokes, or just give up and shoot the 20 and 16 gauge).

My Federal shells are quite old, bought during the height of the pandemic shortage but they match this Federal load currently advertised except mine ar 7 1/2 not 8:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Last edited by Argo44; 10/05/22 09:41 PM.

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Tom Roster Tests shotgun shell pressures. I believe you send him five but here is his contact info. Contact him in Oregon at (541) 884-2974, tomroster@charter.net.

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I'd be surprised if Federal gave out any pressure information on their shotshell loads. B & P is one of the few major companies I've had any luck with, when requesting pressures.

I use Tom Armbrust to test shotshell pressures, and he also provides the velocity of each load with calculations of the standard deviation and average velocity, which may be more than you want to know. Send him five or six shells, but you'd better do it quick because he shuts down during the winter months and doesn't start back testing until spring. The cost last time I sent some was $5 per shot.

Tom Armbrust, Ballistic Research, 1108 W. May Avenue, McHenry, IL 60050-8918, phone: 815.385.0037.

Gene, two years old is NOT "old age" for shells! smile


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Under our SAAMI standards, 12ga maximum average pressure is 11,500 psi. That's higher than I'd want to go with a Damascus barreled gun. Assuming it has 2 1/2" chambers as does your French gun, the extra length of a 2 3/4" hull will increase that pressure somewhat. The average increase in Sherman Bell's tests reported in Double Gun Journal was a bit over 700 psi. So now you're on the far side of 12,000 psi. I think most people who reload 2 3/4" hulls for use in Damascus guns with 2 1/2" chambers would advise you to steer clear of pressures in that range. American shotshell manufacturers focus on producing loads that meet the stated velocity (which gives some idea of how much recoil they'll deliver), but only concern themselves with SAAMI pressure standards.

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I would try and find one ounce or even 7/8 oz loads under 1200 fps. Use a search engine like ammoseek.com. I've found B&P one ounce at 1160 fps which are loaded to CIP pressures. Those 1 1/8 loads are probably hard kickers in a light gun. Hard on the wood too.

The components to load 2 1/2 inch loads are available. Powder and primers are in better supply than a few months ago.

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Natchez just received B&P 7/8 oz. and 1 oz. Competition One, but limits 1 case with killer shipping to AZ
https://www.baschieri-pellagri.com/...da+tiro/trap-skeet+training/1/index.aspx
The 7/8 oz. is 7250 psi; 1 oz. 8100 psi
https://www.natchezss.com/ammunitio...asc&istock=202997&order=position

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Originally Posted by Argo44
Previous discussions indicated the Federal shells had the lowest pressure in general. Will writing to Federal help?

(I know we've been down this route before but it's time to fish or cut bait on the Reilly hammer gun.

Yes we have and nothing has changed.

Federal hulls are often chosen to hand load lower pressure shells because data is published for them using wads intended for tapered hulls.

This does not mean that factory loaded Federal shells have the 'lowest pressure in general'. That is a dangerous extrapolation and has no basis in fact.

Cheddite primers and Ramshot Competition are currently available online. I'd start there.


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FWIW, Kent offers some low pressure 12ga loads in 2-1/2" and 2-3/4". I bought some about three years ago for a Brit hammer gun with twist barrels but have not shot them yet. Local SxS target shooters like those loads a lot. Fiocchi offers a 2/3/4" training load of 7/8oz #8s at 1200fps that is low pressure. I got the pressure info directly from Fiocchi, but don't remember what they said, just that it was surprisingly low. The silver box Win Super-X (made in Italy or Australia?) have a reputation for being soft shooting, but I don't have hard data on those. I have used them in older guns with great results. Gamaliel used to sell low pressure loads in 20ga from Clever, I think they were Mirage Featherlights, #8 at 1200fps. There might be a similar load in 12 ga. Gamaliel's sale to Brownell's, and subsequent separation of their retail operation has confused things (at least for me), but it's worth a couple of calls.

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The big companies buy powder in huge lots that are NOT a powder we can buy over the counter. They work upa load that fits their velocity needs that are less than SAMMI pressure standards. It could be 8000 psi or 11,000. And the next lot will be different,could be higher or lower. French guns are well known to for the most part be hell for stout. There are handloads using Federal wads or clones and Federal hulls that are low enough pressure to meet the requirements of a 2 1/2" gun. With all the high school trap teams shooting Federal those hulls are easy to find. Good luck in your search.

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My last purchase of the excellent Kent 2 1/2" 7/8 oz. @ 1200 fps load was from https://huntstuff.com/k-elite-low-recoil-and-training/ which is in Chesapeake, VA. but I haven't been able to find any in stock, anywhere. You might give them a call Gene since they are close-by 757-641-4568

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