View Full Version : How big is too big for shotgun shot?

04-04-2009, 07:45 PM
I have a single shot H&R 12 gauge shotgun with a mod choke.

Iíve "reloaded" a number of rock-salt shot-shells in the past basically emptying out the lead shot then adding rock salt to the shell.

I recently picked up some lead musket balls for my Flintlock trade gun being new to the whole muzzle loading thing I picked up shot that is a tiny to big for my flintlock, basically .495 instead of .490

Would it be possible to load a few of these .495 round balls into a 12 gauge shell and shoot it off? ???

If not Ill use em in the slingshot or something....?


04-04-2009, 11:22 PM
Hey Mr.B,
If I'm following you, you're emptying out a good shell to repack?
I don't think I'd "load a few" into a shell. Just one. Those .495s are close to being a slug in weight. As you probably already know, your load needs to match whatever amount of powder is behind it. You could always pack the extra space with salt, sawdust, etc. I wouldn't expect much in the way of accuracy, though.

04-05-2009, 12:06 AM
Be very careful what you do, varying the weight of the load can cause explosive pressures in the barrel that might give you a surprise you donít want. If the load canít get moving fast enough the pressure can elevate to dangerous levels. Loads are precisely formulated based on the velocity and weight of the payload.

04-05-2009, 12:36 AM
Great thanks for the info from you both maybe Ill just save them for the slingshot. Well I suppose it was worth a try.


04-05-2009, 12:23 PM
Shotshells have a "specific load" for each hull and wad combo... You have to follow the recipe very closely to stay out of trouble...


04-05-2009, 12:38 PM
Buy your self a mold and recycle.
Melt them down and start over.

04-07-2009, 05:23 PM

You can use buckshot in factory loaded or properly assembled handloads up to 000 (.360") easily. Now, properly assembled handloads usually does not include simply dumping the small birdshot out of a factory shell and stuffing in the buckshot,(or other payload) though I know that has been done many times by many frugal folks over the years. Shotgun shells have pretty sensitive pressure curves due in part to the generally "fast" burning nature of their powders. This combined with a plethora of wad and shot cup combos makes "recipes" for loading very specific to stay in a safe pressure range. If you need buckshot , slugs, or other "speciality" loads, just buy a few or be prepared to go the extra mile to follow proven, lab tested, load data.
Also, you might find that your "flinter" might use the .495 balls just fine with a thinner patch or just a tiny bit more "oomph" on your short starter when loading. I once had an Italian .50 that used the .495's and shot them better than the .490's. My patching was about .015 so it was pretty obvious that my bore was a bit oversize. Be safe. OzarksJohn

Tim Horton
04-07-2009, 06:23 PM

Some one in a local muzzle loader club should have a use for the size bullets you have. Maybe make yourself a trade there.

Have never loaded any shot shell other than #6 shot with a very old Lee loader. Many years ago when paper hulls were still the norm.

They may not be easy to find, but recipes for buckshot and slug loads are available on some of the powder and component web sites. I have seen them, but not printed off any......... Yet............

Best way to be safe is to follow directions.

Good luck

04-09-2009, 06:47 PM
Couldnt you just use a thinner patch for those?
I think that is why they offer both .490's and .495's.

(This is coming from the guy that has not shot his in a year. ) work work work.. :(

Best regards,

04-12-2009, 04:03 PM
Ill end up using a thinner patch and see how that gos.

Thanks folks.


04-14-2009, 11:49 AM
Mr. B

Although once again the weekend came and went without me shooting, I did manage to catch up on some reading.

The gist of one articel was Tight patch, tight ball = better accuracy. I guess it is one of the tricks the match shooters use.

I have not tried it, but let me know if you notice a difference between the two ball sizes.

Best Regards,