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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Howdy all;
I have a 12 ga. Austin & Halleck Muzzleloader Shotgun that I purchased when they were going out of business. I have never shot it cause I don't know how to load it (well I have an idea but not willing to try) and don't know what to buy for supplies. I have tried to search the internet for options and have many opinions. Some say don't use plastic wads for fouling in the barrel. Do I use Black Powder? What is the best Powder? I know black powder is hard to clean. Can an experienced shooter tell me where to order and what to order so I can get ready for the Turkey season this Spring? I measured the end of the barrel as .750" exactly. It has a choke tube screwed in the end of the barrel and another one came with it thinking it may be a modified choke don't know.
I appreciate the help;
Mossyback
 

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Howdy all;
I have a 12 ga. Austin & Halleck Muzzleloader Shotgun that I purchased when they were going out of business. I have never shot it cause I don't know how to load it (well I have an idea but not willing to try) and don't know what to buy for supplies. I have tried to search the internet for options and have many opinions. Some say don't use plastic wads for fouling in the barrel. Do I use Black Powder? What is the best Powder? I know black powder is hard to clean. Can an experienced shooter tell me where to order and what to order so I can get ready for the Turkey season this Spring?
I appreciate the help;
Mossyback
Goex ffg blackpowder gives the best patterns from shotguns followed by pyrodex rs. I never got great patterns with other powders except elephant, but it's no longer available. You will need 1/2" fiber cushion wads, .125 hard card wads, and .15-.30 over shot cards. A bristle brush, 12 ga. jag, and wad puller. Get a good patch puller also for the times when you lose a cleaning patch down bore.

My favorite 12 ga. load was 90 grains goex ffg followed by two .125 card wads, a half inch fiber wad, 1.25 oz shot, and one .15 over shot card. If you want to use plastic shot cups Federal wads work better than anything else because they are designed for straight wall hulls. I used 75-90 grains goex with one felt wad followed by a federal 12s4 and 1.25 oz shot followed by an over shot card. These loads patterned better than any of my modern shotguns and killed kritters easily at long ranges.

Soapy water is the best cleaning solution out there for blackpowder. I would suggest buying a good blackpowder manual such as those by Sam Fadala and follow the cleaning techniques outlined in the book.

One thing you want to be certain of is whether or not your shotgun is a true 12 ga. It could use 11,12, or 13 ga wads. If it is true 12 ga then 11 or 12 ga wads usually will work, but if it is the same size as a modern shotgun it will use 13 ga wads. If it uses the larger wads your performance will suffer when using plastic shotcups.
 

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If the shotgun has a choke it can sometimes make loading a plastic shot cup hard to do. On my New Englander I have to take the choke off to load a shotcup. On my Knight TK2000 I do not have to pull the choke.

There are two ways to load them... with or without a shotcup. Without the shotcup take about 80 grains of powder and dump it down the barrel. Now you want to force down an over the powder card. This goes down and is seated firmly over the powder charge. Next comes a fiber wad. This sits on top of the over the powder card. Now you can dump 80-100 grains (just like you would measure powder) of (I like #5 & 6 shot) of shot down the barrel. Now you put down an over the shot card. The shotgun only needs the primer and it is ready to shoot.

The next way to load is... dump 80-100 grains of powder down the bore. Now push a shotcup down the barrel on top of the powder. Pour an equal measure of shot from an identical shot cup down the bore. Now seat an over the shot card on top of the shot. Primer it and you are ready to shoot.

Depending on what you are hunting will depend on what you load. When I hunt grouse I use 80 grains of 2f powder. I like APP 2f powder. Then I use a small white 2-3/4 shot cup down onto the powder. I fill that with #6 and then two over the shot cards. I have knocked grouse down at 25 yards with that load.

For turkey I use 90 grains of powder, then a 3-1/2 inch hard plastic shot cup. I then like to dump a combination of 50/50 #5 & 6 down the bore. Then a couple over the shot cards.

There are a lot of places to get the supplies. Track of the Wolf is one place I have used. There is another place I ordered the turkey shot cups from but for the life of me, I can not remember the name of the place.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Goex ffg blackpowder gives the best patterns from shotguns followed by pyrodex rs. I never got great patterns with other powders except elephant, but it's no longer available. You will need 1/2" fiber cushion wads, .125 hard card wads, and .15-.30 over shot cards. A bristle brush, 12 ga. jag, and wad puller. Get a good patch puller also for the times when you lose a cleaning patch down bore.

My favorite 12 ga. load was 90 grains goex ffg followed by two .125 card wads, a half inch fiber wad, 1.25 oz shot, and one .15 over shot card. If you want to use plastic shot cups Federal wads work better than anything else because they are designed for straight wall hulls. I used 75-90 grains goex with one felt wad followed by a federal 12s4 and 1.25 oz shot followed by an over shot card. These loads patterned better than any of my modern shotguns and killed kritters easily at long ranges.

Soapy water is the best cleaning solution out there for blackpowder. I would suggest buying a good blackpowder manual such as those by Sam Fadala and follow the cleaning techniques outlined in the book.

One thing you want to be certain of is whether or not your shotgun is a true 12 ga. It could use 11,12, or 13 ga wads. If it is true 12 ga then 11 or 12 ga wads usually will work, but if it is the same size as a modern shotgun it will use 13 ga wads. If it uses the larger wads your performance will suffer when using plastic shotcups.
What is the measurement on 11, 12, and 13 ga.? The end of my barrel is .750" with the choke tube in.
 

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What is the measurement on 11, 12, and 13 ga.? The end of my barrel is .750" with the choke tube in
Get a choke gauge and use that.
If it has a screw in choke, pull the choke tube and see it it doesn't have the constriction written on it. Many chokes, in addition, will have a series of very small notches cut in their top (exposed) edge, The number of notches tells you what the constriction is; the more notches, the more open the choke. Not all choke tubes have these but yours may. Note: These are NOT the notches for the choke tool which are quite large.
About wads....there are about as many approaches to assembling a wad column as there are stars in the sky. The simplest that I have read is a variation on the grand old man of ML shotguns, V.M. Starr.
The simplest method uses only thin "overshot" cards - both over the powder charge and over the shot. After the powder is dropped down the barrel, five OS cards are seated atop the powder. The shot is dropped and then a single OS card is seated on top of the shot.
The beauty of this approach is that you need to carry only one type of card.
You do need, though, to pattern your gun with a variety of combos to see what works best.
Powder charges. I find that it helps to think, initially, in drams. A dram of powder weighs 27 grains. A common BP load is 2 1/2 drams - a light field load of 65-70 grains. Set your powder measure to that, drop the powder down the barrel, seat your wads and then using the same measure and setting measure your shot charge and drop it. This is a good place to start.
Clean up with soap and water.
Pete

My apologies for my now edited comment about the diameter being 10 ga. Wrong. .775" is 10 gauge.
 

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What is the measurement on 11, 12, and 13 ga.? The end of my barrel is .750" with the choke tube in.
Your shotgun will use 11 ga wads.

http://www.ballisticproducts.com/11ga-Fiber-Cushion-Wad-1_2-500_bag/productinfo/FC11/

http://www.ballisticproducts.com/125-Maxi-Nitro-Card-11ga-500_bag/productinfo/NC11/

http://www.ballisticproducts.com/Overshot-Cards-500_bag/productinfo/OS/

You can still use 12 ga federal shotcups along with the nitro cards by placing two nitro's on the powder and filling the base of the shotcup with wonder lube before seating it on them, but you will need a bronze brush because you will get plastic fouling as modern wads are actually 13 ga.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Your shotgun will use 11 ga wads.

http://www.ballisticproducts.com/11ga-Fiber-Cushion-Wad-1_2-500_bag/productinfo/FC11/

http://www.ballisticproducts.com/125-Maxi-Nitro-Card-11ga-500_bag/productinfo/NC11/

http://www.ballisticproducts.com/Overshot-Cards-500_bag/productinfo/OS/

You can still use 12 ga federal shotcups along with the nitro cards by placing two nitro's on the powder and filling the base of the shotcup with wonder lube before seating it on them, but you will need a bronze brush because you will get plastic fouling as modern wads are actually 13 ga.
Thank you for the info. Stricktly for Turkey Loads. I ordered me some 11ga. fiber cushion wads and some Overshot wads along with some no.4 shot. I am concerned about the shotcups leaving plastic in my barrel so I stayed away from them for now. I read in everyone's replies about going with 1.25 oz. of shot. Is this a top end for just muzzleloaders? Regular shotgun shells come with up to 2oz. of shot in a 3" 12ga. This is what I use now for Turkey hunting in my Remington 870 magnum. I will shoot my muzzleloader when I get the supplies to pattern the best load for the gun, but, I was just wondering what the top end was with powder & shot?
Thanks again;
Mossyback
 

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loads

I was just wondering what the top end was with powder & shot?
Hmmm.
I was just looking at my Gun Digest BP load manual. The most common shot load listed, across a number of different guns, was 1 1/4oz. The heaviest charge of BP for that load was 90 grains of FFg.
For my own use, I stay with 75 grains of FFg and 1 1/4oz. or 70 grains and 1 1/8oz. in a Navy Arms 12 ga. SXS.
The T/C New Englander has data listed that was much heavier, powder and shot.
A Max load of 1 3/8oz shot and 100 grains of FFg.
The White "Tominator" listed 110 grains of FFg and 1 7/8oz shot (I have not ever seen one of these inline shotguns.)
Pete
 

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1.25 oz is the standard heavy field load for 12 ga. guns. I never found a need for over 1.50 oz even in 10 gauge guns, but if you want to throw a ton of expensive lead at a turkey, the knight is rated for 2.50 oz of shot! I made clean kills with standard wad columns and 1.25 oz of shot at distances up to 55 yards in 12 and 13 ga. guns. I stopped using 10 gauge guns because the 11, 12, and 13 gauges did so well and were much lighter.
 

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choke

Scott: I'd like to give that a try come later in Spring. What was the choke that you had on those guns? All of mine are Cyl.
Pete
 

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POWDER MEASURE SETTINGS TO THROW OUNCES OF BIRD SHOT:

50 grain setting = 3/4 ounce of shot

60 grain setting = 7/8 ounce of shot

70 grain setting = 1 once of shot

80 grain setting = 1 1/8 ounce of shot

90 grain setting = 1 1/4 ounce of shot

100 grain setting = 1 3/8 ounce of shot

110 grain setting = 1 1/2 ounce of shot

120 grain setting = 1 5/8 ounce of shot



this might be helpful.
 

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Pete, those were Pedersoli doubles with full/extra full chokes a load with plastic wads in those guns would not even open up at 40 yards. I stayed at 30 yards with cylinder bore guns and 40 with modified/ improved guns. I had a single with a fixed improved modified choke and musket ignition that would throw a super full pattern at 40 yards with a fed. 12s4. I had quite a collection of them at one time and used them almost exclusively for about 12-15 years. I had a lot of fun with those guns. BTW in almost all instances i got tighter patterns when using two card wads followed by a half inch fiber wad.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
My Muzzleloader Shotgun is a Austin & Halleck 520 12ga. It is an awesome looking shotgun. Has a 26" barrel and comes with a Modified .725" & Improved choke .710". I was mistaken about the earlier post of it being .750". I still hope the 11ga. wads I ordered works. I appreciate all the data for loads. I really didn't know where to look and what to trust. Being as light as it is I am sure it will pack a whallop when I shoot it. Do any of you have one?
 

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I shoot a Knight TK2000 and in all honesty, with a full bore turkey load it it... it is not a comfortable gun to shoot. About ten shots is all I want to play with in a day. But you can knock a turkey down at 40 yards (that is my limit). And there is one account of a 52 yard kill on a turkey. I mounted a Red Dot on mine so once the turkey's head fills the circle, it is in range.

Yet I also have a T/C 12 gauge New Englander that you'd think would kick like a mule but it really is not all that bad.
 

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My Muzzleloader Shotgun is a Austin & Halleck 520 12ga. It is an awesome looking shotgun. Has a 26" barrel and comes with a Modified .725" & Improved choke .710". I was mistaken about the earlier post of it being .750". I still hope the 11ga. wads I ordered works. I appreciate all the data for loads. I really didn't know where to look and what to trust. Being as light as it is I am sure it will pack a whallop when I shoot it. Do any of you have one?
It seems your gun is true 12 ga. after all. Some people do use 11 gauge wads in 12's for added resistance, but remember the wad column has to start moving at the instance combustion begins. You will want to use lube on the fiber wad only. If you decide to try the 11 ga. wads be sure to test them with the choke out of the gun so you will know how much resistance there is when pushing them down the barrels. There will be plenty of resistance when loading the card wads, but this is normal and they have to be started sideways then straightened up with your thumb and the ramrod will finish straightening it when you seat it. I am sure you will be much happier if you send back the 11 ga wads and swap them for 12 ga. because they are hard enough to load as it is.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Boy scott0116 there sure is a lot of preparation before shooting this gun, but I am anxious to do so. Just thinking how will I know if the wads are too tight to shoot? I am assuming they will be hard to get into the barrel, but will it just knock me on my butt when I shoot it even with a lighter load? I am thinking like you I believe I will send them back when I get them for regular 12ga. wads and cards. That way I know I'll be safe on both ends of the barrel.
 

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If you can push the wads down on the powder with one smooth downward motion without it hanging up it will be fine. Recoil does seem to be a bit heavier when loading to maximum equivalents, but if it bothers you, you can always lower your powder or shot charge or both. If you have never been around someone shooting muzzleloading shotguns you might be surprised by the report as they sound more like an explosion rather than a gunshot.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
As anyone can tell from my posts I am in unchartered teritory. Never seen a muzzleloader shotgun shot or have shot one. I love hunting deer with my A&H 420 Inline 50 cal. When I say they had a BP shotgun also, all I could see is Turkey Season with a muzzleloader. I am getting an education before getting to the trigger pull. I will probably be like those bookworms that have all the booksense but never actually been there before. I figure there is never any harm as long as you apply common sense to the equation. If I weren't expecting that big boom explosion you mentioned, I would have had to put in 20 more posts after shooting it the second time. So now earplugs are a must. I wear them all the time anyway.
 

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I have, as noted, a Navy Arms 12 ga. SXS. Due to some damage, the barrels were cut down to 24" some time ago. I use it for Upland hunting - grouse and pheasant. 75 grains FFg and 1 1/8 oz shot - I assemble the powder and shot loads into quick loaders before I leave the house. Never need more than six.
The wad column is much like that described by Scott....not exactly the same but close. One .125" nitro card over the powder, a half inch "hard card", the shot and then an OS card. I also carry into the field a small squeeze bottle of denatured alcohol (NOT rubbing alcohol) and a baggie of cleaning patches.
If I have to reload more than once, I'll run an alcohol patch down the bore first to remove most of the fouling.
Pete
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
My last step before actually loading

POWDER MEASURE SETTINGS TO THROW OUNCES OF BIRD SHOT:

50 grain setting = 3/4 ounce of shot

60 grain setting = 7/8 ounce of shot

70 grain setting = 1 once of shot

80 grain setting = 1 1/8 ounce of shot

90 grain setting = 1 1/4 ounce of shot

100 grain setting = 1 3/8 ounce of shot

110 grain setting = 1 1/2 ounce of shot

120 grain setting = 1 5/8 ounce of shot


this might be helpful.
Cayugad or anyone else;
Please excuse me for being so dense about this I just want to be sure to get it right. Now, if I am reading this right, If I want to shoot 3/4 ounces of shot I use 50 grains of powder (measured in my regular powder measure that I use for reloading)to do so, and so on down the line. From what I also have read I can take some kind of measuring device and put like 50 grains of measured powder in it and fill that same device up to the same amount for my shot measure. Now can anyone tell me a good simple device to use in making this measuring simple since I don't have any kind of shot cup or whatever you may use. I purchased today some Pyrodex RS for my powder, I have my OP Fiber Wads 1/2 and OS Cards. I also purchased some Nitro 1/8" Cards. I am ready to load tomorrow and want to make sure one more time before I shoot. How far should I place my target, and can I with this 12 ga. Muzzleloader expect to make a good Turkey kill at 35 to 40 yards away?
Thanks again;
Mossyback
 
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