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groovy mike's picture
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Duplex shot loads?

Duplex loads?

 

Any shotgun reloaders ever try mixing shot?  How would something like a mix of #8 and #4 shot pattern?  Would it be possible to develop a load with enough pellets to pick up partridge on the wing, but enough impact to drop turkeys too?

JJD
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Some years back, we

Some years back, we experimented with this concept for duck loads.  When steel shot became mandatory it lacked a lot of the energy that lead carried.  Unfortunately, the factory offering then were simply the same shells loaded with steel rather than lead.  Poor would be the kindest thing I could say about them.

We pretty much found that duplex loads were a sort of a "have your cake and eat it too" type thing, or one size fits all, rarely fits anyone correctly.  We found the duplex loads did no job particularly well.  Kinda like the one size fits all picture.

Improvements in powder, which increased speed and better wads, which improved patterns salvaged the steel loads and made them usable.  Through this experience I would guess that duplex loads in lead or matrix would bear the same result.

Don Fischer's picture
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I can't imagine any advantage

I can't imagine any advantage at all to a duplex shot load. You end up with not enough shot of either size to do what you want.

groovy mike's picture
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Yep

Except the old muzzle loader 'buck and ball' loads, that by all accounts were devestating at close range, I haven't heard good things about duplex loads.

 

But thanks for the confirmation.

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My duplex load experiments

I became intrigued by a duplex load I saw advertised in the Sportsman’s guide. The Sportsman’s guide “home defense” load is a 69 caliber ball with six OO buckshot pellets. It is designed to send the slug through the center of an intruder and give the insurance of the extra six 32 caliber pellets spreading in a pattern around it.

I assume this is intended to make up for poor marksmanship or perhaps to make sure that the stairway is clear of multiple invaders. In the colonial days of the 18th century our forefathers would load a similar “buck and ball” load in their flintlocks to carry into battle. They sometimes knocked down multiple enemies despite the smoothbore musket’s notorious inaccuracy. As I said, I was intrigued so naturally not having either buckshot or 69 caliber round balls was not a problem. I loaded a few experimental duplex loads with what I did have on hand.

I placed a 45 caliber round ball in my shot scoop before I filled it with #8 shot. This displaced some of the shot with the round ball rather than adding the round ball to a full load of shot. I then loaded the shells as if they had the standard load of bird shot. It occurs to me that this load would allow me to forage for any game I am likely to encounter as well as be suitable for self defense / home defense. These duplex buck and ball loads have the same perceived recoil of the standard loads of #8 bird shot. My targets were standard sized 8x12 paper with a photo-copy of the NRA 100 yard target. At 25 yards the first shell patterned well on my 8 x 12 inch target with the round ball striking the paper perhaps an inch low and right between the 8 and 9 ring. My next shot at 30 yards patterned well with the birdshot but the round ball struck ~7 inches low of center (just off the bottom of the paper). 3 rd shot at 25 yards was nearly identical to the first. 4th shot at 30 yards patterned well with the small shot and the round ball struck the target about 3 inches right and an inch low.

The end result of my very small initial sample was that at 25-30 yards any small game up to a headshot turkey would be dropped by the birdshot. In addition, 4 of 4 round balls would have struck either a deer sized target in a vital area if point of aim was double lung, the same is true if the loads had been used for self defense and the point of aim the center of mass. Encouraged by my initial results with the duplex loads in the 12, I acquired a couple dozen 69 caliber round balls yesterday. I fired 6 of them last night. They weigh out at 425 grains (just under an ounce). With identical powder charge and plastic wads they have more pressure than bird shot of the same weight (no air spaces?). Perceived recoil is higher, I had 3 of 6 sticky extractions and I had one primer start to back out. Beyond that the accuracy was not what I had hoped it would be. At 25 yards I only put 2 on a paper plate (almost touching!) but the remaining 4 struck in a vertical string 6 - 18 inches low.

So the big round balls get reserved for the flintlock. I switched back to the .445 round balls over birdshot and the three of these that I snuck in before dark put all 3 round balls and lots of small pellets on paper at the same 25 yards. I am loving this load. But now I am beginning to run short of the 45 cal round balls....

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