A few years ago when my son started duck hunting, I was fascinated with building him the perfect sub gauge waterfowl load. Accumulated 22 pounds of bismuth shot, four Mec 600 jr's, a pile of charge bars and bushings along with a menagerie of powders, wads, primers and hulls. And then never did anything with it. He turned into a "winchester man" shooting xperts and everything just kinda sat in the house ever since.
Until Thanksgiving when I decided to go for it.
First recipe ever (from Hodgdon website):
Remington American Clay and Field Hull
1 3/8 lead charge bar
Winchester 209 primer
Bismuth #5 shot
Winchester WAA12R wad
With only doing 5 shells for the first time ever, I decided to weigh every step on every shell.
This combination dropped 1.19-1.21 ounces of shot, within the 5% variance I was told to stick with. This was also constent with what Google searches said to expect using this specific lead charge bar for bismuth. I did not top the shot off by hand, but may next time. The 27 bushing consistently dropped 26.9-27.1 grains of powder. Lower than what the charts said it should drop, but also consistent with what I was reading on the interwebs.
This combination per Hodgdon should give me roughly 8,300 psi/1275 FPS. Their recipe with exactly 1.25 ounces of bismuth and 26.5 grains of longshot was 8,000/1250.
Should have test fired them, put them on a patterning board, etc. But nah. Instead I drove 2 hours to hunt with a friend yesterday. I did take a spare shotgun and other shells just in case lol.
Initial random thoughts-
If I squeezed, the bird caught at least a little something. The #5 bismuth did not penetrate as well as #2 steel, but nothing made it out alive that I squeezed on. I'm not a great shot, so the added pellets come in handy. The last couple years I've been shooting 1 1/8 #2 steel (140 pellets roughly). The 1.20 ounces of #5 bismuth should have 245-250 pellets. Yesterday I had the #5's in the chamber, with other shells chasing. Nothing straight folded on the first shot which is discouraging, but everything caught a little something allowing a controlled 2nd shot. #5 bismuth be a wicked early season little duck load.
And...in the words of my kids
YOU DIDN'T BLOW UP DAD!!!
I have a truckload of supplies left. Figured I'd start a thread as a log to keep track of what I'm rolling.