Swage 20 GA Foster Type Slugs

VZerone

Active Member
#1
I didn't know where to put this thread. The slug isn't cast it's swaged, but I cast .610 lead rounds balls for the cores. The weigh pretty close to a full 7/8 ounce. So in a sense they are cast sorta! I copied the hollow base of a Winchester Foster type slug and lathe punches for that and also the round nose. At first I was using an old bullet swage meant for pistol/revolver bullets, but the big 20 ga was a little too much for it and hard on it. I had made a die for that swage. Actually I've made many dies for it and it's been a very useful enjoyable tool.

I knew nothing about loading slugs for shotguns. Lamar has been a tremendous help with lots of resources. This part is for Ian. Ian you should get into this because in a sense it's a lot like loading cast rifle bullets. That is we know how neck tension is important. Well on slugs the wad pressure is important. Reading some manuals they said no pressure on the wads. Let me tell I'm using fiber wads not plastic as the slugs are full groove size of .625. Lamar said no no no, you have to put wad pressure on them. After I did that the group size shrunk and was more consistent. Any ANY little thing you change Ian, it throws the groups. I first was using BlueDot powder, but it was melting the hulls mouths to the degree I couldn't reload them again. So I switched to good ole Hercon. My slugs chrono at almost 1400 fps. I went through some nose changes, as the first slug was a semi-wadcutter, to the roundnose I'm currently using. Ian I thought I would try 3 inch shells to get the slug closer to cone. It showed no improved accuracy as the 2 3/4 shell shot better. The reason for the change from the semi-cutter to the roundnose was that I though it would more center the slug starting into the bore and it immensely increased the accuracy right off the bat.

Like mentioned Herco is the powder, 22 grains (safe in my shotgun) in Cheddite new hulls, BPI plastic over the powder seals (two types), BPI waxed 3/8 and 1/2 inch fiber wads, and card wad plus nitro card wad. Okay loading sequence is in goes the powder, then a plastic seal then a .125 nitro card wad (I quit using the plain just card wad and I'll explain later) then 2 of the 3/8 waxed fiber wads, followed by another .125 nitro card wad. I quit using the plain card wad under the slug because it was pushing inside the hollow base. First before changing out that card wad to the thicker nitro card wad I filled the hollow base with wax and my groups shrank. Then I bought the thicker hard nitro card wads, but continue the wax filled bases as the wads press hard against the base. The shotgun is a Browning BPS 20 gauge with a Browning rifled barrel with an integrel cantilever scope mount, with 1 in 24 twist. I use a BPI roll crimp tool in my drill press. The load above is for the 2 3/4 hulls. Best five shot group at 100 yards so far is 2 inches. I'm not getting any leading and with the swaging lube already on the slug I add a little of bullet lube. I've switched to a hammer swage at the advice of 45 2.1 and I made one from the snout (pulley end) of an old farm tractor crankshaft. Much faster and easier then the handgun swage and more durable. Seven hammer pounds with a brass hammer and I have a finished slug.

Some pictures of the slugs.

 

VZerone

Active Member
#9
Thanks Hornet. I didn't think anything about it as I was making it, just worked and worked and made the tool and asked a bunch of questions about loading. Fiver will tell you I burned his ears off. As I said soon as a bring the camera down to my shop I'l take pictures of that hammer swage and nose/base punches. Really easy to make guys if you have a lathe and a broken old tractor crankshaft! LOL
 

VZerone

Active Member
#10
Okay pictures of the crankshaft hammer swage. First one you can see the swage, the key still on it for the pully/dampner, and the hammer pin in it.
The other two pics are of the roundnose hollow point nose die and the hammer pin out showing the hollow base pin.



That's all to it guys, simple!!
 

fiver

Well-Known Member
#11
a great big swage die.
I have a couple that have some super delicate parts.
a couple of the ejectors I have are maybe 1/16" at the base and some are half that at the front.
 

Will

Well-Known Member
#12
Thanks for the pics VZerone. That gives me a lot of ideas.

I haven’t took the plunge into loading shotgun rounds yet, but I have spent a lot of time on ballistic products site the last year. I’ve bid on a few mec’s on eBay too. Probably something I will get into in the near future.
 

Will

Well-Known Member
#14
Doubt I’ll ever need one of those for my shooting needs fiver.
Mainly all I’m interested in is buckshot and slug loads.
 

fiver

Well-Known Member
#15
you might want them to be nice ones.
when I was developing my buckshot loads I striped one of the mec's down built a stand for the top to become a powder dump right on to the scale.
I'd use it to drop the powder, trickle up to weight and seat the wad, then count in the pellets and set them off to the side.
I would then take them over to the PW to make them look nice and feed through the shot guns with no drama.
 

VZerone

Active Member
#16
Will I've been loading those slugs shells by hand. Don't need a press not even to resize them. They don't need resizing! Since I roll crimp them on my drill press I don't need a reloading press for that either. I do use my Mec to put consistant wad pressure on them though.
 

fiver

Well-Known Member
#17
back in the old day's they used nothing but hand tools to load shot shells.
I was just reading a story about Annie Oakley travelling through Europe in about 1894 or so and the trials and trouble she was having with just getting a consistent powder to work with.
she actually ended up getting powder shipped to her in boxes as packing for eggs in one place and filled water bottles and placed them in various ladies bustles to get them into France.
used it as weight for lamps and all kinds of shenanigans.
anyway at one point she sent her husband to the Lafflin [pre-runner to Herculese] factory to learn how to load the shells properly because the amount of pressure in the hulls was absolutely paramount to how well the shells shot.
 

VZerone

Active Member
#19
Why didn't you guys tell me! I was testing out a slug load and filled a floor soap jug, about a gallon and half full of water, set it on a retaining wall laid over, and shot it from about 10 feet away. I got hosed, the shotgun and scope got hosed, and half of the side of the garage wall got hosed. Man I centered that thing too and NO it didn't keep the slug in the jug. The jug was about about 15 inches tall and fat as a round plastic gallon jug. I've only been hosed down like that one time before 20 years ago shooting a water jug with a Sierra 115 9mm hollow point from a Browning Hi Power from about the same distance!
 

fiver

Well-Known Member
#20
I still have stuff from just past the point of plastic hulls and wads.
stuff changes big time over the years.
I have a bunch of Alcan wads with card inserts, some others with collapsible legs inside the wad, some old power piston wads that need like 30grs of powder to crimp properly in a 2-3/4" shell, or 18 in a 2-1/2" shell.

we all need a good lesson in the compressibility of fluids from time to time.:rofl: