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Reloaded AA hulls get stuck


Hillbilly Cat

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Hi All,

 I’m reloading AA hulls and I notice they get stuck in the chambers frequently. This is the case even when they pass the 12 gauge checker without any resistance. I wipe them down with Armor-all and then dry with a paper towel. 
 

When I use new AA hulls, they rocket right out when shucked. 
 

Is there a maximum lifespan of the hulls, or should I just hone out the chambers a little more?

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Are you reloading any that are out of round?  If so, dont

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Sometimes at the final crimp a reloader will mushroom a shell.  There are tools that can remove the mushroom effect and even some that will put a taper on the hull so it will shuck out of the chamber with less drag.

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Often times, the plastic shell will move/relax at the crimp.  Especially reloaded shells.  I use this shot shell checked on every shell before they go into my shotgun belt on the stage.  It identifies the sticky ones on one end and the other end makes it back round and tapers it slightly.  

 

You can find them available at most larger matches or order one from this website below.  it will solve your problem or at least the sticky shell part.

 

 

https://www.slixprings.com/proddetail.php?prod=SliX-Shotshell-Checker-Sizer-Combo

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Watch for those mushroomed (nail head) loads.   If you are using a progressive MEC, or most other progressive loaders, the "finish" taper crimp die is designed to return that mushroom back to a factory rounded and tapered mouth.  Generally, it uses a crimp starter with no petal teeth in it to squeeze evenly all around the mouth.  Like is used to start a crimp on a paper hull.  

 

I have finish-taper dies on the last station of all my loaders, and they work real well.  But if adjusted too deep, they buckle the loaded round.  So, adjust a little at a time.

 

If you already have bunches loaded, then you need a hand checker-tapering tool.  Looks like a chamber checker for 12 gauge, but it's tight at the mouth and with some twisting and hand pressure, you can smooth out a loaded round - even right before you start to shoot a stage.  Well worth having.  Here's one that a lot of pards have:

https://www.slixprings.com/proddetail.php?prod=SliX-Shotshell-Checker-Sizer-Combo

 

See - it's so popular another pard posted about it while I was typing. 

 

good luck, GJ

 

 

Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708
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15 minutes ago, Average Joe said:

Try this to give you just under the legal 3 degree taper

http://cowboyedge.com/TCT/

Wow, no reflection on your post but isn't that kind of a high price to pay for a tapered shell.  

A wise man once told me, "Steel a man’s wallet and you make him poor for a week, but introduce him to CAS and you will make him poor for the rest of his life", LOL

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just grab yer handy 3/4" deep 12 point socket, stick the end of the shell into the mouth the socket and gives a twist or two( you'll get the feel of it after a couple of shells). drop 'em into your shell checker and you should be good to go.(and the socket is usually less than $6)

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1 hour ago, Badlands Bob #61228 said:

Often times, the plastic shell will move/relax at the crimp.  Especially reloaded shells.  I use this shot shell checked on every shell before they go into my shotgun belt on the stage.  It identifies the sticky ones on one end and the other end makes it back round and tapers it slightly.  

 

You can find them available at most larger matches or order one from this website below.  it will solve your problem or at least the sticky shell part.

 

 

https://www.slixprings.com/proddetail.php?prod=SliX-Shotshell-Checker-Sizer-Combo

I’ve got that one! Problem is I size them a week in advance. I’ll carry that with me to the match and report back. 

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1 hour ago, Randy Saint Eagle, SASS # 64903 said:

I had a problem with AA hulls when I first started reloading, turned out to be too much wad pressure. Lightened up to very little wad pressure and problems went away.

 

Randy

Interesting. I’ll experiment with that. 

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1 hour ago, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

Watch for those mushroomed (nail head) loads.   If you are using a progressive MEC, or most other progressive loaders, the "finish" taper crimp die is designed to return that mushroom back to a factory rounded and tapered mouth.  Generally, it uses a crimp starter with no petal teeth in it to squeeze evenly all around the mouth.  Like is used to start a crimp on a paper hull.  

 

I have finish-taper dies on the last station of all my loaders, and they work real well.  But if adjusted too deep, they buckle the loaded round.  So, adjust a little at a time.

 

If you already have bunches loaded, then you need a hand checker-tapering tool.  Looks like a chamber checker for 12 gauge, but it's tight at the mouth and with some twisting and hand pressure, you can smooth out a loaded round - even right before you start to shoot a stage.  Well worth having.  Here's one that a lot of pards have:

https://www.slixprings.com/proddetail.php?prod=SliX-Shotshell-Checker-Sizer-Combo

 

See - it's so popular another pard posted about it while I was typing. 

 

good luck, GJ

 

 

I’m using a pacific 366 progressive reloader. Thanks for the input!

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11 hours ago, I. M. Crossdraw, SASS# 8321 said:

Did you have your forcing cone lengthened and polished?   

No part of the fired round goes into the forcing cone of the barrel.  Not even the crimp as it unfolds.  Tuning the forcing cone will not help with sticking shells.  It MAY help reduce a little felt recoil, though.  Even with a gun with a chamber of minimum length and a hull of maximum length, firing will only put 0.010" (ten thousandths) of the tip of the hull onto the very beginning of the forcing cone.  A standard forcing cone has a length of 0.43".   So, no real chance of a more tapered or smoother forcing cone "preventing" grabbing the petals of the hull - there was nothing to grab in the first place.

 

Now, if your shotgun was made with short chambers (made before the standardization of a 2 3/4" chamber in about 1926),  then extending the chamber could make an improvement in how the gun extracts modern hulls.

 

More honing of the chamber, when it is already smooth and pit free and has a proper slight taper, rarely makes an improvement in extraction.

 

Quote

problem with AA hulls when I first started reloading, turned out to be too much wad pressure.

 

I had problems with Win AA HS hulls sticking in double barrel guns when loading real light loads with a wad that was not well tapered for the "inserted base wad" that the Win AA HS hull uses.  If your loads have a bump around the hull about 3/8 inch above the end of the brass head cover, that ridge was what hung up shucking of AA hulls.  The ridge seemed to come from the skirt of the wad jamming into the top of the base wad insert in the hull, especially if using a lot of wad seating pressure and a small powder charge.  Most times the skirt slipped into the base wad.  Sometimes the skirt plowed outwards into the hull and raised a ridge.   (I changed over to only using Remington STS hulls, and got rid of most hard-shucking if I keep the chambers fairly clean).

 

good luck, GJ

Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708
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I'm going to assume two things about the op's problems....  1 you are using a SxS shotgun and 2 you are using new AA hulls.  If my assumptions are correct the new AA hulls are not made very well and swell excessively making a slick on the clock reload finicky at best (at lest in my experience.)  I experienced the same issue and switched to Remington hulls (the low brass gold and green ones) and never looked back.  I keep the AAs for shotguns with some form of positive ejection.     

Edited by July Smith
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Use clean (unburnt, uncracked, round hulls) and use the Slix checker as you load them onto your belt... no more probs.

I use AAs until they are no longer reloadable, as in scorched or ovaled (smashed) or cracked at the mouth and as long as I size them before use, I will have no problems. Actually, daughter uses the AAs and I use STS; same process though. Yes, it is an extra step but you will not have probs shucking them.

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11 hours ago, Nickel City Dude said:

Wow, no reflection on your post but isn't that kind of a high price to pay for a tapered shell.  

A wise man once told me, "Steel a man’s wallet and you make him poor for a week, but introduce him to CAS and you will make him poor for the rest of his life", LOL

I suppose it’s all relative. There are much more expensive ones and less expensive tools to use but this one gives the best taper.  It’s cart mountable and I use it right before I go to the loading table.  I made a cheesy mount for my rugged gear cart in about 5 minutes. A 1x3 with zip ties. 

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The Quick loader works well for $80 and no need to mess with them at the match. New AAs taper real nice, old and used a lot STS hold the taper pretty reasonable and hold after a couple months. 

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When you say they pass a case gauge, is that right after loading them or right before you put them in your SG belt?

 

Do they fully drop into the case gauge with only gravity assistance or do you have to use slight finger pressure to get them to fully insert into the case gauge?

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Plastic is a funky material, it can stretch, bulge or change shape a bit. When I loaded for skeet, I thought nothing of loading hulls with splits in the crimp. But in a SxS, shooting cowboy, if there's a just one split, it will not fall out. Now I discard any with a hint of a split. The other factor IMHO is the wad, it has to be compatible with the hull. If it grips or stick even a bit on the way out of the hull, the hull will distort. If you want hulls to drop out, a whole new world of details. 

 

I reloaded shotgun shells in earnest for about 5 years, then took a break for four decades. But back in the day shooting skeet, the empties did not have to fall out. 

 

image.thumb.jpeg.e72e6f72f41faed1250e144bf9a5ff97.jpeg

 

From hull to cull.

 

I use a MEC, setting the crimp correctly is important if you want the hull to drop out. I also adjusted the sizer to its minimum, about 0.002" over SAAMI minimum. 

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On 10/30/2023 at 9:56 AM, Average Joe said:

I suppose it’s all relative. There are much more expensive ones and less expensive tools to use but this one gives the best taper.  It’s cart mountable and I use it right before I go to the loading table.  I made a cheesy mount for my rugged gear cart in about 5 minutes. A 1x3 with zip ties. 

 

On 10/29/2023 at 10:07 PM, Nickel City Dude said:

Wow, no reflection on your post but isn't that kind of a high price to pay for a tapered shell.  

A wise man once told me, "Steel a man’s wallet and you make him poor for a week, but introduce him to CAS and you will make him poor for the rest of his life", LOL

 

It's actually a very reasonably price tool, compared to others selling for almost 50% or more higher.   Doing the "tapering" just before you shoot ends up with the best chance of maintaining that taper.   When you do it days/weeks/months before say with a Quickloader tool,  the plastic shell has a tendance to want to go back to it's original shape over time.    So having it right at the match to do seems to be the best option.

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Let's see... to summarize, AAs are junk, you need a special die after loading to taper the nose of the hull, or buy 3 new shotguns... (everyone knows that you need 3 1897s to compete in cowboy action, one for the match, a matching backup and the 3rd is at the gunsmith's to be repaired)...

 

I've shot a double gun, starting with a Riverside Arms in 1985, then to a Stoeger in 1986, and lastly to a TTN around 2008.  I've shot BP in those guns since 1986, using AA hulls to distinguish them from my smokeless loads (Peter's Blue Magics or new AA LNLR for Wild Bunch). 

 

I loaded on a MEC 600 Jr. until about 3-½ years ago, now loading that same combination on a Hornady 336 using the CB-1138-12 wad & 1 ounce shot.  Once I learned how to operate the 336, I have about the same number of rejects shells as when loading on the 600Jr... (zero).  Until stage 5 or 6 during a day's shooting I don't have hulls that extract cleanly.  And I can attribute that to powder fouling.  Or I tire of snapping the shotgun back to eject the empty.  Wad pressure is not your friend.  If you look in Lyman's Shotshell Reloading Handbook, you'll find where they list the different hulls by gauge with specific components & powders to be used in reloading those hulls to attain common velocities.  Stick with those combinations listed for a more harmonious outcome.  I don't know how to adjust the length of the wad seater on the 336, or I'd tell you do some testing there to lessen that tension.  The Claybuster CB-1138-12 is a very short cushion wad for a much larger payload, but it works well with BP and even the light payload I'm using.

 

I highly recommend picking up a copy of Lyman's 5th Ed Shotshell Reloading Handbook, probably available at any gun shop near you. or by mail order directly from Lyman.

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On 10/29/2023 at 9:48 PM, Average Joe said:

Try this to give you just under the legal 3 degree taper

http://cowboyedge.com/TCT/

 

I use this one and love it! really helps with loading and shucking out

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2 hours ago, Griff said:

Let's see... to summarize, AAs are junk, you need a special die after loading to taper the nose of the hull, or buy 3 new shotguns... (everyone knows that you need 3 1897s to compete in cowboy action, one for the match, a matching backup and the 3rd is at the gunsmith's to be repaired)...

 

I've shot a double gun, starting with a Riverside Arms in 1985, then to a Stoeger in 1986, and lastly to a TTN around 2008.  I've shot BP in those guns since 1986, using AA hulls to distinguish them from my smokeless loads (Peter's Blue Magics or new AA LNLR for Wild Bunch). 

 

I loaded on a MEC 600 Jr. until about 3-½ years ago, now loading that same combination on a Hornady 336 using the CB-1138-12 wad & 1 ounce shot.  Once I learned how to operate the 336, I have about the same number of rejects shells as when loading on the 600Jr... (zero).  Until stage 5 or 6 during a day's shooting I don't have hulls that extract cleanly.  And I can attribute that to powder fouling.  Or I tire of snapping the shotgun back to eject the empty.  Wad pressure is not your friend.  If you look in Lyman's Shotshell Reloading Handbook, you'll find where they list the different hulls by gauge with specific components & powders to be used in reloading those hulls to attain common velocities.  Stick with those combinations listed for a more harmonious outcome.  I don't know how to adjust the length of the wad seater on the 336, or I'd tell you do some testing there to lessen that tension.  The Claybuster CB-1138-12 is a very short cushion wad for a much larger payload, but it works well with BP and even the light payload I'm using.

 

I highly recommend picking up a copy of Lyman's 5th Ed Shotshell Reloading Handbook, probably available at any gun shop near you. or by mail order directly from Lyman.

AA's were the best, until they went the 2 piece shell deal.

 

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1 hour ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

AA's were the best, until they went the 2 piece shell deal.

No, 2nd best... Peter's Blue Magics were the best.  I still have about 2,000 of them... but you won't see them at a cowboy match, basically irreplaceable.

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On 10/29/2023 at 11:36 PM, Hillbilly Cat said:

I’m using a pacific 366 progressive reloader. Thanks for the input!

I'm reloading AA's on a 366 also, most of them several times.  What I've found that works best for me is minimal wad pressure, just enough to seat the wad (Claybuster CBO175-12, 3/4 oz shot).  Most of the time they would work fine but they would sometimes stick.  I got a MEC Supersizer to size the base instead of relying on the sizing die of the 366, and virtually all of my issues went away.  I also got a Slix checker/sizer to make sure the front of the shell is properly sized after loading, and between the Supersizer and the Slix checker/sizer I have no issues at all.  I'm using a double barrel shotgun.  Good luck!  

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 10/31/2023 at 7:17 PM, Griff said:

No, 2nd best... Peter's Blue Magics were the best.  I still have about 2,000 of them... but you won't see them at a cowboy match, basically irreplaceable.


Back in the day I was a fan of the RXP, IMHO the best hull I ever used. However it had a limitation and that was for the bigger hunter loads you sorta ran out of room. But for the 1 1/4 - 1 1/8 - 1 oz it worked well. Blue Magics were rugged, load them many times, but the crimp was always a challenge. The old AAs were a good hull as well. 

 

IMHO the hull must have a brass base. But let's not forget the importance of the wad. Often overlooked is the fit of the wad in the hull. A poor fit usually manifests itself with a poor pattern. the other no so subtle side effect of a poor hull to wad match is a distorted hull. Just below the crimp the hull will sometimes bulge when fired and cling to the chamber. The ballistic explanation is a bit above my paygrade, but I do know that the pattern board will tell you something is wrong, and the shell not falling out tells you that as well. If you are in a habit of examining fired wads, there will be some indications there as well. If all is well, you should be able to use the wad for another reload. 

 

Plastic hulls are not all made of the same plastic, and not all powders burn the same. When the smooth interior of the hull becomes rough from the hot gasses burning the surface, performance suffers. IOW, patterns and pressure/velocity become inconsistent as well. The important factor for ease of extraction is a consistent and linear pressure curve. Not super critical, or that hard, to select a wad/hull/powder combination as the good zone is fairly broad. 

 

For 12 ga in a tapered wall hull I use a AA wad (the white ones) and just put cardboard spacers in the bottom of the cup to get a good crimp. The cup/leg relationship on the AA wad seems pretty good, pretty hard to ruin the pattern. 

 

Not that we really need nice patterns for our game, or for that matter a consistent velocity isn't needed to hit the target either, but I think it's important to have a consistent pressure to keep the process working smoothly. It just takes a bit of simple testing and component selection to get a good combination. 

 

Things to check: Before you put the shot in, look to see the position of the wad. Then take a decapped hull and push a wad into it by hand to that height and it should push back out easily. ( I use a piece of small dowel, and push up from the primer hole.) I then push it back in and keep pushing until I feel an increase in resistance, that point should be further down in the hull than a wad seated on the powder. Too loose is bad as well, powder will leak past the base of the wad and bloopers will be the result. 

 

Not many reloaders use card and fiber wads anymore, but if you're tempted, it's been my experience that they do not work well in a papered wall hull. At the extreme, it can be dangerous. The hard nitro wad wedges against the wall, and pressures go up.

 

I try and keep wad pressure to a minimum, 5 - 10 #, just enough to move the gauge. 

 

BB 

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