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Keith Doty 04-07-2022 10:19 PM

Old School Card Wad Shells
As a 9 year old one of my great joys was "helping" a grandfather reload shot shells down in the basement. The huge box of Alcan wads, the handful of spent primers that ended up in Mom's washer, and the wonder of spent hulls becoming a full box, ready to go. Not a plastic wad in sight.
Is anybody currently loading plastic or paper hulls with old style wads? Lately some wads, particularly 10 ga. have become few and far between. I just bought an assortment of card and fiber wads in 10 ga. and plan to work on some loads that are plastic free. Any sage advice would be welcome.

Dave Noreen 04-07-2022 10:46 PM

I remember well the Alcan Felton Blue Streak wads and Nitro Card wads but I haven't loaded a shell with them for many years. In high school and college I loaded a lot of Federal papers with them -- Federal primer, 22 grains of Red Dot, a nitro card, two Felton Blue Streaks and 1 1/8 ounce of shot. The next step was replacing the nitro card with the Alcan Plastic Gas Seal (PGS) wad and cutting the Red Dot to 18 or 19 grains. I've been using WAA12SL and Clays for 7/8 ounce loads lately in my Federal papers.

Milton C Starr 04-08-2022 07:34 AM

Pretty much all I load are fiber wads I use a wood dowel to seat them. I will post a picture later of how my wad column looks for the 10 ga.

Milton C Starr 04-08-2022 08:40 AM

2 Attachment(s)
Here's my 10 and 8 gauge wad columns though they can vary. With the 1 3/8oz load you can use 3 wads in the 2 7/8" hull but I've been going with 2 1/2 plus a mini nitro card .070. If you use BP you'd probably want to lube the wads to buy them already lubed.

Victor Wasylyna 04-08-2022 10:08 AM


What is the advantage to using lubed fiber wads over dry fiber wads?


Milton C Starr 04-08-2022 10:18 AM


Originally Posted by Victor Wasylyna (Post 361043)

What is the advantage to using lubed fiber wads over dry fiber wads?


According to the cas guys the lubed fiber wads help soften/cleaning/fouling etc of black powder residue but for smokeless it doesnt really serve a purpose. Although I will say the lubed wads are not as brittle as the dry ones but im not sure if it makes much of a difference. I have also been testing a hybrid wad its a fiber base with a plastic shotcup. In one of the fiber wads I was able to recover you can see it absorbing the impact from shot setback I thought that was pretty interesting.

Daniel Carter 04-08-2022 10:52 AM

When i first loaded the short 10 i used dry 16 ga. wads as a filler and got a confetti of pulverized wad with each shot, a celebration my trap squad called it. Crow hunting the blizzard of fiber would sometimes get behind the glasses and cause problems. Lubed wads and no more problem.

Milton C Starr 04-08-2022 11:07 AM

1 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by Daniel Carter (Post 361052)
When i first loaded the short 10 i used dry 16 ga. wads as a filler and got a confetti of pulverized wad with each shot, a celebration my trap squad called it. Crow hunting the blizzard of fiber would sometimes get behind the glasses and cause problems. Lubed wads and no more problem.

Ive witnessed the confetti before but doesnt seem to happen if I place a overshot card under the first fiber wad. I have read some claims that lube from wads will seep down into the powder, however I pulled apart a Winchester load that was probably 40 years old and the lube from the wad had not seeped into the powder. Then again Winchester used a nitro card that had a skirt around the edge of it sealing the powder charge.

Heres a piece of fiber wad I found where you can see the impressions of shot setback.

charlie cleveland 04-08-2022 12:36 PM

interesting thoughts....charlie

Paul Harm 06-02-2022 02:32 PM

Contact Circlefly. Craig makes fiber wads for all gauges. I think he makes them for BPI and Precision Reloading, but not sure. The old reloading manuals back when plastic wads first came out recommended 10% more powder if going from fiber to plastic wads. And there was no mention of what kind of plastic wad. They just felt that plastic wads sealed 10% better than fiber wads. I usually go up 1.5grs. JMHO

Keith Doty 06-02-2022 03:07 PM

Shot a dozen all card wad 10 ga. this weekend along with some that had modern plastic wads (shot these first). Wow! When I cleaned the barrels a considerable amount of what can only be described as a fine lead flaky powder poured out on my tower under the muzzles. Alarmed, I checked and it appeared that all of it came out, barrels looked perfectly clean, could not detect any stuck lead. I don't recall having a pile of lead powder when cleaning from years back. Anyone else getting this when cleaning?

Paul Harm 06-06-2022 10:32 AM

It might be the way your powder was manufactured and any additives. And no, I haven't run into that problem when shooting fiber wads.

Keith Doty 06-06-2022 11:27 AM

Interesting, this was a pretty mellow load of Longshot, plastic gas check over with 2 half inch fiber wads under the shot.

Milt Fitterman 06-06-2022 05:32 PM

I have a lot of 1/2" fiber wads like Milton shows above. They are dry. If I wanted to lube them what would you suggest soaking them in?

Milton C Starr 06-07-2022 06:39 PM

Backing the dry fiber wad with a extra overshot card underneath for me takes care of most of the confetti in my case. I have also rolled the dry wads in mica before as well. I think whats happening is hot gases are blowing around the edges of the fiber causing it to disintegrate. I would think something like cork or real felt would work alot better. We use alot of felt down here for making deer blinds its cheap and tough. Id probably buy a wad punch and play with different materials if you want. I dont really notice the confetti much because im usually wearing sunglasses if im outside in any capacity.

Paul Harm 06-29-2022 03:04 PM

I reread my post and found a major mistake. If going from fiber to plastic go DOWN 10% with your powder charge, not up. Back then plastic wads were new and the reloading data was with fiber wads. So I pick a mild load and go up one grain if using fiber wads.
Milton is right, a hard card on top of the cushion wad was even recommended in the reprint of a 1908 Sears catalog. They claimed it helped patterns because the shot wouldn't stick to the soft cushion wad.

charlie cleveland 06-29-2022 05:01 PM

lots of things I have forgot till you fellas brought all of these up.....I still load black powder with fiber wads most of them I ve punched out myself....makes me want to go load and shoot a few rounds....charlie

Craig Larter 06-30-2022 05:33 AM

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I'm working up a fiber wad load for 8ga in case the Remington SP8 becomes unavailable.
One 1/8" card wad over powder, two 1/2" fiber wads, one 1/8" card wad under the shot. 1 1/2oz 7 1/2 shot. Nice crimp.

charlie cleveland 06-30-2022 05:01 PM

real nice load for the 8 ga....charlie

Mike Koneski 07-02-2022 10:27 AM

That looks good Craig. Another benefit of the fiber and card loads are lower pressures, if that's a concern.

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