by Deadly Redly

From The Cowboy Chronicle, June 1990,  The Single Action Shooters Society Newsletter  See the link below for how to join the fun!

Of the three guns used in our sport, the shotgun is probably the easiest with which to shoot targets. Hitting targets fast and reloading very quickly under pressure of competition requires considerable practice. In order to be most effective with the shotgun, the proper ammunition must be selected, the shotgun thoroughly understood and tailored to the shooter, and the correct techniques for shooting, "speed loading" and unloading mastered.


Since "ejectors" are not allowed on the double barreled shotguns, the spent rounds must come out of the shotgun easily and quickly - almost on their own! Ammunition selection can have a BIG effect on easy extraction. Most of the economically priced shotgun ammunition made today has a mild steel base plated to look like solid brass. Ammunition with this steel base does not eject as well as that which has the all brass base. I think the reason for this is the steel base does not contract or shrink back to its original dimensions nearly as much as does the brass base after firing. To determine what the base is made of, just put a magnet against the base of the shotgun hull. An all brass base will not be attracted to the magnet. The Peters Blue and Green Magic cases, Remington STS and most of the Winchester AA cases have the all brass base. Active cases also eject easily. Actives are all plastic with the exception of a small steel ring embedded inside the base for support of the rim and primer. Once Actives are stepped on,, they are trash! They cannot be made round again by loading and firing, and they will not easily eject in this "out of round" condition.

Withdrawing two rounds from the belt. The thumb is against body and the rounds are pulled straight up.

AMMO BELTS ARE NECESSARY: A belt or bandolier with loops for shotgun rounds in your gauge is necessary if you are to handle your ammunition reliably under pressure. One method of retrieving the rounds from belt or bandolier loops that works well is to withdraw two rounds at a time by placing your thumb against your body and the middle and index fingers to either side of the pair of shells. While grasping the rounds, pull them from the belt loops straight up, letting your thumb rub against your body. If you pull forward (out of alignment with the loops) the rounds will bind and you can loose control, possibly dropping them. I find loading from a bandolier quicker, because it places the ammo closer to the gun. (Incidentally, ALWAYS practice loading from your belt or bandolier - NEVER from a conveniently placed table. It is a rare event which will allow loading from other than your belt, the rounds can roll around , and even off of, the table, and developing techniques for picking the rounds up off the table is just something else to learn. Get GOOD at retrieving them from your belt or bandolier and ALWAYS use that technique.)

Tape wrapped round, Q-Tip, and silicone grease used to give a "speed load" fit to cartridge loops.

Belt carriers or bandoliers for shotgun ammo often have a very snug fit for the rounds. You can loosen up the fit using the following methods:

(1) If not too tight or undersized, coat the inside of the loops with silicone. This stuff does not harden and is sold at auto parts stores to use on spark plug wire boots so they can be easily removed from spark plugs.

(2) If the loops are very snug to start with, wrap electrical tape around your loaded shotgun hulls - about 2 1/2 wraps usually is enough. Take a wash cloth or cotton Q-Tips and coat the inside of the loops with warm water. Very carefully, using a twisting or turning motion, insert the tape wrapped rounds into the loops. Be real careful here not to tear the leather!! Set the belt aside for the loops to dry. Sometimes the water stretch method needs to be used first and then the silicone added after the loops have dried to get a "speed load" fit.

(3) One other method suggested to me by a fellow shooter, Osage, is to leave the bandolier loaded with ammo and simply roll it up. This apparently stretches the bullet loops.

I have had two custom shotgun belts made and asked both times for a loose fit at the loops - with no success. The loops were so tight I could have been dragged by a horse and not lost any of my ammo!

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