12 Gauge: Skunk Load Revisited.

6 posts in this topic

Sometimes one needs a hobby; one of mine is loading 12 and 20 gauge ammo for shooting farmyard vermin. I have several pet loads, and they have been working well. Then one day, after shooting clay targets with the family, I picked up some Remington Gun Club hulls. I looked up some online data, they are re-loadable, and some forum posts even state they are a good hull.

After a bit of thinking I finally came up with a criteria; the load had to use only hoarded components and the load had to have a purpose. How about a load of 1 1/8 oz of #2 shot for shooting skunks. I had about 20 lbs of #2 shot that wouldn't pattern in my 1 1/4 load. It is pretty poor quality shot, some of the shot had babies, most was kinda round, some was shinny, it was soft. I also had a pail of Green Dot, several hundred 97* primers, a box of no-name green wads and a nearly full bag of AA12F114 wads, and now I had some new hulls to try.

I also wanted to try counting out the shot, as #2 feeds so poorly out of my MEC. I did my "counting" with an empty rifle primer tray. 100 of these pellets weighed just over an ounce. I then taped off all but 55 holes, and so 2 scoops (110 pellets) would be an ounce and an eighth. I did the weighing again as #2 shot should be 89 pellets to the ounce, not this stuff, some was as small as 0.140, none larger than 0.150. I primed the hull with a 97* primer and dumped in the powder, a #36 MEC bushing full of Green Dot (20.5 grains). Then I was ready for the wad, I added the first wad candidate, and poured in (with a funnel) the shot. Failure, too much distance from the end of the hull to the shot. The ideal is 1/2 inch. Wad candidate #2, a AA12F114 was a winner, exactly 1/2 inch. It took 5 shells to get the crimp adjusted just right.

Pattern testing went well, full choke gave a tight pattern and open choke gave a garbage lid pattern at typical skunk range. It just so happens that my dog found a skunk several days ago when we were out for a walk. I tried to call the dog off, no joy, the tail went up on the skunk and "then" my dog came back. My wife spent the next hour scrubbing the dog while I grabbed the gun to chase down the vermin. The skunk is still at large. Did I mention I have a pretty good wife, she made me buy myself a black lab after I retired, she also convinced me to buy a better boat for fishing, and she washed a skunked dog; she may not be perfect but she is a keeper.

Now I take Dr. 12 with me on our daily walk, with my new ammo of course. No skunks, nowhere to be found, so a chattering black bird got his up-comings. At 25 paces the 1 1/8 oz of #2 pellets still had a dense enough pattern to smoke the Black Bird. I am pleased with the load, and it's basically free, all the components were either hoarded, left-overs or free-bees.

This load is almost to the recipe, I used a 97* primer instead of the recommended Rem 209P (they are supposed to be interchangeable), 20.5 grains of Green Dot is just under the recommended 21 grains for a 1200 fps @ 8900 psi load, a AA12F114 wad was substituted for the recommended WAA12, DRA12 or DR XL1 1/8 wad (to allow some more room for the bulkier #2 shot) and it all fit in the called for Remington Gun Club hull. I don't endorse this load for your use, because it does not follow published data exactly. It does the job and I'm saving on the amount of lead that I usually use. My usual skunk load is 1 1/4 oz of #4 Extra Hard shot. I prefer #2 but the new bag of #2 did not pattern as well as the old bag did so I switched to #4.

Anyone else have a pet "skunk" load they would like to share?

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The Remington hulls are great for heavy field loads. I don't know what your "typical skunk distance" is, and I also am not sure if you really need #2 shot for skunks? My favorite field load currently is the same Remington hulls with 1-1/8oz of 7's (but for skunk I would use 6's or 4's) with Windjammer wads , Winchester 209 primers, and 36+grs of Longshot. It runs out at (according to the books) 1585fps!!! With a full choke it is absolutely devistating on clays and birds out to 60+ yards! And it patterns very consistently also. If you don't think it works that well, just ask the members on here who have seen it in action :D . At that speed, 6's should be more than enough for skunks, but 4's would do also.

One thing I highly, highly recommend too is getting rid of the bushing setup for powder and getting the universal charge bar.


Only way to fly. And if you have to order anything, Graf and Sons is very reasonable and extremely quick on shipping. And all orders ship for like $5.

And for field loads, I myself use strictly Longshot. You really can't beat it for field loads. I use Red Dot for my light plinking stuff. Anyway, just a couple thoughts. They are worth exactly what you paid for them :lol: .

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I agree, skunks and #6 shot should go together like stink and skunk, especially at 1500+. Why do you prefer the Windjammer wad?

At 1200 though, it's hard to beat #2 shot for penetration, especially on larger vermin like raccoon.

I tried the universal charge bar once, didn't like it and sold it at a gun show. It was their first model, non-anodized aluminum, hard to push, hard to set and after 30+ years I've grown accustomed to the bushings. I have them all from 16 to 39A. My loader is the MEC Jr.(82 - 85).

My son just came home from school, so we went out and did some range testing, IMO optimum skunk range is 20 yds for open choke, a bit over 30 with full. The limiting factor is the # of pellets, 1 1/8 oz or 110 pellets is not allot. #6 would have app 250, that ought to fill in the holes.

Skunks are like Zombies, always double tap.

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I use the Windjammer wads because I can also use them in my Cheddite hulls as well as the Remmy's. I prefer the Cheddites for all my H E A V Y field loads such as the 1585fps loads I spoke of (along with the 1-3/8oz and 1-1/2oz loads), they push the same speed as the Remmy's but at less than 10,000 PSI (9,400 PSI as listed). It's just easier on the old girl.

Yeah, at 1200fps, the added weight of the 2's would be a good thing. I used to load everything with 6's, I hate to chase birds, but I have gone to 7's this year. 7-1/2's just didn't seem to be working like I wanted it to and is why I went to 6's. That, and we hunt in a lot of chukar/quail crossover habitat. I would rather have a hard hit quail than to lose an opportunity on chukar. But I wanted more pellets than the 6's were giving me in 1-1/8oz loads, so I have decide to compromise with #7's. It has 50 more pellets than the 6's and only 50 less than the 7-1/2's. And at almost 1600fps, the speed should should more than counter-act the weight. Sounds like a page out of Frank's book :lol: .

That's too bad about the charge bar. I have the same press and would not live without it. But, when I also bought it I had no bushings and wanted to be able to do it all with one tool. Them charge bars and little bushings get expensive! But if you already have all the bushings, I can see where it would be of no practicality. The only other advantage the universal charge bar has though is the ability to be able to add a few extra grains (or subtract a few) to get a perfect crimp. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with the bushings for sure, especially if they work well for you.

Good luck, and keep us posted if you get the chance. Curious what you do and how it works for you. Your post just got me even more excited yesterday. I am back to work and can finally start stocking up (reloading) for the upcoming rabbit and bird season this weekend :yahoo: .

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My dog "flushed" a skunk the other day and I had Dr. 12 with me. The dog returned this time, before getting sprayed, and the skunk was app 40 yards off. I closed the distance to 30, aimed (as opposed to just point and shoot) and fired. Skunk rolled over on his/her back, with an odd leg twitch. Walked to within 20 for the double tap. This was with the 1 1/8 load, adequate, but not what I would call overkill.

I did some more digging into the reloading manuals and came across a load with HS-6/RP12/CCI 209. I had just enough CCI primers to make up enough loads to do some testing, on clay targets. Using 135 #2 pellets extends the range a bit, open cyl good for almost 30 and full good to almost 40. The trick is to have enough pattern density with large shot. Hevi-Shot makes a "Dead Coyote" load, 3 and 3 1/2 inch shells with "T" shot, at a stupid price. A coyote is allot larger so the pattern doesn't have to be as dense. The old load of 1 5/8 #2 in a 3 inch shell would be dandy but most of my old 870's are 2 3/4. My son prefers to carry a sos (Sawed Off Shotgun) and the trick with those is to have a wad that holds the pattern and a big payload. The RP12 is a good wad for that. I got a shot at a running jack but didn't lead enough, pattern was the right size though and kicked up enough dust to be exciting. Now I have to keep my eye out for #2 lead shot as I'm down to app 10 lbs.

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3" loads for skunks?! How big do they get up there? :rofl2:

The old load of 1 5/8 #2 in a 3 inch shell would be dandy but most of my old 870's are 2 3/4. My son prefers to carry a sos (Sawed Off Shotgun) and the trick with those is to have a wad that holds the pattern and a big payload.

Sounds like you need a steel shot (multi-metal) wad. This is what I will be using for my Summer project and #4's. I have heard tell of guys getting 00 and 000 loads down to a 12" pattern at 40-50 yards with these wads. They hold the load together longer and further than a standard wad.


BPI (Ballistic Products Inc) is a great place for all this stuff. They have a huge variety of products for custom loads as well as standard loads.

Ballistic Products

Multi-Metal 12ga 2-3/4" wad UNslit

Good luck, and glad to hear the dog didn't get sprayed.

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