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12 gauge Skeet Practice Load

*update* – I have switched to using 20 gauge for my skeet practice as I shoot 20 gauge even in the 12 gauge events. For that practice load recipe – go here: 20 gauge 3/4 ounce target load

Now that I’m shooting several hundred skeet targets per week, I need a load that doesn’t kick as much, doesn’t cost as much but still has a reliable pattern.

My current load has one ounce of lead at 1150 FPS. The ISSF (International Skeet) guys shoot competitions with 7/8oz of lead so I thought it might make a nice light load for practice. Off to the Alliant site to see what they had.  Sure enough, even still using E3 powder, the TGT12/DR-RT12 wads and Remmy 209p primers, they had a load.

I started making them, but the crimps were terrible, they were caved in quite a bit and I didn’t feel safe.  After toying with my crimp setup for 45 minutes, I gave up.  This load wasn’t going to work.

I suspected that a 1 ounce wad wasn’t optimal for a 7/8 load so I re-visited the Alliant site and found a load that uses the Claybuster CB-1078 7/8 ounce wads.  My gun club carries them, so $7 later and I was at home giving it another shot.

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The recipe is:

Hull: Remmington STS, Nitro, Gun Club

Primer: Remmington 209p (STS)

Powder: 16 grains Alliant E3

Wad: CB-1078 (replacement) for Winchester WAA12L (grey) wad

Shot: 7/8oz reclaimed shot

I made 28 – 3 for patterning, the rest for a standard round of skeet. The pattern was even, no major holes, good spread at 20 yards and the kick was amazingly non-existent.  The difference between a 1 oz load and 7/8 is noticeable, it is cheaper and it patterns well.

I took my 25 light loads on to the skeet field and not once did I feel that I missed a bird because I had less shot.  Certainly, light hits were much more obvious, but that’s a helpful took in practice.

I now shoot the 7/8 loads with tighter chokes in practice.  I want to know when I’m dead on and when I’m slightly off.  Open chokes with an ounce or 1 1/8oz of shot will give me a dead bird on a slightly mis-pointed shot.  This load with tighter chokes .. won’t.  When I go to compete, sure, the 1 oz loads and skeet chokes will be back in the gun, but for practice, 7/8 rocks.

About Rich

Rich Mitchell is the President and CEO of Anomalous Media and Editor-in-chief of Conservative Daily News. Rich is also a competitor in Skeet, sporting clays, 3-gun, Steel Challenge and USPSA.