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You might want to consider a Bismuth Load with 1 1/8 oz of #4's in a FGM Hull ?
It's easy to reload and the pressure is reasonable as I shoot it in my Mod 12's with Tight fixed chokes !

FGM straight-walled hull
Win 209
29 gr of Longshot
Fed 12S4 wad
1 1/8 oz of # 4 Bismuth
Fold crimp gives 1330 fps / 9900 psi
If you want it to shoot a tighter pattern , add 8/10 gr Buffer !

Just Saying , this load is in the Lyman's 5 th
I use the s3 wad because the s4 is no longer made.

I’ve also tested a similar load with steel powder about 31grain. My older side by side threw very nice patterns with the steel powder and 1.125oz bismuth.
 

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I was flipping through the Lyman’s book and recently loaded a 3.5” 12gauge Hull with an s3 wad and Longshot powder, 1.875oz payload.

I have many 3.5” hulls and a variety of wads on hand, so I decided to load the Lyman’s data for 3.5” 12gauge Hulls, S0 wad, 37gn Longshot, 1.5oz of bismuth, and I bumped the payload to 1.55oz of Bis1’s. I used a fiber card under the shot and some wax beads for crimp. Fio, Cheddite,federal, and B&P hulls. The Hevi Metal, Fio, and federal once or twice fired hulls all loaded the best; the once fired Kent hulls of 1.5oz BB bismuth were flimsy, but may get one more reload out of them.

These loads are well under max pressure, so my thought is the comparison between these and 3” hulls of the same payload; is there any advantage? Maybe they will pattern better out of a 3.5” hull, thinking in terms of pressure spike.

Anyway, I loaded 25, and we are 2 months away from early goose. I’m sure I’ll pattern some prior to Sept 1.
 

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I was flipping through the Lyman’s book and recently loaded a 3.5” 12gauge Hull with an s3 wad and Longshot powder, 1.875oz payload.

I have many 3.5” hulls and a variety of wads on hand, so I decided to load the Lyman’s data for 3.5” 12gauge Hulls, S0 wad, 37gn Longshot, 1.5oz of bismuth, and I bumped the payload to 1.55oz of Bis1’s. I used a fiber card under the shot and some wax beads for crimp. Fio, Cheddite,federal, and B&P hulls. The Hevi Metal, Fio, and federal once or twice fired hulls all loaded the best; the once fired Kent hulls of 1.5oz BB bismuth were flimsy, but may get one more reload out of them.

These loads are well under max pressure, so my thought is the comparison between these and 3” hulls of the same payload; is there any advantage? Maybe they will pattern better out of a 3.5” hull, thinking in terms of pressure spike.

Anyway, I loaded 25, and we are 2 months away from early goose. I’m sure I’ll pattern some prior to Sept 1.
I would say that unless you are looking/needing to use a bulky powder or load to higher pressures/velocities, there is little need to utilize the supermagnum hull. You can most likely drop your fiber card and crimp spacer out for the 3" hull if the S3 still offers a low enough height for the 1-1/2oz payload. I'd recommend a mylar wrap and buffer to boost the pattern potential, but it may do very well without it.

The MAP for the 3" hull is about 12,000 PSI, and unless you are trying to bump load pressures and velocities past what bismuth really needs, you won't need the supermag's 14k MAP.

I always approach from a "well balanced" load perspective and goal, and with that efficiency. I see no great reason to utilize the 3-1/2" tube unless the wad/shot column need it to fit. Have you considered going to an WAA12R, SP12, RP12, MG42 or similar for the 1-1/2oz payload?
 

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I would say that unless you are looking/needing to use a bulky powder or load to higher pressures/velocities, there is little need to utilize the supermagnum hull. You can most likely drop your fiber card and crimp spacer out for the 3" hull if the S3 still offers a low enough height for the 1-1/2oz payload. I'd recommend a mylar wrap and buffer to boost the pattern potential, but it may do very well without it.

The MAP for the 3" hull is about 12,000 PSI, and unless you are trying to bump load pressures and velocities past what bismuth really needs, you won't need the supermag's 14k MAP.

I always approach from a "well balanced" load perspective and goal, and with that efficiency. I see no great reason to utilize the 3-1/2" tube unless the wad/shot column need it to fit. Have you considered going to an WAA12R, SP12, RP12, MG42 or similar for the 1-1/2oz payload?
I tried the fit with a Mec Figure 8 wad, a S3 wad, and MG42 wad. I’m sure they will all work out. for the time being, I just followed the book load with the S0 wad and fiber. Buffer helps, but I’m not sold on needing it for patterns overall. I load the s3 wad in 2.75” hulls over 29gn of Longshot and 1.15oz of bimsuth. I’ll load 2.75” euro hulls/GMG’s with mg42 wads and 1.25oz of bismuth over 28-29gn of Longshot.

A few years back I shot more than 125 Canada geese, mostly with handloads of bis 4’s in 0.85-1.125oz loads from 28-12gauge (hv28wad in 28 gauge, and mostly s3 of staright wall figure 8 wads in 12gauge). Those loads were not buffered. That off season I looked more into buffered loads, and I have maybe 100 made up in 12 and 10gauge, but again, it may not really change field results.
 

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Anyone know approximately how much cost you have into a Bismuth load? Have been thinking about loading something, Bismuth or tss steel duplex, but Boss shells are not too pricey so I may go that route?

The way I shot the other day I should shoot the cheapest junk I could find:(
If trying to reload the Boss Payloads of 1.25oz of shot, or higher, in 12gauge, it’s almost no cost savings compared to what they charge. When you load lower payloads, or speciality loads, or shot sizes, subgauge, and possibly 10gauge, you’ll save some money.
 

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I tried the fit with a Mec Figure 8 wad, a S3 wad, and MG42 wad. I’m sure they will all work out. for the time being, I just followed the book load with the S0 wad and fiber. Buffer helps, but I’m not sold on needing it for patterns overall. I load the s3 wad in 2.75” hulls over 29gn of Longshot and 1.15oz of bimsuth. I’ll load 2.75” euro hulls/GMG’s with mg42 wads and 1.25oz of bismuth over 28-29gn of Longshot.

A few years back I shot more than 125 Canada geese, mostly with handloads of bis 4’s in 0.85-1.125oz loads from 28-12gauge (hv28wad in 28 gauge, and mostly s3 of staright wall figure 8 wads in 12gauge). Those loads were not buffered. That off season I looked more into buffered loads, and I have maybe 100 made up in 12 and 10gauge, but again, it may not really change field results.
Makes sense.

My general rule of thumb is that a change for increased performance is not worth doing unless it yields at least 10% greater performance. If it doesn’t, it’s not enough of a difference to make a difference. If your patterns are showing minimal increase in efficiency with buffer vs without there is little reason to deal with the extra component and managing prevention of leak.

Personally, I have seen a drastic increase in efficiency with many loads in my shotguns when adding buffer. For example, when developing the 2oz 10ga “Devastator” load I was seeing 10-15% increases in pattern efficiency, even with plated shot,when adding buffer.

That said, I have been shown some tremendous patterns using plated bismuth without buffer through light full and full chokes. All depends on the gun/choke in the end.
 

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Makes sense.

My general rule of thumb is that a change for increased performance is not worth doing unless it yields at least 10% greater performance. If it doesn’t, it’s not enough of a difference to make a difference. If your patterns are showing minimal increase in efficiency with buffer vs without there is little reason to deal with the extra component and managing prevention of leak.

Personally, I have seen a drastic increase in efficiency with many loads in my shotguns when adding buffer. For example, when developing the 2oz 10ga “Devastator” load I was seeing 10-15% increases in pattern efficiency, even with plated shot,when adding buffer.

That said, I have been shown some tremendous patterns using plated bismuth without buffer through light full and full chokes. All depends on the gun/choke in the end.
PAtterns improve, however, the numbers of birds harvested without buffer, don’t really indicate a need for buffer. Maybe this changes if targeting geese beyond 45yards, routinely.
 

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PAtterns improve, however, the numbers of birds harvested without buffer, don’t really indicate a need for buffer. Maybe this changes if targeting geese beyond 45yards, routinely.
Pass shooting or extended decoy shooting it would make a bit of a difference, especially if ducks are a target species. But past 40 you’re going to be running a heavier shot charge anyhow for higher pattern density, so every little thing that can help matters more.
 

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Buffer isnt for tighter patterns in bismuth, its to keep the shot from fracturing on setback. Bismuth loves choke, if you want a tighter pattern then start choking it down. XF and turkey chokes arent uncommon for bismuth waterfowl combos.

Buffer made my load pattern no different, and im not sure if it helped with fracturing or not... I need to get some ballistic gel and do some testing yet this summer
 

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Buffer isnt for tighter patterns in bismuth, its to keep the shot from fracturing on setback. Bismuth loves choke, if you want a tighter pattern then start choking it down. XF and turkey chokes arent uncommon for bismuth waterfowl combos.

Buffer made my load pattern no different, and im not sure if it helped with fracturing or not... I need to get some ballistic gel and do some testing yet this summer
I will dissent in that buffer does actually assist in better patterning with soft shot. Yes, it does cushion the shot (which for bismuth further prevents fracturing at set-back), but in turn it prevents deformation that inhibits proper flight through the air. A misshapen pellet is not aerodynamically stable and will become erratic in flight. By reducing defformation you are improving the flight characteristics and thusly improving pattern potential. The harder the shot the less necessary buffering is, however if you are squeaking every percentage point you can out of a given load, gun, and choke adding buffer will more often than not have a measurable impact on the pattern.

Terminally however, there is little difference between pellet fired from a buffered load and one that has been fired from a “standard” load, all else being equal.
 

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I will argue, and my personal test patterns prove it, that at our normal ranges of 40yd waterfowl loads it does not matter. We arent making turkey loads.

My BPI load that I shot for a while last year with #4 bismuth patterned more evenly without the buffer. Then again bismuth isnt round to begin with, at least not the rotometals stuff I am using. Choked properly it is a killer, this one particular load patterned to my preferred tightness with modified choke but I have switched to another load that patterns fantastic with Full.
 

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I also load RotoMetals #4 bismuth but (for me) I like buffering my loads ! I load 1 1/8 and 1 1/4 oz payloads
for 40 yd to past 50 yds on large ducks and med geese ( Snows and Spec's ) ! My use of buffer consist of
8 to 12 gr in which does a go job of protecting this soft shot .
 

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I also load RotoMetals #4 bismuth but (for me) I like buffering my loads ! I load 1 1/8 and 1 1/4 oz payloads
for 40 yd to past 50 yds on large ducks and med geese ( Snows and Spec's ) ! My use of buffer consist of
8 to 12 gr in which does a go job of protecting this soft shot .
You are not getting fracturing? Even the buffered load (using 7gr BPI ITX buffer in a 7/8load) left shards of bismuth in basically every bird I cleaned. That, along with my own pattern tests proving I dont need it, lead to me to disregarding the buffer when switching recipes.

Or do you mean stays more round on setback? My stuff isnt exactly pretty, its almost hevi-shot roundness to begin with. But I am also using cushioned wads, in theory it should deform less than lead shot since bismuth is not as soft.
 

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You are not getting fracturing? Even the buffered load (using 7gr BPI ITX buffer in a 7/8load) left shards of bismuth in basically every bird I cleaned. That, along with my own pattern tests proving I dont need it, lead to me to disregarding the buffer when switching recipes.

Or do you mean stays more round on setback? My stuff isnt exactly pretty, its almost hevi-shot roundness to begin with. But I am also using cushioned wads, in theory it should deform less than lead shot since bismuth is not as soft.
What size bismuth are you usually loading? I’ve noticed as size increases, usually the pellet roundness decreases.

The only exception I’ve had with Rotometals is their #3.5 bis, on one of my orders. My most recent order of 1’s and 4’s were pretty round compared to my previous order of 3.5’s.
 

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I have roto 4s. I think I am going to order BOSS shot for 6s i need this year.
I have their 6’s, 7’s and maybe some 5’s left over. I used their 3’s and 4’s a few years back, $15/pound. Their price has increased on their shot, but it is very good quality shot, and the copper plating seems to help with penetration.
 

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I pretty much follow Tom Rosters manual on buffered bismuth loads , even though I do use the old
standby recipe of FGM's with Longshot (buffered) . I'm kind of thinking you shoot your birds at closer
distances than I do ? There's little indication of fracturing of my loads payload and with the buffering
I see a lot tighter patterns ! As I've said , shooting these loads through fixed choked guns with .025 -
.030 constrictions with 12S3 / 12S4 type wads at 1300/1350 fps has served me well !
Testing these loads on pigeons at distances out to (guessing) 50 yds (150 ft ) high , gives me
reason to rely on the penetration that's needed on Mallard size birds at the same distance . I will
agree , I have to center a bird with the pattern as it would be NO Different , than any other payload
density , with birds still alive when they hit the ground !
I use a close by cellphone tower in judging how high birds are so , I've programed by estimation
to be better than a wild-ass guess ! With each outing , trigger time improves each guess !
 
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