16 ga./12 ga shotgun target loads

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Nov 10, 2008
Need help in finding target or light loads for my 16 ga Parker & geha 12 ga. Do I look for dram wt, shot size ?Certain brand? Just looking for low recoil for fun shooting ,not hunting in the older shotguns.They are safe with normal game loads but prefere lighter to be easier/safer.


May 27, 2005
Kokomo,In. USA
My knowledge of 16 Ga loads is nill. For the 12 Ga look for 2 3/4 Dram-1oz. loads. Winchester does have some Low Recoil type target loads in their AA's.
For use in skeet or hand thrown clays #8 shot should suffice. #7 1/2 for the 16 yd. trap line.

Blackhawk Convertable

Jul 24, 2005
Rochester, Minnesota
The Alliant site has Cowboy Action loads of 7/8 oz shot for 12 gauge which is the same that I use.

Here is my recipe from that site:

Winchester AA hulls
7/8 oz of shot
Win 209 primer
Promo Powder (Red Dot) 17.5 grains
Claybuster Lightning CB 4100-12-B wad

Rick Courtright

Mar 10, 2002
Redlands CA USA

I've only got some "general" ideas, but maybe one can put you onto a search trail...

In addition to 1 oz target loads, there have been some 7/8 oz target loads made in 12 ga. Winchester had 'em in the A-A line for a while from the factory. Dunno if they took off and are still catalogued or not. Be sure the box says "7/8 oz" and NOT 24 gram. Even though 24 grams is about 7/8 oz, the 24 gram ammo's designed for international trapshooting use, and they're HOT. Same warning on 1 oz loads: look for the "target" variety, as those "field loads" of 1 oz at 1300 fps or more that are NOT "light!"

Again, dunno if they're still being catalogued, but there were some 2 1/2" 12 ga shells on the market a couple of years back. These were more like the traditional British field loads w/ 5/8 or 3/4 oz of shot. I'm not sure if they were "downloaded" pressure wise or not. US SAAMI standards allow for up to 11kpsi in the 12 ga, while traditional British stuff was often loaded down in the 6-8kpsi range for those fine ol' light double guns.

Shot size varies from one load offering to the next, but you'll usually be able to find the lightest shells in #8 and/or #7 1/2 which should take care of your clay target needs, as well as a lot of dove and quail sized stuff in the field.

In the 16 ga, the best you're probably gonna find in factory ammo will be the promo grade "field load" that has a reasonably light 1 oz charge in shot sizes ranging up to about #6 (good for pheasants, rabbits, that sized stuff.) Remember, too, while current 16 ga ammo's 2 3/4", a few older 16 ga guns were built w/ shorter 2 9/16" chambers, so make sure you're good to go in that department.

Now, if you want to handload, the world suddenly becomes a much bigger place! Check the guys at Ballistic Products: they have all the stuff available for loading just about anything from super light 2 1/2" field loads to big boomer 3 1/2" waterfowl loads in the 12 ga, and probably the best assortment of 16 ga equipment and components of any of the "usual sources." They've also got a sizable assortment of literature.

Good luck!

Rick C