A long time ago shotgun shells were made entirely of metal. Then came paperbody with metallic head. Nowadays it is plastic with metallic head, mostly. I assume that the switch to paper and plastic was a financial decision, cheaper to make. But there are shotshell now made almost entirely of plastic. So if it is money driving these changes, why isn’t everyone switching to “entirely plastic”, away from metallic head?
You have your History a bit mixed…Rolled Paper with brass head cases came out at the same time as the earliest “Full metal” (Pottet) Pinfire Shotshells; But the Boxer case ( Rolled Brass foil or Paper, with a riveted Brass head) and Centre fire, soon overtook the Pinfire case.
As brass drawing techniques got better, Full metal shotshells became popular, especially for “professional Game shooters” in the Larger calibres ( 8 and 10 and 12), But paper shells were still in use also (From 4 gauge (Punt Guns) Upwards.)
Full brass was essential for tropical and wet weather shooting, as the Paper swelled in high humidity, rendering the ammo unable to be chambered.
The development of both the one piece compressed extrusion shell ( Winchester “AA” type, and the simpler to make Rieffenhauser Patent Plastic Tube shell ( able to be made on the same machinery as the Paper shells, because it simply replaced the Paper with Plastic (Tube and inner Base Wad), by the end of the 1960s, signalled the gradual disappearance of the Paper shell, except for some European and “poor country” plants, which could not afford the sahift to Plastic.
The paper shell has had a bit of a Renaissance ( Federal re-introduced them in the 1990s) for specific Target shells) but for General HUnting and Sports use, the cheaper Plastic shell is the market leader by far…Winchester even stopped making “AA” type shells for a few years, but Popular demand saw a return to the one pice extrusion shell, followed by new Case design Patents, which use less metal in the head, and also the metal cup is now Brass Plated Steel, rather than all brass ( degardes more quickly, and is cheaper. The “All Plastic” shell ( also “one Piece”) has had mixed success.
Rim strenght and extraction still cause problems in Extraction in these cases. ( Auto and Pump Guns).
sksvlad, I think the move from paper to plastic was largely done because of the tendency of paper shells to swell from moisture and this drove waterfowlers crazy. The public was ready for something better than paper and technology made it cost effective for makers to use plastics. However, the public has never been eager to see the metal head go away. Even though the height of the metal head means little with the one piece compression formed plastic hulls the public has been very slow to accept this.
Their have been many attempts by large and small companies to push the all-plastic shotshell into the market. Experimentals have been made at least since the 60’s and several production runs have come out but most of them have not fuctioned well enough in repeaters to be successful and double guns just are not as popular in the US as repeaters. Herter’s, Wanda and ACTIV have all tried the market and while the ACTIV, with its steel disk in the base, works well in most repeaters, the public has never really warmed to them. There were rumors (as far as I know) that the major companies had an agressive, covert campaign against them and drove them into receivership.
As you can see in this photo, I picked up quite a few of these all-plastic shells at SLICs. Most are ACTIV but there are Herter’s, Wanda and Winchester made shells too. At the bottom is a loaded Winchester with an unusual rounded shoulder crimp. Guy posted another Winchester experimental all-plastic a couple of months ago that went into limited production for their Franchised Gun Club. I’m told by some very experienced collectors that there are over 1200 variations of the all-plastic shotshells but to the best of my knowledge, no one is offering them today.
DocAV beat me to the post so I bow to his knowledge.
Nice haul there, Chief.
Have a few fired Wanda’s picked up at the range. Some have extractor chips out of the rim and a couple have split mouths. Several friends who shoot S/T have told me Wanda’s did not stand up well to reloading. Am guessing that is the reason for their demise.
Gourd, I have never fired a Wanda but I can certainly see where your experience with them would be justified. Like most things, not all plastics are the same! Wanda seems to be a hard and brittle plastic, like something a plastic drawer is made from. The shell is closed by the strange looking plug, not a crimp. I see many potential issues with these shells, not the least of which is the extractor issue of chipping out the rim. When I first saw one I sort of wondered “Why?”.
Some of the others, like ACTIV and Winchester, used a more pliable plastic, like polyurethane I believe. They are more similar to the already accepted hulls used with metal heads which would lead, I think, to more acceptability by the shooting public. Wanda, on the otherhand, seemed a novilty.
In the picture above there are three transparent shells in the lower right, a yellow 20ga Wanda, a 12 ga and then a green 20ga Wanda. The 12 ga is supposedly a French shell but the only markings on it are four tiny stars on the primer. I need to figure out who made this one. The material is quite similar to the Wanda but the top closure has a paper patch over it so I can’t really tell how its closed.
Way back when, Wanda empties would be found on occasion. They looked cool and just begged to be reloaded. (They were of no use empty and looked even cooler with all the stuff inside!) My opinion is that they were intended as one time use products as the brittle plastic did not hold up well at all with repeated firing and chunks of case wall tended to head downtown with the shot charge.
The ACTIV brand on the other hand was another story. When they were first introduced, a nice man came by the trap range and handed out boxes for us shooters to try. They broke clays as well as the AA shells as far as I could tell and they had no problem out of my autoloader. They didn’t last quite as long as the AA hulls for number of times they could be reloaded but I did find them useful for specialty loads as they had a very distinct appearance and were easily segregated. I would guess the product’s failure was due to issues other than functionality.
As always, “JMHO”, but that’s how I remember it…
In the picture above there are three transparent shells in the lower right, a yellow 20ga Wanda, a 12 ga and then a green 20ga Wanda. The 12 ga is supposedly a French shell but the only markings on it are four tiny stars on the primer. I need to figure out who made this one. The material is quite similar to the Wanda but the top closure has a paper patch over it so I can’t really tell how its closed.[/quote]
could you please put pictures (side and base) of this shell;