Shotgun over shot wads


Here’s a worn UMC gun wad box. I don’t know if these are intended for loading shells or for muzzle loading shotgun use, or perhaps both. I was unable to find any information on the June 15, 1875 patent date shown on the bottom of the box - it could apply to the wads themselves or even to the box design.

Top wads - little summary from IAA forum


Great box and photo.

You should be able to get an idea of their intended use by measuring the diameter.

Doesn’t Greener’s THE GUN have a list of wad sizes for different uses?



It’s a little embarassing for you to have to do my thinking for me. The wads measure .780. My Dixie Gun Works catalog indicates that the 10 gauge bore size is .775, so these would appear to be correct for a muzzleloading shotgun. As the box indicates they are ‘gun’ wads, this is probably the case.


Guy–Your wads are for Shot Guns and Breech-Loading Shells. Here are scans of the pages from the June, 1887 U.M.C. Co. catalog.


Thanks for the catalog scans. I wonder if there was a crosswalk to indicate what brass or paper shell a particular size wad would fit. These wads at .780" would be a nice tight fit in a 10 gauge muzzle-loading bore, as well as in a 10 gauge paper shell, but would fall out of a standard 10 gauge brass shell, which measures about .810". Throw in the ‘A’ and ‘B’ shells, and its no wonder the shotshell collectors are such an odd bunch.


The “A” shells wre for guns chambered for brass or paper shells while the “B” shells were for guns chambered for brass shells


all the manufactures (British, german French aso) tells you to use a wad one caliber bigger when you use brass case.
for example if you have 12 gauge all brass case you must use a 10 Gauge wad.
Indeed the tickness of the wall of a LIGHT all brass case is smaller than for a paper case.

Light brass cases are for example a French light SFM case, or a Perfect Kynoch or an Eley light case.
(The 10-12 from Eley is nothing else than a light case and they did put in the hstp 10 to show you can use it as if it was 10 Gauge and therefore use a 10 wad. It is not a special caliber despite what say the people selling them for high price ! Eley did that for marketing reasons because they had no success with their light cases. A chamberless gun was even designed for this case, and they advertised in such a way. This is stupid because ANY all brass case from any manufacturer can chamber this gun!)

For an HEAVY brass case (SFM , Eley Kynoch or German ones) you should use same wad as the diameter (12 wad for a 12 Gauge).

You have to be carefull with this fact (a wad one size bigger than the one hstp on the LIGHT metallic case ) when you deal with big bores (2, 3 4, 6, gauges).
Because the 2, 3, 4 gauges not a 2, 3 or 4 gauges !!
(4 as definded in England, French or US is actually a 6 gauge. Only in Germany the 4 gauge is a true 4 gauge)