Wanda Plastic Shotshells


I’ve read previous postings on this forum regarding the Wanda shotshells made from the late 1960’s to early 1970’s. I have an assortment of empties in 12 and 20 gauge, plus a single full box of 12 gauge. I’ve seen a number of theories about why Wanda went belly-up, but no substantiation. The theories seem to be: (1)shells melted (2) shells cracked (3) rims cracked upon extraction (4) reloading life was poor (5) shells made too much disturbing noise when they hit concrete (trap/skeet).

Back in the early 1970’s I bought several cases of Wanda shells cheaply, and used them for trap shooting. I had none of the foregoing problems. I reloaded these cases numerous times without any problems, but somewhat later developed a preference for Winchester AA shells in my MEC progressive loader, as loading went faster. The one big advantage to the Wanda (at least for some shooters) was that no reloading tool was needed because resizing and crimping was unnecessary, and all you required was something to knock out the fired primer and dippers for shot and powder. By the way - I would pick up and re-use the closure wads, as they fell close to the firing points.

So what was the problem? Maybe it was a shortcoming in the product, or maybe it was poor production, financial, or marketing management. I tend to believe it was the latter. Does anyone know the real story behind Wanda’s short life?


Dennis, I’ve never spoken to anyone involved with Wanda but, like you, I’ve heard a wide variety of reasons expressed by many. I would think that the bottom line for the Wanda shutting down was financial, not enough money coming in. Then we ask, Why not? At that time plastics were not as accepted for their strength as they are now. When the M16 came out many wondered how plastic could replace steel and wood. A plastic shell just did not seem strong enough to many and since they were already skeptical, any little rumor just added to the negative appeal. If folks ‘heard’ the Wanda shell did this or that, why take a chance with them. So I think the shooting world was just not ready to accept all-plastic shells. Many companies tried them and none really lasted. ACTIV went longer than most but I know of no one in the US making all-plastic shells. The ammunition makers still wrap a little piece of metal around the base just to make the buyer feel comfortable, I think.

BTW, not that it is worth it but I have seen folks on GunBroker asking as much as $25 for one Wanda shell!


People are always inclined to believe the worst. As I said, I fired a lot of Wandas with no problems, for a period of about 5 years. In the late 70’s I switched to more conventional plastic shells, mainly because they loaded faster in quantity, and I dumped all of the Wandas I had. I used some Herter’s all-plastic shells in the early 70’s, but don’t remember much about them. I also used Activ (mostly plastic} shells in the mid-late 1980’s but did not like them much from a reloading standpoint. I no longer handload shotshells nor do I shoot clay birds very much.

I just remembered something - Wandas were a little different to reload, as you had to bell the case mouth a little before loading, and you had to roll the case mouth inward slightly after loading. I used a small powder funnel for both operations.

Wish I could sell my full box for $25 each. If anyone’s interested at that price, let me know. I’ll even pay shipping.