Make Your Own Lead Shot
Published: 11.24. 2007
Edited: Sunday 25 Nov. 2007, at 11:42 (GMT +1)
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You can read more making shot, as well as loading black powder shotshells and muzzle-loading shotguns in the brand new book From Musket to Metallic Cartridge: A Practical History of Black Powder Firearms.
Traditionally lead shot have been made in high shot towers. The shotmakers melted the lead up in the tower and poured it through a sieve. The lead drops transformed into relatively round shot in the air because of the surface tension. On the ground they hit a container filled with water that cooled the shot and prevented it from deforming.
From the USA many have known the machine called the Shotmaker. The machine goes by the immodest name Littleton's Incredible Shotmaker and is named after the inventor Jerry Littleton from Oroville, California. Littleton has now sold the business to Alan and Michael Burgess from Moses Lake, Washington. Their company is named Burgess Bullets. Burgess Bullets have improved the shotmaker quite a lot and the machine has become more user friendly. The Shotmaker comes in two versions: The Model 65 with 7 drippers and the Model 135 with 14 drippers.
When you operate the Shotmaker you simply turn on the machine and put some bars of cleaned wheel weight lead in the ladle. Clean lead is important because lead with dirt in it can clog up the dippers. It also important to remember that pure lead is too soft to make quality shot.
The Shotmaker produces very uniform and round shot and it should be more than good enough for most shooters. If you tumble them in graphite powder you probably wouldnt be able to see the difference if you compared them to factory lead shot. I and a couple of my friends have tried the shot and it works really great. Nice patterns in both front and backstuffers. Who needs a 120 foot high shot tower when you can have a Shotmaker?
Note: The author of this article has no connection whatsoever to the makers of the Shotmaker, nor does he sell them.