Shotgun Ammo: Cold Weather Woes

Cold temperatures rob shotshells of power, and in some cases cold temperatures turn them into bloopers.

I was out at the gun club the other day where I found one of the regular skeet shooters busy chronographing reloads. He told me that the day before, when it was quite cold, most of his reloads were bloopers. He took them into the clubhouse, warmed them on the stove, and when he tried again with the warmer shells, they worked fine. That next day it was a good 20 degrees warmer and, according to the chronograph, the shells were working exactly as they should.

A few things happen to shotshells in the cold. Powders don’t generate quite as much velocity as they do in warmer weather. Slow powders of the kind used in heavy hunting loads lose more velocity than do the…

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