Friday, June 24, 2016

Vintage Arkham Shotgun Shells

This nicely done box of shells from the Arkham Powder Works comes to us from d1960.  I was surprised to learn it was relatively common for shooters to manually reload their own shells well into the 1930s.


CoastConFan said...

That’s an excellent prop box and looks quite new as it should for a period prop. Paper cartridges were introduced circa 1880, but had problems due to their hydroscopic properties. Papers were still common in the 1960s when supplanted by water resistant plastic bodied shells that are available now.

BTW before the paper cases showed up, shotgun shells were all brass and were common through the turn of the century, although the US military continued to use brass shotgun shells due to their moisture resistance through WWII.

Old handloading tools are still quite common and cheap for your period collectors. They turn up at shows all the time. The cost of reloading kept the price of hunting down considerably, especially for the poor foraging food or during the Great Depression when cash was tight. Besides, it’s a dirt simple operation.

Here’s a YouTube video about handloading shotgun shells using only hand tools and not the large press.

Some nice antique reloading tools at a museum

For the collectors

Anonymous said...

my father keep manually reload his shells till the late '60, and I was helping him (as a child could be), I still remember the little balance he used for the powder


bea said...

Can you STILL get Paper shotgun shell reloads?

Pat G said...

Great prop. Reloading is still very common for shotgun, rifle and pistol ammunition. Lot's of opportunities for cooking more - arcane - loads.

bea said...

Because if NOT those are damn good mock-ups.

Darin Price said...

Hi - D1960 here. I got the paper hulls from Ballistic Products ( Please note that these have live primers in them and so should not be considered props unless the primer has been deactivated.
CoastConFan is correct - the earliest shotgun shells were brass, which is why many early boxes state "paper shot shells".
Shotgun shells of the time period in which we are interested were shorter than today's - 2 5/8' (2 1/2' in England) vs. 2 3/4" for 12 gauge today, and were roll crimped rather than star crimped.
Vintage roll crimpers can be found on eBay.
I reload my own black powder paper shells for my old shotgun; I hope to post some photos on my DeviantArt page when I have some good examples of the finished product.