Crazy, DIY Shotgun Loads

Since their inception, in the form of the Blunderbuss, shotguns have been loaded with bizarre objects. When lead shot was running low it was not uncommon for a blunderbuss operators to stuff rocks, wood or scrap metal down the barrel to use as expedient projectiles. Tao Fledermaus loaded all sorts of household items, from M&Ms to computer screws, into shotgun shells and videoed the results …

I don’t recommend loading random objects into shotgun shells, unless you are an experienced reloader.

Putting hard metal down your barrel is going to do damage and ruin accuracy/shot spread. While modern shotguns can fire steel shot, remember that steel shot is made form a soft grade of steel and are usually contained inside a plastic cup.

Food, dirt and other mixtures are also a bad idea. They could contain substances that cause or promote oxidization (rust) and these substances could get trapped in small scratches, pitting or the choke threading.

[ Many thanks to Sven (Defence and Freedom) for emailing me the the info. ]

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • jdun1911

    Shotgun barrels (non-rifle) are cheap and easy to install. No real lost IMHO.

  • Komrad

    I made some wax slug. I also tried other stuff too (steel BBs, airgun pellets airsoft BBs, .38 spc and .45 lc cases filled with BBs and shot, pure wax, etc). They all fire and wreck gallon jugs filled with water, but that’s about all the testing I’ve done.

    It’s fun and I advise trying it (but cautiously and with a cheap single shot shotgun).

  • Mike Knox

    I tried this with finishing nails once..

  • Yves

    I heard that South West U.S. and Northern Mexico was a popular custom to shoot cattle stealers with big salt grains due their low penetration (no kill) but horrible superficial wound and the terrible feeling of the salt burning inner their skin. Also heard that the scar is notorius, weird and difficult to hide so people were “tattoed” as cattle stealers.

  • JonMac

    I’d like to see ANY historical reference to the supposed practice of putting whatever down blunderbuss barrels. Sure, in desperation you might do this, but I’ve never seen any actual evidence of it being done, and I seriously doubt it was done as a matter of routine.

  • Zermoid

    I’ve loaded some combo loads (O buck, #2, #4, AND #7 1/2 all together) as a defensive round, but never used anything ‘Odd’ as payload, altho bb’s should be just like any other steel shot I’d think.

  • tommy2rs

    In the past I have made flechette rounds by trimming brass brazing rod to fit in the cups on plastic wads. Quite tedious and no longer cost effective but it did make a decent short range flechette round.

  • Fred

    If I’m ever to face a firing squad, my last request is that they load the shells with which I’m to be shot with M&Ms.

    I guess Reese’s Pieces would be OK too.

    Skittles are out of the question, as I think the rainbows emanating from my wounds wouldn’t suit the mood.

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