Pattern Perfection

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Custom Shotshell Ammunition with box

The old expression “a shotgun approach” says a lot about how the level of care and consideration that has historically gone into some factory-loaded shotshell ammunition. And while many rifle and handgun shooters have enjoyed precision-built loads and projectiles, shotgunners have often been left behind.

Federal, the manufacturer that’s already lead the industry in offering shotgun-toting hunters and target shooters the performance they deserve, went even further with the Custom Shop shotshell line. In the exclusive online store, discriminating shooters can choose hard-to-find offerings—each carefully handloaded to order by Federal’s team of experts.

Looking for more info on how Custom Shop works and what it offers for shotshell loads? We share answers to the most common questions.

Q: What shotshell options are available?
A: The Custom Shop offer more than 35 shotshell combinations loaded with dense tungsten super shot (TSS) designed with turkey and waterfowl hunters in mind. Customers choose their gauge, shell length, shot size and payload weight from a list of options. Gauges include 10, 12, 16, 20 and 28, as well as .410 bore, with shotshell length varying from 2¾ inch up to 3½ inches. Payloads range from 11/16-ounce up to a heavy-hitting 2½-ounce, and TSS shot sizes such as 7, 8, 9, and 10 are available.

Q: For Custom Shop shotshell, is Tungsten Super Shot (TSS) the only shot type offered?
A: Currently, no other pellet materials are offered. TSS is an incredibly dense shot that has taken the hand-loading world by storm in recent years, and it’s an integral part of Federal Premium’s HEAVYWEIGHT TSS and Black Cloud TSS loads. Shotshells loaded with TSS represent a big upgrade from anything previously available, letting hunters kill gobblers, waterfowl and upland game farther than they ever thought possible.

primer and shot inside cylinders

Payloads of No. 7, 8, 9 or 10s TSS shot provide high pellet counts—in many cases, more than double compared to lead loads of the same weight. The shot is 18 grams per cubic centimeter density and is 56 percent denser than lead. TSS provides optimum energy and the highest velocities at long ranges. Customers who have been asking for more options in TSS loads, such as 2¾-inch shell length, 28-gauge or 16-gauge, can now get them from the Federal Custom Shop.

Q: What primers and powders are used for Custom Shop shotshells?
A: All components are selected appropriately for each load, ordered and hand-loaded. This means components vary depending on the load ordered. All primers are selected appropriately for each specific load, although 28-gauge hulls with primers are currently sourced by Federal. All powders used are of high-quality, reliable propellants from Alliant Powder and other sources, selected appropriately to create the most ideal loads for the best performance based on the Federal Custom Shop’s expertise.

Q: What hulls, wads and cards are used?
A: High-quality hulls are built to needs of specific gauges. Colors are the same as standard Federal shotshell ammunition: Brown for 10 gauge, purple for 16 gauge, yellow for 20 gauge and Burgundy (red) for 12-gauge, 28-gauge and .410 bore.

Custom Shotshell Ammunition being completed

Hulls have length and payload information printed on the hull using a high-quality Apex printer, not a print stamp that can wear off. Wads and over-powder or over-shot cards (when appropriate) are all the best components available. Some loads feature FLITECONTROL wads, while others feature standard wads, depending on gauge and other criteria. Card materials depend on availability for each specific gauge. Some cards are plain, and others are clear with Federal branding.

Q: Are shotshell loads buffered and roll-crimped or fold-crimped?
A: Custom Shop waterfowl and upland loads are not buffered and are fold-crimped. Turkey loads are all buffered and roll-crimped with an over-shot card. These features are like Federal’s factory-produced shotshells.

Q: Why are Custom Shop turkey loads buffered and roll-crimped?
A: Buffered shot and a roll crimp further boost effectiveness. Buffer evenly distributes the ignition force throughout the payload, allowing for uniform separation of the shot at muzzle exit. The roll crimp provides uniform compression of the buffered payload, which generates consistent ballistics and better pattern efficiency. Combined with a polymer over-shot wad, it also ensures that the entire buffer remains sealed inside the cartridge.