Downrange Manufacturing Shotshell Wads

By Randy Wakeman

When it comes to reloading, our shotshell wads get scant attention. Yet, without a wad that seals well under all conditions we don't have much of a shell. Shotshell reloading is component-contingent; if we change primer, powder, powder, or wad we change everything. Corners have been cut over the years in wad manufacture, primarily because "we" the consumer don't have much appreciation for the cost of tooling and raw materials involved in wad manufacture. Maybe part of it is that today's reloader is far too busy carping about shot prices to pay much attention to anything else?

Down Range Manufacturing has an ever-growing line of replacement wads made from virgin plastic. What remains important about quality resin and non-reground and re-melted wads are smooth loading, consistency, and low to no barrel fouling. The current, updated product from Down Range is very slick and well manufactured without some of the pronounced, sloppy mold lines evident on some wads. You won't appreciate good wads until you've spent some time ridding your gun from plastic residue from promo loads. We are better off avoiding the greasy tar-like build up altogether.

Down Range Manufacturing has direct replacements for most of the popular factory wads, and offers their own proprietary updated versions of the Versalite, Pattern Control, and Windjammer lines of wads. Names once quite familiar brought back with the latest plastic blends and quality control.

Making a wad recommendation is very difficult, just as bad as trying to suggest a choke without patterning. However, the folks at Downrange are shooter oriented and customer-service oriented, so they can quickly hone in on the most likely candidates if you are looking for a new combination to try.

In my case, for my purposes, it will take an awful lot to displace Alliant Green Dot powder, AA 1-1/8 oz. (or yellow AA style 1-1/4 oz. wads) and STS hulls from my basic 12 gauge reloading repertoire. Down Range has drop-ins for both wads that are extremely well made. I'm happy to suggest that you take a look at Down Range products at and give them a try. I think that you'll be glad you did.

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Copyright 2007, 2016 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.