Wadless Loads For Small Smoothbores

Wadless Loads For Small Smoothbores

New non-toxic offering fits 28-gauges.

Polywad has hit on a relatively new idea in shotshell development. In recent issues, I have probed other product ideas under development with Polywad. Well, here is another innovation. If the company doesn't market it themselves, I am sure another company will buy into the concept. In fact, I have been told a deal is in the works, and a new company coming into the non-toxic world is considering picking up the green loads.

Polywad GreenLite.

At the time of this review, few sources for non-toxic ammunition were available for the 28-gauge shotgun. Please, don't misunderstand. I do not consider the 28-gauge a waterfowl hunter's No. 1 choice in any way, but sometimes, a hunter who owns a sweet little 28 wants to sit back, wait for an in-your-face bird over the decoys and shoot it with the sub-gauge offering.


Most 28-gauges are of high value, so shooters pay close attention to what goes down those expensive bores. With that in mind, I think Polywad might have an edge with GreenLite 28-gauge loads.


Polywad has been developing this new shotshell for several years. The basic load (in either 28- or 20-gauge) doesn't contain a wad. When I took a round apart, I found a small, very soft paper cup that held the shot, followed by a very generous amount of buffer of a fine ground poly type. After that, I located the powder charge that sits directly under the polymer-buffering agent. I did not locate any over-powder card or plastic wad.

The load is contradictory to all modern methods of shotshell load construction. However, Jay Meneffe, the president of Polywad, never leaves a stone unturned when creating a new product.


The GreenLite 28-gauge loads have no gas seal and use only a filler material against the charge.

When the first loads arrived for testing, I tossed five live 20-gauge rounds into the bed of my pickup. That was their home for the next week as I traveled on South Dakota's dirt roads. I was trying to coax the powder to migrate into the buffer, because no wad separates them. After hauling the shotshells around, I shot them over my chronograph screens and noted no difference from test loads shot fresh from the package box. In other words, there was no migration of propellant.


As a propellant, I could have been looking at Alliant Green Dot, as it did retain a small green flake identifier in the dark black powder mix.

In terms of payload, the 28-gauge shotshells I received for review contained ½ ounce of No. 7 steel shot at 220 pellets per load. The velocity printed on the box showed 1,000 miles per hour, and a run through the chronograph screens would be required to get an fps database started.

In the 20-gauge shotshell, the 23„4-inch hull contained a ¾-ounce payload and 240 No. 7 pellets. Both loads are designed to maintain low recoil and be easy on the shooter when tackling clays or small-game gunning. Youth shooters and ladies appreciate gentler recoil.

The chronograph screens recorded a string of test shots for the 28-gauge loads that measured an average of 1,581 fps. It is a fast load in terms of muzzle velocity, but with No. 7 pellets, speed is not only a positive feature of the load, it is required to bring down game birds.

While shooting the 20-gauge rounds over the speed screens, the muzzle velocity was much the same as in 28-gauge. Pellets left the barrel at an average 1,567 fps. In both cases, the 28-gauge and 20-gauge held an ES (extreme spread) from shot-to-shot velocity of 28 fps to 48 fps. In terms of ballistics results, the ES is tight, indicating the wadless and gas seal free loads maintain muzzle velocity and energy.

Pattern Tests
I test-fired the 20-gauge shotshells with a Remington 870 Express and a modified Rem choke tube. The test range was 30 yards. The No. 7 steel doesn't retain enough pellet speed down range to do much more than wound game beyond 35 yards (see chart below for energy and pellet velocity at varied ranges).

At 30 yards against a 30-inch circle, the shells returned 97 percent through 100 percent in a five-round test string, with an average of 97.5 percent.

The 28-gauge patterns also held to nearly 100 percent fired through my Franchi stack barrel with a modified choke in the upper barrel. Five rounds indicated an average pattern of 96 percent, with one shell at 100 percent in the test group.

Just to see the difference, I shot two patterns for each gauge at 40 yards. The prints were great -- 80-plus percent -- but knowing the loads are not designed for the far side of a decoy spread, I didn't press the issue.

These loads are designed for hunters who want a close, clean kill shot with a higher-end gun. In other words, it's about the gun and the hunt versus filling the game bag. However, development of a 12-gauge load for small ducks and general upland applications is underway.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Franchi 12-Gauge Affinity Semiauto Shotgun

Franchi 12-Gauge Affinity Semiauto Shotgun

Craig Boddington and Eric Poole take a look at the new modern Franchi Affinity shotgun.

Browning A5 Shotgun -

Browning A5 Shotgun - 'Gun Stories'

Gun Stories host Joe Mantegna talks about the origin and history of the Browning A5 shotgun.

Arkansas Snow Geese

Arkansas Snow Geese

Wildfowl Editor Skip Knowles took this short video showing all the Snow Geese flying. Let's just say, he had a very good hunt!

Cowboy Fernandez Commemorative Yentzen Classic Duck Call

Cowboy Fernandez Commemorative Yentzen Classic Duck Call

As Groves, Texas duck call maker Sure-Shot Game Calls celebrates their 60th anniversary during 2019, company CEO Charlie Holder shows off the limited edition Yentzen Classic aimed at commemorating the life and times of company founder Jim 'Cowboy' Fernandez. With a special autographed box and a laser engraved call body, the Cowboy Classic is a perfect way to honor the legacy of the 1959 world duck calling champ and inventor of the double-reed duck call.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

While there's no guarantee they'll make you a better shot, these 8 newly-designed shotgun choke Accessories

8 Best Choke Tubes for 2017

Wildfowl Online Staff - October 25, 2017

While there's no guarantee they'll make you a better shot, these 8 newly-designed shotgun choke

Let's face it, that old mud motor from two years ago isn't cuttin' it any longer.

Of course, it Boats

8 Best Mud Motors for 2016

David Hart - May 26, 2016

Let's face it, that old mud motor from two years ago isn't cuttin' it any longer. Of course,...

Jim Orth needed'a simple blind for hunting Lake St. Clair. A staffing recruiter and outfitter from How-To

Building a Duck Boat Blind on a Budget

Mike Marsh - May 10, 2016

Jim Orth needed'a simple blind for hunting Lake St. Clair. A staffing recruiter and outfitter...

Check out our picks for the best new waterfowl guns from the 2019 SHOT Show! Shotguns

Best New Waterfowl Shotguns for 2019

Lynn Burkhead - January 23, 2019

Check out our picks for the best new waterfowl guns from the 2019 SHOT Show!

See More Trending Articles

More Ammo

Looking for a new hard-hitting waterfowl load this fall that delivers lethal patterns at longer downrange distances? Check out Browning Ammunition's award winning BXD Waterfowl Extra Distance loads now available in #3 shot! Ammo

Browning Ammunition Adds New Hard-Hitting #3 Shot Size to BXD Line

Wildfowl Online Staff - May 11, 2018

Looking for a new hard-hitting waterfowl load this fall that delivers lethal patterns at...

Little guns and fast loads seem to be the direction in advanced shotshell designs for 2013. Ammo

Hevi-Shot Speed Ball Review

L.P. Brezny - November 26, 2013

Little guns and fast loads seem to be the direction in advanced shotshell designs for 2013.

Black Cloud shotshells from Federal have always been bird killers. But using them came with a few Ammo

Federal's New and Improved Black Cloud Shotshells

John Taylor - June 21, 2017

Black Cloud shotshells from Federal have always been bird killers. But using them came with a...

Pressure, Payload and velocity. It's a delicate balancing act Remington has seemingly mastered with Ammo

Remington HyperSonic Review

John Taylor - December 15, 2014

Pressure, Payload and velocity. It's a delicate balancing act Remington has seemingly mastered...

See More Ammo

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Wildfowl subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now