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I Tested the Polywad Spred-R Load and Here's What I Learned

Polywad Spred-R

Old-school spreader shotgun loads have been reborn in an improved, modern form. 

In recent decades, the spreader loads, or scatter loads, of the distant past have been generally forgotten. But this really cheats the shotgunner! Here's why the Spred-R loads from Polywad can put more game in your bag.

Spreader loads allowed for the use of tighter-choked shotguns, which translated into a better chance of hitting fast-moving targets at a closer range.

Such a load seriously endangered rabbits that flush at hunters' feet, along with grouse. The tight, regular shotgun patterns were opened up to allow for better hit chance and less birdshot-mangled game up close. Those old cardboard-hulled shotshells used cardboard disks, various inserts or oblong lead birdshot to open shot patterns any way possible.

In the late 1970s and early 80s, Jay Menefee, President of Polywad, Inc. thought of bringing back old-school spreader loads in a modern form. Using modern plastic shotshell hulls and a posted insert, the experimentation began.

Menefee found that a certain stem length on the inserts was absolutely essential  for producing good, wide patterns. This design pulled the faster center birdshot to the outer ring, thereby strengthening the crushing power on game even away from the center of the shot. This means more lethal hits on the pattern's edges.


Instead of a dense inner pattern with a few less powerful pellets on the fringes, the pattern now is all-filling at typical close-up game shots. Now, multiple pellets hit across a wider area, causing more crushing hydraulic action on game.

So, the Polywad Spred-R shotshell load was born. Look at the picture below to see what the Polywad Spred-R load actually does.

Which would you rather eat: a grouse hit by a factory load, or by the Spred-R load?


Rabbit and grouse hunters know all too well how hard it is to hit those fast-moving animals at close range. When a shot is scored, the game often has too many hits, thereby destroying the meat. Why not let the Polywad Spred-R load even up the score on these close and often frustrating targets?

Here's what I found when I did my own testing with the Polywad Spred-R loads.

As requested, I received the 12 gauge 2 3/4" chamber selection loaded up with 1 1/8 ounces of #6 shot loaded at 3 Dram Equivalent. Right out of the box, these shotshells are impressive. Loaded in clear plastic hulls, you can see the whole composition of this shell. The uniform round lead shot is evident, and the Spred-R Insert also doubles as the overshot for the crimped close shell. This is a shell that begs to be fired.

I used a Browning B-80 semi-automatic shotgun with a full choke at 15 yards. The targets were cardboard sheets that measure 38"x 41". With the first shot, we fired an Estate Cartridge Company Heavy Game Load that also fires a 1 1/8 load of #6 lead shot. As you can see, at 15 yards, this pattern is quite destructive and unfit for game shooting. There were 259 hits in a small 18" spread. (See target below).

Nestor Photography

Next fired was the Polywad Spred-R shotshell. The difference is night and day. The whole target was evenly plastered by #6 shot. There were 218 hits spread out evenly across the 38" x 41" cardboard sheet (see target below). Any game animal in such a pattern would certainly be dinner. Functioning of the Spred-R load was flawless in the Browning B-80 shotgun used.

Nestor Photography

The Polywad Spred-R loads can be purchased in #6, #7.5, and #8 sized shot in 2 3/4" 12 gauge chambering. They can also be purchased in a lower pressure 2.5" 12 gauge chambering for your older fine European shotgun. Polywad Spred-R loads are also available in 16 and 20 gauges.

When stomping through your upland game haunts this season, why not give the Polywad Spred-R loads a chance? Get ready for a heavier game bag at the end of your hunt.


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I Tested the Polywad Spred-R Load and Here's What I Learned