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Posted By: Beagle The scent of just fired paper shotgun shells - 01/30/13 01:34 AM
My last order from RST was a mixed case, had them include some paper case shells. Most of the time when someone writes or talks about a classic scent associated with hunting or shooting it's Hoppes #9. But for me nothing is as evocative of the past days of hunting as the scent of paper shells.
Other scents that come to mind are Barbour jackets, puppy breath, moss, and woodsmoke & Bourbon. Fishing scents would include 2 cycle exhaust and the mosquito dope we used back before deet. [can't remember the name of it]
Anyone care to add to the list?
The aroma of paper shells fired with a charge of IMR 7625 is tough to beat. Also partial to inhaling deeply with my nose buried in the feathers of a freshly killed quail. The addictive aroma of a cypress swamp in evening. The scent of an old cricket cage, and outboard motor oil mixed with the water in the bottom of a wood boat. The acrid air over bluegill bream beds on a still morning in May.

Aside from hunting and fishing.......... newly bottom plowed soil, and a freshly dug peanut field. Honeysuckle blooming alongside a dirt road near a blackberry patch. A field of coastal bermuda hay, freshly mowed, as a 12 year old boy runs barefoot through it catching grasshoppers for fishbait.

Gotta quit. Too real.

Nice posts! As a child, family camping was one of the activities I really looked forward to. Our Shasta camper and the heavy tent we used before that had their own distinctive smells. It is great that RST loads paper shells for those of us that enjoy that sort of thing. Too bad they cannot provide the short 10s in paper. It also offers an alternative to shooting collectible ammunition whistle
You guys have really brought out some olfactory memories, which I've always heard are the most vivid. Let me add to yours with the mention of cape jasmine vine blooming in the turkey woods, that odd sweet smell of the woods in false spring, the scent of a cedar turkey box call just unwrapped from its long stay over winter in a plastic bag, a yearling largemouth bass in your hand just caught from a farm pond in February, "Deep Woods Off" sprayed on in dark turkey woods. Can ya'll detect a slight affinity for Spring here?

And Beagle, the insect repellent you refer to was "6-12". I remember it well:
Out west, our quail country smells are dominated by sage and juniper. Those smells are particularly strong in the late fall when the sun is heating the damp fauna and steam is rising from the fields.

Was that bug dope called '6-12', maybe?

I remember my father and Grandpa using that trout fishing when I was a child, 50+ years ago. Very oily and a distinctive odor.

Didn't mean to hijack, but that brought back a lot of very old, very fond memories...
The smell of the first chinook that comes down from Canada and old man winter is starting to release his death grip on these plains.
Originally Posted By: John Roberts

And Beagle, the insect repellent you refer to was "6-12". I remember it well:

That stuff was a very effective paint remover, too, as one particular '61 Chevy could testify.

The 6-12 came in a really thick bottle and smelled of citronella.Nasty stuff, but every tackle box had one and when it spilled on the rubber lures a whole new aroma resulted. For a good smell alternative, how about the smell from a ruffed grouse crop when you open it to see what they are feeding on? Doesn't really work but I do it anyway just to smell the contents. They eat over 300 plant species. No wonder they're so tasty.
Thanks to all of you who remembered 6-12 was the name of the old time mosquito repellant. I had asked some of my friends, but they all had the same medical condition I have, CRS. [ Can't Remember Shit]
The reason I had to start a subscription to the DGJ was a line in a a review back when it first came out describing the smell of a just fired paper shell. I was really hoping I found something I was looking for, and it's the only one that continues from those days.
Ah yes the smell of red dot and waxed paper ala federal and one time winchester super target shells. There really is nothing like it to bring back memories of friends and places that are fading into the mists of time.
John Mc
I use to open up the crop of freshly killed birds,quail and boy that was a great odor! But when you gut them they smell terrible! Bobby
My Shorthairs after running through the Sage Brush all day.......wonderful. A wet, exhausted dog in a warm vehicle. Neither of the above to be confused with the odor of a freshly skunked dog or after rolling on a long dead critter. Yet, even that evokes memories that improve over time.
my rst paper shells smell like Minnesota mud. last time I used them (hopefully for life) was in a large tag alder swamp coated with a good bit of snow and freezing temps the night before. it was overwhelmingly the highest concentration of timber doodles in my life. as the morning moved on I of course had more and more snow to fall on me,and I was also sweating heavily.

I no know why my grandfather hated paper shells so much. the more snow, sweat, and water from falling down every third step everything about me was wet. those stupid paper shells swelled up so much that I has having to hammer them in the chambers with the butt of my knife. some shells would not even chamber like that.

after a while got so mad that I threw the paper shells as far as I could in the tag alder swamp. they deserved a less dignified death, but it was the best I could under the circumstances.
My fondest early smell is indeed just fired paper shells; most probably Winchester, but when you are 6 or 7, any would do, even Remmingtons. I would ask my Dad to bring back ANY emptys; please. I'd sniff them for a week.

Now, I still inhale deeply of my Barbour tweed jacket. last hunting use was on a 300 yard stalk in the Scottish Highlands last October. I can smell the Heather, or is it sheep dung? 300 yards on your belly will impart both. It is fading but still brings back the memory of a great day.

Another smell that is hard to erase from your brain is that of a nearby heard of cape buffalo. Driving past a cattle yard is close but not the same.

All the best,

What a great thread! For me a morning walk in the hills of northern New England with dew so thick you can almost smell it.Woodsmoke from the woodstoves taking off the morning chill.The musty smell of damp leaves and the wonderful aroma of a freshly fallen pa,tridge or woodcock coupled with the smell of a freshly fired paper shell from my Parker. Oh dear I think I'm in heaven!
Yep. Stick your nose right in there and inhale deeply the lead styphnate from the primer. Nobody lives forever.

Paper shells nowadays have a small percentage of the 'real' fragrance of the old days.

Federal uses Alliant powders now, and they don't even use a paper basewad. Nor does Fiocchi. The old perfume is gone.

My favorite fragrance from the modern hunt is Laphroaig in the snifter and pan frying pheasant breast (dredged in Drake's and cooked in fresh corn oil).

The occasional waft of oak from the fireplace is pretty good too..

A very long time ago there was a scent I almost remember... it had to do with a woman... ah, forget it. A paper shell was better, more reliable, and lasted longer.
As an aging gunner; I, too, love the smell of just fired Federal Paper shells.
I have asked friends and myself: What IS that smell that is so damn good?
Partly 4th of July firecrackers when a kid. Partly, is almost like...well, call me a real flake, but to me perhaps it is the following smell of sex in a close room. I know I am a dirty old man, but there is SOMETHING from way back in memories about the wonderful smells those shells emit.
Ah, well...whatever it is, it is wonderful, and even if I am in shoot-off; if I am shooting Paper, I just have to stop and smell that wonderous whatever.
Sam Ogle, Lincoln, NE
There is nothing like stepping in the bed of a rutting moose or elk that slipped out without you seeing it. The smell is base and rough but meant to get the female pheromones going. I think it gets the testosterone in us males going. Maybe it harks back to primitive times and the challenge over a mate or perhaps its the speculation of the hunt, that elk or moose is just a few trees ahead.
Don't forget youngs 303 oil(the original black stuff)not sure how good an oil/cleaner it was but open a bottle and it takes me straight back in time.
I dont let a bottle pass me by when I find it.

For me there is nothing that brings back hunting memories like the smell of a charge of Herco just fired out of a Federal Gold Medal paper hull. If I could just be standing knee deep in a South Dakota duck slough the two scents would likely put me in a swoon. Though I haven't loaded this load for 50 years I believe it was a new Gold Medal hull,33gr. of Herco, a Ljutic wad, 1 1/4 oz. of 5's roll crimped. Still got some Ljutics somewhere in the loading room, think I'll see where I can pick up a can of Herco this weekend. South Dakota will have to wait 'til next November.

Some time ago I was able to get my hands on some new old stock purple Federal paper 16 gauge shells. Loaded with a light charge of Unique the fired empties erase 60 years. I start every bird season with a pocket full of these shells. The next most enduring smells that erase the years and brings back memories of days gone by are walking into a saddle shop with the aroma of fresh leather and the smell the tac room of a horse barn with the smell of horses mingled with neatsfoot oil and fresh prairie hay. What memories they stir.
A couple of years ago, I took a buddy to hunt preserve birds (I know...) because he had never gunned for pheasants in his life. The first bird that loafed into the air was dropped by a shot from my Smith gun- using one of a handful of old Winchester paper shells I brought along for the occasion. Naturally, I had to take a whiff of the spent shell, which prompted my buddy to ask for a whiff too, so I tossed it over to him. As we were standing there smelling spent shotshells, another bird went up from between us. All we could do was look at each other and laugh at ourselves.
The smell of varnish on the Eley paper hulls always takes me back in time to my younger days. Federal Gold Medal papers smell good too
Mike, you guys have an importer for Eley in Canada now?

I'm down to my last couple boxes and awaiting someone to step up and import that brand.

Grand Prix is a great load.
Sixty years ago you could walk up and down the trap line and pick up all the paper hulls you could carry. Those were the days! To my nose the Winchester/Westerns were far and away the best, followed by the intriguing Remington/Peters. As good ad Federals smell to me nowadays, back then they weren't in the running.

I still have a small cache of Winchesters, many just once fired, and every 3-4 years I load up a box just for the aromatic hit. Kind of like every once in a while ponying up to that rare bottle of 20-year Talisker
Wet leaves on the ground in the fall. This fall when I went north to hang deer stands I stepped out of the car at 11:30 pm, my first breath was overwhelming, it was the scent of grouse hunting past. I just stood there in the dark taking it in.
To me the smell of Summer is DDT and Fall is cotton bales in the Depot warehouse.
Federal Monarchs, 20 gauge, 7.5, 2.75 inch, paper. Ahhhhh!!!! I remember it so well from 50+ years ago. So well in fact that I hunted preserve quail, chukar, and pheasant in Oklahoma two weeks ago with Federal Gold Medal ( I think that is what they were called), 7.5's and 8's, but in 12. Not only did they perform adequately in my BSS SL, they were the hit of the day with the other two hunters wanting to "smell my empties" after each shoot!!! But like someone said earlier, the smell, although wonderful, is still not quite what it was over 50 years ago to an aspiring teenaged hunter. Thank to the originator of this thread and other contributors for these excellent memories of a youth well spent in the hunting fields and woods. I only wish my grandchildren could experience it, but I think they probably never will, at least not to the extent I did.
By the way, can someone point me to a good source of paper shells in 20???
RST sells a nice 20 gauge 'Paper Lite' in 2-1/2".
Thanks Roundsworth!! I'll look them up.
That musky smell of a canvas vest that has been stored for a season, the smell of fresh mown hay at the opening day of dove season, the smell of bird dogs after they have run all day and you take them out of their box after a days hunt, my grandmother's smothered quail and biscuits while you still had the sent of Hope's #9 on your hands from cleaning the L C Smith 20 that your father got from Santa in 1938 when he was 12, and the smell of a spring bream bed: best described by my long time hunting and fishing companion, MLC, III as " fish pussy"
Got a box of old paper hulls from my grandpa the other day.

How well I know the smell of bream beds on the "first full moon in April", Tyler.

Milrob, I shot almost a box of those exact shells at late season doves about 10 weeks ago. Purple, too.

Full moon in April here is the prime time for shell crackers. My son and I caught 52 on our fly rods in about an hour and a half Easter Sunday afternoon last year. " Blue Pissers" are generally best three days before the full moon closest to June first. With two fly rods 100 in a hour is expected.

Check your p.m.s, please.

Tyler, just wondering; what are you pitching on those fly rods? Sinking Wooly-Boogers, popping bugs, roll-casting crickets with a split shot, or pond worms? Inquiring minds want to know...Geo
Posted By: GLS Re: The scent of just fired paper shotgun shells - 02/09/13 03:09 AM
The aroma of hemlock, white pine, mountain laurel, rhododendron, running water over freestone and all else that combine into the unforgetable smell of a North Georgia trout stream in the springtime.
I'd be just pickled tink if I knew what a shell cracker or a blue pisser is. grin Tomorrow I'm butchering hogs. Nothing like the smell and taste of fresh pork in the frying pan. I'll be having mine with hot buttered grits.
Mr. Newburn, as a kid, I frowned on those who use " wet" bugs for bream. (I thought it was cheating) I will admit to admiring those who could roll cast a cricket 70 feet with a small cork. I currently have a pair of 3wt 9 foot Sage RPL's that are my favorite bream rods. I use one with a #10 popper as long as they are biting and then switch to a nymph or other sinking bug. ( the shell crackers seldom hit on top but do like a Goddard Chadis for some reason) Most of the bedding blue gills in out lake are about 12-13 oz. the shellcrackers are bigger ( lake record is 2# 9 oz but that was several years ago when it was fertilized and open to the public. Howell Raines ( whose first wife is a distant cousin of mine) might consider catching 125 bream after work "red neck" fishing but done on a fly rod with plenty of friends and employees that love the fish, I could care less. ( the bream and shell crackers " butterflied" rolled and cornmeal and deep fried are second only to fresh speckled trout in my book) Come to west Alabama three days before any full moon from April on and I will show you what I am talking about!
JRB, a shellcracker is a large member of the sunfish family also known as a red ear bream. They have teeth designed to crush snails and small mussels. They are generally bigger than blue gills and fight much harder but generally only bed once a year unlike blue gills which bed. Every full moon ( and to a lesser degree on the new moon) all summer long. A " blue pisser" is a male blue gill that guards the nest or bed. It is far more aggressive and is caught in great numbers over the "bed". Perhaps they give it the smell that I referred to earlier. When caught and held while taking out the hook, they will express a stream or urine that is amazing.
JBL, fresh pork liver is in a class by itself. Do y'all eat chitterlings out west?
Tyler, you are a fisherman!...Geo
Posted By: tw Re: The scent of just fired paper shotgun shells - 02/09/13 08:11 AM
The classic modern work on scent is perhaps Tom Robbins, "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues";-)

On bream, artificial terrestrials like the large black ants found in the piney woods or rubber spiders have always worked very well for me on the fly rod, but nothing beats a grey cricket w/a single split shot crimped about 7" from the hook on a long cane pole w/the line near the same length as the pole. I picked up [caught] a double hand sized red-ear a few weeks back on a tiny beetle spin using an ultralite rig w/#2 line. Good fun. Let it go back for the breeding season as it was a loner. I was suprised to have even caught it in Jan. Was mostly killing some time on a nice enough day in E. TX.

That old combination of Hoppes #9 & recently spent paper hulls is a hard one to beat. BTW, Federal does still use paper wound base wads in at least two of their hulls, their classic paper hull bunker trap loads & the Top Guns, the latter having plastic hulls. I'm pretty sure they do the same with the paper hulled normal 32 gram ATA trap loads too, but have not purchased any lately, so can't speak to that in the present. BTW, the Top Guns do not emit the correct scent, but do have the same wound paper base wad. That leaves one w/the conclusion that the scent comes from the waxed paper tube .. probably as it burns those tiny pin holes just above the brass. I have intended for years to throw some of those old spent pin holed paper tubed hulls on a camp fire & see if they give off any similar odor to having been fired, but never seem to have gotten around to doing so. Aside from having 'that' smell, both of the aforementioned hulls make for soft shooting reloads as can the B&P hulls which are minus any scent factor w/their Gordon system plastiqe base wads.
Posted By: GLS Re: The scent of just fired paper shotgun shells - 02/09/13 12:11 PM
tw, my alltime favorite bream fly for bedding fish, "titty bream", (Stan knows what I'm talking about) is a black Wooley Bugger tied on a lightwire cricket hook. There's a little springfed pond near the Ogeechee River near Rocky Ford. The prime beds are underneath the willows which extend roots through the beds. The cricket hook would catch and hold big fish if I did my job. If the fly snagged on the roots, a steady tug would open the gap and release the root. I didn't have to break off or get close to free the fly which would disturb the beds. The farm changed ownership and I don't have access any longer. It was one of the best bream ponds I've ever fished.
Originally Posted By: Tyler
JBL, fresh pork liver is in a class by itself. Do y'all eat chitterlings out west?

We strip them out, scrape them, turn them inside out, wash them, then stuff them with pork sausage. I never peel the casing off of my fried sausage so yep I guess you could say that we eat them only in a different way from you Southern guys. The liver gets boiled, ground fine and mixed with either ground sow belly or jowl and stuffed in casings for liver sausage. Damn I'm getting hungry just talking about it. smile
Try slicing the fresh pork liver about a 1/4 inch thick, coat it lightly with flour, and lightly satue it in the grease left after you cook three slices of bacon. Do not cook it past medium rare and eat with the bacon. You may find it too good to boil for sasuage!
The warm, sharp smell of bull elk musk in black timber at daylight!
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