Guess I'll start reloading 12ga


October 12, 2003, 06:08 PM
Life was full of surprises today, Chiefs beat Green Bay :D and my wife told me someone had a reloader for sale - she usually keeps stuff like that a secret :rolleyes:
'Bout midway through the game she said "Do you have a 12ga shotgun?"
"Got four or five of 'em"
A friend had called her and said her neighbor was having a garage sale and had a 12ga reloader for sale. Game ended and I went over to see if he still had it, he did.
Bought a MEC 600JR; came with one charge bar & bushing, six bags of wads, half a bag of #8 shot, one box of primers for $25. Had to take the three drawer dresser it was attached to also.
I've been reloading for handgun and rifle for a few years now but never thought I shot enough shotgun to justify buying reloading equipment for it.
Haven't taken time to read through all the literature yet, any suggestions on what else I may need?
Noticed load data using Unique, that's great because I can use it for pistol too if it's a good choice for shot shells.

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Mike Irwin
October 12, 2003, 06:17 PM
Unique is an old standard for shotshells. In fact it may have started life primarily as a shotshell powder, but I'm not sure about that.

It's not the cleanest powder in the world, but that's not as much of a consideration in a shotgun unless you have one that has a particularly fiddly gas system, or it's hard to disassemble for cleaning.

I've used many, many pounds of Red Dot over the years for 12 gauge and have never had problems with it not being the cleanest powder on the face of the earth, either.

There are several good books on shotshell loading, including one I believe by Lee; one of them would be an excellent investment.

October 12, 2003, 06:30 PM
$25 and you came home with all that?
Your wife even told you about this?
Either your one lucky man, or your wife hasn't shared the total tally of the last shopping spree
You did well. Mec has great service and will ship pronto. How are you set for powder and shot bottles. I'd check the parts diagram and inspect the Mec , piddly stuff like grommets for charge bars, screws , etc.

Yep, gonna be reloading 12 ga it seems.

October 12, 2003, 06:39 PM
I've also got a 600 Jr, and the best add-on I've ever found for it was an adjustable charge bar. Getting the right combination of powder, wads, and the right amount of shot can be a little tricky, but once you've got the load you want, you're in business.

October 12, 2003, 07:10 PM
Get yourself a Lyman Shotshell Reloading Manual. It's the best one out there. As you will learn from the intro chapters, shotshell reloading is a whole diferent kettle of fish from rifle/pistol reloading. Hull, primer, and wad choices are interactive. You need to follow the recipes carefully.

That said, it's great fun and much cheaper than store-bought.


October 12, 2003, 09:06 PM
Agree with facedown.
Both on choice of book and readin all the stuff in front.
In fact, suggest readin it several times.
Maby even keep it in the terlit for a while.

Kinda like DCOE Webbers, whatever you change, changes all else.


October 12, 2003, 10:15 PM
I've got Modern Reloading by Lee, I knew there was a section on shotgun but haven't read it.
Looks like the adjustable charge bar might be the way to go. If I use bushings, how many do I need to buy?
Looking through load data on a couple of websites (at work, don't have my reloading books) I haven't seen anything about loading buckshot, there a reason for this or have I been looking in the wrong places?

October 12, 2003, 11:11 PM
The number of bushings you need depends on the number of loads you iwll be experimenting with.......if you change the shot charge wight the powder weight could change too.As in metallic,the manual will show some overlapping loads.
Buckshot doesn't feed through measures very well but can be loaded by placing 'em in by hand if the manuals have loads for em.
The adjustable shot/powder bar will pay for itself in bushings not needed and less aggravation getting the charges "just right".
Y0u won't save a ton of money on shotshells,but i's and enjoyable pasttime anyway.
STS seems to be the favored hull for reloading.The Aa's have gone through a change lately and I hear reports of the base wads separating and plugging barrels and chokes.Hope Win. fixes this.
For TONS of info on shotshells/powders/etc, try

Have fun and load safely.

October 13, 2003, 06:31 PM
Also, as a second reference, I heartily recommend "ABC's of Shotshell Reloading". Available at your local Barne's and Noble's.
Lots of low end handgun powders are shotgun favorites. The medium handgun powders are usually shotgun field powders, and the faster end of handgun "magnum' powders are shotshell magnum powders for slugs, buckshot and heavy turkey loads.

October 14, 2003, 01:04 AM
Can standard "low-brass" trap hulls be used for buckshot and slugs?

October 14, 2003, 06:26 AM
Who makes the adjustable charge bar? Couldn't find it on MEC's website.

October 15, 2003, 01:14 PM
It's brought to you by the Shooting Chrony folks.

I find the adjustable bars aren't as consistent as the fixed bars and bushings. They're fine for a few boxes of hunting loads, but I use the fixed bars for trap loads. Small charges of flake powder are the real problem, as the powder hole doesn't center under the bottle, and the powder has to turn a corner to fill the bar. I'm not convinced the baffles are beneficial either.


October 15, 2003, 04:36 PM
I've loaded many thousands of rounds of 12-ga target loads using 700-X powder. It burns clean and I was able to buy it cheap in 12-pound kegs . . . which was nice, as 700-X is a good powder for loading many pistol rounds, too. (.32ACP, 9mm & .45 ball duplication, plus target loads in .38 & .357)

Be sure you use a scale to check the weight of the powder and shot being dropped - don't trust the markings on the bushings to be exact.

Otherwise, the only caution is to try loading EXACTLY per the recipe in a reliable source, cross-checked if possible with another reference. Shotguns operate at much lower pressures than most metallic cartridges, and attempting to "work up" a load may get you into trouble before any sign of excess pressure is recognized.

For $25, you got a deal. ;)

October 15, 2003, 05:01 PM
Can standard "low-brass" trap hulls be used for buckshot and slugs?
Yes. I use Remington Gun Club hulls found in the cheap $3 WalMart ammo to make slugs and buckshot. I've also used the Federal Hi-power hulls found in their WalMart bulk packs.
The height of the brass makes no difference. Only the internal volume of the hull (which is determined comparatively by the hull type and brand) matters.

October 15, 2003, 05:14 PM
I noticed when comparing the bushing charts the came with the loader and the chart in the Hodgdon book that the predicted loads differed by a couple tenths of a grain using a particular bushing. Of course I'll double check with scales but is a couple tenths enough to make a difference?
I've got some Win AA hulls coming, happen to have a pound of Hodgdon Clays. Got 500 Claybuster AAA12 wads that came with the loader, think I'll try loading a few that way using #5 shot. (loader only came with one charge bar, a 1 1/8 oz.)
In the deal I also got three bags of Win AAA12R wads. From what I've seen in the data these would be for heavy loads, correct?

October 16, 2003, 04:20 PM
Yup. They've got almost no cushion section compared to wads in the 1-1/8 oz range that we normally see for heavy trap and medium field loads. I find very few loads for the WAA12R's around, and mostly use them for buckshot, myself.

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