First time reloading, now I have more questions


February 10, 2013, 04:38 PM
So I finally got around to getting the components together, following a recipe, and made 50 shells of #1 buck with my Lee Load All 2. Specifically the recipe came from The Complete Reloading Manual for the 12 Gauge Shotshell, from the Lyman data section:

Federal Plastic Hunting Cases, Paper Basewad, Fold Crimp
Federal 209A primer
SR 4756 powder, 28.5 grains
One Win. WAA12R
16 pellets of #1 buck

I may not have gotten the right shells for this. I don't really know how to tell the difference in basewads, but I'm pretty sure that crimp isn't how it's supposed to be. (I should have probably stopped after the first one and asked...hmmm....)
I ordered pre-primed federal hulls and I got an off-brand that is supposed to replace the Win. WAA12R, but it's the hull (especially the crimp) I'm worried about.

So my first question is, did I do something wrong? Or is this how these are supposed to look? Nothing moves inside the shell, but I'm still worried that maybe these shells were designed for a roll crimp or something.

I have a couple other questions as well...
2) Is it safe to leave the powder in the load all, or should I clean it out every time? I have it actually bolted to my pseudo-workbench instead of a board and clamp system like everyone else uses.
3) When the powder got low, I noticed it wasn't feeding very well, but there are probably a few shells that got very little powder. Is there any danger to having an extremely low-power load in a shotgun?

I'm starting to think maybe I should just stick to using factory ammunition. I'm not much of a do-it-yourselfer.

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February 10, 2013, 04:52 PM
Definately the wrong wad for those cases.
The shot cup petals should come clear up the shell to just below the crimp.

Yes, you need to dump the powder each time you get done using the loader.
Powder will etch into the clear plastic hopper and discolor it.
Heaven knows what it does to the powder.

Yes, there is a definate risk in shooting shells with not enough powder in them.

You will get "bloopers" and possibly a wad stuck in the bore.
The next shot will bulge the barrel.


February 10, 2013, 05:18 PM
Ok. I'm just sticking with factory ammo. I've learned my lesson. Let people who know what they're doing do stuff, and not waste my time and money trying to do it myself.

Which brings me to my next problem: what do I do with all this stuff?

February 10, 2013, 07:35 PM
What do I do with all this stuff?

3 solutions come to mind....

• Find a local shotgun club (a "trap or skeet club") and go to their next meeting. Someone will be able to ID the components and take that stuff off your hands.

• You can find out exactly what each piece is and then place a free ad in the For Sale section of this board. The primers and powder are not legal to ship without extra fees.

• By the time you positively ID all the components in order to sell them, you'll be able to ID the exact problem component and get it fixed.

February 10, 2013, 07:41 PM
I wouldn't give up unless there are other reasons.

Reloading is a wonderful hobby and a great way for accurate and reliable ammo.

Now, if you are just not quite into it, go ahead and sell it. Just don't let a minor problem/mistake discourage you.

I think all reloaders have those moments and hurdles. I certainly have them.

I once loaded 200 9mm without resizing them! I still have those bullets. It reminds me to slow down, think it through, and work for quality over quantity.

February 10, 2013, 08:32 PM
You're right, I shouldn't give up quite yet. Okay...I'm pretty sure it's the hulls. How do I find out exactly what hull I'm looking at...especially when ordering the parts online? Specifically this recipe (and since I have all the other parts for it, I might as well get the same hull) calls for federal plastic hunting cases, paper basewad, fold crimp.

February 10, 2013, 09:12 PM
Almost looks like a 2 3/4" recipe inside a 3 or 3.5 inch hull....

Shotshell loading isn't too complicated, but it is very important to use the exact hull and wad specified in the recipe. That ensures that not only the load pressure will be in the safe range, but also that the listed components will fit properly in the hull and allow for a proper crimp. I would start with either Remington STS or Winchester AA hulls, 2.75 inch as you can always find a recipe for them. You should be able to find once-fired hulls available online. I would not buy any hulls unless it it were described exactly what brand and size they are, and you know you have a recipe suitable for them. If you are buying new-production hulls like BPI, it's probably best to use their recipes (and probably their wads) designed specifically for their hulls.

February 10, 2013, 09:20 PM
May I offer a couple of suggestions?

This worked for me when I started out with reloading

1. Buy 3 manuals and reread several times.

2. Find a Mentor.

Arkansas Paul
February 10, 2013, 09:22 PM
Yes, you need to dump the powder each time you get done using the loader.
Powder will etch into the clear plastic hopper and discolor it.

It darn sure will. Come take a look at my Uniflow if you don't believe that. :banghead:

February 10, 2013, 09:23 PM
+1 on a mentor. Mine was local game warden when I was a kid. Nothing like learning from someone who knows at least the basics.

February 10, 2013, 09:56 PM
Each shotshell recipe will indicate what hull and other relative components, primers, shot cards, ect. are needed. Certain hulls, shot weights, shot type, wads, and primers must be matched to each other, or who knows what could happen, maybe a KB? Shotshell loading is actually a very simple process when the recipe is followed accordingly.


February 10, 2013, 11:10 PM
Ifish, they are 2 3/4 inch hulls. At least on the box. Like I said, though, the recipe called for a paper basewad. The shot wads that I used were supposed to be a replacement for the one in the recipe, so I don't think that was the issue (well, in combination maybe).

Don't really have too many options for mentors. Only person I know that reloads isn't someone who's knowledge I trust.

Like I said, the recipe has the description. I just can't find that good of a description for the hulls I find online. I'd prefer to stay away from once-fired hulls if I can, I think pre-primed factory hulls are simpler (and then I don't need to find primers). I'd prefer to order online what I can, and if the primers are in the hull there's no hazmat fee.

February 11, 2013, 08:12 AM
If I were in your shoes, I'd put a post here on THR for someone that can show/teach you within a days drive. A day's worth of driving is better than a lifetime of needing someone else to open the pickle jar.

February 11, 2013, 09:48 AM
Wgaynor has it right - find a mentor. That's all you need. Don't give it up just because you had a bad day of loading.

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