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Reloading Shotgun shells for Trap What to start with and How Much??

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Master Blaster, Dec 11, 2006.

  1. Master Blaster

    Master Blaster Well-Known Member

    Hi all, I have been relaoding rifle and pistol cartridges for about 10 years now and I am well schooled in the pros and cons of doing so. I am starting to get into shooting trap and yesterday I went through 75 Winchester AA shells. So now I am thinking about reloading shotgun shells.

    How much does it cost to produce 25 shells for 12 guage using 1 1/8 ounces of lead shot in no. 8?? I figure I need to buy WADS, shotshell primers, and shot,
    Hulls I can get for free. Do you have to tumble Hulls?? How many reloads can you get out of AA Hulls??

    Does anyone here use a MEC reloader, a basic model and how well does it work?

    Any help you can provide would be great.
  2. ilbob

    ilbob Well-Known Member

    years ago I traded something to someone for a tumbler and a lee shot shell reloader.

    I was not a real serious shotgunner, but I wanted the tumbler and wanted to get rid of something in exchange for it, and the shot shell reloader came with it.

    After looking at the economics, I came to the conclusion it was cheaper to just buy shells when they are on sale. never used the shot shell reloader. Of course things may have changed in the ensuing 15+ years. back then it seemed only practical to reload shot shells if you could get recovered shot from a trap range which was pretty cheap, compared to buying new.
    the only range in the area that had recovered shot for sale only sold it to members and I was uninterested in joining.

  3. nitesite

    nitesite Well-Known Member

    It's my belief that the bargain ammo sold for cheap can never perform as well as reloads made from good components. Soft shot and generally basic wads are all I've found in the low-priced stuff, which I like to think affects patterning. So it's worth my time to crank some reloads out using STS hulls, figure 8 wads, Clays or Red Dot, and good hard shot. Even if making a box of 25 costs me the same as what some cheap budget line sold thru X-Marts costs.

    Do you need to tumble hulls? Most definitely not.

    AA hulls are not as good as Remington STS, unless you find some red ones from a few years ago. The newer ones are two-piece plastic.
  4. Steve C

    Steve C Well-Known Member

    Your components not counting the case will run you around 14 cents a round. You can buy 100 loaded shells at Walmart for $16 bucks after you add tax. So you can save $2 per 100 or about 50 cents a box of 25 if you hand load. You can get your component cost down if you buy shot by the ton, primers by 10K case, and wads in 5 to 10K lots. That may push the saving up to $1 to $1.50 a box.

    The MEC loaders work great. Still have my MEC JR. Haven't loaded a shotshell for 15 years on it though. Don't shoot trap any more and at the current prices its not worth my time to load for hunting quail that where trap loads anyway.
  5. nitesite

    nitesite Well-Known Member

    SteveC knows what he's doing and certainly makes a valid point. You have to want to do it and not mind the initial startup cost, the time involved, and you'll probably not see a break-even point for many years.

    If you think it's fun then think about starting. You won't see a big savings but might see a slight improvement in patterns.
  6. snuffy

    snuffy Well-Known Member

    Nitesite and Steve C pretty much covered it. I'd add that the advantages of handloading shotgun are the same as loading rifle and handgun ammo. You can taylor the loads to your particular shot gun. And the same goes for buying in bulk, 8 pounders of powder, wads come in 5,000 boxes, so do primers. Otherwise, as said you will only save $.50 per box as compared to the bargain basement price leader shells at wally world.

    Lead prices are way up, so shot is getting pretty high. The AA, gold medal and STS shells are all loaded with the magnum shot. It is high in antimony content so it resists deformation during acceleration better, no dimples from adjoining shot in the shotcup. It costs more per bag, but is well worth the extra $.

    Some trap/skeet/sporting clays ranges have a place where you can put up a big sheet of paper to pattern test your loads. It takes some time, but the results can be a real eye opener. A change in a half grain of powder or a different wad can make a big difference. Todays choke tubes can be switched easily, so the actual pattern size and consistancy can be seen on paper. No more guessing.
  7. nitesite

    nitesite Well-Known Member

    Snuffy mentioned something that I meant to cover. I mentioned STS hulls and Figure 8 wads because I really like shooting Premier STS and Premier Nitro quality shells.

    With those components plus (like snuffy said) hard shot I can make them for close to the price of the ultra-cheap stuff. Around these parts, new Remington Premier STS and Nitro Gold/Sporting Clays ammunition is $5.47 a box plus tax, so it's very close to six bucks per 25 rounds.

    I'm saving a whole lot more than $.25~$.50 per box if you consider what I'm manufacturing. More like $3.00/box! :) I've got 1000 Nitro Gold once fired hulls and 2500 Figure-8 wads and I think I'm saving a bundle. ;)

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