confusion about shotgun reloading

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by coondogger, Oct 14, 2020.

  1. coondogger

    coondogger Member

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    I don't shoot skeet or trap so I've never reloaded shotshells. I only reload rifle and pistol. However, I've been thinking about reloading shotshells lately. I've started with reading. And therein lies the problem. The more I read, the more confusing this becomes. For instance, what's the deal with hulls? I notice Hodgdon lists by shell; 12GA, 2 2/3" Winchester compression formed AA and HS plastic shells. But how do you identify as shell as such? Secondly, the subject of bushings is pretty obscure as well. If you have a MEC press, for instance, the powder charges (in grams) often seem to fall in between bushing sizes. And so on. None of the books I have seem to shed any light on these matters.
     
  2. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    Hulls have different construction. Some are straight some taper the reason for different wadding. Al the different waddings are specific for powder/shot combos. Also this creates different volumes where the powder rides. With shotgun you need to follow the loads as listed. Since all these are designed to give you a particular stack height for the crimp. As far as bushing for the MEC, I have a bunch of them. As with all there are small variations so you should verify the drop with your scales. They do make adj charge bars which allow you to dial the loads in. If your using a Ball powder there is a small copper washer that can be installed to prevent powder leakage. You need to mach the primer listed too.

    I started loading shotgun shells when I was 12 yrs old. Have two MEC 600 Jr presses that I have not used in years, setup for 12 and 20ga.
     
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  3. jaguarxk120

    jaguarxk120 Member

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    Unless you load 28 or 410 gauges you will not save any money.
    In 12 or 20 gauge special loadings that factory's do not supply will save you money.
    Other wise just buy your shell over the counter. To save any money you will have to buy components
    in very large quanity's. That is powder in 8 pound containers, wads 5000 at one time, and lead as much as you can afford.
    Primers 5000 at a time. how much you will save , hard to tell.
     
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  4. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Using the same bushing- A 600 jr will drop more powder then a progressive unit. The lever is pulled many times before the powder drops on a 600 jr. A progressive is 1 lever pull. Shotgun powder like 700X, 800X, Reddot, Unique will drop more powder as it settles in the bushing with the 600 jr then the progressive.

    Use the lower powder charge. (Grains).

    Note that some combinations of the same components will have 3 different powder charges, producing different velociities.

    Mag shot is harder & lighter weight per pellet then chilled shot. Antimony makes mag shot stay rounder on firing, tighter patterns.
     
  5. George P

    George P Member

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    Win AAs and Remington hulls are tapered inside. Federal and Euro hulls are straight-walled. Thus they use different wads. Unlike metallic, primers need to be matched to the load and hull. Both Alliant and Hodgdon has the recipes.
    Pick a load you want to reload - example, 1-1/8oz lead; on their sites you will check the hull you have and then you will get the wads, primers, powders for the load at the velocity you want.

    MEC bushings are a "close enough" scenario. However, the bushing charts are notoriously off so a scale is necessary. I just ran out of one powder and switched to another. The bushing chart said I needed number 27 to drop the powder charge I was looking for; however, the scale showed it to be light and the proper bushing was a number 30
     
  6. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Good advice. Shot by the skid*. Drop shipped. :confused:


    The Winchester AA hulls have changed many times over the years. So has data and wads. I have a 30 gal drum of outdated wads.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2020
  7. George P

    George P Member

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    Or, you go to your local trap/skeet club and order a lot. My old club took orders for reloading components. Those were shipped on the truckload of targets so no shipping and no hazmat fees.
     
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  8. dcarr

    dcarr Member

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    12 years old? That's about when I was reloading 12 gauge, reloading was the only way i could afford to hunt dove. That was about 60 years ago, looking through these comments either the reloading has changed dramatically or I have forgotten or both. I'm not about to restart loading shotguns again, pistols is enough. :)
     
  9. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

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    Definitely stick to the published load data for the hulls that you are using, stick with the primers and wads they list for the particular hull you use.

    I haven't messed with reloading 12 gauge in years since I don't shoot enough. I still reload all of my 410 shells since there is a definite cost savings in doing so. I reload either #6 or #7 1/2 shot for hunting along with 000 buckshot for HD use.
     
  10. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    I'm 58 years young = 46 yrs ago, so I started young like you. Started handgun and rifle around 22.

    Back to topic in hand.

    It's going to be hard to re-coupe the investment needed to load shotgun. Shop for used equipment you have a better chance at getting a complete setup with hulls, wadding as someone getting out. Unless your doing heavy loads, buckshot, slugs. The only thing I load for now is my 20 ga, 1 oz #6 & #4.
     
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  11. crestoncowboy

    crestoncowboy Member

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    You aren't alone. I've hand loaded for most of my life. I've "started" to load shotgun about that whole time but after reading and studying.....ive always decided that shotgun shells just aren't that expensive. Lol. Different presses for different shell length. Incompatible wad and hull..... ive just never jumped into it. Likely never will
     
  12. George P

    George P Member

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    A lot depends on how much you shoot; what type of shooting you do, and especially what bore size your prefer. You don't have to shoot much 28 or 420 to realize substantial savings; you would need to shoot a lot (talking lead shot) in 12 and 20 to realize substantial savings.
     
  13. George P

    George P Member

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    Not any longer; the Universal Charge bars have been discontinued so you will need to look on Ebay or similar for one; same with the great red PC powder baffle.
     
  14. Bill M.

    Bill M. Member

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    You learn to identify the hulls pretty easily. There are no more WAA compression formed hulls made now so unless you buy them used you will not see any. If you are loading target shells you will probably load down in the midrange of the load data and thus have a lot of room for some small variations. MEC bushings are in about 1/2 grain increments and I generally just use the one that is closest. You did not mention it but the shot drop varies with the size and quality of the shot. Some just ignore that. Some ream the bushing a little for a particular kind of shot.
    The biggest thing is component fit. And the load data does not assure that. Shotshell loading is really pretty easy. It is just different from rifle and pistol loading in many ways. Ask on the internet (here or Shotgun world) for some recommendations as to components when you decide what shot weight and velocity you want to load.
    A big issue now might be getting primers.
     
  15. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    When I started loading shot shells in the 1980's, I scrounged any and all hulls I could and bought components to load them. It got to be a pain so I settled on buying the same shot shell ammunition to provide the same hulls for my reloading. Hence, I could buy the same components for reloading. I settled on using only Winchester AA hulls. I'd buy the ammunition by the case and meter new ammunition into my rotation as reloaded hulls failed.

    In today's environment, there are so many more hull/wad/primer choices, I could not imagine trying to reload pick up hulls.

    As a side note, at least the new design 12 ga. 2-3/4" Winchester AA-HS hulls were designed to use the same loading data as the obsolete 12 ga, 2-3/4" Winchester AA hulls.

    28-2-3/4" and .410-2-1/2" Winchester AA-HS are not the same as the obsolete 28-2-3/4" and .410-2-1/2" Winchester AA hulls and use different wads and powder charges.

    That's too bad that the Universal charge bars have been discontinued. While I have three, the only one that I'd use regularly was with my .410 loader. With bushings, I could not get the powder charge of W296 close enough to the recipe amount for my comfort.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2020
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  16. blue32

    blue32 Member

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    What manual are you reading?
     
  17. George P

    George P Member

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    For? If you want load data, look at Alliant or Hodgdon. Lyman has a shotshell book that also covers load data
     
  18. coondogger

    coondogger Member

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    Lyman
     
  19. Barbaroja

    Barbaroja Member

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    Let’s not forget it’s not always about saving money when it comes to any reloading and shotguns are no different.

    For example, making loads that are not available in that particular configuration on the shelf like the 1 1/8 oz #4 loads I use for most of my small game. If you want #4 shot off the shelf, the majority of the time it’s a turkey or pheasant type load that is completely unnecessary for a squirrel or rabbit.

    Another reason Is just having more control over your ammo supply same as metallic reloading.
    You can make shotgun loading very simple or very complicated it’s all up to you. If you haven’t gotten a press yet try and find a pre owned model. There is a lot of money to be saved on a used machine.
     
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  20. blue32

    blue32 Member

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    Lyman 5th ed. page 18, 2nd paragraph for charge bushings. I reload 28 ga on a MEC 600 jr and I faced the same problem for charge weights. It's likely not going to be right on with most given powders but as long as its not over max charge for your list of components it shouldn't be an issue. For the bushing I chose it was maybe .2 gr under the published throw. You'll need to throw several to get an average throw weight for each bushing you're considering for each powder. As far as Win AAHS cases, mine are stamped HS on the side. Hope that helps some.
    IMG_2819.JPG
     
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  21. George P

    George P Member

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    There are TWO AAHS and they are not the same; the first batch sucked; the second has the underline. The bushing chart is merely a guide. You MUST weigh the drops to make sure the bushing is pretty close. I find the chart is typically off by 2 or 3 bushing numbers on the lighter side of things.
     
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  22. Sooner1911

    Sooner1911 Member

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    If you want to make life easy, you can pick a hull/wad powder/ shot/FPS and tell Spolar Power Load and they will set it up your machine and provide you bushings that are made for that load. It is not cheap, but the gauge changes are very easy (about 10 minutes) and it is almost idiot proof. It is true that you will not save much on 12 and 20, but you can quickly make up the cost of the machine if you shoot lots of sub gauge. My bench space is limited and I didn't want multiple MEC machines taking up all my space. Carter Spolar just passed this week, but I can't imagine that Dixie will not keep the business going. I have had excellent service from mine and have tooling for 12, 20, 28, and 410 and it will produce shells that look like factory and I can easily load 300+ shells in an hour.I highly recommend it. Buy once, cry once.

    Regards,

    Kris
     
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  23. Demi-human

    Demi-human Member

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    Spolar Gold. The Maybach of Handloading Presses.
    And priced accordingly. $3627.
    Oh, did you want the dust cover? That’s extra.

    Let the crying commence!:D
     
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  24. George P

    George P Member

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    Since I reload because I am cheap, I'll stick to my MEC Grabber on which I easily 250/hour
     
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