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Mec Jr 600, What Do I Need To Know?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by slowr1der, Jul 8, 2017.

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  1. slowr1der

    slowr1der Member

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    I purchased a Mec Jr 600 at an auction today for $20. I've been a rifle and pistol reloader for years, but I've never done any shotshell reloading. I probably shoot 4 boxes total per year, so it's just not worth it to me. However, at this price I decided to pick it up. Thy advertised it as for a 16 gauge, although I don't really see any markings on it other than on one of the "die" parts. It says 721-16. Does this look like a 16 gauge version? I know the photos I got are pretty lousy, but does it look complete? Anything else I need to buy? Anything that I need to know about using it, or any advice on how to use it safely? Where is the best place for shotshell reloading data? I probably should have bought the 12 gauge version as well, but it went for a bit more.
     

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  2. dredd

    dredd Member

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    MEC is a great place to start looking.
    They still support and have parts for presses going waaaay back.
    They also have diagrams and manuals.

    I have one from the 80's that is still going strong. (I actually have four presses) LOL
    They are simple and they work great.

    Hodgdon has a great loading book. It used to be FREE. I'm not sure if that stands.
    There are other manuals out there as well.

    I haven't loaded shot shells in awhile due to the price of lead.
    I also don't get to play shotgun games as much as I used to.

    If you shoot 410 or 28/g you can still save a small fortune reloading.
    Maybe even 16/g. I haven't seen what they go for.

    Shot Shells MUST be loaded EXACTLY per the "book".
    You should NOT tinker with them the way we do with our Rifles & Pistols.

    Hope this helps.

    At $20.00 You hit a Home Run.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2017
  3. Hokie_PhD

    Hokie_PhD Member

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    Congrats.
    Nice score
    I'm a bit jealous as I picked up one last year but it needs the bottles and depriming. And I paid $5 more than you. I haven't got to using it yet so can't help you except to say that MEC has anything you need, contact them and you can get the parts.

    One thing I can tell you is that with a little cleaning you can get that press looking like new. I took mine apart, used some RemOil to clean all the dirt and to lube it, I also used the aluminum foil and diet soda truck to clean up any rust on the shiny parts. I'd suggest you do the same. If you do you'll find a few hours doing that will amaze you.

    As for the 16 gauge. I'm not sure what parts you need but MEC can help you. Call them. Or better yet, it seems like a great excuse to pick up a 16 gauge shotgun! Then another press. Gotta love the vicious circle.

    All kidding aside...

    One thing you probably know but just a reminder, shotgun reloading is a bit different than rifle and pistol, so read up on it. The loads are very specific and the processes are nothing like we do. Like you I don't shoot much shotgun, but I plan to in the future and loading is going to be part of the equation.
     
  4. Steve51

    Steve51 Member

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    West Union, IL
    I have two MEC Jr's (one for 20 gauge & one for 12 gauge) and function very reliably for the price. You have to match the charge bar and bushings for the amount of shot and the amount of powder you wish to drop in each shell. You also have to match the wad to the load you are using.

    Most powder manufacturers have some loading data for shotgun reloading. It is very important to follow the load information. Amount of shot, amount of powder, type of wad, and type of primer. It is not a mix or match proposition.

    MEC should have information on their charge bars and bushings.
     
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  5. JimKirk

    JimKirk Member

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    I have the same press and I have loaded ten of thousands of 20 gauge shotshells on mine ....

    Shotshell reloading is BY THE RECIPE ONLY.... Follow it to the T ....

    Your press is a pre 1983 model I almost certain ... there are a few parts that are different than post 1983 models ...MEC has parts for them ....
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2017
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  6. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    Good find,

    I've owned a MEC 600 Jr since the 70's, good presses. There are probably a few items missing, things to check for.

    1. There are 2 crimp starters, 6 point and 8 point.
    2. There should be a very small bevell shaped brass washer under the powder dispenser, rides on the charge bar. This is for using fine ball powders and flake powders. Most flake powders to not require it, but it prevents any powder leakage.
    3. Check the condition of the rubber seals against the charge bar, powder and shot. These eventually get hard and start breaking up.
    4. The charge bar is marked as to what size shot load it is. Then there are bushings for the powder charge. Just like in metalic loading the bushing sized must be checked to confirm proper charge. Most read light so. These days you can by an adjustable charge bar and don't have to worry about all the bushings. The last time I bought some they were $4 each.

    You can download the manual that covers the setup and operation. Like others have said you have to follow the recipe for shot gun shells. This is mainly due to the fact that there is preloading done to the wadding. If the stack is not right you will have nothing but problems with the crimp. You will need to separate your hulls, some are tapered at the base others are not.
     
  7. sbwaters

    sbwaters Contributing Member

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    Location:
    Rome, NY
    Just remember there is a difference between a MEC 600, Jr. and a MEC 600, Jr. Mark 5. The Marc 5 is newer and some parts are different. Both work fine.
     
  8. X-Ring

    X-Ring Member

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    Location:
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    The press has the old style wad fingers, so it is defiantly a pre 1983 model. It also appears to have the 8 point crimp starter installed, you may need the 6 point. The priming base is present and that is frequently missing because it is only held in place by gravity. A little clean up and a few small parts and you will have a like new press.The charge bar will have a number on the end, something like 302 above 100. The 302 is for single stage presses and the 100 means it is a 1 once shot drop. If instead of 100 it has a 118 it will drop 1 and 1/8 oz of shot. And so on. You did good.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2017
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  9. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Member

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    I've got two. Paid $20 for one at a pawn shop. $10 for second at a yard sale, no bottles!!
    One is pre'82, other post. I plan to eventually convert one to .410, other to 28, but haven't because nearest skeet range closed. I haven't shot more than 50shot shells a year in over a dozen years. What I do are either slugs, buckshot or bumblebee loads.
    I've got 200+lbs of shot I probably need to sell on consignment, considering what it sells for today...
     
  10. Wis-Harpo

    Wis-Harpo Member

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    From your picture it looks like the priming body is only partially there. There needs to be a top round piece with a hole in the center that rides on a spring in the priming cup. It centers the primer and like I said rides up and down in the priming cup. Google MEC Engineering and that site will explain a lot. You can get loads on the Alliantpowder.com an the IMRpowder.com site. Just select shotgun reloading, and then which shotgun hull you have, and then the shot charge weight, then which powder you have. Then hit get data, and bingo you have a bunch of loads with different wads and powder charge weights. I also have a MEC 600 Jr I got in about 1975. I just got a MEC Grabber progressive press back this spring, that I gave my son in about 1989 to get my 600 Jr back from him back then. I now have the 600 Jr set up for 20 gauge, and the Grabber set up for 12 gauge. I have 2 bags of #8 shot and 2 bags of #9 shot and 3 partial bags that I got in 1996 when the Radiological Lab I was working in shut down. The shot was used in a radiological sample containment vessel. It was double walled with 2 inches between the walls. It was about 2 foot square with a pipe plug to fill and empty the shot. It was never used, and I didn't bother to empty it because lead shot was cheap then.
     
  11. entropy

    entropy Member

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    You got a great deal! Wis-Harpo is right you are missing the top 'plate' for the priming unit, can't see if the spring is in there or not. Actually, the 16 ga. one is better to have, they are more expensive off the shelf, you'll be saving more money reloading your 16's!
    Good advice in the previous posts, follow load data exactly, Alliant for load data, etc. Good luck!
     
  12. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    Of course, there is a list of other things you will need. I am looking at that right now, projecting use of 2 1/2 cases a year for my SASS match schedule.

    Hulls come primed but you will need primers for reloads.
    Shotguns only use only regular or magnum primers, all gauges.
    Shot - probably #8, maybe 7 1/2 for sporting
    Powder - lower velocity pointed me to Alliant Extra Lite and Ramshot Competition. Hodgdon Clays loads run warmer.
    Wad columns, aka wads
    Overshot cards
    Buffer
    Wads - CB1100-12 or Win WAA12SL for ExtraLite or Competition or WAALite...GU1225 for Clays

    Gonna review my book to see if I missed anything. Okay, I should note that buffer, overshot cards, and a dipper are only used to pack buckshot.

    The load I will be trying to duplicate, depending on powder availability is the WIn AA 26 gm, 980 fps (low recoil) load favored by CAS shooters. That would ideally be 12.0 gr of WAALIte.

    p.s. WAALite must be a thing of the past, so I ordered Alliant Extra-Lite and W209 Primers.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
  13. MRH

    MRH Member

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    Lyman's Shotshell manual is worth buying.
     
  14. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    As a note, the MEC 600jr can be changed to another gauge. It is not difficult but not something that you would want to do frequently. The 600jr is inexpensive enough that most folks loading multiple gauges with a 600jr buy multiple presses. It may be less expensive to shop for another used loader in another gauge as opposed to buying the needed change parts from MEC.

    I have four 600jr's, one each for 12, 20, and 28 gauges as well as .410 bore. I got them when I was shooting competitive skeet.

    Another thing to keep in mind, the powder bushings can add up in cost if you decide to experiment with different powders. There is a universal, adjustable charge bar available for the MEC loaders that allows you to dial in the desired powder charge. Just make sure you get the one for the 600jr as not all MEC loaders use the same design charge bar.
     
  15. PaFrank

    PaFrank Member

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    You will see them pretty regularly on the Goodwill website and they usually go really cheap.. you can probably pick up another in 12 gauge for less than the cost of a new conversion kit.
     
  16. Bull Nutria

    Bull Nutria Member

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    Location:
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    Those plastic shot and powder bottles are old and probably very brittle. If brittle they are famous for splitting and spilling your shot all over the place. give the bottles a squeeze test if they are pliable they will be ok but usually when squeezed they crack easily.Spilled shot is a major PIA. When you mount your press place in a flat baking pan . The shallow lip on the pan will keep your spill shot contained. You will tip a shell or spill shot eventually.

    The shotgun world forum has a reloading subforum, experts there can answer all mec reloader questions.

    Usually Gamaliel's Supply usually has Mec parts and bushings cheaper than MEC!!

    Bull
     
  17. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    I own several presses as well. It is much better to buy a press for each gauge than to convert it back and forth as it takes a lot of time/fiddling to fine tune. Not at all like metallic reloading die changes. All my presses are used and I did not pay much for any of them. Ballistic Products INC (bpi.com) has parts/inexpensive conversion kits, as well as wads/shot/info etc.

    Brain fart. RealGun has the correct site below. Thanks.:thumbup:
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2017
  18. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    I believe that would be http://www.ballisticproducts.com/
     
  19. eastbank

    eastbank Member

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    better to look for a used 650 grabber, even at a 100.00 its a much better press. and 4-5x faster. if i was shooting 4-5 boxes ayear i,d stop at walmart and buy a bulk 100 round pack for 20-21 dollars. but thats just me. eastbank.
     
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