Shotgun Reloading?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by DustyGmt, Aug 10, 2021.

  1. DustyGmt

    DustyGmt Member

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    How much economical sense does it make to reload for shotshells. I am having trouble finding shotshells at the moment and the loads I think I like are generally not available even when I can find ammo. I generally see HV #7.5 @1250+ and I would like #8.5-#9 @1150-1175. I was able to shoot a few boxes a member loaded and really took a shine to them.

    I would make do with anything between #7.5-#8 but one more reason to reload would be to tailor loads to my liking but the primary reason is I would like to just have a simple setup that would enable me to load what I would need for weekly shoots. How much would it cost to get set up, rough estimate? Any tips or advice on what to look for, one system better than the other? Is it even recommended right now with the status quo on ammo and reloading supplies or does shotshell reloading fly under the radar enough that it would be a worthwhile endeavor?

    Just rapping, any thoughts?
     
  2. The Glockodile

    The Glockodile Member

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    Interested in replies, watching this thread...
     
  3. John Joseph

    John Joseph Member

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    When shells were cheap and plentiful at Wallyworld, it didn't make much sense unless you shot an unusual gauge like 10, 16, 410 or 28.
    These days it makes a lot more sense providing you can find the reloading components.

    It's astounding how much powder it takes to load 12 gauge shells! And how much lead shot...and primers.
     
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  4. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

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    You only really save money when reloading 410 and 28 gauge shells. The advantage of reloading 12 and 20 gauge is that you can tailer your loads for your use. And unless the primer shortage improves, it will be hard to reload and gauge shot shell right now. I just looked at several different vendors such as MidwayUSA, Graf's, Mid South, and Ballistics Product and everyone is out of stock on lead shot too.
     
  5. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    Good luck finding the components, particularly primers .
     
  6. John Joseph

    John Joseph Member

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    For starter presses there's the Lee, and the MEC 600 Junior. The Lee comes with all the goodies for much less than the MEC and many people use them. I like the MEC----they just look more durable----so durable you can find them used at good prices, but not as cheap as a new Lee.
    I bought my MEC out of the trunk of a guy in the parking lot at the Tulare Factory Outlets. It needed parts and that raised the price of admission considerably.
    I should have bought a Lee.
    Either are single action presses and perfect for a couple of boxes a week. Volume shooters will want a progressive press
     
  7. somethingbenign

    somethingbenign Member

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    I find value in reloading shotshell when it comes to my 16ga and 410. The 16 because the variety is generally lax even in good times and the 410 because they cost so much more that 12 and 20 but take next to nothing for power and shot. The other time I find value is when loading nontoxic bismuth hunting loads for 12 and 20. My buddy loads 28 and his reasons are the same as mine for the 16 and 410. 12ga trap loads in the current climate I can't recommend but now would be a good time to buy the Lyman reloading book and start reading. Hopefully soon the price on primers will start coming down and the panic buyers will start unloading their no longer wanted presses and then would be a great time to jump in.

    Having used the Lee and MEC I'd definitely spring for the MEC 600 or sizemaster if you plan to be loading often. I can't help you with a progressive.
     
  8. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    As already said, components are difficult to find these days, especially primers.

    Even in the good times for factory ammunition and components being easy to get, my shot shell loads are not main stream, run of the mill loads so it is worth while for me reload them. Factory light loads are not as available as "standard" loads. I shoot mostly skeet and load target loads with light weight shot loads.

    Besides, I enjoy reloading so I reload for a past time regardless of the cost of components.
     
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  9. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    The reloads that you will make on your mec are better quality than the cheapo steel rimmed shells that you buy at discount stores.
     
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  10. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Up until a week ago, a MEC 600 Jr. was my only shotgun press. I bought a MEC 650 (manual progressive) from the same guy I bought my 870 Tb from, and he gave me the Super Sizer with it.
    I'm still waiting on a few parts I ordered Sunday, and have seen the You Tube videos, should be interesting. If I get the hang of the 650, I might just switch my 600 Jr. over to 16 ga 2 1/2".
    (of which I have 2 flats of; shot a round of Trap with the Sauer Thursday, I need to relearn how to shoot a SxS! )

    For those starting out loading, I suggest watching the supply places, (Midway, Powder Valley, Bruno, etc.) and strike while the iron is hot. When they list some (powder, primers, shot), don't hesitate or it will be gone!
    Wads are more abundant, there should be some choice in them.
    And get a MEC 600 Jr. The Lee is useable, but so are their Whack-a-Mole Metallic reloading sets-barely.
     
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  11. ih772

    ih772 Member

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    Yes reloading makes sense.

    Start buying tools and components as they become available, then you'll have them for the next shortage. I'm still shooting but a lot of my friends that don't reload aren't.
    The components that I bought couple of years before covid-19 are allowing me to produce ammo at 1/4 of the cost of what some places are charging for their "cheap" shells.
     
  12. Thomasss

    Thomasss Member

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    MEC 600 Junior, used $75 to $125; Bag of shot, 25lbs $44;
    Pound of Powder $31; Primers $80 to $110/m delivered;
    Wads $17/m; Shells pick ups from trap range -- free or buy at $5.00/c
    I think you can figure the rest out from here: 1 to 1 1/8 ounce loads, 17.5 grains powder/shell(7000grains to a pound of powder). E-bay has a Junior today at $69 but you might need another shot bar or powder bushing; used bars $12 and bushings $5.00. A good friend wore out a Lee in 3 years loading for summer trap league of 500 rounds a year. Each of my 3 MECs lasted 20 years or more for me and then I sold them to someone else and they are still going strong. Every update was a faster machine and current model is a manual Grabber which will resize virtually any shell by grabbing from the bottom up instead of from the top down and load a box in 10 minutes.
     
  13. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    Look at how many rounds you are using, then look at the cost of the press and other required tools, along with the price and availability of components. Don't forget that a bag of lead shot is HEAVY and won't ship cheap. Than figure out how long and ho much $ it will take you to the point where you break even- because you won't actually start "saving" until you have covered your costs of buying that stuff. I don't use that many shotgun shells, but what I use can be diverse: 3" magnum #4 or #5 turkey rounds (possible a couple shots a year), maybe 100 rounds 0f 7.5 or 8 2 3/4" dove loads, a few 3" mag steel shot rounds IF I even go duck hunting, and maybe a couple rounds of #1 buck- IF I'm hunting deer in a tight area designated shotgun only. So, not that many rounds to begin with, and all requiring different shot sizes or materials. For me, it doesn't make any sense at all.
     
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  14. kudu
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    kudu Moderator Staff Member

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    Since I haven't been shooting a bunch the last couple years my stock pile of wads powder and primers will last me a while. Last brick of 5000 primers I got for $140 and 8# jug of Titewad powder for $118. Add about $10 for hazmat fees to both of those because I spent over $350 on that order to Powder Valley. Wads were about $8.50 per 500, shot has been about $48 a bag and I run 7/8 oz in all my 12 gauge and 3/4oz in 20 and 28 gauge. I think the last time I figured it up I was around $3.80-$4.00 a box of 25. I have 4 MEC Grabbers lined up on my bench I have been loading on since about 1991. Close to a 200 thousand rounds have gone through those presses.
     
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  15. DustyGmt

    DustyGmt Member

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    Wow. In that case, it really does seem like a worthwhile expense. If you're paying $4 +/- for a box of 25, even if I had to pay double it would probably still be worth it. I paid $100 for my last flat/250rd case of #7.5 target loads. That's a lil on the expensive side, guys were telling me before the "events" they could routinely get 250rd cases for $50-$60. If I could load a case for $75-$85 I'd be interested in doing it, although there is a chance that things could come back down and cases get cheap again in which case I don't think it'd be worth my time or effort, let alone investment if I could get $50-$60 cases.

    Gonna have to check prices and availability of components and see if it's worth the headache, or if I should just continue with the headache I already have which is constantly searching for trap ammo. I fear that even though I really enjoy doing it and hanging out with the guys at the club, the hassle of constantly running short on loads may kill it for me....idk...:cool:
     
  16. entropy

    entropy Member

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    You can look at it this way; Yes, you're going to scramble for either factory ammo, or components if you decide to load, for a while. Eventually availability of both will increase, (and indeed it already is happening, just slower than everyone wants.) and then being a reloader will be a benefit, as with a little time expense, you will be able to shoot more shells, and better shells, shells custom made for your uses. As an example, even before the ammo crunch, real light loads were tough to find. Got a new young shooter? You can load up 1 oz. or 7/8 oz. loads to get them started, and work up to heavier loads as they progress. You want a super-duper turkey shoot/ meat shoot load? 1 1/4oz of #6's with a stiff load of Blue Dot or WSH, boom- you're taking home a ham or turkey.
    I am constantly amazed at the guys that will spend $10,000 on a Trap gun, then use Winchester White box promo loads in it. Better to get a used 870 Trap and spend the rest on good shells, whether factory or your own loads. I get a sense of pride everytime I run a 25 with my own loads.
     
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  17. Scribner

    Scribner Member

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    Kudu (above) increased his savings buying in bulk. Buying small lots (1 lb powder,etc), it was costing me about $4.50/box. With promo loads at $5.00/box, it’s not much of a savings.

    depending where you are, Craigslist sometimes has presses. And you will probably do some small lot loading as you figure out what components you want to use.
     
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  18. GE-Mini-Gun

    GE-Mini-Gun Member

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    What do you shoot skeet, trap, sporting, 5-stand or something else…makes a difference, although not much. I shoot mainly 5-stand, skeet and sporting clays and load 3/4oz across the board except 410, which is 1/2oz., so for each bag of shot I can get 533 rounds out of it. As mentioned, you need to buy in bulk…BULK, my minimum shot purchase is 1000#, primers and wads 10k and powder is 50#. At my current prices I paid for components I can load a box of 12, 20 and 28ga for just under 3.75, 410 is around 3.25. Rough estimate to get started would be around $1500 for all new equipment, plus components, fortunately you can save money on the equipment, but components your stuck with prices people are charging.
     
  19. DustyGmt

    DustyGmt Member

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    I was looking at the LEE Load All and watched a video of somebody using it and it was quite attractive for $50-$70. Guy said he could load 100 rounds of 12GA an hour with it. I just started looking at prices for shot, primers, powder, wads and I think I'll either wait til things come down or try to find a local source where I can pick the stuff up to save on shipping. Are there any places that offer free shipping on a minimum order. I don't know if the LEE Load All is adequate, but for my purposes I really would probably only be loading 100rds a week in the summer months, maybe less than that. If the LEE will get it done, I don't see the merit in spending 10x if the LEE will load the relatively low volume mentioned above....idk. thoughts.
     
  20. kudu
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    kudu Moderator Staff Member

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    I had the Lee for a short time. It has a push over collet resize ring. I found it would leave a small bulge of brass by the rim and would stick in my 1100 and not extract without disassembling the gun. They reload just fine, but for a while I only used it for a single shot shotgun as it had a more forgiving chamber. I eventually gifted it to a pay it forward in reloading many years ago.

    I loaded several hundred shells with the Lee before trying out the MEC Junior and the MEC Grabber. I spent the extra money on a Grabber as it resizes with collet fingers that squeeze the brass back to factory size. Ended up with four of them as I was shooting skeet competitions. I could methodically load 2-3 hundred shells an hour and when I was shooting 500-600 a week it makes a difference.
     
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  21. PapaG

    PapaG Member

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    Hello, my name is Stan and I'm a reloadaholic. More presses than grandkids. Bags of shot, ingots of lead, cans of powder, boxes of bullets, eighty some moulds scattered around the home, garage, basement and farm. I can load for everything I shoot but rimfires. Make sense? For me it does. Been doing it since 1955. Financially, it could be iffy. Most of my components were bought, traded for, or bartered so that I still beat factory prices. Shotgun? Two Grabbers, one 9000, and a few 600Jrs. I'm set up for trap 16 and handicap(I'm at 25), skeet, and practice(7/8 oz). My home brew ammo got me a 25/25 at 16 and 23 at 25 today. I'm not about to quit.
     
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  22. DustyGmt

    DustyGmt Member

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    I saw a used shotgun press in a misc box at a gun shop a few months back, it looked used but probably still functional and if I recall it was under $100. Now that I'm looking at reloading stuff for shotguns, I think it was a MEC that has been spoken of here. Probably should have grabbed it.
     
  23. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Probably shoulda. The guy saying he can crank out 100 an hour with a lee is prevaricating a slight amount. I have to really fly to get 4 boxes an hour with my MEC 600Jr., I'm hoping I can better that with the 650 I just got. Not that I will go for speed, but it is a manual progressive, so I should be able to go faster.
    It took buying a Lee Loader (AKA Whack-a-Mole. Centerfire, 9MM, in my case) for me to appreciate a single stage 'O" press. By all means, try the Load-All out. But keep looking for a deal on a 600Jr, 650, or similar.
     
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  24. DustyGmt

    DustyGmt Member

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    Well I'm doing some reading, and the consensus is that the Lee is a used trojan compared to the MEC. I found a MEC600 Jr Mk5 for $220 at Scheels, is that a good price and is that the Mec you are currently using/recommend?

    I might bring it up next time I shoot trap, maybe Thursday. Who knows, maybe one of those guys has something good for sale....
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2021
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  25. DustyGmt

    DustyGmt Member

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    I have been considering buying a single barrel trap gun, something to fit in a lil better as I feel like the red headed stepchild on the trap range since I'm the only one shucking shells with a pump ;) but I'm thinking maybe I'll postpone that purchase for a year or two and set myself up reloading so I don't have to depend on luck trying to find target loads. Plus I actually like my 870 and don't mind spending some time with it before a pricey single barrel or O/U
     
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