Suppose I wanted to reload .410 shells…

goon

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I’m very familiar with reloading centerfire rifle and handgun cartridges, but I’ve never reloaded a shotshell in my life. I’m completely uneducated on the presses for reloading shotshells.

What kind of investment would I be looking at to safely and effectively reload 2.5” and 3” standard plastic hull .410 shotshells with #4, #6, and 000 buck?
 
In my mind, the investment is reasonable and pays for itself quickly.

I use a MEC 600 Jr Mark 5 press. Midway has them for $277 at the moment.


I don’t always use it to charge with shot, as the larger shot can be difficult to dispense from the hopper without bridging in the tube, but a dipper will measure shot reasonably well, and is still efficient.

I use H110 for the powder. This seems to be readily available and a pound will load about 450 2.5” shells, so @ $50 per lb, about $0.11 of powder per shell.

Wads are about $0.03 each

Shot is around $50 for a 22lb bag, so you can load about 700 1/2 oz shells, or about $0.07 each.

Primers might be $70 or $80 per thousand, or about $0.08 per.

so (if you have the empty hulls) you will spend about
$300 press (taxes/shipping)
$50 powder (enough for 450 shells)
$50 shot (enough for 700 shells)
$15 for wads (500)
$80 for primers (enough for 1000 shells)

total outlay of $495 to load about 450 shells, with shot and primers left over, or about $1.10 each for the first 450 (not that far off from market prices), and $0.29 per after that (Way below market price)
 
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I’m very familiar with reloading centerfire rifle and handgun cartridges, but I’ve never reloaded a shotshell in my life. I’m completely uneducated on the presses for reloading shotshells.

What kind of investment would I be looking at to safely and effectively reload 2.5” and 3” standard plastic hull .410 shotshells with #4, #6, and 000 buck?
Finding hulls is a chore... BPI sometimes has them, but I think the best bet is to just buy a flat of Winchester AA and shot 'em up!

I was gifted a MEC Sizemaster for my .410 loading. I like the abilty to size in station 1, but I'm not a fan of loading the priming station by hand for each round. The 9000 drops primers automatically. For volume loading, it may be worth a look. If you aren't loading hundreds of boxes per year, stick with a single stage.
 
I’m very familiar with reloading centerfire rifle and handgun cartridges, but I’ve never reloaded a shotshell in my life. I’m completely uneducated on the presses for reloading shotshells.

What kind of investment would I be looking at to safely and effectively reload 2.5” and 3” standard plastic hull .410 shotshells with #4, #6, and 000 buck?
Unless you are intent on loading significant volume, and given your established familiarity with metallic reloading, I would skip plastic hulls and use brass. Your alternative options are: Magtech brass and Ballistic Products for oversize components (brass is thinner so needs wads and cards over-gauge in diameter); 444 Marlin brass and BP oversize components; 303 Brit brass and BP oversize components.

I use mid-range powder charges for a given shot weight and Alliant 410 powder with 444 Marlin brass. Brass and traditional wads and cards lead to much lower pressures. Estimating, however, is not generally recommended with smokeless shot shell loading. You can use black powder of course which much less regard to powder charge, but that’s another kettle of fish.
 
Unless you are intent on loading significant volume, and given your established familiarity with metallic reloading, I would skip plastic hulls and use brass. Your alternative options are: Magtech brass and Ballistic Products for oversize components (brass is thinner so needs wads and cards over-gauge in diameter); 444 Marlin brass and BP oversize components; 303 Brit brass and BP oversize components.

I use mid-range powder charges for a given shot weight and Alliant 410 powder with 444 Marlin brass. Brass and traditional wads and cards lead to much lower pressures. Estimating, however, is not generally recommended with smokeless shot shell loading. You can use black powder of course which much less regard to powder charge, but that’s another kettle of fish.

I do have 25 magtech 410 hulls, but there isn’t data for them like there is for a Speer 148 grain HBWC in 38 Special (for example). I can’t just go to a manual, weigh things out, and know my load was tested and is safe to start with.
 
Well the good news is if you load centre fire and want to load 410 you're in luck.
410 is expensive to buy but cheap to load.
If you're not going to load tons of them they can be loaded with your center fire press.
I believe the combination is a marlin 444 die to size the brass coated steel base of the shell and a 7.62x54r shell holder to actually hold the base of the shell.
Not sure what to do about priming and crimping. Probably easy enough.
 
I do have 25 magtech 410 hulls, but there isn’t data for them like there is for a Speer 148 grain HBWC in 38 Special (for example). I can’t just go to a manual, weigh things out, and know my load was tested and is safe to start with.
Absolutely true. My approach is in fact a guesstimate. But I am certain that pressures are lower with thin brass hulls and traditional card and wad components than with plastic hulls and modern plastic shot cups.
 
Unless you are intent on loading significant volume, and given your established familiarity with metallic reloading, I would skip plastic hulls and use brass. Your alternative options are: Magtech brass and Ballistic Products for oversize components (brass is thinner so needs wads and cards over-gauge in diameter); 444 Marlin brass and BP oversize components; 303 Brit brass and BP oversize components.

I use mid-range powder charges for a given shot weight and Alliant 410 powder with 444 Marlin brass. Brass and traditional wads and cards lead to much lower pressures. Estimating, however, is not generally recommended with smokeless shot shell loading. You can use black powder of course which much less regard to powder charge, but that’s another kettle of fish.

I do have 25 magtech 410 hulls, but there isn’t data for them like there is for a Speer 148 grain HBWC in 38 Special (for example). I can’t just go to a manual, weigh things out, and know my load was tested and is safe to start with.
Well the good news is if you load centre fire and want to load 410 you're in luck.
410 is expensive to buy but cheap to load.
If you're not going to load tons of them they can be loaded with your center fire press.
I believe the combination is a marlin 444 die to size the brass coated steel base of the shell and a 7.62x54r shell holder to actually hold the base of the shell.
Not sure what to do about priming and crimping. Probably easy enough.

I can prime the brass
magtech hulls with a standard shell holder (I forget the size) and large pistol primers. I have experimented with depriming standard hulls with a punch/mallet repriming with a wooden dowel and a hard flat surface. I think I could get that to work with practice. I don’t need huge volume… but I often look at empty 410 shells and wonder why nobody has figured out how to load them in a regular press.
 
I do have 25 magtech 410 hulls, but there isn’t data for them like there is for a Speer 148 grain HBWC in 38 Special (for example). I can’t just go to a manual, weigh things out, and know my load was tested and is safe to start with.
Plenty of .410 hulls on GunBroker.

35W
 
Having good hull/wad/load combination is really important with most shot shells and extremely important with .410. Just trying to throw stuff together like we do with mix brass pistol loads will just leave you frustrated.
 
Having good hull/wad/load combination is really important with most shot shells and extremely important with .410. Just trying to throw stuff together like we do with mix brass pistol loads will just leave you frustrated.
I would beg to differ with regards 410 shells needing any special attention. The 410 shell is the least in need of component column pressure and a simple overshot card held in place with waterglass is all that’s needed.

However, you are correct in that one is almost certainly not going to find a modern plastic gas seal that will work with brass hulls, unless Ballistic Product or someone else makes them that I am unaware of. So. with overpowder cards and fiber wads, performance is lower in terms of velocity and accuracy (shot string integrity) than with modern plastic shell hulls. But at the distances that 410 viable for it is a relatively minor loss of performance.
 
I would suggest you accumulate a bunch of the same brand and length of empties. Hard to find and loaded ammo is very high now. I have loaded 410 and they are, to me, the hardest to load right. Tiny case to crimp. Big benefits once you get going. One bag of shot will load around 600 shells. Savings will be way ahead of loading 12 gauge. Right now it is almost a tossup loading trap loads versus buying promotional loads at $8.99 or so a box. Luckily, my components were purchased low enough that my reloads cost about $7/box.
Good luck to you in your quest.
 
Buy Lyman’s 5th edition Shotgun Reloaders Guide before you do much else or call a buddy that does a lot of shot shell reloading. You really need a guide for the parts and pieces. There are sections in the book on MEC and Lee reloaders as well as in-depth information on primers, hulls, shot info and wads.

You can go on MEC’s or Lee’s sites and read their reloading equipment instructions. That helps.

Go to the .410 section in the book and pick out a hull/powder/shot weight that appeals to you and follow that recipe when you buy components including charge bars, shot bushings (you will own a few of these before done. I suggest buying the one on either side of the recommended bushing), powder and the rest. Shotgun reloading is not an area that I would recommend free-styling. Follow the recipe.

You can go to most of the powder manufacturers websites and get a lot of info on their recipes for their powders. You’ll need these at some point. I use a lot of Hodgdon powder and have printed off a ton of recipes.

Happy Trails
 
I would beg to differ with regards 410 shells needing any special attention. The 410 shell is the least in need of component column pressure and a simple overshot card held in place with waterglass is all that’s needed.

However, you are correct in that one is almost certainly not going to find a modern plastic gas seal that will work with brass hulls,

I would think some would argue only using only full length brass hulls and wateglass to top the end off as really special attention, if thats the only way to get good consistent results.
 



These are probably the two most popular shotshell reloaders. I happen to prefer MEC and own both the 600 and a 9000 progressive. The decision on which makers depends on what you intend to do. If you're going to load a box every now and then for plinking and cost is your main objective, then the Lee is probably your choice. But, if you're going to load quite a few for, say, skeet, then the MEC is a better press in the long run.

Understand that w/ the Mark V, you will most likely end up buying a few extra items like charge bars and shot bushings, so the list price of $321 will grow a bit. However, you get what you pay for. That said, the Lee has loaded a bazillion shotshells for folks over the years. It can be found for $100 and for much less on EBay.

Condor has a pretty good breakdown on components.

My experience is that you will not find a ton of .410 hulls laying around like you will 12 and 20 guage, so be prepared to buy a few hundred. You should be able to reload them at least 6x depending on how stout you reload. They can be hard to lay hands on.

 
Thanks for the assistance. I have been told by shotshell reloaders that you can’t easily experiment (safely) with shotshells, so you have to follow the published data exactly. For my needs, loading a few boxes a year would be adequate. I’d also like to be able to load #4 and #6, which aren’t as available as smaller shot sizes.
 
So, the Lee would probably work just fine for you.

As an aside, if you want a larger shot size selection but want to keep the bore size down, look at 28 ga. Pretty amazing bore actually.
 
So, the Lee would probably work just fine for you.

As an aside, if you want a larger shot size selection but want to keep the bore size down, look at 28 ga. Pretty amazing bore actually.

I missed out on a lovely 28 gauge SxS a couple years ago. But the last thing I need now is another caliber to supply. I was on the fence about even keeping the 410, but it’s a pretty cool gun and I have a lot of fun with it.
 
I just found this in an old (1979) Winchester component pamphlet. It’s limited to W 296 - and it’s over 40 years old - but at one time they did at least provide load data in grains.


IMG_9783.jpeg
 
I was under the impression from the LeePrecision site and others, that Lee doesn't make a 410 LoadAll...is that wrong?
I was under the impression from the LeePrecision site and others, that Lee doesn't make a 410 LoadAll...is that wrong?
Ahhh, it would appear that you are correct - just 12, 16 and 30 ga. My bad!
Goon - please take note. I made a bad assumption that Lee would carry a. .410. I guess I don’t know of a cheaper alternative to MEC. That will take you back to Condor’s estimate of $495 for 450 shells.
 
Thanks for the assistance. I have been told by shotshell reloaders that you can’t easily experiment (safely) with shotshells, so you have to follow the published data exactly. For my needs, loading a few boxes a year would be adequate. I’d also like to be able to load #4 and #6, which aren’t as available as smaller shot sizes.
You can a little bit.
Don't try it with faster powders. Have to use slower powders like longshot, aa9, enforcer, 2400, AL410.
If you're only going to load a few boxes a year the 444marlin die and 7.62x54r shell holder are the way to go.
 
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