Tell me about Shotshell reloading

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Mark_Mark, Oct 10, 2021.

  1. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Buy Mec Reloaders

    The average shooter stops after a few years. The remaining press & components just sit there. Run a cheap add in the local " Penny Pincher" paper for your needs.

    Check the "For Sale" board at local clubs. Post what you want to buy.

    WWAA casing, wad, load data has changed over many years.

    My 12, 20, 28 & 410 stuff will get used someday. Every fall, i am going to start trap & skeet, hunters clay shooting again. Maybe this year.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2021
  2. Howa 9700

    Howa 9700 Member

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    I still have the old Texan shotshell press I was issued 50 years ago.....and all the components needed to use it. Peace of mind. Have never done so, but would entertain the idea of loading some light buckshot and deer slug loads, if for no other reason than to satisfy my curiosity. Would be nice to know you could if you wanted to.

    Have not checked lately, but about 2 months back, the nearby reloading store had no primers, and only limited powder, bullets and brass for metalica, but had unlimited components for shotguns, including primers and a full pallet of lead shot.

    So doable if you wanted to.

    Now that I do both, it seems to me that reloading for shotguns is about 10x easier than for rifles. Once you pick your load from a manual and get the right powder bushing in place, the hard part is over.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2021
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  3. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    I would not assume that reloading shot shells would save you much. I do it for cowboy loads and because I like doing it. I cannot count on having the shot that I want when I want it, primers, used hulls (established crimp) that I want to use, or my first powder choice, avoiding resetting my press. I load ahead and buy ahead.

    Now, accepting your premise, you could start with Lyman's Shotshell Reloading Handbook. What press you buy will depend on the volume of shells you expect to shoot and what amount of time you care to devote to reloading. I am happy with my MEC 600 Jr. and the easy pace of that kind of output rate. I get chilled shot from Mayco Industries, which I gather is the primary distributor for all things lead. Magnum shot is easier to find but I avoid it for close range use on steel. Wads have been easy, usually from Amazon.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2021
  4. Barbaroja

    Barbaroja Member

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    Their may not be big savings loading your own vs the flats of cheap promo shells but the quality of your reloads will be on par with the higher quality, more expensive loads as long as quality components are used. If you hunt with your shotgun that’s the where you can find some more savings, all the while getting exactly what you want instead of what’s available.
    For example I load 1 1/4oz of #4 shot to around 1200fps for 90% of my small game hunting, #4s are hard to find in that combo as most #4s on the shelf are loaded as pheasant ammo moving way faster that I need it for busting squirrels and rabbits. Those shells run $15+ per box during normal times and I can load a box for about $3.
    As mentioned by another poster,there are substantial savings loading slugs and buckshot. I’m able to load 1oz slugs from an inexpensive Lee mold for about $.35 per round.
    I know your mostly interested in trap loads but I figured I would give you a bit more to think about.
    As for the Lee load all. It works, but the best description of it is the “easy bake oven” of shotgun loaders. I started with one and still have it, but if I could do it over again I’d listen to the people who told me to take my time and find a used mec.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2021
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  5. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    Get a MEC 600jr at a minimum.

    If you load multiple gauges, get one MEC 600jr for each. They can be grade changed but you will only do it once.

    MEC still makes parts for about all vintages of MEC 600jr so you can economize and get a used one and refurbish if necessary.

    MEC used to make a 650N that was a manual progressive. One shell produced for each pull of the handle. They still list parts for it on their web site. One could be found on the used market.
     
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  6. Thomasss

    Thomasss Member

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    It's hard to beat box store pricing on shotshells, but when you reload you are actually loading CUSTOM loads for your gun. So now compare your CUSTOM loads to a new box of Winchester AA or Federal Gold Metal which Cabela's were selling between $11 and $14 box. I figure right now reloading trap loads will run $7.88/box. My neighbor loads a little and I helped him with my recipes 1 ounce at 1200fps and 1 1/8 ounce at 1160 fps. He went from a 17 ave. to 22 ave. in a couple weeks. Softer shooting, more concentration, better pattern, more hits, more fun shooting with his son. He even beat the kid a couple of times. Primers are slowly coming back is biggest problem getting. Today, on E-bay I saw several MEC 12 gauge Junior 600, used between $75 and $100. Shot is around $45/25lbs. Shoot 8s in summer and 7.5 in winter. Watch for reclaimed shot. Powder $30/pound, but in bulk one can get that price down to $18 to $22/pound. Primers $50 to $60/m, shells look for Rem Gun Club. Win AA or Fed Top Gun at your club. Buy in bulk when ever you can 4 to 8 lbs powder, primers by the 1,000 and several bags a shot at a time. Wads, generic Claybuster or Down Range buy 2 bags $10/bag, 500 each. One can depreciate loading equipment on 2 cases of loaded shells. You save maybe half price each box. It seems Hodgden powders are easier to get now than Alliant. My local gun shop had 1,000 bricks of primers last week selling limit 1 to a customer and they sold out in 4 days. Talk to gun shops on acquiring supplies, don't walk in an expect them to have everything waiting for you.
     
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  7. Hondo 60
    • Contributing Member

    Hondo 60 Member

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    You need to start with a reloading manual.

    Lyman has a good shotshell reloading manual.
     
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  8. Mark_Mark

    Mark_Mark Member

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    I hate reading!
     
  9. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Decades ago the cheap stuff had only cardboard disks with a few pieces of plastic around the shot column. Now even the sheep stuff has decent wads. It’s not a real winner to load regular stuff for 12 and 20. Kind of like loading FMJ’s for .223 or 9mm, small margins.

    Larger savings from .410 & 28 ga for sure. Shotshell equipment doesn’t seem to hold its value like metallic reloaders. Best way to get in is getting equipment and components from someone on the way out.

    Now is a great time to sell stuff and a less than ideal time to buy, as you likely already know.
     
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  10. denton

    denton Member

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    Random observations....

    Had the Lee Load All. It worked.

    Bought the MEC 600 Jr., and liked it a lot better. Got the continuously adjustable powder/shot bar, and that was a big improvement. If you shoot more than one gauge, get a separate press for each. It's not like metallic reloading where you easily change the dies.

    Consider the Lee bench mounting plate for your press. If it fits, you can dismount/swap the press in seconds, freeing up bench space.

    Not all lead shot is created equal. Some is more round or more hard than others. Get round hard shot for good patterning.

    Whatever you load, take it to the range and check the pattern.

    Don't try to load anything bigger than #5 birdshot in a 20 gauge. It's hard to get it to pattern well.

    You won't save a dime reloading blasting ammo, but you'll have better quality. When you get into less common stuff like buffered shot, nickel plated shot, buckshot, etc., the finances look a lot better.

    Good luck! Enjoy!
     
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  11. Mark_Mark

    Mark_Mark Member

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    I’m getting a 28g ! SxS and pretend I’m a English Gentleman with my family Crest and Colors… btw my family crest is the Walmart Logo and our color is RED
     
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  12. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    In that case, you will want a Spolar Gold.
     
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  13. Mark_Mark

    Mark_Mark Member

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    you know my SxS is probably going to be a Stoger and my Crest will be 7-11 and my Colors will be Camo



    Does it make Lattes?
     

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    Last edited: Oct 12, 2021
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  14. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I would price out everything you are going to need to load “x” number of shells. Keep in mind that many load, wad combinations are hull specific and mixing them is a different ball game than mixed brass metallic.

    I have an antique LMC that is a cast aluminum version of what Lee was trying to copy with the load all. It’s slow but will make shells that will function in your SxS on the cheap. The MEC 600 jr is a step up but not any faster. The progressive presses are faster but more expensive, some are better for semiautos.

    A break open and a modest amount can be done without a huge investment in equipment but if small quantities of components bump the price up, it might not be worth it. That’s a call you’ll have to make and best done added up on paper.
     
  15. Mark_Mark

    Mark_Mark Member

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    been looking at the MEx 600 jt
     
  16. Nipty

    Nipty Member

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    I started reloading shotshell in April. For .410. Bought the woman a Mossberg MINI super bantam 510. Our 1st .410. Had no idea the cost of the rds. Normally, like stated previously 100 for around $20, Winchester field & target. Of course I never really ever shot much shotgun till then. Picked up a Savage 301 Turkey Shotgun, wow the choke! Yes shotgun loading can be rewarding. Have tried a bunch of loads out. Cheddite hulls and everything came from ballistic products. They had shot, wads, lots of selections for all sorts of loads. And they have data. Books to buy, however alot is online. They say yes stick to recipes, only components that are interchangeable are the shot size and your filler to get correct height as desired. Now I just grab a box when I can to have other loads to try. Win,Rem,Fioc, Fed, the big names have more variety of load data. But cheddite do have a bunch! My mec 600 jr has been good to me. Made spacers so I dont have to adjust the whole press height etc. For different sized hulls. The adjustable charge bar is pretty sweet. Takes getting used to, getting it dialed in and the shot to drop right. Kinds knock and tap, side to side. For a while I just use scales. I still check every few drops to be safe. Cheerios,work for filler,(to not disrupt patterns) however I have had good luck with overshot cards as well as under shot spacers, felt, cork. I would think 12 gauge is a little different. But small principles. Precision reloading has a bunch for it as well. As does Prairie Wind Decoys. They all carry stuff for shotshell, and metallic a bit. Press parts,etc.. new hulls can be funky, once you get them started, kinda ease I to them to get it going. I bought the super crimper fro. BP,it really does work well for new hulls. Used ones have that memory. Bought a roll crimper, but I still have not tried it out yet. We started skeet shooting. Its really helped her come into the range life. Which I am grateful for. I have heard good things about Lee Load All's. I did pick up another mec jr. Like my 1st ,set up for 12, the 1st one I got conversion kit from B.P. mec has great customer service, (at least I have had it) hope to start loading for 20 g. Good luck . Its definitely a different animal them metallic, good times!
     
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  17. blue32

    blue32 Member

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    209s are less available than small pistol primers so good luck. Some suggest stocking up on shot, hulls, and wads but this isn't metallic. Go get a manual first and then decide on the individual components. You will save money on sub gauges (less shot and powder too) and a mec 600 Jr will get you there fast.
     
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  18. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    If you do it with highlighter in hand, it is pretty productive.
     
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  19. Mark_Mark

    Mark_Mark Member

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    I’ll try that! thanks
     
  20. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    My wife shoots 28ga. and has both a Stoeger and an Ithaca/SKB. The Stoeger is SxS and the Ithaca/SKB is O/U. She shoots the Ithaca more often and seems more accurate with it but, to be honest, she shoots her old 1950's Ithaca Featherlight 16ga far more often. It just likes to hit things.

    If you want to do the upland birding thing, go with a 16ga. Handloading will definitely pay off better AND you can work up your own nearly-perfect square load. ;)
     
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  21. Mark_Mark

    Mark_Mark Member

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    man… you guy got me wanting to hit the trap field, feels good to shot a 25! but with cheap shells at $8 a box and trap fee $5. I need to get a yard in the country and MEC thrower.
    984873.jpg
     
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  22. Saluki91

    Saluki91 Member

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    Free advice being worth what you paid...

    Even at those prices, you won't save any money loading your own - certainly not enough to get excited about. However, you will be able to tailor specific loads to specific needs and applications. You will undoubtedly shoot more, and of course the process is rewarding in and of itself.

    I'll second what others have said - MEC is the best way to go for a press. I have Sizemasters in 12, 20, 28, and .410. They run like a Swiss watch.

    Assuming you can find primers (Ha!), once-fired Win AA or Rem STS hulls are a great way to build your stash. You will get a lot of use out of them before they need to be replaced. Take the time to condition them, and you will get even more!

    Speaking of primers... be aware that some primers (Rio comes to mind) are oversized, and will ream the primer pockets out. Once you use these, you are committed for the life of those hulls, as the primer pockets won't receive standard 209 primers anymore. Primers are also recipe specific. Using the wrong primer in a load can create pressure spikes that will ruin your day... follow load data to the letter!

    Powder Disclaimer - Favorite powders are like favorite flavors of ice cream... everyone has their own. In my neck of the woods, powder has been pretty steady in the local shops. It isn't cheap, but it beats shipping and Hazmat by a considerable margin. If it isn't in stock at your favorite LGS, it is probably in stock at the one down the road. For skeet, I do my best to duplicate Winchester's AA factory loads... same hulls, powder, wads, etc. For my Wednesday night shoot-n'-cuss gatherings, I'm not so picky. I have used a ton of Ramshot Comp and 700-X for Wednesday night loads, and have been quite happy.

    After you have determined the hull(s) you will be loading, you MUST choose the appropriate wad for that hull. You can't go wrong with factory wads. Claybuster is a good alternative. Read, read, and read, then use good information to make good decisions. "Close enough for Government Work" does not apply.

    Lead shot is expensive - stupid expensive. Ask around about reclaimed lead purchases at your local clubs. That will save you a ton!

    If you can't find primers, consider buying primed hulls. My favorite sources are Precision Reloading and Ballistic Products. They won't be AA or STS, but in times like these, we often have to load what we can get - not what we want. You can find very functional loads for these hulls, but you must take care to use the proper wads.

    Enjoy!
     
  23. Mark_Mark

    Mark_Mark Member

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    so discouraging but I will accept the challenge, right now, I’ll buy what available
     
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  24. deadeye dick

    deadeye dick Member

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    Back in the day, 1964 I did a lot of trap also. Had a Rem. Sportsman 58 with a Polychoke and a Victor Sarasquata double. Still have the double. Lee wackamole and a mallet., paper hulls ( thats all we had) nitro over powder wad 5/8 fiber filler wad, plastic shot sleeve 1 1/8 oz 7 1/2 shot LOT'S OF FUN. Still have about 10 boxes on the shelf. Will shoot them someday.
     
  25. Rembrandt

    Rembrandt Member

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    Been said Horse Racing and Shotgun Shooting is the "Sport of Kings"......I tend to agree. At one time my two sons and I were all shooting competitively....we'd each average 200-to-300 rounds a week. Finally had to quit shooting so I could bankroll the boys. No regrets, now their kids are shooting High School trap leagues.
     
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