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Want to get back into reloading 12 ga. Press thoughts?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Tallbald, Feb 18, 2013.

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  1. Tallbald

    Tallbald Member

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    After an absence from shotshell reloading for almost 35 years, I want to get back into rolling my own. I have HUNDREDS of once used hulls I've kept for 30 years or more, including old Western Auto "Revelation" hulls, if that tells you how long it's been. Started out with a Lee Loader and a mallet at age 12 or so that Daddy bought me, and went on up to a Texan FW that's long gone.
    I see good reviews at Midway for the low end of the price spectrum, the Lee press at $44 or so, and it seems the next jump up is to the MEC 600 Junior at about $200. Is there a line I'm missing looking at that I should check out?
    I only want to reload 12 gauge 2 3/4 and 3 inch. No 3 1/2 inch stuff is planned. Nor is 20 gauge for that matter. That should help simplify things a bit. Loading a huge volume is not an issue, but convienence (spelling?)is a consideration unless it costs a lotta more money. What say the voices of experience here please? Thanks for your time folks. Don
     
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Get the MEC and don't look back!!

    But before you jump in with both feet, do some study on components costs now.

    Before the latest hording crazyness, you could almost buy 12 ga shells cheaper at Walmart then you could load them.

    Pretty sure it isn't any better now.

    rc
     
  3. Tallbald

    Tallbald Member

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    Thank you RC. I wondered if that would come in to play and essentially make rolling my own a wash on savings. Walmart has 7 1/2 and 8 shot loads for right around $25 a hundred. I no longer have a feel for component pricing but know prices have shot up (pun intended). In your recent experience, can you offer me some insight into a cost per shell comparison between home-rolled and factory? One thing reloading would do for me is give me more versatility in loads, i.e. casting my own rifled slugs, loading heavier shot and wax loads for my own use.
    I'm watching Craigs List off and on for used loaders too. Thank you again. Don
     
  4. Crashola

    Crashola Member

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    I picked up an MEC Sizemaster at a yard sale for $15. It needed a little cleaning up, was missing one small part, and needed adjusting. After a little TLC, it works like a champ. So keep your eyes open for a deal!
     
  5. BYJO4

    BYJO4 Member

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    The cost of lead shot has made reloading 12 GA more a labor of love than cost savings. Under normal conditions, one can find sales and bulk buys of 12 GA ammo at attractive prices. I still load my because I enjoy it but minimal in savings. In addition, if you shoot the right factory ammo, you can sell the hulls to reloaders. That said, if you want to get back into it, I think MEC is the way to go.
     
  6. kudu
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    kudu Moderator Staff Member

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    MEC, as others have said. I have four MEC Grabbers set up for 12, 20, 28, and .410. 12 gauge is almost a break even unless you can get shot for under $30 a bag, I load 7/8oz loads for my 12 for skeet shooting, mostly I shoot 28 gauge anymore. I am guessing a standard 12 gauge load would work out to be about $4.35 give or take depending on prices of components. If you figure in any time involved it goes up from there. I know my reloads are about as good or in some cases better than a AA or Premier target load when I use hard shot. The flexibility you have when you make you own is worth what ever you make it. :D
     
  7. Crashola

    Crashola Member

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    I don't think I save any money on target loads. But the premium high-velocity hunting loads are getting pricey -- anywhere from $15 to $20 a box. I can reload my own nickel-plated 6 shot loads for around $10.

    Oh, and you won't save any money by loading your own bismuth or Hevi-Shot. You are paying for the shot when you buy those shells. 7 lbs of Hevi-Shot runs around $230!!
     
  8. Tallbald

    Tallbald Member

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    Reloading always a kind of peaceful thing for me. At 54, maybe I'm just trying to recapture the good times my best friend in youth and I shared....my Daddy passed away at age 46 after heart surgery back in 1978, when I was 20. I sure do still miss Daddy.
    I think rather than start with a Lee press (and I want to add I have always had good results with Lee though), I'll keep an eye open for a MEC as suggested. Craig's List only has one listed for $150 with 4 bags of plastic wads, and is like 80 miles away. Maybe my luck will change. Thank you all again. Don
     
  9. Virginian

    Virginian Member

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    Unless you are going to spring for a progressive, I think the single stage machines are more alike than not. I have a MEC 12, a Lee 20, and a Pacific 28. I do like the adjustable charge bar available for the MEC. I have had to drill bushings to get the exact shot and powder I want on the others.
     
  10. DaleCooper51

    DaleCooper51 Member

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    Craigslist is an alright place to find a press if you have patience. Another place to look is at trap clubs. There are tons of used 12ga presses that can be had for a fraction of the cost of a new one. Most presses are pretty robust machines and can be brought back to working order with just a few parts if needed.
     
  11. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    Save your money on the Lee and gets a MEC. I have them all, from the Jr to the 9000. I owned a Lee a long time ago , before the web, and it quickly got sold for a MEC

    As to saving, buy in bulk, that is powder in 8# jugs, wads and primers by the 5000, and shot by the hundredweight or ton.

    I can reload target ammo, which is hard to find anyway, for $3.50 versus $7 per box
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013
  12. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

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    I have two MEC 600Jr presses, .410 and 12 gauge. I haven't reloaded much with the 12 but the .410 gets a workout. I've had mine going on 20 years with no problems.
     
  13. rodinal220

    rodinal220 Member

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    Yes,you can buy the cheapest shells at wally world,these are cheap promo loads.For the same cost you can load shells as good as any of the premium loads.You don't save any money per say,but you build a better shell for the same as cheap donut hole loads.

    I love my MEC 9000G.I looked at the Dillon,and I'm a Dillon guy since 1984,but could not justify the cost.I'm not a pro shooter trying out for the Olympic team either so the Spolar Gold was out.You cannot beat a MEC for the money.
     
  14. Tallbald

    Tallbald Member

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    I also am interested in casting my own rifled slugs, or seeing about coming up with home grown sabot slug loads. Seriously looking at a Mossberg 590A1 with ghost rings for a fun shoulder cannon. Started scouring for a used MEC600 Jr. Don
     
  15. rule303

    rule303 Member

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    A used MEC Jr is your best bet. Cost savings in reloads isn't much unless you are buying AA's and Gold Medals, but you can customize your loads. Once you start loading 28ga and .410 is when you really start to save money.
     
  16. TheoShooter

    TheoShooter Member

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    Another vote for MEC here. I have loaded tens of thousands of rounds on mine.
     
  17. dbarky

    dbarky Member

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    MEC 600 Jr.

    I vote for the Mec. I've got one (600 Jr.) and used to load both 12 & 20 ga. The only problem I've run in to was rounds fired in my 1100 and then reloaded would not feed in my Sportsman 58. I've looked at the MEC home page at different models and one touted resizing to factory specs. If your reloads are going to be used in different guns then the better resizer might be worth the money.
     
  18. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    dbarky-

    I have used MEC Jr.s to reload hulls for both semi and O/U guns - you need to adjust the the first station's steel sizing ring down so that it completely covers the brass/steel head to the flange (it is threaded to allow for adjustment). Once done, you should not have issues - I was doing this for both 12 and 28 gauge hulls - make sure use use the lockring above it to keep it in the proper place. Also make sure to adjust the last crimp so that it is putting the rounded finish on the crimp for semi feeding
     
  19. dbarky

    dbarky Member

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    oneounceload

    Why in the heck did I not know that...Thank You! Learm something every day.
     
  20. GCBurner

    GCBurner Member

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    I priced some lead shot the other day at a store that still had some in stock, and it was running about $50 for a 25-lb. bag, or around $2 per pound, so something over $3 per 25 rounds of 1-ounce loads of shot. Figuring in the wad columns, primers, and powder, it's not a huge savings over the $6 a box WallyWorld price on 12ga. field loads, but it's still handy to have the capability to roll your own, in case shotshells go the way of other ammo supplies, one of these days. I picked up a couple of bags of 500-count plastic wads for $6 each, while I was there.
     
  21. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    Except in most places, you can't find anything at wally world. Here, they charge closer to $6.50 plus tax - that is $7/box for the cheap promo stuff. I can reload a 3/4oz 12 gauge load of equal quality for $3.50/box. At 500 boxes per year, that just bought me a new Beretta A400 shotgun. For about $5.50/box, I can reload a 1oz load equal the Win AA or Remington STS - and those are selling for closer to $9/box
     
  22. BADUNAME2

    BADUNAME2 Member

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    There's a guy selling a Ponseness Warren on the THR classifieds.

    Just thought I'd mention it. :)
     
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