View Full Version : Reloading Shotgun Shells for Dummies

February 2, 2011, 07:40 PM
Can someone suggest a how to do it book and possibly a list of what I would need to reload 12 gauge shells. I don't anticipate needing to have the capacity for high volume reloading and so far have looked at youtube videos of the MEC JR. I am thinking not only of saving some money, especially if the family comes out to shoot some, but I may enjoy it.

In addition to the usual items, does California have some special requirements such as a 5 ton ammunition bunker located on no less than 5 acres?

If possible I will try to get some used equipment, but given the cost of an MEC JR that may not be worth the time and effort.


February 2, 2011, 08:01 PM
Lyman has a shotshell reloading book that gives you the basics.

It is really simple - you need hulls, primers, powder, wads, shot, and a way to close the hull.

Even on a basic single stage MEC, first you deprime and resize the empty hull; then you reprime the hull in the next station. Then your powder charge (determined from the powder maker charts), is placed in the hull, followed by the insertion of the proper wad (again, from the recipe) over the powder. Finally, you add the desired amount of shot into the wad where it then has the crimp started and then, at the last station, finalized. While recipes and components are more stringent than metallic in certain requirements, it is also a little less precise when it comes to things like OAL in .001 increments

February 2, 2011, 08:19 PM
Yeah, oneounce. I was surprised how easy it looked when I watched some youtube tapes of guys reloading. Will I need a special "bar". I think I saw where someone had to get one or is there a replaceable thing that goes in the bar to to measure the amount of shot and powder selected?

February 2, 2011, 08:40 PM
The MEC JR loader (if bought new) comes with a 1 1/8 oz. charge bar and three powder bushings. Many used machines will come with a standard bar throwing 1 1/8 oz shot and a target load of powder.

There is a universal charge bar that can be set for shot weight and powder weight.
Most reloaders settle for a standard loading (target) and use just that for most of their shooting.

February 2, 2011, 08:57 PM
Honestly I don't think you have a need to reload 12g shot shells?

They are super cheap as it is and you said your not needing a setup that would have "high volume" ability so what's the point other then just being interested in reloading your own which I am all for if that is what your looking for?

I have reloaded 12 in the past with a nice MEC progressive a friend of mine bought while I was in the Air Force and it was a nice setup!:D

February 2, 2011, 09:09 PM
First, cheap shotgun shells are just that - cheap, not necessarily inexpensive - the components are cheap, the quality is cheap, they perform in like manner. The advantage? I can reload a 3/4 or 7/8 oz load that won't beat me up - cheap wally world promo loads are all heavy and fast - perfect for adding insult to injury with a lot of recoil.

TKM - I have MEC jr's with the Universal Charge bar - this lets me adjust powder and shot drops to EXACTLY what I want with the components I am using - Charge bars are great IF you know what your load needs to be and if you are using certain components. The shot bushing is based on using soft pure lead shot - if you use harder shot or "magnum" shot with even more antimony, your volume will be the same, but that shot weighs less. There's not a clay out there where you need 1-1/8 oz and shooting heavy hard-hitting loads will result in a flinch and long-term damage - something you are now trying to resolve. If you go to www.shotgunworld.com, you find a lot of data about all types of reloading.

My progressive press is a RCBS Grand with the 20 gauge conversion kit - so far it is working well and saving me a LOT of shoulder working the press handle

For generic clay shooting like 16 yard trap, skeet, 5-stand, or similar....any 7/8 oa load at 1200 fps will do the job just fine and be a little easier on your shoulder than 1 or 1-1/8 oz - not to mention cheaper to reload with less shot

February 2, 2011, 09:19 PM
Winchester AA Target loads I would say they perform well and they are "cheap"?

They are pretty much all I shoot at clays although I don't shoot nearly enough.

If he were to shoot a bunch of 12g every weekend then by all means buy a reloading setup and load away but, if not then a box of AA is a better option.

February 2, 2011, 09:23 PM
AA aren't cheap - I'm talking about the wally world promo loads. AA's are running almost $9/box here - I can reload a box of 12 gauge soft-shooting reloads for $3.37/box - it adds up in cash and the recoil department quickly

February 2, 2011, 09:50 PM
I shot a box of AA light loads and paid just about $9. If I was only going to shoot a box or two a month, of course it may be better for the wallet to pay that, but so far I have shot 9 boxes and would have shot more if it wasn't for getting use to the mule. I might be content with the WalMart 1 ounce stuff, if it was readily available but it was only in stock for a few days out of this month. Even then, I think the 7/8 sound as though they may not even be better as far as delaying the onset of chronic shoulder problems, that I expect I will have to eventually deal with, but they would be more challenging. I also want a supply for my wife and daughter to shoot and may even try loading 3/4 for them. Checking the online discounters the prices are pretty good, but the shipping (usually around $28 a flat) kills me and all the discounters, many of which will let you pick up from their location, seem to be outside of Cali. I am going to follow the link oneounce supplied.

BTW, somehow I had the impression that the WalMart 1-1/8 ounce loads we light. Probably because I thought it was target ammo, even though it says "multi-purpose" right on the Federal box. Doh! I wondered why the Winchester Super-Target seemed to kick less (FPS is about the same but it is 1 oz 2-3/4 dram so it wasn't my imagination and it should have less recoil that 3 dram 1-1/8 ounce). I looked up what dram means after asking at the Big 5 today and the manager had not idea. The equivalent of X drams of black powder.

February 2, 2011, 10:02 PM
Check out J&S in Jackson CA - I do not know if they deliver to your area, but they used to deliver to Carson and Reno, or ask at your local club if they do good deals or have folks who do group buys.

I would also get that gun fitted, especially with your bad shoulder

February 3, 2011, 01:04 AM
Lyman Shotshell Reloading Handbook by Thomas J. Griffin (2007) is the freshest shotshell specific guide book available.

All of my shotshell loading tools are Mec progressives. They aren't the best money can buy, but Mec delivers the most bang for the buck.

In addition to state and local requirements, a 5-acre parcel is roughly 156-yards square, and a safety zone for a standard trap field is 300 x 400 yards (24.74 Acres).

Oops, you asked about an ammo bunker, not a trap bunker. If you wanna store quantities greater than are allowed in a typical dwelling, be prepared to be buried in red tape. California is one of the states that has adopted the NFPA (National Fire Protection Assoc.) standards. Aside from the building code requirements, you'll need to meet your local land use regulations. And, your local fire marshal may enforce standards from Mars.

Why do you think you need a 5-ton bunker? The NFPA 495, 2010, Explosives Materials Code, Chapter 14, Small Arms Ammunition and Primers, Smokeless Propellants, and Black Powder Propellants, now allows 150,000 primers (DOT 1.4s) to be stored in residences instead of the old limit of 10,000. You are also permitted to have 20-pounds of black powder, 50-pounds of smokeless powder and an unlimited supply of loaded ammunition provided you meet the storage requirements.

The 2011 Alliant Reloader's Guide includes the NFPA standards. Unfortunately they are from 1995. The Accurate Powder site uses NFPA 495, 1992. The standards are treated as boiler plate, but they are revised every 3-years, so the guides are a little behind. The biggest change has been the increase in primer quantities.

February 3, 2011, 02:08 AM
Sorry, Zippy, but what I said about an ammunition bunker was meant as a joke. My poor excuse for humor. I don't expect to have much.

February 3, 2011, 02:16 AM
No worries, I learned that I'm no longer over the limit on my primer storage. The primer cartons have "DOT 1.4s" on them.

February 3, 2011, 02:25 AM
Is this MEC Jr loader also usable for rifle or pistol ammunitioin. I imagine you at least have to have the right dies, charge bars or whatever.

February 3, 2011, 08:26 AM
The MEC is just for shot shell loading. The JR is one of the best presses to start with. There have been thuosands / no hundreds of thousands of shells reloaded on the JR. Getting a used one will save in the inital investmant.

Be well advised thet reloading is a verrry badddd thing -- you start reloading them you shoot more/ reload more--shoot more---reload-- you get the idea.

February 3, 2011, 10:08 AM
Be well advised thet reloading is a verrry badddd thing -- you start reloading them you shoot more/ reload more--shoot more---reload-- you get the idea.

Yeah, you should get a Dillon SL900 and see where it gets you. You can easily load a case with that thing in no time flat.

February 3, 2011, 10:09 AM
For shotshells - I recommend the MEC Grabber model. Its a progressive machine / with a manual index ( where you rotate the shell plate / before you cycle the loader again). It'll load about 10 boxes an hour. Its a good solid machine. Its also easily portable / you can mount it to a plank - and move it around / clamp it to sawhorses to use it, etc. But no matter what press you pick / make sure it resizes in station one. Some of the models do not resize on the press - and that's a mistake / it will cause cycling problems if you don't resize the brass.

My reloads for 12ga are under $ 4 a box / and like others advised you're loading a "premium shell".

MEC has a good website - and you can check out all their models. At the top end are the 9000 GN / where its manually operated by pulling a handle - but the shell holder rotates as you cycle the handle up and down. They also offer a 9000 HN - which is operated hydraulically. You have an elec motor and hydraulic pump on the floor - and you cycle the press by stepping on a foot pedal. Its a great machine - but you have to dedicate a space for it in your shop ( moving the pump and motor is heavy and clumsy ) - so you need to leave it in one place - and disconnect the loaders for each gague from the press. Most of us that use the Hydraulic machines - have a cutoff valve - where we leave 2 presses hooked up to the pump / and just operate one at a time. I have a bench/ pump is underneath -- and I have 2 loaders on top of bench. My 12ga loader stays in place all the time on the left - the loader on the right is either my 20ga, 28ga or .410 ...and I move them in and out in about 10 min. I load 40 or 50 boxes - then swap out a different machine.

So it depends on how deep you want to get into this stuff - but its fun / and becomes part of the "game". I've reloaded for almost 50 yrs / learned when I was about 10 from my grandfather ...and have kept it up / and now I'm passing it on to my boys and my grandkids.

It'll save you money - but you can also tailor your shells to what you want .... 7/8 oz 12ga loads at 1150 fps for one of the kids ....or even a real light 20ga load / where its basically a 28ga load.

Personally, I don't like the Universal charge bars - I just have a supply of charge bars for 1/2 oz, 3/4 oz, 7/8 oz, 1 oz, 1 1/8 oz ....and its a 2 min process to switch one out ...so no big deal.

Dave McC
February 3, 2011, 10:31 AM
I have bad Karma with MEC progressives, but I've loaded thousands of rounds on my old,bought very used, MEC JR I also have a shiny new JR in 20 gauge.

MEC presses are a lot of bang for the buck. They last forever, and when they break, parts are easy to get and Tech Support at MEC reaches a height more companies should aspire to.

When the bottle support broke on my ancient JR, MEC not only sent me a new one without my paying in advance, the receptionist told me over the phone how to patch the old one with JB weld.

The Lyman manual #4 has a step by step photo heavy directive that will guide even a cretin through the process of making good, reliable, safe ammo.

Buy the manual, then a scale. After that, the rest of it.

When I started loading shotshells back around 2000, from the time I unpacked to when I closed up the first box of reloads was about 1 hr.

I did have extensive experience reloading metallics, but still....

Nowhere Man
February 3, 2011, 11:20 AM
Like Xfire said, do you shoot enough to justify reloading? You'll only be saving ~ 10 cents per round.

How long will it take to pay for your reloader?


February 3, 2011, 11:35 AM
Since we know some of this stuff is new to you - what I was trying to say, is at least educate yourself on all the MEC models - and how they're different. You certainly don't need to go to a hydraulic progressive ...a Mec Jr is a good machine as well... but understand your options.

The other thing - is shop your local gunshows ...I see quite a few Jr's, and some MEC Grabbers at my local shows - $ 100 - $150 usually depending on what they have for extras. MEC's are hard to abuse / but a lot of guys don't keep them clean and lubed properly ( just like their guns ) and sometimes you can find a steal at a show - where the loader is just ugly and dirty ...and clean it up and rebuild it. About a yr ago - I bought a used Mec Grabber for $100 / hardly used ...it was just dusty ....

There are other machines out there RCBS, Dillon, etc - but MEC gives you a lot of machine for the money. If I had to guess - MEC probably has at least 80% of the market in shotshell loaders. I have a dozen or more buddies that reload locally - and we all use one of the MEC models.

February 3, 2011, 11:55 AM
Among the comp shooters, the progressive MECs are very popular. The reloaders without MECs typically have an upper scale loader like a PW. Comp shooters are of two varieties. Guys, like Jim and me, shoot all four gauges and have 4 MECS. Trap shooters, who shoot only 12-ga, and a lot of it, are the ones who tend to go with the high end loaders.

February 3, 2011, 12:09 PM
We aren't talking about a dime a shell or $2.50 a box savings. If I thought it wise to shoot up the 1 oz stuff from WalMart I would be tickled, but I think it my 63 year old body will thank me if I swith to 7/8 oz loads and as near as I can see in they are pretty expensive near me. Online prices are good but the cost of shipping kills that. The costs of loading may be less then some think. I may be able to get a used MEC Jr for $50 or $60. Then it is possible that some other member of my family go out shooting once and a while. I figure the loader, Lyman book, needed accessories (scale, bushings, extra shot bar) will be paid for in three months or less.

February 3, 2011, 12:19 PM
Zippy and BigJim. Should there be a need for a better loader down the road, I can always sell the MEC Jr I am trying to get used for nearly what I am trying to pay for one, which is not to say if I saw a deal on someting a bit more than I need I would not take it. Last week's local gun show was rained out on Sunday.

February 3, 2011, 01:58 PM
If you want to load your own shotgun shells you do not need a justification. Many people are being short sighted when they say oh SG shells are so cheap so you have no need. Pfft! They could pass some crap legislation that would increase the price and deny availability to you almost overnight. Where would you be then?

Get a MEC. I have the grabber and it is a sweet machine. When I pass my shotguns down to the kids, they get a press and stuff too to ensure they will be able to shoot. Who cares how cheap they are...they wont stay cheap forever.

February 3, 2011, 02:08 PM
Sounds like a plan man ....

I have the one used Grabber ....and I keep looking for a 2nd one ...or one in 20ga to pickup ( I'm sorry I gave the one I had away in 20ga a few yrs ago ) / and then pass them on to each of the boys - when I give them a couple of shotguns in a few years.

They can have my hydraulics ...when I'm too old / or too blind to shoot ....:D




This is how I have the reloading area of my shop setup ....the blue press is a Dillon 650 for metallic / then there are 4 Mecs - 2 always on the loading table above my pump / and 2 standing by ....

It works real well for me ...

February 3, 2011, 02:24 PM
Step ups from the MEC include, in the opinion of many, the RCBS Grand, The PW models and at the top of the mountain, the Spolar. When you add in a hydraulic or electric drive to a PW or Spolar, the machine starts to get real pricey.....that's OK if you are shooting the volume to offset the cost. I have had MEC 9000's - not bad machines once you get it tweaked.........still have some Jr's. Right now I am using the Grand and it does a nice job - and any and all replacement parts come free from Oroville - forever.

February 3, 2011, 03:57 PM
I have a buddy with a Spolar machine - hydraulic - and 12ga and 20ga tool heads.... but I wouldn't trade my Mec 9000 HN's for the Spolar. But like OneOunce says --- once you understand a Mec --- its an easy machine to keep tuned up.

February 3, 2011, 05:09 PM
BigJim. That is one organized garage. Besides the shotgun, I am trying to pursue antother pastime I have been getting into and you are obviously well into; wood working. It is nice to see that the reloading equipment takes up very little space.

February 3, 2011, 05:25 PM
While I'm thinking about it ....we all have machines we prefer over others ....but one of the biggest issues ....

You need to decide on the hull that you want to reload ....not all 12ga 2 3/4" hulls are the same ...in fact they can be way different / which isn't logical. But some of them are a little longer, some are tapered, some have brass cups, some are steel, etc ....

In 12ga reloads ....
a. 10 Years ago 90% of us reloaded Win AA's exclusively ... But today, Win has the HS hulls..which I believe require a different wad / some of the promo loads like you might buy at WalMart,etc ...are a little different, crimp different..and may be a different quality of plastic in the hull.... So many of us / have given up on Win AA hulls ....

b. Remington has an STS hull (dark green) and a Nitro hull ( gold ) that are very durable / really strong hulls - and will almost reload forever. I have many with well over 20 reloads on one hull. Remington also has a black hull - called a "Game Load" ....and the plastic is a little thinner and more brittle than the Rem STS or Rem Nitro hulls. But all 3 of the Rem hulls are easy to reload - and take the same recipe. The Rem Game Loads will only reload 4 or 5 times before they seem to crack.

Today, based on what I see - 90% of us reload Rem STS hulls....

c. There are other hulls out there - Federal - which are fine .... / Fiocchi, Rio, Estate, etc which are all pretty much junk in my opinion ...

But you can't mix and match hulls - some WIN AA's, some STS's, some Rio's etc ..... / you can't necessarily mix and match wads or primers either . On shotshells - you have to follow the published recipe to the letter - and while some substitutions of wads may be allowed in the tables ...you can't mix and match everything...

So what I'm saying is some of the promo shells you're buying - may be junk / and not really a good option for reloading. The best hull to use, in my opinion is the REM STS hull in a 12ga. Some clubs sell once fired hulls for about $4 per 100 .../ or you might be able to beg a few hundred off someone ...( many of us that reload / have 20gallon garbage cans full of hulls ...) ...

Personally, I like Hodgdon Clays powder, Win AA 12SL wad because I load 1 oz of shot ( and I substitue a Green Duster brand wad for it ) - and that substitution is in the Hodgdon book, and Win 209 primers .....but part of the reason I use that mix ....is my club stocks all those components in case lots .... ( and I load 1 oz of 8's 99% of the time in my 12ga loads ).

The reason I happened to think of this - is it was a topic at my club yesterday ...when we found a guy picking hulls out of the garbage and he was mixing and matching all kinds of hulls... and he had some shells that were "bloopers" and some "misfires" ....so we tried to educate him ...and he had no clue ( and he can't read, can't follow directions, and hasn't cleaned his gun in over a year ....) .... Not saying you would be as foolish as he is ....but it isn't logical that all 12ga hulls are not created equal either ...since all 2 3/4" 12 ga shells will fit in a gun chambered for 2 3/4" shells ...you might think they had a mfg convention / where they were all the same ..but they aren't !!

February 3, 2011, 06:17 PM
To add my favorite to Jim's Remington mentions-the Gun Club, frequently put on sale by Dick's and other big-box chains - while a steel base hull, they are as reloadable as the STS and crimp real well

February 3, 2011, 06:40 PM
See, even though we're friends - we can occasionally agree on something :D

( but the gun clubs crack after 4 or 5 loads / unless you load them real light --- like OneOunce does ) .... Although, one thing to help a hull last / and run thru the press better ....is bring them in out of the cold ...and let them warm up overnite before you run them thru the press .... ( or you could even run them thru the clothes dryer --- for a few minutes ---- if you don't get caught ...) :D or so a single buddy of mine keeps saying ....( I don't have the guts to do it at home ) ....and he won't either when he gets married later this year, trust me .... she'll kill him ...

February 3, 2011, 06:45 PM
I don't shoot trap or skeet or dove, and don't need a lot of shells. So, I just load a few shells by hand as I need them or as the spirit moves me to. I load some vintage smokeless loads in paper hulls that I roll crimp, and I do some blackpowder loading (it's really a black powder substitute) in brass shells. I've found loading them as I need them this way to be inexpensive, uncomplicated and its the way everybody used to do it. It also really adds something to the enjoyment and anticipation of going hunting or shooting.

I already had a Remington Model 11 12 Ga. autoloader and a 100 year old Forehand Arms single barrel 12 Ga. when I started doing this. I also owned a rubber hammer, and a Black and Decker workmate to use as a work bench, and a 12 Guage shotgun cleaning kit.

I bought:
an antique 12 Ga. roll crimper on e-bay; about $18, incl. shipping.
100 primed Cheddite hulls $16.95 + shipping from BPI
10 CNC lathed brass shells from RMC (unprimed) $60-ish
1 lb. of Alliant Red Dot Powder (smokeless) can't recall but about $15
1 lb. of Triple Seven Powder (black powder substitute) cant't recall; say $15

With the exception of shot, which can be expensive in large quantities, the rest of the stuff I bought was a few bucks each. Finding small quantities of shot was the most difficult thing I ran into. (Although recently, I was practically given about 5 lbs. of #7 1/2 shot and an equal quantity of 00 buckshot by a gunsmith who was going out of business.)

100 Winchester primers
a bag of fiber wads
a bag of nitro cards and a bag of overshot cards.
a hand dipper adjustible in oz/drams; it's handle doubles as a 12 ga. tamper
a small funnel
a tube of Duco Cement to seal the ends of my brass shells.
a 12 guage sized dowel

I also bought a pricy set of brass priming, and depriming tools from RMC because I think they're cool, but I could have probably have gotten by with a block of hardwood, a socket from a socket wrench set, and a Torx screwdriver for depriming.

Works for me.

February 3, 2011, 09:33 PM
Progressives are not really machines beginners should start with. They can be very finicky, you really have to pay attention to them. The MEC jr. will be the perfect machine to learn on, then like you said, upgrade later. You'll get really good at loading with the jr. and you probably be watching T.V. as you are doing it. And until you start shooting a S@#$ load, it will will serve you well.

February 3, 2011, 09:44 PM
Missed a page, We used to load the gameloads to ( absolutely not reccommended) AA 1 oz. loads, called them black beauties. 4 loads and I would toss them, chrono @ 1050. would break targets fine.

February 4, 2011, 02:36 PM
The Wally world shells will screw up your game, 1 oz at 1325 FPS. And they kick a lot more than a good 1150 FPS reload.

Plus the shot is not as good, etc, etc.

Lyman Book and Mec instructions.....can't go wrong.


February 5, 2011, 10:06 PM
did this all with a Mec Jr. 2156 rounds.

February 6, 2011, 11:21 AM
You must have had a good workout!

February 6, 2011, 11:58 AM
oneounceload let me put it this way i am single now girlfriend go so ****** at me cause i wasn't spending any time with her. Doing all that work wasn't bad cause with my work i use my upper body alot. but i do want to get a progressive press now just picked up a Saiga 12 and think my rounds will go fast now.

February 6, 2011, 12:16 PM
In the early 70's I had only two shotguns: Skeet W-101's in 12 and .410. My neighbor, who was in the process of clearing out for a move, came to my door with two cartons. One had a picture of a MEC 600 Jr and the other box was much larger. I recognized the MEC box because I'd been reloading with a 12-ga 650 for several years. The larger box had well over 4,000 once fired Fed paper .410 hulls. My neighbor proposed giving me the hulls if I would buy the loader for $35. With the deal done, I got some .410 powder and 5,000 ea of primers, over-powder and filler wads. After quite a few evenings working the 600 Jr. I had something in the neighborhood of 175 boxes of .410s -- quite an impressive sight. I thought I would be shooting these little guys for some time to come. Surprise, surprise, it seemed like no time at all before they were gone. Rottiieman33, let's see if your experience is the same. :D
Several years later, when I was shooting the .410 more seriously, I got a MEC Grabber in .410 and sold the 600 Jr for $35.

February 6, 2011, 12:18 PM
Impressive pile of boxes my man ....

For that kind of volume ---- look at the 9000-GN ( its manually operated / but progressive and auto index.)

The 9000-HN is the hydraulic version / but the downside to this model is you need a permanent place to put the press / with the motor and pump that stays on the floor - and you operate it with a foot pedal.

Both of the 9000's are very good machines / they'll both do 100 boxes in about 5 hours.

February 6, 2011, 12:29 PM
2500 rounds in 5 hours my 2000 rounds think it took me about 15-20 hours lol.

February 9, 2011, 04:07 PM
So what do I need to get started reloading? I can think of hulls, primers, a loading system and I would go with a MEC 600 Jr., shot, and shot cups. Do I also need a scale and what about a tumbler or is that just something for brass?

Also, in a youtube video some guy demonstrating a 600 Jr,, just a guy not doing it for any company, taps something each time to ensure that all the powder falls down. Is that necessary or is he using cheap powder. If some is left up in the thing will it end up in the next shell and will that be a hot load?

February 9, 2011, 04:20 PM
Yes, you need a scale ....but a balance beam is fine ...for shotshells especially.

You need Hulls...( pick one ... like Rem STS, 2 3/4" hulls 12ga )

You need "wads" ....follow a published recipe .... for 1 oz loads you need a WIN 12SL wad ...

You need 'primers" ....like Win 209 ....

You need a 25 lb bag of shot .... like 8's ...

You need powder - like Hodgdon Clays ...

( and no, you don't need to smack the feed tube every time ). If he's doing that / on powder or shot ....he probably has some static built it / and he should address that issue ( by using static free dryer sheets, etc ) not smacking the powder feed tube.

No tumbler / just wipe off your hulls if necessary ( but I do nothing to mine ). If I drop one in the mudd / or a puddle ....I dry it off / drop it into my vest.

February 9, 2011, 04:34 PM
You need a manual or to look at the powder maker websites to get recipes - first and foremost.

Hulls and wads are not always interchangeable (actually most times NOT). Primers are not the same either, although a few brands can be used interchangeably.

With ANY reloading, a scale to verify powder drops is something you need.
Press for the proper gauge, hulls of decent quality - stick to Remington's or Winchester in the AA. Add in the correct powder and wads and you are set to go.

MEC progressives are decent machines - as are the Hornady, RCBS, Dillon, Ponsness-Warren and Spolar - (those are listed in approximate ascending cost order).

The process is simple enough, and in some aspects, it is not as critical as metallic, but recipes are to be followed as changes in pressure can be bad if they get out of line

February 9, 2011, 04:43 PM
On the scale issue - the MEC loaders use "powder bushings" - where you look up your powder recipe in a book / say 17.0 grains of Hodgdon Clays for a 1 oz 12ga load ....

and you pick the powder bushing that MEC recommends that gets you the closest to 17.0 grains ...in their chart ....like a # 31 bushing probably in this case. You can fine tune a bushing / by polishing a little ...etc ...but usually you go with what it drops as close enough.

But you do need a scale to check once in a while ...as you're loading.

Now in 12ga, 1 oz, loads using REM STS hulls .... you'll find published recipes for 15.7 grains of Clays @ 1125 fps all the way up to 19.8grains of powder @ 1290 fps .....so if you're goal, on powder is to drop 17.0 grains you have a lot of leeway ...for safety. It isn't like handgun loads where your safe minimum might be 4.1 grains --and the max safe load is 4.4 grains.

February 9, 2011, 04:52 PM
OK. I thought I had the basic equipment down but was not sure if I needed a scale. I do. As for having to strictly follow established recipes, I picked that up from your earlier posts. There is a wholesale loading supplies company I have located that also carries used shot. Its Phillips in Covina in case anybody knows of something closer to me in Lake Forest or perhaps a better place. Hint Zippy.As I am in Ca I also need to check if I need something to store the powder in. A guy at Turners, a local chain of gun stores, said I do but the same guy said they didn't carry 25# bags of shot and I quickly found them on their reloading supplies, mainly geared for pistol and rifle cartridges, aisle.

February 9, 2011, 05:30 PM
I don't live in CA.....but in my state, Washington ....you can have up to 25 lbs of powder stored in a residence, with no special requirements.

From 25 - 50 lbs in a residence --- it has to be stored inside a solid 3/4" plywood box.

In Washington state - you cannot have over 50 lbs of powder stored in a residence.

Your state websites / may help you answer the question.

Note: many of us as reloaders keep up to 4 or 5 different powders in stock in our homes / and typically in 8 lb kegs ...so up to 40 lbs with no issues. For a 12ga reloader - all you need is one powder / and an 8lb keg will give you 56,000 grains ( or at 17.0 grains per shell --- about 3,200 shells or 128 boxes ....).

There will probably be limitations on primers as well in your state / in mine its 10,000 .... and I always buy primers in case lots of 5,000 ....and a couple of cases on hand is plenty...

February 9, 2011, 05:57 PM
Fifty pounds of smokeless powder takes up a significant amount of cabinet space. On the other hand, 10,000 primers, the old limit, don't take up very much space at all. The other day I thought I was getting low on pistol primers… I quick count showed I was just below 20,000 in about 6" of shelf space. Well above the old limit; but, since they are all labeled with DOT 1.4S, I'm legal.

I don't have a clue where to get discount components locally in SoCal. My last bulk order was from J & S up in Jackson. The last time I was there, the had low prices on MEC, too. You might ask the shooters at Prado who's their component guy.

February 9, 2011, 06:08 PM
You do not have to load shotshells exactly as the book may call it out.

Their recipes are not written in stone.

You can use any primer. I prefer those that are "sealed". I think it was the old 57 type that were open.

You can use almost any wad, ... as long as it will hold the amount of shot you want and give a decent crimp.

You can use any hull, high base or low base, makes no difference. But again, the wad and shot amount will be your limiting factor. I prefer hulls with 8 point crimp. AA - red or gray, RXP, STS, etc.

You will find that most loads use around 20 grains of powder.

I select loads as to the powder type and amount of shot.

This is a "ratio" you must follow.

I never EXCEED MAX powder charges.

February 9, 2011, 06:15 PM
BigJim and Zippy, Thanks again. So as not to possibly invalidate our fire insurance policy, I will check the storage question out with the Fire Authority. It looks as if there are no state regs, if less than 20 pounds of smokeless are stored in a residence. To be safe I will also run things past a contact in the city builidng department, if local ordiances aren't clear. Even if nothing is mandated, I will probably knock together a box out of fire treated matrerials. Off hand I don't remember but gypsum board (drywall) may be better than plywood.

February 9, 2011, 06:23 PM
You do not have to load shotshells exactly as the book may call it out.

Their recipes are not written in stone. :eek: Now we know why you're called "Wild".

February 9, 2011, 06:27 PM
mixing components in shotshells vs following published recipes ...is reckless in my opinion ....and to recommend the same ...in a forum, is a very bad idea.

There are some substitutions for wads allowed / and you may find 2 recipes ---one with primer X and one with primer Y ....and be just fine... but

1. all 209 shotshell primers are not even close to being the same ...and should never be substituted ...

2. 20grains of a powder, like Hodgdon Clays is a pretty heavy load / and I would never say an average load is around 20 grains ... Its just not close to that much powder on average ....

3. Interchanging wads is allowed --- if they are listed in the reloading books tables for substitution. But to just mix in anything ....no, that's not ok ...

But as an example ....A recipe calling for a WAA12SL wad has 4 or 5 allowed substitutions including the Green Duster and the CB1100-12 both of which are commonl available.

4. mixing and matching hulls ....low brass ....high brass ....is going to give you all kinds of messed up crimps.

I don't know everything about reloading shotshells....I've only been doing it for 50 yrs or so ... but "Follow Published Recipes, Please ...."...

February 9, 2011, 06:55 PM
Yeah, that's pretty bad advice. Just like winchester didn't screw things up with the HS hulls and not coming out with the correct wads for them. Different primers burn differently, different wads cause different pressures, There might be some variations that work and are being widely used, but try to keep the recipes and try to chrono some batches of loads to see if you are consistent.

February 9, 2011, 08:58 PM
I don't have a clue where to get discount components locally in SoCal. My last bulk order was from J & S up in Jackson. The last time I was there, the had low prices on MEC, too. You might ask the shooters at Prado who's their component guy.

To reiterate about J&S, they delivered to us in N NV every week - good folks, fair prices and door step delivery

You do not have to load shotshells exactly as the book may call it out.

Their recipes are not written in stone.

You can use any primer. I prefer those that are "sealed". I think it was the old 57 type that were open.

You can use almost any wad, ... as long as it will hold the amount of shot you want and give a decent crimp.

You can use any hull, high base or low base, makes no difference. But again, the wad and shot amount will be your limiting factor. I prefer hulls with 8 point crimp. AA - red or gray, RXP, STS, etc.

You will find that most loads use around 20 grains of powder.

I select loads as to the powder type and amount of shot.

This is a "ratio" you must follow.

I never EXCEED MAX powder charges.

And just what insanity do you base this total BS on? But then, I forget, there are folks who never read the manual either

This is the most irresponsible BS crap ever posted about loading shotgun shells:mad::barf::rolleyes:

February 9, 2011, 09:25 PM
Don't worry oneounce, I learned enought abouty ordinance years back, even if I was an aviation ordinance technician, that I am following recipes. For very experienced reloaders, perhaps they might experiment with special recipes, but like are poster "Dirty" Harry Callahan famously said, a man has to know his limits. Unfortunately, someone with even less common sense and experience than myself might read how they can play around with known recipes and blow themselves up.

February 9, 2011, 10:13 PM

I am wondering if the wieght of many loaded shotshellsl will exceed the 750 grain capacity

Here is one with a weight capacity double Frankfordds 750, the BPI BallistiScale 1500 Digital Scale and it seems to be marketed for shotgunners


Perhaps a local PD is auctioning off some high quality scales and I don't mean ones they have been using for reloading.

February 10, 2011, 03:51 PM
I don't like either one of those ....and I don't know what a loaded 12ga shotshell weighs ....but you'll never have to weigh one ...

All you'll ever weigh - is the powder / not the hull and the powder.

You will zero the scale - with the pan - on the platten ....and then dump the powder into the pan and weigh just the powder. Say around 17.0 grains.

PACT, RCBS, Dillon etc all have good scales .... electronic ones, that plug into 110 and have a battery backup will cost you about $ 140 / but a good manual balance beam scale ... Dillon, OHaus, etc have them as well for about $ 55 ...

The best scale out there is accurate to 0.01 grain ....and is a Denver Instrument scale MXX-123 for around $ 300 I think ....
You can contact them at 1-800-321-1135 if you have any questions.

But don't go for a battery only scale ...a balance beam scale would be a way better option than either of those in my opinion. Remember its something you'll have forever ....

February 10, 2011, 06:30 PM
I prefer balance beam scales to electronic - as they tend to be finicky and battery stuff and me tend to short out early.

Ohaus makes most of the better balance beam scales for the majority of the big brands - well made and most brands will have a life-time warranty. My 5-10 has been in use for almost 30 years - it sits on a shelf ABOVE the bench so vibrations do not affect it

February 10, 2011, 06:53 PM
The truth be told, I loaded shot shells for many years without a scale. My first MEC was so long ago, it was before they had interchangeable powder bushings -- the bar had two metering holes. IIRC, the bar that came with the 12-ga 650 dropped 1-1/8 oz shot and a 3 dram equivalent of RedDot. I finally bought a scale (RCBS Model 10•10) when I got into pistol reloading. Having a scale, I got an adjustable bar for the MEC and broadened my shot shell reloading horizon.

February 10, 2011, 07:07 PM
get the Lyman loading manual. Yes, loading shotgun shells on a single stage press is very simple. You will need different charge bars and powder bushings for different loads or you can get a universal charge bar.

February 10, 2011, 07:10 PM
Oops! I remembered something in the videos I saw on youtube about the MEC 600 Jr and the ones that mention a scale indeed only talk about using it to spot check the accuracy of your powder loads. There are two guys recommending tapping the handle a few times after dropping shot to make shuer it has all fallen into the hull. My bet is BigJim has a tad more experience with reloading than those young guys, unless this is a recommendation peculiar to the MEC 600 JR.

February 10, 2011, 07:20 PM
I was just using my Jr. - I run it quick and hard - with the red PC powder baffle and the vibrations from running it, the load drops are very consistent for powder and shot

February 10, 2011, 09:31 PM
I haven't run a MEC 600 Jr. for many years; but, as I recall, the charge bar is manually shuttled. Consequently, there's a quantum leap more tactile feedback from the 600 Jr. than the bigger progressive models. If a wad doesn't go in quite right, you'll know about it with a 600 Jr., but it might be missed with a bigger press. With the 600 Jr., you'd feel something is amiss and back-up the ram. With the big press, spilled shot might be your first sign of trouble.

February 10, 2011, 10:10 PM
Zippy - correct - it is a manual shuttle - I use the UCB instead of fixed bars - but I still use my finger and move them quick and hard.

One advantage about them......I broke my progressive this week - something went awry - parts are coming, but as in anything the absolute simplest you make something mechanical, the better it will last..........now I can't reload 10 boxes an hour like Jim....but I can do 6-8 and that includes boxing them and reloading the primer feed...it's a nice backup to have for any progressive

February 11, 2011, 01:59 AM
Klawman, I always weigh out ten charges before anything goes into a hull. This gives a pretty accurate idea of what your machine is dropping. I have to agree with my friends here on the Mec reloader. You have to own a Texan, two Pacifics and three or four Mecs to really appreciate your first PW.:D:eek: Did I say that out loud?

February 11, 2011, 03:13 AM
Thanks everyone. I think I have the basic info and know what I want to do if I reload, but for the time being the boss wants me to chose a long barrel or a loading press and since it seems I have no trouble anymore with recoil I am going with the barrel and the one ounce loads from WM. If not the cheapest, which are the Federals with 3-1/4 dram equivalent, I will pay an extra buck for the Winchester 2-3/4 dram 1 ounce target loads. My plan is to shoot the **** out of them so my shoulder brusies up and the boss then lets me buy the press, too. In the long run, I think my aging bones will thank me if I start shooting 7/8s.

February 11, 2011, 12:02 PM
Hey, now ....I'm not just a one trick pony ....(although I do rely on my MEC hydraulic machines to do 99% of my reloading ..) .... I have a MEC Grabber model ( manual pull handle ) as a backup right now ...in 12ga at least ...( and usually about 60 boxes of shells per gague ...in inventory ) ...

MEC's are so easy to fix / even if I break something ...I can have the loader up and running in a week or two tops. Depending on what breaks / since I have 4 loaders ...I've even scavenged parts off one or the other ....but the only thing I've broken in the last 10 yrs probably ...is a wad guide ...

Even if I broke the 20ga loader ....I'd just shoot more 28ga for awhile or something ...so having a backup to me /isn't a big deal.

My procedure is to make 3 or 4 drops of powder / dumping them all back into the hopper. Then I start weighing every powder drop for first 4 or 5 drops -- to make sure the press is dropping right at the goal for that shell. Once it is consistent / I check about every 15th shell or so ...to make sure nothing has changed.

Tapping that shot feed tube ...used to be a big deal ....because the shot would "bridge" in the tube ...and not drop thru to the hull. MEC redesigned their Shot feed tubes several yrs ago ...and I've never had it happen on 12, 20 or 28ga loading 7 1/2's, 8's or 9's ..... but I have had it happen in a
.410 once in a while if I'm trying to load 8's ...not so much in loading 9's in the .410's.

June 5, 2011, 01:20 AM
OK. I finally took a lesson, like everyone said, and it was well worth the money. Now, I guess I am going to finally pick up a MEC Jr. , like everyone recommended so as to save some money and shoot some body & fllinching saving loads(Hitting head agaist wall since I had located one within a 10 mile drive for $60 and didn't jump on it when I had the chance.)

I have a question about shot, which seems to be one of the main expenses. Since this will all be for practice, is used shot well enough?

June 5, 2011, 03:38 AM
K-Law, my friend, my club used to sell the shot we reclaimed from the trap and skeet fields. I loaded reclaimed in practice loads for many years. The only reason I stopped was the club stopped selling reclaimed because they decided to have it re-manufactured off site. The price difference wasn't significantly higher to the members. Some shooters say reclaimed is full of rocks and other nasty stuff, but I never found this to be true with the product from the shot cleaning crews that came to our club. Actually, the reclaimed shot looked better than some of the stuff I've seen loaded in promotional dove loads.

Most of the shot was from the trap fields, so it tended to have a higher percentage of 7-1/2s. The stuff worked fine the for trap and the skeet gauges; however, I found new 9s worked better in .410-bore skeet loads.

June 5, 2011, 12:55 PM
Thank you, Zippy. I am not certain what Prado sells shot for but Phillips Wholesale, the place I mistakenly thought was mentioned in the past by you, had reclaimed shot at $26 for a 25# bag as compared to $38 for new. Those are one bag prices. I ran some numbers and see why people aren't happy with the price of shot. I am only guessing which powder and components I will get, but figure I can reload for around $4.65 a box without buying in massive quantities. I think the case price at Prado is around $6.70 for Estate so reloading significantly cuts down on the cost of shooting. (Calcs do not include the amorized cost of equipment which is minor given the price for an MEC Jr. and scales.)

June 5, 2011, 03:18 PM
When I started seriously reloading shot shells in '68, new shot was $36/100#, and folks were still looking to save with reclaimed.

June 5, 2011, 07:43 PM
One thing about reclaimed is the quality of the reclamation the miner does - some uses too much graphite and it can gunk your machine; some do not sweep the shot with a magnet or pick out small stones - both bad ju-ju to have in your mix.

IF the miner does take care of those issues, reclaimed is great.......for practice. When the money is on the line, the best quality factory stuff should be used - besides it will give you more empties for reloading

June 5, 2011, 08:21 PM
Just returned from the gun fair at Raahauge's. Just as we were leaving we found the MEC exhibit. The didn't have a JR but two Sizemasters and one more expensive press, which I think was teh 9000GN. I may try to get the Sizemaster, which to me is a 600 Jr with the $65 primer feed and a different type of resizer. Does anyone familiar with the 600 Jr think the primer feed is worth the money?

June 6, 2011, 08:55 AM
Having owned 3 Jr's - I can tell you I have the primer feed on everyone of them - speeds up production a LOT. No oily fingers trying to grasp a primer and put it in the reloading hole. When I get into a rhythm, I can get 6 boxes an hour done.

One other accessory you'll want is the EZ-pack - that's the red sloping metal holder you place each finished shell into so you can slip a box over the top and VOILA!, boxed and ready to go

June 6, 2011, 12:01 PM
Look over the MEC website before you decide ...


The 600 Jr isn't a bad machine ....but yes, add the primer feed. You can get about 4 boxes an hour off the machine. Recob's target shop out of Wisconsin sells it new for about $ 135 / and they're a good company to deal with / I've bought lots of loaders and lots of components from them.


The sizemaster, in my view, is really there because you can adjust it for 2 3/4" or 3" shells ...so its more designed for the "hunter" vs a target shooter. It doesn't increase your speed much - its still a 4 box per hour machine in my mind.

The next step up - is the Grabber / and its the first in the line of the progressive machines and will give you about 8 boxes an hour / so it really increses your volume. Recobs target shop sells it new for about $ 370.

9000 GN is a better machine than the Grabber / and its $ 60 more ....but it auto indexes ..so its faster easily 12 - 15 boxes an hour.

9000 HN is their hydraulic ( which I like / but you need a permanent location for the motor and pump that rests on the floor ) so its not portable. Its a little faster than the 9000 GN - ( call it 15 - 18 boxes an hour )...

On the easy pak ...sure they work / but I'm lazy ....I toss 30 shells into a quart sized zip lock bag ( gives me a few extra shells per round) ...and then put 10 bags into an 8 gallon tupperware tub...

Going with a Jr isn't bad / and they're easy to sell ...but time is a factor .. / so I'd take a serious look at the Grabber model instead. ( I know none of this stuff is cheap / but you'll have it a long time ...)...

June 6, 2011, 12:37 PM
Great input. The guy demonstrating the MECs at the Shooting Sports Fair emphasized the collett type resizer on all of the MECs other than the Jr, which resizes with a ring. I fo course am looking at some used ones and there is one that looks good with a primer feed.

I checked out recob's and it does have good prices and reasonable shipping. Combined they are $10 less than the price list I got at the fair, but that didn't include shipping.

As for hunting, I look forward to trying that some time but if needed I can buy shells for that.

And I have already figured out that I will likely want a one ounce shot bar and another powder bushing.

June 6, 2011, 02:55 PM
My first .410-bore loader was a used MEC 600 Jr, but I didn't shoot much little gun in those days. When I got serious about the .410, I bought a new Grabber and sold the 600 Jr for what I'd paid for it. Buying a used 600 Jr is probably a good way to get into shot shell re-loading. After you've become totally familiarized with re-loading, you may wish to up grade to a higher capacity loader and pass on the 600 Jr at no loss.

June 6, 2011, 02:58 PM
Re-Sizing is really important on any gun ....like a pump or semi-auto where you are feeding shells into the action out of a magazine. Its less important on an O/U ....because if we have a mis-shaped shell -- we can usually ram it into the chamber ...

But buying a press - that won't resize on the press ...makes very little sense to me / espcially in this time and age ...where everything we need to do is faster, and faster ....

I had an hour to kill this morning at home ...before I came into my office ....so I loaded up about 12 boxes of 12ga shells and 12 boxes of 20ga shells. Bagged them up ...and put them into tubs. I bag 30 shells to a bag ( but 300 shells is 300 shells ) ...

In another hour this evening ....I'll load up 20 boxes or about 1,000 rounds of 9mm ...( 115 gr FMJ bullets ) for some of my handguns ....( my 32 yr old son and my 19 yr old grandson are coming over on Sat and Sunday ...and we're going to the handgun range on Sat evening / and 5 stand and sporting clays on Sunday ...)...

Doing those 24 boxes on a couple of 600 Jr's ....would have taken me 3 -- maybe 4 times as long .... I like reloading / but I like it a lot more ...when it only takes me an hour instead of 4 hours !! I'll help them to crank out another 20 boxes or so on Sat evening ...which they like doing too ... Having a good reloader - that does a good job / fairly quickly ..makes it part of the hobby as opposed to a "chore"...

June 6, 2011, 03:17 PM
The MEC Jr resizes but uses a different system than the rest of the MEC line. The one expense I will have whether or not I get a used or new one is the shot bar. So far I have only seen one used Jr for sale with a one ounce. For the time being, though, I don't know if I want to cut down on shot or just powder. I may just go new because a lot of the used ones on ebay seem to be missing a part here and there.

I lilke the idea that I can probably sell the used Jr for what I have in it if I decide to go with a more elaborate rig.

As for time, I have more than $$$$ at the moment.

June 6, 2011, 03:19 PM
Better than me Jim - I get about 300 of one type in an hour or a little more - period. I have found going too fast produces too many issues with things going wrong...........

Besides, it's 92 degrees in my garage with no breeze....after 15 minutes, it's time to go inside for a cold drink of water

June 6, 2011, 03:56 PM
600 shells or 24 boxes off a Mec 9000-HN in an hour is no big deal ...but that is about max capacity / and I switched presses ...from a 12ga to a 20ga ....( but it was 60 degrees in my shop this morning ....) so I had to put on slippers ....(concrete floor was just too much in bare feet ...)...

Going too fast is never a good idea ...but both of my presses are set up / ready to go .../ components are on the benchtop ...so I'm very fortunate.

I thought the sizer on the 600 Jr was different ...but I don't know that its less efficient ...vs just different.

92 Degrees ...:eek: ...it got up to 74 or so the other day ...and I thought I was going to die ( the moss between my toes actually dried out ..) .../ but no fear, tomorrow's high is supposed to be about 58 degrees.../with only a 20% chance of rain ....so its going to be a good day ( and I'll actually be shooting 5 stand and sporting clays tomorrow ...with a 20ga or 28ga not sure yet ...)...maybe both ...

June 6, 2011, 03:59 PM
As to the Jr., it uses a sizing ring in lieu of the collapsing collet. One thing some folks run into with the collet is with some Europ shells having a brass base higher than the collet, so it doesn't get fully resized. With the Jr., you can fully resize, but it typically a little more OOMPH on the handle

As far as Estates go, they were GREAT ammo until Federal/ATK took over and made them a promo load

June 6, 2011, 04:26 PM
and why do Estates ...when someone shoots them ...

smell like moldy nasty sweat socks ...that got left inside a plastic bag ...

( and I know we're talking about reloading ....but the promo loads that I do shoot once in a while / and have even shot them for tournaments is Rio's )...

June 6, 2011, 06:05 PM
What kind of scale do I need to check powder drops? Balance beam? There are ridiculously low priced electronic scales.

After asking I see that in the past most voted for a balance type over a cheapie battery operated one. I may bid on a "Lee Safety Powder Scale".


Also, fixed drop or adjustable shot/powder bar. I will likely set it up the way I want it and rarely change it, unless I ever get good enough to drop down to shooting sub 1 ounce loads.

June 6, 2011, 06:44 PM
I use a RCBS Model 10•10 balance scale. It's my understanding that the budget electronic scales are subject to interference (and inconsistent results) from such things as fluorescent lights. Questions about scales might get more responses from the reloading forum.

June 6, 2011, 07:06 PM
Thanks, Zippy. I bought the Lee Safety Powder Scale and am about to bid on a MEC 600 Jr Mark 5 (the current model of the Jr.). The guy selling it seems to know what he has and is up front about what is missing. It comes with a universal charge bar and I think that will work for me. I don't think Jim likes them so much.

June 6, 2011, 08:07 PM
I have 4 of those micro adjustable bars on my MECs. For me it makes a big difference over the OEM MEC bars and bushings.

June 6, 2011, 08:18 PM
Zippy has the Cadillac of the RCBS balance beams, very good scale. Mine is close, the 5-10 which doesn't seem to be made any more. One thing about their balance beam scales, they are guaranteed forever - they'll send you a shipping tag to send it back to Ohaus if necessary

I also have the UCB's on every Jr. - work great

Dave McC
June 7, 2011, 11:36 AM
I used the balance beams for decades, first in loading metallics, then shotshells. I now use BP's little battery powered digital. Cross checked against the Ohaus, it's accurate so far.

I like fixed bars, but it's just inertia that keeps me from a universal.

June 7, 2011, 11:52 PM
I universally like to fix my inertia in bars but the boss won't let me.

June 8, 2011, 09:31 AM
For years I used the simple Lee Hand Loader. I do not shoot at a range and generally just smack crows... civic duty. Bought my first one for $3 and it has reloaded enough ammo to take out hundreds of crows. I get it out once a month when up north there and reload as many rounds as I have empty. I also segregate hulls to a particular double or Mossy.
The Lyman Shotshell book is a must. When we return next time I will get a new one as there are great updates.
Down here in Peru I have a Lee Loader which I use on maybe 25 rounds a year. That one cast me a whopping $5 10 years ago. Mostly I load round ball with it for use in my Mossy here.
Mike in Peru

June 8, 2011, 02:46 PM
I have an old OHaus balance beam scale as a backup / but for 99% of my scale use, I use an RCBS electronic. You do have to warm them up / check them for zero when you start them ...and if you bump the bench, they'll go off zero, need to be reset.

Most all of the cheap electronic scales are + - 0.1 grain ....and that's ok for shotshells...not so good for metallic. These days 90% of the less expensive electronic scales are made by PACT and rebranded for RCBS, Hornaday, Dillon, etc ....

You'll pay around $ 150 for an electronic scale / the beam scales are around $ 50 or so ....
A better scale ....is to go to a scientific quality scale .... + - 0.01 grain...which is way better for metallic handgun ammo ....but they're about
$ 300.

a Denver Instrument MXX-123.
You can contact them at 1-800-321-1135 if you have any questions.
and you're right, I don't like single stage presses for anything ....( shotshell or metallic ) ... I like reloading a lot / but not enough to do it on a single stage press...( its just plain tedious ) !!:D

June 8, 2011, 09:23 PM
Well, I bought an inexpensive balance beam scale off of e-bay (Lee Safety Powder Scale) and a basic reloader off of Craig's List (MEC Sizemaster), and it came with a 5th Edition Lyman loading handbook. Come next week I will see just how well this works in practice.

Are Remington Gun Club hulls worth reloading? I think someone posted that they are alright but don't last long, perhaps five reloads before cracking.

June 9, 2011, 09:27 AM
Are Remington Gun Club hulls worth reloading? I think someone posted that they are alright but don't last long, perhaps five reloads before cracking.

As good as every other Remington hull, even with the steel base. I have a lot that have been reloaded more than 5, some more like 10 times. I reload them until the crimps get crispy and split, then I reload them once more for traveling and don't bring them home

June 9, 2011, 11:26 AM
Fantastic, oneounce. I picked up a few boxes worth the other day.

June 9, 2011, 01:59 PM
Don't know if you have the chain Dick's where you live - around here they tend to put Gun Clubs on sale about every three weeks or so, and there is usually a Remington rebate available. When I start running out of empties, I'll buy a flat or two on sale, shoot them and then reload them until they split.

You can also become a shell whore, digging through the barrels of empties for good hulls...........:D

June 9, 2011, 02:28 PM
I find Gun Club hulls crack at about 5 reloads ( but I reload them to about 1225 fps too ) so a little hotter than OneOunce likes his at 1150 fps .../ so I don't mess with the Gun Club hulls... ( and the base is steel / not brass ) ...

Rem STS ( dark green) or Rem Nitro ( gold ) ....will last at least 20 reloads...before they crack... / so a 20 gallon tub of hulls will last you a lifetime ...or maybe more. A lot of "big time" shooters ....will shoot new Remington STS factory ammo ...and then sell you bags of once fired hulls for $ 0.05 apiece.../ some clubs bag them up and sell them too. I see a lot of Gun Club hulls in the trash cans at my club ...so a little dumpster diving will give you a few thousand in a hurry ...( or just pick them up off the trap fields where you shoot - if you ask club management first ..)..

June 10, 2011, 10:19 AM
Can I substitute Fiochi 606 (,209 type) primers for Win 209 primers, which is what a recipe on page 161 of the 5th edition of Lyman's Shotshell Reloading Handbook specifies. 18 grains of Red Dot, Win 209, and a Windjammer delivers 1 1/8 ounces shot at 1166 FPS and a pressure of 9,800 psi. A pressure test table on page 46 suggests to me that the Fiochi 616 delivers a hair less velocity and pressure than the Win 209 with Hogdon Powder (nt specifying which Hogdon) in a 12 gauge 1 1/8 load. I note that on the same page as the tale it states not to subsitute primers.

Edit: I said the Fiochi primers were 606, which is a typo. The box reads "FIOCCI 100 Shotshell Primers 616 (.209 TYPE) SUR." Looking further it appears that they will work with a recipe for Hogdon Clays powder. Perhaps others. I haven't looked.

June 10, 2011, 12:50 PM
All reloading manuals are written by lawyers ....

You're missing something in that book ...because it has to specify the powder type ....( Hodgdon makes over a dozen different powders just for shotshells ) ... !!

So it leads you into believing its ok ....and then tells you not to../ but based on the data you found / it looks like it would be ok.

Double check the data in that book / with current data from Hodgdon website... and then go to the Alliant website for Red Dot recipes and compare them. It sounds to me like that book is pretty old ( I don't use Fiocchi primers - but I think current recipes call for FIO 616 or FIO 617's ...not a 606 number ....) so I'm not sure what you have.

There is so much data on the internet ....reloading manuals are really obsolete these days. A good book on reloading techniques / reading the loader's manual - from MEC or wherever ...is good info ...but there isn't any reason to buy current reloading manuals ...unless you just like books on your shelf .../keep the book you have as a reference ....but update the data for the recipes you intend to use by printing pages off their websites.

Remember powders get reformulated from time to time .../companies get bought out, etc ....so whenever you buy powder ...its a good idea to go to the powder website and make sure the recipe hasn't been changed.

June 10, 2011, 01:00 PM
Klaw, you can e-order a free current reloading guide directly from Alliant, the makers of RedDot, or use their on-line data base. You may not find the exact data you wish because of the Windjammer wads. You can use Claybuster's direct replacement WW wads and there may be more data.

June 10, 2011, 08:31 PM
Thenks Jim and Zippy. I will check web sites for better info. Tomorrow I will try to pick up some shot and start making shells.