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Old April 16, 2014, 08:30 AM   #1
damionkeller
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Is it Worthwhile to Reload Shotgun Shells?

My dad is passing along his reloader set-up to me next month. A) How much difference does it make in cost versus buying shells. B) How much of a quality/reliability drop-off should I expect with reloads?
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Old April 16, 2014, 08:56 AM   #2
jimbob86
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Quote:
How much difference does it make in cost versus buying shells.
I did the math a few years ago .... if figured out if I bought by the case, shotgun shell for trap were cheaper to buy than to reload.

Quote:
How much of a quality/reliability drop-off should I expect with reloads?
If it is anything like metallic cartidge reloading, you can make your reloads as good as you want to, or as cheap as you want to..... there is a correlation there, especially if you take your time into consideration.

For me, it was not worth reloading for shotgun- I could not see spending the time and money for an advantage too small for me to appreciate, as I am not nearly as avid about shotgunning as I am shooting rifles, or pistols, for that matter. YMMV.
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Old April 16, 2014, 09:23 AM   #3
jaguarxk120
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I'm a casual shooter so having shells with the heaviest shot load permited is not of importance to me.

So I load a 7/8 ounce 12 gauge and with that I can shoot all day and never feel it afterward.

But if your getting the equipment at no cost the look at the cost of components vs the cost of loaded shells. Just as jimbob has said the savings are so slight it may not be worth it.
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Old April 16, 2014, 09:41 AM   #4
jimbob86
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OTH, learning how to do something (reload shotshells) may be a worthy goal in and of itself.

Especially if your dad tutors you: Bonding and all those other 5 dollar pshychobabble words, that we used to call "Doin' stuff with Dad" ....


..... not to mention, there may come a day when WallyWorld/LGS is not selling what you need ......
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Old April 16, 2014, 10:10 AM   #5
g.willikers
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It depends on the ammo you want.
Some factory ammo, like extra light loads, or 28 gauge, can cost considerably more than the commonly found ammo.
Then the reloading can save a bundle.
You just have to sit down and do some figuring.
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Old April 16, 2014, 10:21 AM   #6
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OTH, learning how to do something (reload shotshells) may be a worthy goal in and of itself.

Especially if your dad tutors you: Bonding and all those other 5 dollar phychobabble words, that we used to call "Doin' stuff with Dad" .

I enjoy reloading shot gun shells and I cast my own 00 buck and 1oz slugs. You just might be surprised at the enjoyment you will get. Have a Mec Jr. that stands ready all year.
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Old April 16, 2014, 01:26 PM   #7
Dreaming100Straight
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You have to compare apples to apples. Do not make the mistake of comparing the cost of reloads comprised of quality components with cheap factory loads from WalMart. I figure reloads made with a good quality shot and powder save $3 a box compared to Remington Gun Clubs and more if you are comparing to Win AA or better. That is 12 gauge.

A major benefit of reloading is the ability to tailor your loads. I can choose to load 12 to emulate 16, 20, or even a 28 gauge by swapping wad cups and I can also adjust the velocity by adding or subtracting a grain or less of powder. This can save quire a lot if I am taking a new shooter out, as low recoil retail ammo often runs$10+.

To give you an idea of how one can customize loads, a buddy claims to like softer shot for breaking clay from 16 yards but harder shot for handicap. I don't know if it is needed,

Many simply enjoy reloading for itself. If you don't enjoy it some, the cost savings may not be for you and those savings also depend on how much ammo you burn.

What kind of a reloader is Dad handing down to you?
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Old April 16, 2014, 04:44 PM   #8
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Reloading is an extension of the hobby to me..../ and I've been doing it a long time, so I'd reload regardless of cost....so I can tailor the shells to what I want...

Retail cost on a 12ga shell...1 oz of shot at around 1200 fps/is about $8. I can reload that same shell for under $ 5 a box / and the cost of shot is way up right now at around $44 a bag. But I'm still saving $3 a box.../ and savings are greater on 28ga and .410 ...and about the same on 20ga.

Performance....my reloads are better / more consistent than the cheap retail shells...they're equivalent to a premium shell like Remington STS which retail closer to $ 10 a box. But for casual shooting ...the cheap retail shells are fine...for 16 yd Trap, Skeet, etc...

Tailoring a load....like a 7/8 oz shell for a 12ga ( which is a typical 20ga load )...or even reloading a 3/4oz shell for a 12ga ( which is a typical 28ga load ) ....because I want less recoil, or I want less expensive shell, something for the grandkids to shoot, etc....is where reloading really pays off. At 3/4 oz of shot, that 12 ga shell costs me under $4 a box...and gives me versatility...
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Besides, reality is --- since I reload, I shoot 2 or 3 times more with the same ammo budget ...on shotshells and metallic...because I reload 12ga, 20ga, 28ga , .410 ...and metallic in 9mm, .40 , .45 acp, .357 mag and .44 mag...
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so get the press set up ...buy some components and give it a try ....you might like it / but if all you care about is saving money, yes it'll help ...but that's not really the issue in my view.
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Old April 16, 2014, 04:56 PM   #9
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My son has accused me of (only reason) going shooting, so I would have empties to reload. Sometimes I agree. LOL.
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Old April 16, 2014, 08:42 PM   #10
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What Dreaming and BigJim said x10!

I started with some experiments in mind where the 12 and 20 gauges were concerned. I don't have a high dollar set up and don't load for volume. However, I can load a 20 gauge 2 3/4" shell with 12 #1 buck pellets using a published recipe. Good luck finding THAT on the shelf at WallyWorld.
Did you know that #1 Buck also sits three in a layer in a standard shot cup for a 12 gauge? And guess what...12 makes a 1 1/8 oz load. And they pattern very well to boot.

Reloading for the shotgun can be rewarding depending on what you are trying to get out of it. If all you want is to save some money on cheap trap shells for a 12 gauge you are out of luck. If you want to save money on a 410 / 28 / 16 gauge you can and will easily. If you want to tailor a great round for a particular gun you absolutely can.

Just my $.02
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Old April 16, 2014, 10:11 PM   #11
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For 12 ga skeet/dove loads, you cannot beat Walmart specials. For steel shot and heavy turkey loads, reloading can help.
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Old April 17, 2014, 07:38 AM   #12
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you can lower your cost for reloading if you watch and buy your supplies at gun shows and flea markets along with ads in your local paper, i bought 17 bags of shot for 25.00 a bag, win 209 primers for 18.00 a 1000 and CB 12ga 1-1/8 wads for 6.00 a bag of 500 with in the last 6 months by doing this. if you buy your supplies at a gunshop the savings by reloading will not be much over wally world prices,but you can load what you want. i ran what it would cost to load 350 12ga shells over what 350 shells would cost at wally world and it only came to a few dollars in savings. how ever if you load the small gages the savings is much greater. eastbank.
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Old April 17, 2014, 08:37 AM   #13
damionkeller
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Thanks for the feedback, everyone. It sounds like customization is more the benefit than is cost.

My dad and I used to reload together when I was quite a bit younger. The reloader he's passing along is the same one we used 25 years ago.
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Old April 17, 2014, 07:36 PM   #14
Dreaming100Straight
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If the reloader is a basic MEC, they haven't changed much.
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Old April 17, 2014, 09:26 PM   #15
Ricklin
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It's all about the load

If you buy the components right you can load premium shells for cheapo shell prices.

My 12 gauge loads are equiv. to Rem STS, but the cost is lower than Gun Club.

It's also nice to tailor your loads to the job at hand.
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Old April 19, 2014, 06:39 PM   #16
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At the low volumes I shoot, for the casual shooting I do, I don't expect to save money. But it's fun, it's given me another skill, and (as has already been said), it gives you ammo when the local gun store/walmart is shut or doesn't have it.

Seeing as you're being given the reloading setup, as opposed to having to buy it, and you are already familiar with it, you're several steps ahead of the new shotshell reloader just starting out. Go for it.
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Old April 20, 2014, 07:18 PM   #17
Magnum Mike
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I too feel it's worth doing! When you reload for more than one shooter it adds up fast.
Also with my reloads the kids and the woman can shoot MORE than one box before saying "that's enough for me!".
I also save more than $4 a box.
For those that say they can buy them cheaper, pick me up a couple cases of AA lites or xlites recoil loads. I'll gladly pay you more than what my cost is, How about $5.25 a box, is that enough profit for you?
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Old April 21, 2014, 01:37 AM   #18
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Most of my practice is done with .410-bore or 28-gauge. With the little shells, the reloading savings are substantial.
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Old April 21, 2014, 06:04 AM   #19
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Reloading is the only way to go if you are looking for specialty shotshells that you can't easily buy. Black powder loads for example.
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Old April 23, 2014, 08:57 PM   #20
Arizona Fusilier
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I have been interested in this for awhile. What type of equipment do you reloaders have besides MEC? Dillon? Lee? What do you think is the best value if you sre buying new?
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Old April 23, 2014, 11:31 PM   #21
hartcreek
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Like BLE said

Try finding 000 buckshot shells at your local Wally world or rocksalt loads for killing pigeons in your barn with out blowing holes through the walls. For custom loads loading is the only way to go. Nothing says you have to load with lead shot I use spent primers, smashed 22 hulls, layered loads with 000 buck and bbs, copper wire, rock salt and oh yea I just started 2 1/2 inch low pressuer 12 gage for a marlin model 19.
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Old April 24, 2014, 08:52 AM   #22
eastbank
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if you reload for any one else for fun or profit,you should get good liabilty insurence and you may need a federal ammo manufracter licence. one problem from your reloads or their gun while using your reloads could land you in very hot water. just something to think about. eastbank.
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Old April 24, 2014, 09:08 AM   #23
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i could see if you do a lot of trap or skeet or competition.reloading a 28ga with super cheap practice wads.

but for hunting,even low quality factory loads if you aim for the head of a bird 3 pellets should get the neck or head.shotgunning is not a pricise art form.
i could see maybe if your using a 12 or 10ga with a 3.5 inch chamber for 50 yard shots on duck,but for the average shot gun hunt factory should fine.
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