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Old July 27, 2014, 03:04 PM   #1
Kreyzhorse
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Reloader Suggestion

Hi guys. I have recently really gotten into trap, 5 stand and sporting clays and shoot between 50 and 150 rounds per week. I'd like to start reloading and an trying figure out single or progressive, MEC or something else?

I'm leaning towards a single since I've never reloaded before but understand that the volume of shells produced is much greater with the progressive. With the current rate I'm shooting, I think a single stage should produce 150 shells (give or take) in about an hour.

So, for you guys with more experience than I, what thoughts or suggestions do you have?

If it matters, 12ga Beretta O/U is my clay gun.

Thanks!
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Old July 27, 2014, 03:26 PM   #2
BigJimP
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O/U's are more forgiving on reloads - if something isn't sized or resized quite right..or bad crimps, etc....

Last I knew MEC had 90% of the market...and I like MEC. The machine I'd recommend on a budget is their Grabber model. The Grabber does not auto index, so you have to rotate the shell holder after each cycle of the handle...but it has a good resizer ...and does a good job. Its probably capable of about 4 - 5 boxes an hour.../ its a progressive --- but its really easy to use. I wouldn't go with a single stage...some of the cheaper ones do not resize ...and it just takes the fun out of it ...when you are shooting 6 boxes a week.

The next model up is the 9000 GN ...it auto indexes ..good solid machine ...probably 10 boxes an hour. The top of the line machine is the hydraulic 9000 HN ...and its faster, gives you a nice consistent shell...but unless you're really going to be a competition shooter...you don't need the hydraulic. But if you go hydraulic - you only need one pump and one motor ...and then you buy the 4 loaders in each gague ( 12, 20, 28 and .410 ) ....and just swap out the loaders as needed...on my hydraulic, I have a manifold on top of pump - so I have 2 loaders on my bench all the time / 12 ga stays there all the time...and the 20ga, 28ga and .410 rotate in and out. ( pump and motor stay on floor - press is actuated with a foot pedal).

They do have an electric option - where loader sets on the elec base that actuates the press...but I'm not a big fan of that option.

Check out the prices with Recob Target Shop online ...they are good folks, and good prices. http://www.recobstargetshop.com/index.htm
-------------
If you stay with MEC --- its easy to get parts if you need them / lots of guys have them so they can help you on setup or crimp issues adjustments...and if you take care of it, you'll sell it 20 or 30 yrs from now after you've loaded thousands of shells for way more than you paid for it.
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Old July 27, 2014, 03:59 PM   #3
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If you haven't reloaded before - I suggest a MEC 600 jr - cheap and very easy to use / learn with. I still use one for my 12 and 20 ga reloads. Get a 7/8, 1, and a 1-1/8 oz bars with a nice assortment of powder bushings. Once I check my powder weight and adjust everything - I can rock out a reloaded shell every 20 seconds or so. A couple hours time will provide you with enough shells to keep you busy.

And Big Jim is on the mark about resizing. The MEC 600 does resize (somewhat), but if you make it a point to reload your own hulls after shooting (I shoot and reload gun clubs) there will likely not be an issue, esp in the OU.
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Old July 27, 2014, 04:49 PM   #4
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I doubt you will get 150 shells an hour out of a single stage. More like 75, but 100 if you work it like a madman. Go with the Grabber or set aside 2 hours for reloading.
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Old July 27, 2014, 06:31 PM   #5
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I can load 6 boxes in an hour from my MEC single stage reloaders, but they have the primer feeder and I've been doing this for about 30 years. Realistically, 4 boxes per hour is very doable without moving TOO quickly. A good single stage is always handy, even if later your volume increases and you add a progressive to your bench.
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Old July 27, 2014, 06:32 PM   #6
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In a 12ga, I will also say that 99% of the time, I shoot one shell....1 oz of 8's, at 1225 fps....( and I like REM STS or Nitro hulls ) ...and either Win or Remington 209 primers and Duster wads. But for Skeet, Trap, 5 Stand and Sporting Clays 1 oz of 8's is a really good shell..../ for practice I will even go down to 7/8 oz of 8's and I'm even shooting some 3/4 oz loads these days too...( you don't need 1 1/8 oz loads to be successful )....
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Old August 1, 2014, 06:43 PM   #7
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I am an unashamed fan of the Lee Load-All II, especially with respect to its simplicity and out-of-the-box versatility. It does what I want, and I'm happy to live with its downsides, but with the regularity you're shooting you may not want to go as slow as it wants you to.

Also, it does not (or at least mine does not) appear to have a 3/4oz shot bushing, so if you want to throw these, or international (24g regulated) shot charges, you are out of luck with that one.

If I knew I would be shooting 150 rounds a week, week-in and week-out, I'd have bought a MEC long ago. Until such a time, I'll stick with what I've got. You would be well advised to go straight to a MEC.
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Old August 1, 2014, 07:44 PM   #8
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I would ask around at the club. Used 12 ga presses are fairly common and can be had for a fraction of the cost of a new one.
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Old August 1, 2014, 08:43 PM   #9
Dreaming100Straight
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For an idea of the market, I looked on E-Bay and Craig's list and found a MEC Sizemaster for sale for $100. It is kind out out of your area, though, as it is in Kentucky.
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Old August 2, 2014, 04:42 PM   #10
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MEC single stages have climbed recently from the $50 arena to the $75-$100 arena on places like Craig's List and Ebay. Your best bet to to post a WTB ad on your local gun club bulletin board.

While Lees are cheap, they are completely unadjustable for pre-crimp or crimp or anything else. If you are loading about 4 boxes a year for hunting, they might do, but for 6 boxes plus per week, there are better choices
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Old August 2, 2014, 08:56 PM   #11
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I started on a MEC 600jr. It's a great press and will help you learn the basics. Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of starting out on any progressive press... if you've never reloaded, it's best to build some comfort with the whole process.

With that 600jr I was probably running 100 shells/hour or so.

I bought a 9000GN used... got a great deal on it since it needed a gas strut. Honestly, I don't know that I'd recommend one of these to someone who isn't shooting a TON. The problem with the auto-indexing units is that if something goes wrong, it goes VERY wrong and you have a real mess on your hands in nothing fast. While a progressive is much faster (I don't move that fast with it, but I run 250+/hour with it... experienced people who don't mess up as often as I do can go faster), again, it doesn't take much to make the worst mess you've ever seen with one. #8 shot can roll EVERYWHERE.

So really, my recommendation would be a 600jr. See if you can find a used one at a decent price, but they're not so horribly expensive new. Then, once you're used to it, you can go to a progressive like the Grabber.
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Old August 3, 2014, 07:36 PM   #12
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Thanks for all of the input guys.... I've not bought any thing yet everybody has given me good food for thought.
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Old August 3, 2014, 08:49 PM   #13
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A400 Fan, I haven't found the pre-crimp or crimp an issue - I found it pretty easy to learn the "feel" of getting these right - but the throughput limitation is one I'll happily admit to, and ditto the absence of bushings for lighter shot charges and the difficulty of switching bushings (shot or powder) if you find early on that you're not getting the throw you want (which is why the loading table they package it with is purely volumetric).

Ironically, since my last post, I've sent exactly six boxes' worth downrange and am actually quite pleased that I won't be repeating the feat again next weekend!!
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Old August 3, 2014, 09:34 PM   #14
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If I(or when you start cranking them out and using hulls like the new AAHS (which SUCK IMO) you'll understand the need to be able to adjust things. I started with a LLA way back in the 80 when I was just loading some pheasant loads, but the minute I discovered clay targets, it went away for something better suited to the task at hand
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Old August 4, 2014, 06:47 AM   #15
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i agree,win AA,s have not worked well for me,but i have friends who love them. i like rem sts and nitro,s. i have four progresive mec,9000,s three manual and one hydr. i can load about a box every five-six minutes, to me the thing to watch is the primer drop and make sure the drop tube is adjusted right, a upside down primer or no primer drop can mess up the loader a little and if you happen to get a wad cocked that you need to remove from the wad guild after trying to insert it after pulling the handle down and raising the handle again you can get a double drop of shot on the next down stroke and that will slow things down with a mess . right now with the price of reloading supplies, shot,powder,wads and primers and that wally world sales federal target loads 3dm-1-1/8-#7.5-#8 for 19.94 per 100 round value packs, i have taken to buying five value 100 round packs when ever i get up to wally world. when the prices for the value packs go back up in price i,ll load up what i need,but for now i,ll save and increase my loading supplies when deals in reloading supplies come along. eastbank.

Last edited by eastbank; August 4, 2014 at 07:44 AM.
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Old August 4, 2014, 07:49 AM   #16
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USED to be you could dump all of your Win AA and Rem hulls in one big box and blindly reach in grab one and load and they all came out the same. Then Win, like Coke, went messing with success and changed things to the "new and improved" HS design and none of the hulls seems to have a consistent length which is where being able to make incremental adjustments comes in handy
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Old August 27, 2014, 09:33 PM   #17
Kreyzhorse
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Update....

After much debate, I finally decided to go with a MEC Grabber progressive. I appreciate the advice and insights that everyone offered update. Now.... Once I find some powder, I'll be in business.
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Old August 28, 2014, 09:24 AM   #18
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Cool. If you do manage to find some powder, let the rest of us know.
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Old August 28, 2014, 09:42 AM   #19
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At two to 5 boxes each week, I'm wondering if you would actually save any money by reloading as opposed to buying by the case. I had always heard that the break-even point in shotgun loading was fairly high - much higher than with rifle or pistol ammo.
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Old August 28, 2014, 12:27 PM   #20
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Not really, especially if you buy your components in bulk-wads by the case of 5000, primers by the sleeve of 5,000, powder in 8# jugs (2/case), shot by the hundredweight, or better by the ton, and even better clean reclaimed. Where I am, the best price is the wally world Federal 4 packs @$5/box. I can reload my loads for $3.50 or $4 if I use brand new lead, AND I can load them to whatever specs I want
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Old August 28, 2014, 06:25 PM   #21
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Started in the 70's with a couple of MEC 600 JR's a 12 & 20 ga then when the 9000G first came out I bought two a 12 & 20 ga version, was still using a 600 for 28 ga but maybe 15 years ago upgraded the 28.
I set one up and load until the empties are gone then switch Gage's and do it again. I used to buy shot by the ton and for practice one of the ranges had reclaimed shot worked fine. I like AA haven't bought any in ages loaded up when I was in the Navy, use Claybuster wads & primers 5000 at a time. Bottom line you won't go wrong with a 600 JR.
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Old August 29, 2014, 06:39 PM   #22
BigJimP
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I'm still under $ 4 a box for 12ga with 1 oz loads... and I think the cost of shot is probably going to come down.

Retail shells ...for decent shells are around $6 a box in my area...so you can still save money by reloading...but the biggest reason to reload is to produce the shell that you want....( 1 oz at 1150 fps / 1 oz at 1200 fps / 1 oz of 8's or 9's or whatever ...).
--------------
The Grabber is a good basic machine - and its a smart choice.
-------
I like the 9000 series better than the Grabber model - because it auto indexes but its more money ( in either the G which is the manual model / or the H which is the hydraulic machine ). But my youngest son is now using a 12ga Grabber that I bought new sometime in the 1980's ..when he was a kid...and we loaded thousands of shells on it / I reconditioned it and gave it to him last summer and now he's using it .
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Old August 30, 2014, 12:51 PM   #23
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Excellent Choice

Great choice on the MEC. A manually indexed progressive is the way to go IMHO. That's if you need volume.

Can't imagine a single stage if you are shooting target games.

I had never reloaded a shotshell, but had done a little metallic reloading, but very much a newbie at that also.

Shotshells are much simpler, it's strictly a cookbook approach. Just follow the recipe, and understand your machine.

I have reloaded thousands of rounds with my old grabber, purchased cheap on Ebay. I've never made a bad shotshell. Really....shotshells are LOTS easier.

If you need any kind of volume, you made an excellent choice.
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Old August 30, 2014, 01:46 PM   #24
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Quote:
I've never made a bad shotshell.
Oh, it'll happen. There was the one I forgot to insert a wad in. Then there was the one after something had gone awry and turned out it had no powder... I realized something was amiss when I just heard a "tunk" and a few pieces of shot rolled out the end of the barrel. Oops.

Honestly, I think straight walled pistol is probably the easiest to reload... not as many parts to things as with shotshell, fewer steps on the press, it's just less trouble. Shotshell is easy- no working up of loads, but that can come back to bite you if you're trying to find recipes for hulls that aren't that common or in times like now, when you have to use the powder you can find instead of just taking your pick of whatever you want.
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Old August 30, 2014, 05:04 PM   #25
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i just checked the prices a few friends paid last month, red dot-25.00 a pound, shot-36.00-25lbs, wads 9.00-500, primers-28.00 a 1000. they load 18grs red dot(me too),1-1/8 oz shot, clay busters wads. it comes out to close to .22 cents a shell at those prices. thats why i have been buying wally world federal 100 round packs for 19.94 and saving the supplies i bought cheap. when the bulk federal packs go back up to 28-30 dollars a hundred i,ll start to load. i think you could shave that .22 cents a round some if you can get your supplies cheaper by banding together and buying in bulk and load less shot. with the supplies i have hoarded i think i can load for 14-16 cents a round. i would like to see all the supplies needed to load shotgun,rifle and pistol come down 25-30 percent or more(maybe wishfull thinking). eastbank.
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