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Old January 4, 2010, 03:37 AM   #1
Dre
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Reloading

Can anyone give me an example of 12 gauge shells reloading?

I've seen 25 lbs shot bags in store, how many shells can you make?

1 lb powder = how many shells?

Is reloading still cheaper? What's the savings? Can somebody break down the entire process? Explain the savings and how much...

I just need help because reloading is so new to me...
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Old January 4, 2010, 04:00 AM   #2
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Well, I don't know all the answers as I'm a brass reloader. But to break it down, if you load 1oz loads, there are 16oz to a pound so that makes about 400 shells per 25lb bag. I'm guessing SG primers are still the best buy when bought in 1000 count boxes at about $30 per 1K. And, your powder (1lb) ought to last twice as long as your shot or more.

I don't have the numbers- but yes, it's worth it if you shoot a case or more in a year.

Have you checked the Lee Load All II? It ain't a MEC, but it'll sure spit 'em out in short order.
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Old January 4, 2010, 10:00 AM   #3
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Depends on what you're trying to accomplish by reloading. If it's targets and a 12 gauge, 1oz (or less) will do the job. A 25# bag of shot will give you 400 reloads. Depending on the powder, your charge will run somewhere around 18 grains. There are 7000 grains in a pound, so that equates to about 388 rounds. Then there are primers, hulls and wads.

A MEC Jr. is a solid beginner reloading machine. (After almost 30 years, I still use two of them), but progressives are available that cost from around $400 to as much as $1500.

Depending on your volume of shooting, it may or may not makes $$$ sense to do this. If you're talking about shooting a few boxes to warm up for pheasant, and you shoot a few boxes at that, reloading is NOT worth the effort. If you're like me and shoot 200-250 rounds each time I go to a club, (about once a week), then it begins to make sense. If you're a serious competitor who shoots 20,000 rounds a year (and you don't have the money to buy shells but do have the time), then it really makes a lot of sense.

What's your purpose?
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Old January 4, 2010, 10:06 AM   #4
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You might want to check this out. Its a reload calculator it will give you the cost of reloading.

http://www.trapshooters.com/rlcalcadv.htm
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Old January 4, 2010, 10:17 AM   #5
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Quote:
I'm guessing SG primers are still the best buy when bought in 1000 count boxes at about $30 per 1K.
FYI - shotshell primers typically cost 10%-25% more than metallic cartridge primers.
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Old January 4, 2010, 12:27 PM   #6
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Lots of questions...

Cost - my reloads for 12ga are around $4 a box vs $6 - $8 retail.
So if you shoot 6 lines of Trap, etc a week ( call it $ 3 a box savings ) or around $ 1,000 savings a year. So yes, there is money to be saved even on 12 and 20ga. The savings go way up on 28ga and .410 because the cost to reload is even less / cost of retail can be $ 15 a box ...

To maximize your savings you need to buy components in case lots 5,000 primers to a case, shot comes in 25 lb bags ( but get together with a buddy or two, or 3 and share a ton of shot which is 80 bags ). Buy your powder in 8lb Kegs ( plastic bottles).

Storing shot isn't a big deal / in a dry place - stack it up on a concrete floor. 80 to 160 bags on the floor in a corner of my shop takes up a footprint in a corner of about 4' X 4' ( and I keep bags of 9's, some 8's and some 7 1/2's ) - but in 12ga, I load 8's almost 100%. In 20, 28ga and .410 I load a lot of 9's.

My preference on machines is MEC.

If I had to pick one machine to start with - it would be the MEC Grabber. It is a progressive press ( more than one station has a shell on it at one time ) - and every time you cycle the press you get a finished shell. The difference is you have to advance the base by hand - it doesn't automatically index or move to the next station as you pull the handle. The Grabber retails new for around $ 400 - and as for speed its about 10 boxes an hour. The next step up in MEC's machines is the 9000GN - it indexes automatically - but you still pull a handle manually. It sells new for around $ 485 ( and its faster than the Grabber - call it about 12 - 15 boxes an hour. Then there is the 9000HN which has no handle. Press connects hydraulically to a motor and pump that has to sit on the floor. You operate the press by pressing a foot pedal. 9000HN sells with pump for about $ 900. You only need one pump / then you can add extra loaders to it for about $ 540 each. The 9000HN will produce 15-20 boxes an hour.

With all the progressive MEC loaders - they are gague specific. You have to buy separate machines for each gague ( so 4 Grabbers, or 4 9000HN's, etc ). I think there is one of their single stage machines that you can convert between gagues - but nobody does. Its way less aggravation to just have more than 1 loader.

Another option is the Dillon SL 900 for around $ 830 / and you can convert it to 20ga or 28ga ( but there is no option for the .410 ). RCBS and others make presses as well. But my hunch is MEC outsells all other mfg's of shotshell presses combined ( and has for 40 years or more ). MEC is easy to adjust, easy to get parts for, good customer service ... my 2nd choice would be Dillon.

As far as how the press works:
station 1 ( you manually put a new - empty fired hull on the press) and it deprimes a fired hull and resises the base / dispenses a new primer
station 2 seats a new primer / dispenses powder
station 3 ( you manually put a new wad on top of shell ) - it dispenses shot
stations 4 -6 all start, finish crimps - finally resizing of shell
and a new shell drops off the back ....

A couple of points:
I would not buy a press that did not re-size the brass base ( some single stages don't). Re-sizing is important to getting shells to feed reliably ( but not as big a factor in an O/U - because you can probably mash them into the gun with your hand - but why ??? I don't know ( buy a press that resizes).

Most of us would reload even if there was no savings - so we can customize our shells. I may want a real light recoil shell for one of my granddaughters, I may want a 12ga shell for myself at 1 oz and 1250 fps (and its hard to find a retail shell with that spec ) and everything in between.

I use high end components - Hodgdon powders, Duster wads, Remington primers, Northwest shot ( not reclaimed shot ) .....so I know I get a higher quality shell than the cheap retail stuff ( Estate, etc )...

Last edited by BigJimP; January 4, 2010 at 12:50 PM.
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Old January 4, 2010, 12:37 PM   #7
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10-96

Yes, I've checked Lee Load-All and I thought it is a good beginner reloader...

oneounceload

I shoot about the same like you: 250 rounds a week
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Old January 4, 2010, 12:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
I'm guessing SG primers are still the best buy when bought in 1000 count boxes at about $30 per 1K.
FYI - shotshell primers typically cost 10%-25% more than metallic cartridge primers.
Right now, around here, primers from NobelSport are running $115/sleeve of 5000. Winchester 209's are running around $185/sleeve of 5000, so the Nobelsports are selling very well.
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Old January 4, 2010, 12:41 PM   #9
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Take a hard look at the MEC machines. Over the years more people have used them loading hundreds of thousands of rounds. The web site gives great info on all the machines. Look on ebay or craigs list for a used loader like a 600jr, well thought out loaders and almost fool proof.
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Old January 4, 2010, 12:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Right now, around here, primers from NobelSport are running $115/sleeve of 5000
SIGN ME UP!

BPI is/was selling Fiocci primers for $25/K, and that's the best deal by far that I've been able to find. Most places sell the Win/Rem/Fed/CCI 209 primers for $35/K and up, with many places hovering around $45/K. I tend to buy in 5K to 10K lots, to amortize the $22.50 hazmat fee as broadly as I can and still fit within my budget.

Quote:
If I had to pick one machine to start with - it would be the MEC Grabber.
I am certainly no expert, but I'm not sure that I'd start with a progressive. The 600 Jr is a great press, and I have no quarrel with mine. Certainly, using a single-stage will help ensure that the correct steps are executed in the correct order, in a repeatable fashion.

Quote:
Yes, I've checked Lee Load-All and I thought it is a good beginner reloader...
I have one, and frankly it's just not substantive enough for steady use. The MEC 600 Jr. is a far better press, and you can usually find used ones for sale for $50-$75.
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Old January 4, 2010, 12:47 PM   #11
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Dre - I started on a Lee Load-All WAAAAAAY back when....late 70's or so. It was just OK if I was talking about loading up a box or two of a hunting load. But as I started to do more target shooting, it quickly fell by the wayside. I went to MEC Jr.s, eventually the 9000 that BigJim mentioned. I understand the NEW 9000's have the primer feed lamp-chain issue resolved. Used to be, like a Jaguar, when the MEC ran well, it ran really well....BUT if one little thing went OOPS, you spent a half hour cleaning up the mess and getting it back to running. Most of those issues had to deal with the primer feed mechanism.

A Jr., while slow, lets you get a real good feel for how the whole operation goes. You CAN get conversion kits ( a bit of a pain to change, but doable). Used Jr.s have been found on Craig's List, ebay, and at garage sales for under $50.

The machine, like the gun, is the least expensive part of the equation - the components are where the cost is - and unless you're buying in bulk, either by yourself or going in on orders with a group, it can get as expensive as buying cheap wally world ammo.

Buy powder by the 8# jugs, primers by at least the sleeve of 5,000 or better in lots of 25,000, wads by the case of 5,000 and shot by the hundredweight if not by the ton. For basic practice, reclaimed shot will be the cheapest best. You can get 2 8# jugs and 25,000 primers shipped for one hazmat fee.
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Old January 4, 2010, 12:49 PM   #12
Dre
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BigJim

Thanks a lot for all the info you've provided...helped a lot.

Another questions: Where do you find all the data for reloading (powder measurements etc.) Is there any on-line? free?
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Old January 4, 2010, 12:56 PM   #13
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Before I had the luxury of my own shop in the basement / heated and dry ...

For many years - I used a MEC Grabber - and bolted the press to a 2" X 18" plank. I would store the loader on a shelf / cover it with a big pillow case. When I wanted to reload for an afternoon - I clamped the press to a "workmate" workbench / but you could do the same with saw horses. Filled the bottles for shot and powder / got all my components ready --- and loaded 6 or 8 cases in a day. Boxed everything up / stored my shells - emptied the loaders bottles - and put it back on the shelf for the next time.

So it can be done in a garage, an apt, a condo ....whatever.

I've used single stage loaders / especially for metallic ....but I'm never going back there ....when it took 20 min or more to get one box of shells...

Even though my kids are grown / and I like reloading ... I'm a lot happier if I can do it in an hour vs 4 or 5 hours ...and the difference in cost for the progressive loaders vs single stage just isn't that much ( a few hundred bucks over 10 years really is petty cash )....

But a good used machine / especially from someone that has taken good care of it is a great buy. The problem is you have to know when a machine is junk / when its a good buy ..
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Old January 4, 2010, 12:56 PM   #14
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The Lee Load-All is a fantastic press. I bought one a few months ago and started reloading in the beginning of December, and I love it. As an amateur reloader myself, I can say that it is very easy for beginners and its just overall very simple. My friend has one also and it still works good as new, and its gotta be over 5 yrs old.

I was in the same position as you Dre. I rarely hunt, but I do shoot clays once to twice a week in the spring-fall. I usually go through about a case every clay session, as my friends buy shells off me. Going through almost 1,000 shells every 2 weeks, it was worth it for me to reload.

So I bought the Load-All and wads (1k for about 80$). And thats all I could get. Primers, shot, and powder were all wayyy too expensive locally so I had to wait and search on the net to find good deals. I have about 3,000 Gun Club hulls, which can be reloaded up to about 4 or 5 times, so I dont need to buy hulls and either do you unless you wanna spend extra money.

After everything bought was bought, I can now make 5,000 shells (or 200 cases) of 7/8oz 12ga for about $3.25 a box of 25. I was buying a case for about $70, which came down to $7 a box so Im saving over 50% a box.

The only pain in the butt is finding primers, shot, and powder for not super expensive. When I found them at a reasonable price, I stocked up.

For me, reloading shells is worth it.
But the real question for you is it worth it?
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Old January 4, 2010, 12:58 PM   #15
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oneounceload

Where dou you buy all the components? Can you provide the websites? Please
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Old January 4, 2010, 01:01 PM   #16
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Dre,

I'd be shocked if one of the gun clubs in your area ( Stockton used to have a big club ) would be way cheaper than anything you'll find on the internet ...
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Old January 4, 2010, 01:05 PM   #17
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Reloading specs ....

Sure Dre, go to Hodgdon's site:

for 12ga, my preference is:

Hodgdon Clays powder
Rem STS or Rem Nitro hulls only
Rem 209P primer ( or WIN 209 ) ( don't mix primers ...)
WAA12SL for 1 oz ( or Green Duster )

on the low end there are recipes for 1125 fps ( with 15.7gr of powder ) up to about 1290 fps ( at 19.8gr of powder )...

get a good paper back reloading manual - Hodgdon and others sell them. It'll talk about the procedures, etc - or you can go to MEC - and look at the MEC manuals on a Grabber or 9000GN as an example - they have PDF files for manuals on their site.
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Old January 4, 2010, 01:11 PM   #18
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RBernie:

Gamaliel

http://www.gamaliel.com/cart/product...at=1480&page=1

107.50/5000
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Old January 4, 2010, 01:12 PM   #19
Dre
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BigJim, so you recommend to check out the local clubs first before looking on-line? I'm so new to this and really appreciate all the help you guys provide...

Stockton and Lincoln have big clubs...
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Old January 4, 2010, 01:14 PM   #20
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Quote:
and wads (1k for about 80$)
WHAT????? I hope you mean a case of 5000 wads for 80.........

If you shoot at a gun club, ask around - if the club doesn't order in stuff for members, usually there will be a group doing a "bulk" buy you can get in on to help save on shipping and hazmat
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Old January 4, 2010, 01:16 PM   #21
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Dre - we get most of our stuff from Gamaliel......now our club buys it at a wholesale level because they have a resale license, but the mark-up is minimal.

Graf's is another one I have used as well

PowderValley is another

The Lyman manual is always a good recommendation. Every powder maker will have data available for free (they want you to use their powder)
FOLLOW THE RECIPES and do NOT ASSUME you can substitute primers, wads or hulls at will (that's MY disclaimer)
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Old January 4, 2010, 01:28 PM   #22
Dre
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Does all powder OK to use for reloading? There are many brands and subcategories...
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Old January 4, 2010, 01:34 PM   #23
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First - determine what TYPE of load you're looking to make - target, upland, turkey, waterfowl, etc.

There are MANY powders out there, and they have many applications, and yes, many overlap in use and capability. But it is NOT OK to just sub one for the other and use the same amount. A good reloading manual will give you those basics, as will the charts from the various companies
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Old January 4, 2010, 02:24 PM   #24
Dre
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I would reload only for target shooting...

Does anybody know the best/cheap reloading recipe?
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Old January 4, 2010, 02:44 PM   #25
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Quote:
Does anybody know the best/cheap reloading recipe?
That depends on the hull.

Shotgun hulls are shaped differently inside by each manufacturer, and their volume and construction varies far more than metallic/brass cartridges. In addition, wads have differing gas seals and powder cup volumes. This is why shot shell reloading recipes are literally wad-and-hull dependent.

You have to pick your hull first, then find a suitable wad, and then pick a powder and primer.
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