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Old April 3, 2012, 11:41 PM   #1
hhunter318
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Shotshell Reloading

First off, bolt action rifles are my thing. I duck, dove, turkey, squirrel, and anything else, hunt with a shotgun and I know how to work on one.

With that said, I have not the slightest clue about MEC reloading. Metallic Reloading is of my interest. My question is, is there and simple conversion kits or kits or anything to load a shotshell on a single stage RCBS press? The reason being, I am interested in maybe loading some duplex loads. Mainly 2x4s and 4x6s. But I don't need to mass produce them or anything, as these will be for my dad, brother, and I for turkey hunting. Those two loads have become hard to find.

If they don't make anything of this nature i'm sure I could machine something to work. But I don't intend on resorting to that unless i gotta.

Any comments appreciated.
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Old April 4, 2012, 06:38 AM   #2
darkgael
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12 ga

Quote:
, is there and simple conversion kits or kits or anything to load a shotshell on a single stage RCBS press?
Yes.
RCBS used to make a 12 ga. die kit for a single stage press like a Rockchucker. It will not fit into a 7/8ths inch only press. The press must have the removable bushing that allows for the larger die 1 1/4"X12 size.
Unfortunately, that die set may well be out of production. I just saw one up for bid on Ebay and it was VERY expensive.
There is a link to a current production set below but it will not properly crimp a shotshell; it is designed for brass hulls.
Also available on Ebay - and not terribly expensive - are the old Lee Loaders for 12 gauge hulls. They are slow but they do work.


Pete
Set for brass hulls at Midway:
http://www.midwayusa.com/product/296...l-die-12-gauge
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Last edited by darkgael; April 4, 2012 at 06:48 AM.
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Old April 4, 2012, 10:46 AM   #3
hhunter318
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Thanks for the advice Darkgael!
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Old April 4, 2012, 11:58 AM   #4
BigJimP
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This is the MEC 600 Jr ....Mec's current single stage loader....and its adjustable for 3" shells ..... so its really intended for a person that only wants to shoot 100 shells a year or for hunting etc...vs someone that wants to reload 300 shells a week ...for clay target games..

http://www.mecreloaders.com/ProductLine/600JrMark5.asp

Its a good value at around $ 150 ....and there are lots of them out there on the used market. A lot of guys mount the loader to a 2 X 18 plank ...and then clamp it to a couple of sawhorses....and load a few boxes in their garage or wherever....

Its a solid product / easy to use .....easy to sell if you decide you don't like it down the road.....

Trying to make a single stage metallic loader into a shotshell loader...isn't impossible .../ but its just not going to get you where you want to go without a lot of "fussing around" with it. To me, its an apples and oranges thing ...they're both good on their own ...but hard to make one into the other...

Last edited by BigJimP; April 4, 2012 at 12:03 PM.
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Old April 4, 2012, 12:14 PM   #5
TheKlawMan
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I have a MEC and load 100 shot shells in about one hour. It's not a 600 JR but one step up, the Sizemaster. I use it to load a minimum of 400 per month. The diff from a 600 Jr. is a different kind of shell resizer and primer feed. It does the job, but I am thinking of stepping up to the Grabber, as BigJim had recommended, which is a progressive reloader. You might want to consider a used MEC. There are plenty on the market.

I bolt mine to my garage work bench.
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Old April 4, 2012, 01:10 PM   #6
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The 600 used runs about $75. I have two and they work great - actually less problems than their progressives, but it takes longer. RCBS has a great machine called The Grand, but if you are only wanting to load afew boxes, the MEC would work

For duplex loads (which I never found to work as advertised which is probably why they are hard to find), you would need to weigh out each shot size and load by hand - at least one of the shot sizes anyway
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Old April 4, 2012, 04:29 PM   #7
hhunter318
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One more question. My main reason for reloading the shotshells are due to availability, but how much do you save in reloading shotshells?

Savings were my main intent when I got into Metallic Reloading, but it actually just cost me ALOT more because I shoot A HELL OF ALOT more. Won't be quite the case with shotshells. Don't do much more than the occasional skeet shoot for fun and besides that its only hunting.
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Old April 4, 2012, 05:16 PM   #8
oneounceload
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Unless you buy components in BULK - you won't save anything at all, it might cost you more if you only shoot a little

Bulk means: powder in 8# jugs - better at two at a time, primers by the sleeve of 5,000 - better two or more at a time, wads by the case of 5,000, and shot by the hundredweight at a minimum, by the ton is better; reclaimed even cheaper but you are looking for specific large sizes.

If that is too much for you, get a group together and buy the bulk order. Check with your local gun club - either the club or folks there might do group buys to cut costs
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Old April 4, 2012, 05:29 PM   #9
BigJimP
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60 - 70% of the cost to reload a shotshell ...is in the cost of the shot...and its around $ 40 for a 25 lb bag in a lot of areas right now ....making the cost to load a shell for 12ga with 1 oz of shot around $ 4.50 per box....where you can buy cheap shells for $ 6 a box probably ...

But just like in metallic ....in shotshells ..you can load exactly what you want... 7/8 oz of shot in a 12ga ...at 1150 fps ..../ or 1 oz of shot at 1225 fps.../ shells that are not that easy to find retail.

Most of us would reload even if the cost is a wash ...because we like that part of the hobby as well as shooting / but there just isn't the savings on shotshells reloading vs retail in 12ga or 20ga like there used to be ...unless you get into 28ga or .410's ...
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Old April 4, 2012, 05:39 PM   #10
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Or 16 gauge too! cuz they sem to run near 25% more tha 12 or 20 at times
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Old April 4, 2012, 06:07 PM   #11
TexasFats
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One advantage that shotshell loading has that most folks don't realize is that one can tailor different loads. I used to have an O/U shotgun, fixed IC and MOD chokes, that I could get tighter patterns of #8 shot just by changing the load. Both loads (open and slightly tightened) came straight from the Lyman Shotshell Manual, and the only thing different was the powder and primer. I guess that the pressure curves were a little different for the two loads and that changed the patterns a bit.

I never would have believed it if I hadn't seen it, but it makes sense that different loads might pattern a bit differently, just like some rifles prefer one load over another.

I would say that the MEC 600 Jr is a good thing to try. Maybe, you won't save money, but, if it gets you shells that are hard to find, or you shoot something like a 16 or 28 ga., then it could well be worth the money.
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Old April 4, 2012, 06:17 PM   #12
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Another vote for the MEC 600jr.

My father purchased 2 (12 & 20) back in the 70's (if I remember right) new. They have lasted for years, and we still use them now. I cant think of anything major that has needed to be repaired on them. I am unsure if they are made the same way or not, but these 2 have lasted a long time.
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Old April 4, 2012, 06:18 PM   #13
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Does anyone here reload steel shot? Do I need different types of componetes (for example wads) for loading steel? I plan on doing a lot of duck hunting next season, and I'd like to lower my cost. Paying about 10-12 dollars a box right now for steel shotshells. Any and all help is appreciated.

Last edited by PoorRichRichard; April 4, 2012 at 09:40 PM.
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Old April 4, 2012, 06:31 PM   #14
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P R Richard,
With some reloaders, you'll need to change/modify the charge bar assembly as well as your components. With the newer high-density nox-toxic shot options available, why consider steel? I know, you want to save money and steel is cheaper; but, as my old mentor used to say, Do you want to save money or kill ducks?

You might consider starting a fresh steel reloading thread.
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Old April 4, 2012, 08:31 PM   #15
darkgael
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reloading

The MEC 600 is the way to go. I have three of them (2X12 and 1X.410 ---and two 650s and a 9000G).
Savings....buying in bulk, I can load 1 1/8oz shells for 20 cents a piece. The cheapest that I have been able to buy shells is at 24 Cents each. So...I save 4 cents a shot. doesn't sound like much but if I shoot 100 shells every Wednesday, then I save four dollars. Shooting 5K shells a year, the savings is $200, enough to buy those two 8# kegs of powder that were mentioned.
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Old April 4, 2012, 09:26 PM   #16
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I can do 100 or so rounds/hour with my 600jr (that's with the optional primer feed). Not as fast as a full up progressive, but unless you shoot a ton and have no time for much of anything else, it will serve you well.

The real savings in reloading is more in the loads you can create- in order to buy 7/8 ounce loads that won't beat you to death, you're talking $7-8/box of 25... you can reload those for quite a bit less. However, if you're just shooting cheapo value pack loads through an autoloader, then you won't save much (and will likely pay more, especially once you factor in your time).

I use a real cream puff load that I can shoot all day out of my O/U without any discomfort, and that's worth the hour or so per week I spend at the press.
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Old April 5, 2012, 01:00 AM   #17
TheKlawMan
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I got my MEC Sizemaster used off of Craig's List for $175, but that included at least $30 worth of supplies and a universal charge bar . Then I sunk $15 into a wood handle for better leverage and to replace a few worn parts. It works like new and does the trick as long as all I shoot is 100 a week. If I start to shoot a serious amount, like 1,000 a month, I may go to a Grabber.

I got my loader when I thought I was going to stick with this shooting game, but wasn't sure. If I knew that I was going to stick with it, I would have taken BigJim's advice and sprung for a new machine.

I may save just a tad less for reloading by buying reclaimed shot, which I can get from a local supplier for $28 a bag, but if I drive another 45 minutes it is $25. I don't know about the quality of the less expensive stuff. It may be the same thing or it may not be as clean or well graphited.

Don't do reloading just to save some money, but only if you also kind of like doing something with your hands (and the excuse to get away from the wife and kids for a brief respite).
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Old April 5, 2012, 08:35 AM   #18
hhunter318
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Thanks guys. Alot to think about now. I use to look at the MEC and it just looked discouraging; looks like alot going on at one time. Not really an issue, but I just haven't wanted to get into shotshell reloading bad enough yet. I might bite the bullet and go ahead and give it a whirl.
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Old April 5, 2012, 08:37 AM   #19
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While loading lighter than norm loads in 12 and 20 is a way to save money - where reloading really shines is when you are reloading 28 and 410 - those can be reloaded for about $3.50/box and typically sell for $8-11 where I live - THAT adds up quickly
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Old April 5, 2012, 11:17 AM   #20
BigJimP
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If you really want to load steel ...Mec makes a loader called a Steelmaster...that is really set up for it ....but like others said, loading for hunting isn't where you'll save a lot of money...because you just don't shoot that many shells.

http://www.mecreloaders.com/ProductLine/SteelMaster.asp

I suggested the 600 Jr in a earlier response ...as a good entry level loader..and there is nothing wrong with it ..( except the amount of time it takes to load a box ) .../ so if you think you might get into shooting more clay targets... the Grabber model ...is an entry level progressive machine ( you have to manually index the base ) but it still performs one step of the process at each station of the press...so you get a finished shell off the press every time you cycle the handle. Its a solid machine as well ...and a lot of us still have the Grabbers around ...even if we've upgraded to the full blown hydraulic operated 9000-HN models.

Having a machine like a 600 jr or a Grabber around ....makes it a lot easier to teach shotshell reloading to kids, grandkids, new shooters getting into reloading, etc...things happen a little slower on the 600 and the Grabber...than on the bigger progressives like the 9000-GN or especially the 9000-HN.

I'm a MEC fan on shotshell loaders....but there are other machines out there too ...from RCBS, Dillon, Hornaday, Spolar, Ponsness Warren, etc.../ but 8 or 9 out of 10 loaders for shotshells that I know, use MEC. Once you learn its quirks ...they're very easy to maintain ( and all brands of loaders have their quirks).
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Old April 5, 2012, 03:58 PM   #21
Dave McC
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I bought my first 600JR maybe 8 or 9 years past. Maybe 50K rounds through it so far, and it was quite used when I got it. I've replaced a few parts.

My pet clays load is 7/8 oz of shot at 1200 FPS. It runs $4 and change a box, and replicates factory stuff that goes for $8-9 locally.

I can load stuff from 3 /4 oz to 1 1/4 oz. I buy non tox waterfowl loads as needed, have plenty of slugs and buck on hand, but mostly I shoot clays these days, so the 7/8 oz stuff abounds.

Other good reloaders are out there, but the 600 JR is the 870 of reloaders.
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Old April 5, 2012, 04:39 PM   #22
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The nice thing about the Jr. is that it's a single stage and can go as fast or a slow as needed to keep track of things. I've bought several of them for less than $75 in good used condition; it's hard to wear them out.
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Old April 5, 2012, 07:46 PM   #23
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Quote:
Other good reloaders are out there, but the 600 JR is the 870 of reloaders.
That is a good analogy that sums up the 600 Jr.
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