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Old April 28, 2013, 05:23 PM   #1
pathdoc
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Shotshell reloading

Mods, feel free to move this if you feel it's better placed in the reloading area, but it's ultimately going to affect my decision to buy (or not buy) a particular firearm and so after much to-ing and fro-ing I decided to put it here.

I've been thinking about buying a .410 shotgun or combo gun if I can reload for it, but I doubt I'll ever fire enough shells to justify the space (limited!) and cost of a MEC reloader and the cost of second-hand .410 Lee Loaders on E-bay right now is hideous to say the least.

Puddling round the internet shows me this: http://lanesreloading.com/410.html

Does anyone have any experience with these and know how they work? It seems like it could be either the best thing since sliced bread or the greatest abomination since the 666 Beast of the Book of Revelations and I'd appreciate your opinions!
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Old April 28, 2013, 05:53 PM   #2
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It looks to me like they reinvented the old Lee loader for shotshells. My very first reloading experience was with a 12 gauge Lee loader.
The old Lee handloaders worked but they were a lot of work to use, fine if you are just reloading a dozen or so but if you want to reload more than a box at a time, you'll quickly appreciate the better presses.

A reloading tool is 90% a crimping tool, the rest you can do with improvised homemade tools. Getting the old Lee tools to do a good crimp on plastic shells was difficult, paper shells crimped beautifully and I used to shop for paper shells just because of how nicely they crimped with a Lee loader.
The other thing that's hard to do with improvised tools is starting the wad into the shell and hopefully that kit includes a wad starter.

Even my MEC Grabber occasionally flubs a crimp, especially if the crimp starter does not align itself with the original crimp folds.

It looks like the powder and shot measures you will need are sold separately.
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Old April 28, 2013, 06:33 PM   #3
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If it came down to it, I'd be quite prepared to weigh out my powder and shot charges on a scale. I've got a Lee dipper set already for metallic cartridge work, which would at least help to get to just below desired charge for trickle-up, and I think you can buy adjustable shot scoops from Lee still.
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Old April 28, 2013, 07:39 PM   #4
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Sorry, but a used MEC can typically found for 50-75 bucks - look on your local Craigs List or better - at your local trap/skeet club. Being adjustable and reliable, it will make the difference
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Old April 28, 2013, 09:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
If it came down to it, I'd be quite prepared to weigh out my powder and shot charges on a scale. I've got a Lee dipper set already for metallic cartridge work, which would at least help to get to just below desired charge for trickle-up, and I think you can buy adjustable shot scoops from Lee still.
A lot of the people who shoot muzzleloading shotguns use those Lee adjustable shot scoops to measure both their shot and black powder charges, unfortunately, the smallest setting is 7/8 ounce, kind of heavy for a .410.

An empty .44 magnum case used as a shot dipper puts 238 grains of #8 shot on my powder scale, that's .544 ounces. You could file one down 'til it throws 1/2 ounce or maybe try an empty .44 special case. Then solder a handle to it if you want to get fancy.
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Old April 29, 2013, 12:24 PM   #6
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You're way better off with one of the MEC loaders long term...single stage or even a Grabber model...

Long term...You'll make money if you want to sell it down the road...if you take care of it ...even if you buy it used.

Space isn't that big a deal on a MEC single stage or a Grabber model. For many years, I mounted a MEC Grabber model to a 2"X 18" plank.....used C clamps, to tightly clamp it to some saw horses in the garage ....loaded 10 - 25 boxes....dumped the components back into their storage bottles...put a king size pillow case over the loader to keep it clean and stored it on a shelf in a closet or a shelf in the garage...up and out of the way.
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Old May 2, 2013, 11:23 PM   #7
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If your only shooting a couple boxes a week grab one of the Mec loaders used. Measuring everything out by hand, you will quickly see the error of your ways. As BJP mentioned, they store in a small space.
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Old May 4, 2013, 05:02 PM   #8
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The right track and the wrong track

You have the right idea for .410, it's a fun gauge er caliber. But reloading is a must if you will shoot it much.
Generally speaking the days of saving big bucks on shotshells are pretty much over with regard to 12 and 20 gauge.

28 and .410 are still more than worth it. Except when you mess around with a Lee Loader.....life's too short to spend that much time and energy, regardless of savings.
Just keep your eyes peeled for a used MEC in .410, focus on the gauge, not the MEC model. Generally the single stages are the least expensive, but you could get lucky. Connies or Grafs will likely have the best price if you go new.

I have a grand total of 100 bucks in my MEC progressive. I picked up a cheap one on Ebay, replaced a couple of parts, and have been cranking out perfect loads by the thousand ever since.

While metallic reloading gets in to lots of detail and esoterica, not so for shotshells. Very much a cookbook approach. Once you have your load dialed, it's pretty much the drudgery of pulling the handle.

Get a press........any press. Bolt it to a board and clamp it to the kitchen table if space is an issue.
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Old May 4, 2013, 05:08 PM   #9
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Where I am, factory 12 and 20 are usually about $7/box, while I can reload practice ammo for less than $4/box. That $3/box adds up with the volume I shoot
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Old May 4, 2013, 07:50 PM   #10
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12 and 20 cost

Me too. And I agree. It has gotten fairly tough to buy components well enough to make it worthwhile.
If you don't have a wholesale source, or a hookup for lead......it's hard to justify loading 12 and 20.
It has become a must to buy right, it used to be easy, today.....not so much.
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Old May 5, 2013, 06:22 AM   #11
eastbank
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i reload as i shoot a lot, but if you are only going to shoot 100-200 rounds a year go to one of the big box store and buy the 100 round( 12ga 4box packs are 25.00 at walmart) packs. or when they have a sale ,dick,s had a buy one at full price and get the second box for half price. last year i bought six cases of 10 boxs per case, the first 3 cases were 53.00 per case and the other 3 cases were 26.50 per case. worked out to 3.97 a box and its very hard to reload any cheaper than that. eastbank.
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Old May 5, 2013, 07:45 AM   #12
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Lately, I have been reloading 12 gauge because that's the only way to obtain black powder loads for black powder cartridge trap and skeet shooting.
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Old May 5, 2013, 10:22 AM   #13
Ricklin
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That's the ticket!

That is the beauty of reloading, getting exactly what you want!

For instance I am still a big fan of the Wally World 100 shell value packs. Most of my hulls came from those value packs.
The Remington brand of Wal-Mart value packs use the Gun Club hull, right at the best all round hull for shotshell loading.

They also make dumpster diving productive, lots of folks toss these hulls, I get 6-8 reloads on these hulls without pushing it.

I thank goodness that my club buys components in bulk, and various members haul the stuff for free from Connies. Keeps my cost at around 3.50-4.00 bucks a box.
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Old May 7, 2013, 08:33 PM   #14
71Eagle
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Reloading 410

I have a MEC Jr. for 410. I wouldn't go with a progressive reloader with .410, too many little moving parts. I have a MEC 9000G for .12ga and it's great but even it can get off track sometimes and it's a lot easier to get back on track than a 410 would be.
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Old May 8, 2013, 03:59 PM   #15
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I use MEC 9000-HN's ( hydraulic ) for 12ga, 20ga, 28ga and .410....and they all make a great shell. The .410 is not a problem to reload on the 9000 HN's....( and I don't even have my presses bolted down / I just have them sitting on a non-skid mat) and connected to the hydraulic hose off the pump.
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Old May 8, 2013, 07:00 PM   #16
71Eagle
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.410

I think based on the original post he wouldn't want to spend that much for a 9000HN and a MEC Jr. is a great price for a quality machine. For me, I like to try to keep it simple and everyone at my club recommended not getting a progressive for .410. Glad to hear that you have good luck with one. They are certainly a lot faster than a single stage.
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Old May 10, 2013, 02:48 PM   #17
BigJimP
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All of the MEC loaders are quality machines....just depends on what the OP wants...and what his budget allows.

Personally, I would never buy a MEC loader below the Grabber model ...even if I only shot 20 boxes a year in that gague...but that's the beauty of MEC - they've got machines for everybody's needs.

MEC 9000-GN is a really good loader.../ and a significant upgrade to the Grabber....but you're right, some of my buddies love their single stage MEC's too....
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Old May 11, 2013, 05:42 PM   #18
pathdoc
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I ended up going for something in 12Ga (as an entree to trap work and/or hunting) and Savage's little .22/.410 combination gun, the Model 42; the latter as much for novelty & handiness as anything else; to be a small starter gun for when the kids are older; and because I often felt the lack of a shotgun on rabbit hunting trips for 'bolters' at very close range.

(I accept that the latter's upper barrel is not exactly a "precision" rifle, but at this stage I mostly need to practise my offhand shooting, and I suspect that it will shoot better than I can in that guise, for a little while at least.)

Not sure at the moment I will fire a huge volume of .410 shells, so I'll "see what happens" in that regard while keeping all the advice you lot have given me in mind. I'm pretty sure I will do something about it in the long run, but having taken the 12 gauge option as well reduces the urgency in the short term (and probably keeps me out of inadvisable ebay bidding wars).

Cheers, all.
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