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Old December 27, 2013, 03:26 AM   #1
bclark215
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shotgun reloading beginner.

I recently got a mec press, primers, and powder for loading shotgun shells from my grandpa. The powder (red dot, green dot, clays) and primers are nearly 40 years old. The powder was stored in the original metal cans and have been in my grandpas shop for a while and his attic for the last 8 years. It does get up to around 100 in the summer here however humidity shouldnt have been an issue. We just shot some shells that were loaded with the same powder around 40 years ago and they shot fine. Is this powder ak to use? It will be a few days before ill be able to shoot and I was hoping to have quite a few shells loaded before we go shoot id just hate to load up 100 rounds and the powder or primers be bad.
I also just had a few questions about loading. I reload for pistols and rifkes but have never loaded for shotguns. I have an assortment of different brand hulls. Can I use the ssme wad and same load to load all of of the various hulls as long as theyre the same leangth? What if I wanted to start loading 3 inch shells instead of the 2 3/4 that ive started to load? Ive heard that you should not reload cheaper 2 piece shells. Is this true? Thanks for any advice that you may be able to provide.
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Old December 27, 2013, 10:25 AM   #2
g.willikers
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Primers are easy to check.
Just install a few in empty hulls and fire them in the gun.
If they go bang, and sound normal, they're more than likely good.
Although primers can suffer deterioration and be less than effective.
And that alone can affect how the loaded round acts.
Maybe ok, maybe not.

Powder that old would be suspicious.
If the containers had never been opened, maybe.
But if they were exposed to the air, it's doubtful.
Check the odor.
Bad powder usually smells vinegary.
But it would still be mighty suspicious, if it didn't.
Powder is cheap, just buy some.

As to mixing components, absolutely NO.
Reloading for shotguns requires following the loading data exactly.
Every single component in the load must agree with the data.
Hulls, wads, powder, amount of pellets, every single thing.
Shotguns are relatively low pressure devices.
They don't tolerate reloading errors well.
Get yourself a reloading manual and follow it as if it were the the Last Word.
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Last edited by g.willikers; December 27, 2013 at 10:38 AM.
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Old December 27, 2013, 10:37 AM   #3
myfriendis410
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Just an FYI: Clays hasn't been around for more than 10 years so it's less of a worry.
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Old December 27, 2013, 10:43 AM   #4
g.willikers
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Purty sure that I've been using Clays since around '93.
Not forty years ago, but longer than ten.
I think.

Hodgdon says Clays was first produced in Jan, '92, so my old memory still works.
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Old December 27, 2013, 10:46 AM   #5
BigD_in_FL
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Quote:
I have an assortment of different brand hulls. Can I use the ssme wad and same load to load all of of the various hulls as long as theyre the same leangth?
It all depends.

The Lyman book will give you some good data as will the Alliant and Hodgdon websites in their reloading section.

Remington hulls of any type all use the same data, and that data can be also used with the Winchester AA hulls only, not the other Winchester hulls and not with anything Federal or imported.
Basically, there are two types of hulls, tapered and straight walled (referring to the inside shape, not the outside), and wads are designed to be used in one or the other. Clays and the other powders you have - if they check out to be OK - are great for target-level loads to lighter hunting ones.

Primers - There ARE some that can be subbed for others, again under certain situations. Standard primers from Winchester, Remington, and CCI (NOT the "A" or "M") versions can be used in basic target type loading, as can Nobel Sports, Cheddites and Fiocchi. Note, however, that using the last three, being metric, they will enlarge the primer pocket just enough that going back to US-sized ones may result in a little looseness. Also note the Nobels are a little weaker than Winchester, so cold weather WILL affect performance.

So, to start - sort your hulls. Keep the Remingtons as first choice, Winchester AA as second for use with wads designed for tapered hulls. Discard any Winchwester Universals, Super Speed or other thin euro-trash made hulls.

If you have Federals - IF they are the Gold Medal hulls, keep them. If they are the wally world ones, they are iffy, so as a newbie, dispose of them.

If you do not have a lot of any one type, do yourself a favor and buy a flat or two of Remington Gun Clubs and save the hulls after you shoot them. They should last anywhere from 8-15 reloads depending on how hot you load them.
Good clone wads from ClayBuster and Downrange can be safely subbed for the OEM wads as the clones are half the cost, more readily available, and exactly the same

Have fun, don't overthink it, but do follow basic reloading safety like weighing powder charges to make sure your drops are consistent
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Old December 27, 2013, 12:35 PM   #6
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If the powder doesn't have the familiar "ether" type smell, dump it.
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Old December 27, 2013, 01:00 PM   #7
bclark215
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So I should be ok if I just sort the hulls by tapered and straight hulls then use the straight wad for straight hulls and taperd wads for tapered hulls? If im loading all straight hulls with same primer and same wad then can I use the same charge bar with the same bushings for all the shells? I found a few manuals that im going to read.
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Old December 27, 2013, 01:32 PM   #8
bclark215
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I just sorted through about 150 hulls picked randomly from my collection. They were (in order from most to least) winchester super x steel shot, remington peters, winchester AA, just says federal cartridge, federal monark, just says winchester, winchester western, and a few estate. Which ones should I throw away and which should I load. Im planning on just buying some empty winchester AAs to lead. Is there any shell that will use the same wad and load as the winchester AAs? For right now I would just like to buy one bag of wads and not have to chsnge the charge bar and bushings. I really just want to be able to load up 100 rounds every couple of weeks to go shoot some clays.
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Old December 27, 2013, 02:03 PM   #9
BigD_in_FL
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For your basic target loads, I would keep the Rem Peters and the AAs.

It isn't that you CAN'T load the others, but since you are new and those take some finagling, you should start with the good basic ones. The Winchester-Westerns might be decent enough as well. What loader do you have?

Now is when you go to the powder maker websites.

If the Clays is OK, go to Hodgdon and follow the drop downs in the reloading section.

Let's say you want to reload a 1oz target load running about 1200 fps. Once in the site, you select the hull, the shot weight amount, powder name, shot type (lead shot) and hit Get Data. It will show you all the recipes for those components and then you can see what wads and primers will work.

Maybe you aren't sure what size payload of shot you want to use, then in that section select ALL and it will bring up all the load data for Clays and Remington hulls from 3/4 to 1-1/8 oz loads with all of the different wads and primers that can be combined

Last edited by BigD_in_FL; December 27, 2013 at 02:24 PM. Reason: omitted word
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Old December 27, 2013, 02:15 PM   #10
bclark215
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I have a mec sizemaster. I was mistaken I dont have clays. I have red dot green dot and 700-x. I think im going to buy some clays.
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Old December 27, 2013, 02:24 PM   #11
BigD_in_FL
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Good luck finding Clays for a while. Nothing wrong with those powders if they pass the smell test. All will load good loads per the recipes. You will just need to go to Alliant's site for data.

The Sizemaster uses bushings to drop the powder. HOWEVER, the MEC bushing charts are RARELY correct and typically lower in weight so a scale is crucial. On one of my loads, I needed to go 3 sizes bigger to get close to the powder charge I wanted. If you do not have the red plastic PC powder baffle, it is a good $5 investment as it helps to keep powder drops consistent. Also, how you operate the machine (and the subsequent vibrations) will also determine consistent powder drops. Everyone does it a little differently, but as long as you do it the same, you should get good results.

Last edited by BigD_in_FL; December 27, 2013 at 02:34 PM. Reason: spelling - as usual
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Old December 27, 2013, 10:04 PM   #12
Peter M. Eick
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Try some claydot instead of clays. You are more likely to find it and it works just as well.

I was out shooting red dot reloads yesterday and had a grand time. Very satisfying to shoot your own shotshells.
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Old December 29, 2013, 03:48 PM   #13
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STOP!

Reloading shotshell ammo is NOT easy. Contrary to popular opinion .

Get and read the Lyman shotshell handbook;

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/887...loading-manual

There is just NOT a better manual to get when wanting to load for your shotgun. It is considered the "bible" for loading shotshell.

The front section is a why to/how to concerning shotshell loading. It also has actual pictures of the various hulls in color.

Then the load data section refers to the SPECIFIC hull you are reloading spelling out the recipe that absolutely HAS to be followed, EXACTLY.

You have a hodgepodge of mixed components which can be used with the right recipe. Substituting just ONE different component could result in either a punky squib load, or a dangerous over pressure load.

As for the powder you have, IF it was stored correctly, it's most likely okay. BUT you said it could have been exposed to extreme heat, that's bad for powder. The primers are affected less by temp extremes so they'd be fine.
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