View Full Version : Shotshell reloaders

Chris Orndorff
February 16, 2002, 01:43 PM
I may be in the market for a shotshell reloader, which prompts a couple of questions.

Seems like the MEC is popular, but what is the difference between their "three-stage crimp" and a "normal" crimp?

Can one reloader be changed to handle different gauges?

A single-stage reloader is all I'm interested in (I think), but I welcome comments about other brands/models.

TIA folks.

February 16, 2002, 02:50 PM
The three stage crimp is available on their progressive machines, the 9000, Grabber and 650. The single stage units, 600Jr and Sizemaster, only crimp the shell twice.

Here's what MEC says about three stage crimping on their website:

"The MEC 650 has three crimping stations. The first station starts the crimp. The second closes the crimp. And the third station places thetaper on the shell that is so important for proper feeding in a pump or automatic."

Not to take issue with MEC but I don't agree that the third station is "so important." I own a 600Jr and a 9000G and shells from both feed smoothly through autoloaders and pumps.

The MEC 600Jr. can, in theory, be changed to load different gauges but in practice it's a fiddly exercise. The cost of the new bushings almost add up to a new loader. Most of the multi-gauge gunners I know just buy an entire loader in the gauge they need.

The 9000G is great for grinding out high volume target loads but I keep my original 600Jr. around for small batch loading and hunting rounds. The 600Jr. is a great machine and I've loaded tens of thousands of rounds with it. If you are looking to save money, I'd check around the local trap and skeet clubs. They are often for sale used and at reasonable prices.


Dave McC
February 16, 2002, 08:50 PM
I got my used MEC 600 last March, and have loaded about 4K rounds with it. Only major prob is covered in another thread.

It takes about 12 minutes to load a box. i recommend it as a starter loader and for those who shoot say, 200 rounds weekly or less.

I'd just get another if 20 gauge shooting was heavier here rather than a set of dies.

BTW, my price on a box of trap quality reloads, 3 dram, 1 1/8 oz runs about $2.56. My equipment apid itself off in a month.


Dan Morris
February 16, 2002, 09:24 PM
I've used ancient Texans, Ponis Warren and Mec's. For the money, The Mec was and is a trouble free unit......simple,reliable and I still use em....

February 17, 2002, 03:31 PM
I have a Lee Load-All and have used it for around 4 years. My Lee isn't very fancy and it isn't as fast to load a box of shells as a Mec, but it does a good job and it only cost me $35. I have probably loaded about 1000 rounds. If you are just getting started in shotshell reloading or are only going to due it on a limited basis then Lee is a good place to start.

February 17, 2002, 05:24 PM
'Lo Chris ,

The single stage MECs put out a first class reload that will reliably
feed into any autoloader that will cycle cheaper promotional ammo . The good things about MECs are their simplicity ,
reliability , availability of spare parts and their reputation .

A common recommendation is to buy a used 600 jr or used
Sizemaster ; if you pick-up other people's hulls then the collet-type resizer may be a wiser choice but , that's not to say that the ring-type resizer doesn't do a creditable job . The Sizemaster
comes with a auto primer-feed and you can one for a 600 as an accessory .

Once you've gotten some experience , the auto primer-feed will
add to your enjoyment .

Then , if you ever want to move up to a progressive , you can
recover just about if not all of what you put into the first one .

a Lee load-all is worth considering just so you'll know what is available and the advantages/disadvantages thereof . Hawkaaa53

February 19, 2002, 03:41 AM
Everyone needs at least one single stage.
When I competed and reloaded all 4 guages using progressives, still used the single . Sold all the 9000 mecs, kept the single stage mec versamec--precedes the 600 series.

Mec , good people , and I can if need get parts for this old single stage.

Caution: Don't reload steel shot-- Mec has spl set ups for this.
loading are not as forgiving, so if new at reloading stay with lead.

Besides, I just buy the Bismuth shot now, like it better than steel.