View Full Version : A "Loaded" Reloading Question

October 5, 2002, 06:45 PM
I've just recently updated an old Lee Load-All to the Load-All II with the primer feed and plan on using this press for a while until I see how much of a difference it makes in my shooting habits. If I find I'm shooting a lot more, I'll likely upgrade to a Hornady or MEC press down the road.

Here's what I plan on doing - I shoot a Remington 11-87 SC for Trap, Skeet, Sporting Clays, & upland bird hunting along with a Winchester 1200 for rabbit hunting. I am going to get started reloading for trap and skeet with 2 3/4" shells being the focus.

I see myself loading 1oz & 1 1/8oz of shot driven at 1200fps or less for this purpose. I've got a collection of Federal Gold Medal, Remington STS, and Winchester AA hulls that I've been collecting for few years.

It is also my understanding that I may need two different wads for the 1oz vs 1 1/8oz payloads.

I've got Lyman's 4th edition Shotshell Reloading manual on order and have spent the better part of a day on several different manufacturers web sites getting a solid base of data with which to work.

My question is about which powder to use. I'm looking for a good, general purpose, clean burning powder to get started with. I know there are dozens of different powders out there and want to stick with a good, GP powder until I get a better handle on the shotshell reloading process.

Now, without starting a flame war, what are your suggestions? :)


October 5, 2002, 09:17 PM
I can tell you from some experience that there really is no general purpose powder. Wait until you get your manual and then you will be able to match up a load for what you are planning to do. I have found though that Hodgdon's powders work well for me. I use Titewad or Clays and they both burn very clean. I really cant tell much difference in how they perform but the titewad is cheaper so that is what I usually get. Whatever you do though just follow the manual. Do not deviate from the recipes at all and you will do just fine. Happy shooting. :D

Dave McC
October 6, 2002, 09:00 AM
D,I started reloading last year,as you may know.

I decided to kill a couple birds with one shot, and worked up a good load for my TB for trap that doubles as a bird load.

I recommend you do the same, proceeding ONLY as directed in the manuals and not trying to cook up your own recipes.

The cleanest powder out there is Clays, maybe half the reloaders I know use it. Unique, a very good powder for a variety of shotgun and handgun loads, leaves 3X the ash.

Here's my recipe, right from the Hodgdon's table, with corroboration from Lyman.IOW, if you blow up your gun, sue them, not me(G)...

STS or AA hull.

Winchester 209 primer.

16.5 gr of Clays.

The Claybuster clone of the WAA12SL wad or the WAA2SL.

One oz of very hard shot. For trap, I use 8.5, for birds, 7.5, West Coast shot. This runs 6% antimony, is very uniform, and patterns tightly.

Book velocity is about 1180 in the STS, 1150 in the AA, but YMMV. It's a mild, lower pressure load.

For 1 1/8 oz, just change the wad to the SB clone of the WAA12 and the 1 1/8 bushing or bar. Still mild and effective.


October 6, 2002, 08:00 PM
Dave, for only loading a year you are doing GREAT!! My first year was loading mega-blaster shoulder killer dr. death in a AA hull loads:D :D :D

Big D, Dave gave you some great advise, and a darn fine load. It should function your SC in either 1 oz or 1 1/8 oz flavor, it did mine. Tight crimps were necessary with the 1 oz loads though, keep an eye on that. I find I shoot 7/8 oz and 1 oz loads for nearly all my target shooting anymore, ALL of my skeet is with 7/8 oz. Trap and sporting are easily handled by the 1 oz loads. For target loads in 12ga I load only Clays, I have tried virtually everything else too. The Solo lines are quite nice if you want to experiment a little. Nothing will EVER smell as good as Red Dot though.

Another wad for you guys to keep an eye out for is the Duster brand. I feel that they are a higher quality than the Winchester wads that everything else is measured against. WAY less plastic fouling, and great patterns. I would encourage you to give them a shot and see what you think. One caveat, in extreme cold I have had bases of the wads split. I am talking below zero temps and the ammo cold soaked to below zero, but still thought it worth mentioning. In coversations with the owner of Duster Technologies I was assured that it was being looked at and would be addressed if possible. Above 10*F I never had a problem.

Dave McC
October 7, 2002, 05:24 AM
I got my mega death loads out of the way when benchresting,Smitty.As you probably know,some very accurate loads are right against the pressure
ceiling.The allure of flat primers and short case life wore thin quickly.

October 7, 2002, 02:46 PM
Ditto on the Clays. Clean and cheap.

October 7, 2002, 08:13 PM
Great! Thanks for the info and insight. I'll be sure and let you know how it works out.

Thanks again,


October 8, 2002, 03:05 PM
I use Clays for 1oz loads, green dot for 1-1/8oz, and will probably use Universal Clays for 1-1/4oz loads if I ever find something that 1-1/8oz of shot can't do but 1-1/4oz can.

October 12, 2002, 06:20 PM
Well, 500 pulls of the handle and 100 newly loaded rounds later - my arm is definitely feeling it. :)

I went with 1oz of #8 over a Claybuster WAA12SL clone powered by 18.2gr of Clays and a Winchester 209 primer in a Federal Gold Medal hull. Hogdon's manual says I should expect 1180 fps from this load.

I'm pretty confident that my last two and a half to three boxes will function reliably, but the first box or so is suspect. ;) I believe I was compressing the wad with the shot charge for a while and thus, my crimps weren't the cleanest. It shouldn't matter a *whole* lot (other than in my score) as I will be shooting these in singles trap to see how they work and won't require the gun to cycle reliably for a follow up shot. As long as they all go bang, I'll be pleased.

Hopefully, I'll get to the club tomorrow and let you all know how it turns out upon my return.

I also think I'm going to look for a different press in pretty short order as well. The Load-All just didn't quite "feel" right. It seemed to want to torque and twist a bit on the last two stages. It was also a bit frustrating that things didn't quite line up right. I was able to work through it and will probably keep the Lee, but will definitely be upgrading.

Thanks again for the insight!

Dave McC
October 13, 2002, 08:46 AM
Good luck,BigD. A coupla things...

Few folks I know use the Loadall. Other products Lee makes are excellent(The little Lee loaders for rifles still hold a lot of bench records) but the shotgun stuff seem to lack something.

Considering the miserliness of the average trapshooter, if the cheap Lee Loader was workable, it'd be way more popular. Instead, folks brag on MECs.

Next, consider dropping the powder charge a bit. Even after all this time, I still prefer to work up rather than down, starting at the low end and going up.


October 13, 2002, 04:57 PM
The load you settled on is one of my staple loads. It will cycle every autoloader I have, and patterns beautifully. Bump it up to 19.0 and it will respond to choking really well and stay very consistant.

For the fixed breech guns I prefer a lighter load, the components you listed but with 17.4 grains of Clays. Recoil is lighter, and patterns tighter. Even 24 yard trap targets are just HAMMERED by this load with #8 shot. Yes you read it right, I shoot light 1 oz loads all the way to the back fence. Do your part and the load is secondary, maybe even third.

For clay targets I shoot the lightest loads I can get away with. For auto's this means as light as will cycle the gun. For fixed breech guns I drop until I cannot open the pattern with open chokes well. IME I have found that Clays loads with 1 oz of shot will not open well below about 1050 fps, below that tends to throw an improved modified type pattern even with a cylinder choke.

With #6 shot the load you mentioned is a pheasant slayer inside of 40 yards. I prefer a little faster load though and a full choke as I hunt behind a fast moving flushing dog.

The Lee LoadAll is a GREAT starter press, for the money you cannot go wrong. It will load anything you could want, maybe you could set it up for hunting loads? Loading a few "super-D-duper pheasant slapped out of the sky like the hand of God" loads in preparation for a hunt can add a lot of satisfaction to the hunt. I am running 2 Mec 9000G presses and one Mec Grabber (that is soon to be replaced my another 9000G) in different gauges and highly recommend them. Sure the P&W presses are nicer, as are the Dillon, but they are not 3X or more nicer and darn sure do not put out a better load. I can load 450-500 an hour on the 9000G at a liesurely pace and 600-650 if I get cracking. For $300 or a little less the only press competitive is the Hornady 366 IMO, but there are some plusses for the Mec.

October 13, 2002, 07:53 PM
I use Red Dot for the same reason that I still use my Lee loadall. It was what my dad used and has never given me any reason to change.

Dave McC
October 14, 2002, 05:03 AM
H, you just nailed one of the advantages of reloading.You can adjust a load to a shotgun and/or mission.

For example, 17.4 gr of Clays with a 1 1/8 oz load opens up a pattern from my TB a bit, but moves COP a little left and down.The 16.5 gr version is very tight,runs very close to 65/35, and is a hair cheaper.

Maybe the Lee gets ignored because of fashion. As a starter press, it's got all the bushings and so on, perfect for load experimentation and running off some optimum loads like those pheasant whackers.

BTW, I'm saving up for a MEC 9000. I'll keep the 600 Jr for small lots of non target ammo, and set up the 9000 for the recipe listed. Good all around target, dove and quail load.

John, if it works for you....

October 19, 2002, 05:54 PM
Well guys, thanks for all the comments.

I wasn't able to get to the range last weekend, but spent a little time on the trap pads last night.

I'm happy to report that all 50 rounds I shot last night went bang without a single hiccup. This included one early box and one late. I winced a bit at some of the concave crimps in the early box as I was loading, but even they went downrange.

Overall, I'm happy with the load selection as it seemed to cycle just fine, and was easy on the shoulder as well. I wish I could say the same about my scores last night. ;)

Dave McC
October 20, 2002, 07:24 AM
Glad to hear they're working for you, but you're not done yet. Time to break out the patterning targets and see how the pellets are distributed.

If these are trap loads, I suggest shooting a couple patterns at say 20 yards to see where the COP is.

Then back off to the distance you usually break your birds. Fire a couple shots on one target to reduce individual variations and then a few targets one each.

On the multiple shot target see how the pellets hit compared to COP again.

On the single shot targets, look for thinness of pattern. Use a clay target, roughly the size of the vitals on most game birds, to see if there's any holes in the pattern. Note the thin areas too, a shot string may be too long to ensure a good hit.

Then, you can count all those itty bitty holes to come up with a true picture of what your choke and load do. Or, look for a ragged fringe, a too dense center, or the fabled donut pattern.

But probably,your load shoots better than we do. If it's a bit too open, drop the velocity or change the tube.