View Full Version : Reloading

December 11, 2008, 07:57 PM
I'm going to start reloading in 12 Gauge, I shoot Semi-Autos. What would be the best powder and primers to use? I'll be shooting Skeet, Trap and Sporting Clays.

December 11, 2008, 08:10 PM
There's no straight answer other than "get a shotshell reloading manual".
If there's anything more arcane than metallic cartridge reloading, it's shotshell stuff. Powder choice and weight are very dependent on the weight of shot load you will be firing, the kind of wad that you use and the kind of hull that you reload.
Pretty much all 30-06 cases, commercial anyway, are the same. Not shotshell hulls. Some are tapered on the inside, some are straight. The wads needed for each are different. This affects all the other choices.
Get a manual.

December 11, 2008, 08:46 PM
Don't worry about the components, yet. With an autoloader, it's more important to get a loader that sizes and crimps well. Autoloaders can be finicky about shoddy reloads.

I'm old school and prefer the slower powders, like Green Dot, to reduce recoil. When selecting components for a shotshell load (weight and velocity), look for a combination that gives a lower pressure. I've found that that matching the primer brand with the hull brand can avoid some poor fits. Of course, you're also going to want to factor in component costs.

As darkgael said, get a manual. Many of the component makers also provide on-line reloading data. There's no real magic, you'll find that many folks' target loads (using the same hulls) will be using similar, or identical components.

December 12, 2008, 02:38 PM
You need to decide on 1 hull to use first (you can't just mix them). I'd recommend Remington STS, Remington Nitro hulls or Remington Gun Club hulls in 12ga (they happen to all take the same recipe ).

Pick what you want to load in terms of payload on shot - I'd recommend 1 oz. I prefer 8's for all around shooting. Then pick a wad that is in the recipe for a 1 oz load ( like the Winchester WAA12SL wad, Rem Tgt 12 wad, Green Duster, etc ).

Pick a primer, from your manual, like Winchester 209 ( you can't just substitute any 209 primer either ). Then from the loading tables you will get an amount of powder to use.

If you go with Rem STS hulls, 1 oz of shot, Win 209 primer, WAA12SL wad - then Hodgdon Clays powder will give you 1235 fps at 18.4 grains. But verify that load in your own books.

December 12, 2008, 02:44 PM
Like Zippy told you - make sure the press you pick resizes the case / or you'll have all kinds of problems on your shells in a semi-auto.

As far as loaders go, I like MEC / they're priced right and they good solid machines. The Grabber is a good model / I consider it the entry level - and I would not recommend you go below that model in their lineup.

The 9000GN is a little faster and it automatically indexes. You can consider the 9000HN hydraulic model - but that's probably a little too much loader if you're just getting into this. But if you know you want to reload long term - consider the hydraulic. It needs a place on the floor for the electric motor and hydraulic pump - and its a hassle to move it / so you need a permanent location in your shop for a hydraulic / but I like the Hydraulic loaders ( I have them in 12, 20, 28 ga's and .410 ).

December 12, 2008, 04:49 PM
Thanks Big Jim, A friend of mine said I shoudn't use the Clays Powder in a Semi Auto because when he shot it he had some flame coming out of the ejection port. Do you know what would cause that? It doesn't happen with factory Ammo.

December 12, 2008, 05:40 PM
I've used Clays for years in 12 and Universal for my 20 and 28 with no issues at all. I will say, in deference to BigJim, that when I used a 9000 for 12 gauge, my hull box was filled with STS, AA red and AA silver hulls and were reloaded interchangeably with equal results - that was a few years ago, but they worked fine for practice

December 12, 2008, 06:53 PM
I shoot a Benelli Super sport semi-auto once in a while - and I use Hodgdon Clays on all of my 12ga reloads - and never had a problem. Its a very clean and consistent powder for 12ga - and gives you a fair number of velocity options.

Personally, for Skeet, 16 yard Trap, Continental Trap and Sporting Clays my primary load is 1 oz of 8's at 1225 fps ( using Clays, Win 209 primer, Greed Duster wads ) in Rem STS or Nitro hulls.

When it comes to hulls - the old style Winchester ( prior to the HS hulls ) were pretty close to Remington STS hulls - and the press required very little adjustment between Rem STS hulls and Win AA hulls ( old style ).

But in general, you should know there are separate recipes for different hulls - and often, to get a good crimp, there is a difference in the overall height of the hull, just a little, so to get your best reloads, I would really recommend you stick with just one hull. But you will find common components using Fiocchi, Federal, Win, Remington, etc. In 12ga hulls these days - Reminton STS or Remington Nitro seem almost indestructable / giving me 20+ reloads out of a hull before I toss them. But I wouldn't mix hulls - particularly as you are setting up a press and getting the crimp stations fine tuned.

December 12, 2008, 09:13 PM
I just loaded 800 rounds of the load Big JimP outlined above; 1235 fps and good all around reload. I used Gun Club hulls, but the STS and Nitro 27 use the same data. I just substituted #6 shot though for the treerat population.

December 13, 2008, 04:36 AM
With his typical 12-ga at 1225 fps, BigJimP likes his loads a bit faster than I prefer. It may be he finds the hotter loads function better in his autoloaders.

I'm a Skeet shooter and don't need loads that reach out as in the other sports. And, I don't compete with an autoloader. For 12-ga, I select the loads that have given me the highest scores with consistent hard hits without considering autoloader minimum pressures. My 12-ga re-load's velocities are those associated with a 2 3/4 dram equivalent load -- 1150-1175 fps. These will function fine at 1-1/8 oz in an auto loader; but, my 7/8 oz practice loads won't cycle my old 1100.

With the 20, 28 and .410, I load at 1200 fps; but, that's a story for another day. Like BigJimP, and others, I have 4 MECs

December 13, 2008, 10:55 AM
Zippy is partly right, my semi-auto will not cycle any load under 1200 fps - but a 7/8oz load at 1200 fps is still fine in my Benelli super sport semi-auto.

I shoot O/U's most of the time - I just like a little faster shell .... but he's right, for Skeet it doesn't matter - but for Trap and Sporting Clays it can be a factor ( or at least my little brain says it matters ...) so since I've convinced myself its better, it is better ....

December 13, 2008, 12:28 PM
Start by deciding what hulls you are going to use. Remington premiers (STS / Nitro27) and remington Uni-bodies work well. As do Winchester AA and federal Gold Metals. They're nice because they have all plastic construction. The cheap Winchesters and federals use cardboard base wads and pretty cheap plastic. you only get one or two firing out of them. Once you have a hull picked out, just check the manual to get the other components. I'd recommend the Lyman Shotshell reloading manual. Its got very good picures that help a great deal with hull identification.
As for sizing, I use the MEC Super Sizer. It's an independant sizing press. I got it so didnt have to take my MEC 650 apart to size my cases.

Dave McC
December 13, 2008, 02:26 PM
Start with at least one good loading manual.

After reading that, get a scale.

Then get a press and ancillary equipment.

I use commonly available components. Winchester primers and wads, STS hulls, Clays powder. These are available from many sources. A recipe with components that only one source sells is a recipe for frustration.

I do use the Claybuster clone wads, but they turn up all over also.

December 15, 2008, 02:03 AM
You need to decide on 1 hull to use first (you can't just mix them). I'd recommend Remington STS, Remington Nitro hulls or Remington Gun Club hulls in 12ga (they happen to all take the same recipe ).

You will find out that when reloading, you will have an almost infinite choice of loads you can make. I do not stick to one hull. If you look in my bag when I shoot sporting clays you will see usally three different types of shells. The red double AAs are my skeet loads, one ounce of 9s at about 1075 fps. The gray double AAs are my standard trap load of 1 1/8 ounce of 7 1/2s at 1250 fps. BJPs load is similar to about 60 percent of my sporting clays loads but I bump them up to about 1275 fps,

With my reloader I have the luxury of being able to go from loading an ounce of nines at 1075 fps in a AA hull to using Remington hull with a completely different load in probably less than two minutes. With a PW reloader it only takes two minutes at the most to change powder and shot bushings with no other changes for different kinds of hulls. I, like Zippy, try to use the slowest powder that will let my gun function that I can. I like international clays or green dot, also I use a lot of Unique.

The issue of your buddies gun could be several things. The first that pops into mind is that he has contaminated his clays with a slower burning powder. Second would be what primer is he using? How old is the powder, etc, etc, etc. 913-362-9455 is the number for the guys over at Hodgdon. They can tell you about all kinds of loads and the issue about your buddies gun. Here is a site to their Data center for reloading


They also have a good chart on rates of burn for different powders that is intersesting if you load alot.

Has anyone tried any Lil-gun?
Sorry for the long post. I have tried several different ways of shell distinction but have found the above to work the best for me.

December 15, 2008, 12:16 PM
Usage of Hodgdon LilGun..

I use Lil Gun in my .410 reloads / but nothing else. I hear guys talking about using it in .44 mag pistol cases but personally I use Hodgdon TiteGroup in .44 mag.

In Hodgdon's manual - listing pistol and shotshell powders in terms of burn rate - Lil Gun is the slowest of the bunch ( behind Clays @ #2, International @ 3, TiteGroup @4, Universal @6, Longshot @8th, H110 @10th and LilGun @ 11th. I don't think you'll find many applications for Lil Gun other than in the .410 .

December 18, 2008, 02:54 AM
I am running out of 296 and was thinking of changing.