View Full Version : Reloading Shotshells, need advice

April 7, 2009, 07:06 PM
I want to explore reloading 12 gauge shots to save cost for Clay/Skeet shooting. I searched google and found a reloading calculator here

but I am not sure how to calculate cost. When I look for prices for shots, primer, powder, wads etc and add them together my cost for reloading a used shell comes to around 44 cents where as I can buy in the store a shell for about 20 cents. For example to make 1oz shots, I figure I can make 16 shells of 1oz each in 1 lbs. The cost of 1lbs of #8 shots is about $5 bringing the cost of shots each shell to 31 cents. Am I doing something wrong here?

I have another question, can I use same primer on Remington, Estate, and Fiochi shells or do I need to get different primer for each brand of shell.


1911 Shooter
April 7, 2009, 07:11 PM
remmy hulls are the best. scrounge them at a gunclub. Pa has plenty of them, go visit & make a few friends. someone will point you the way on cheap relading gear.

April 7, 2009, 08:07 PM
First - shot is sold in 25# bags, buy powder in 8# kegs, wads by the case of 5000, primers by the sleeve of 5,000, used hulls for nothing, then recalculate.

If you're only shooting a few hundred shells, it isn't worth it. If you're shooting 5-50,000 per year, it will start to add up

April 7, 2009, 09:14 PM
I agree with "oneounce" the more you buy the more you save. Even if you not into the bulk purchases you can get Lawrence shot for 24.99 per 25# with 12.00 shipped on two bags. Primers are ~$37 per M, hulls are free, and wads vary but are fairly cheap. Roughly $15 per 500. Do the math but it is much cheaper then .44 per cartridge. I also think your $20 per hundred shells is a bit modest. Last I looked they were well above the $20 range.

.45 COLT
April 7, 2009, 09:15 PM
The cost of 1lbs of #8 shots is about $5 bringing the cost of shots each shell to 31 cents. Am I doing something wrong here?

You're buying the shot at the wrong place. :D Seriously, I think you've misread the cost of shot. Right now - in my area - shot is going for $30 per 25 pound bag. That comes to $0.075 per ounce.

I have another question, can I use same primer on Remington, Estate, and Fiochi shells or do I need to get different primer for each brand of shell.
I use Winchester W209 primers in all the hulls I reload. RIO primers are considerably cheaper, but unavailable in my area. Some folks have reported trouble with 209 primers being loose in Fiocchi (and Cheddite) hulls, but I haven't had that problem. (Those two take a primer called a "616" if a 209 is too loose). For Trap/Skeet shells, just stay away from them. The only reason I use any Fiocchis at all are for specialized loads.


April 7, 2009, 10:34 PM
The cost of 1lbs of #8 shots is about $5...
That means you're paying $500 per 100 pounds of shot, :eek::eek::eek:, which is way, way out of line. Perhaps you bought a 5-pound sack of copper plated 8s?
As oneounceload indicated, you have to buy in full case lots for the best prices. I've arranged family vacation road trips to include a stop at a component distributor who's 500-miles from home. The only downside is a case of wads is a large box to haul around.
Many gun clubs will have members who sell components. And, they'll beat gun shop prices considerably. Just ask the at the club, "Do you reload? Where do you get your components." The serious loaders will know the best sources in your area.

April 8, 2009, 06:17 AM
Do you shoot at rural? I shoot skeet there almost every weekend. Depending where you are in PA, I can help with some local sources. Last time I bought shot I paid $28 for a 25 lb bag. Shyda's is a good place with good prices, but it's a bit of hike for me. If you want, send a PM.

April 8, 2009, 11:31 AM
My costs average about $ 3.75 a box / for 12ga 1 oz reloads - so there is a savings. In general, the quality of your reloads will be better than the cheap promo shells ...

But a couple of other things - you cannot switch shotshell primers even if they are all 209 primers from one brand of primer to the other / without checking a loading manual. You can't switch them like you might do with small pistol primers - where they are all the same. Each shotshell primer, Win 209, Rem 209, Chedite 209 are all different.

Do you have to switch primers between different hulls - yes, probably - but you have to change your powder drop in terms of the amount and probably your wad as well. You can't mix hulls ( Fiocci, Estate, Remington ) - you need different components ( so its not like brass again for a handgun - where mixing the headstamp brands is no big deal ).

Most of the cheap promo hulls - like Estate and Fiocchi are not really reloadable - some of them have steel or aluminum bases vs brass, etc. The promo hulls from Remington - Remington Gun Club ( typically black ) are different. You can reload the Remington Gun Club hulls - but they are a thinner wall and more brittle - than the green or gold Remington hulls - the STS or Nitro hulls which are by far the toughest and best hulls to reload for 12ga in 2 3/4" shells these days.

April 8, 2009, 04:35 PM
I had considered getting into shotshell reloading since the wife and I shoot clays usually around once a month or so. I already reload metallics, and after a little thought into it, I decided not to. I could have bought some nice used MEC equipment from another guy at the club who was getting out of it altogether, but still passed. My time is valuable, and with the time I spend on loading pistol and rifle ammo already, I just couldn't see it for the small amount we use. I can buy 100ct. boxes of gun-club loads locally from several stores and the gun club for $21. The savings wasn't worth it to me considering the added time and space needed to add another loading operation.

April 8, 2009, 04:44 PM

Your opinion it valid and shared by many. Perhaps you'd reconsider if you were shooting 5 days a week.

April 8, 2009, 04:54 PM
I don't bother reloading rounds equal to the promo loads. The only loads I build are field loads or magnum loads. The savings on these loads is considerable. If you want to improve you trap/skeet scores you are going to either buy better loads or reload a quality round. These conditions are where reloading really pays off. Making cheap loads just is a waste of my time and yeilds very little cost savings if at all.
If you do get into reloading don't waste your time on cheap loaders. The better loaders will let you knock out more shells per hour and be much more tuneable for different loads. Like has been already mentioned a number of times find people in your area already into reloading, most are willing to share sources and information.
The people who have had the hardest time shotshell reloading are the ones who hard case load. There are just so many differences and what you learn hard case loading does not apply to shotshell and vise versa. I let my buddies reload hard case and just swap them rounds, works much better and saves me the cost of setting up to reload hard case.

Remember reloading is also supposed to be fun:)

April 8, 2009, 09:28 PM
Dalecooper51, I have been to Rural once and tried Skeet, with the bad weather I haven't had the change to go again. It's not far from where I live and plan to visit this weekend. Shyda is on my list to visit to check prices.

I recently bought 4 cases of Remington Gun Club (green shells) and 3 cases of Estate (Red shells) and was thinking of reloading them once I am close to finishing them. I wished they all used the same primer to keep our lives simpler.

I have not bought anything yet, just checking prices.

I think I just have to talk to people around at gun clubs on getting the right stuff at the right prices.

Thanks a lot everyone for the valuable advice. I will circle back once I decide to reload or not and how it is going.

April 8, 2009, 10:48 PM
I always get a chuckle out of folks that don't reload because their time is so valuable. How do you justify the time, gas, wear and tear on your vehicle and trouble going to a store to even buy shells? Not counting the wasted Valuable time driving to a range and the expendature of even more valuable time shooting the hulls and the wasted valuable time driving home?
Personally I find the reloading process very relaxing time spent actually doing something as opposed to being a couch zombie. Do I save money, not too much on 12 guage, but I shoot a LOT of 28 and .410 at skeet and I save a ton of money. Is my time valuable?? only to me and I choose to spend it doing something I like. I mean it isn't like I am the CEO of GM or something...:)

April 9, 2009, 12:33 AM
Your opinion it valid and shared by many. Perhaps you'd reconsider if you were shooting 5 days a week.

zippy13- I completely agree with you there.
Although we have a club near us (about a 1/2 mile down and across the river- we can go by jon boat), we just don't shoot enough shotgun to justify it. The rifles and pistols get more of a workout, so I concentrated on the metallics.
There have been times after our annual pheasant hunts here and in Iowa and South Dakota that I feel I could have saved some cash on field loads, but once again, not quite enough quantity to justify.
I certainly would be pulling the handles at the reloading bench if we used our shotguns at the club 5 days a week. I have no doubt that it is every bit as satisfying and fun of a hobby as reloading metallics. I would never discourage anyone that shot a lot to get into it.

April 9, 2009, 01:09 AM
Newbie, You can use one primer in all of your shells. You just have to check which wad and what powder works best for the given hull. I, if I were you, would buy several hundred once fired hulls of a little higher quality than the gun clubs or estates. I would buy the older Winchester AA or Remington STS hulls. At this time I would not get any of the AAHS hulls. It has been a while but you should be able to come up with some for five cents a hull. Also, if I were you, I would go to the local range and talk to some of the shooters about reloading (Good place to come up with hulls). Tell them you are just starting up and want to know where the best buys for powder and components are. Probably you can get someone to show you the correct procedure for reloading. Heres a good calculator and Hodgdons web site. On the second one check DATA and it will give you loads that you can use.


April 9, 2009, 01:16 AM
I shoot a LOT of 28 and .410 at skeet and I save a ton of money
New shells for the little guns are outrageously expensive and they don't take that much shot, so the savings for reloading .410s and 28s are significant.

April 9, 2009, 02:32 PM
Loaders do take up space / but in terms of time - my MEC shotshell loaders ( 9000 HN series ) easily turns out 20 boxes / or 500 shells an hour.

Even the Grabber Mec model will crank out 10+ boxes an hour ...

I admit, my kids are all grown / and time is still a factor - but finding an hour or two a week to put out 4 cases of shotshells isn't that big a deal.

April 9, 2009, 10:21 PM
I have to admit that I walked away from reloading years ago.But when I did
reload, the big thing then was consistency,we try to get as close to factory
loads as possible. My press was A Posiness Warren,I shot all federal, wads primers,and hulls,I shot the hardest shot I could find.In trap, when you were
in competition,every shell could mean the difference between winning and
loosing,so it was A thing to make every shell as close to perfect as possible.
Oh by the way, I shot Federal Paper Shells,that should let you know how long it has been,the one thing I miss was the smell of the wax that was part of the shell,Any one who has shot paper knows what I mean.I was able to
shoot my way back to the 27 yd handicap,with reloads,so in closing,I might
start back to reloading,if they start back to making paper shells,but I'm not
about to run out looking for components. :)

.45 COLT
April 9, 2009, 11:07 PM
I might start back to reloading,if they start back to making paper shells
Get your press set up. Federal still makes the paper target shells. They never stopped.

the one thing I miss was the smell of the wax that was part of the shell,Any one who has shot paper knows what I mean.
Smells best when loaded with Green Dot. :D


April 9, 2009, 11:26 PM
Paper Feds with Green Dot is still my favorite load for competition (except when it rains). How many of you have put paper hulls on a cookie sheet to shrink them and redistribute the wax in a warm oven? It makes your kitchen smell like a gun club. :)

April 11, 2009, 07:55 PM
Oh, stop it! everybody knows that burnt IMR powders smell best! I like the smell of GD myself though. I just reloaded some of the elcheapo Federal hulls with GD and Lawrence shot duplicating the loading marked on the hulls- 3 dram, 1 1/8 oz. 7 1/2. They will no doubt shoot better than the factory loads because I used premium ingredients; essential for the best overall performance. Yeah, I used the best available which makes them a bit more expensive than using reclaimed shot and mousefart charges, but I want no prisoners in the treerat war. You can save money loading 12 gauge, but you have to be a discerning shopper and look around. Simply trotting down to the local Gander store will initiate you to sticker shock; Lawrence shot is $40 a bag there. CB.

April 11, 2009, 08:12 PM
but I want no prisoners in the treerat war.

TreeRats and river Rats be damned!

.45 COLT
April 11, 2009, 09:27 PM
They will no doubt shoot better than the factory loads because I used premium ingredients;
You want to know why the Federal cheapies shoot so bad, you have to cut a couple of them apart. I don't have a digital camera or scanner to post a picture, but the wads are the main reason. They're a two-piece wad, a shotcup sitting on top of a central pillar, the pillar attached to the OP part of the wad. That post is lopsided - in some cases so badly that it is almost touching one side of the shotcup instead of centered. Federal uses the same wad for shot loads from 1 to 1 1/4 ounces, they just fold the pillar back on itself to accomodate the charge. Cup size is the same size no matter what the load. Not hard to improve on that.