View Full Version : Got a re-loading setup

June 2, 2012, 02:11 PM
One of the guys at the range said he never reloads anymore and does not shoot enough to. So I bought it from him.

MEC press
Big bag of AA hulls
Lots of wads
Box of primers
Press loaded with shot and powder with some extra power and shot.


June 2, 2012, 03:26 PM
Excellent price for all of that; find a good recipe, load them up and go shooting!:D

June 2, 2012, 03:43 PM
He offered $50 but I felt bad doing that.

I think it is the 600 Jr (which is prefect for me)

Dang it has been a really expensive month.

Still have about 225 shells that I bought so I am going to drop this off at my parents house and load there (no good place in my apartment at the moment).

How would I check what bar or what size drops are going in right now?

June 2, 2012, 04:01 PM
Congratulations, now get busy!

June 2, 2012, 04:13 PM
Sorting out all the stuff.

about 6 full cylinders with of shot
1.5 cylinders of powder
3/4 grocery bag of wads
1 grocery bag of shells
1,000 primers

Have some little silver cylinders that say MEC 29 and the other 30. Not sure what those are for yet.

June 2, 2012, 04:14 PM
You got s good deal even after paying $25 more than he wanted. It isn't so much the money saved, but the ability to turn out some shot shells to suit your needs and, if you want to shoot light loads, that is where you save the $$$. What bars did it come with? Go online to the powder manuyfacturer to check recipes for the powder, hulles, primers, and wads you have.

The primers alone are likely worth $25 to $32.

Those silver cylinders are powder bushings. #29 and #30 are the two I use most often. the powder bushing determines the amount of powder dropped in a hull. Still, you should spot check the accuracy of your drops with a scale.

If you look on the MEC site at the powder chart under the powder you are using it tells you which bushing will drop so many grains of a particular powder. That is approximate and should be checked with a scale.

The powder bushing goes in the charge bar. There are different charge bars depending on how much shot you want. They are marked on one end. If it says 78 it drops 7/8 ounces of shot. A 1 ounce reads 100 and a 1-1/8 ounce bar reads 118. There are also universal charge bars that allow you to dial the size of the shot and the powder. Some love em and some hate em.

June 2, 2012, 05:06 PM
Those silver things are the powder bushings that you use to drop your powder during the reloading process. On the end of the red aluminum bar will say what weight of shot it is dropping. All weights are approximate. The issue I have with MEC bushings is that they tend to drop up to 20% less powder than their chart says, so a scale is necessary to verify. If your recipe calls for a drop the bushings can't do, they make a LOT of them - the higher the number, the larger the drop.

You'll need to know what wads you have and the weight of charge they were designed for. 12 gauge wads can range from 3/4 oz to 1-3/4 oz, I will assume that the wads are designed to go with the charge bar you have, so that should narrow it down some

I am not sure what you mean by cylinders of powder and shot?????? Do you mean the plastic bottles that go on top of the press??

June 2, 2012, 07:27 PM
Yeah, by cylinders I am referring to the containers on top.

Looks like I will still need a scale and half the wads are of a unknown variety unless I was just missing where they were marked unless I was not looking that close. I also saw online that it is good to tap the feeding tube where the powder comes down to knock some of it loose.

Apparently this press has not been used in a few years, I am going to go over some of it with goo gone to get off most of the grim but is there anything less I should look at?

All the shot I have I think is 7.5

June 2, 2012, 07:46 PM
Now is the time to go to the MEC web site and down load the operations manual for the loader you have, good reading.

June 2, 2012, 08:45 PM
After the MEC site, start looking for recipes on the powder maker's site - whether it is Alliant or Hodgdon.

Determine what you want to shoot, trap, skeet, sporting clays, etc and develop a good load. Personally, for clay targets, I have no need for a payload over 1oz (in 12 gauge), and typically reload 7/8 and even 3/4 to save on shot and recoil

June 2, 2012, 11:20 PM
My gun is a gas semi auto so I still need to google around to find a good minimum for my gun.

Most of what I like to do is skeet with 16 yard trap when no one else is doing skeet.

Right now I am trying to look around for a scale but most seem to be more for the rifleman rather than for me where I would just check it every so often (I presume it works that way). Beam or electronic it does not really matter to me.

June 3, 2012, 04:18 PM
I just shot my wife's A400 Beretta with 3.5" chambers
Fired every single 7/8 oz reload without a hiccup
Good gas guns willdothat

June 3, 2012, 04:35 PM
Found out more about what I have.

Hodgdon Clays Extra Clean Shotgun - Handgun Powder

Winchester W209 primers
WAA12 wads

Charge Bar
1 1/8oz. lead shot, not sure if I should get a new size.

I think this is what I am going to do for now.

I looked at loading data from hodgdon's website and also MEC.
1 1/8oz shot
"29" ring which will give me 16.2 grains. (16.1 gives 1090fps with 1 1/8). I will take a few samples and bring them into work and use the nice scales there for the powder (4 decimal place's in grams).

Turns out the other owner flipped the powder and shot on the loader... Glad I took it apart.

Do the hulls make a difference in the loads?

Is there anything else I should check?

June 3, 2012, 06:58 PM
Hulls can make a difference. I will let those with more knowledge than myself explain why but they do.

Sionce you have Hogdon poweder, go to http://data.hodgdon.com/main_menu.asp

After you agree to the tems of using the loading data, you will be at the loading data center and need to select "Shotshell Loads".

Thsn select 12 gauge, lead shot, 1-1/8, your hulls, Hogdon, and Clays. I think you have Winchester AA hulls. If so you will see at the bottom of the page three recipes. If your read the MEC bushing chart correctly, and I looked at the chartm your #29 is good to go for the lowest fps.

Lead Shot 12 1 1/8 oz. Clays Win. 209 WAA12 16.1 7,700 LUP 1090
Lead Shot 12 1 1/8 oz. Clays Win. 209 WAA12 17.3 8,800 LUP 1145
Lead Shot 12 1 1/8 oz. Clays Win. 209 WAA12 18.2 9,800 LUP 1200

June 3, 2012, 07:04 PM
That is where I found the data.

I have a few hundred Estate hulls.

June 3, 2012, 08:22 PM
AA and Remington hulls are basically interchangeable as they are tapered hulls. Federal and Cheddites (Estate and others) are straight-walled and those can be interchanged amongst themselves.

Personally, I would look to load 1oz loads. In any event you wil need to weigh charges on a scale periodically as the MEC bushings can throw light or heavy charges from what is printed based on how you operate the press - so be forewarned in that regard

June 3, 2012, 08:25 PM
What different setup would I need for the estate?

I think I have 2 crimpers or sizers (on the last 2 stations, I was thinking that is for 2 3/4 vs. 3 inch shells), but I am not even 100% sure what is even in there now or see any markings. All I know is the guy before me used them for target loads.

June 3, 2012, 09:32 PM
You said that you have 225 shells that you bought. What are they? When I shoot I usually come back with a box or more of once fired hulls in addion to keeping what I used up. Those are Gun Club and AAHS hulls. You can also buy once fired hulls at some places. I don't know about your area.

You should have a pre-crimp on station 4 and a crimp on 5. There are two kinds of pre-crimps. One is for an 8 point crimp and the other is a 6. You should not reload a 6 using an 8.

Not sure but think that Dave McC might reload Estates. As far as I know they are not a popular hull for reloaders.

June 3, 2012, 09:33 PM
The 225 are all estate because they were cheap and worked. Just wondering if it is even worth keeping the hulls or if I should just toss them.

I have a few hundred more here and there.

June 3, 2012, 11:29 PM
One is for an 8 point crimp and the other is a 6. You should not reload a 6 using an 8.
The newer Mecs have a plastic snap-on crimp starter. If you have an ancient Mec, like some of mine, conversion from the old metal starters to the snap-ons is cheap, easy and worthwhile. In addition to the 6 and 8-point snap-ons, there is a smooth one specifically for paper hulls.

Warning: Getting into reloading is akin to opening Pandora's box. ;)

Dave McC
June 4, 2012, 07:39 AM
Wrong, Klaw. I don't reload Estates. I do have a quantity of "Old" Estate R/R 00. That's probably what threw you off.

Right now, I reload STS, Nitro, and Gun Clubs. The last are for Son's 870. I also have some AAs that were given to me. Son gets those also.

June 4, 2012, 12:09 PM
Estates are Federal, which means straight-walled hulls
Clays is Hodgdon.
So, going to the Hodgdon website, we find:

Lead Shot 12 1 1/8 oz. Clays Ched. 209 WAA12 16.3 7,700 PSI 1090
Lead Shot 12 1 1/8 oz. Clays Ched. 209 WAA12 17.3 8,500 PSI 1145
Lead Shot 12 1 1/8 oz. Clays Ched. 209 WAA12 18.5 10,000 PSI 1200
Lead Shot 12 1 1/8 oz. Clays Ched. 209 WAA12 20.5 11,500 PSI 1255

That's using the data for Cheddite hulls

Lead Shot 12 1 1/8 oz. Clays Win. 209 WAA12 16.5 7,300 PSI 1090
Lead Shot 12 1 1/8 oz. Clays Win. 209 WAA12 17.3 8,300 PSI 1145
Lead Shot 12 1 1/8 oz. Clays Win. 209 WAA12 18.6 9,700 PSI 1200
Lead Shot 12 1 1/8 oz. Clays Win. 209 WAA12 19.9 11,000 PSI 1255

That's using Federal Gold Medal hulls

You can see the infamous 17.3 load happens in both, and that 18.5 and 18.6 occur as well. Those are decent mid-range loads with low pressure and would be decent loads for 1-1/8.

After a while, you will realize that 1oz, and even 7/8 oz will break most trap and skeet targets while saving you money on lead and your shoulder from recoil

Good luck

June 4, 2012, 01:22 PM
Many "gas guns" will not operate reliably with shells that have a velocity under 1200 fps...( which is roughly a 3 Dram Equivalent shell )....and whether the payload is 1 oz or 1 1/8 oz won't matter.

You need to do a lot more reading / understanding before you just jump into this press....but if you have a WAA 12 wad - then its for 1 1/8 oz shells / if you drop down to a 1 oz load you'll need a WAA 12SL wad.

Hodgdon Clays is a good 12ga powder...

WIN 209 primers are fine ...
I suggest you dump the Estate hulls ....and start with some Remington STS or Remington Nitro ...or Remington Gun Club hulls.../ and stay with one of those hulls - get the loader set up properly, cleaned, lubed - and adjusted so its giving you good crimps with those hulls.

Most of us just stay with one hull.

Many shooters reload Remington 12ga hulls...and if you ask around at your club ...a number of guys might just donate 250 hulls to you ( from their inventory ) to get you started. Most of us have more 12ga hulls - that we'll use up in 3 lifetimes....

(and welcome to this side of the hobby ! ).

June 4, 2012, 02:06 PM
Check with these guys about etiquette for picking up hulls at the range. I may not have the best but. . .

Of course, you would check to make sure that the shooter doesn't want his fired hulls. (Most reloaders catch them as they are ejected but some might be waiting to pick their hulls up at the end of the round.)

I have heard that some ranges have a rule that if the hull hits the ground it belongs to the range. That is what I have heard the rule is at a place called Triple B out by me. I catch mine as they are ejected but a couple I will miss and I do pick them up. I think they want to avoid delaying squads.

Do not pick hulls up until shooters are switching stations so as not to delay shooting.

I have also had the range staff tell me if a lot of premium hulls have been left on some of the fields. One of the staff guys even brings them to me. (Methinks they take pity on me for my poor shooting ability.)

Just use common sense and courtesy.

June 4, 2012, 03:13 PM
MEC manuals will tell you .......but on a lot ( if not all ) of the single stage presses....MEC's will have shot on the left - and powder on the right.../ but on the progressive MEC's ....powder will be on the left and shot on the right...

MEC's site has manuals for current models ...and discontinued models...so make sure you are looking at the right model !!

June 4, 2012, 04:42 PM
I dunno about the model you have, but all the MEC 600 and Sizemaster models appear to have what is called a "Pro Check" that is fastened to the charge bar with a screw and the hole that the screw threads into in on the front side of the charge bar on all models as far as I know. At least that is true of the Sizemaster. So if you have a pro check on yours I cannot understand how it could be assembled with the shot drop beneath the powder bottle.

June 4, 2012, 08:09 PM
I for got that it might not cycle lighter loads.

Wonder if a 1,100 fps load would work. Or if I should just bump it up to 1,200 fps.

June 4, 2012, 08:24 PM
The 1,100s might work. Just load a few and test them. At worst, you'll just have to shoot a few shells single-shot.

June 4, 2012, 08:43 PM
Could make those trap loads. Would it damage the gun to do that over the long term? I am thinking not but not sure.

June 5, 2012, 11:35 AM
Testing loads at 1100 fps won't hurt anything - if the fired hull will not cycle the action / just cycle it by hand to remove the empty shell ( so you can shoot those shells for games like Trap singles ).

Some gas guns - if they're clean and well lubed --- ( even the old Remington 1100's will cycle loads at 1150 fps ) at least part of the time...but every gun on the market seems to be a little different in terms of how they're setup. Sometimes you can modify the gas system so it operates more reliably on lower velocity loads ...maybe 1100 fps or 1150 fps....but a load at 1200 fps is not considered a "heavy load" by any means. A 1200 fps load ...is a common and "standard" shell ...for a lot of gagues.

Some of the new gas guns - like Browning/Winchester with their Activ Valve system I think they call it ...will supposedly cycle shells at 1150 fps...but I don't know if I'd trust it in a tournament situation ??

My Benelli super sport ( an inertia gun ) will not reliably cycle loads less than 1200 fps ....even if its clean and well lubed / but 1200 fps is just fine ..even though the Benelli manual says the gun will not operate reliably with loads under 1250 fps.....

June 7, 2012, 11:04 AM
I cycle 1145 fps regularly through my Beretta 390 12 and 20 gauges. Cole gun also sells a "spring set" which can quickly be swapped out for even lower fps (and frankly for the really fast 3 inch shells as well.

I have cycled 3/4 ounce shells on my 12 gauge with the standard spring. I have maybe 3-4k rounds through that gun, so it is just broken in :)