View Full Version : Should I reload?

January 28, 2001, 09:28 PM
Since I’m shooting about 125-150 12 gauge shells a week at trap I thought I would get into reloading. Can those of you who do reload comment on the below questions and comment on any other subject necessary.

1)What reloader should one start out with?
2) What in general does a reloaded box cost (as compared to the $3.75 a box that I pay for new?
3)How dangerous is it in respect to mis-loads damaging the gun? And how easy is it to put the wrong amount of components in the hull?
4)Can you mix manufactures of hulls, wads and primers?
Thanks for your help

January 28, 2001, 09:57 PM
My opinions:

The best reloader to start out with = the MEC 9000G. This is a progressive reloader and is the best value out there. I would recommend installing a universal charge bar. Do not rely on the manufacturers charts for powder bushings, buy a good scale and use it!

Cost for box of reloads $2.10 to $2.50 per box, if you buy components in bulk quantities and don't pay for the hulls.

Mis loads are always possible, more often you will have squibb loads. Usually an overload of powder (double charge) will cause a bulged case or the shell will not crimp, but not always. Learn to check your loads and discard any that look different. Pay attention while reloading, this is no place for Attention Deficit Disorder.

Get a reloading manual, in fact , get at least two reloading manuals. Follow the recipes. Yes you can use components from different manufacturers but use only the components recommended by the reloading manuals. Be especially mindful of the primers, they are not all the same, do not substitute one manufacturers primers for another.

The above is from my experience having started reloading in 1995. Have never had an overload but have had a few light loads. One tip, check the completed hulls by holding up to a light, you will soon learn what a good reload looks like and if the wad is seated properly.

A good powder scale is an absolute necessity, do not reload without one.

As I said above, do not rely on the powder charges from the manufacturers charts. Always weigh the powder charges from the first few shells and every 100 shells or so.

Follow the recipes in the reloading manuals, be wary of recipes given to you by fellow shooters.

Use only quality hulls to reload. this means remington STS/NItro27, Winchester AA, Federal top gun. Throw away the promo hulls and oddball foreigh hulls.

MY $.02 as usual

Geoff Ross

Dave McC
January 29, 2001, 08:27 AM
For a couple of decades I avoided reloading shotshells by reloading rifle cartridges for a pair of buddies that reloaded shotshells, it worked out well for all concerned.

Geoff has it right, stick to established brands and published data,but it doesn't require rocket scientists to make good reloads. And stick to the lower pressure loads, your hulls, your gun and yourself will last longer.

January 29, 2001, 09:52 AM
For a first time reloader I would suggest avoiding a progressive press and go with a single stage. Either the MEC 600 Jr. or MEC Sizemaster are good choices.

My shotgun reloading started on a used MEC 600Jr. and I was glad for the experience with it before going to the 9000G. The 9000G is a fine unit but compared to a single stage it can be a little tricky to get going smoothly. Better to spend your learning curve with a machine that is less likely to spill shot or powder if you make a mistake. There are used MEC 600s on the market as shooters upgrade and you can sell yours if you decide to upgrade. I kept mine because although I load all my target shells on a 9000G I still have the single stage for small batches and experimental loads.

The cost comparisons depend on your component cost versus shell cost. These can vary depending on how particular you are about the quality of your components. Trapshooters.com has a reloading cost calculator that is very helpful. It can be found at:


The previous advice about a scale and loading manual are worth repeating and emphasizing. Follow the instructions in the manual to the letter. Do not exchange components as this can raise pressures.

Like any form of reloading paying close attention and following the manual's instructions will keep you out of trouble.

Good luck and break 'em all.