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Old November 5, 2018, 10:29 AM   #1
MSD Mike
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Simple Shotshell Press?

So, I'll start out saying I'm an experienced metallic cartridge reloader but have not ever loaded for shotguns.
I have no desire to load high volume hunting or trap ammunition but would like cast for and load my own buckshot ammunition.
For low volume buckshot I can use my existing powder measure and hand fill each shell with buckshot. My question is what is the simplest press/tool to handle sizing, priming and crimping that is available out there. I dont beed it to drop shot or powder. I don't mind paying for quality, just looking for simplicity for a low volume set up.

Any advice for an amature is appreciated.

Thanks
Mike
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Old November 5, 2018, 11:02 AM   #2
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I'm not aware of anything like that.

Your cheapest option is the Lee Load-All 2. It sizes, primes, and (fold) crimps just fine. For a Lee tool, and especially a press that's so cheap, they're actually pretty decent.
Because they start out cheap, they still hold most of their value on the used market. I prefer the original version (just the Load-All, not the '2'/'II') for the metal base, but that's just me.

The next step up, in my opinion, would be an MEC press or the discontinued RCBS 'Mini Grand'.
The MECs are commonly found second-hand for less than half the price of new.

If you want to roll crimp anything, the BPI crimp tools work very well. Just keep some 'scrap' hulls around so you can warm the tool up and regain the feel for using it before crimping shells that matter. I use mine in a drill press, but it can be done with a cordless drill.
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Old November 5, 2018, 11:55 AM   #3
rg1
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I like the Mec Sizemaster mainly because of the collet sizing station that sizes the brass portion of the shotshell. I've tried loading buckshot but finding the right hull, wad, and powder to get a good crimp was not easy, Best luck for me was straight walled hulls like Federals worked best. I do recommend BPI Ballistic Products and their buckshot loading manual. They do use a lot of their own wads etc. in their manuals. They also sell nice tools for loading shot, buckshot, and slugs.
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Old November 5, 2018, 02:03 PM   #4
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"...have not ever loaded for shotguns..." Read your manual. Same as you did for rifle/pistol. Some of 'em have shotgun data. Some do not.
"...what is the simplest press/tool..." What's your budget? Shotgun reloading kit costs a lot less than rifle/pistol kit.
"...cast for and load my own..." I think it's more trouble than it's worth. You can buy 5 pounds of #4 Buck for $27.99 at Cabela's. About the same at Midway. No endless searching for lead either. Lead has gotten difficult to come by due to its toxicity. Plus you need a furnace and molds.
However, Lee makes an 18 cavity mold(~ $55 each at Brownell's) that lets you cast a supposed 2,000 pellets per hour. Typical 4 buck load in 2.75" shells holds about 27 pellets per round. That's a whole 74 rounds of 4 Buck. 133 of 00 Buck.
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Old November 5, 2018, 06:23 PM   #5
draggon
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The Lee Load All will get the job done but it's not readily adjustable. The MEC 600 is a better all round option.
The Lee 18 cavity mold makes hard work of getting round buckshot. Never been able to get anywhere close to 2000 pellets an hour and don't forget you have to cut each pellet off the sprues.About 50% go back into the pot.
It's worth having for a SHTF scenario but seriously unless you have absolutely nothing else to do with your time, like the others said, buy buckshot.
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Old November 5, 2018, 06:44 PM   #6
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Lee load all II, goes for about $50.00, I've loaded thousands of 12 ga shells on it.
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Old November 5, 2018, 07:21 PM   #7
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I would prefer the MEC Jr, (used is just fine) for a little more than the Lee costs new. Bought the Lee when I first started decades ago (i.e., WAY before the Net), and quickly moved on to MEC Jr (I still have it and use it for specialty loadings like you want to do)
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Old November 5, 2018, 09:40 PM   #8
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You can probably buy a used MEC Jr. as cheaply as you'd like...and the press will give you years of service. In my case, loading 16 ga., the press allows me to load ammunition that isn't routinely available, or is out of sight expensive. For 12 or 20 ga., you can probably buy by the case lot, and match the price of loading your own. The price of shot, in the bag is the sticking point. If you have access to "mined" shot off a local range at 1/2 the price of new, bagged shot, you can do better. HTH's Rod
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Old November 6, 2018, 10:29 AM   #9
MSD Mike
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Thanks for all the input guys.
So, its funny how things work out. A buddy at the range gifted me an old but still serviceable Lee Load All. I have suitable powder, just need to purchase a shotgun loading manual, some buckshot, primers and wads to get going. I'll start with purchased buckshot but since I'm a caster with plenty of lead I may still invest in a buckshot mold. Anyway, I'm in for minimal investment at this point.

So, what do you guys consider the best manual for Buckshot Load Data. Lyman?


Thanks
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Old November 6, 2018, 11:09 AM   #10
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I'll take a look at what I've got, a little later today.
I'm thinking the Loadbooks USA book might be the best answer; possibly followed by BPI. But I need to double check, to make sure I'm not misremembering.
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Old November 6, 2018, 10:03 PM   #11
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https://www.ballisticproducts.com/

Corcoran, MN.

They have the answers & products you'll need.
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Old November 7, 2018, 11:49 AM   #12
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After checking my books, I'd say the BPI buckshot manual is probably your best option. It'll cover more wads and modern powders than anything else.
The Loadbooks USA manuals aren't bad, but the 12 ga version's data is 14+ years old and just reprinted, aggregated data from manufacturers.
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Old November 8, 2018, 04:32 PM   #13
MSD Mike
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Thanks Man, I'll order the BPI manual. Probably some of their buckshot as well.

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Old November 8, 2018, 07:56 PM   #14
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I load both Buck and Birdshot with a Load All II, don’t even have to change powder bushing. #4 buck is a bit tedious counting out 27 pellets and 00 works better with a 6 fold crimp.


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Old November 8, 2018, 08:11 PM   #15
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Why don't you have to change the powder bushing?
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Old November 9, 2018, 08:59 AM   #16
MSD Mike
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I'm going to do some 00 buck but also think I'm going to try some of the BB sized buck. This project is no more serious than loading some affordable buckshot loads to blow the crap out of stuff (I always pick up my trash) when plinking in the desert. I think the higher pellet count is more impressive when plinking but need bigger than birdshot for maximum effect on whatever poor target of opportunity is in my sight.

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Old November 9, 2018, 04:17 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FITASC View Post
Why don't you have to change the powder bushing?


Because the load data for all 3 loads are within tolerances.


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Old November 9, 2018, 05:30 PM   #18
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If the hull wad and payload are all the same, that would be the case; if not then check the load data.
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