First time loading shot shells
Page 1 of 1

Author:  bdejong11129 [ Sun Aug 18, 2013 8:30 pm ]
Post subject:  First time loading shot shells

Greetings, I looked for an introduce yourself sub forum but did not find one. So I figured I would start with a first reloads topic to share my experiences with first time reloading shot shells. I am an avid pistol re-loader so the process of reloading ammunition is not new to me but I was sure to read and read and read as much as possible before taking the plunge. Most of my reading was done here. So I'll start off with a thanks to all who have participated in this forum. This information was a lot of help.

My son and I have enjoyed simple trap and some casual skeet shooting for quite some time and like with pistol hand loading, I enjoy the process so I decided to save some hulls and give it a go.

Now, just to warn you, I had a mixed bag of hulls. I know some are not preferred and are thought of as garbage but they served a purpose of allowing me to learn on. Here is what I started with. The Remington hulls were the best, as expected. However, the Federals did load ok and shot without trouble the next day.


Just for grins I split all the cases to get an idea of the differences. Any observations of wisdom about each one is welcomed. I have a thick skin and no one here will hurt my feelings. :D

Here is what I used.
    Hodgon Clays
    Winchester WAA12SL wads(pink ones) for the 1oz loads
    Claybuster 7/8oz (gray/silver) colored wads for the 7/8oz loads
    Magnum 7.5 shot
    Winchester 209 primers
    Lee Load All II

Now, I know the press I used was not the best but I bought it to see if I would enjoy loading shotgun before making a larger and expensive press purchase. I did not want to be another guy selling a like new press on flebay or craigslist. If I discovered that I did not want to do this I was out no more than 46.00 and my time.

The process was fairly straight forward. I used the load data from the Hodgon site and selected my components based of the recipes they had listed. I did take a little liberty with the non-standard hulls(Remington) but there was enough information here that I was able to make an informed decision.

After a few hours I had a pile of loaded federal(gasp) shells just waiting to perform their duty. I shoot an in-expensive over under so the quality of the crimp was not a worry for me since my trusty gun eats pretty much everything.

Yes, there are more on the side.. I really got carried away on my first night.

What I learned:
A single stage press may not be right for me. I like progressives and may need to get one if I continue to do this. Operating the handle 6 times for every shell (time 275) was enough to almost make me mad. :lol:

Shotgun shells stink. I mean it, they stink. What can you do to reduce the smell of the hulls?

I learned that tapered wads do not load very well in straight wall shells. Yup, should have know better. My bad. I will either get some proper wads or get rid of my collection of, what you all call eurotrash, NSI hulls.

Me and my son(with another friend) went to a local range and shot each and everyone of them. We had a blast. I either had my best day shooting or there is a difference in what I made and factory loads. I think it may just have been an awesome day busting clays. Every round went off, we had no issues at all with any of them. I could not tell much of a difference in the 1oz and the 7/8oz shells other than a possible difference in felt recoil. However, all in all my loads were softer than the factory samples we brought with us(NSI, Federal game and Winchester universal). All three of us agreed that the hand loaded shells were lighter but we detected no performance differences so the hand loaded shells were solid performers.

Each and every one of the hulls was brought back and we reloaded them again that night. None of them appeared worse for the wear and it looks like we are going to be out on the range again this weekend teaching another batch of clays a lesson or two.

Now I am looking at the MEC loaders. While I cannot seem to justify their cost just in savings per shell loaded, I can justify it in my time and joint wear! :mrgreen:

I will search and look for information on the MEC 650 and the grabber line. I do want a progressive, its what I have used for years in pistol loading and I am very comfortable with the operations of a progressive press. I just need to learn and understand the differences in the progressive presses that MEC sells. So any pointers there are very welcome.

Again, thanks for all the information on this forum....


Author:  bdejong11129 [ Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: First time loading shot shells

Test did not show up for some reason..

Author:  marshal kane [ Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: First time loading shot shells

Congratulations! It appears to me that you've learned quite a lot from reading our posts and those are some good looking shells in the picture. If you've been reloading metallic on a progressive tool, I see no reason why your next reloader shouldn't be a MEC9000GN. Like you, I've been reloading metallic on a progressive tool (Star) for years so my first shotshell reloader was a 9000GN. After getting through the learning curve, I've come to like my MEC a lot. You will too.

Author:  bojo [ Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: First time loading shot shells

Reloading 12 gauge for me is not about saving any money. I have many other things I would rather do than reload. Here in NJ it's an issue of just finding factory shells. Just as difficult as finding metallic factory loads. I just bought some Gun Clubs from Dick's-one case per person. The days of buying multiple flats here is long gone.

Buy the MEC 9000GN. If your not up to speed on a progressive reloader, it works fine in single stage mode. I consider it an investment, given the upcoming midterm elections that will surely put another damper on cartridge availability.

Author:  albatros [ Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: First time loading shot shells

Bravo well done.
All on your own wih some basic research you learned/figured out what many take months if not years to learn/figure out. Not all of the crimps in the picture are great but they are all certainly adequate, some are very good. You are certainly correct, trying to load a mixed bag of hulls can be a real PTTA. Things generally go better if you sort them out. One other thing you discovered that people never seem to grasp unless they do reload:
Unless you are shooting handicaps from way on back, some relatively light loads can be very effective. Reloading allows you to experiment at will and find out what works.
Then there is that final factor that really does effect a lot if reloaders:
Breaking clays is a lot of fun. Doing it with your own ammo is just plain funner.

Author:  bdejong11129 [ Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: First time loading shot shells

Thanks for all the replies. Yes, this forum is chock full of information. There were plenty of threads on the Load All, Wad selection, Hull choices and even loading these crappy cheap-o hulls.

I already had a lot of Clays since I use it in some of my pistol loads. It makes for a nice soft shooting round. The whole wad thing was what confused me the most. That is until I jsut started to read threads. I think its all the terminology that I needed to get used to. Now, its easy, at least at the level that I am loading at. I know that as I learn more I will understand how to tweak the loads to suit the shooting style of the day.

I also ordered some of the claybuster wads for the straight wall hulls that I have. While the CB0178-12 wads are working I know that it will be better to use the right wad. Its a good thing these things are cheap...

I am looking at the progressive choices out there an I have it narrowed down to either the Mec9000 or the Hornady 366. I know that both are good machines. The MEC has plenty of love everywhere whereas the 366, while a good machine is not talked about nearly as much. Price wise they are similar. I am sure that either way I will be happy. However.....

What do the wise forum members have to say about these two? What should I be aware of? I am most interested in any, lets call them, Character flaws with either of them. For example, with my old Lee Pro 1000 that I started out on for pistol loading you really had to watch the primer feed closely. It was super sensitive to that. But, It was a functional press. In fact my son is learing to load for his 40cal right next to me on the same press.

Again, Thanks for the compliments and thanks for any and all advice. I am looking for it whether it be good or bad.


Sent from my GT-N8013 using Tapatalk 4

Author:  Shootshellz [ Thu Aug 22, 2013 2:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: First time loading shot shells

IMHO buy a MEC grabber. As an aside, I prime off the press with a Hornady hand priming tool before reloading on my Dillon square deal press and my RCBS piggyback II. IMHO priming on a progressive press is like driving a thumbtack with a sledgehammer.

Author:  cookoff013 [ Thu Aug 22, 2013 2:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: First time loading shot shells

This is a great topic and post. ie you read a few posts and got up and running asap.

i have just ordered a mec 9000 to help with the volume issues i have, i have opted to keep my sizemaster too.

the one main reason i chose a 9000, is quite simple, the other reloaders cost twice as much. and its already very expensive. i have loaded almost exclusively on mecs and i`ve seen a LeeLoadall II in operation.

if you are intending to reload for your sons and yourself, buy components in bulk. i see very little point in having a progressive on hand, then reloading 25. that would take about 3 minutes to make.

if you now want to econamise your high volume reloading you may want to research different powders / lead payload for the respective loads you and your son are wanting to shoot.
good luck. i will let you know how i get on with the 9000.

Author:  Pen25 [ Thu Aug 22, 2013 3:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: First time loading shot shells

id suggest 1 thing. find out what most of the shooters at your club toss. at our club its mostly federal bulk and ww bulk packs. if you can do a one and done and not run out your good. if not start hording either Remington gun clubs or the aa's. you will be able to get much more loads out of the hulls. also stick with one hull. I can reload aa's universals federals Remington on my grabber and they do ok but i have mine setup for Remington and it turns out great hulls with no issues and i am getting between 7 to 10 reloads.

btw those are great looking shells

Author:  bdejong11129 [ Thu Aug 22, 2013 6:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: First time loading shot shells

Reloading in bulk is a good idea and is what I do for pistol cartridges. I will load for a few nights and make enough of our common calibers to last a month or two. That way we can just grab and go. Even with the humble Load All I have been loading a hundred or more each time. It just makes it easier to sit down and just get it done.

Going with a progressive shot shell press is only about cutting down the time to get them loaded. Doing the math, the return on investment for a shot shell press is a very long time. For pistol it is much quicker, so its not about the cost for shot shell. Another member mentioned that for them it was more about having them readily available. I completely agree and its one of the many reasons I am loading them now. I like the ability to just go to the cabinet and load up the range bag.

Most of the people I shoot with do not reload but they also dont shoot top shell shells either. For the most part its federal and NSI. It ok with me since they appear to load well enough and at my current skill level the shell choice is not my limiting factor.

As far as buying components in bulk, I couldnt agree more. I buy all my pistol loading supplies in bulk and in groups with other reloaders if possible. I have already added shot primers to my next pistol primer and powder order. I keep a steady stream of those two so that I dont have to buy local. I am looking now as to whrre to best buy shot in quantity since it is the most expensive part of reloading shot shells. Any good suggestions?

Sent from my GT-N8013 using Tapatalk 4

Page 1 of 1 All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group