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 Post subject: Adventures in .410 reloading with a MEC 600
PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:26 pm 
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My friend Steve came over tonight, earlier, and I made sure and send his Hornady 366 20 gauge loader back with him, and after we unbolted it, there was a spot on the bench that needed filled with a loader. I selected my MEC .410 loader I'd loaned to NoUserName when he had my SKB .410 over and under that he's since sold to Steve. Maybe, the young man figured out how to set all the stations on the .410 loader so it will work properly.

I had a MEC Grabber once, in .410, and it was so aggravating I sold it to a friend with full disclosure of how I found it hopeless. I'd loaded on this MEC 600 .410 before, and found it frustrating, but usable.

Loading AA HS .410 shells just ain't easy and nice like loading 12's and 20's and even 28 gauges. If you look at the top of factory Winchester AA .410's, even the factory crimps are sort of crappy looking. Fire the shell a few times, and it goes downhill from there.

The last time I used this MEC 600 loader, I had a bad problem with shot bridging. NoUserName must have cleaned out the tube and slicked it up, or something, because now I have no trouble at all with powder or shot bridging in the tiny little drop tube it has. I shake the loader, each drop though, just to make sure and certain there's no bridging.

The decapper doesn't like to decap the shell every time without catching on the rim of the primers, but NoUserName has set the sizer to where each and every shell is fully sized so it slides right through the Go gauge on my MEC shell sizer gauge, and won't go through the No Go gauge. The SKB .410 over and under that I had, and traded to NoUserName, and is now Steve's, will NOT work properly unless the shells are fully resized, because it will unlatch the top bolt with the bottom shell as it closes, unless tolerances are perfect.

I decided to leave the sizer alone. Let it catch the rim of a few primers, and I'll go easy with it.

It's the crimping that is the problem. If a hull is good, and fresh, and I'm really careful to precrimp the hull and let the hull take a set for a few seconds, then work the final size die deliberately and let the final crimp take a set for a few second with the lever all the way down, the shells look about as good as factory Winchester AA .410 crimps, which isn't saying much. I did mess up one crimp enough, that I had to use candle wax to seal it, and a few more have little lips that stick up, but in four boxes of shells, that's not bad.

I'll leave the precrimp and crimp settings alone, too. NoUserName has the precrimp all the way down, anyway, to where you couldn't lower it any more.

Loading .410's is time consuming. I wonder if there's a progressive that will shuck .410's out as easy as progressive loaders shuck out larger gauges. If there is, it would have to decap better and precrimp and crimp a whole lot better than a MEC 600, and not bridge shot and powder. A .410 might be a case where a single stage is the best way to load shells.

I will say, that reloading .410's is one of the few examples of actually saving a large percentage of the new cost of shells. Not counting the hulls, you can load a box for under four dollars, that would cost as much as twelve to fifteen dollars if you bought them individually. And since it's done slowly, one at a time on a single stage press, they ought to all go off and not have any squibs, either.

Loading .410's is also a good lesson of why a 28 gauge is an order of magnitude more useful a shotgun gauge than a 2 1/2" .410. That little extra room in the hull, and an extra one half more payload of shot, makes a 28 gauge very close to a 20 gauge in useful performance, and they are just as easy to load as 20's and 12's.

But I have Steve's three barrel Winchester 101 skeet set I traded him for, to feed all three gauges, and come warm weather it will be fun to shoot up all these .410's.

I just wonder, if the MEC fans have any recommendations for special pre crimpers or crimpers, that would make this .410 loading job a little easier?

My MEC 600 .410 has a black plastic precrimper and crimper, and maybe they've seen better days, and there's something better to buy for them?



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 Post subject: Re: Adventures in .410 reloading with a MEC 600
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:59 am 
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Yes, on a fast 410 reloader, since once you tweak a PW, it load just as fast in 410 as it does in the larger gauges (3 to 4 flats a hour). Plus, the shot drop tube is not a thin tube design like on the mec's, so you don't have shot bridging problems all the way down to about #2 shot.

List of tweaks, and need to go back in and replace the photo links since they are linked to my old Photo bucket account, and not my new Imgur account isntead.

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=359718


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 Post subject: Re: Adventures in .410 reloading with a MEC 600
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:18 am 
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SuperXOne wrote:

I just wonder, if the MEC fans have any recommendations for special pre crimpers or crimpers, that would make this .410 loading job a little easier?

My MEC 600 .410 has a black plastic precrimper and crimper, and maybe they've seen better days, and there's something better to buy for them?


That's rather hard to say without seeing pictures of your pre-crimp and final crimp. I will say that on my 9000 after some tweaking of the 3 things that effect the final crimp ( pre-crimp, cam, and final crimp adjustments ) they are perfect 95% of the time. I have found that the smaller the hull, the smaller the adjustment needs to be to make a change, so go slow. Also, it helps to adjust 1 thing at a time so you can observe the change it made and track how it effects the final product.


Steve

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 Post subject: Re: Adventures in .410 reloading with a MEC 600
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:20 am 
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Dano523 wrote:
Yes, on a fast 410 reloader, since once you tweak a PW, it load just as fast in 410 as it does in the larger gauges (3 to 4 flats a hour). Plus, the shot drop tube is not a thin tube design like on the mec's, so you don't have shot bridging problems all the way down to about #2 shot.

List of tweaks, and need to go back in and replace the photo links since they are linked to my old Photo bucket account, and not my new Imgur account isntead.

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=359718


Thanks for that link, and I'll be looking for a nice PW 800 .410 loader.

But in the meantime, I am thankful that the MEC 600 seems to seal up and load Winchester 296 powder without any powder migration problems. My MEC has a powder baffle that seem to work like a charm with W296.

I am wondering, if the solution to my crimping problem with my MEC 600, isn't to find a powder that leaves more room for a crimp in the hull than 15.5 grains of W296.

I'm also using up a sack of old AA compression formed wads, and not the new red AA HS wads. Tonight I'll try the new red wads, and see if they have just a tiny bit more room to crimp. NoUserName used the old wads and said they loaded the same as the new AA HS wads, so I'm not likely to be lucky enough to have that solve anything.

With all due respect, reading how to set up a PW 800 for .410 sounds like another adventure in reloading, about like getting Steve's Hornady 366 twenty gauge to work.:)

But, after you'd get one set up to run, it would be nice to be able to shuck out .410's without having to carefully precrimp and crimp each one.

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 Post subject: Re: Adventures in .410 reloading with a MEC 600
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:26 am 
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Steve Y wrote:
SuperXOne wrote:

I just wonder, if the MEC fans have any recommendations for special pre crimpers or crimpers, that would make this .410 loading job a little easier?

My MEC 600 .410 has a black plastic precrimper and crimper, and maybe they've seen better days, and there's something better to buy for them?


That's rather hard to say without seeing pictures of your pre-crimp and final crimp. I will say that on my 9000 after some tweaking of the 3 things that effect the final crimp ( pre-crimp, cam, and final crimp adjustments ) they are perfect 95% of the time. I have found that the smaller the hull, the smaller the adjustment needs to be to make a change, so go slow. Also, it helps to adjust 1 thing at a time so you can observe the change it made and track how it effects the final product.


Steve


It may be that my final crimper and precrimp just need replacing.

The crimper usually leaves a little mark on the sides of the hull, a scratch that looks like a piece of shot has once upon a time gouged it. And the precrimp is adjusted so far down, that the nut that holds it on top looks like it's on it's last and final thread to hold it.

NoUserName reported it gave him fits, trying to get the crimps right, and he finally solved the problem,,,,to a great extent. I get about 90% perfect crimps, too, I just have to be careful and deliberate, and hold the press handle all the way down and let the precrimp and final crimp hake a set for a few seconds each.

Maybe, I'm being too particular, because looking at my crimps, most actually look better than the sorry crimps on factory AA HS .410 shells. For one thing, my crimps are deeper.

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 Post subject: Re: Adventures in .410 reloading with a MEC 600
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:04 am 
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In my experience most of those crimp issues are resolved as you said by dwelling at the bottom for an extra second, but perhaps for a different reason than the crimp stations taking a set.

I have found that the 410 Winchester aahs wad tends to trap air under it when inserted, a small pause at the bottom gives the air time to escape without pushing the wad back up resulting in good crimps about 95% of the time.


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 Post subject: Re: Adventures in .410 reloading with a MEC 600
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:19 am 
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SuperXOne

You should be able to get enough W296 for 1300fps with the AAHS wad and a true 1/2oz. of shot into those hulls and have good crimps. I can do it with my 9000 run with an Automate. I mentioned that because there is no pause at the bottom of mine to let air"escape" from under the wad.


Steve

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 Post subject: Adventures in .410 reloading with a MEC 600
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:42 am 
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I have no problems at all with that recipe on my Sizemaster. Crimps in the AAHS go to hell after about 5 reloads. I get much much better crimps after multiple reloads with the old AACF hulls which I much prefer

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 Post subject: Re: Adventures in .410 reloading with a MEC 600
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:38 am 
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Loading 410 can be a challenge, it requires a little more patience than cranking out 12 gauge shells.

I load 296/H110 powder and have a single stage PW375 press. Reading Dano523's post on solving the powder migration issue on the PW800 gave me some ideas for solving it on my single stage. It was pretty simple, a piece of chamois to make a sleeve around the bottom of the powder bushing and a piece of packing tape across the top of the bushing. The tape extends over the whole surface with a cut out for the bushing hole. This reduced the powder migration issue by 90% or more and made the drops much more consistent. No permanent modification to the machine. I'm sure any brand of press would benefit from some of these techniques with the fine powders like 296.


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 Post subject: Re: Adventures in .410 reloading with a MEC 600
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:02 pm 
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The .410 is a worthy little opponent isn't it? My 600 Jr. has gone to a new home. Locally I found a husband and wife who had given up on skeet shooting and sold me their .410 Grabber which is in perfect adjustment along with a bunch of components. No more profanity from the reloading cave. Long time ago I used a PW 375 with full length dies and initially I had a problem with the shot/powder tube doing a cookie cutter bit on the wad base. The early 375 had no wad pressure indicator back then. Crimps look better than factory AA using Claybuster CB 5050-410HS and 16.0 of 296. When you get perfect .410 reloads they are a work of art!! Be proud.

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 Post subject: Re: Adventures in .410 reloading with a MEC 600
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:41 am 
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I had a busy day today, but in between court hearings I ran to the local gun shop to see if they had any genuine AA HS .410 wads, and lucked out when there was an opened bag of 500 Claybuster AA HS .410 clone wads for only $2.50. It looked full, but for the price it's best not to count wads in the gunshop. Besides, that was the only bag of .410 wads for sale.

Then I searched for a can of Winchester 296, and in the process spied an eight pound jug of H4350. My youngest and middle son love the 6.5 Creedmoor, and are too high toned to use my IMR 4350, and insist on H4350. I thought a minute, and then spent $209 for the only eight pound jug of H4350 for sale in the middle of Missouri, that I knew of. So much for a bargain on wads. Of course, if you have the H4350, then the boys need bullets, and I bought them the latest Hornady super whiz bang 6.5 bullets proven by Doppler radar to have the highest ballistic coefficient. The marketing department is earning their pay, at Hornady. Snagged me, for a box of the target bullets and of course the hunting bullets, too, so they can shoot deer with their 6.5's.

After the day was done I got home, and tried out my new clone wads. There is reason that Olin switched wads for the new AA HS hulls, and that reason is the new ones have a bit more room and just load better. I loaded a few with my new wads, and then wondered why that decapper was so hard to to work. I removed the sizer die, and saw there was lots of room to raise the decapper rod. Then, I started messing with the sizer, and testing the hulls in my old Iver Johnson Champion .410 to see if they fed and ejected, and by and by I got the sizing and decapping down to where it's as easy as the priming.

And to my surprise, there was a little more room in the case. I suppose it had been set to size down the hulls so much, that a tiny bit of capacity was lost.


Now my crimps were actually too deep, if I'd been loading 12 gauge, so I raised the crimp just a turn or two, and on a hunch, also raised the crimp starter just a couple of turns.

Lo and behold, my shells started looking just like the Winchester AA HS factory loads. There's a reason they have such high crimps, and that's because it's the best way to load those tiny little hulls. And, the only thing wrong with my sizing die and pre crimp was getting it all adjusted.

I sat down and loaded up an entire flat of .410's, didn't ruin a single hull, virtually all the crimps look just like factory, and the adventure in reloading .410 has just turned into a pleasurable hobby, to see how many boxes I can load an hour. I'm up to about four, but I'm not working too hard at it.

This is supposed to be fun, you know?

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 Post subject: Re: Adventures in .410 reloading with a MEC 600
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:11 am 
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I started reloading on a 3" size master and quickly found that the SP410/AA410HS wads did not stick on the drop tube/ram. Things worked pretty well with the right wads. Then I bought another SM for 2 1/2" hulls. After finding I had to use the CB5050HS wad which has the tightest ID but on this SM worked fine. Factory settings were perfect and makes the most perfect crimped finished shells. Powder is 300MP @ 16.4 grains fit is perfect! Crimps are perfect!

What I learned is the ram tube ID are not all the same and can be too large. Once I addressed that by sanding and wet stone work putting a small chamfer on the bottom ALL WENT WELL. For 300MP the AA410HS & SP410 will not work in AA410HS hulls. In the 3" they are the wads I love best. I changed my 3" settings to better reflect the settings on the 2 1/2" SM and it has great crimps now, the 2 1/2" has prefect, perfect, prefect crimps.

I have no issues with the de-priming punch sticking with AA410HS hulls of either length or fed hulls. I recall the first time the rem SP410-3" hulls did stick some. I use to think the 410 was frustrating now it is the easiest to reload.

The 410 is fun fun fun to shoot. The 28 gauge is my favorite hands down just love that gauge.


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 Post subject: Re: Adventures in .410 reloading with a MEC 600
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:06 pm 
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If your crimps are now too deep a few more pellets will make quite a difference in such a small case. I do not believe adding 3-4 pellets can cause problems in a 2 1/2" case. #8 shot is as large as I will reload because of bridging problems.

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 Post subject: Re: Adventures in .410 reloading with a MEC 600
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 5:52 pm 
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Super X one are you weighing any of your powder and shot drops to see what's being dispensed ? Usually mec charge bars throw light in the 200-205 grain range.


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 Post subject: Re: Adventures in .410 reloading with a MEC 600
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:01 pm 
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la angler wrote:
Super X one are you weighing any of your powder and shot drops to see what's being dispensed ? Usually mec charge bars throw light in the 200-205 grain range.


I've weighed several of the powder drops, and they are 15.5 grains of W296, virtually every time.

But when I weigh the shot drops of one ounce of #8 chilled shot, I'm supposed to get 219 grains and I'm getting about 210 grains, each time. One shot pellet weighs about .9 grains.

I suppose I could try and bore out the 302 1/2 ounce MEC charge bar to allow for 10 more grains of shot, but my problem so far has been finding enough room for the shot I already have, and I've solved it pretty well.

It's almost embarrassing to admit, but I've loaded a few with hand weighed loads of 219 grains, and 10 extra shot seem to always hit the 219 grain mark, and they might load a little better crimp, although the metered lead loads do very well now, too.

It's at times like this, I can almost hear my dear old dead machinist philosopher buddy Jack croaking out "Quit Winner!!! Quit Winner!!!

But that MEC charge bar is aluminum, and it's soft, and maybe if just chamfered the bottom just a hair, it would hold 10 more shot and it would be perfect. Or it could be polished out. Going over to an adjustable charge bar is another option.

Or I could just quit winner, and load another flat of shells.

This is some information, I could have done without.:)

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 Post subject: Re: Adventures in .410 reloading with a MEC 600
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:11 pm 
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Yes, and sometimes it depends on which brand of shot you use as it varies in weight. I used a round file and just took a little at a time out checked many drops.


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 Post subject: Re: Adventures in .410 reloading with a MEC 600
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:29 pm 
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For those looking for the perfect .410 crimp, or those that reload the hulls into oblivion for "just one more load" I offer this:

Quote:
Briley’s original tube sets used stainless steel chambers, aluminum tube sections and fixed chokes but development brought the use of titanium chambers and screw-in chokes in the muzzles of the tubes. Briley Ultimate Ultra-light tube sets feature very lightweight aluminum sections with as much weight removed as is safe for handling pressures of shells, and they use straight rifling in the aluminum section of the tube. The intent of the straight rifling goes something like this: when viewed under high-speed video, the shot column emerges often from the muzzle spinning very much like a bullet. This is caused by the fact that, when the pressure in the ignited shell builds up, it finds the point of least resistance. This is going to be the crimp area of the shell. Not every fold in any crimp is as strong as every other. So, the weakest one opens first and the gas pressure having started the force going in a certain direction imparts spin to the wad and shot column. This rotational behavior creates some of the flyers in the pattern, and when you’re shooting the .410, you want as many of your pellets working for you as possible.


As we know, other methods are available for hull closure. When the original factory crimp gets soft or cracks, consider other methods if you're going for "just one more load." :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Adventures in .410 reloading with a MEC 600
PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:31 am 
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Tonight earlier, I got the chance to shoot a box of my .410 reloads, and they work like factory shells in my Winchester 101 with the .410 barrel set. In the SKB that Steve now has, my reloads require holding open the lever to prevent the shell in the bottom barrel from unlatching the gun as it closes, but otherwise my reloads chamber and shoot fine.

I think I'll call this .410 loading adventure over, load up the rest of my .410 hulls, and move on to the 28 gauge MEC.

The most important thing about getting any reloader to work is to start out with the right charge and payload, the right wads, the right powder, and then it's only a learning curve to get the thing to load like it should.

After that's done, quit winner.



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