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 Post subject: Accurate charge bar/ powder drop bushing chart for MEC?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2021 7:54 pm 
Field Grade

Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2020 8:21 pm
Posts: 20
I just got a new MEC 600 Junior mark V

This is my first attempt at reloading shotshells. Before I loaded any shells I checked and weighed the powder charge and shot drop with my metallic reloading scale.

Charge bar is labeled 118 but only drops 1.05 ounces of shot.

The powder charge bushings are all running ‘at least’ one and a half grains light with 3 different powders.

So, I need to order a new charge bar and new powder drop bushings, can anyone tell me what they will actually drop? Or does MEC want me to buy a whole bunch of them just to see? Am I doing something incorrect?




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 Post subject: Re: Accurate charge bar/ powder drop bushing chart for MEC?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2021 8:37 pm 
Diamond Grade

Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2018 9:59 pm
Posts: 1306
Location: Soda Springs, Id.
nope.
and yep.
and nope.

this is why we use a scale.

anyway your 1-1/8oz bar most likely drops 1-1/8oz of shot if you use number-9 chilled shot to measure it.


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 Post subject: Re: Accurate charge bar/ powder drop bushing chart for MEC?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2021 8:47 pm 
Presentation Grade

Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 1:25 pm
Posts: 507
Location: New Mexico
Very common finding by a new shotgun loader. First, you need to make sure you are measuring the drop when the shotshell press is being used with a shell (shells for progressive) being loaded. The vibration and force applied to the press during operation shakes powder (or shot, to a lesser extent) into the bushing, packing it to hold more weight than what the factory estimates the bushing's capacity is.

Kind of a rule of thumb is that shotgun powder bushings need to be about 2 sizes larger than what the published charts show. But, it depends some on how you operate the press and what shells you are loading.

A real light shot drop can occur when loading larger sizes of bird shot, as the bushings are calibrated by the factory for a common target lead shot size, #9. Of course, steel shot bushings are a different ID than are lead shot, or some of the bushings for heavy non-toxic shot. If you are loading steel shot, get the steel shot bar or bushing.

Use of a good scale to pick the right bushings is the RIGHT thing to do. But you will need to catch samples while operating the loader to get an accurate idea. Also, keep powder and shot bottles filled at least 1/4 full to avoid light drops when there are small amounts in the bottle.

If you have not done so, clean the charge bar and bushings with something to degrease the parts. Manufacturing lube on the parts will also lead to light drops.

Your charge bar should be able to drop it's marked shot weight - somewhat closer to your desired weight than what you have measured so far. For a 1.13 ounce bar (marked ounce and eighth) I would expect it to drop between 1.08 and 1.13 ounce (in grains, between 472 and 492 grains). That's from 96% to 100% of marked weight. Minor internal adjustment with files or sandpaper can be done fairly easily if you are sure it's undersize. A bar that drops MORE than marked would get you in trouble in shotgun sports where the shot load is limited by rules.

Good luck, garrisonjoe


Last edited by garrisonjoe on Fri Feb 05, 2021 12:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Accurate charge bar/ powder drop bushing chart for MEC?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2021 8:53 pm 
Crown Grade
User avatar

Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:51 pm
Posts: 2274
Location: S.E. Wisconsin
As they say a long time ago, when lead shot was 100% lead your bar most likely dropped the correct weight. Now that they make "harden" shot ( added another metal to the lead) each pellet weights slightly less so you no longer drop the correct weight BUT are most likely dropping the correct number of pellets for your charge weight.

All MEC powder bushing drop light charges, weight your powder drop on a scale and adjust as necessary to get what the load calls for.

Steve

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I repair MEC presses. PM me.
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 Post subject: Re: Accurate charge bar/ powder drop bushing chart for MEC?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2021 9:00 pm 
Field Grade

Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2020 8:21 pm
Posts: 20
Thank you very much for the reply’s.
I appreciate y’all helping me stay out of trouble.


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 Post subject: Re: Accurate charge bar/ powder drop bushing chart for MEC?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2021 9:43 pm 
*Proud to be a*
*Proud to be a*

Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2003 6:01 pm
Posts: 6852
Yes, you need a selection of bushings to get close to the powder drop. Bushing are spaced in about half grain increments. Buying a different shot bar will not help. The machine them all the same size. What the shot bar throws is pretty much a function of the shot used. There maybe a correction chart for shot size and antimony content but I have not seen one. Sounds like you are using fairly large shot. You will either have to ream the bar, buy a adjustable bar, or load light. For just a few loads I guess you could not fill the shot bottle and add the shot with a set of Lee Dippers or some other way.


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 Post subject: Re: Accurate charge bar/ powder drop bushing chart for MEC?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2021 11:14 am 
Field Grade

Joined: Sat Aug 29, 2020 8:41 am
Posts: 36
Good Morning Folks,

I'm also in the same boat as Aaron871 (OP) is. Since I had borrowed a RCBS beam type scale to get started, I have just received a Frankford Arsenal Electronic Scale (the cheapest model) and have just ordered a Lee Safety Powder Scale.

I may use the Frankfort for weighting shot for hunting loads rather than reaming out a bar.

FWIW, I ran some 20 ga. loads recently, 13.8 and 14.8 gr. of Green Dot, 5 samples average WEIGHED, MEC bushings #24 and #25 using an 3/4 bar with #8 shot. Recipe straight from Alliant's website, AA CF, W209's, and CB1075 Wads (almost, the 13.8 gr. load was 0.2 gr. shy.)

I did not weigh any shot drops.

I was throughly shocked when my brother called with some chornograph results, slightly more than 100 fps more than expected!!!!!!!

I suspect the 3/4 bar is dropping light, but I am rechecking and verifying everything as the chonogragh (and operator) has been verified and trusted.

Fred


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 Post subject: Re: Accurate charge bar/ powder drop bushing chart for MEC?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2021 11:39 am 
Limited Edition

Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2020 4:02 pm
Posts: 422
shootandfish2 wrote:
I was throughly shocked when my brother called with some chornograph results, slightly more than 100 fps more than expected!!!!!!!


And the problem is?


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 Post subject: Re: Accurate charge bar/ powder drop bushing chart for MEC?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2021 12:59 pm 
Field Grade

Joined: Sat Aug 29, 2020 8:41 am
Posts: 36
J.Fred_Muggs wrote:
shootandfish2 wrote:
I was throughly shocked when my brother called with some chornograph results, slightly more than 100 fps more than expected!!!!!!!


And the problem is?


J. Fred,

Stay tuned. I currently lived in central KY in Harrodsburg. After my parents passed away, I bought my brother and sister out and am in the process of moving to south-central KY, (South side of Lake Cumberland) and spilt my time between houses. Since my loading equipment was still at Mom and Dad's house, it made more sense leave it there. Hopefully, in a few days, I will have another truck load ready to move and will be able to spend some time on shotshell reloading.

I really want to have my ordered Lee Powder Scale in hand before I do much investigating.

Fred


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 Post subject: Re: Accurate charge bar/ powder drop bushing chart for MEC?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2021 9:19 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 10:15 am
Posts: 10748
Shootandfish2, 100 fps over published velocity is probably nothing to worry about, exept if you are going off bushing charts, which you should not be doing anyways as a newcomer to shotshell reloading. Chances are that the discrepancy is due to a light shot charge. Because most, not all but most, powder bushings drop lighter than the powder bushing charts. Where you get into real trouble is when you have used equipment and somebody else reamed a bushing to make it drop heavier than labeled.

Those Lee Safety scales are very accurate, at least as accurate as any other balance scale and more accurate than equally priced electric scales. I use a Lee Saftey scale. But, as I am getting older I have learned that it is now darn near impossible to read- even with glasses. That, and you can only measure 110 grains at a time which makes using it for shot charges a chore times four.

_________________
As a system of governance, democracy theorizes that the difference between right and wrong is a popularity contest.


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 Post subject: Re: Accurate charge bar/ powder drop bushing chart for MEC?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2021 9:58 pm 
Field Grade

Joined: Sat Aug 29, 2020 8:41 am
Posts: 36
oldthompson wrote:
Shootandfish2, 100 fps over published velocity is probably nothing to worry about, exept if you are going off bushing charts, which you should not be doing anyways as a newcomer to shotshell reloading. Chances are that the discrepancy is due to a light shot charge because most, not all but most, powder bushings drop lighter than the powder bushing charts. Where you get into real trouble is when you have used equipment and somebody else reamed a bushing to make it drop heavier than labeled.

Those Lee Safety scales are very accurate, at least as accurate as any other balance scale and more accurate than equally priced electric scales. I use a Lee Saftey scale. But, as I am getting older I have learned that it is now darn near impossible to read- even with glasses. That, and you can only measure 110 grains at a time which makes using it for shot charges a chore times four.



As I do not want to derail Aaron's thread, I will post in a new thread once I have some verified shot/powder weights.

Good luck to the OP.

Fred


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 Post subject: Re: Accurate charge bar/ powder drop bushing chart for MEC?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2021 10:07 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 10:15 am
Posts: 10748
Oh right.

Aaron871, as the shot becomes larger it takes up more space by weight. A cubic inch of space holds more #9 shot by weight than a cubic inch of #5 shot by weight. The empty space between the shot increases as shot size increases.

Edited to add- you really don't need to worry about matching the data charges exactly much so long as you are within reason. I would not worry much about being 1/16 ounce under shot charge with 12 gauge loads, so long as it's developing enough pressure to burn correctly. I would not care much at all if I'm a grain under powder charge, again so long as the powder burns correctly. So long as it patterns consistently it usually does not matter too much.

The key word here is consistent. All I'm looking for is consistent patterns and under maximum pressure. Some powders are more forgiving than others in certain applications. When I load near maximum pressure hunting loads, then I weigh everything. But for target pressure type loads you can get away with a lot more than some people might think.

_________________
As a system of governance, democracy theorizes that the difference between right and wrong is a popularity contest.


Last edited by oldthompson on Wed Feb 03, 2021 10:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Accurate charge bar/ powder drop bushing chart for MEC?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2021 10:09 pm 
Limited Edition

Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 9:44 am
Posts: 400
Location: Murfreesboro, TN
Yep! I did some weight checks with a couple of different bushings using my chosen recipe. You just have to figure out a good recipe you like and match that up with the right size bushing to get the desired results. A good weight scale is worth the trouble. You will be good to go and bushings aren't that expensive. Good Luck!

_________________
"You generally find a better grade of person around a shotgun than a golf club or other sports" - Gil Ash


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 Post subject: Re: Accurate charge bar/ powder drop bushing chart for MEC?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2021 12:31 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:01 am
Posts: 6393
Location: Newton Kansas
Aaron871 wrote:
I just got a new MEC 600 Junior mark V

This is my first attempt at reloading shotshells. Before I loaded any shells I checked and weighed the powder charge and shot drop with my metallic reloading scale.

Charge bar is labeled 118 but only drops 1.05 ounces of shot.

The powder charge bushings are all running ‘at least’ one and a half grains light with 3 different powders.

So, I need to order a new charge bar and new powder drop bushings, can anyone tell me what they will actually drop? Or does MEC want me to buy a whole bunch of them just to see? Am I doing something incorrect?

Standard MEC bars are calibrated to #7-1/2 pure lead shot, common Trapshooting shot size, looooong time.
If you put chilled shot in it, you get the same number of balls, less weight.
If you put magnum shot in it, you get the same number of balls, even less weight.

This is because people compete with handloads, and competitions have rules, and NOT A SINGLE COMPETITION will bust you for having a shot change that is a little light, but every one will call you a cheater for having a shot charge even a tad too heavy.
This goes back to the 1950's to the creation of this equipment.
You can't get sanctioned by the competition unless you've modified a MEC bar, not MEC's problem, your fault.

The SKEET bars are, likewise, calibrated to dead soft pure lead #9 shot, because #9 shot is common skeet size, has been a loooong time.


Powder bushing fill depends a great deal on exactly how the operator uses the press, press operation vibration packs the bushings.
those bushings are very likely calculated to the absolute maximum limit of powder that COULD be somehow vibration packed into the bushing, not "how much the typical user get the bushing to throw".
A bushing throwing SLIGHTLY too little powder is not dangerous whatsoever.
A bushing throwing too much MIGHT be.
Again, just like shot, "playing it safe", being just a little bit light is preferable to being just a little bit heavy.

Also, the MEC charts are for Single Stage Presses, because of 4-6 bang-bash steps to fill 1 shell. Vibration packs bushings more full.
Use the same bushings in a Progressive where the bushing dumps every handle stroke, and they throw EVEN LIGHTER.
MEC's chart sheet tells people this, but they don't read it, and complain.

Since MEC bushings throw light, it isn't "unsafe", to load without a scale (no way of guessing how many shells I've made with components and an un-modified MEC "0" bar).
You can't get an overload unless you just flat up use the wrong bushing.
Now, to get exactly how much powder YOU WANT, a scale is needed, and potentially several bushings, the one you supposedly "need" and a couple/few larger.

The only way around this is one of the adjustable bars, and FOR THAT YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST HAVE A SCALE.
No butts.
Multi-Scale had a chart, it was garbage, it wasn't even good toilet paper.
I won't bet on BPI's being any better.

_________________
I don't always venture out into the sub-freezing darkness, but when I do, it is hunting season, and I carry a Browning. Stay hungry my friends.


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 Post subject: Re: Accurate charge bar/ powder drop bushing chart for MEC?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2021 6:05 pm 
Field Grade

Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2020 8:21 pm
Posts: 20
Old Stuffer A5,

That explains a lot, thanks for taking the time...
go to my other post, hull identification help, and tell me what gives there....


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 Post subject: Re: Accurate charge bar/ powder drop bushing chart for MEC?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:44 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:01 am
Posts: 6393
Location: Newton Kansas
Aaron871 wrote:
Old Stuffer A5,

That explains a lot, thanks for taking the time...
go to my other post, hull identification help, and tell me what gives there....

Hull ID,, the ONLY THING that matters is the internal construction(shape basically) and internal volume.

Not a single smear of Ink on the outside of the hull means anything.
Brass height means exactly nothing (BUT, CAN BE a handy visual identifier if you load a load "Load A in High Brass, Load B in Low Brass", same hull (like I do with Federal High Power Paper Basewad Hulls)).

A good book like Lyman 5th has excellent drawings of internal hull layout, IMO the photographs in the RCBS book suck, but they are better than most others AND their written descriptions are the best IMO.

Tapered hulls need, in MOST cases, a wad designed for a tapered hull, the gas seal cup is slightly smaller in diameter to load lower into the hull atop a smaller powder charge. A BIG powder charge (hunting load) can occupy enough of the taper that straight-wall hulls fit fine.
If the wad CANNOT sit down, tight, solidly, atop the powder, squibs happen, NO AIR SPACE over the powder. If a tapered wad is used in a straight-wall hull, the undersized gas seal cup can let fine powder (mostly spherical powder) leak by in handling over time. this CAN lead to squibs if it gets bad enough.

Straight hulls have more room, so they take larger powder charges better.

All the "euro" hulls, the Cheddite, Fiocci, Kent, BPI's "Multi-Metal", and so on, are straight hulls, with typically the same height basewad, and so the same shape and volume, they all load the exact same.



_________________
I don't always venture out into the sub-freezing darkness, but when I do, it is hunting season, and I carry a Browning. Stay hungry my friends.


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