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 Post subject: I want to learn how to reload shotgun shells
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:38 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 8:02 am
Posts: 17
Location: tinley Pk Il
Hi All,
I've been reloading since 1976, but only for metalic cartridges, rifle, and handgun. Im going to start trap shooting and would like to load shotgun shells, the only problem is I've never loaded shotgun shells. Is it anything like loading metalic cartridges, or is it completely different? Any info, advice, what it's gonna take to get into shotgun shell reloading ect ect would be greatly apriciated. I do have an RCBS electronic powder measure, and scale, can I use that?
Thanks,
Paul :)




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 Post subject: re: I want to learn how to reload shotgun shells
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 11:48 pm 
Presentation Grade

Joined: Mon Dec 25, 2006 1:57 pm
Posts: 569
Location: Southern California
If you already have a scale you are off to a good start. Next you will need a loader and a Lyman 5th Edition shot shell reloading manual. If you Google that you should find one in a matter of seconds.

Read the manual and become familiar with the terminology and the various components that make up a shotgun shell. Once you do that Google MEC reloaders. Find the lowest price for a new machine and buy one. Again, read the manual to understand how it works. By the way, the reason I suggested the MEC machine is that I have 4 of them and they are very well made, pieces of equipment. There are several other reloaders on the market to chose from if you like a pricier piece of equipment.

Using the Lyman manual, determine which hulls you have and then buy components for that hull using the information in the book. Whatever you do don't try making up your own loads because the possibility of injuring yourself or others is very high and you would almost certainly lose a gun in the process.

Stay with the published loads and you will be fine. Reloading shotgun shells is not hard and is very safe as long as you follow the procedures in your reloading manual.

Have fun.


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 Post subject: re: I want to learn how to reload shotgun shells
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 11:54 pm 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2004 1:15 am
Posts: 219
Location: Kalifornia - central conservative area
Get the Lyman number 5 manual, read it a couple of times, adhere strictly to the posted recipes, never trust powder bushings (weigh sample charges after the powder settles in the reloader hopper), max loads are to be adhered to more than in rifle loading and decide whether you want progressive or single stage up front to save the money of buying a new loader after the first few weeks.

I suggest starting with Remington Hulls as Winchesters have developed a bad reputation with modernization. Some powders to consider are Claydot, American Select and Clays among others. Claydot and clays load nearly identically, American Select is softer shooting in my opinion and just as good. Alliant products, claydot and American Select, are less expensive than the foriegn made Hodgdon powders. Check out Down Range wads especially the XL1 for 1 ounce and XL118 for 1 1/8 oz. They are excellent quality and leave less residue than nearly any others including OEM.

Finally, checkout Recobs target shop for supplies - they are clays shooters who take great care of their customers with great prices to boot.


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 Post subject: re: I want to learn how to reload shotgun shells
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 11:58 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2006 8:20 pm
Posts: 8866
Location: Alvin, Texas
gundogblue/paul

The first thing you should do is get yourself a copy of Lymans Shotshell Reloading Guide. Current addition is #5.

The Lyman's is known as the Bible of shotshell reloading, and has more data and how-to descriptive writings than any other handbook in existance. Reading this book will answer about any question you could imagine, pertaining to shotshell reloading.

To answer one of your questions, NO, shotshell reloading is nothing like metalics, and the ONLY thing they have in common is the fact that they both use primers and gunpowder. That's it.

Yes you will need that scale. You won't need the powder measure, as the shotshell loaders use bushings of different capacitys, to drop their charges, so no measures are used.

Get that book and read it thoroughly. Then if you have questions, come back with them. However, reading the book should pretty well answer most all your questions.

DLM

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 Post subject: re: I want to learn how to reload shotgun shells
PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 6:01 am 
Limited Edition

Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2008 3:04 pm
Posts: 434
Location: Eastern Ohio
1. There are NO equivalencies between metallic reloading and shotshell reloading.
2. Pressure allowances in shotshells are EXTREMELY low in comparison.
3. Reading pressure signs in shotshell hulls are EXTREMELY subtle and creates controversy even in experts.
4. The ONLY way to assure correct pressure maximums is through pressure test equipment.
5. Hull design, and manufacturer have a GREAT effect on ballistics.
6. Shotshell primers all have a different brisance. Some can be interchanged in loads safely but THEY ARE ALL DIFFERENT AND WILL EFFECT PRESSURES and ballistics. Primers contain pressure sensitive primary explosives.
7. Propellants are all manufactured with different burn rates and characteristics. Choosing a powder for convenience rather than for its ballistic performance is poor economy at best and dangerous at worst.
8.Black powder is a low brisance explosive extremely inefficient therefore volume measurements are acceptable but there are NO comparisons to propellants.
9.Wads do effect pressures and ballistics. Clones and substitutes do have some differences hence the different pressure ratings given to some of them by the load testing facilities.
10. Shot charges are measured by weight and larger size shot does require more volume due to air space between pellets. Weight vs. volume is also determined by the alloy of the lead.
11. There are no comparisons between other types of shot. Each has its own characteristics and requires different loading data.
12. Velocity and PEAK pressure have NO relationship to each other.
13. Substitutions can and will be made but at your own risk. Remember the person next to you at the trap line. He should not be expected to share your risk.
_________________

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The definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Albert Einstein
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 Post subject: re: I want to learn how to reload shotgun shells
PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 7:16 am 
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Good for you GunDogBlue.

Dutch has got this down to a science. :roll: :roll: :roll:

You will enjoy shotshell reloading.

I suggest you start with Remington STS Hulls. It makes it easier at the outset, as I have found.

:oops: :oops: :oops: :oops:

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"Hmmm, load first ask later, kinda backards ain't it, sport? Where you been anyway?"--------Curly-Nohair




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 Post subject: re: I want to learn how to reload shotgun shells
PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 9:51 am 
Utility Grade

Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 8:02 am
Posts: 17
Location: tinley Pk Il
Great, so I take it that the lyman #5 reloading manual will take me step by step through the shot shell reloading process, and on any given load it will tell me the exact reloading components to use, just as it does in their metalic reloading manual?
Paul :D


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 Post subject: re: I want to learn how to reload shotgun shells
PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:47 am 
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Posts: 8866
Location: Alvin, Texas
Gundogblue,
You got it. The Lymans will do just that.

Also you can get the free data books that the powder makers distribute every year to their dealers. Being a metalic reloader, you may already have some of those, and can get the new updated ones from your component dealer.

The more data you have available the better. Helps in determining which loads to use and gives additional help in comparing different loads, or like loads using a different component. Compares velocities and chamber pressures.

DLM

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 Post subject: re: I want to learn how to reload shotgun shells
PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:55 am 
Presentation Grade

Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2008 9:14 am
Posts: 630
Here are links to a couple of resources you may find useful. Each illustrates the use of a MEC reloader, one a single stage press and the other a progressive press.


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 Post subject: re: I want to learn how to reload shotgun shells
PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:16 am 
Limited Edition

Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 6:08 pm
Posts: 307
Location: Middle Tennessee
You have some excellent advice already from this forum. It is a great place to get your questions answered. Lyman's is an excellent manual and you shouldn't start loading up on stuff until you read it. They use MEC reloaders in their "how to" chapters and you have many experts on MEC equipment that participate in this forum. They will help you if you have problems setting up and getting started.

Also, some people have suggested that you use Remington hulls to begin. I concur with that advice. You will find that the powder manufacturers have more loads for hulls that use the same manufacturer as the primer, e.g. Rem hulls & Rem primers, Win hulls & Win primers, etc.. There are many (maybe most) people on this forum that use hulls and primers from different manufacturers, for several reasons. However, this is a good place to start.


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 Post subject: Re: I want to learn how to reload shotgun shells
PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:36 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2005 2:40 pm
Posts: 1654
Location: NW PA
gundogblue wrote:
Hi All,
I've been reloading since 1976, but only for metalic cartridges, rifle, and handgun. Im going to start trap shooting and would like to load shotgun shells, the only problem is I've never loaded shotgun shells. Is it anything like loading metalic cartridges, or is it completely different? Any info, advice, what it's gonna take to get into shotgun shell reloading ect ect would be greatly apriciated. I do have an RCBS electronic powder measure, and scale, can I use that?
Thanks,
Paul :)


Shotgun presses handle the powder drop, but you will need the scale to confirm they're dropping the right amount of powder.

The Lyman manual will discuss different primers, powders, hulls, shot sizes, shot charges, and velocities, list various recipes, and go step by step on how a MEC single stage and progressive works. It is a must for new shotgun shell reloaders.

I always go directly to the powder companies for the most up to date recipes.

Stick to tested recipes, you can't read pressure in a shotgun shell like you can a rifle or pistol. If you want to change something in a recipe (like primers), contact the powder company first to discuss your change.

Since you're looking at trap loads (and I assume a 12 ga), you're basically going to look at a narrow range of components...

Hulls: stick to 2 3/4" Federal Gold Medals, Remington STSs or Gun Clubs, and Winchester AAs.

Wads: You'll want a wad meant for straight walled hulls if you use a Federal Hull (Federal wads and their clones), and wads meant for tapered hulls if you use Winchester or Remingtons (Winchester and Remington wads, and their clones). And you'll want wads meant to hold the amount of shot you want to put down range.

Shot: Magnum #7 1/2 or #8, and shot charges ranging from 1 1/8 oz (standard American 12 ga target load) down to 1 oz or even 7/8 oz.

Primer: any of the various 209s will work (I prefer Fed 209As and Win 209s). Use the one listed in the recipe you're following.

Powder: You'll be looking at powders as slow as Unique and Universal for heavy (1250 fps) 1 1/8 oz loads to as fast as WAALite for light (980 fps) 7/8 oz loads. Powders like e3, Red Dot, Promo, Clays will cover most of your needs.

IMO, the best way to start off is by copying the factory load you currently shoot. I was shooting Winchester AAs and saving the hulls, so when I started reloading my first loads were with Winchester Hulls, Winchester 209s, Winchester White Wad, Winchester Super Target (WST) powder, and 1 1/8 oz of magnum shot. Gives you something to measure you're reloads against, and once you've got the hang of it you can try different combinations. I shoot the same load I started with, I just use e3 instead of WST. :lol:

~Michael


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 Post subject: re: I want to learn how to reload shotgun shells
PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 12:24 am 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 8:10 pm
Posts: 162
Although you may not believe it from the replies you have received, there are other makes of reloaders to be had. Ebay usually has quite a few for sale. You may be able to pick up a good used machine for much less than a new one and some reloaders will last a life time or more. If you know somebody into shotshell reloading it might be worthwhile to get them to show you how their machine works. Find out their likes and dislikes. Check out as many as possible before making your choice. My personal favorite is my old Ponsness Warren 800B. I also have a Pacific/Hornady 366 and an MEC 9000g. Both are good machines. If you plan on reloading a high volume of shells, I would go for a progressive machine right out of the starting gate. I'm sure you'll catch on fast.

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 Post subject: Re: re: I want to learn how to reload shotgun shells
PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 10:13 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2009 12:13 pm
Posts: 362
Location: Carlsbad, NM.
Muley wrote:
Although you may not believe it from the replies you have received, there are other makes of reloaders to be had. Ebay usually has quite a few for sale. You may be able to pick up a good used machine for much less than a new one and some reloaders will last a life time or more.


Speaking from experience I would recommend being very careful purchasing from e-bay (and I am an ebay fanatic). The Mec 600's are usually not much savings (at times more than retail) and you would be better off paying a little more and getting a new one you know is in good shape. The Grabbers and 9000's may or may not be in good shape. The Grabber I purchased for about 1/2 the price of new is well used, very well used.
It works but I would be much happier with a new one.

Fact is it will take many thousands of rounds to come close to paying for the cost of the reloader. I do not consider this as I purchased one for the fun of reloading and the monthly savings on shells not long run savings. So like any hobbie it is better to spend the money on quality equipment up front rather than to have to spend it later to replace something you are not happy with.

Same goes with the scale. Get a good one not a cheap one.
I have an old worn out e-bay Lyman 500 I will let you have for the cost of a cup of coffee. I am looking at a good digital for around $100 to $150.

Spend some time here, in the book, and on the internet doing some research first, then purchase. I did it the other way around and regret many of my initial purchases.


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 Post subject: re: I want to learn how to reload shotgun shells
PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 10:52 am 
Crown Grade

Joined: Thu Aug 31, 2006 10:06 am
Posts: 2264
Location: UK, England, Britain
i`ve been trying to start this. i`ve just bought 2k shells. i`d be reloading some fibre wads for clays and game.

1, research a good load that you wish to emulate.. (copy !)
2, check the bushings are metering right. run a load of (powder charge bars) and then start weight comparisons. the machine shakes alittle settling the powder. check every time you reload.

3, follow the recipes.

there have been alot of guys in the uk, trying to use steel instead of lead, using lead wads, and lead rated powders.

follow the recipe. please


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 Post subject: Re: re: I want to learn how to reload shotgun shells
PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 11:05 am 
Shotgun Expert
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Joined: Sat Sep 09, 2006 11:02 am
Posts: 14444
Location: Plainfield, IL
gundogblue wrote:
Great, so I take it that the lyman #5 reloading manual will take me step by step through the shot shell reloading process, and on any given load it will tell me the exact reloading components to use, just as it does in their metalic reloading manual?
Paul :D


That's it. Reloading is reloading-- reloading shotshells is of course the same as any other ammunition manufacturing-- all the work has already been done for you (from Lyman to other manuals). Shotshell reloading with lead shot is less hassle than metallic reloading in the sense that most of the case preparation is not done. For what you put into your "Chargemaster Combo" you can get set up for shotshells. You might use the scale portion of your chargemaster combo to check the drops from a MEC, but you won't be using the electronic measure in conjunction with any charge bar system.

You might be tempted to collect bags of every hull you can find. I did, a long while ago, and it is a tremendous time-waster. You didn't say what gauge you want to reload, or how much you shoot-- I'll guess it is 12 gauge.

Once you find the load you like, if saving a few bucks is a goal you'll be better off buying components in bulk. If you are buying new ammo for the hulls, STS hulls win in my book.

Everyone will find their own favorite loads after a while, just like in all reloading. For me, Green Dot is the propellant for 1-1/8 oz. loads I'm most happy with; it would take a lot to get me to change to anything else. You'll have your own favorites after a while.

After you get going, it is just keep an eye on your component levels, verify powder and shot drops with your scale from time to time, and have the courage to throw anything out that doesn't look exactly right.




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