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.
Here is what I used.
Winchester WAA12SL wads(pink ones) for the 1oz loads
Claybuster 7/8oz (gray/silver) colored wads for the 7/8oz loads
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.
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!
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....