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 Post subject: MEC reloading chart
PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:01 pm 
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I guess I've been very naïve over the years when it comes to trusting the printed charts for shotshell reloading. But recent curiosity has proven to me that the chart can not be trusted. I'm reloading with a MEC 600 jr. press with a 1 1/8 oz bar. I'm using a W209 primer, WAA12 wad, Nitro hull and Universal powder. The Hodgdon website says to load 21.5 grains/1200 fps or 23 grains/1255 fps, and the MEC powder bushing chart says to use #28 bushing for 21.6 grains and #30 for 23.3 grains. I made ten drops with each of the following bushings and took the average reading with my powder scale and came up with the following data: the #28 bushing averaged dropping only 20.2 grains, while the #29 bushing averaged dropping 22.2 grains and the #30 bushing averaged dropping 22.3 grains. It took the #31 bushing to average 23.3 grains. So according to my reloading equipment the bushing chart is inaccurate. It makes me wonder what good the MEC chart really is? Any comments on your experiences?



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 Post subject: Re: MEC reloading chart
PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:06 pm 
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The chart is designed to do just what it did for you...give you a starting point from which to weigh powder drops. It is really not the bushing or the chart that is the problem; there are just too many variables in play for the chart to fit all situations. Which press you are using, how you use it, the sturdiness of the surface the press is mounted on and a whole bunch of other variables make it impossible for the chart to be more than a ballpark estimate.

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 Post subject: Re: MEC reloading chart
PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:17 pm 
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What OldSkeeter said!!

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 Post subject: Re: MEC reloading chart
PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 1:50 pm 
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Well, it was my understanding that all this chart crap was designed to save us from having to do what I just did to come up with a fairly accurate load. I didn't expect it to be perfect due to the variances that you have mentioned, but I certainly expected it be more accurate than it was. If I have to go through this process every time I want to use a certain powder, then the chart is about as useful as tits on a boar hog.

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 Post subject: Re: MEC reloading chart
PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 2:26 pm 
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Once you get used to the charts, it is no big deal. You should check weigh your loads anyway.

You will find they are usually 1 or 2 bushings off what is on the chart. Even then don't expect exact weights.

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 Post subject: Re: MEC reloading chart
PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 2:34 pm 
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sirgknight wrote:
Well, it was my understanding that all this chart crap was designed to save us from having to do what I just did to come up with a fairly accurate load. I didn't expect it to be perfect due to the variances that you have mentioned, but I certainly expected it be more accurate than it was. If I have to go through this process every time I want to use a certain powder, then the chart is about as useful as tits on a boar hog.



Regardless of what the "charts" say, you should be weighing your powder drops to start every cycle as well as periodically throughout regardless of what powder you are using. So, yes, every different powder you plan on using you will have to do this. Some may change jug to jug with the same named powder as well.

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 Post subject: Re: MEC reloading chart
PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:28 pm 
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Try going to the MEC Reloaders web site. Click on "bushings and bars." Then select "bushings." Read what comes up. Pay particular attention to the part that says:

WARNING- The use of an accurate scale is strongly recommended....

This is no secret. This warning or similar appears in several locations on the Mec charts. Lyman's 5th repeats this over and over. It spelled out very clearly in the Alliant manual. When looking at the charts try reading ALL the "crap" on the chart not just the answer you are looking for.

I am not sure where you developed this "understanding that all this chart crap was designed to save us..." But, that sure is not my understanding.

A bushing of a certain size can and will drop charges that are all over the board depending on the type of press and who is operating it and how they are operating it (and a number of other factors.) This is just simply a fact. There is nothing you, I, or Mec can do about it.


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 Post subject: Re: MEC reloading chart
PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 5:09 pm 
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I know I'm way behind the learning curve when it comes to reloading for the shotgun. When I started reloading shotshells, there weren't any "bushings" or "charts" or fifty different hulls or powders to choose from either. reloading consisted of placing the bar, which had pre-sized holes for shot and powder (primarily Greendot), into the reloader and load away. I probably loaded three or four cases (and that's when a case was 20 boxes, not ten) every hunting season for years. I venture to say that I loaded 15 to 20 thousand rounds without ever having a single problem. The only scales that were used back then were used for metallic reloading, certainly not for shotgun shells. Don't worry, I'll try to stay on the road and not run through that curve...
At least now I know what I need to do....and part of that includes to disregard all of the measuring data that went into formulating the development of the bushing charts and do my own development. A bushing chart definitely isn't a "load data" chart, but merely a reference chart. It just seems to me that the "WARNING" should go farther. Recommendation is merely a suggestion and does not necessarily mean necessary or needed.

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 Post subject: Re: MEC reloading chart
PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 6:02 pm 
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sirgknight wrote:
At least now I know what I need to do....and part of that includes to disregard all of the measuring data that went into formulating the development of the bushing charts and do my own development. A bushing chart definitely isn't a "load data" chart, but merely a reference chart. It just seems to me that the "WARNING" should go farther. Recommendation is merely a suggestion and does not necessarily mean necessary or needed.

I don't know how much actual "measuring" goes into developing the charts.

Every powder has a specific volumetric density, let's say measured in grains per cc..

With nothing more than the powder VMD's, the bushing volume and an Excel spreadsheet you can have a chart as good as MEC's.


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 Post subject: Re: MEC reloading chart
PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 6:21 pm 
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Since I can change the amount of powder my bushing drops my over 1 grain just by bumping the loader a few times I bet they vibrate the crap out of it to get the maximum amount in there test to make sure that NOBODY ever gets a heavy drop and then sue’s them. In my experience add two sizes to what they say and then weigh it the way you load it by pulling each shell off the machine after powder drop to check and also bump it a few times to see how much things change, I think you will see a lot of variation.

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 Post subject: Re: MEC reloading chart
PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:09 pm 
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It seems all bushing charts are reference points of where to begin. I have read in this thread and a couple previous ones that many use the charts to indicate powder density. Does the denser the powder equate to the smaller the bushing for a given powder drop?


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 Post subject: Re: MEC reloading chart
PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:14 pm 
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Check the bushing throw in the same manner the bushing will be used.

A progressive machine drives the bar every single stroke, and the collet sizers are very smooth in operation, far far less jarring, shaking, and banging than a single stage power-ring sized press.

I cut my teeth on a MEC 310 and still use it for low-handling specialty 12-ga loads (buck, slugs, and the like).

The jarring banging from the power ring sizing and clearing, added to the 4 or 5 other handle strokes, packs the powder much more in the charge bar than you will see if you just throw the bar back and forth to "see what the bushing throws".

The same bushing (or UCB setting) used in a single stage like a 600, 700, sizemaster, etc, will always throw more powder than the same bushing will when used in a progressive (grabber/9000).


If you did not take this into account when doing your "chart comparison", you erred.

Also, ANY machined item, has a tolerance for error (plus and/or minus dimensions).
if you have 2 #30 bushings, you have very little good reason to expect them to spit out the exact same powder charge, since they dispense weight by using a fixed volume of a fairly constant density substance.

The powder is a constant density, packing alters how much gets shoved into that bushing tho.

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Last edited by OldStufferA5#1911 on Tue Sep 17, 2013 4:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: MEC reloading chart
PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:19 pm 
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Inertia Drive wrote:
It seems all bushing charts are reference points of where to begin. I have read in this thread and a couple previous ones that many use the charts to indicate powder density. Does the denser the powder equate to the smaller the bushing for a given powder drop?

Exactly, on all counts.

If you need, say, 20gr of powder, and load #1 uses Powder A, which weighs 10gr/1cc, (cubic centimeter) then you need a 2cc volume to dispense 20 gr of powder.

Load #2 uses Powder B, which weighs 15gr/1cc, then you need a 1.333cc volume to dispense 20gr.

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 Post subject: Re: MEC reloading chart
PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 8:43 pm 
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If you were checking powder charges with just one pull of the handle on a MEC 600 JR you will be throwing light. You have to simulate the actual process otherwise you won't compact the powder in the bushing like you do when actually reloading.




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