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 Post subject: Reloading Hevi-Shot
PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2003 11:15 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 11, 2000 3:51 pm
Posts: 5159
Location: Decatur, AL
The duck season is almost over here in CA and given the prices of the non-tox ammo, especially hevi-shot - I was wondering if anybody on the forum (if I have to guess, then Rick - that would be you ) handloads hevi-shot. Can you do it in a "regular, normal" press (say MEC single stage like Jr or Sizemaster) or it needs something special ? I see that wads and shot started to be available here and there (haven't seen anybody selling hulls), so I figure there should be people out there doing it...
What cost per round do you end up with that way?

...on the side note - if checked by a warden while having non-tox handloads in possession - how can (or should) I prove that the shells are non-tox indeed...

Hunting Forum Moderator
Re: Reloading hevi-shot
As to the warden ?, HS is a compound that includes iron, so is still magnetic...then they can also cut open a shell and there is no way anyone could mistake lead and HS. I am not sure if bismuth is magnetic or not.

Yes, you can reload in any single stage press, the reason for the single vs the progressive is the need to hand weigh the shot and powder charge....Steel powder is bulky and tends not to meter well as are the large size steel pellets, some have good luck with the steel powder bars or variable bars, yet with HS I still weight both. MEC is very popular as they can be found for reasonable money, parts and accs are easy to find, and they last. I use the jr.

As to hulls, most people either buy the Cheddite ones from someone such as Ballistic Products or gather them from a shooting range, I use Federal Gold Medal 2.75" once fired hulls that I get by the garbage bag full at a trap club. So, far from what I have seen with the low brass hulls, just use them once.

You can also save your other hulls from duck hunting and see if there is a recipe for them.

Now, as to cost.....hee hee, it doesn't really get any cheaper to reload non tox, unless you buy in bulk. Shipping on the shot can get serious, and there is a $17 hazmat fee added to powder. So, cut cost buy finding those local if you can. Some guys in TX get together a pallet of stuff so that it is trucked. The extra time involved plus the high cost of the components...especially HS it's not for the economic aspect that I reload. With steel you can get a box under $10 and have a superior shell than what is commercially available. I use a 2.75" 1oz #3 steel load moving around 1600fps that crushes ducks out past 40 yards, which is about as far as I want to shoot at them anyway. With three of us in the pit, we lost 5 ducks in 9 days of hunting, with almost 100 birds shot.

Although I shot 25 rounds of hs the first days of duck season,(opening day we had 15 birds in 15 minutes!!), for me the HS is for special occasions, such as canvasbacks and other divers on the river in a scull boat....the stuff will reach out there another 10-20 yards and still smack them or for bashing geese as they come over tall.

Steel loads can be finicky....some folks can't get #64, or #113 to work well in their gun/choke combo...this is why you have to load 5-6 shells and hit the patterning board and change to an extended choke tube.

Not trying to run you off but, several other sites have reloading forums that are well established, a couple of places that I learned alot of my steel info from are there is a reloading forum run by Ned, who has taken an apparent stance of not answering non-members questions, which if you use the search feature, you should find out more than you can read in one sitting.... there is a rumour that I am also a moderator over there ,, they also have a reloading forum, but this has become a pay to post site, you can still read the info as a guest you just can't post, and, Beretta 686 is a friend and mentor to me when it comes to reloading. Those are all 3 waterfowl related sites, so if you haven't been to got a lot of catching up to do

On either of those forums you can find references to where to buy the items, details on how to adjust the reloader, why you need a good scale, why you have to slit the wads all the way, suggested recipes, please search the past posts there before popping on and asking the same question every other newguy has....even me . I cut and paste into a notepad page and save the stuff that I find useful.

There is a fine line between a hobby and insanity.

Reply cost anyways?
Thanks Rick.
Since you've done calculations, so - how much does it cost you per shell handloaded hs anyways? My local shop is charging $25+7.5% tax for a box of 10 3'' #4.
I bet you should be able to get much better then that with reloading...
(I know that the shells can be bought over the internet and will be a bit cheape though...)

Hunting Forum Moderator
Re: cost anyways?
Thems the calculations I dont like to look over, the shells can run from a $1 to $1.50 each....depends on the amount of powder and HS used and what quantity you purchase in....again that is not counting time, as many of the HS recipes require 1-3 felt spacers, further splitting of the wads, and hand weighing.

Compare that 10#'s of HS runs almost $100 and that a 1oz load, at 16oz to the #, there is only 160 shells per 10# container. There is 63 cents out the barrel all ready. Versus steel shot that runs about $1-$1.50 per pound and a meer 6 cents per shot.

Hulls were free, wads run about $8/100, about .08, powder 37gr of Steel, about $16 per pound, 7000gr/# about 189 shells, about .085, felt spacers are $8/250 about .03 per so as much as an extra .09 per shell, primers are about $20/1000, so there is another 2cents. Mylar is an optional cost as is motor mica.

.63+.08+.09+.09+.02 that should be .91 with buying enough stuff to load 5 boxes of shells and having about 10 to check on the pattern board and chrony.
Sub .06+.28 and you have .35 per shell for 1oz steel loads,
actually less cause I only use one felt, so .29 per steel shell.

You need to figure shipping or tax in there but they vary from where and how much you buy.

If you are serious about getting into this, get the BPI Handloading Steel Shotshells, 11th ed, and then BPI Handloading Hevishot, 2nd ed. They cover many aspects of reloading this stuff.

Be forewarned, that a mistake like overcharging a shell with either powder or shot can be very dangerous, the pressures build fast and none of the non tox shot has the give of lead.
There is a fine line between a hobby and insanity.

Reply thanks
Thanks again Rick.
Appreciate it.


not registered
Reply 1600 fps
What is your load for #3 steel @ 1600 fps?

Shotgun Expert
Posts: 113
(1/31/03 9:18:20 pm)
Re: 1600 fps
I don't publish nor recommend loads as this is an open forum and I don't know yours or anyone else's level of experience. However, in the BPI recipe book there are several recipes that will hit and exceed that speed.

With the recipe book and the previously posted info, the correct recipe should stand out.
There is a fine line between hobby and insanity.

Unregistered User
(2/1/03 2:08:46 am)
Reply progressive press for non-tox ?
Is it possible (and how easy it is) to use MEC 9000G as a non-progressive reloader?
This is what I mean...
I imagine that if both the shot and the powder should be hand weighted, then it might be possible to remove the shot and powder bottles and do the measuring by hand, while still able to use the other stations (for resizing, depriming, priming, inserting the wad, and crimping)

Is that possible or I am missing something?

Shotgun Expert
Posts: 117
(2/1/03 6:37:06 am)
Reply yep
You are correct, by removing the powder and shot you should be able to use the loader.

Some people are able to use the steel kits or the adjustable charge bar with reloading steel. The jr that I have been using doesn't throw the steel pellets consistently with the adjustable bar for me.

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