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 Post subject: New Reloaders - make it easy on yourself
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 7:49 am 
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I see a lot of folks get into reloading and take a more difficult route than they need to.

I like the K.I.S.S. approach and even though I have been reloading since 1974, I still follow my own advice. Especially when it comes to target loads.

From my POV, while there is nothing wrong with experimenting or using different hulls, wads and powders, that usually leads to wad column (stack height) issues which forces the person reloading to make adjustments. While I am all for adjusting machines, I also think putting that off at least until you get the first 1,000 good solid rounds under your belt, ain't a bad idea.

What I am going to propose will set some folks off because they just know they have the world's best reloads. Maybe, maybe not.

FIRST THINGS FIRST.

DO NOT BUY ANY COMPONENTS UNTIL YOU KNOW WHAT COMPONENTS YOU NEED.

BUY THE LYMAN 5th EDITION SHOTSHELL MANUAL. THE HOW TO SECTION IS INVALUABLE TO A NEW RELOADER.

USE DATA FROM THE POWDER MANUFACTURERS or THE LYMAN MANUAL. ( I know there is crap posted here about bad data, but no one has ever proven that much of it is incorrect. More speculation than positive truth. STAY AWAY FROM BPI DATA, MOSTLY BECAUSE THEIR WAD COLUMN HEIGHTS AREN'T ALWAYS CORRECT and THEY HAVE YOU BUYING STUFF YOU DON"T NEED.)

Reloading target loads goes like this....Deprime/Resize, Reprime, drop powder, insert wad and seat wad on top of powder, drop shot, precrimp, final crimp,(taper crimp on some progressive machines). If you are doing any more than that something is wrong!! No cards, no Cheerios, no beans, no Motor Mica, NO ANYTHING ELSE. Reloading is simple do not make it difficult.

1) Decide what you are looking for in a load. That means payload and velocity. To keep things simple 12 gauge 1 oz. or 1 1/8 oz., 20 gauge 7/8 oz., 28 gauge 3/4 oz., .410 1/2 oz. (I KNOW I KNOW, recoil/my favorite/blah blah). Try keeping with the loads that are typical target loads from the manufacturers. You can mess around once you understand what is going on and standard target loads have broken many untold millions, if not billions or trillions of targets.

2) Velocity -. with lead shot, it doesn't take 1,500 FPS to break a target. 1,150 FPS to 1,250 FPS is all you need. Again if you want more or less, that is down the road. You might want a bit more from the .410.

3) Find a good reloadable hull.... Remington Gun Club/STS/Nitro or Winchester AA or Federal Gold Medal or Grand. I think 12 gauge in all 3 hulls are good. Remington has solid 12 & 20 gauge hulls. I think that Winchester gets the nod for 28 & .410. There are many other hulls but then you start playing with all kinds of wads and adjustments.

4) Primers, do yourself a favor and buy Winchester 209's or Federal 209A's. Again there are all kinds of primers, but those two primers will do everything you will ever need for target loads, in the hulls mentioned.

5) Powders, holy crap batman are there a lot of powders. 12 gauge - Red Dot, e3, Clays, Clay Dot, 700-X. 20 gauge - Unique, 20/28, Universal. 28 gauge 20/28, Unique, Universal .410 - 410, 110/296, Lil' Gun

There are plenty of other powders and some really good ones that I did not mention, the issue will be density which will affect wad column height, wad selection and adjustments.

6) Wads, I specifically recommend that you stick with the hull brand for wad selection. Either the OEM wad which can be expensive or the exact clone of that OEM wad. I continue to use both OEM and clone wads. Claybuster probably has more exact clone wads than any other aftermarket wad maker. Claybuster also has some very good prices.....yes there are plenty of other wads to use, but for the new reloader you aren't going to know what works and what doesn't. That will lead you to adjustments. Wads are pretty much wads, do not get wrapped around the axel over wads.

7) Shot - #9's for skeet, #8's or #7 1/2's for Sporting. Eagle shot is decent stuff. Lawrence or West Coast is generally better as far as hardness goes. For the first 1000, Eagle will be just fine and it is cheaper. I would never buy anything but magnum shot but, that is another discussion for another thread.

Once you get comfortable with the reloading process, by all means experiment with different components and adjustments. Adjustments can always be reversed.

I have done the whole gambit and when I really need to have good solid reloads I end up back with the above. My 12 gauge reloads come right off the Hodgdon website. Federal hulls, primers and wad/clone wads or Winchester hulls, primers and wad/clone wads. I do use Remington hulls now and then but I don't get enough of them to use regularly, but I believe them to be the most reloadable hull at the present time.

I shoot year round in all types of weather and temperatures. I haven't had a bad load in well over 20+ years, which was caused by my own stupidity.

Which leads me to......reloads should not be any less reliable than factory ammunition. If you are getting off sounding or misfires or you need to carry a device to remove stuck wads from the bore, you are doing something wrong.

For the first 1000 reloads I would not be in a hurry to buy bulk anything unless you are really positive of what you want.

Happy reloading and K.I.S.S........why because it will be Happy Reloading.



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 Post subject: Re: New Reloaders - make it easy on yourself
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:02 am 
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I failed to mention.

I do not currently reload the .410. However from past experience, the .410 will be the most tempermental of the bunch, because you need exact wad column heights. The .410 wads, unlike the other gauges do not collapse.

I would pick another gauge to start reloading, before taking on the .410.

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 Post subject: Re: New Reloaders - make it easy on yourself
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:36 am 
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Then there are reloading presses.

People start by using anything from Lee Loaders to Spolars, and everything else, including something they found at a garage sale, that should be in the reloader museum.

MEC is the standard for reloaders, and make them to load one shell at a time, or make a production out of it, as they work their way around the carousel.

I suggest buying a MEC 600Jr for the gauge you shoot the most. You will learn the process, and how each station works in reloading the shell. The best way is to find a mentor, or at least watch a bunch of Youtube videos. Try adjusting the reloader, until you understand what each station does. You will ruin some shells. Don't sweat it. That is part of the learning process.

If it is something you start to enjoy, and you shoot a lot, then think about getting a progressive reloader, and you will start to crank out the shells. Pride of workmanship.

You will not save a lot of money reloading 12 or 20 gauge, but I reload shells that I cannot buy at the price I reload them for. (7/8 oz bunker loads in 12 gauge, and 3/4 oz loads in 20 gauge) I save money on 16 gauge, 28 gauge and 410. I also just enjoy reloading as a hobby.

I agree about standardizing your components. I use only Remington hulls in 12 and 20. and Winchester AA hulls in 28 and 410. I use only Winchester primers and Claybuster wads. I only use 1 or 2 different powders per gauge, depending on the result I am looking for.

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 Post subject: Re: New Reloaders - make it easy on yourself
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:59 pm 
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Find a reloading mentor that is willing to help you get started, share load data with you, and help you make adjustments to your press.

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 Post subject: Re: New Reloaders - make it easy on yourself
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 11:04 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2018 9:59 pm
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I got nuthin on what Mark posted.

as a new guy goes along he is going to start finding 'deals' on stuff and then trying to figure out how to use it.
there is nothing wrong with saying no to a deal or in just putting the stuff away until you do figure out exactly what you bought.

there are some old wads kicking around out there that were made for shells that ain't made today, or hulls that just don't have any wads that really work in them well, unless your using like 25-30grs of powder.
a bit too much for breaking a piece of asphalt and dirt.


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 Post subject: Re: New Reloaders - make it easy on yourself
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 11:21 pm 
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Every dogchaser word.

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 Post subject: Re: New Reloaders - make it easy on yourself
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:23 am 
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Nice post, Dogcatcher! And some very good advice, too!

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 Post subject: Re: New Reloaders - make it easy on yourself
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 11:57 am 
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Good post. I used a published load that I could get supplies for, tried it, liked it and stuck with it. I can spend the time shooting not messing with what to reload next.

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 Post subject: Re: New Reloaders - make it easy on yourself
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:30 pm 
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I can only comment on one thing about the OP. I would say first get the Lyman manual. Find a load in the manual before you buy components. Much easier that way...

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 Post subject: Re: New Reloaders - make it easy on yourself
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 9:32 am 
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I'm new to reloading and I appreciate the time you guys took to write these posts. Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: New Reloaders - make it easy on yourself
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:36 pm 
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I wouldn't only rely on the Lyman manual for loads - the powder manufacturers/sellers (Alliant and Hodgdon) publish many, many good, safe load recipes with a variety of components for the powders they produce/sell.

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 Post subject: Re: New Reloaders - make it easy on yourself
PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:02 am 
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Great advice from the OP. I got similar advice from a friend when I started reloading about 3 years ago. I kept it simple and chose my components based on Lyman's book and Hodgdon recipes. I only loaded 1 oz. target loads and only used Winchester AA hulls. My original plan and recipes involved using Clays powder but at the time I could only find Titewad without shipping it in. I used TW for the first couple of years and it was OK. Then I switched to Clays and the performance feels about the same but the Clays burns cleaner and it is less messy around the reloading table. TW seems to cling to everything and leak out of the charge bar. Also lots of unburned powder residue left in the barrels. No problems like that with Clays.

After about 7000 rounds I did some changes, with caution and advice from more experienced reloaders. I found a source nearby for Fiocchi 616 primers and I substituted them for the expensive and hard to find (in my area) Winchester 209's. No perceptible difference in performance that I can tell. I am gradually switching to Remington STS, Nitro and GC hulls and I now load a lot of 7/8 oz. as well as the 1 oz.. I use a Mec Sizemaster and it doesn't need adjustment switching between these different hulls, including the Winchesters. I've found that I can use the same recipe (see Hodgdon's book) with all of these hulls and get between 1200 and 1250 fps with very acceptable pressures. I only load #8 Lawrence Magnum shot. So even though I've grown in the hobby, I've kept it simple like the OP points out. With one recipe I can make good 7/8 oz. and 1 oz. target loads very economically with 4 different hull brands and one reloader.

Winchester AA, Remington STS, Nitro and GC hulls
Fiocchi 616 primer
CB 1100 - 12 and CB 0178 - 12 wads
18.1 Grains Hodgdon Clays powder
#8 Lawrence Magnum shot

1200 to 1250 fps

By the way, my arm is getting pretty tired. If my wife and I keep shooting at the rate we are now, I think I'll have to move to a progressive loader.


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 Post subject: Re: New Reloaders - make it easy on yourself
PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:20 am 
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I don’t have the experience reloading shotgun that many of you have, but I started with a MEC Jr press in 1982. After many tens of thousands of reloads, in all gauges, I can only agree with everything said by Dogchaser and oregunner. If you are starting in reloading, follow their advice and all will go well. Deviate from their advice at your own peril.

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 Post subject: Re: New Reloaders - make it easy on yourself
PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:56 am 
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Yep. All good words. I still have wads I bought upon starting because I got excited and bought crap I didnt need. Steel hunting wads but same idea.


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 Post subject: Re: New Reloaders - make it easy on yourself
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:40 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2008 11:12 am
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When I started reloading I wanted reloading to be secondary to shooting. I really prefer to spend more time shooting than micromanaging and experimenting with my reloading. If my reloaded shell is a published load and breaks targets I am a happy person. And for years that shell is 17.5 grains of 700X, CB1100 wad, Rem hull, Win 209 and 1 oz of Lawrence Magnum shot. All put together on a MEC 9000GN and checked with my Ohaus 1010 beam scale. That's my story and I stick with it.


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 Post subject: Re: New Reloaders - make it easy on yourself
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:56 am 
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Even if you have standardized your load, don't get complacent. I'll tell a story on myself. I was reloading 20 gauge shells on my MEC 9000, and had done a 5 gallon bucket full. I went to shoot some, and they were really weak. I went back to look at what the reloader was doing, and the charge bar was gummed up, and not traveling all the way across, thus dropping a light powder charge. I get in the habit of watching the primer drop, as that is the most common area that goes awry. You need to watch all the different operations periodically, as things get sticky and don't always work as planned. Check the charge bar, the collet, etc.

The other thing I have to remember to do when changing to different shot weights, and wads, is to adjust the drop tube that seats the wad. If you are loading one ounce, and switch to 7/8 ounce and the correct wad, the wad cup is higher, and needs less depth on the tube. Adjust so it just bumps the wad pressure gauge.

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 Post subject: Re: New Reloaders - make it easy on yourself
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:08 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 27, 2019 12:26 pm
Posts: 18
dogchaser37 wrote:
I see a lot of folks get into reloading and take a more difficult route than they need to.

I like the K.I.S.S. approach and even though I have been reloading since 1974, I still follow my own advice. Especially when it comes to target loads.

From my POV, while there is nothing wrong with experimenting or using different hulls, wads and powders, that usually leads to wad column (stack height) issues which forces the person reloading to make adjustments. While I am all for adjusting machines, I also think putting that off at least until you get the first 1,000 good solid rounds under your belt, ain't a bad idea.

What I am going to propose will set some folks off because they just know they have the world's best reloads. Maybe, maybe not.

FIRST THINGS FIRST.

DO NOT BUY ANY COMPONENTS UNTIL YOU KNOW WHAT COMPONENTS YOU NEED.

BUY THE LYMAN 5th EDITION SHOTSHELL MANUAL. THE HOW TO SECTION IS INVALUABLE TO A NEW RELOADER.

USE DATA FROM THE POWDER MANUFACTURERS or THE LYMAN MANUAL. ( I know there is crap posted here about bad data, but no one has ever proven that much of it is incorrect. More speculation than positive truth. STAY AWAY FROM BPI DATA, MOSTLY BECAUSE THEIR WAD COLUMN HEIGHTS AREN'T ALWAYS CORRECT and THEY HAVE YOU BUYING STUFF YOU DON"T NEED.)

Reloading target loads goes like this....Deprime/Resize, Reprime, drop powder, insert wad and seat wad on top of powder, drop shot, precrimp, final crimp,(taper crimp on some progressive machines). If you are doing any more than that something is wrong!! No cards, no Cheerios, no beans, no Motor Mica, NO ANYTHING ELSE. Reloading is simple do not make it difficult.

1) Decide what you are looking for in a load. That means payload and velocity. To keep things simple 12 gauge 1 oz. or 1 1/8 oz., 20 gauge 7/8 oz., 28 gauge 3/4 oz., .410 1/2 oz. (I KNOW I KNOW, recoil/my favorite/blah blah). Try keeping with the loads that are typical target loads from the manufacturers. You can mess around once you understand what is going on and standard target loads have broken many untold millions, if not billions or trillions of targets.

2) Velocity -. with lead shot, it doesn't take 1,500 FPS to break a target. 1,150 FPS to 1,250 FPS is all you need. Again if you want more or less, that is down the road. You might want a bit more from the .410.

3) Find a good reloadable hull.... Remington Gun Club/STS/Nitro or Winchester AA or Federal Gold Medal or Grand. I think 12 gauge in all 3 hulls are good. Remington has solid 12 & 20 gauge hulls. I think that Winchester gets the nod for 28 & .410. There are many other hulls but then you start playing with all kinds of wads and adjustments.

4) Primers, do yourself a favor and buy Winchester 209's or Federal 209A's. Again there are all kinds of primers, but those two primers will do everything you will ever need for target loads, in the hulls mentioned.

5) Powders, holy crap batman are there a lot of powders. 12 gauge - Red Dot, e3, Clays, Clay Dot, 700-X. 20 gauge - Unique, 20/28, Universal. 28 gauge 20/28, Unique, Universal .410 - 410, 110/296, Lil' Gun

There are plenty of other powders and some really good ones that I did not mention, the issue will be density which will affect wad column height, wad selection and adjustments.

6) Wads, I specifically recommend that you stick with the hull brand for wad selection. Either the OEM wad which can be expensive or the exact clone of that OEM wad. I continue to use both OEM and clone wads. Claybuster probably has more exact clone wads than any other aftermarket wad maker. Claybuster also has some very good prices.....yes there are plenty of other wads to use, but for the new reloader you aren't going to know what works and what doesn't. That will lead you to adjustments. Wads are pretty much wads, do not get wrapped around the axel over wads.

7) Shot - #9's for skeet, #8's or #7 1/2's for Sporting. Eagle shot is decent stuff. Lawrence or West Coast is generally better as far as hardness goes. For the first 1000, Eagle will be just fine and it is cheaper. I would never buy anything but magnum shot but, that is another discussion for another thread.

Once you get comfortable with the reloading process, by all means experiment with different components and adjustments. Adjustments can always be reversed.

I have done the whole gambit and when I really need to have good solid reloads I end up back with the above. My 12 gauge reloads come right off the Hodgdon website. Federal hulls, primers and wad/clone wads or Winchester hulls, primers and wad/clone wads. I do use Remington hulls now and then but I don't get enough of them to use regularly, but I believe them to be the most reloadable hull at the present time.

I shoot year round in all types of weather and temperatures. I haven't had a bad load in well over 20+ years, which was caused by my own stupidity.

Which leads me to......reloads should not be any less reliable than factory ammunition. If you are getting off sounding or misfires or you need to carry a device to remove stuck wads from the bore, you are doing something wrong.

For the first 1000 reloads I would not be in a hurry to buy bulk anything unless you are really positive of what you want.

Happy reloading and K.I.S.S........why because it will be Happy Reloading.


A lot of great info here. I've been reloading rifle and pistol for a few years now and I've found a lot of the same sentiments (K.I.S.S.) do apply. I overbought in the beginning, thinking I needed every powder and bullet and primer. Now that I've found what I like and what works, I just stick to that. This leads me to my question...

I'm new to shotshell reloading, but I've read and heard enough to know MEC appears to be the gold standard for presses. Do you have a specific model you recommend for a new reloader only wanting to reload target shells? At this point, it would only be 12ga.


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 Post subject: Re: New Reloaders - make it easy on yourself
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 1:12 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:01 am
Posts: 6069
Location: Newton Kansas
Matlocked wrote:
dogchaser37 wrote:
I see a lot of folks get into reloading and take a more difficult route than they need to.

I like the K.I.S.S. approach and even though I have been reloading since 1974, I still follow my own advice. Especially when it comes to target loads.

From my POV, while there is nothing wrong with experimenting or using different hulls, wads and powders, that usually leads to wad column (stack height) issues which forces the person reloading to make adjustments. While I am all for adjusting machines, I also think putting that off at least until you get the first 1,000 good solid rounds under your belt, ain't a bad idea.

What I am going to propose will set some folks off because they just know they have the world's best reloads. Maybe, maybe not.

FIRST THINGS FIRST.

DO NOT BUY ANY COMPONENTS UNTIL YOU KNOW WHAT COMPONENTS YOU NEED.

BUY THE LYMAN 5th EDITION SHOTSHELL MANUAL. THE HOW TO SECTION IS INVALUABLE TO A NEW RELOADER.

USE DATA FROM THE POWDER MANUFACTURERS or THE LYMAN MANUAL. ( I know there is crap posted here about bad data, but no one has ever proven that much of it is incorrect. More speculation than positive truth. STAY AWAY FROM BPI DATA, MOSTLY BECAUSE THEIR WAD COLUMN HEIGHTS AREN'T ALWAYS CORRECT and THEY HAVE YOU BUYING STUFF YOU DON"T NEED.)

Reloading target loads goes like this....Deprime/Resize, Reprime, drop powder, insert wad and seat wad on top of powder, drop shot, precrimp, final crimp,(taper crimp on some progressive machines). If you are doing any more than that something is wrong!! No cards, no Cheerios, no beans, no Motor Mica, NO ANYTHING ELSE. Reloading is simple do not make it difficult.

1) Decide what you are looking for in a load. That means payload and velocity. To keep things simple 12 gauge 1 oz. or 1 1/8 oz., 20 gauge 7/8 oz., 28 gauge 3/4 oz., .410 1/2 oz. (I KNOW I KNOW, recoil/my favorite/blah blah). Try keeping with the loads that are typical target loads from the manufacturers. You can mess around once you understand what is going on and standard target loads have broken many untold millions, if not billions or trillions of targets.

2) Velocity -. with lead shot, it doesn't take 1,500 FPS to break a target. 1,150 FPS to 1,250 FPS is all you need. Again if you want more or less, that is down the road. You might want a bit more from the .410.

3) Find a good reloadable hull.... Remington Gun Club/STS/Nitro or Winchester AA or Federal Gold Medal or Grand. I think 12 gauge in all 3 hulls are good. Remington has solid 12 & 20 gauge hulls. I think that Winchester gets the nod for 28 & .410. There are many other hulls but then you start playing with all kinds of wads and adjustments.

4) Primers, do yourself a favor and buy Winchester 209's or Federal 209A's. Again there are all kinds of primers, but those two primers will do everything you will ever need for target loads, in the hulls mentioned.

5) Powders, holy crap batman are there a lot of powders. 12 gauge - Red Dot, e3, Clays, Clay Dot, 700-X. 20 gauge - Unique, 20/28, Universal. 28 gauge 20/28, Unique, Universal .410 - 410, 110/296, Lil' Gun

There are plenty of other powders and some really good ones that I did not mention, the issue will be density which will affect wad column height, wad selection and adjustments.

6) Wads, I specifically recommend that you stick with the hull brand for wad selection. Either the OEM wad which can be expensive or the exact clone of that OEM wad. I continue to use both OEM and clone wads. Claybuster probably has more exact clone wads than any other aftermarket wad maker. Claybuster also has some very good prices.....yes there are plenty of other wads to use, but for the new reloader you aren't going to know what works and what doesn't. That will lead you to adjustments. Wads are pretty much wads, do not get wrapped around the axel over wads.

7) Shot - #9's for skeet, #8's or #7 1/2's for Sporting. Eagle shot is decent stuff. Lawrence or West Coast is generally better as far as hardness goes. For the first 1000, Eagle will be just fine and it is cheaper. I would never buy anything but magnum shot but, that is another discussion for another thread.

Once you get comfortable with the reloading process, by all means experiment with different components and adjustments. Adjustments can always be reversed.

I have done the whole gambit and when I really need to have good solid reloads I end up back with the above. My 12 gauge reloads come right off the Hodgdon website. Federal hulls, primers and wad/clone wads or Winchester hulls, primers and wad/clone wads. I do use Remington hulls now and then but I don't get enough of them to use regularly, but I believe them to be the most reloadable hull at the present time.

I shoot year round in all types of weather and temperatures. I haven't had a bad load in well over 20+ years, which was caused by my own stupidity.

Which leads me to......reloads should not be any less reliable than factory ammunition. If you are getting off sounding or misfires or you need to carry a device to remove stuck wads from the bore, you are doing something wrong.

For the first 1000 reloads I would not be in a hurry to buy bulk anything unless you are really positive of what you want.

Happy reloading and K.I.S.S........why because it will be Happy Reloading.


A lot of great info here. I've been reloading rifle and pistol for a few years now and I've found a lot of the same sentiments (K.I.S.S.) do apply. I overbought in the beginning, thinking I needed every powder and bullet and primer. Now that I've found what I like and what works, I just stick to that. This leads me to my question...

I'm new to shotshell reloading, but I've read and heard enough to know MEC appears to be the gold standard for presses. Do you have a specific model you recommend for a new reloader only wanting to reload target shells? At this point, it would only be 12ga.

Well,,, MEC would certainly be the 9,000 pound gorilla.

A lot of people around here might tell you the "gold standard" for PRESSES is a Spolar, but don't try to put any larger-than-common-target-size shot into it, it'll choke.

A lot of people like the "easy gauge change" of the P-W presses, MEC's aren't "hard" to change, but the readjustment of everything makes it a major PITA (and as inexpensive as MEC's are, gauge changes more than once are just foolish).
I've done one MEC gauge conversion.


Which press you "need" depends on how much ammo you are going to shoot (side-bar that as "how fast you need to make ammo").
The single-stage presses (600jr, sizemaster, the older 700 (a modified 600Jr)) all comfortably make between 3 and 4 boxes per hour.
The progressives (the manual indexing Grabber, the older hydraulic Hustler (hydraulic-powered Grabber) the self-indexing 9000 series) can easily knock out 4x that production rate.
I cut my teeth thrashing out 100-rnds an hour on a predecessor to the 600Jr series, and STILL use that same press for lower-volume "custom" shells, buckshot, slugs, my buffered short magnum.
The more often shot 12-gauge ammo moved to a Grabber 76 about 12 yrs ago. Hunting ammo as well as target loads. Pellet sizes 5 through 9, powder loads from 18gr of Red Dot through 40gr of Blue Dot

The 10-gauge Goose Cannon is fed BB Steel by a 700 Versamec as is great grandad's (dad's side) 16-gauge 2 9/16" 1900-vintage Winchester 1897 (NOT fed BB Steel, second Versamec).

Grandpa's (mom's side) 20-gauge Sportman 56 is fed by a Sizemaster, so far, target-grade ammo only.

98% of what I shoot is 12-gauge, the rest do not merit a "higher-end" press to load that many more. An hour spent loading 10, 16, or 20 gauge, is a year's shooting each.
An hour on the Grabber, has been shot in one day before, a weekend easy.

The only "advantage" to the Sizemaster over the 600Jr, is the smoother resizing of the collet sizer on the Sizemaster. It does not size "better" than the power ring sizer of the 600Jr series, it simply sizes "differently", AND it is adjustable.
The Collet requires cleaning and lubricating occasionally (especially following a shot spill), followed by reassembly and resetting adjustment.
The collet, if adjusted too tightly, will wear excessively, and can break the fingers requiring collet replacing ($50), reassembly, and better adjustment.
The Power Ring sizer requires nothing, at all, and does not wear appreciably.


The Lee Load-All series is an extremely basic, functional (but that is about all), shotshell loader. ESPECIALLY for 12-gauge, there are so many used MEC's across Flea-Bay, Craigslist, and elsewhere, even if minor parts are missing (easily replaceable) that Friend's Don't Let Friends Go Load-All.
Even the oldest, still steel-died (Pre-1985) 600Jr (or my 310) is a far better working press than a brand new Load-All, and is NOT terribly expensive.
I've seen 12-gauge 600's in need of bottles up for $20 sometimes. USUALLY anything under $50 will need $10-$40 in parts or so, but not a big deal, and they'll outlive your grandkids as a useful tool.

_________________
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: New Reloaders - make it easy on yourself
PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2019 7:54 pm 
Crown Grade
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Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 10:06 pm
Posts: 2198
Location: Richmond, Virginia
dogchaser37 wrote:
I see a lot of folks get into reloading and take a more difficult route than they need to.

I like the K.I.S.S. approach and even though I have been reloading since 1974, I still follow my own advice. Especially when it comes to target loads.

From my POV, while there is nothing wrong with experimenting or using different hulls, wads and powders, that usually leads to wad column (stack height) issues which forces the person reloading to make adjustments. While I am all for adjusting machines, I also think putting that off at least until you get the first 1,000 good solid rounds under your belt, ain't a bad idea.

What I am going to propose will set some folks off because they just know they have the world's best reloads. Maybe, maybe not.


FIRST THINGS FIRST.

DO NOT BUY ANY COMPONENTS UNTIL YOU KNOW WHAT COMPONENTS YOU NEED.

BUY THE LYMAN 5th EDITION SHOTSHELL MANUAL. THE HOW TO SECTION IS INVALUABLE TO A NEW RELOADER.

USE DATA FROM THE POWDER MANUFACTURERS or THE LYMAN MANUAL. ( I know there is crap posted here about bad data, but no one has ever proven that much of it is incorrect. More speculation than positive truth. STAY AWAY FROM BPI DATA, MOSTLY BECAUSE THEIR WAD COLUMN HEIGHTS AREN'T ALWAYS CORRECT and THEY HAVE YOU BUYING STUFF YOU DON"T NEED.)

Reloading target loads goes like this....Deprime/Resize, Reprime, drop powder, insert wad and seat wad on top of powder, drop shot, precrimp, final crimp,(taper crimp on some progressive machines). If you are doing any more than that something is wrong!! No cards, no Cheerios, no beans, no Motor Mica, NO ANYTHING ELSE. Reloading is simple do not make it difficult.

1) Decide what you are looking for in a load. That means payload and velocity. To keep things simple 12 gauge 1 oz. or 1 1/8 oz., 20 gauge 7/8 oz., 28 gauge 3/4 oz., .410 1/2 oz. (I KNOW I KNOW, recoil/my favorite/blah blah). Try keeping with the loads that are typical target loads from the manufacturers. You can mess around once you understand what is going on and standard target loads have broken many untold millions, if not billions or trillions of targets.

2) Velocity -. with lead shot, it doesn't take 1,500 FPS to break a target. 1,150 FPS to 1,250 FPS is all you need. Again if you want more or less, that is down the road. You might want a bit more from the .410.

3) Find a good reloadable hull.... Remington Gun Club/STS/Nitro or Winchester AA or Federal Gold Medal or Grand. I think 12 gauge in all 3 hulls are good. Remington has solid 12 & 20 gauge hulls. I think that Winchester gets the nod for 28 & .410. There are many other hulls but then you start playing with all kinds of wads and adjustments.

4) Primers, do yourself a favor and buy Winchester 209's or Federal 209A's. Again there are all kinds of primers, but those two primers will do everything you will ever need for target loads, in the hulls mentioned.

5) Powders, holy crap batman are there a lot of powders. 12 gauge - Red Dot, e3, Clays, Clay Dot, 700-X. 20 gauge - Unique, 20/28, Universal. 28 gauge 20/28, Unique, Universal .410 - 410, 110/296, Lil' Gun

There are plenty of other powders and some really good ones that I did not mention, the issue will be density which will affect wad column height, wad selection and adjustments.

6) Wads, I specifically recommend that you stick with the hull brand for wad selection. Either the OEM wad which can be expensive or the exact clone of that OEM wad. I continue to use both OEM and clone wads. Claybuster probably has more exact clone wads than any other aftermarket wad maker. Claybuster also has some very good prices.....yes there are plenty of other wads to use, but for the new reloader you aren't going to know what works and what doesn't. That will lead you to adjustments. Wads are pretty much wads, do not get wrapped around the axel over wads.

7) Shot - #9's for skeet, #8's or #7 1/2's for Sporting. Eagle shot is decent stuff. Lawrence or West Coast is generally better as far as hardness goes. For the first 1000, Eagle will be just fine and it is cheaper. I would never buy anything but magnum shot but, that is another discussion for another thread.

Once you get comfortable with the reloading process, by all means experiment with different components and adjustments. Adjustments can always be reversed.

I have done the whole gambit and when I really need to have good solid reloads I end up back with the above. My 12 gauge reloads come right off the Hodgdon website. Federal hulls, primers and wad/clone wads or Winchester hulls, primers and wad/clone wads. I do use Remington hulls now and then but I don't get enough of them to use regularly, but I believe them to be the most reloadable hull at the present time.

I shoot year round in all types of weather and temperatures. I haven't had a bad load in well over 20+ years, which was caused by my own stupidity.

Which leads me to......reloads should not be any less reliable than factory ammunition. If you are getting off sounding or misfires or you need to carry a device to remove stuck wads from the bore, you are doing something wrong.

For the first 1000 reloads I would not be in a hurry to buy bulk anything unless you are really positive of what you want.

Happy reloading and K.I.S.S........why because it will be Happy Reloading.


Excellent post!

_________________
I have spent a lot of money on training and campaigning Labrador Retrievers for hunting and field competition, then some on important things like waterfowl hunting, booze, and the ladies.
The rest I just pissed away!

K80 Pro Sporter
Clay Delay Rep


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 Post subject: Re: New Reloaders - make it easy on yourself
PostPosted: Thu Sep 26, 2019 4:51 pm 
Field Grade

Joined: Thu Sep 26, 2019 4:15 pm
Posts: 31
Location: West MN near Battle Lake
I'm not a new reloader. I was reloading shot shells in the 70's with a Texan press. I haven't reloaded shot shells in decades! Just now starting to get back into shot shell reloading. Unlike most of you guys I'm not looking at target loads. I'm looking at both 20 nd 12 gauge, 2 3/4 waterfowl. I gotta convert a new 600 JR 20 gauge press and a used 650 in 12 to steel shot. When I bought the 650 it came with a model SS77 supersizer.

One thing I will add. DO NOT MAKE HOT LOADS! Firearms are designed to operate a certain chamber pressures. It's dangerous to exceed those pressures. An yes, I have been reloading rifle and pistol ammo for some time. Getting back into shot shell so far has been interesting.

Rick




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