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A couple of friends and myself are considering learning to reload our own 12 ga shells. We would like to be able to load steel loads for duck hunting, and lead loads for squirrel and rabbit hunting. What would our cost be to get all of the equipment needed to start?
 

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I would go to one of the catalog stores on line and price out:
a mec 600 jr., an automatic primer feeder for it, A good quality scale, an assortment of at least 3 Powder bushings for lead shot and 2 for steel shot, a steel shot conversion kit, and either hogdons annual manual or lymans shotshell manual. If you are using an auto-loading shotgun, upgrade the press to the one that has a collet type resizer and a crimp tapering station. You will have to choose the quantity on shot you want when you choose the charge bars. The adjustable charge bars seem to need constant adjusting so try to avoid them. Mec's box packing device is a real time and frustration saver. Then comes the fun of choosing components. Shot, powder,wads,primers, and cases. choose those after you read the books. My guess is you will spend close to $500.00 before you shot your first shell. Its a great way to spend a rainey day though so have fun.
 

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for steel reloading 12ga you will find that a powder measure is the best way to measure the steel powder, you set wads over the powder by hand, and use the small primer plates to count your pellets. the press you use the deprimer/sizer, primer seater and pre crimp and crimper. any old used 600jr will work. steel shot can be had for $99 for 50lbs, wads are about $0.10 each, you get 175rounds per lb of powder or more. for a rough break down primer 3cents, wad 10cents, powder 10cents, steel shot 16cents, misc filler wads 3 cents or approx $0.42 each shell x 25= $10.50 per box. not including tools. i reload steel because i like to make high perfomace shells, cost for 12ga, if you watch the sales for 3" steel loads you can buy them cheaper. it becomes cost effective for 12ga 3 1/2" and 10ga
 

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I have been reloading Steel shot for several years now....I use a MEC 600jr, BPI Multi metal hulls w/primers, Alliant Steel Powder, BPI Multi Metal wads, and BPI Steel shot....I also use a Universal Charge bar, and a powder baffle....I have had great success with the loads, and while it may not save me much $$$ if any, I enjoy reloading, and knowing that I did everything myself that was involved in killing the ducks/geese.....As for deviation in the shot/powder charge during the reloading process with the universal bar, I see very little.....

Initial cost if you have none of the tools and components is going to be rather significant....I would estimate between $300-$500 just to get everything.....Some people say you have to factor in your time that you will spend reloading, into the cost as well, but I say BULL!!! All I would have been doing was sitting on my butt watching Sportscenter or a hunting show!!!
 

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Here, here, Duckshewter! You're most correct.

I've always gotten a bit 'miffed' at that "figure your time in" crapola...as if you're being paid 24/7 or that my (or anybody's time) is so valuable it all must be accounted for.

Being gainfully employed, I'm off the clock the second I leave my office. At that point any "time" I "invest" in loading is all profit in less expensive loads come duck season.

I load mostly 1.0 oz loads at very high velocities. I use steel data from RSI, BP and the "Lightning Steel" book. I buy every thing in bulk (including primers to the 5000 count) and load lots of freebee hulls. My two favorite duck loads still come in at under $7 per box. I load in the off-season and hot summer nights...the cool basement is nice. Come Sept. I've got a couple cases loaded up while the others that "figure in their time" are buying shells at $15/box minimum.

I approach reloading of steel the same way I do target loads. Buy everything whenever you can, as much as you can afford, and as often as you can. Gun shows…look under the tables. The last one I was at a guy had nearly 700, 3" Fed hulls from guys patterning turkey loads at his gun club. I got the whole lot for $15 just cuz' he didn't want to haul them home. You will run into this kind of stuff. They don't rot. At any one time I have 15-20K hulls of various types on hand. BE A HULL WHORE! Buy them all whenever, wherever you run into a bargain. Stop into all the gun shops you can. Every so often you'll find one closing out steel components. BE A COMPONENT WHORE! Found a shop this year closing out a bunch of CSD wads…the same ones used in the "Lightning Steel" data. Got them for about $5/bag…bought them ALL…nearly 2000 of them. These also don't rot.

The aim is to reload the best for hunting. After all...the weakest link in your hunt is what you stuff in the barrel. BUT...you can still do it cheap if you're a bit of a reloading "whore".
 

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Nasty, I have to agree that the 1 oz. load at 1500-1600fps is an AWESOME load!! I like it in 1's and 2's.....My problem is that I very seldom have a chance to use it...I love that load on close ducks (i.e. flooded timber and pothole's in the marsh), However, the bulk of my hunting seems to be over bigger water, and flooded fields where the ducks just don't want to get up close and personal....Only get to use them when I go out to Kansas in Nov, and late season flooded timber in Southern IL.....

BTW....I am STRONGLY considering loading some Hevishot....Anyone have any favorite recipes that they would like to share??? 2.75 and 3 in. loads....
 

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Yes....

Vol. 1 from RSI hevishot

Load #24. 1 1/4 oz of hevishot in a 'reglar ol' AA hull. Super load and very easy to put together. Great duck load with hevi 6's or 4's. I actually use 6's more often than not. Of course with RSI data you'll need the Sam 1 wad. You sound like you have mostly BP stuff.

For a 3" load....use BP's "GooseGetter II". Uses the TPS wad and 1 1/2 oz of shot. I use #2's in this and it just rips geese.

These have been the best of the ones I tested. The work WELL! You'll really like RSI #24 from Vol. 1 in that AA hull. Simple...easy...VERY effective.

Nasty
 

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3" remington hulls and 2 3/4" remington hulls are my prefered hulls (yellow base wad type) not sts. i have done all my loads with mm wads, but just ordered some b&p 1 1/4oz 12ga wads. if these do the job, my cost per shell will drop a little. if you have to buy hulls it kills the deal in my opinion, (great deals like above are not common)
 

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I am new to steel shot, but I have been reloading lead for years. i guess my question is I have a SBEII and I am shooting 3 1/2" so should I just go with the steelmaster reloader or do I have other options.

thanks for any help
 
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