For a first reloader, I'd look for a used 600 Jr - you can usually get them for less than $50 at a gun show, or buy one from someone at a gun club who just moved up to a progressive reloader. Once you've decided you like to reload, then you can move up... but don't sell the 600 - they're great for trying out new loads, or loading up a box or two of hunting loads. Once you get everything adjusted just right on the progressive, you don't want to screw it up to load just a few shells of a different load.
Once you move up, I'd look at the grabber or the 9000G. If something is out of kilter, you can feel the difference in the stroke on a manual press - the hydraulic will bottom out come hell or high water, and will crush a tilted shell or force home an upside-down primer (once in a great while, they do a flip in the catch pocket). Then you've got a mess - shot and powder all over the place.
I'd second wwb.
I started in high school w/ a Lee Loadall. Great way to learn how reloading works. In collage I moved up to a MEC Grabber when I shot 8 rounds of skeet a week. Now I have a 9000H, and the hydraulic is awesome!! But as wwb said, if you make an error -- and everyone does, the hydraulic will make a mess in a hurry. I could load all day w/ the hydraulic, and my arm will not get tired like it did w/ the Grabber.
So I'd suggest getting a single-stage for your first reloader--check Ebay. Auto indexing progressives have a lot happening at once, and hydraulic makes it even more challenging. I have not used mine for that long, so I am still very cautious and work slowly into a good rhythm to prevent screwing things up.
Thanks for all the help guys I didnt think that I would ever want to start reloading but I have heard that it is interesting (you can make some really cool loads of your own) and my 300 rounds every saturday on clays are starting to get a little pricey.
I am probably not as experienced as some of the others here but I would offer that if you are shooting 300 rounds a week you will not be happy loading them all on a 600jr. It will be great as a learning tool but be careful you don't get turned off by trying to churn 300 shells a week though a single stage press. I started out with one but then went to a 9000G that my shooting buddy went in on with me. We are both doing 1-200 a week and trying to keep up with a 400 rounds a week was a lot even on the 9000G. It is a great deal though, they can be bought for ~$300. We just upgraded to a Posness Warren 800 Plus with a shell feeder (that I have yet to set up). It was a lot of money but two of us went in on it. You may want to look hard at the Dillion. It is only about $600 without the shell feeder. I would not go for the 9000H because I think the main advantage is the automation not production speed. The 9000G requires a strong pull but if you are shooting 300 12g a week I will assume your upper body strength is reasonable. I loaded a few rounds on the 9000H at the Mec booth at the Grand and I didn't think it would be that much faster, just easier. Go get a 600jr to learn how to load, just figure on probably still buying some factory loads to keep up with your 300 per week burn rate.
For me, the fun is in the research and science of creating good loads and the satisfaction of seeing the birds turn to dust from the shells I make. It's NOT spending hours making shells. I'd spend the extra money and get the 9000G.
There are plenty of used reloaders out there if money is a concern.
I have a mec 9000G 12 ga. that was my first reloader. It is a little tricky at first setting it to your personnel specs but once you find the right combo it's great. Mine has been working flawlessly for five years and I load about 50 cases a year. The formula on the powder bottle helps a lot to find the right bushing.
YES! The 9000G is the greatest! I've had one for a little over 3 years, and it's great. Well worth the money. I saw them at cabela's the other day for like 250 bucks which is a hell of a deal. It was my first reloader, and was surprisingly very easy to set up and start loading. I load a little over a case a week, and it does it flawlessly. The only mistakes it makes are usually due to 'user error'. Stuff such as not inspecting your empties before reloading them. And forgetting to fill your primer feed, shot bottle or powder bottle. A shell with no powder always gets good laughs at the ranges. :lol: Just dont forget to clear your barrel of the wad before you load your gun for the next shot. But yeah, I definitely recommend the 9000g if you want to start loading. Be sure to have a veteran loader that you can consult with in case you have any questions/problems.
The MEC 9000 is a fantastic press; however I caution its use by an inexperienced reloader.
Learn the basics of shotshell reloading on a single stage press such as the MEC 600 jr. Then as need dictates move up to a progressive press.
I have 9000G & if it were not for experience gained on the 600jr I would have had a very difficult time using a progressive press.
I don't want to appear negative but I also wouldn't want to see you turned off reloading by purchasing something that is not meant for the novice reloader.
GO FOR THE 9000 AND BECAREFUL IF YOU TRY TO BUY ON EBAY , FROM MY EXPERIENCE THE PEOPLE AR PAYING TO MUCH FOR A USED MACHINE THAT YOU REALLY CAN'T TELL THE CONDITION OF. FOR THE PRICE OF A IN THE BOX NEW WITH WARRENTY FROM THE RETAILER LIKE CABELAS ITS NOT WORTH THE RISK.
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