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I have only been reloading for about 5 months and have always used a adjustable shot and powder charger,well it broke tonight and untill I get a new one,I thought I would use the ones that came with my mec sizemaster.I have never used them before and when I put the 1 1/8 oz one in,instead of weighing 492.2 grains like I'm used to,it weighed 475.06 grains,which if my math is right puts it at 1% off and safe to use,since my manual says up to 5% is safe.Is this correct?also I was trying for 16.5 grains of red dot and used a #30 bushing which gave me 16.8 grains. I think this is also in the ballpark,am I right on this also? Do any of you use the bar and bushings? and how do they work out? It sure is easier than trying to get the adjustable one set. Sometimes it takes me an hour or more to get it set where its right on the money and do I really need to? thanks. sj

Instinctive Shooter
Shotgunworld Ambassador
Posts: 69
(4/6/03 8:29:22 am)
Reply Re: mec charge bars and bushings?
What you have experienced with the variations in the weights of the charges being thrown are perfectly normal and in fact rather typical. As your experience with reloading continues to grow you will find that the weights given for the various shot charges are expressed for pure lead-or for "soft"shot. Most shot commonly in use today is not "pure" but rather is hardened to lessen deformation. This is accomplished by adding antimony-up to about 5-6%. Antimony is lighter than lead, so a given volume (i.e.-your bushing) of "hard" shot will,by necessity, weigh less than the standard 492 grains. Too, if you were to weigh 10 consecutive drops of shot you might find up to 7 or 8 grains of difference between them.The difference between different brands of shot is readily apparent, too, if you were to weigh each individually. None of these differences are enough to be a cause of concern.
Powder is another story. If you have not yet figured this out, you should weigh several drops from each new container that you purchase. The manufacturers strive to maintain a standard that is as consistent as possible, but there will be some variation from lot to lot. Only in rare instances have I found this to be enough to be a consideration let alone a safety factor. Of course, I load in about the middle of the range on most of my loads, so I have a lot of leeway for these minor variations. However, when I first went to an adjustable bar it was after a long period of absense from reloading. I got set up with a good scale and went right to the same recipe I had always loaded. I immediately noticed what I thought was a lack of recoil. This puzzled me until I dug out some of my old shells that were several years old. These had been loaded on a bar that was simply drilled rather than having bushings. What I did was to cut some of these apart and weigh the powder and shot charges. The shot was close, but the powder was almost off the charts! I had no idea at the time that I loaded these that I was pushing the upper limits of safety. I had simply taken the loader out of the box and started loading ith it. As long as the shells looked good and I was using what the books called for, I assumed I was OK. Wrong! This is the perfect example of why everyone should use a scale and check their loads on a periodic basis.
Back to your concerns-I think that you are perfectly safe and as long as you are satisfied with the results, then the bushings are fine...for now. Just don't be surprised if the next lot of powder weighs differently, though. Oh, yeah...try weighing some when the humidity changes dramatically, too. You'll end up pulling your hair out-or just not worrying about it.
Still not satisfied? Try loading with the bushings that you have and mark those loads somehow. Have a friend who uses the adjustable bar load the exact same components to the exact specs that you were used to using. Shoot both lots of shells and judge for yourself. Bet you won't be able to tell the difference.
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