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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was wondering, what are some good reliable reloaders, and what is the cheapest price possible I could make a box of 25 shells. I have about 400 to spend.
 

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MEC Reloaders

MEC Sizemaster if you won't be shooting more than about 10 boxes a week.

MEC Grabber for faster production (manual indexing).

MEC 9000GN for even faster production (automatic indexing). Cheapest from Connie's Components -- $329, including shipping.

Check around the Internet for lower-than-MSRP street prices on the Sizemaster and Grabber. For some strange reason, Connie's carries only the 9000GN.

The cheapest you could reload a box of 12 gauge shells for is about $2.25, but that's only by buying in bulk, using Alliant Promo powder and scrounging free once-fired Remington Gun Club or Game Load hulls at a gun club.

Unless you buy everything in bulk, you won't save much on 12 gauge shells under getting the low-cost promos at Wal-Mart or some discount sporting goods store, which go for around $3 a box.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have 250 Winchester Hulls. I could make a box for 2.25, so I would have to buy wads in bulk, shot in bulk, primers in bulk, and powder in bulk. Do you have a certain recipie that allows you to make shells for 2.25 a box. I am just reloading shells for clay shooting.
 

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Mayville Engineering Company (MEC) are probably the most popular shotshell reloaders. http://www.mecreloaders.com/ProductLine/Product.asp

You can pretty much take your pick from their lineup for the $400 you have set aside. You'll also need some powder scales, extra shot bars, and powder bushings. If you will be shooting ALOT I would go for the Grabber or 9000gn. If you just want to reload a few boxes per week and are not sure you will stick with it, I would go for the 600Jr.

If saving money is your only reason for reloading, I would just by factory ammo and forget it. However, it you think you would enjoy reloading and want to use loads that are not readily available in stores, the cost savings are just enough that you could use it as justification to your significant other without actually lying.

It cost me about $2.75 per box, but I don't buy the cheapest components available. I expect you can get it down to around $2.50 per box. I reload because I enjoy it and I like shooting a light 7/8 12 gage skeet load that's not readily available.
 

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Here's the super-economy 12 gauge recipe I'm using now:
  • Remington Game Load hulls[/*]
  • 3/4 oz. No. 9 shot[/*]
  • 16.6 gr. Alliant Promo from a MEC No. 28 bushing[/*]
  • CB0178-12 (WAA12L clone) wads[/*]
  • Fiocchi 616 (209) primers.[/*]
I get the components mailorder (except for shot) in bulk from Recob's Target Shop
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If I could make shells for 2.25 box I would be saving 7.5 per 10 boxes that adds up pretty fast. I see reloading as more of a hobby I'm glad I can save money.
 

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I would suggest the MEC 9000. It is a progressive reloader (does more than one thing at a time) Many will suggest a single stage reloader for a beginner, but you can use the progressives as single stage until you get comfortable with them. The 9000 also sizes the brass which eliminates any problems with closing the bolt on a pump or auto.

I started with a MEC 650 which is also progressive, but it doesn't re-size the brass, which can be a problem with pumps or autos.

If you get the 9000 you won't be getting the desire to trade-up for a better model. You will already have it.

FWIW

hubcap
 

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hubcap said:
The 9000 also sizes the brass which eliminates any problems with closing the bolt on a pump or auto.
All MEC reloading presses except the 650 resize the brass.

In my opinion there's very little, if any advantage to a 9000G over the Grabber and here's why:
  • If you plan to box your shells, or keep them in groups of 25 so you can keep track of the number of reloads, the 9000G actually slows down production. It's only faster if you let them spill all over the bench or drop down a hole in the bench into a bucket.
    [/*]
  • For the average reloader just needing a bit more speed, the 9000G is needlessly more expensive. You can just as easily load 600-700 shells per hour on a Grabber as you can the 9000G. The major advantage to either of those progressives is 25 pulls of the handle gets you a box of shells, as opposed to 150 pulls with a single-stage press.
    [/*]
  • The 9000G is mechanically more complicated than the Grabber and the auto-indexing is more likely to cause problems if any little thing fails to function -- like a primer not dropping, or a wad jamming in the hull mouth. And don't ever kid yourself that such malfunctions won't occur. They do and they will. Progressive MEC presses are not exactly models of precision.[/*]
The auto-indexing feature, in my opinion, is grossly overrated and not worth the extra cost. And that's the only feature that makes the 9000G different from a Grabber.

I've got a 20 gauge 9000G right now that I'm very seriously considering dumping on eBay and getting another Grabber. Or, I may simply remove every piece of its auto-indexing junk and turn it into a very expensive Grabber.

Bottom line: I hate the damned thing.
 

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12 gauge shooter

Don't know if you're interested in a single stage or progressive loader.

But if I were a new loader..starting out and in the market for a progressive loader, it's statements like this from a very experienced loader that would make me wary:

I've got a 20 gauge 9000G right now that I'm very seriously considering dumping on eBay and getting another Grabber. Or, I may simply remove every piece of its auto-indexing junk and turn it into a very expensive Grabber.

Bottom line: I hate the damned thing.
Though Mec loaders may be the most common in use out there, I suspect that's largely due to the fact that they are pretty reasonably priced compared to some others. Many loaders use them successfully and like them. And that's great.....I'm not about to start maligning them. But yet there seems to be quite a bit of discussion from time to time on this board and others about problems with them and how to rectify those problems.

I've had 3 single stage Mecs....2 Sizemasters and a Mec Jr. Loved the Sizemasters...HATED the Mec Jr (410). I've also had Texan, Pacific and Hornady loaders...as well as a PW 600B...and now have settled on the PW 800's in all gauges. All my PW's were purchased used...are in very good shape and have been virtually trouble free for me. And I expect they will all outlast me. :)

As a PW owner one thing that jumps out at me in the discussions about reloaders is the absence of negative comments about them and the kind of comments like the quote above. This goes a long way in helping me decide which route to take. I enjoy reloading but do not want to have to go through all sorts of gyrations trying to figure out problems with my machine.....ANY machine.....while trying to reload a flat of shells.

Your original question was:

I was wondering, what are some good reliable reloaders
If a PW loader fits into your budget....I would recommend any one of them for many years of virtually trouble free reloading. I'm not suggesting they will NEVER fail...but I am suggesting that if good quality and reliability are important to you....I think they are a good choice if they are within your budget. Get one, set it up, learn it...and enjoy your reloading.

Good luck.
 

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Go online to http://www.trapshooters.com/srlcalcadv.htm It is a program for calculating the cost of reloading Shotgun Shells. You add in your costs for ther components (include tax and shipping) ant it tells you cost per shell and box. It even figures how many reloads it takes to pay for the reloader, etc. Enjoy. V/R TonyG
 

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All reloaders will make perfectly acceptable shells. The one you buy should suit your needs and wants. My personal tastes run towards machined and cast metal parts rather than stamped metal and plastic. At one time or another I suppose I have owned or used every model that MEC has ever made, all worked OK, but I still prefer the 366 or P/W that reside on my bench. If you want to go to the "top of the line" there is a Spolar with hydralics for sale on www.trapshooters.com, only $1950.
 

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Take it for what my 2 cents is worth (about 2 cents). I personally have an old 600JR (circa 82-85), topped with a UCB just to keep the bars and bushings down. I have never had a mechanical issue with the machine, except for needing an occasional cleaning and lubing. I turn out all my shooting needs without alot of extra undue effort. Point in case, I have put 3000 rounds on the shelf in the last 2 weeks, averaging about 1 hour per sitting (200/hr). With Remington hulls, I have managed to get a set up where I can deprime/pre-crimp and reprime/final crimp in the same pull. Cuts down pulls/shell, but you gotta be in the right frame of mind to keep everything sequenced. Can't do that with Winchesters. Since I shoot about 200 rounds per week, I can easily keep up with my shooting. I have thought about progressive loaders, but unless I really pick up my shooting pace, I just can't justify it.

As far as cost per shell, I am right at $2.60. Recipe is 17 gr Clays, CB1100-12 wad, W209 primer, and 1 oz hard shot. If I went to less expensive components (Promo powder, Fiocchi 616 primers, chilled shot) I can get down to $2.38 with what I get from local dealer, But I am happy with the recipe I have performance wise, so I don't bother messing with it.
 

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Case said:
Bottom line: I hate the damned thing.
I should have added there that I love MEC Grabbers, and consider them the absolutely best progressive press on the planet for the money.

And perhaps I was a bit harsh on the 9000G. In all fairness I should add there's really nothing wrong with that press if you get everything adjusted on it exactly right and pay really close attention to everything dropping as it should and going in where it should.

But you have to do that with any progressive press.

If you plan on filling buckets of shells with reloads streaming straight from the press, the auto-indexing feature is great and probably worth the extra money.

But that's really the only advantage to a 9000G.

You can often pick up a good used Grabber off eBay for less than $200, including shipping.

BTW: The only difference between the older 761 model Grabber and the current 8567 is the 761 isn't adaptable for 3" shells. Otherwise, they're exactly the same and the 761 usually goes for less money on eBay.
 

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I don't think you can realistically start loading for 2.25 a box. I am sure Case can, but when he says in bulk he means it. Are you ready to spring for a ton of shot right off the bat?

Not discouraging loading. But if you are going to load and shoot 12 gauge 1 1/8 loads you are not going to save tons of money over just watching for good buys on shells.

I don't shoot a whole lot. I do load. I like to shoot fairly low recoiling loads and I can't get those cheap, so I guess I save money or have shells more to my likeing, one or the other.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I am going to be loading target loads. I will be using 1 ounce or 7/8 ounce loads. I used one of those reloading calculators and fiqured out I could make a decent box of shells for about 2.60. 1200 f.p.s velocity. I am going to be buying in bulk. I'm just not sure about shot yet.
 

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12_gauge_shooter Posted:I am going to be loading target loads. I will be using 1 ounce or 7/8 ounce loads. I used one of those reloading calculators and fiqured out I could make a decent box of shells for about 2.60. 1200 f.p.s velocity. I am going to be buying in bulk. I'm just not sure about shot yet.
I shoot 150-200 shells a weekend. I shoot 20, 28, and .410. The three 600Jrs I have keep me well supplied.

I would suggest a good used 600Jr to get comfortable, then you can always upgrade later. For me right now, the 600s are more than enough. I usually buy 1000 primers, powder by the single pounds, wads by the 500 or 1000, shot by the 100lb. I still save quite a bit over buying all factory stuff without the massive bulk purchases. Plus, it's relaxing for me to reload.

My last calculation for a box of 410 was $2.67 per 25. I'm saving about $4.25 per box. 28 is a little less savings, 20 is even less than that.

I'll likely never reload 12ga due to the minimal amount of savings I'd see. Plus I just don't shoot it much and factory promos are OK with me.
 

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Less moving parts means less can go wrong.

For me, yes, it's easier.

The 600 is a single stage reloader. 6 pulls gets you a finished shell.

They cost less. Unless you'll need more than a case of shells a week, it should be OK. A good reloading rate for a 600 is about 175-200 shells an hour. You can get that rate in about 15-20 minutes with a Grabber or a 9000. I just bought a used 20ga 600 Jr off eBay for about $75 shipped. I had to replace the resizer (seller had a 12ga resizer on the 20 :shock: ) and the drop tube.

I've already reloaded about a case of shells with it. Enough to last me a while since I shoot three gauges/bores.
 

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12_gauge_shooter said:
I could make a decent box of shells for about 2.60. 1200 f.p.s velocity. I am going to be buying in bulk. I'm just not sure about shot yet.
Even at $2.60 a box you'll save a good bit of money over low-cost promos -- if you do enough shooting.

For economical reloading of any gauge or bore you MUST buy powder by at least the 8-lb. jug and primers and wads by the case of 5,000.

If you can't get bulk components locally at a decent price and have to mailorder them, the economy-killer for powder and primers is the damned ridiculous $20 hazmat surcharge UPS adds to the order. And now you can't even spread that out by shipping powder and primers in the same box.

The regulations may come from the bureaucratically stupid government but the fee is set by UPS. They're both guilty as hell of ripping off the shooting community.

Depending upon where you live, shot can cost $20 a bag or more. But some are lucky enough to find it locally for $16 or $17 a bag. You just have to check around and do the best you can.

I buy Remington No. 9 magnum shot a ton at a time for $16 a bag at the Remington Gun Club in Lonoke, AR -- but it's a 340-mile roundtrip to get it. The gas alone was $46, but it was still a great deal. I can't even find No. 9 shot locally and what's available is ridiculously overpriced.

If you can pick up Remington Gun Club or Game Load hulls free at a gun club, that makes a big difference in cost. And they're excellent hulls for reloading.

And don't overlook gun shows for cheap components in bulk if they come to your area periodically.

But it usually takes a major show for component dealers to bother with them.

So you are saying that the 600 jr. is easy to use? Are the more advanced ones more complicated or easier
Either that or the Sizemaster is a no-brainer to use.

But if you do a lot of shooting that six pulls of the handle for each shell gets really monotonous compared to one-pull per shell.

The Grabber is almost as easy to use as a single-stage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I was thinking about maybe buying the Mec 650N progressive reloader, is it worth it that much to go up 85 dollars to get a grabber? Locally here in Nebraska I can get shot for 15 dollars for a 25 pound bag, it is Remington STS Magnumshot #5 through #9 a bag. And I'm pretty sure the place has cheap powder. How many bags of that shot should I buy to be economical.
 
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