Shotshell Reloading

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Shotshell Reloading

Postby jcat » Wed May 29, 2013 1:32 pm

Anyone do it? As I've been getting into trap more recently I've been starting to consider reloading the spent hulls rather than selling them back to Heritage at .03 a piece (hell..you can get them from Cabelas but for .10 a piece). I saw a Lee press specifically for shotshells (nothing special) for about $50. It does everything, deprime, resize, reprime, powder, wad, shot, and all 4 crimp stages. I won't be doing serious amounts, but I wonder if I can save myself some dough in the long run, especially with a $50 press.

Currently Heritage is selling cases of Remington #8s for ~65, and Winchester AAs for 85 with a $20 rebate, and then they'll buy back your spent hulls at .03 a piece. I bought a case of AAs, which means my cost, if I were to sell back all the hulls, would be 85-20-7.50 = 57.50 or 0.23 per round. That's fairly cheap, but I wonder if it could be done even cheaper.

So who does it? Anyone have any good sources for cheap components? What's your cost?
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Re: Shotshell Reloading

Postby newportri » Wed May 29, 2013 2:40 pm

I bought a MEC shotshell press that was sitting at the trap house at trgc a while ago, but I have not used it a lot since I didn't think it was worth it. First of all, I think it was a PIA to get a good crimp; it was either too deep or too shallow and didn't fullt close. It was a lot more difficult than getting a good crimp on a metallic cartridge, at least with the hulls I was using. You also need to make sure you have the right wads for whatever you are loading since the load data varies a little bit based on what wads you use if I remember correctly. However, the biggest reason is really that there is very little to save since lead shots are so expensive and not worth the effort.
If you reload for hunting, I can see there being some savings since those shells are typically quite a bit more expensive.
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Re: Shotshell Reloading

Postby jcat » Wed May 29, 2013 3:01 pm

newportri wrote:I bought a MEC shotshell press that was sitting at the trap house at trgc a while ago, but I have not used it a lot since I didn't think it was worth it. First of all, I think it was a PIA to get a good crimp; it was either too deep or too shallow and didn't fullt close. It was a lot more difficult than getting a good crimp on a metallic cartridge, at least with the hulls I was using. You also need to make sure you have the right wads for whatever you are loading since the load data varies a little bit based on what wads you use if I remember correctly. However, the biggest reason is really that there is very little to save since lead shots are so expensive and not worth the effort.
If you reload for hunting, I can see there being some savings since those shells are typically quite a bit more expensive.



That's kind of what i was running into. Granted I was pricing components out on Brownells and could probably get it cheaper, but I was looking at $88 a case if I paid .10 a hull online, or $65 a case using spent hulls...which is what I pay for a case of manufactured shells.

I gotta think there's a way to do it cheaper. I'd be using magnum shot, I wonder if steel shot is any cheaper? Being harder I'd imagine it deforms less and might actually break the bird better.

As for the crimp, that seems to be the tough part and the key as I see it is to have a good set of dies and gradually crimp in a few stages.

Dave, what model MEC press is it? And would you be interested in selling it and whatever components you have for 12ga?
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Re: Shotshell Reloading

Postby Carnea » Wed May 29, 2013 5:36 pm

:D
Last edited by Carnea on Thu Feb 06, 2014 1:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Shotshell Reloading

Postby jcat » Wed May 29, 2013 6:19 pm

Well I just ran through the numbers with a different supplier and using reclaimed shot, if I can get my hands on it. I am going through probably about a case a month and will be going through more soon as the weather gets better. Here's how they break down savings wise:

Free hulls: .17/rd or 42.50 a case ($2 per box)
Rio hulls: .24/rd or 60.00 a case (.50 per box)
Rem/Win hulls: .27/rd or 67.50 a case (0 per box)

So it looks like I may have a different strategy here...buy the case of AAs new from LGS for $65 after rebate. That's 250rd @ .26/rd. Then reload those for .17/rd or 42.50 a case. 2 cases worth of ammo for $107.50, bringing my total cost down to .21 per round, saving me $25 or $12.50 per case reloaded. Shoot, if I can get 8-10 reloads out of a single set of hulls, I'd only have to buy one case of factory shells per year and then just reload the hell out of em, saving me $125 a year.

Are you getting 8-10 out of the high strength AAs? I have some estates mixed in there too which I'm fairly certain won't go 8-10 reloads but the AA high strengths seem like they will.

Would seem that reloading to prevent buying more ammo isn't possible, but is doable if you work it up the right way and get deals on components, you can save a bit of cash. And with the Lee press costing only $50, or a Mec 600 Jr costing 200, it'd pay for itself pretty quickly.
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Re: Shotshell Reloading

Postby newportri » Wed May 29, 2013 6:22 pm

I think it's the 600, but I am not sure. It looks like an older model, so it could be discontinued. However, most of the MEC presses look the same to me :-)
I don't like that you need a bushing to adjust the powder charge or even use a different powder since powder density can vary. I would think there would be something that can be adjusted like on my Hornady LNL-AP.
My biggest problem was getting a good crimp, and I assume this has a lot to do with the type of hulls you use, right Carnea? I used mostly Federal (the cheap ones that comes in bulk for trap shooters, and maybe that was not the best hulls. I also heard that there is a difference between the 6 and 8 little triangles, but I believe 8 are supposed to be easier to reload.
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Re: Shotshell Reloading

Postby jcat » Wed May 29, 2013 6:33 pm

newportri wrote:I think it's the 600, but I am not sure. It looks like an older model, so it could be discontinued. However, most of the MEC presses look the same to me :-)
I don't like that you need a bushing to adjust the powder charge or even use a different powder since powder density can vary. I would think there would be something that can be adjusted like on my Hornady LNL-AP.
My biggest problem was getting a good crimp, and I assume this has a lot to do with the type of hulls you use, right Carnea? I used mostly Federal (the cheap ones that comes in bulk for trap shooters, and maybe that was not the best hulls. I also heard that there is a difference between the 6 and 8 little triangles, but I believe 8 are supposed to be easier to reload.



Oh boy. Yeah federal's base wad is paper, and the hull material isn't great. Also some come with a 6 point crimp, others with an 8 point, you have to use the right crimper with the right number of points or it won't work.

What kind of problems were you having? Like an opening at the top of the shell?
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Re: Shotshell Reloading

Postby Blast54 » Wed May 29, 2013 6:41 pm

Mec is a good machine. To get the proper crimp you only need to have it adjusted correctly. If you have a manual or can download on line follow the procedure exactly.
I have some downstairs, send me a picture of your finished shell and I will tell you what to adjust. Make sure you have the proper wads for you hulls.

I have a 9000G that can do 500 an hour which I needed when I was shooting registered trap with my son. We shot 500 per week.
Reclaimed shot sucks as far as a pattern for your gun, powder bushings are no big deal because once you get the right recipe who wants to change anything.

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Re: Shotshell Reloading

Postby newportri » Wed May 29, 2013 8:11 pm

Sometimes it would leave a small opening. The biggest problem was finding the right crimp depth, but I sort of got it working eventually. However, they didn't look as nice as factory shells. I only loaded once and I don't have any more shells. If I load another, then I can post a picture.
I don't remember whether I used 6 or 8 points, but I believe it was 8. It should be the same as the hulls. How do you tell on the die whether it is for 6 or 8 points?
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Re: Shotshell Reloading

Postby jcat » Wed May 29, 2013 8:58 pm

newportri wrote:Sometimes it would leave a small opening. The biggest problem was finding the right crimp depth, but I sort of got it working eventually. However, they didn't look as nice as factory shells. I only loaded once and I don't have any more shells. If I load another, then I can post a picture.
I don't remember whether I used 6 or 8 points, but I believe it was 8. It should be the same as the hulls. How do you tell on the die whether it is for 6 or 8 points?


I would think it should either be marked somewhere or you can count the points on the inside of the die.
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