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Recommend a shotshell press


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I'm looking at getting into shotshell reloading as I have all of the components. I don't shoot huge amounts of it, maybe a couple of hundred rounds a month, so not keen on investing large amounts of money into it.

The ones I've researched so far are Lee Loadall (cheap but seems to do the job) and MEC 600jr (big step up in quality but starts to get expensive with chargebars etc. I'd likely use my existing auto trickler for powder so cost of powder bushings shouldn't be an issue.

Anyone willing to share experiences (good and bad) with shotshell presses for low volumes?. 

Edited by MikeF1000
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I’ve used a MEC 600 Jr quite a bit and it blows away the Lee Load All.  I picked up a second one used for $60.  They are not fast—I can load maybe 100 rounds an hour, but there is no case prep/cleaning and gaging like there is with brass case cartridges.  Whatever the extra cost is over a Load All, it’s worth it.  I’ve had mixed results with adjustable charge bars and would avoid them. 

What gauge do you plan to load?  Not sure about current birdshot prices, but at $5-6/box, it’s tough to save much for 12.  On the other hand, you can save a ton on .410 and to a lesser extent on 28 and 20.  I’ve loaded more 20 ga. than anything. 

Edited by deerslayer
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What  are you loading for? Trap and skeet, or hunting? I only recommend  Lee to those I don't like. Mec is the way to go. The one to get is determined by what you're going to do. Trap and skeet are high demand on shells and shot size. 2 3/4 - 3 Dram and 7 1/2 to 9 in shot size. Hunting goes to 3 1/4- 3 3/8 dram and shot size goes nuts from there. 7 1/2 for birds, 6 to 5 for rabbit [ hard to find ] and expensive as all get out. Then there are slugs. You can cast your own. The biggest thing is different size shot and wads.

Mec has low production presses like the mec jr, and production presses like the 9000. Even motorized and hydrolic units.

What's your poison, what's your friend? Bonnie and I shot trap 3 days a week. So we loaded 2. But shot was $5.50 a bag then. Now there's only one plant [that I know of] for shot. We think it's a little back door gun control. I've got two presses in the basement. Both Mec jrs.. One 12ga one 20 gage.Both are taking up space.

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It's 12 guage for trap/skeet I want to load, 7 1/2 - 9 shot. Shotgun cartridges have not been as badly affected by the current shortage as the likes of 9mm or .223 but there is less on the shelves. 

I shoot an autoloader so higher fps is better and that can be hard to find currently. I am well stocked right now but I'm looking at the future. I'm not expecting to save money reloading shotshell but I can see a day when if I don't reload, I won't be shooting. 

If you ever decide to move that 12ga Mec Jr onwards, let me know!

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Wow, doing a little research revealed that the price for a new MEC 600 has gone up.  You could probably find a good used one for $100 or so if you are patient.  You probably won't save loading 12 ga., but if you already have components, it's a great idea to have to ability to load it, especially in this day and age.  The local Bass Pro and Academy had no 20 ga. birdshot this weekend and Sportsman's Warehouse was almost completely out of it.  No idea what that's about.  You never know when some wacko will shoot up a burger joint with a shotgun and the Demos are talking about banning shotgun shells.  I don't see a a run on birdshot, but nowadays who knows.  

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7 hours ago, Mike1000 said:

Yep, even second hand ones have gone up in price. Last time I was in Walmart they had plenty of 20ga birdshot.

I hadn't heard about Dems wanting to ban shells, what on God's green earth would this achieve???

Was just saying “what if?”   Haven’t heard of them talking about shotgun shells.  

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23 hours ago, deerslayer said:

I’ve used a MEC 600 Jr quite a bit and it blows away the Lee Load All.  I picked up a second one used for $60.  They are not fast—I can load maybe 100 rounds an hour, but there is no case prep/cleaning and gaging like there is with brass case cartridges.  Whatever the extra cost is over a Load All, it’s worth it.  I’ve had mixed results with adjustable charge bars and would avoid them. 

What gauge do you plan to load?  Not sure about current birdshot prices, but at $5-6/box, it’s tough to save much for 12.  On the other hand, you can save a ton on .410 and to a lesser extent on 28 and 20.  I’ve loaded more 20 ga. than anything. 

What Deerslayer said...

We used to load 12 ga AA trap loads on the 600 jr... Ya cant beat em...

leroy...

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Use the down time to piece together the other items. 

Hulls

Primers

Wads

Shot

Powder

Shot cards

Roll crimp jig

Charge bars

Extra shot / powder containers for swapping on the press

There is literally thousands of different components when it comes to loading shot shells. Straight hull / tapered. Type of shot, payload weight, etc. No shortage of things to keep you occupied while waiting for the press. 

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23 hours ago, PoofNoEyeBrows said:

I use a Mec also. Got the convo kit so I can do runs of 12 & 20 gauge. For me the biggest chellenge was all the components to choose from when deciding on a shell recipe. Best advice I can give you when your doing a workup is load 5 and pattern them before you do a big run! 

What's your powder/charge

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IMO an adjustable charge bar is a must, you always adjust it by increasing the wt whether it is shot or powder.  Otherwise you are going to have quite a collection of bushings.  I would also recommend that you stick to AA and Remington STS and Nitro hulls for simplicity.  Rem Gun Clubs will load identically as well.  I use almost exclusively 1oz loads for target games.  These cross over well for dove, quail, snipe, etc.  Back when I did load a lot of Pheasant loads.  When hevishot wasn't so darn expensive use to load a lot of that as well.

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