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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I had an uncle give me an old MEC shotgun reloading press that I'm just getting around to trying. I'm not sure of the model but I think it's a 600? ( 5 stations, uses std charge bar and bushings) . I don't see any markings anywhere.
Anyway, I started doing some reloading using the settings that were on the press. ( 18 gr red dot, cci 209 primers, claybuster 118 wads, peters (blue hulls) and 1.125 oz of #8 shot.) He asupplied me with everything but the wads which I jsut bought. Anyway, The shot charge is droping at the specified weight but it seems that the finished load is just leaves just a little to much room in the shell for the crimp. ( Finished round has slight rattle and crimp is pushed in/ inverted in center .) There is easily room left for a couple dozen more pellets anyway. I'm thinking that I may be compressing these particular wads a hair (too much) thus allowing the shot charge to sit lower in the hull. It looks like the press is adjustable for depth/ seating force but I don't have a manual. Is there anyplace on line where I can download a MEC users manual? Am I way off in my thinking here?
Any insight is appreciated.
Thanks
Dave
 

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Tacoma,

The wad seating depth is determined by the adjustment of the shot drop tube in the front of the loader (the silver tube). It does sound like it might be a tad too low.

I found the load you are using in the Lyman Shotshell Reloading Manual 4th edition. Sort of. The primers they show are Winchester and yours are CCI. You might want to see if you can find this load published somewhere with the CCI primers.

The wad Lyman shows is a WAA12, the CB118 is a replacement for the WT12 which is a cheaper Winchester version of the WAA12, so this looks okay also.

For Manuals click on http://www.mecreloaders.com/OwnerManuals/OwnerManuals.asp

Ka6otm
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Much

The link is just what I'm looking for.
Now for my confession.
I'm pretty experienced with reloading for handgun/ rifle but green when it comes to shotgun. I have noticed documented load data for almost every kind of casing/ wad/ primer combination with teh same powders.Seems to me that they are pretty much built to specific sizes/ specs although I realize quality may differ. Other than for performance reasons, do I really need to stick to a documented recipe? I figured as long as I stick to mid power powder and shot combo's but that primer/wad and casing shouldn't be a BIG issue.
By substituting a Wad or mixing hulls/casings, am I doing something dangerous??.
 

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Tacoma,

Yes, by substituting you are definitely going into never-never land. A good read is the Hodgdon Shotshell Data Manual, specifically an article called Component Selection & Performance by Don Zutz.

One example shows a 1-1/8 oz trap load where they substituted hulls and kept all else the same. The same amount of shot, the same wad, the same primer and powder...only the hull was changed. Pressure went from 10,400 PSI to 14,800PSI with this one change.

A second example with essentially the same components and only a primer change gave pressures from 8,400 PSI to 11,200 PSI.

A third example where all remained the same except for a wad change saw pressures ranging from 8,100 PSI to 10,800 PSI.

The last example was crimp depth. With all other things unchanged except crimp depth, pressures went from 9,300 PSI to 13,100 PSI with crimp depths ranging from 0.030" to 0.090".

So to answer your question....YES you are definitely doing something dangerous.

Get yourself one or two good reloading manuals for shotgun and follow the recipe exactly, right down to the brand of primer and you'll be able to count to 10 on your fingers and thumbs for the rest of your life.

Take care,
Ka6otm
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Again.

Wow, Glad I asked. Well, I've only loaded 200 shells so far. If I can't match up anything reasonable with the components I have, I'm tossing it all and sticking to handgun reloading. Stopped at Wally World last might. I can buy factory Federal 12 ga , 2 .75" 3 dr , 1 .125 oz of 7.5shot for $14.88 / 100. From my math, it's costing that for me to reload 12 guage anyway. Seems like this is one area where ( while fun) it's not worth the greif and risk.
Thanks again, your advice has been very much appreciated.
 

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I'm going to add a "but". I noticed many of the listed loads are performance based or in other words a specific velocity is desired and the load appears to meet that velocity. Often you will find a light target or trap load of specific components only to find the exact same load (component wise) in the heavy field load section with the difference being a slight increase in powder,velocity and pressure but still withing specs. In other words you can often find perfectly safe, low pressure (target) and maximum pressure (Field) loads using the same components. As a general rule win primers are a little hotter than CCI so pressures will probably increase. Don't get me wrong I am not condoning component changes I'm just saying if you dig deep enough you should be able find a "book" load that will work with your components.
 

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Just took another look at my loading costs for 3 dram equivalent 1-1/8" loads. It breaks down like this:

Hull (cost amortized over amount of reloads) 0.01
Primer 0.024
Shot 0.05
Wad 0.016
Total 0.10/round
Box total then equals $2.50 or $10.00/hundred

In actuality, it comes out cheaper for me as I have a cheaper source for shot occasionally and I don't always buy that expensive of wads, but this is local pricing.

Therefore, your savings over Wally World is $4.88/hundred, or 33% (one third) savings.

I like to shoot 150 rounds/week and my wife shoots 100 rounds/week. Therefore my savings over Wally World is about $12.20/week. You can buy a lot of beer for that savings....

And that's for 12 gauge trap loads. It gets better for smaller gauges and specialty loads.

Not bad,
Ka6otm
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Again thanks for the input.

I did find a " book" load on the aliant site for my components in some old ww hulls I had. So at least I can use p the stuff I jst bought. I'm not sure what will become of the loads I put in the Peters and Remington hulls.
I guess I'm just a little discouraged.

Around here, pickings are slim for components. It took two wo gun shops to get a meager selection of shot, powder, wads and primers.

At "local" prices my rounds are costing 14.2 cents (not counting old hulls). I guess it would take a volume mail order to do better.
It's not so much the cost though as the fact that what I thought would be simpler than( and as much fun as)handgun loading, is tuning out to be a waste of money and effort for this shooter.

Well, at least I have a goo source of ammo.

BTW, anybody got a recipe that will allow me to use the spent federal hulls and all this red dot?
Dave
 

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Tacoma,

Sorry to see that you're having so much difficulty. I really don't think it's any harder than loading handgun. Essentially all the same rules apply except that you can use primers from anybody for metallic (within the magnum and non-magnum varieties) and you can't with shotgun and you can pretty much use cases from anybody but you can't with shotgun. This is because the internal hull volumes vary so much from one hull to the other, thus causing pressures to rise or fall. You will encounter the same thing on a smaller scale by using military brass which has a smaller case volume that the stuff we civilians use. On the other hand, you can use any size shot you want with shotgun as long as the total weight remains the same.

Anyway, if the hulls you got from Wally World are the Federal plastic with paper basewad-and they probably are, here's a recipe from the Lyman Shotshell Handbook 4th Edition:

Federal Plastic case with paper basewad
Red Dot Powder, 20.5 grains
any size shot, 1-1/8 oz (492 grains)
CCI 209 Primer
Remington RXP12 Wad

I see these wads for sale frequently on eBay if you want to look there, also Cabelas, Precision Reloading and Ballistic Products sell 'em.

People will tell you they can't get a good deal on eBay, but don't believe it. If you take your time, keep looking and buy in advance of running out of components, you can get some very good deals. I just received some wads I bought there a week ago. 750 wads, 500 of them RXP20 wads and 250 Winchester.....for $10.00 including shipping. That's 1.3 cents per wad, delivered.

Anyway, best of luck

Ka6otm
 

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Just wanted to add one thing about switching components. As the one poster mentioned, the pressure can change by a surprising amount. Couple that with the fact that a shotgun is not as strong as centerfire rifles or pistols and that makes me not want to switch components in a shotgun shell. I have been loading shotgun shells for 18 years and am very carfull about following the books. I agree with you and one other poster. The savings I realize by reloading shotgun shells is small compared to buying the cheap shells at Wally World. I do feel that my reloads are better than those cheap shells, but they both break skeet the same which is mainly what I use a shotgun for. I have been buying more than reloading lately. It takes me an hour to load 100 shells with a Versamec. At a $4-5 cost saving, my time could probably be better spent with my wife and kids.
 

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I'm just getting into shotshell reloading myself after loading handgun and rifle quite a bit. It's a different animal and it seems to require study prior to doing it. All of what I've read so far says, basically, "don't even think about substituting components. Never. Never. Never." Or words to that effect.

MEC user manuals are on-line at their web site and you can download them for free.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm getting the picture

I like to reload mainly because I like to experiment . ( that and it's fun I guess.) Seems like the only way to experiment w shot shell reloading is to buy mountains of wad and hull combinations and to stick to strict recipes. Just seems to costly ( i.e more than buying shells) and limiting to bother with for me. With my limited access and local costs for components, I just don't see any financial incentive. I'm already only breaking even. To invest more time and $ would be counterproductive . A long as I continue to shoot less than a couple hundred rounds a month. ( My current rate.) I think I'll just buy the multi purpose federals. They seem like a good trap load and the hasle in nill. If in the interim, I stumble across "bulk deals " on components, I'll reconsider. Oh well, back to pumping out 45 acp.
Thanks to all again
 
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