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Discussion Starter #1
I'm a cartridge reloader that just got into trap and have found that the cost savings of reloading 12 gauge target loads vs. the cost of walmart promotional ammo is not that great. So I'm looking to you buddies of mine to convince me that I positively must begin reloading for 12 gauge with a progressive press. There has to be some way I can rationalize it.

I'd also like any good tips for loading trap ammo.

And what do you think of the MEC 9000 machine?
 

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If I was starting over and wanted a new machine I would buy another MEC.
If I was open to a used machine I would shop around and find a deal on a good used Ponsness Warren.
I started out on a MEC 650 and then sold it when I purchased a new P/W and am very happy I did.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks!

I went shopping last night to find the prevailing cost of components, and Egad!, it will actually cost me more to reload than to buy decent finished ammo like the very decent Federal Top Gun target load. I think this puts the kabosh on getting into loading for a while.
 

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Right now it would be difficult to buy a good beginner reloader like a MEC Grabber or 9000H, enough lead, powder, wads, and primers along with hulls to save over cheap promo loads. BUT, if you're into trap for the long run and plan on shooting registered birds at some bigger shoots, it's not a bad idea to at least start to gather some stuff now. Look for quality used reloaders, grab components when you see them on sale and always buy in bulk when you can.
I still reload because I had stocked up on just about everything as prices started to climb. People will ask why I don't just shoot the cheap stuff instead. I tell them I can't find 1 oz. #8 1/2 loads with windjammer wads that have a velocity of 1180 fps. ;D
I do shoot the promo loads for a lot of my practice shooting and have found the 1 1/8 oz loads of #8, 1200 fps Estates work about as well through my Kolar for handicap as my reloads.
I also find reloading to be a great hobby, relaxing and fun. Just like my reloads for my hunting rifles, I get a kick out of dusting those birds with things I make.
They tell me shotshell's will increase another 15% or so after the first of the year, AA and STS's are now pushing $7 a box. My reloads are as good as these and are costing me about $3.60 a box with what I have on hand. To date this year I've reload approx 14,000 round so I figured I've save alot even if it's less than 50 cents a box.
 

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Yer not gonna get any encouragement from me to reload those 12 gauge hulls Rudy. I told ya before to forget it and just buy them. For the 12 and 20 gauge unless you want to load some real specialty item not generally available over the counter it's just not work while. For 28 and .410 you pretty much have to reload but not for 12 or 20.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Man oh man! I can't believe it. This is a case of "be careful of what you wish for". I liked the idea of not having to reload, and now I don't have to. But it's because the cost of metals is very high and will probably stay high.

Do you foresee the price of promotional ammo going up in the future to make loading worthwhile for 12 ga?

Oh well! Off to Walmart.

One question: It seems like the cost of shot is about 2 to 2.5 times as expensive as it was a couple of years ago. Is that proportional to the overall increase in lead as a commodity?
 

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Lead has actually come down a bit lately, but not much compared to where it was two years ago. But yes, lead shot prices have shadowed spot prices for lead very closely. There has been a considerable lag in the price of loaded ammo Vs lead prices, but they will go up as well. As I said before, The Ammunition producers have long term contracts so the lead prices don't hit them right away, but there is no way loaded ammo will stay were it is if lead stays where it is.

This is a great website for tracking lead prices;

http://www.kitcometals.com/charts/lead_historical_large.html
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks!

Interestingly I just stocked up on cast 45ACP bullets for bullseye and am thankful not to have been so dramatically affected by the increase in lead cost. Last time I bought them they were $27 a box. I just paid $31 a box.
 

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I cast my own 45s (and other pistol bullets) and I can get all the range lead I need for nothing. I just mix in a bit of linotype to sweeten the tin content. Recently I was able to get 800 lbs of Linotype for $0.55/lb so I'm set for a couple of years anyway.

Wish I had the same option for shot. I know there are shot makers out there, but I can't imagine that the quality is close to commercial.

There is a guy locally that sells reclaimed shot at half the going rate of new shot, but even though it looks good and patterns well, there are some stones in it, and I found some scratches in my Browning barrel after I used a few bags of it. I still have a couple cases I loaded with it that I will finish up in my Browning, but I wouldn't want to risk using it in my Krieghoffs.

If you do end up buying a reloader, get a Mec 9000GN
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Seems like great advice. I will be getting a 9000GN for 12ga. I have a Sizemaster for 20 gauge, and I like it a lot. But would like more throughput for the 12 so I can sit down and do 500 at a time. I guess I'm too much of a bench monkey to stay away from reloading.
 
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