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Jess Money

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I'm pondering reloading my own shotgun shells. What are the pros and cons?

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I load for about $5 a box of what I really like shooting or pay $8 for something close to what I want. But the main reason I started was I couldn't get the factory loads when I needed them. I really hate loading SG but it's a necessity.

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Especially if you shoot BP. I haven't started loading shells yet, but I will have to eventually. The best price I have found so far is about a buck a shell for 12 gauge. That will work for the state BP match, but I am going to have to start reloading if I want to shoot FCGF instead of GF with black powder pistol and rifle.

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I am also going to start reloading SG shell. With the price of Win AA running about $9.50/box, having roughly 48lbs of #7 shot, I can get started for the price of a MEC press, primers and wads. Just not sure if I want to buy one now or wait until we get moved.

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And if you ever want to drift into BP, it's almost a necessity to reload. BP sg shells run about $1 a piece for store bought.

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Jess - I started loading my own back when I was having trouble finding featherlites, now I have what I want, when I want it as long as I keep stocked up on primers, wads and shot.

 

That was the big thing to me, not having to haunt the stores in hopes of them having what I wanted.

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I'm pondering reloading my own shotgun shells. What are the pros and cons?

 

The more you shoot, the more money you save. Plus you can always sell the press if you change your mind. Plus what Most Wanted said.

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If you don't mind shooting "normal" power loads, it will be cheaper to just buy the bulk pack stuff from Wally World. If you prefer Featherlites, you will save some money.

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Bull pack stuff doesn't cycle worth a plugged nickle in any of my 97's and don't shuck work a shoot in the kids SxS, so we reload AA's. when we need new hulls, we buy boxes of low noise/low recoil to shoot, then reload those hulls.

 

Cheaper? maybe a tiny bit.

 

Not having to scrounge for shotgun shells sure is nice. As is loading a custom light load.

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I shoot FCGF with Hammer Double guns and All Brass 12Ga. Reloading is the ONLY way to go. Plus, like others, I get a load I like and ALWAYS have 4 boxes of loaded hulls on hand.

 

Coffinmaker

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I bought Winchester low noise/low recoil (ol' Featherlites) fer probably 7-8 years..

I gave the empties away for 6-7 years..

When my better half started shootin' more regular with me..

Kinda' like every match after the 6-7 year mark..

I started pondering the same thing "start reloading shotgun" or "not"..

I started saving my empty hulls..

I started reloading the recipe for the same shell as the ol' Featherlites..

 

Rance ;)

Thinkin' I'm reloading for 2 now..

I never looked back.. :)

Except I had to learn how to reload shotgun "Glitter" shells..

That's no fun :( but Lacey loves 'em.. :)

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FYI - I'm running an ultra-lite (3/4 oz. shot) shotshell seminar at the Thurmont, MD Mason-Dixon Divisional in October. Now I only load for CAS and WB, probably 30 boxes a year. Will take a couple of years for savings to pay for a MEC Jr., which is what I'm currently using. However, when I was shooting trap weekly, a big-time dollar savings. At that time I used a MEC hydraulic and could load about two flats an hour (provided no shot spills).

 

The main thing is that a person can tailor their loads to their personal taste. As I get older (shoot Cattle Barron), I prefer lighter loads. Plus I enjoy reloading as a hobby.

 

Finally, you can find simple used presses like the MEC Jr. without much searching.

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Because you need something else to do. It's fun!

Besides, thousands of rounds in practice gets pricey.

LS

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eBay often has a wide selection of shot shell reloaders, from the cheap/not very good to the best/not really all that expensive. Progressive to single stage.

 

High volume shooters tend to prefer Ponsness Warren 800 series. Lower volume shooters are often satisfied with MEC or Lee Loaders.

 

Recent prices have ranged from $60/70 to $500+, plus shipping.

 

As with firearms, ask your Pards for,some shop time on their reloaders.

 

I use one BP practice load, and two BP match loads. Any Pard can PM for the data.

 

AR

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I load 12 gage 3/4 ounce shot smokeless shells at about 950 fps for two 100 year old 97s.

I load 12 gage 1 ounce shot bp shells at about 1000 fps for a 137 year old double gun.

My smokeles are $3.75/25 and my bp loads are $5.25/25. Neither of these loads are on any shelf.

It is the next logical jump in reloading after pistol/rifle. I think that it is more logicl to load shotshells than to move from single-stage press (that I use) to some level of progressive loading.

Mileage will vary by cowboy...

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I like to reload so I load my own.They cost a little less than $5.00 a box.

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Jess,

 

If you have a free hour anytime before the next match you have more than enough time to load a box of shells. As said above if you are considering going BP definitely start reloading. If you would like to make a light soft shooting smokeless load you will almost have to reload.

 

My suggestion, while you are deciding keep an eye on ebay, craigslist, classifieds, auctions, and yard sales for used reloaders. If you find one you like at a good price the decision has been made for you. There are many good deals out there.

 

I am using a MEC 600 that a friend found at a yard sale for $5, it was rusty, but after I oiled it and loaded a box of shells you could not tell it from one on almost any reloading bench. Back when shot was $25/bag I bought a 12ga MEC 600 and a 20ga 650 and over 100 lbs of shot for $30 and I am not that lucky. The deals are out there you just have to look.

 

Hope this helps,

 

Smoke

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My SxS like AAs and they are pricey (when you can find them). I can reload my own for about the price of Wally World cheap shells, ad I enjoy it. My wife refers to reloading as my "zen time," so even if I didn't save anything, I would continue to reload

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Well I just started a bit back, but the only ones I load are brass shells. I got some old Hammer Double shells (Magtechs with 209 primer holes) for cheap. They look to last forever. Not sure how much it costs me to load them but seems cheaper than buying Wally World stuff.

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I shoot a Baikal M220 12 ga. I've never been recoil sensitive since I don't have recoil pads on my shotguns or rifles ;30-06, .308, .270.

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Since you are not recoil sensitive I would not bother reloading shotgun shells. If Remington Gun Clubs shuck well from your Baikal just buy them and leave the hulls for us BP shooters. I can buy Gun Clubs for $60 a case. For that price I don't bother reloading smokeless loads.

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Pros you can load up the load you like not having to worry about it changing because the correct load is no longer available. And you may save a few cents if you do it long enough to cover the equipment and materials you will need.

 

Cons it takes time, it's hard to find components at times or they are very expensive. Unlike reloading rifle and pistol ammo shots hell are real easy to find verses finding sass legal ammo. I have the gear to reload shotgun but the cost of shot and primers do not make it cost effective as I buy my Winchester low recoil low noise by the case when the rebate is active.

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I have used a MEC Sizemaster for the last 12 years, with great success. While not the fastest press, I can load a hundred in an hour very comfortably. Like others have commented, loading ammo is therapeutic. If you already enjoy loading metallic cartridges, then shot shells will be a welcome venture. Since many of our shooters don't reload, you can acquire a good many hulls at every shoot for free.

I think you would enjoy it.

LS

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I know I'd enjoy it, Logan, because I thoroughly enjoy loading metallic. It's another one of the pleasures I get from our sport, although at times, I think I'm loading blanks when I look at my still standing knockdowns! You've seen me shoot. LOL. My concern is it worth the expense for possibly a break even cost. And do I want to try to create a new space on an already crowded loading bench? Something I need now would have to be dismounted and then replaced each time I load the shot shells. At this point I'm still leaning toward the Federal Target Loads I've been using from Wally World.

 

Decisions, decisions.

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My reloading bench is down in my woodworking room..

I cut a 3/4" x 2 foot x 2 foot.. Put some sides around the board.. Catch spillage..

Put a 2"x2"x 24" on the bottom edge..

Mounted my Mec Grabber in the appropriate are (center/rear)

When I want to reload shotgun..

This thing sits on one of the wings of my table saw..

Slide it back until the 2"x2"x24" front board hits the wing..

And I'm good to go..

No clamping.. The weight of the boards, reloader, shot, powder and such.. It doesn't move..

When I'm done.. I clean it up.. Empty it out.. And move it to a counter area I don't use..

 

Rance ;)

Thinkin' ya don't need a dedicated area.. :)

Just the way I did it...

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I started reloading shotshells because Winchester featherlights were about $9/box & the only place I could get them was an hour away. (now my local Walmart carries them for about $7/box). The second reason was I have another shooter in my family so moe rounds. The last reason is I make up Glitter Shells for my daughter.

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I can't get a load like mine anywhere. It's perfect! Plus I save at least $3-$4 a box on reloads. I reload the same shells over and over. When I shot BP, it was a must to reload!!! Now that I'm a dedicated smokeless guy, I love the loads I came up with!! International Clays, and 1 oz. of #7 shot. Perfect! ;)

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I know I'd enjoy it, Logan, because I thoroughly enjoy loading metallic. It's another one of the pleasures I get from our sport, although at times, I think I'm loading blanks when I look at my still standing knockdowns! You've seen me shoot. LOL. My concern is it worth the expense for possibly a break even cost. And do I want to try to create a new space on an already crowded loading bench? Something I need now would have to be dismounted and then replaced each time I load the shot shells. At this point I'm still leaning toward the Federal Target Loads I've been using from Wally World.

 

Decisions, decisions.

Run the calculator Ace_of_Hearts gave you and you will discover Wally World sells promo shotgun shells close to your loading cost unless you can find some very cheap reclaimed shot. For CAS reloading shotgun shells make economic sense only for BP, low recoil shells or 410. I am not willing to reload when the money I save is a fraction of what a Wal*Mart greeter makes.

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I know I'd enjoy it, Logan, because I thoroughly enjoy loading metallic. It's another one of the pleasures I get from our sport, although at times, I think I'm loading blanks when I look at my still standing knockdowns! You've seen me shoot. LOL. My concern is it worth the expense for possibly a break even cost. And do I want to try to create a new space on an already crowded loading bench? Something I need now would have to be dismounted and then replaced each time I load the shot shells. At this point I'm still leaning toward the Federal Target Loads I've been using from Wally World.

 

Decisions, decisions.

From what you are saying , if I were you I wouldn't even consider reloading SG. I don't mind reloading for rifle and pistol but really don't like doing it for SG. If you can run the stock ammo you'd be hard pressed to load for what you can but them for. Also how many boxes to repay your loading equipment. While I hate factory field loads ( gives me a head ache) they also take longer to get back on target is another reason I load my own. Maybe try some peoples reloads first before deciding one way or the other. Good luck. MW

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The first accessory to buy is a pan to put underneath the press, Shot spills happen. Line the bottom of the pan with something to keep the shot from bouncing out of the pan.

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A pard called and asked me if I'd considered the time/travel/expense involved when I'd have to travel to get shot and components and find the right powder, if available. That pard is right, since there are no local gun shops that carry even the basic reloading supplies. The closest possibility would be 50 miles one way and they're pretty iffy to begin with. The shipping charges when ordering on line can really be scary, too.

 

I appreciate all your comments, but for now, I think I'll stick with commercial shotshells. I've spent a lot of time polishing my chambers to the point they'll shuck anything I load in them. And I've always figured that the ribbed shells, having only 50% of the AA hulls surface area, would shuck easy because of less surface friction. My opinion only, but I have no problem with them.

 

Thanks again to all you pards for you input!

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Shot factory shells for 7 yrs, and have been reloading them for a short time. The reloader rounds the nose of the shells, and they loads in my double faster, and smoother. I'm able to fire an oz of shot with featherlite recoil. Its faster, and i'm more accurate with the drop in recoil, so less makeups. Figure it's shaving a half second off the stage times per 4 sg rounds. Have no idea what I'm saving per box, and don't really care. The real expense is in the fuel, and travel. Don't enjoy loading them, but like the results.

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Like getting the exact load I want when I want.

No worries about not finding them when I need them.

No worries about the stores being out of the load I want.

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