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Question about shotshell reloaders


Hogleg Hunter

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I have been using a MEC 600 Jr For the last 10 years. I have adjusted it to reload STS shells reasonably well. I have tried to reload AA's but no matter what I do they keep collapsing. I have 2 questions:

 

1.  Any suggestions on adjusting the MEC for AA's

2.  Any other reloaders that are easier to adjust - it's time to upgrade to a progressive.

 

 

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All shotshell loaders are a little finicky to adjust.  At least until you really start to develop a sense of how many turns on which die will it take to fix THIS problem.  The 600 Jr actually is a little less trouble since you have a little more access to the adjusting stems and you are running only one shell at a time.

 

Win AAs are a more flexible plastic than STS and the other Remington hulls.  So they show you that you still have a slight misadjustment in at least one of the three dies.   Crimp starter, crimper or final taper (if you have one, and you should have one).   Most folks find they can put the same load into a Remington target hull as they can a Winchester AA hull without adjusting much of anything.   But if you are on the edge of not adjusted correctly, the Winnie will show you the errors of your ways sooner than the Remington.

 

You need to develop a sense of how the shell looks when you have proper adjustment of EACH of the dies.   You probably already know what you want at the end of Final Taper.  Looking like a factory load.  But that does not help much when you have two preceding dies and a component stack height to get adjusted right.

 

Before crimp starter - what you should see is the shot level is just a hair lower than where the rolled edge of the crimp was placed by the factory.  Which on a 12 gauge is about 5/16" down below the uncrimped mouth.  Shot level too high or too low will make forming a good tight, level crimp almost impossible.   Fix the top-of-shot height by a combination of changing out the wad, putting more or less seating pressure on the wad, choosing a bulkier or denser powder, or checking that you really are following a GOOD recipe accurately and without making substitutions that ruin your stack height.

 

After crimp starter - adjust so the starter brings the petals in to leave you a 1/4" diameter hole open at the top of the cone.   Should look like you could drop a .22 round right down the hole.   Only when you get the starter cone to look right do you adjust the next station.

 

After crimp die - you want to see a flat crimp surface, which is setting down the thickness of a US dime below the rolled edge (0.050").   You want petals meeting just about at center.  Neither leaving a gap (hole) nor making a severe swirl of the petals.   But, both Winchester and Remington shells over the last few years have been lousy at holding a consistent hull length, which means almost everyone lives with a few hulls that don't close and a few hulls that swirl the petals.  Adjust for average hull looking very good.  If you get ANY buckles or wrinkles in the wall of the hull (about where the collapsible section of the wad is), you have the crimp die setting the flat of the petals too low.   The hull has to go somewhere, so it buckles.  Back off a little on the body of the crimp die and also the center plunger until you get rid of wrinkles.   Severe buckling that is hard to adjust out - probably means you did not get the shot level (stack height) set right back at the "before crimp starter" station.

 

If you can only get the crimp to go flat, but not recessed down 0.050", you can probably stop for Cowboy loads.  But for clay target shooting, it's better to get the right amount of recess in the crimp.  The amount of recess affects the pressure the load can develop before the crimp opens and the shot column starts moving.  No recess can lead to lower chamber pressures and inconsistent performance.  And also crimps that open up over time and with vibration.

 

After final taper die - now it should look like the factory load.  About the top 0.050" should roll over with a nice rounded edge that feeds well into pumps and semi-autos, and even feeds nicer into most doubles, too.  Don't use the taper die to try to FIX a crimp or close a big center hole.  You can buckle an almost complete load with a taper die set way too low.   A lot of reloads that don't want to fall into chambers have no or too little final taper applied to the finished round.

 

good luck, GJ

 

 

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Just now, Larsen E. Pettifogger, SASS #32933 said:

All kinds of videos on adjusting the Mec on YouTube.  Most are by Mec itself.

 

I've looked at all of them. I must be missing something. I got the STS's to load satisfactory but the AA's are not working no matter how I adjust the press. I suspect that the precrimp height is wrong but need a second opinion.

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Could it be the wad you are using. I have a "life time supply" of old AA before they changed them to two piece. It is my understanding the the new AA hulls work best with Winchester Wads.

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Garrison Joe,

 

Thanks for the reply. You mentioned a couple of things that I haven't seen in the videos that I watched.  I hope to try them later today. Its 2am so I better get some sleep so I can get started at the crack of noon. :rolleyes:

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The internal volume of the new style AA hull is less than the internal volume of STS hulls. This means that a load that has the perfect stack height in a STS hull will likely be too tall for the newer AA hulls. 

 

Used to be that the easiest way to fix this was to use an aj charge bar. However the company that made them (Multiscale) went under due to Covid. You can still find them on ebay but they are bringing a premium price. 

 

You can make a fixed charge bar adjustable by drilling into the shot cavity from the end of the bar and tapping the hole. (Either #10 or 1/4") Then use a set screw and screw it into charge bar so that it will project into the cavity reducing its volume slightly. Setscrews come in different lengths. You need one long enough to do the job without sticking out the end of the charge bar and poking into your had as you move it. Also use a little nail polish to lock it in place once you have it where you want it.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Sedalia Dave said:

drilling into the shot cavity from the end of the bar and taping the hole

 Wouldn't tapping the hole be more beneficial

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I can't quite understand this. I load both AA and STS on my 600jr, and don't have to change any settings. If you are collapsing the AA's you might try backing off the crimper dies a tad.

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47 minutes ago, High Spade Mikey Wilson said:

I can't quite understand this. I load both AA and STS on my 600jr, and don't have to change any settings. If you are collapsing the AA's you might try backing off the crimper dies a tad.

 

Some loads work out such that the same settings can be used for both hulls. I gave up trying to find that sweet spot and no longer load AA hulls.

 

Remington STS, Nitro, Gun Club and Federal Top Gun hulls will all crimp perfectly in both my MECs using the exact same components and charge weights.

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Are you using the same wads for both shells? If so, need to use the correct wads. I've found that the STS shells are a bit longer than AA's. I just stick to STS's. Finally, make sure the wads are seated correctly, otherwise some bad things happen.

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2 hours ago, High Spade Mikey Wilson said:

I can't quite understand this.

 

That's exactly MY problem.  :wacko:

 

I'm actually using the Claybuster equivalent to Winchester waa12r wads.  #43 MEC bushing, APP powder, 1-1/8 oz of shot. My STS loads aren't perfect but shot doesn't leak out and they don't open up. 

 

With Remington in limbo at the moment I'm unsure about future availability.  I have a fair amount of AA's and the smokeless people keep giving me more so that may be what I have to reload. Prices for STS hulls on Gun broker are quite steep.

 

 

Hogleg

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HH, I reload Gun Clubs for local matches and save my STS and Nitro hulls for major matches.  I get my Gun Clubs hulls free at clay ranges (they are still appearing in trash barrels.).  They load with the same data as STSs.  With reloading components scarce and factory shells unavailable no one at CAS matches is tossing Gun Club hulls in the trash.  When loaded with BP or a sub I toss them after firing as I no longer trust the crimp.

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Federal has already made public statements that they will continue to produce the Remington line of ammo and components.  I am sure at this point I will be continuing to shoot Remington shotshells for quite a while.   Just picked up a thousand once-fired STS hulls at 6 cents per.  So, I'm covered regardless of Federal's follow through with their statement. 

 

The Remington made hulls are longer lived and have stronger walls than the Winnies.  The new Win hull design allows bulged rings to form down at the top of the base wad insert of the hull.   I tossed out all my old Win hulls.  It is MUCH easier to NOT mess around with die adjustments that are needed most of the time when changing from one hull type to another!  I even set up two loaders, one for Remington and one for Federal hulls, which I load a few of.

 

good luck, GJ

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57 minutes ago, Hogleg Hunter said:

 

That's exactly MY problem.  :wacko:

 

I'm actually using the Claybuster equivalent to Winchester waa12r wads.  #43 MEC bushing, APP powder, 1-1/8 oz of shot. My STS loads aren't perfect but shot doesn't leak out and they don't open up. 

 

With Remington in limbo at the moment I'm unsure about future availability.  I have a fair amount of AA's and the smokeless people keep giving me more so that may be what I have to reload. Prices for STS hulls on Gun broker are quite steep.

 

 

Hogleg

 

Trying to load APP and 1 1/8 oz shot in the shorter AA hull is not likely to work with modern plastic wads. Just not enough room. You can try cutting just the powder seal and shot cup off and using that without the cushion, or using some other combination, like fiber wads. Good luck.

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21 minutes ago, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

 

  It is MUCH easier to NOT mess around with die adjustments that are needed most of the time when changing from one hull type to another! 

 

good luck, GJ

 

I'm thinking that I need a sign with this on it hung on my shot shell reloader.  Current plan is to beg, borrow or scrounge some more STS hulls.

 

Hogleg

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12 minutes ago, Hogleg Hunter said:

 

I'm thinking that I need a sign with this on it hung on my shot shell reloader.  Current plan is to beg, borrow or scrounge some more STS hulls.

 

Hogleg

 

Go to any Trap or Skeet range. You can get all the Remington Gun Club hulls you want for free. They load exactly like STS hulls..

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Sedalia Dave,

 

How do  the Gun Clubs shuck from a double barrel? I believe that they are ribbed slightly.

 

Our local skeet club closed down a couple of years ago. I'm going to try some others in neighboring areas.

 

Hogleg

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19 minutes ago, Hogleg Hunter said:

How do  the Gun Clubs shuck from a double barrel? I believe that they are ribbed slightly.

A good majority of my reloads these days are in Gun Club hulls, and in both my Stoeger and Cimarron 1878 double barrels they shuck just as easy as their STS brothers.

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2 hours ago, Hogleg Hunter said:

Sedalia Dave,

 

How do  the Gun Clubs shuck from a double barrel? I believe that they are ribbed slightly.

 

Our local skeet club closed down a couple of years ago. I'm going to try some others in neighboring areas.

 

Hogleg

They are ribbed and have steel bases.  However, they fly out of a SxS shotgun pretty well.  I saw Evil Roy shooting them once at EOT.  I find Gun Clubs don't crimp as reliably as STS or Nitro hulls so I place a 1/2-inch square piece of paper over the shot before crimping to ensure no shot dribbles out.  The major advantage of Gun Clubs over STS or Nitro hulls is the price - free for a little dumpster diving.  The attached photo shows some of the Gun Clubs I've scrounged at clay ranges.

IMG_0008.jpg

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2 hours ago, Edward R S Canby, SASS#59971 said:

I find Gun Clubs don't crimp as reliably as STS or Nitro hulls so I place a 1/2-inch square piece of paper over the shot before crimping to ensure no shot dribbles out

A friend of mine(an avid shooter of sporting clays. skeet and ducks:rolleyes:), gave me a bag of gun club hulls and said they reload like STS'. So I loaded a few, It shucks out fine out of my TTN. Here's a pic of how it crimps out of my 600 jr that is set up for the STS. Shot doesn't fall out but there is that hole that feels "iffy". (An undersized BB will go thru):P

 

DB:FlagAm:

sg1.jpg

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4 minutes ago, Dakota Brown said:

A friend of mine(an avid shooter of sporting clays. skeet and ducks:rolleyes:), gave me a bag of gun club hulls and said they reload like STS'. So I loaded a few, It shucks out fine out of my TNN. Here's a pic of how it crimps out of my 600 jr that is set up for the STS. Shot doesn't fall out but there is that hole that feels "iffy". (An undersized BB will go thru):P

 

DB:FlagAm:

sg1.jpg

 

Last year I had a #8 1/2 shot get out of a Gun Club and into the internals of my Stoeger, locking it up during a match.  Fortunately this was just a local match.  However, I now make sure the hole (as pictured) is plugged.  I don't want failures even at a local match.  Those smooth, green STS hulls are still what I use at a major match.

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A lot of the shooters at my range use factory Winchesters so there are far more once-fired AA hulls available than any other. Because of that, I made the necessary adjustments to my Mec 650 to accommodate them. They’re only good for one reload and get tossed afterwards. Been loading them exclusively and successfully for  more than 10 years. 

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A lot of folks here are shooting Fiochi shot shells since they are more available. Used to be AA's. The Fiochi hulls are straight, not tapered so the Winchester wads won't work. Wads are in short supply so this isn't a solution. I've been collecting them anyway, just in case.  :ph34r:

 

Hogleg

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I am now using the Dillon 900, like it best, had a RCBS Grand, liked it too and before that MEC 650, it worked also. 
Here is the cheat code that works for me in all three. 5/8” hole punch from Hobby Lobby or any craft store. Postcard thickness paper. Rule around here is anything that comes in the mail on postcard thickness paper is turned into overshot card. It is an extra step; place card over shot. I can place almost any hull without changing a thing and the crimp comes out fine. Some are prettier than others.

(Disclaimer: I’m no expert in this field, I am a “good enough” guy. :))

56AD2586-BDCB-4079-A480-55D5C6D91E1E.jpeg

A5822A0A-1E4B-4A3D-B5FA-81D41EE3F549.jpeg

3EA3FD0F-7E57-4F38-96B1-F0E7DDD74C40.jpeg

A01A0A23-A230-43E3-AC7A-66762E9AD8A3.jpeg

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13 minutes ago, Rattlesnake Slim said:

Rumor has it that his wife picked it up for him at either Hobby Lobby or Michael's. I know he wouldn't be caught dead in either place. ;)

 

He must not be a fly fisherman then. They have inexpensive fly tying materials. Besides, who would recognize me with sun glasses and my hat pulled down low.  :D

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Garrison Joe,

 

Many thanks for your mini tutorial. It turned out to be two things. The precrimp was too low the flat plate in the crimp die was too low.

 

Remington Nitro and Winchester AA both using the same settings. Not perfect but good enough for cowboy.

 

 

IMG_20210401_120402.jpg

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I've been using Mec since 1963. I've had the 600jr, 650, Grabber and 9000. I have never been able to go directly from Remington to Winchester hulls without changing something. They have different base thickness. Maybe some folks are just not as particular as I am. 

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5 minutes ago, Snakebite said:

Maybe some folks are just not as particular as I am. 

 

My two criteria are that the shot doesn't leak out and the crimp stays closed. Can't see anything once I pull the trigger anyway.  :D  those BP categories are known for that.

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On 4/1/2021 at 10:17 AM, Hogleg Hunter said:

Sarival Slim,

 

Where did you get the punch?

 

Hogleg

 

 

At Hobby Lobby, look for "circle punch - 5/8"

At Michaels, look for "Lever Punch, Circle by Recollections™" 

 

 

Chancy

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1 1/8 oz shot is too much shot for cas imo but I don’t know what he’s using them for. Been using an old Bair reloader for years but I only use ww AA hulls. You’ve got to get the right amount of powder-height of wad-volume of shot to fit in the given space of a shell with enough but not too much space for the crimp to fold back into the shell. Wads are critical and come in different heights and different sized cups to allow for more or less shot or more or less powder. I always use an overshot card punched out of mty primers slipcovers. Eliminates the need to be exact on the crimp so if a hole appears no shot falls out and I have a nice tight crimp. If the op is collapsing cases my wag would be to reduce the shot a little to give room to crimp. 

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On 4/1/2021 at 10:21 AM, Sarival Slim said:

I am now using the Dillon 900, like it best, had a RCBS Grand, liked it too and before that MEC 650, it worked also. 
Here is the cheat code that works for me in all three. 5/8” hole punch from Hobby Lobby or any craft store. Postcard thickness paper. Rule around here is anything that comes in the mail on postcard thickness paper is turned into overshot card. It is an extra step; place card over shot. I can place almost any hull without changing a thing and the crimp comes out fine. Some are prettier than others.

(Disclaimer: I’m no expert in this field, I am a “good enough” guy. :))

56AD2586-BDCB-4079-A480-55D5C6D91E1E.jpeg

A5822A0A-1E4B-4A3D-B5FA-81D41EE3F549.jpeg

3EA3FD0F-7E57-4F38-96B1-F0E7DDD74C40.jpeg

A01A0A23-A230-43E3-AC7A-66762E9AD8A3.jpeg

 

I bought the same hole punch, but I use empty cereal boxes. As I empty one, it becomes the source for multiple over shot cards.

 

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2 hours ago, Baltimore Ed said:

1 1/8 oz shot is too much shot for cas imo but I don’t know what he’s using them for. Been using an old Bair reloader for years but I only use ww AA hulls. You’ve got to get the right amount of powder-height of wad-volume of shot to fit in the given space of a shell with enough but not too much space for the crimp to fold back into the shell. Wads are critical and come in different heights and different sized cups to allow for more or less shot or more or less powder. I always use an overshot card punched out of mty primers slipcovers. Eliminates the need to be exact on the crimp so if a hole appears no shot falls out and I have a nice tight crimp. If the op is collapsing cases my wag would be to reduce the shot a little to give room to crimp. 

 

I plan on going to 7/8 oz shot. Just got the wads in. Had 1-1/8 oz wads so that's what I used. Only the AA shells were crushing. STS shells were coming out fine. Some adjustments solved the problem for AA's with no changes in shot or wad. 

 

Hogleg

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