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How many shotgun shells do I need for reloading?


Fretless
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My wife and I have been saving our empty shotgun shells with the expectation that we will start reloading them at some point.  I'm starting to think I might have plenty.  I don't know how many times they can be reloaded, or if reloading will actually save me money the way it does with 38 special.

 

We both shoot 4 or more matches a month.  We try to go to some big matches when we can.  We have almost 10 gallons of federal top gun hulls, and 4 gallons of Winchester AA hulls.

 

How much is enough?PXL_20211003_173701729.thumb.jpg.1f9d6e44afeac6254dd7334eb7fa49fe.jpg

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Generally, I load then until the crimps start splitting. Usually around 5 reloads they tend to start splitting. I have gallons upon gallons, as my son and I shoot trap and skeet along with Cowboy Action. I set up a older MEC 600 jr to match the winchester low recoil rounds for cowboy action and keep my MEC sizmaster set for our trap/skeet rounds. So keep up what you are doing as shotgun hulls don't last as long as you 38 spl brass. 

 

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While I don't use any of the hulls you have, those I see in the picture should work, especially the AA-LNLR.

I typically get 4-6 reloads out of a Rem STS or Nitro (sometimes more) and then toss. As a SxS shooter as soon as they get a little "glazed" on the body of the hull I get rid of them to avoid sticky hulls in the chambers.

As to the question of how many hulls is enough that depends on how much you shoot. I like to keep about 500 -1000 loaded rounds on hand, then reload when I have about 250 or so empty hulls. In the shed are another 500-1000 empty once fired which I rotate into my stock pile as I toss less desirable hulls. When those get to about 250 or so I will buy/acquire more once fired hulls, I don't shoot near as much as I used to so I what is loaded and on hand right now should last about 4-5 months.

YMMV

Regards

:FlagAm:  :FlagAm:  :FlagAm:

Gateway Kid

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In my book you will never have too many, especially the ones you like best.  You have a nice supply but it sounds to me the two of you shoot a lot of monthly matches and based on what you put you should keep at least 350 on hand just in case your press goes down or something comes up where you do not have time to reload.

 

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19 minutes ago, Slapshot said:

I always figure if you have to ask if its enough , then it ain't enough, LOL.;)

Good point.  Just like I tell my students when sorting used screws: "if you're not sure if it's garbage, it's garbage."

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More than enough to get started.   I've always reloaded AA's, most of which I inherited from my father.   There are some in the bin that are at least 50 years old.  Dad used to put a tic mark on the base.  When he had a ring all the way around of tic marks, he stopped caring and just reloaded them until they split.  Obviously, some never did.  :)   

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You will not save much reloading shotgun shells.  However, you can assure yourself a reliable supply of low recoil shells.  That makes reloading worthwhile.  Black powder is another matter where reloading is quite economical.  For a pump shotgun, I reload until crimps split.  For a SxS I reload until the hulls get frosty.  When loaded with blackpowder I toss hulls after one firing.  I  find the new AA hulls OK for reloading but I prefer Remington hulls.

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He's putting the horse before the carriage anyway. The only component of this enterprise we have right now are the buckets full of  empty shells. No SG reloading press, no shot, no appropriate powder, no wads......... and NO PRIMERS. 

:blink: :wacko: :huh: ;) :D

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You’ll not save enough money loading your own smokeless SG shells to make it worthwhile. 
Loading BP shells does save a lot of money. 
 

 Most CAS shooters reload for reasons other than saving 50 cents to a couple dollars a box. 
Do the math on how long it will take to pay for a shot shell press at $2.00 a box. 
 

I reload smokeless shells because my wife needs low recoil shells for medical reasons. Used to buy LNLR AAs till I got a box half full of heavy target shells. Messed her hand up so bad that it took a year to heal.
I load shells for her to ensure that never happens again. 

 

I am a BP shooter and load my own. 
 

 I’ve had my shot shell machines for about 40 years so their all paid for. 

Edited by Sedalia Dave
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13 hours ago, Slapshot said:

I always figure if you have to ask if its enough , then it ain't enough, LOL.;)

 

The Rule of Enough (as it applies to CAS shooting)

 

1.  Do I have enough guns? - NO

2.  Do I have enough ammo? - NO

3.  Do I have enough powder? - NO

4.  Do I have enough bullets? - NO

5.  Do I have enough primers? - Really? 

 

@Fretless unless you’ve got a problem getting hulls I would think you’ve got plenty to start. 

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2 hours ago, Tequila Shooter said:

 

The Rule of Enough (as it applies to CAS shooting)

 

1.  Do I have enough guns? - NO

2.  Do I have enough ammo? - NO

3.  Do I have enough powder? - NO

4.  Do I have enough bullets? - NO

5.  Do I have enough primers? - Really? 

 

@Fretless unless you’ve got a problem getting hulls I would think you’ve got plenty to start. 

I'm so glad to have joined a group of like minded individuals.

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I would start now.  When you run low on hulls, buy some factory stuff.  But if you do some dumpster diving at a match, you won't run out.  You could also check out your local trap range.  You might have to buy them, but maybe not.  I can get all the Federal Gun Clubs that I can carry at the one I use.

 

Chancy

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11 hours ago, Sedalia Dave said:

You’ll not save enough money loading your own smokeless SG shells to make it worthwhile. 
Loading BP shells does save a lot of money. 
 

 Most CAS shooters reload for reasons other than saving 50 cents to a couple dollars a box. 
Do the math on how long it will take to pay for a shot shell press at $2.00 a box. 
 

I reload smokeless shells because my wife needs low recoil shells for medical reasons. Used to buy LNLR AAs till I got a box half full of heavy target shells. Messed her hand up so bad that it took a year to heal.
I load shells for her to ensure that never happens again. 

 

I am a BP shooter and load my own. 
 

 I’ve had my shot shell machines for about 40 years so their all paid for. 

I figure I'm loading a box of 25 for around $5.00, maybe $6.00 and I can't find them for that price. 

 

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I like to reload(sg and R/P) in batches of 100. That's how primers come so it seems to make the most sense. Shooting a hundred before reloading more will give you time to try them in local matches, the opportunity for family members to express their opinions and to decide if you really want to invest in a big bucks loader or will you be content to make them in smaller quantities. I load now on a Dillon SL900 that my father bought for reloading for skeet and trap. I wouldn't spend the money for this machine just because it is overkill for a single shooter. Having multiple shooters in the family may make it worth the expense.

 

Imis

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40 minutes ago, Rye Miles #13621 said:

I figure I'm loading a box of 25 for around $5.00, maybe $6.00 and I can't find them for that price. 

 

I am using components purchased over the last five years so my costs are skewed compared to todays component prices. I buy my shot from a local caster and it runs about $37/25 pounds, my primers were $40 per thousand and my powder (clays) was $140/8 pounds. Hulls ran about 5 cents each.

Per shell cost =

shot... 9.25 cents (1 oz)

primer... 4 cents each

powder.... 4 cents (15 grain)

hull.... 1 cent per load (average 5 loads)

total = $4.56 per box.

Locally the LNLR are about $9 (when you can find them) so I am saving about $4 per box. Even when the LNLR were $7.87 at Wallys place I was saving about $3.

Figure in the cost of the reloader (a Sizemaster at $280) I paid for it in less than year. (100 boxes at 10-12 per month) even with the older prices of factory shells.

I now use a Mec 9000 ($450) and after selling the Sizemaster for $300 recently, it was paid for years ago.

The savings are there! plus I don't worry about not having shotgun shells I like when I want them.

YMMV

Regards

:FlagAm:  :FlagAm:  :FlagAm:

Gateway Kid

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40 minutes ago, Gateway Kid SASS# 70038 Life said:

I am using components purchased over the last five years so my costs are skewed compared to todays component prices. I buy my shot from a local caster and it runs about $37/25 pounds, my primers were $40 per thousand and my powder (clays) was $140/8 pounds. Hulls ran about 5 cents each.

Per shell cost =

shot... 9.25 cents (1 oz)

primer... 4 cents each

powder.... 4 cents (15 grain)

hull.... 1 cent per load (average 5 loads)

total = $4.56 per box.

Locally the LNLR are about $9 (when you can find them) so I am saving about $4 per box. Even when the LNLR were $7.87 at Wallys place I was saving about $3.

Figure in the cost of the reloader (a Sizemaster at $280) I paid for it in less than year. (100 boxes at 10-12 per month) even with the older prices of factory shells.

I now use a Mec 9000 ($450) and after selling the Sizemaster for $300 recently, it was paid for years ago.

The savings are there! plus I don't worry about not having shotgun shells I like when I want them.

YMMV

Regards

:FlagAm:  :FlagAm:  :FlagAm:

Gateway Kid

Many of my components were bought before this big increase also, so my estimate is off too. Even if you started with todays prices you'd be about the same as factory but it's nice to have 'em when you want them instead of depending on when you can find them.

I've seen at LGS for $12.95 for Win AA!!! Yikes!

Edited by Rye Miles #13621
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17 hours ago, Fox Creek Stitcher said:

He's putting the horse before the carriage anyway. The only component of this enterprise we have right now are the buckets full of  empty shells. No SG reloading press, no shot, no appropriate powder, no wads......... and NO PRIMERS. 

:blink: :wacko: :huh: ;) :D

We have Sportsman's Warehouse out here and they have MEC reloaders, wads, and shot in stock. The primers are hit or miss. Powder, not so much.

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My favorite shells are the Remington STS low recoil.  Up until about 18 months ago, I could buy them as needed for $7-$9.00 per box.  Then the supply dried up.  Fortunately I had saved several years worth of the STS hulls so I had to go back to reloading my own shotgun shells.  I do save several dollars a box reloading but I can only load about 4 boxes per hour with my Mec Jr.  

 

Obviously, my time is worth something to me and I don't consider reloading shotguns shells cost effective if factory shells are available at reasonable prices.  The shortages force me into it.  

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Reloading is a must if you shoot Frontier Cartridge.  Opinions differ if you shoot smokeless.  
 

Prior to the current component shortage I figured I could load a low recoil AA “clone” for a lower cost than budget 12 gauge shells IF I could get shot at less than the $45-50 retail cost of new lead shot.  I have purchased reclaimed and homemade shot when I could find it at a decent price.  It is not perfectly round but it’s fine for the distances we shoot.  I generally use the same powder (Clays, originally and now Red Dot) that I use for .38 Special.

 

Hulls I have scrounged and sometimes purchased.  I generally sort my hulls into three categories:  once fired (for big matches), used good condition (monthly matches) and “eww-but the ‘97 or Model 12 will eat ‘em”.

 

Claybuster wads are less expensive than major brands.  They’ve been a little scarce but I’ve found them.

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My take? Buy once. Decide how many shells you'll reload per week. Don't forget to include practice rounds.

Remember mid-priced machines make better shells than cheap but useable machines, They resized the brass base as part of the reloading process

MEC Sizemaster would work for 50 to 100 rounds per week

My cheap/poor skeet shooting friends use a MEC Grabber but they shoot 200 to 500 rounds per week.

My rich/old skeet shooter friends swear by Ponsness/Warren. Since they are retired and shoot in the 1,000 shells per week range range. it still doesn't make sense as PW is a year wait and unaffordable.

 

The Sizemaster, when lubed, should last a lifetime and makes good shells. It helps to standardize on similiar shells as setup is a time waster. I use Claybuster Wads purchased by the case. From old, 1 piece, Winchester AA hulls I get 7 to 10 reloads. This is for an over/under and after 5 reloads I doubt they would work in a pump.

 

Don't forget to save the boxes.

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About once a year, I go into a shot shell reloading frenzy….

Currently …

* 12ga, 3 Cases oh Smokeless, 3 Cases of Black Powder

* 16ga, 1 Case of Black Powder

I’m out of primers but who cares till the prices come down with 70 Boxes of shells In inventory 

Edited by John Boy
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On 10/3/2021 at 1:01 PM, Buscadaro Bob said:

Generally, I load then until the crimps start splitting. Usually around 5 reloads they tend to start splitting. I have gallons upon gallons, as my son and I shoot trap and skeet along with Cowboy Action. I set up a older MEC 600 jr to match the winchester low recoil rounds for cowboy action and keep my MEC sizmaster set for our trap/skeet rounds. So keep up what you are doing as shotgun hulls don't last as long as you 38 spl brass. 

 

 

A bit off topic, but still pertinent. I'd live to set up my Mec to load a Low Recoil equivalent, but to date, I've not found a recipe. Could you please share your recipe. 

 

Ideally, I'd like it if someone would load Cowboy specific ammunition, in a paper case using fiber wads. I was a youngster when paper shells were still available, and the smell of a freshly fired paper shotgun shell still brings a smile to my face. 

 

Some vintage 16 ga 2 9/16 shells for my 97. I'd use it for cowboy, but I can't bring myself to cut down the barrel, and 16 ga ammo is not readily available.

 

20190915_191532.thumb.jpg.56c293270ad66a6e4c632c504e964ea7.jpg

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On 10/4/2021 at 9:17 AM, Chancy Shot, SASS #67163 said:

I would start now.  When you run low on hulls, buy some factory stuff.  But if you do some dumpster diving at a match, you won't run out.  You could also check out your local trap range.  You might have to buy them, but maybe not.  I can get all the Federal Gun Clubs that I can carry at the one I use.

 

Chancy

In 15 years, we have purchased once shot hulls only TWICE...bought 100 for WR and 100 for EOT.

Really did not see a difference in those and the ones collected from the range.

I do 'inspect' each one before loading...wipeing each down with a wet wipe.

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To the OP, you are asking the wrong question.  The query should be:  Why do I not have enough?  Buckets and boxes are cheap.  :rolleyes:

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On 10/7/2021 at 10:47 AM, "Big Boston" said:

 

A bit off topic, but still pertinent. I'd live to set up my Mec to load a Low Recoil equivalent, but to date, I've not found a recipe. Could you please share your recipe. 

 

Ideally, I'd like it if someone would load Cowboy specific ammunition, in a paper case using fiber wads. I was a youngster when paper shells were still available, and the smell of a freshly fired paper shotgun shell still brings a smile to my face. 

 

Some vintage 16 ga 2 9/16 shells for my 97. I'd use it for cowboy, but I can't bring myself to cut down the barrel, and 16 ga ammo is not readily available.

 

20190915_191532.thumb.jpg.56c293270ad66a6e4c632c504e964ea7.jpg

 

Big Boston, I am out of town working at the moment, when I return home i'll get you the load info. I load Winchester AA hulls, Claybuster 11118 WAA equl. wads,  with a 1 1/8OZ load of #8 shot with red dot powder.  I just cannot remember the powder bushing i used. It took me a bit of trial and error but I was able to just about match the factory Winchester AA low recoil/noise loads for my son. They chrono  15 fps faster than factory. 

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On 10/7/2021 at 9:47 AM, "Big Boston" said:

 

A bit off topic, but still pertinent. I'd live to set up my Mec to load a Low Recoil equivalent, but to date, I've not found a recipe. Could you please share your recipe. 

 

Ideally, I'd like it if someone would load Cowboy specific ammunition, in a paper case using fiber wads. I was a youngster when paper shells were still available, and the smell of a freshly fired paper shotgun shell still brings a smile to my face. 

 

Some vintage 16 ga 2 9/16 shells for my 97. I'd use it for cowboy, but I can't bring myself to cut down the barrel, and 16 ga ammo is not readily available.

 

20190915_191532.thumb.jpg.56c293270ad66a6e4c632c504e964ea7.jpg

i started out loading federal once fired paper and plastic premiums , got a lot of them as an employee shot at our range , the plastic have worked wonderful , the paper started out fine but as they aged they seemed to swell and stick a bit - not all the time but sometimes - more than i liked , ill grant some of them were experimentals that were unmarked and maybe had something going on but i really dont think that was the issue , stored dry and cool , they do smell great tho 

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