Jump to content
SASS Wire Forum

Shotshell loader


Recommended Posts

Im currently using a Pacific (Hornady) shotshell loader and looking to upgrade. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I cannot afford a Spolar! Thanks

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ponsness Warren user myself.   Used a 375 for more than 40 years.   Quality but lots of strokes per shell.  Load 4 to 5 boxes per hour.   My PW 800 drops a shell every pull of the handle but can be fussy once in a while.   Hard to tell reloads from factory.    Deals on used can be found,  have bought several for friends.        GW

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've used a Bair HoneyBair, a Mec 600 Jr, an RCBS MiniGrand, a Mec Grabber, and now a Hornady 366.  For what is needed for almost all pards shooting cowboy only, a Mec 600 Jr is hard to beat.  Easy to set up, easy to learn, easy to adjust to a different load if you want to, reliable, light weight.

 

I'm using the 366 because I got it at a bargain price, rebuilt it, and now it's run like a tank for the last 15 years!   But I ask it to make about 2500 shells a month for Sporting Clays, Wild Bunch and Cowboy.  Buying a new one right now is like opening your wallet at the Audi dealership, though.  Find one used if you want one.

 

If you are buying for a few shoots a month, 50 shots max each, then the MEC 600 Jr is plenty of loader.  Reasonable price, especially if you find a lightly used one.

 

If shooting only 3/4 ounce loads in 12 gauge, the only major loader I would stay away from is the Dillon SL900.  It just does not have enough range of adjustment in the wad seating operation to handle very light loads like cowboys use.   And it's a complex machine. 

 

And due to the amount of plastic parts on it, I would avoid an RCBS Grand (I hear they are close to or already discontinued at the factory, as well).

 

If you are heavier into shotgunning, then a high volume "progressive" press that runs more than one shell in the shell plate at a time is often worth it.   But some may not be real adaptable to low noise low recoil type loads.   If that is your type of shooting, generally better advise on the Spolars/Ponsness Warrens/ etc can be found on the competitive shotgunning forums like Shotgun World or Trap Shooters.

 

So, since SO much of the decision ought to hinge on your volume of shooting, your level of experience with reloading, and the variety of shells/loads you intend to make, and you have told us nothing about those items, can't recommend going to more expensive machines for most cowboys.   Run a Mec 600 Jr like a lot of us do.  If you run that one to death in a couple years, then you can reconsider your next choice then.

 

good luck,  GJ

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

I use a Ponsness Warren  800+ and it works very well.

Same here. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

I bought a used MEC 9000 years ago, loaded 1000's of shells and finally sent it back to MEC last year for a complete rebuild. Loads look like factory. Pricey but less than Ponsnes or Spolar. I can load 300-400 per hour with no problem.

Edited by Sixgun Seamus
Fix otto
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

MEC 650, then Grabber.  As mentioned above the Grabber is more than enough for my 3 matches per month.  Do use a MEC Super Sizer first--gives me a chance to evaluate the shells--stepped-on ones, splits at the crimp, and ones with a rough exterior go in the trash.  

Once loaded they then go through the QuikLoader for the SASS-allowed 3° taper at the crimp.   

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

MMC - If I recall correctly, you're loading for 2 shooters.  That means double the amount of shotgun shells plus the ammo for rifles and revolvers.  That's a lot for someone who shoots regularly so you could certainly use a progressive.

 

I upgraded from a MEC Sizemaster to a 9000GN last year and am loving the machine.  Pulling the handle six times per shell on the Sizemaster got old and was holding up loading the 38s.  The 9000GN can be a bit finicky to get dialed in but it runs great once that's done.  The only thing that I have to keep an eye on is the primer drop.  It can skip dropping a primer but it rarely happens.  Bought it new for a bit over $700 last year and am not regretting the purchase in any way.  If Average Joe has a new one he wants to sell, I highly recommend you consider it.  

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

I fool around with a lot of shotgun reloaders and for a single shooter that just shoots cowboy a MEC 600 jr will make plenty of shells.  I am guessing you are loading on a pacific/hornady that is not a 366.  If it is a 366 it makes shells at about the same level, maybe just under,  as a Ponsness Warren 800 and should do anything you need.   If you are loading for several shooters and loading for more than just cowboy shooting or you and your crew shoot more than a match a month, find a Ponsness Warren 800.  You can find 800B's pretty frequently, look to pay $500-$600 for a used one and it will probably need gone through and the timing set and some small parts replaced or tuned.  An 800C or Convertible can sometimes be found for about the same price or slightly more and is a better machine and with the exception of one part can be upgraded to the equivalent of an 800 plus.  Used 800 plus machines can be found for $800-$1000 unless you just stumble onto a super deal.  Some of the advantages of the 800 plus are the removable die system so if you mess up a shell you can remove it, on the older machines you have to cycle it through.   Also has a more easily adjustable priming system, better pre-crimp and final crimp dies and has a 1 inch driving bar.  The PW also makes a 900 series progressive that drives off a center shaft instead of the star gear on the 800.  I buy and sell, repair and tune a lot of MEC loaders because they are a good loader and what most guys can afford and work fine for just cowboy shooting.  They load shells but to me they are more of bargain option.  They really pale in comparison when put beside a Ponsness Warren.  The PW is a very heavy built piece of machinery.  I know of several small commercial shotgun loading operations that ran Ponsness Warren 800's.  Other loaders reload ammo, Ponsness warren re-manufactures ammo.  The only machine better is a Spolar Gold but the price tag on those starts at $3000.  If you have any questions about loaders feel free to PM me and I will share what knowledge I have. 

 

Edited to add that I load everything from 2 3/4 inch  1 1/4 oz bismuth waterfowl loads to 2 3/4 inch 3/4 oz cowboy loads on my PW 800's.  I have an 800 Convertible upgraded with all the 800 plus features and an 800 plus 12 ga with additional 20 ga and 410 tool heads.  Takes about ten minutes to change gauges. 

Edited by Jack Spade
added info
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For everyone recommending the PW 800, where are you getting parts? AFAIK PW has limited support the 800 series models.

 

I was all set to buy a PW800B are an incredibly low price because the primer tray and ski ramp were damaged. Did some research and discovered that support for the 800 series machines is limited. Contacted PW and was told they were no longer making those and several other parts for the 800 series machines.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

600 jr if’n you aren’t loading a bunch. 

 

It is hard to beat the 8567 grabber. I primarily use it over the 600 jr. I’ve got the wife started on the grabber.
 

It has more things to watch for (primer feed, etc), but if you run a progressive loader for metallic cartridge it’s not much different. 

Edited by Leroy Luck
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

im currently a Ponsness Warren user , i started out with a hornaday 366 - then went to a combo of mecs both single stage and progressive , while all of them did the job some allowed me the flexability i needed to set up my loads and now i load so few to keep up what i have is overkill but i like the machine its well made and holds the settings and i can run all i need in a short time 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know who you talked to at PW but I don't have any trouble getting parts for them.  The ski ramp primer assembly fits multiple models, I think it is $60 new from them.  Yes, they have stopped supporting the 800B but a lot of the parts cross over.  The 800 plus is a current model being produced.  They got really behind during covid and there have been some really long wait times for machines and gauge conversions but that is starting to get better.  In stock parts ship pretty quick and the lady that answers the phone can diagnose most problems with the loaders. 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What Shawnee Hills said.  I also upgraded from a MEC SizeMaster to a 9000GN and, once you get it dialed in, you make shells at an absolutely fantastic rate.  I also load for two, and in just a single session I load more than we need for at least 6-9 months, and then the machine goes back to its storage spot on the shelf.  

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Picked up a used MEC 650 8 years ago and it's been great. Loaded shells for 2 to 5 shooters at a time with no issues.

There should be no problem finding used 600 or 650s anywhere.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Started loading shotshells with a Lee Load-All, upgraded from that to a MEC Grabber, but recently got a PW 800 - best money we ever spent.  Not only is it faster than the MEC & easier to use, it makes better shells.  I just loaded 28 boxes of 12 ga in about 6 hours total time over 3 days.  That would have taken a week with the MEC & about 20 years with the Lee.

 

I gave the Lees (we had 2) to new shooters several years ago.  We still have the MEC, we use it for BP shells & other small quantity loading.  The PW is set up for 3/4 oz light loads, which are the vast majority of what we use.

 

Holler

Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 hours ago, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

If shooting only 3/4 ounce loads in 12 gauge, the only major loader I would stay away from is the Dillon SL900.  It just does not have enough range of adjustment in the wad seating operation to handle very light loads like cowboys use.   And it's a complex machine.

@Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 As a reformed trapshooter, I love my SL900. I have no problems reloading light loads on it. As for complex, I find the Dillon 650 to be a more complex machine. It takes me less than an hour start to finish to load a month's worth of shells. 

Having said that, use what you like and what gets the job done. As with all reloaders (human and machines), your mileage might vary.

 

La Sombra

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm trying to help another shooter right now make light loads on his Dillon SL900 - it's a pain!  I don't own one.  I don't recommend one when there are easier machines to run for loaders who don't have much experience.  Thanks, but I think its a tough machine that does not run on the same engineering principles as most other shotshell loaders, which really makes it tough for a shooter to move up to it.

 

What I give other shooters here is advice based on my experiences.....that is what it is.    And my mileage does vary from yours.

 

good luck, GJ

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Ponsness Warren.   I own two now after having loaded on a Hornady Apex some time ago and a Dillon 900.   Own a 800+ and a 900 elite.   Both great machines and produce great shells.   As I read someone say,  the PW's don't reload shells, the "remanufacture" them!

 

Found one of the machines I bought on facebook marketplace.

 

And I have not had any problem getting any parts I needed from PW,  even for an old 800b I had,  all were available.

Edited by Toranado, SASS # 58447
Link to comment
Share on other sites

20 hours ago, Arkansas Lew said:

Mark

Our friend Average Joe has a new in the box MEC 9000 he want's to sell

call him.

This would be a good option for you. I got the 9000E and have had great luck with it for the past 3 years. It loads great shells and I finally got it tuned so I can switch between STS and AA without having to do any more adjustments to it. I paid $1400 back then for it and not sure what they are going for today.

 

TM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Had a 366. Got tired of fighting it. Went with MEC 9000. Huge improvement 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/21/2024 at 5:48 PM, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

Run a Mec 600 Jr like a lot of us do

Thanks Garrison Joe for your ALWAYS thoughtful and informative posts! I traded a (used) Dillon primer tube filler that almost cost me my sanity for my well used MEC jr. I love it. It’s simple enough to operate and meets my needs.  Only load my frontier cartridge shells and I roll crimp… but the MEC jr can do the smokeless well with a star crimp, too!
 

Big hugs!

 

Scarlett
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/21/2024 at 7:30 PM, Leroy Luck said:

600 jr if’n you aren’t loading a bunch. 

 

It is hard to beat the 8567 grabber. I primarily use it over the 600 jr. I’ve got the wife started on the grabber.
 

It has more things to watch for (primer feed, etc), but if you run a progressive loader for metallic cartridge it’s not much different. 

Have a 600 junior, picked up a used 8567 last winter on the cheap. Once I got it adjusted it makes nice shells quickly. Like Leroy said, just more stuff you have to watch vs the junior. 5 min to load 25 and that’s working it pretty slow. No doubt you could cut that time in half. 
LF. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am using a MEC 9000 for smokeless shotgun shells. Its hard to stop once you get started and can load lots of ammo in a short amount of time. For my BP ammo I mostly use a MEC 600 jr. But do use the 9000 to size and prime my hulls then drop the powder and shot with the 600. I also roll crimp the BP shells. I also have a PW 375 that I was using for my BP stuff so that one has not been used. 

Regardless of what you get you might think about mounting in a baking pan in the event of an oops...ask me how I know about that.

 

Hochbauer

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I got hold of a used PW 800B and it’s great. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.