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Ammo and Reloading Factory Ammunition, Reloading, Components, Load Data and more.

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  #1  
Old 04-19-2013, 12:29 PM
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Arrow Shot shell reloading and costs - worth it?

I have been wanting to load my own shotgun shells, mostly for clay. Just wondered if it is really worth it? Is there that much of a savings? What kind savings can one have in comparison to a $7/25 box load of Winchester or Estate target loads?

I did check out the forums and only found a couple of instances where costs were stated.

Why do I want to reload? Mostly as a hobby (keep me busy) and hopefully to save money.

Thanks for any insight.
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Old 04-19-2013, 12:55 PM
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If you compare it to the cheap bulk packs at Walmart, there's not much of a savings. If you compare it to Win AA or Remington STS loads, then you can save quite a bit. Personally I started thinking about reloading 12ga not for the cost but because I can't find anything at the stores.

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Old 04-19-2013, 1:44 PM
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@Wilit

Thank you for the information. That is good to know. As I posted, primary reason is for something to do. Saving money would be a huge plus for me. I figured, as long as it is comparable to the cheap stuff, I would still be ahead as there is not much on the shelves these days.
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Old 04-19-2013, 2:32 PM
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Depends on how much you shoot.

I picked up around 20 cases or trap/clays shells five years ago for boys and me.

One boy joined the Marines so he was not going with us any more. The remaining boy and I slowed down our shooting to just pre-hunting season tune-ups and so I have a couple of cases left.

Since our shooting has improved we only go through a couple of boxes of shells hunting.

I remember checking the a "reloading calculator" and if I got the Size-master press I'd have to load something like 25 cases of trap / clays shells to pay for the loader and other gear.

If your shooting sporting clays twice a month you'll only go through 2 1/2 cases of shells or so a year.

Now that the one son is out of the Marines, the boys and I are shooting in IDPA matches so with practice we go through about 12 boxes of 38 cal and 6 boxes of 45 cal a month. With reloads costing around 30% that of factory the reloading gear was paid off real fast.
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Old 04-19-2013, 2:52 PM
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Never go into loading shotgun with the thought you will save money, think of it instead as getting better ammo than you would normally buy. Using top grade componets I can load somthing as good or better than the Win aa or the remington for the cost of cheap ammo. But you have to do a lot of it and enjoy it or it does not pay, a good press and componets will set you back a lot of money and take years to pay off. On the other hand I enjoy the satisfaction of making my own shells and the fact that I have a constant supply.
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Old 04-19-2013, 3:08 PM
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While all of the above have truth and validity, I'm on the other side. I don't include the cost of the press as when your loading days are through, you can sell it for close to what you purchased it for in the first place. (View it a 'renting' the machine.) This is especially true if you buy used and save a few bucks....especially less tax.

Yes you can load for less, but the biggest thing to remember is that you MUST buy the components in bulk, which means storage at your place.

Lastly it is a great and rewarding hobby unto itself. Reloading is not only relaxing, but rewarding when you vaporize a clay with your reloaded round.

I'm not the type that reloads thousands of rounds in a single or few sittings, I reload most every week, usually on Tuesday evenings. Reloading a from one to two hundred means a more relaxing atmosphere and leads to fewer mistakes, especially with a newb.

If you have components, it matters not what the stores have on hand, you don't care, you have your stuff anytime you feel like cranking out a few. The savings a less with 12 and 20 gauge, but with 28 gauge and 410 bore being in the $12 to $15 range the savings there are GIANT.

My 2 anyway.
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Old 04-19-2013, 3:42 PM
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I reload 12g not to save money but for the quality of ammo I make. I'm loading AA and STS on my MEC9000, and it cranks out the perfect ammo for me. I'm using a 3/4oz load, because realistically using more than 7/8oz on a clay load is a waste of shot. Also, I'm paying about 1/4 to 1/5 of that I would have paid if I was buying new ammo. I use Fiocchi 616 primers, alliant extra-light powder, reclaimed shot, and CB wads. I also bought in bulk, so I have my cost per box at $2-$3, and my cost per flat between $24 and $30. Now understand, you won't save money, you're just gunna shoot a whole lot more. PM me if you have more questions or want to try loading on a MEC before you buy
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Old 04-19-2013, 4:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revoman View Post
While all of the above have truth and validity, I'm on the other side. I don't include the cost of the press as when your loading days are through, you can sell it for close to what you purchased it for in the first place. (View it a 'renting' the machine.) This is especially true if you buy used and save a few bucks....especially less tax.

Yes you can load for less, but the biggest thing to remember is that you MUST buy the components in bulk, which means storage at your place.

Lastly it is a great and rewarding hobby unto itself. Reloading is not only relaxing, but rewarding when you vaporize a clay with your reloaded round.

I'm not the type that reloads thousands of rounds in a single or few sittings, I reload most every week, usually on Tuesday evenings. Reloading a from one to two hundred means a more relaxing atmosphere and leads to fewer mistakes, especially with a newb.

If you have components, it matters not what the stores have on hand, you don't care, you have your stuff anytime you feel like cranking out a few. The savings a less with 12 and 20 gauge, but with 28 gauge and 410 bore being in the $12 to $15 range the savings there are GIANT.

My 2 anyway.
^^^^This
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Old 04-19-2013, 9:01 PM
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I have recently gotten into reloading 12 gauge. I love loading slugs with a savings of 75% or more I can shoot slugs all day long without having to break out paper money per shot. I am starting to play with buck shot as well. I don't however have a strong desire to load bird shot. I just don't shoot enough of them for the time investment.
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Old 04-19-2013, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by not-fishing View Post
Depends on how much you shoot.
I plan to join my club's monthly shoot. They do a clay shoot 2x a month and I am getting friends into the sport in general. In reality, I am looking at shooting at least 300 shells a month. It has been something I am enjoying more and more. Except, we use a hand thrower when I take friends out.
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Old 04-19-2013, 11:08 PM
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Originally Posted by alfred1222 View Post
I reload 12g not to save money but for the quality of ammo I make. I'm loading AA and STS on my MEC9000, and it cranks out the perfect ammo for me. I'm using a 3/4oz load, because realistically using more than 7/8oz on a clay load is a waste of shot. Also, I'm paying about 1/4 to 1/5 of that I would have paid if I was buying new ammo. I use Fiocchi 616 primers, alliant extra-light powder, reclaimed shot, and CB wads. I also bought in bulk, so I have my cost per box at $2-$3, and my cost per flat between $24 and $30. Now understand, you won't save money, you're just gunna shoot a whole lot more. PM me if you have more questions or want to try loading on a MEC before you buy
That is great info. I will have to start looking at trying 3/4 oz load. What you wrote makes sense. Thank you for the offer. I may take you up on it. I was thinking about checking out a RCBS Mini Grand and the Mec. They seem quite solid and affordable. Just have to find one that is used to save a little money.
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Old 04-20-2013, 6:41 AM
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I load my own shot shells. I think even for target loads you can save a few bucks. If you calculate your time in your reloading, then it probably depends what you consider a fair hourly rate for your time, at least with regard to whether you are saving any money.

I too think you can select your loads to your needs and not have to buy what is on the shelf. In addition for me, I find reloading of all types fun and interesting.

I don't shoot as much clays as many on these boards so for my needs a quality single stage sizemaster is all that I need to produce all my various shot shell loads. If you are getting into serious target volumes, a form of progressive press will pay dividends time wise.

Shotgun world dot com is a good place to learn what loads (component combinations) guys are using that load well and pattern in their guns.
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Old 04-20-2013, 8:52 AM
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My coworker was running the numbers yesterday and it doesn't look like there is much savings for common bulk loads. Slugs and buckshot look much better, as do the numbers for .410, which is not as commonly available.

Then of course, there is also the issue of inconsistent availability of factory ammo as we have been seeing recently. Being able to build up a supply and reload your own is a good investment of another sort.
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Old 04-20-2013, 9:35 AM
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i reload 410s and 28 ga. ... i like the win. supersport clay factory loads (1300 fps) so i load to those specs.... loading saves me a lot over buying the hot loads...im thinking about getting a 20 ga. loader, saving my win hulls now --- but the price of mecs has gone up 30% or so... maybe worth doing if i find a nice used mec... to many other iorns in the fire now anyway... cheers...
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Old 04-20-2013, 4:47 PM
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Watch CL I have picked up a TON of shot cheap. A ton is 80 25lbs bags. One time I got a five gal bucket full of reclaimed graphited shot mostly #7 and#8 for $40 per bucket. Reclaimed is mostly what I shoot. The hard part is moving it. Be patient and answer all adds and ask them if they will deal most will. People start out at $25 per bag but after it sits on CL they sometimes make a deal. I live in SF and have to shoot Steel and its way cheaper if you buy the shot at a Club like Richmond or Pacific. Feel free to PM me if you got any questions.
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Old 04-20-2013, 4:48 PM
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If you add casting your own slugs into the mix the saving add up fast. I use a Mec 9000. Plus if your Nor Cal its easy to pick up hulls at Chabot by the garbage bag full for Remington Gunclub.

Last edited by sixgunner; 04-20-2013 at 4:52 PM..
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Old 04-20-2013, 5:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jet Setter View Post
That is great info. I will have to start looking at trying 3/4 oz load. What you wrote makes sense. Thank you for the offer. I may take you up on it. I was thinking about checking out a RCBS Mini Grand and the Mec. They seem quite solid and affordable. Just have to find one that is used to save a little money.
I know the higher end models are a bit pricier, but you should ask yourself: is this something I'm going to do long term. For me, I'll shoot skeet until the day they put me in to dirt, so a 9000 is the best thing. If I were you, look at how much you plan to shoot in 1 year, than triple it. Than look at the machine that fits your needs
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Old 04-20-2013, 6:22 PM
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My main reason is I buy primers 5k at a time $130
Wads 5K for $156
Hulls free any Tapered ones I can find on the ground mostly Remington Gunclub. STS is my all time favorite. Then cast slugs buckshot whatever or pick up lead shot when you can. The knowledge that I can reload 5K of 12g priceless.
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Old 04-21-2013, 9:04 AM
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My Dad and I reload 12g on a Ponsness Warren press. The savings about washes when we buy new shot, but the savings start when we buy reclaimed. Additionally, the PW press can load about 300 shells or more in about 1 hour if you load it to capacity with primers, shot, and powder.

We use AA, Nitro Gold, and STS hulls, Spolar Wads, Federal 209As, and reclaimed shot over IMR 700x. All components are bought in bulk.

I like to make two different loads for sporting clays: The "regular" 1 1/8 oz. load at about 1200 fps for most targets, and the "big" 1 1/8 oz. 1350 fps load for those stubborn distance targets.
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Old 04-21-2013, 9:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M27 View Post
I have recently gotten into reloading 12 gauge. I love loading slugs with a savings of 75% or more I can shoot slugs all day long without having to break out paper money per shot. I am starting to play with buck shot as well. I don't however have a strong desire to load bird shot. I just don't shoot enough of them for the time investment.
I am still using the same Lee load all for probably 20 years! No high volume shot, but for slugs and buck shot. It seems to like Fed more than Win for perfect crimps.
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Old 04-21-2013, 10:32 AM
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I am still using the same Lee load all for probably 20 years! No high volume shot, but for slugs and buck shot. It seems to like Fed more than Win for perfect crimps.
I agree. I am using federal or finocchi hulls with either waa12 or 12s3 and either blue dot or hero, depending on the load I am using.

I agree, the winchester hulls are too tight for the slugs.
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Old 04-21-2013, 10:58 AM
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Thank you for the advice. I am excited. Just have to find somewhere in Sacramento that sells primers and reclaimed lead shot. They seem to be the most elusive and most expensive of the components.

Are any of you having any issues using reclaimed shot? Do you have to prep the shot first or just load the stuff? Looking online, there seems to be a very few amount of people complaining that it will scratch your barrel.
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Old 04-21-2013, 1:43 PM
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The reclaimed shot that I get has already been sifted and has a graphite coating. Very little of it has any flat spots. I see little to no difference in flight of the shot or pattern.
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Old 04-21-2013, 6:42 PM
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You can expect to load 1-1/8 oz target shells or lead field loads for about $5.50/box of 25. This is using new shot ($45/ 25 lbs). You can save a lot if you use a lighter load of lead, which is the most expensive component.

I can get reclaimed shot for $25/ 25 lbs and load 3/4 oz shells for about $3/ box. 1-1/8 oz reclaimed is about $4.20/ box.

Quality is comparable to premium STS or AA target shells and its still cheaper than 100 rd Walmart shells.

Loading your own is also the only way (i think) to get 3/4 oz 12 ga shells, which are really fun to shoot. You can also tailor any other custom load you want.

I use a MEC 600 and single stage loading has been plenty productive for me.
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Old 04-21-2013, 10:58 PM
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You can expect to load 1-1/8 oz target shells or lead field loads for about $5.50/box of 25. This is using new shot ($45/ 25 lbs). You can save a lot if you use a lighter load of lead, which is the most expensive component.

I can get reclaimed shot for $25/ 25 lbs and load 3/4 oz shells for about $3/ box. 1-1/8 oz reclaimed is about $4.20/ box.

Quality is comparable to premium STS or AA target shells and its still cheaper than 100 rd Walmart shells.

Loading your own is also the only way (i think) to get 3/4 oz 12 ga shells, which are really fun to shoot. You can also tailor any other custom load you want.

I use a MEC 600 and single stage loading has been plenty productive for me.
Don't think I have seen a 3/4 oz bushing anywhere. Where do you get your reclaimed shot and primers from? I have yet to find any in stock in the Sacramento area.

I would happily get a used press but have yet to find any in town. I have seen a couple of the new MEC Jr Mark V for $200+tax.
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Old 04-22-2013, 10:28 AM
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Don't think I have seen a 3/4 oz bushing anywhere.
I use an adjustable universal charge bar, but 3/4 oz bars are usually used for 20 gauge machines. MEC presses come with the most common shot weight for the gauge, 1-1/8 for 12.

The only difference between a 20 ga and 12 ga MEC 600 is the dies. Charge bars are all the same for different gauges of the same model press (single or progressive) besides what shot weight they throw. Just put a "20 ga" shot bar on the 12 ga press.

If you can't find one, you can always make a shot dipper or measuring spoons and scoop the shot by hand.
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Old 04-22-2013, 2:17 PM
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^^ good info. I was actually looking at some Lee powder measure scoops. Hoping to find better versions of it.
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Old 04-22-2013, 3:34 PM
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There is also the option of loading something that the factory does not usually have available.. very light loads (read as low recoil) for beginners.. I can load down to about 3/4 oz in a 12, and 5/8 in a 20.. neither load is readily available via the various factory fodder.. and both have very light recoil..
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Old 04-22-2013, 8:02 PM
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Quote:
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I can get reclaimed shot for $25/ 25 lbs and load 3/4 oz shells for about $3/ box. 1-1/8 oz reclaimed is about $4.20/ box.

Same question as jet setter - where are you getting your shots from?
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Old 04-22-2013, 8:58 PM
sargenv sargenv is offline
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It can be had for $45/bag at various places.. I get mine at USI but I've seen it available at bass pro shops and at Rotometals.com.. they are in San Leandro and you could go pick it up locally if you are in the bay area.. otherwise I trade to get bags of shot.. Sometimes you find people on craigslist getting rid of it..

The good thing is, if I load 3/4-7/8 oz, I can get 450-530 rounds per bag.. that would be 18-21 boxes of 25 per bag.. so even at $45/25 #, that would be $2.15-$2.50 per 25 rounds for shot.. Primers can be had for about $25/1000 in bulk (usually Rio's or Cheddites) so that would work out to $.63/25 primers.. then add wads at $10/500 = $.50/25 and then 16-18 gr of powder.. usually Red Dot, Promo, 700x, or some fast burner.. and that comes out to $140/8# @ 18 gr = $1.13/25... grand total = 1.13 + .50 + .63 + 2.50 = $4.76/box of 25. I don't count hulls since I usually pick those up.. If you can get the powder or any other component cheaper (and in bulk) your costs would go down on a per unit basis..

That would be for a 7/8 oz load at a nominal 1200 fps give/take..

Add more powder or more shot and costs go up.. but like I said, you can make any load you want.. and not have to worry about if wally world has ammo for you.

Last edited by sargenv; 04-22-2013 at 9:09 PM..
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  #31  
Old 04-23-2013, 6:08 AM
pakk pakk is offline
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I load and shoot at least 2 flats a week. My wife and son will shoot another flat or two. If you want to save, you have to buy in bulk. I live in Norcal as well. I can't find any where locally to save. I buy primers/wads/powder online and make a trip to Oregon once a year to get shot. When I buy shot, I pick up 2 tons. I keep about a ton for me and sell the rest off to my buddies.

Here is where I get my components.

Wads
Connies Components
http://conniescomponents.com/index.html
$185.68 shipped for 10,000 Down Range XL 1 1/8

Powder and Primers
Gamaliel
Primers 20,000 Nobel Sports $466.50 Shipped
Powder 5x8lb jugs of Green dot+2000 Nobelsport primers $658.15 Shipped

Shot prices go up every year. I go to a place in Medford Oregon. I normally buy 2 tons. If someone else is willing to let me borrow their truck, I get more. Last year, I bout 160 bags at $31 a bag. It cost me around $250 in fuel. That comes out to $32.56 a bag for new shot.

This comes out to just under $4.50 a box. I could save more by shooting less lead and using cheaper powder, but at least for now. This is what I shoot. If you want to save, you have to buy in bulk and maximize shipping/hazmat. If you notice, when I buy powder, I throw in 2k more primers. That's because that maximizes hazmat. Something else I do is try to stagger when I buy components. I try to buy my lead in July just because I have a little break there on the weekends between my kids sports. Then I buy wads around November, primers January, and powder is due in about a month or so. That way it doesn't hurt the wallet too much.

Good luck
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  #32  
Old 04-23-2013, 9:14 AM
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I think its bad timing to start reloading now. With the scarcity of powder and primers the price fluctuates (more expensive). Given that you want to start new there is no way you're going to be able to buy in bulk right now.

I would recommend to wait it out a couple of months and let inventory catch up with demand, then start looking.
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Old 04-23-2013, 9:31 AM
The Nomad The Nomad is offline
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Tag. Great info here for myself. Looking at reloading shot also.
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  #34  
Old 04-23-2013, 1:21 PM
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Everything I listed is in stock except for the powder I use. There are alternatives available.
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Old 04-23-2013, 3:07 PM
Tbrad10 Tbrad10 is offline
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Costs vary according to where you get your supplies. My last purchase was:
$70 - 5000 wads
$130 - 5000 primers
$119 - 8 lbs. powder
$35 - 25 lbs. shot. x 7 bags
I shoot 1oz loads with 20 grains of powder so 8 lbs. powder and 175 lbs. shot gives me about 2800 shells. Cost per shell =$0.17 cost per box = $4.25.
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  #36  
Old 04-23-2013, 3:38 PM
sargenv sargenv is offline
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Shotshell primers are not as short as metallic primers.. I know of at least three sources who have target shotshell primers in stock at this point..

Shotshell powders that are rare to be used for pistols are also more plentiful.. There is no real "accuracy" issue with a scattergun so you can use the fast stuff for light target loads, some medium burners for heavy target and field loads, and any of at least 1/2 dozen slower powders for hunting ammo or high velocity shotshell ammo.. scatterguns only need there to be adequate pressure for them to work a semi auto action, or just to burn "good enough" for a manual action gun.

Last edited by sargenv; 04-23-2013 at 3:40 PM..
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  #37  
Old 04-23-2013, 4:08 PM
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Those of you who want reclaimed shot should hit up your local skeet and trap ranges. My local range sells shot that they have a company come out to reclaim and process for $25 per bag.
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  #38  
Old 04-23-2013, 4:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jet Setter View Post
^^ good info. I was actually looking at some Lee powder measure scoops. Hoping to find better versions of it.
Using a scoop is cool if you want to load very very few shells. It defeats the whole purpose of a progressive press. 3/4 is fine but if you are starting out I go with 1 OZ. The Lee load all is $40 or something like that. I own one but am not a fan. That said if your just starting out its a easy cheap way to get your feet wet. Then sell it latter on.
http://www.rotometals.com/product-p/...laim_clean.htm
If you cant find primers or wads I will give you enough to get started.
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  #39  
Old 04-23-2013, 5:37 PM
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Jet Setter Jet Setter is offline
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Thank you, all, for the great advice and to Alfred1222 and Sixgunner for the kind offers. I am now on the hunt for a well priced press and components. My first Trap Match is Saturday. I am sure I will be hooked and will need to reload asap.

Thanks again.
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  #40  
Old 04-23-2013, 9:40 PM
sixgunner sixgunner is offline
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Pakk
You are the Man. Hats off to you for thinking big. Wish I had two tons or 160 bags of shot in my Garage. The more I think about it, the Lee load all is a good place to start. You just can't beat the price. That was a newbie can get started without breaking the bank. I could load three boxes in hour or less on it maybe more with my Lee. My Mec 9000 loads a case in about as much time.
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