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

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  #1  
Old 09-23-2021, 10:00 PM
Wingnut037 Wingnut037 is offline
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Default Considering reloading steel 12ga. Where to start?

Good evening!

After a successful 2nd dove season, and hopefully good upcoming 1st go at duck, I'm giving more thought into reloading. Somewhat for economic reasons, but more for availability, and I think I would enjoy the process.

Looking for some advice on spending my money smartly, but on quality supplies. Went through a bit under 2 cases over 5 days out for dove, and not sure what to expect volume wise for duck/geese. Probably more practical to go for something like a mec 600jr than a 9000 progressive at my annual quantity. Would likely get roped into loading some for my hunting buddies, but not much more.

Would love some direction on what to look for in a 2nd hand system, and how to narrow down recipe options.

Might be a bit of a stretch, but finding someone who could guide me through the process in person would be ideal. I'm in North County San Diego and happy to drive for the experience.

Semper Fi
-S
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  #2  
Old 09-24-2021, 3:40 AM
Cheep Cheep is offline
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I've loaded trap and dove loads for years. The state went stupid and now I buy dove loads...
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  #3  
Old 09-24-2021, 6:32 AM
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You may not enjoy the process. Shotshells don't show signs of pressure until it blows so you always should use published loads. Where are the loads? Not easily accessible like brass ammo.

So just to be clear, that's 2 cases at 250 per case? On a single stage it takes about an hour to do 100 shells. With shotshells you have to source wads also. Wads are specific to the load you will fire and the shell size, tapered or squared bottom. Coupled with the fact that each brand of 209 primer is hotter than the next, you can't easily switch between them. Just so you know, I have rarely seen 209 primers during the shortage. Lots of small rifle and large rifle, some pistol.

If you can do the single stage, a Lee load all for $40 works just fine (less cost for the same amount of work). For progressive, I'd get a second hand 9000, Grabber or Texan.

Lastly, let youtube be your guide. There's another forum I was recommended called Shotgunworld, lots of resources there.
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Old 09-24-2021, 6:40 AM
Revoman Revoman is offline
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While I haven't dived into steel loading yet, I have done some searching on a decent outlet. It seems that Ballistic Products has most everything needed (https://www.ballisticproducts.com/Wads/departments/83/).
I already have MEC loaders in all gauges, that's not a problem, I also have empty hulls and primers. The things that are expensive are steel shot and wads.
I'm pretty sure that one of the shotgun forums would also have a lot of steel loading information, but I haven't visited there yet.
I will safely state that steel is much less expensive than bismuth and tungsten, so for economic reasons, steel seems to be the way to go. Although both bismuth and tungsten have lead-like ballistics. Steel tends to lose velocity more rapidly, that's why the velocity is up on factory ammo.
More to learn on my end before making the leap, but I'll get there.
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Old 09-24-2021, 8:03 AM
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I reloaded lead shells when we could use lead for Waterfowl and Doves. I've only missed one Waterfowl season since 1965, so I do hunt a lot.

When we went to steel for Waterfowl, didn't switch to reloading steel. I kept reloading for target and Dove shells. Around 2000, the costs of reloading supplies went up and the cost for factory target loads were in the $5.00-$6.00 range. For me, it just wasn't worth it. I finished using up all of my components.
After reloading up everything I had, I sold the Mec Grabber.

No regrets since then. I've still hunted every Duck & Dove season. I shoot about 700 shells for target in the off season.

It has been difficult to get steel shells right now. I keep about 3 hunting seasons worth of shells in stock. This latest shortage hasn't effected me since I stocked up.

In my opinion, you really have to be in high volume shooting to make reloading worth your while.

As far as using Bismuth, tungsten and heavy shot for Waterfowl, I've used steel for all of my Duck-Goose and it works just fine.

I have used Heavy Shot for Turkeys, which is fine @ $3.00-$5.00 a shot.

I do still reload for about 9 rifle calibers and a couple of pistol calibers.

I probably shoot just under 1000 shot shells a year for target & hunting. I still don't regret not reloading for the shotgun.

You have to decide if you really want to invest in all of the equipment and components for the amount of shooting you're going to do.
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  #6  
Old 09-24-2021, 8:08 AM
stevec223 stevec223 is offline
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Go to the mec website and check out their steel shot reloaders… There is a difference between lead and steel reloading and reloader setup… Most used reloaders you will find are set up for lead and you will need parts to reload steel…
The Lyman shotshell reloading manual is a good book to start with..
Cheers…
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Old 09-24-2021, 9:30 AM
Thefeeder Thefeeder is offline
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Default ><

Look for factory shells for the upcoming duck season......reloading components are hard to come by these days.

Shotgun shell reloading is very easy. It costs a bit to get started, like all reloading. But with SG shells all you need is a reloader, a powder scale and componets, no other equipment needed

Start looking to build your reloading inventory of equipment and components

What You will need to look for -----a Mec 600 so you can load 2 3/4" and 3" shells, other MEC do not load 3"----Status of Steel reloading manual from Ballistic Products---powder scale

From the manual ----look at what loads are appealing to you. Start looking for those components .....try to look for componets that can be used in multiple recopies..... you will need to experiment to see what load shoots best for you.

Last edited by Thefeeder; 09-24-2021 at 9:34 AM..
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  #8  
Old 09-24-2021, 9:47 AM
Wingnut037 Wingnut037 is offline
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Thanks for all of the replies, so good areas to research. Picked up a good number of hi brass shells in the fields I hunted this year, mostly to keep it clean, but to possibly reload as well. Looks more practical to buy factory for waterfowl first before getting over invested.

20210915_094519.jpg
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  #9  
Old 09-24-2021, 10:47 AM
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Might start here:

https://www.ballisticproducts.com/St...info/00MSTEEL/

As for a reloading machine I'd suggest a Mec Steelmaster (or convert a Sizemaster).
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  #10  
Old 09-24-2021, 1:44 PM
stevec223 stevec223 is offline
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Don’t buy wads until you figure out which hulls you will be using…
Shotgun reloading is very specific about hulls to wads… Get the manual first to make your hull selection.. You can buy factory loads to up your hull count… Welcome to the addiction…
Cheers…
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  #11  
Old 09-24-2021, 3:27 PM
Revoman Revoman is offline
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"a Mec 600 so you can load 2 3/4" and 3" shells, other MEC do not load 3""
The MEC 650 can also load 3" shells.
I get that it MAY not be less expensive to reload....BUT if you have components you can load all you want when the chips are down for buying from the stores when the shelves are bare.
If we learn ANYTHING from the current and recent past conditions, it's that YOU must be the self sustaining type to muddle through these times.
Planning ahead and buying when allowable is fine, but for any extended period, reloading is the key to shooting....or not.
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Old 09-24-2021, 9:07 PM
Thefeeder Thefeeder is offline
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Revoman----you are right, the 650 can reload 3". Have not used mine in years and did not even know that piece of info. The learning never stops. Thanks
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  #13  
Old 09-25-2021, 9:05 AM
Elgatodeacero Elgatodeacero is offline
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A few key things:

Shotshell components are not interchangeable. I recommend the “Status of steel” reloading manual from Ballistic Products and the “Steel Shotshell reloading handbook“ from Reloading Specialties.

Here are the best websites for components:

http://www.reloadingspecialtiesinc.c...ecialties.html (You still have to phone in your order)

http://ballisticproducts.com/

https://www.precisionreloading.com/

Collecting random empty hulls is a waste of time. There are a relatively small number of hull and wad combinations that are safe with steel and for which pressure tested data is available. Also, the manuals have terrible hull descriptions and it is hard to figure out what the manual is calling for and even harder to figure out what empty hulls you have scavenged.

You will need Alliant Steel powder, nothing else comes close for performance with safe pressure (Alliant Steel will also work with Barnes XPB bullets in .357 magnum and Barnes has published data on their website, so Alliant Steel has a few alternate uses).

You will also probably end up buying new primed Cheddite or Fiocchi hulls, because that is what most recipes call for and because it’s the only way to get shotshell primers right now.

Don’t buy any hulls or wads until you get the reloading manuals and determine exactly what recipe of components you will be using. Do not substitute wads and hulls, dangerous pressures and crimp problems will occur.

Zinc plated steel pellets are only a few dollars more, and very rust resistant.

I would skip MEC and get a Ponsness and Warren 375C loader, or something fancier from PW if you are a high volume shooter. PW has a one year wait list for new machines. You can adjust your machine to switch between 3” and 2.75” shells, but it is much easier to get two sets of dies for the 375C tool head, so you do not have to fool with wad pressure and crimp when switching between dove and duck loads.

High velocity steel is a pain in the neck to get set up to load, but loading is becoming necessary due to California ammo laws and general shortages.

Last edited by Elgatodeacero; 09-25-2021 at 9:08 AM..
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  #14  
Old 09-25-2021, 12:59 PM
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Sizemaster/Steelmaster also accommodates 3" hulls.

2-3/4 fine for small birds.

Duck/wild pheasant I would recommend 3" w/ steel.
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  #15  
Old 09-26-2021, 6:14 PM
Wingnut037 Wingnut037 is offline
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Ordered a book for knowledge if anything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elgatodeacero View Post
I would skip MEC and get a Ponsness and Warren 375C loader, or something fancier from PW if you are a high volume shooter.
What makes you prefer the PW over MEC? I have no experience with either, and prefer to only buy once. No high volume/clays in my plans. There is an older 375 for sale locally for $200.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elgatodeacero View Post
Collecting random empty hulls is a waste of time. .
The vast majority of the hulls are Kent upland fasteel in 5, 6, or 7, which look to be cheddite. Picked them up primarily to keep the fields clean, and even found 2 live fiocchi rounds at the end of the day which allowed me to get my limit and a 5th eurasian to close out the season. Those still something I should hang onto?

Again, appreciate the time and responses.
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Old 09-26-2021, 7:41 PM
Elgatodeacero Elgatodeacero is offline
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Ponsness and Warren just makes a much better, smoother machine than MEC.

If you can get an old 375 for $200 bucks, figure out exactly which model it is and call PW and see if they still have parts or can update/refurbish it. They sell for around $500 new with one tool set.
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