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 Post subject: Shotshell Reloading...worth it?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:18 am 

Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2010 8:04 am
Posts: 2272
Location: Delta Junction, AK
Been toying with the idea of getting set up to reload shotshells.

The economics of rifle ammo is pretty easy to figure...I don't save a dime, but I shoot more...and I [u]could[u] save money if I tried and I used to be able to get better performing loads than factory.

The economics of shot shells are a bit harder to figure. I've ran the numbers and it seems you'd have to shot a whole heck of a lot to make it pay off...and if you figure in shipping to AK, it might actually cost me money to roll my own.

The performance side of the equation is a bit different. I initially thought I might save some bucks on waterfowl loads with Hevi Shot or Tungsten. It's hard to balance the books on four or five boxes a year- even at non-toxic prices. It would be nice to harvest all those premium waterfowl hulls the slobs leave all over the marsh though.

So, does anybody roll their own shot shells that can report if the economics of it work out or is it simply a fun way to pass the winter at the bench?


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 Post subject: Re: Shotshell Reloading...worth it?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 2:43 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:02 am
Posts: 7265
Location: East Coast
I have two shot shell loaders and when I use to hunt small game and shoot trap it was the only way I could afford both sports.
I also loaded my own turkey loads and what I created you couldn't buy or the price wasn't very cost effective.
I use to get most of my supplies from Ballistics Products.
( https://www.ballisticproducts.com )
I have a Mec 650 but you can get by with a single stage if your not in a hurry and load anything fro 2 3/4" to 3 1/2" on them.


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 Post subject: Re: Shotshell Reloading...worth it?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 3:28 am 

Joined: Mon Dec 26, 2016 7:35 pm
Posts: 946
I load shot. Basically the economics are there when you like to shoot non-commodity shells. If you goal is shooting gun club, you might be 25 cents to a dollar ahead. If you are shooting performance rounds or small gauge it will feel like you’re making money.

The biggest sanity check for you is the cost of lead. It’s running $38 per 25 pounds. Retailers are asking for more. If you can get wholesale prices, and can slide in 50-100 pounds on shipments you have coming... it could help. For reference, 12 or 20 gauge commodity shells go for 50-60/box. I think I pay $80 for 5000 hulls. Primers I recall being about 5 cents retail and 4 cents at bulk. I have a MEC900H in 12 and 20 and a 3rd 900 that is Manual.
If you were loading 1ounce of shoot, 400 rounds per bag of shoot, 200 if you are loading 2 ounce. Plus primer, powder, Hull. I know guys that re-Use hulls, they always try to pick up the same kind... pick a hull most guys shoot if you go that way. It is relaxing.


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 Post subject: Re: Shotshell Reloading...worth it?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:58 am 

Joined: Tue May 01, 2007 9:05 am
Posts: 580
Yes it's worth it. I load both 12ga & 28ga. I load several thousand 12ga every year for Trap.


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 Post subject: Re: Shotshell Reloading...worth it?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 6:20 pm 

Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 8:44 pm
Posts: 1166
Location: Central Minnesnowta
I do reload shot shells. Won top gun at my trap club this year, so I must be doing something right. Don't figure I'm saving a lot of money vs. economy shells. Maybe a little bit, but not worth it simply on economics. What I am gaining is piece of mind. I know my loads are good, I know they will break targets if I hold the gun right. I also find it relaxing to spend a little time in the garage on a pleasant spring day cranking out some shells.

I also load performance upland loads, and a coyote special with buffered, nickel #B lead. These cannot be bought for any price as I'm loading them. They definitely do outperform any factory offering out there, and the cost is comparable to cheap trap loads. 1 1/8oz of chilled (soft) #6 clipping along at near 1500 fps is murder on close pheasants! 1 1/4 magnum 5 (hard shot) dumps them nicely a bit farther out. You can't buy these loads. There really isn't a big escalation in cost unless you are running very heavy shot charges vs loading trap loads.

I also used to load steel shot before the factory loads improved their offerings in terms of velocity. Reloading non-toxic is quite labor intensive. It requires some re-tooling, and due to the pressures involved, I use the measure and scale I use for metallic loading to throw powder charges. Now I find the low-priced, HV steel offerings kill ducks and geese as well as my handloads for comparable prices, so I shoot those. Have never felt the need for tungsten or heavy shot. If I were a serious goose hunter, I might change my tune, but in the marshes of MN and ND, high velocity steel has and continues to serve me well.

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 Post subject: Re: Shotshell Reloading...worth it?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:26 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2016 10:51 am
Posts: 418
Location: Colbert, WA
I like to do it for buckshot and slugs, but never do it for bird shot. I don't hunt much for bird, so I just buy economy shells for informal shooting of clay pigeons or getting some training in for home defense classes.

Definitely worth it cost wise for what I do, so long as you don't count the labor!


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 Post subject: Re: Shotshell Reloading...worth it?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 15, 2017 11:49 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2014 10:02 pm
Posts: 697
Location: Georgia, U.S.A.
30 or so years ago I was a devoted dove hunter. The deer population was still low but the opportunity for dove hunting was really high. I lived in a small rural farming town and dove hunting was still a social gathering.
I started reloading in 1971 and shot thousands of shots at both doves, ducks and on the skeet range.
I could not have done it if I didn't reload, period. At that time there was definite savings over buying cases of factory loads.

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 Post subject: Re: Shotshell Reloading...worth it?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 8:51 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2015 11:10 am
Posts: 1137
When I was a kid we used to reload our dove shells on a mec. Have not done it in years though. I just don’t shoot shotguns enough to do it anymore. Although I have though about loading some TSS for turkey loads in my 20 gauge though.


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 Post subject: Re: Shotshell Reloading...worth it?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:37 pm 

Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2007 9:19 am
Posts: 705
Location: Lewiston, MI
Reloading target shells for 28 gauge and the 410 is at least half price. Not so for 20 & 12 gauges. If you buy on sale and with free shipping and not just by the flat when there is a deal buy at lest ten flats.Two to five thousand shells per year is nothing if you shot clay games. if you look at loading hunting ammo as a hobby it may pay off. You can change loads as needed and your not burning gas every time you need ammo. I load three gauges 20/28/410. With simple shot, powder, and wad changes I can load up some good hunting loads. Because I all ready have the equipment on hand for target shooting it pays off for me pulse it is a hobby. Speical hunting loads I just buy only needing a few boxes for this or that hunt.


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 Post subject: Re: Shotshell Reloading...worth it?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:13 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2008 1:00 am
Posts: 2469
Location: Tennessee
The only reason I do it is to get lower recoil loads for trap and skeet... The traditional 12 guage 9/8 ounce loads at 1,180 - 1,200 fps are ok, and they're cheap... But they get a little rough on those 2-300 round days.

I can load 7/8 ounce at 1,180 fps and bust just as many clays (or more) and have a lot more fun doing it.

I only use factory rounds at handicap trap, mostly just to empty the hulls... I can do pretty good even from the back fence with the light loads but some of the breaks aren't so spectacular.... I use 8 shot for everything, trap and skeet, but 7.5 seems a little better from back there.

Never been duck hunting despite having a good place to do it... But from what I've heard and seen, it can sometimes be a high volume sport where ammo is concerned... I expect you could save at least some money reloading, and have better ammo for it.

If you want to start cheap, I have an old MEC 600 that I don't need... Its at least 30 years old, but it works just fine and parts are still available for it... I bought it from a older gentleman (old grouse hunting buddy) thats no longer able to hunt or shoot, I didn't need it but he needed the money...

Far as I know the only special press parts required for steel is the charge bar...not sure that applies to Hevi or tungsten.

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 Post subject: Re: Shotshell Reloading...worth it?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:16 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 9:32 am
Posts: 126
Location: US South
Yeah,

I have reload shotgun shells for many years.
Use to shoot a lot - Not so much now.
I still have supplies though.
And will load them up as needed.

Can't speak as someone that is just getting started.
But, am seeing many good buys on "used" presses and supplies.
Think many thought about getting into reload over last few years,
Bought the necessary equipment, but never used it.

Save your shells and keep an eye out for opportunity equipment buys.

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 Post subject: Re: Shotshell Reloading...worth it?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:28 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 9:32 am
Posts: 126
Location: US South
What I suspected!

Just search E-bay for MEC

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 Post subject: Re: Shotshell Reloading...worth it?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 9:04 pm 

Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 3:36 pm
Posts: 93
Location: Saginaw, MI
I bought a Ponsness-Warren 375 over 35 years ago and it still loads great. They are a bit more costly than a Mec, but they sure do put out a nice reload. I use mine for 12, 20, 28 and 410. The hull rides around the unit inside of a steel resizing die. When you're done, you have a reload that will work in any autoloader or O/U. Sometimes on EBay you can find them used or look at reloaders.com The dies are mounted to a tool head that holds what you need for two different gauges. With two tool heads you're set for all gauges. Once you get things adjusted, you just remove and rotate the tool head, change the sizing die, and wad guide and you're ready to go loading a new size of shell.


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