Twenty years ago when primers and lead shot were not expensive and primers were not expensive, it was feasible for you to fill your own cartridges in the event that you fired a lot of ammo through trap, skeet, and sporting clays. Today, it costs nearly the same amount to load the same amount as buying ammunition for shotguns manufactured by the factory and the variety of ammunition for special purposes is so extensive that you can purchase any that you are able to load yourself. Even Kayle Browning from Wooster is the Olympic medalist in trapshooting, uses factory ammunition.
However making your own cartridges provides you with complete control over the quality and consistency. Reloading is the best method of ensuring a consistent supply of ammunition for non-standard gauges, including 16-gauge 28-gauge, and .410-bore.
Reloading shotguns is not for novices. You’re either all in , or you’re completely out. Reloading presses that are good quality are costly and takes up lots of space, like powder bottles, powder hulls, and other accessories.
As opposed to reloading cartridges made of metal it’s unlikely that you’ll load 20-40 shotgun cartridges per year. If you play shotgun games, you’ll load hundreds. If you’re a serious player, you’ll load thousands. That’s why this is the ideal sport for winter’s long, wet evenings, when there’s nothing other to do. Here’s how to start.
Shooters who are recreational and have low volume will begin using a single-stage press. It can perform all essential tasks one step at a time each shell at one time. Each task requires a distinct pulling of the lever and the user has to transfer the hull to another station of operation until it is finished with the cartridge. It is a long process but, with time, you’ll become faster. When I was shooting skeet in competition I loaded all of my ammunition with one press.
The Lee Load-All is the least expensive press. It’s a small machine that can meet the needs of the typical hunter, as well as for occasional clays breaking.
I am using I use the MEC Sizemaster presses. It’s user-friendly as well as the high-quality of the product is just as high as the work you make.
According to its name the MEC Sizemaster adjusts the chamber of a fired round to the factory dimensions. It means that any gun can shoot and chamber an MEC Sizemaster round.
First step placing an empty shell into the collet to be resized. A single pull changes the size of the base and removes the spent primer out of the pocket for primer.
It is the next thing to do to apply new primers at the station for priming.
The next station releases the powder in the shell. There are numerous propellants available, but my personal favorites consist of Hodgdon Universal and Hodgdon Clays. I also enjoy IMR Green Dot, especially for 28 gauge. For 16 gauge, I recommend IMR Blue Dot and Hodgdon Longshot.
The press comes with a limited selection of bushings that regulate the charge of powder, as well as the weight of the shot. Bushings can be inconsistent and inexact. I have replaced the charge bar in my Sizemaster with an universal charging bar. It comes with adjustable knobs that allow you to precisely measure the charges of the powder and shot charge.
When you have dropped the charge of powder, you can install the wad. Making experiments with wads is among of my most favorite aspects of reloading shotshells. It’s interesting to study how different wads impact the speed and density of patterns. Remington’s Power Piston wad is a excellent all-around option, however, for shooting target, I prefer Remington’s Figure-8 wad.
Place the wad in a firm position against the charge of powder and then shift the shell towards an area where the charge station for shot is. Moving the charge bar in the correct direction to let the shot charge fall.
Crimping is the last step. If everything has been done properly, the last step should shut your hull down with an even, smooth crimp. Place the shell into a container and begin your process over with the next shell.
A single-stage press is not the same as a progressive press. the progressive press creates an uncrimped, loaded shell with every turn on the lever. Each pull moves the hull around the stages mentioned above, and it generates lots of ammunition quickly.
The most significant drawback to an automatic press is the length of time needed to understand how to use it. You must begin by using one shell at a go until you have enough shells to fill each station, this means that you need to begin activating every function one step at a time until every slot is occupied by the one-piece hull.
Inexperienced users are known to dump several tons of shot and powder everywhere they work as well as on the floor throughout their workplaces. I did not have the patience for it or the tolerance of the mess. I ended up selling my Hornady progressive and never completed the load. I am disappointed because it could be a wonderful experience once I had the knack of it.
The reasons to reload shotshells can be numerous. Turkey hunters are fond of creating special loads by using the super shot made of tungsten (TSS) as well as Hevi-Shot. Waterfowlers are able to load their own steel shot loads by using an MEC Steelmaster. It’s also a great option to recycle hulls rather than sending them to landfill early.
A hull can be reloaded in as many times you are comfortable shooting it. An old man in my Skeet League in the United Sportsmen’s Club in Jefferson City, Mo., had his hulls loaded well past the date they were to be discarded. His shells were damaged and split, they were held together by Scotch tape. Crimps were opened and spewed shot pellets into pockets. As he was ready to fire, he put in a cupped hand into his pocket, then poured shots into the shell, then it was then pressed down on the crimp using his thumbs.
Everyone always provided him with plenty of room. He had a few misfires, but nothing major. He shot extremely well.
The reason it was so funny was that the person was very rich. The reason was that there was absolutely no need to be so cheap.
Naturally, we strongly recommend greater prudence in order to ensure that you are safe while enjoying a hobby that can provide you with an endless amount of pleasure.