beginner reloading

Shotgun Ammunition Reloading.
novaz
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beginner reloading

Post by novaz » Thu Feb 23, 2017 5:28 pm

while waiting for my broken arm to heal I have been drawn to articles and videos on reloading
I would only be interested in reloading 12 ga and would like to to hear of experiences with setups you have
Thanks

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Synchronizor
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Re: beginner reloading

Post by Synchronizor » Sat Feb 25, 2017 3:41 am

Handloading shotshells is awesome, a great place to get started if you've never reloaded before. You get the standard benefits of high-quality, custom-tailored ammunition for less money, of course, but with shotshells, there's a lot less of a learning curve. You don't work up loads (well, you can, but it's really advanced stuff and not usually necessary), you just follow the load data exactly. There's no bullet sizing, case annealing, or anything else that requires a lot of special tools to do properly. A used single-stage press - or even a simple Lee Loader kit - will do all the loading steps you need, and components are inexpensive and easy to find. Just add load data, a basic scale, and a few other odds & ends, and you're ready to start.

My setup is a MEC 600 Jr. MkV that I got off Craigslist for $100. That $100 also got me a second partially-complete press for parts, some shot, wads, primers, and powder (be wary of used energetic components, though), some load data booklets, and a few other useful odds & ends like a hull sectioning jig. I knocked together a cheap base for it, made sure everything was adjusted correctly, and I was ready to go.
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I handload pretty much everything I shoot now, and it's awesome being able to produce exactly what I need. A lot of what I shoot isn't available in stores, too - like 3/4-ounce plinking loads, low-recoil slugs (which I cast myself), and ultra-cheap loads containing scrap shot for recoil testing.

First thing I would suggest is buying a good, in-depth book on the subject. The Lyman Shotshell Reloading Handbook is a great one. It explains every step of the reloading process, points out potential dangers, goes into details on primers, powders, wads, shot, and hulls - with a very helpful full-color hull ID section. It also looks at ballistics, buffering, and nontoxic shot. If you read through this and pay attention, you'll be in good shape to start loading for yourself.

There's a lot of load data in the Lyman book too, with recipes for lead, bismuth, steel, Hevi-Shot, buckshot, and slugs. The data is kind of thin and all over the place when it comes to component combos, but there'll likely be something in there that fits what you're looking for, and there are a bunch of other free sources if you want more robust data to work from. I get most of my loads from Hodgdon's website, personally.

novaz
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Re: beginner reloading

Post by novaz » Sat Feb 25, 2017 2:55 pm

Thanks for the reply
I already ordered the Lyman book and have been looking at the Lee loadall 2 to start off with
I have already tried cut shell ls which worked quite well
once I am able to I would like to get into some distance and grouping/accuracy shooting hence wanting to load my own
Cheers

novaz
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Re: beginner reloading

Post by novaz » Thu Mar 02, 2017 5:33 pm

well I sat down and read the Lyman reload book for shotshells cover to cover and half way back again and found a ton of very usefull info
as soon as my press arrives I want to try loading some lower recoil loads, the one thing I am unsure of after reading the powder ,primer,wad,hull, sections again I know what powder weight to use but unsure about which shot size to use use to make the weight any help would be appreciated as if I have missed a point I want to make sure I reload safely.
Thanks

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Re: beginner reloading

Post by Synchronizor » Sat Mar 04, 2017 6:49 am

Load data for lead birdshot can be used with any shot size you want - or even a combination of sizes. If you're measuring shot out by volume, smaller shot will fit more tightly into the same space, so make sure you confirm that you're actually loading the mass the data calls for. Otherwise, use whatever size you want.

If you want low-recoil loads, check out the 3/4-ounce CB0175-12 wad from Claybuster. The wads are really affordable, and in addition to the small shot charge, they only require small doses of common, inexpensive target propellants. Cheap, fun recreational & practice loads with virtually no recoil fatigue, but they're still pretty effective on clays with the right shot size & choke. A 28-ga payload in a 12ga gun is also great for introducing new shooters to shotguns without the off-putting recoil.

There's a little booklet in every bag of wads (also available as a PDF online) with some decent load data, and Hodgdon's website has a lot more loads for free.

novaz
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Re: beginner reloading

Post by novaz » Sat Mar 04, 2017 4:15 pm

Thanks for your help its really appreciated
one more question I have I purchased a number of shells that were on special offer at local ranch store
they are made in mexico and I used them before breaking my arm Aquila is the name /brand
as they don't appear in the Lyman book if they are in good condition after firing would it be ok to use the
data I plan for these and then inspect them before each reload being a senior on a budget its hard for me to pass them up at 2-3$ less than brand name ,I appreciate that like most things you get what you pay for ,but if I get at least one reload out of these it would be worth buying.

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Re: beginner reloading

Post by Synchronizor » Sun Mar 05, 2017 3:36 am

novaz wrote:one more question I have I purchased a number of shells that were on special offer at local ranch store they are made in mexico and I used them before breaking my arm Aquila is the name /brand as they don't appear in the Lyman book if they are in good condition after firing would it be ok to use the data
Cut one in half lengthwise, and compare it to the cross-sections in the Lyman book. A lot of import hulls are based on Cheddite or Fiocchi hulls, so you may find something there that matches. But if you don't have a match, don't test your luck; shotshells are finicky, and it's important to stick to the load data exactly - especially as a beginner.

Honestly, I would just buy yourself some decent domestic once-fired hulls, like the Winchester HS or some Remington unibodies. They're really not that expensive, especially when you consider how many more reloads you can get out of the better-constructed hulls, and you can easily find a ton of load data for them. Plus, it's been my experience that these quality hulls are easier to work with - they re-size well and resist swelling or primer pocket loosening with repeated loadings, and form excellent, reliably-functioning crimps each time.

If you're really on a budget, check out the Remington Gun Clubs. They're strong unibody hulls that have identical internal geometry to the top-end Remington STS hulls, but with a steel cup rather than brass, and a ribbed body. They take the same data though, and they're still really long-lived. Once-fired Gun Clubs are super affordable - often $4 or less per hundred, or even $20 - $25 per thousand if you buy in bulk. Compare that to the high-end STSs, where $10 per hundred is a good price. At $4 per hundred, if you average 5 reloads before tossing the hull, you're spending less than a penny per shot in hulls, and it's not uncommon for folks to report getting more than ten reloads out of Remington unibodies.

novaz
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Re: beginner reloading

Post by novaz » Sat Mar 11, 2017 5:29 pm

Thanks
I was surprised how thin those mexy hulls are
so have ordered 1k of once fired gun clubs
I really appreciate your help as I do want to reload safely
in the Lyman book there is a listing for low recoil shells
which gives load data that falls between 2 dies on the Lee Loadall
I am assuming that the lower figure is the best to use
Thanks again

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Re: beginner reloading

Post by Synchronizor » Thu Mar 16, 2017 5:17 am

Is that for shot or powder?

novaz
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Re: beginner reloading

Post by novaz » Thu Mar 16, 2017 5:09 pm

That's for 700x powder

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