Reloading Shotgun Ammo at Home (Best Press, Molds) UPDATED 2020

Shotshell Reloading

Shotgun Ammo Reloading at Home

Shotgun ammunition is unique because you can reload the shells at home if you have the right equipment available. This certainly beats paying $20 for 10 rounds of shotgun shells that you will go through within an hour. If you are a hunter who frequently goes shooting or if you simply like to target practice with your shotgun then you need to learn how to reload shells at home.

In the beginning, it will require an upfront investment for purchasing the reloading machine and the shells that you will be loading up. If you already have existing shells then that’s fine too. Just make sure you have high quality shells made by a reputable manufacturer such as Remington, Winchester, Rio, etc. Between their durable plastic cases and brass heads, they will give you plenty of reloads before they are worn out. Some gun clubs may even sell empty shells over the internet at very affordable prices too. So there are a lot of options out there for obtaining shells. As for the loader, these cost between $50 and $100. This is a very minimal investment when you consider how much money it will save you on purchasing more shotgun shells.

There are five components to a shotgun shell that you will need; the hull, gunpowder, pellets, wad and primer. Then you’ll want either a progressive loader or a single-stage loader to load the shells with the birdshot, buckshot or slugs. A progressive loader is a machine that can reload many shells at the same time. All you have to do is take a little bit of time setting up the machine with the necessary components. With the single stage machine, there is only one step to set it up and then each time you pull the handle it produces one shotgun shell. Make sure you read the manual on the loader to learn exactly how to use the machine because different models have different instructions. The type of loading machine you purchase should depend on what you will need it for. If you are just using a shotgun for self defense and don’t intend on shooting it very often then go with a single stage machine. But if you are a hunter who plans on shooting many rounds of ammunition on a regular basis then you’ll want a progressive loader that can reload shells much faster.

Shotgun ammunition reloading is when you fill the empty shotshells back up with the elements that make them work such as primer, gunpowder, pellets, wad and so on. Users often want to do this to save money from having to purchase the expensive factory preloaded shells. However, the hardest part for a newbie is learning how to perform the shell reloading process. It requires someone who can give great attention to every minute detail. This will ensure that the ammunition you prepare is safe and reliable for shooting from your shotgun.

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RIO Royal Star Slug Review

RIO Royal Star Slug

If you are looking for accuracy in your shotgun slugs then you can’t go wrong with the Rio Royal Star Slug. With distances up to 100 yards away, you will be able to get good and stable results from firing your shotgun at a potential target. But what is really interesting about the Rio slug is that it uses a plastic wad and lead projectile to make its trajectories as accurate as they are. If you are a competitive shooter or merely a hunter who frequently fires their shotgun then you will want the very best slugs available. The Rio Royal Star Slug is top of the line and I recommended it for the Remington 870 shotgun.

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RIO Royal Buck Buckshot Ammo Review

RIO Royal Buckshot

RIO Royal Buck Buckshot Ammo Review

RIO Royal Buckshot
RIO Royal Buckshot

This is review of the RIO Royal Buck. This is buckshot I used in shotgun buckshot pattern test.

This is good buckshot ammunition but it has wide shot pattern because it doesn’t have container wad. Actually, the shell is clear and it is easy to see what’s inside. but here is what you can find inside the shell:

RIO Royal Buck, Inside Shell
RIO Royal Buck, Inside Shell

The shotshell has smokeless powder. It looks like green/brown rounded flakes.

RIO Royal Buck is good ammunition when you need wide shot pattern.

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Shotgun Buckshot Ammo Test (Federal, Rio, Remington, Personal Defense)

Shotgun Buckshot Test

Shotgun Buckshot Ammo Test by Jonathan Paul

I would like to start off this review with a big thanks to Steven at BulkAmmo.com and Vitaly of Rem870.com for the opportunity to do this review. Vitaly put me in contact with Steven who provided most of the buckshot used in this review.

Shotgun Buckshot Test
Shotgun Buckshot Test

There are five types of buckshot that were evaluated for this review. Four of them were provided by Steven of BulkAmmo.com and one was from my personal stash. All 12 ga ammo shells tested were 2 ¾” 9-pellet 00 buckshot, the details of each are as follows:

Shotgun Buckshot Ammo Test (Federal, Rio, Remington, Personal Defense)

Brand Muzzle Velocity* Model
Federal Premium Buckshot
Federal Premium Buckshot

Federal Ammunition – Buckshot**

1325 fps XM127 00AC
Royal Buck Low Recoil
Royal Buck Low Recoil

Rio Ammunition – Royal Buck Low Recoil

1200 fps RBLR129
Royal Buck
Royal Buck

Rio Ammunition – Royal Buck

1345 fps RB129
Remington Buckshot
Remington Buckshot

Remington – Buckshot

1325 fps 12B00
Federal Personal Defense
Federal Personal Defense

Federal Premium Ammunition – Personal Defense

1145 fps PD132 00

*muzzle velocity as listed on packaging, no chronograph data was collected
**this was from my personal supply, all other ammunition was provided by BulkAmmo.com

Overview

Opening these boxes of buckshot immediately put a smile on my face. Having recently only been shooting cheap, bulk pack, birdshot it was refreshing to see the tall, shiny brass these manufacturers use for their buckshot hulls. Despite how pretty they looked, I knew there would be two factors that would be weighed more heavily than all others: extreme spread at various distances and felt recoil.

Extreme Spread

I tested the five loads at 3 different distances, 7 paces, 14 paces, and 25 paces. My target was a large piece of cardboard, covered with waxed paper when necessary to extend the usefulness of the target. The shotgun used was a Remington 870 with 20” improved cylinder barrel. The following table shows the results of firing one round of each type at each range and measuring the extreme spread:

Load 7 Paces 14 Paces 25 Paces
Federal Premium Buckshot
Federal Premium Buckshot

Federal Ammunition – Buckshot**

4 inches 6.75 inches 14.8 inches
Royal Buck Low Recoil
Royal Buck Low Recoil

Rio Ammunition – Royal Buck Low Recoil

4 inches 9.5 inches 10.6 inches
Royal Buck
Royal Buck

Rio Ammunition – Royal Buck

4.8 inches 10.8 inches 16.25 inches
Remington Buckshot
Remington Buckshot

Remington – Buckshot

3.3 inches 9.3 inches 14.2 inches
Federal Personal Defense
Federal Personal Defense

Federal Premium Ammunition – Personal Defense

1.5 inches 3.1 inches 5.75 inches

As you can see the Federal Personal Defense with the FliteControl wad dominated the extreme spread test with 25-pace results that were better than any other type’s 14-pace result. Also of interest is the tighter pattern produced by the Rio Low Recoil when compared to the full-velocity Rio Royal Buck load.

Felt Recoil

While obviously very subjective, I feel confident making a few comments on felt recoil as I was one shooter, shooting the same gun over the course of about 1 hour, the only change was the loading and the distance I was shooting at. Once I got home and started working on this article I found that the perceived recoil of each load directly corresponded to the velocity listed on the ammo boxes. Which considering they were all 9-pellet 00 buck loads makes sense. The Royal Buck had the most perceived recoil and was maybe 5% harder than the Federal Buckshot (which I used as my baseline). The recoil produced by the Remington shell was indistinguishable from that of the Federal baseline load. The Rio Low Recoil had considerably less recoil than any of the three full-velocity loads. The Personal Defense, moving 55 fps slower than the Rio Low Recoil, had the lowest perceived recoil.

I can see from BulkAmmo.com’s offerings that another buckshot roundup will be in order, but until then I think I’m going to stock up on Federal Premium Personal Defense buckshot to keep loaded for home defense and probably a bunch of Rio Low Recoil buckshot for matches or practice. Keep in mind my Remington 870 is a pump action shotgun and doesn’t have a problem cycling these low recoil shells. Always test your chosen ammunition for cycling and patterning before relying on it for competition or personal defense.

Federal Personal Defense
Federal Personal Defense

Thanks to the http://www.bulkammo.com/ for ammunition for the test.

Useful links:
Low Recoil Ammo by Rio Royal – 00 Buck
2ga Ammo by Rio Royal – 00 Buck
12ga Ammo by Remington – 00 Buck
12ga Ammo by Federal Law Enforcement with FliteControl Wad- 00 Buck

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