Shotshell reloading?

Discussions covering the components and techniques of reloading for your scatter & slug gun.

Shotshell reloading?

Postby mikld » 23 Apr 2018 11

I often get myself in trouble by thinking and I'm here again. I saw a Mossberg shotgun in my local box store and since I haven't owned a shotgun in 40 years, I figgered I need one. Since I'm a dedicated reloader, 30+ years, I will reload for my shotgun and I got a Lyman's Shotshell Reloading Handbook. I have reloaded a whole bunch of different metallic cartridges/types over the years and it's second nature for me, but the load data I read in Lyman's seems to be very component specific, from the manufacturer of the case, type of case, manufacturer of the wads, type of wads, combination/number of wads, and down to specific primers (different primers while all basically 209, have different data). Is shotshell loading really so component specific? If I load buckshot with Winchester primers will I have to use specific data for Winchester vs CCI? I can use any of a half dozen 44 Magnum case manufacturers, any of a dozen type and manufacturer of bullets, powders and primers, almost totally interchangeably to load my 44 ammo, but jes wondering about shotshell components/loading. I know these are pretty basic questions and I'm sure I can do it, just thinkin"... ;)

I watched a few videos (ugh) of shot shell reloading and It doesn't look like I'd have any trouble, but I'm just wondering if I'll have to stock up on several different shells, wads and primers for each specific load?
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Re: Shotshell reloading?

Postby Ohio3Wheels » 23 Apr 2018 13

The experts say stick to the formulas and with good reason probably. That said back when I was loading 12 and 20 gauge I'll admit to straying a bit. I discovered amount other things that some cases only work with some wads notably Winchester AA cases and AA wads and if memory serves certain Remington cases and Power Piston wads. What I ultimately did was get cases and wads that matched up and stuck with those combinations. I did experiment with powders and primers always starting low and working up. It comes down to the comfort factor and I'm comfortable experimenting with caution. Full discloser I haven't loaded in shot gun ammo in about 25 years and haven't looked and any manual on the subject in the interim. As you've discovered it isn't like loading metallic cases.
Be safe.

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Curt.......makin' smoke and raising my carbon foot print one cartridge at a time +guns +guns
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Re: Shotshell reloading?

Postby Ranch Dog » 23 Apr 2018 16

I ventured into slug loads and will soon do the same with BB/Buckshot. It seems to me that shotshell loading is following specific component recipes where you venture a bit with BB/Buckshot as long as you trim your hulls to match the stack and then use a roll crimper.
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Re: Shotshell reloading?

Postby Ranch Dog » 23 Apr 2018 17

I have the Lee Load All-II and have been considering a hull vise & crimper kit plus a trimmer from BPI.

I had a real tough time getting the stack; powder, wads, and slug to equal the fixed length of the hull. These tools will eliminate my problems. The 12 gauge trimmer has been out of stock, as soon as it is available. I will order. BB loads have become quite expensive and I'm not going to buy any more wads to figure out the stack as I have bags of them from trying the Lee slugs. All I will be using the Load All for is sizing and powder charging. The BBs and buckshot will be just dropped in the hull.

I also figured out clear hulls make the task of figuring out the stack much easier where there is no component recipe.
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Re: Shotshell reloading?

Postby Ranch Dog » 24 Apr 2018 15

What I was trying to explain was that what matters is the shot charge weight, usually expressed in ounces, and powder charge. All the rest is trying to match the stack within the confines of a hull so that the compression of all the components is at 100% capacity of the hull.

So to avoid all the chasing of wads, why not just find a load for the shot charge & powder you want to use, and trim the hull for the empties, new or used you have on hand? The only other thing that I could think of doing is matching the hull base length/depth & wall thickness of that in the receipe.

There is a perfect example in the December 2017 issue of the NRA's American Rifleman on page 39. The Field Editor used a simple wad/gas seal (FS-12) between powder and shot charge with a known charge of shot and powder. He trimed the hull to match his needs.

recipe_01.jpg

This is what I had to do with the Lee slugs as there isn't any help out there with determining the stack.
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Re: Shotshell reloading?

Postby RBHarter » 24 Apr 2018 16

I will stray from the pack here .

Find a second hand MEC with an adjustable charge bar .
I bought 5 dozen decoys and the guy threw in a 650 Grabber for another $30 . $15 in parts and I had a running $350 press .
I have 5 shot shell presses and have maybe $250 in them in 20,16&12 ga . All but one have adjustable bars , a $45 add on new .
MEC runs $230-350 new . They're fully adjustable from 2-9/16 to 3.5 in 12 ga and 2-3/4 to 3" 20 ga , no extra parts or special stops needed .

Yep cases and wads are kind of matching parts .
Avoid the FC steel , field and upland marked cases . The base hights are all over based on what the original loads were and are worse in 3" nontoxic .
Brass length means zip about bases .
With some changes in the last 20 yr and a primer dropped by FC the primer change isn't what it used to be . Many loads with a FC 290A substituted for a W209 once jumped several 1000 psi now I understand that there's only about 3000 psi difference in any given standard 209 . Don't swap in Mags if the load doesn't call for it , bad stuff .
The Lyman book is about the only OTC book I know of , so good choice .
Go to Ballistic Products Inc , BPI . They have a Herters like selection of tools you never knew you needed , separate load manuals for everything they carry for clays to hard core -10F goose slaying in gauges from 36-8 . Kent Fasteel and Blue Steel brands are loaded right off the BPI Status of Steel book and warehouse shelves .
I'm a sucker for the Fiocchi cases and really if you buy say 250 cases and wads by the 1000 you can't beat the prices except maybe on clearance or estate sales .

Cash and Carry for shot , the shipping is a killer . 75# of lead will go in a medium FRB and in a 30 cal can . It 5# over though so the shipping gets stupid .

Unique is a darling in 12ga 2-3/4 . With Red Dot and RXP wads you should be able to load everything but Winchester cases from 3/4 to 1-1/4 oz for clays to turkey .
I prefer the CSD from BPI in Fiocchi cases for NT with 1-1/16 oz of 1s or B's whipping along at 1450+ fps they're hard on 40 yd geese and inside 25 yd you should really shoot from the shoulder up .
I shoot a special steel field BPS fixed choke and have patterned the above at 105 of 115 pellets inside 27" at 40 yd . I had to check my eyeball guess and I was going to say every 3" there was a hole , its actually 2.74779???? inches .

Hope there's helpful stuff in here .
Just a Red neck,White boy, Blue blood American.....
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Re: Shotshell reloading?

Postby GasGuzzler » 25 Apr 2018 06

I bought an MEC in 12ga with a bunch of wads and hulls and a whole bin of bushings for less than $100.

I sold it before trying to use it.
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Re: Shotshell reloading?

Postby Fyodor » 25 Apr 2018 10

Since there can't be empty space in a shell, the components need to fit to each other. Total length of stacked components and type of crimp depend on each other.

But I wouldn't care about the brand of primer.
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Re: Shotshell reloading?

Postby horseman » 29 Apr 2018 11

Shot shell reloading may seem a bit daunting for the uninitiated at first, but after you get a "handle" on what's going on it's actually easier than metallic. As was mentioned stack height is the key for good crimps and that's determined by which wad is used along with the components. Load recipe's should be followed as shotgun pressure is much less than metallic and a couple thousandths more PSI can be over pressure. That Lyman book you have is your friend. Follow it. There are so many printed loads that it's usually pretty easy to find one with the components you have. One thing to understand that with shot weight it doesn't matter as to size, a one ounce slug is the same as one ounce of shot for load data. Ranch Dog, if you need to trim hulls just use a razor knife, for a roll crimp usually all you need to do is cut off the old fold crimp (if using a fired hull) and you'll be just about right. I have a couple MEC reloading presses that I want to move if any one needs one. One 12 gauge Super 600 (same as 650) and a 650N in 20 gauge. These are both progressive presses that you manually index. Both have auto priming and would come with the optional sizing die and anvil. I also have a Hornady Apex in 12 gauge that is like new, auto index, manual powder, shot, and priming. It's a really good press, very large but the issue with these is that Hornady no longer supports them so if you break something you're S.O.L. but there isn't much to break on them. I do all my shot shell loading (12 and 20) on a Ponsness Warren 375c now-a-days. The cost of shot is the bug-a-boo for shot shell reloading. But if you want to do buck, ball, or slugs it's still the best bet going.
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Re: Shotshell reloading?

Postby Ranch Dog » 29 Apr 2018 14

Ranch Dog wrote:I have the Lee Load All-II and have been considering a hull vise & crimper kit plus a trimmer from BPI.

The BPI hull vise & crimper kit came back in stock so I did buy both. My main interest is loading BBs, Buckshot, and Slugs, all of it related to hog hunting.
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