View Full Version : Shotshell Reloading Equipment Recommendations

08-22-2007, 03:05 PM
Hello, folks.

I have never reloaded anything, but I have been spending a great deal of time shooting skeet over the past several months, and would like to consider getting into reloading shotshells. I do not know anything about it. What are your recommendations for the most basic but essential reloading equipment, aside from consumables? What would be effective, but not break the bank and cause regret (or force me to sleep in the garage)?

Not even sure if I would actually get into it, but you never know. Your thoughts?


Gil Martin
08-22-2007, 06:13 PM
MEC makes a number of first class reloading presses. They have a website at www.mayvl.com. My preference is the SizeMaster. They are discounted by a number of dealers. Hope this helps. All the best...

Dan Morris
08-22-2007, 09:08 PM
Gil is correct, MEC can cover your needs.I used the 600 when I was active in skeet....had one for each Gage! The speed didn't bother me.

08-22-2007, 11:53 PM
For a single stage reloader the Sizemaster is the best out there...bar none. I use some expensive reloaders such as the Spolar and the Ponsness-Warrens for the bulk of my reloading in shotshells...but for my load developement and some few hunting loads I use the Sizemasters. Have one in each gauge. Really like 'em!! You will too.:D :cool:

08-23-2007, 01:27 AM
To start out with, any single stage Mec press will be fine. You can use the Sizemaster or the cheapest press that Mec makes, the Mec 600 jr. When I started shooting trap, that is what I used for a year or two because that is what my dad had. However, I was soon spending my entire Sunday between shooting, cleaning the gun, and reloading for the next week, and with work 5 days out of the week, that was just too much time. So, I had to cut something out, and it wasn't going to be the shooting. Hence, I bought a Mec 9000G progressive press. Once you decide you love shooting clays and you love reloading, then invest in the progressive presses. I cannot yet afford the presses that Skeet uses, but I'll buy them and sell my Mec 9000G's once we get a single family home and I can really set up a reloading room.

Reloading is cool because you get to craft your own loads for hunting. I have a crow load of 1 1/2 oz. #5's that just crushes them. I also load all my hunting and clay loads in different hulls so that I will know exactly what I am shooting just by picking up the hull.

AA Red - 1 1/8 oz #8 at 1090 fps
AA Silver - 1 1/8 oz. #8 at 1145 fps
STS Green - 1 1/8 oz #8 at 1200 fps
STS Gold - 1 1/8 oz # 7.5 at 1200 fps

and the list goes on
Federal game hulls
Federal Gold Medal hulls
Remington game hulls in green and black
Peters blue hulls, which are impossible to find nowadays
Fiocchi White Rhinos
Federal 3" and 3.5" for waterfowl
Remington 3" and 3.5" for waterfowl

That is all I can remember off the top of my head without bringing up my spreadsheet. Too late at night for that.

Now, since everybody mentioned the press, I'll also mention that you should read a good reloading manual or two. I learned the basics of shotshell reloading from my dad, but I learned the intricacies from the Lyman 47th Edition Shotshell Reloading manual. Read that manual, and a couple more if you can find them.

When I started reloading for metallic cartridges, I read about 4 or 5 different manuals because I had absolutely no idea about what equipment I needed or how to reload for brass cases. Now, it is simple.

08-23-2007, 08:33 AM
Wow, good stuff. Thanks, guys!

08-23-2007, 03:02 PM
If your going to be useing hulls you pick-up at the range or be useing you ammo in more than 1 gun the Size Master would be better. The only real difference between it and the 600 JR. is a collet sizer for the brass on the cases.
I would also recomand you buy a Layman Shot Shell loading manual. It will have all of the data you will need to load shot shell and they have alot of very good data on shot size, external blastic, bushing sizes and alot more info. that comes in real handy to the reloader.

08-24-2007, 07:35 PM
I just bought a MEC 600, with the micrometer charge bar, on eBay for $51. There are several models available there, usually for half or less of new price.

If you're using the cheapest possible ammo to just casually bust a bunch of clay pigeons with your buds, you'll save $.04 per shell, which isn't anything near the savings you get with metallic cartridges. However, you're shooting much better ammo.

If you're into something a little more serious, the figures change a lot. For magnum, or steel, reloading is very advantageous. (Sizemaster converts easily to Steelmaster.)

Personally, I like AA hulls. They last pretty well.

A new press isn't much more than the price of the goodies to switch back and forth, so most people just leave the press in one configuration.

Sizemaster comes with an automatic primer feeder. 600 does not.

Grabber is a progressive press, but you have to manually advance the shell plate.

The 9000 is quite automatic.

Somewhere in my notes, there is a good reason to not consider the 650.... darned if I remember why.

One more experienced shotshell loader strongly suggested a baffle in the powder jar. Apparently, the amount of powder dispensed gets larger over time if you don't have it. Haven't checked that out yet.

HTH. Good luck!