Praxis Question: Does anyone have experience reloading shotshells with a MEC 8567 Grabber?
Picked up a good used one when Rosey and I stopped at an estate sale yesterday along with a a mess of other reloading stuff, ammunition, brass and firearm parts jammed higgledy-piggledy into cardboard boxes and cat litter buckets (one of those deals where I couldn't really afford to buy it but couldn't afford to pass it up). It was dirty, so I had to clean it up when I got home to be certain what it was. The 8567 is still current production with MEC and parts are available.
Anyway, I've never reloaded shotshells before and I was wondering if anyone out there can give me some pointers. In the past, I've given some thought to reloading 12 Gauge slugs (the only thing I'm really short on after years of buying factory birdshot and buckshot on sale in small amounts as I could afford it), but this machine looks to me to be strictly for reloading shot of various sizes not slugs. Is that correct? In one of the cardboard boxes of miscellaneous stuff were 2000 12 Gauge plastic wads, and I've probably accumulated that many high brass shotshell hulls from my range harvests over the years (waste not, want not). Someone else scarfed up the bags of shot, but then, as I said, I have neither the inclination nor the time to get into reloading birdshot, although for what I paid for the whole deal it is worth keeping the machine should Matt or the girls ever get seriously into skeet or trap.
Guidance? Any parts that are high wear that ought to be procured in advance if I choose to store it for if, as and when?
I am not familiar with that particular machine, but I have reloaded thousands of shells on a MEC 9000 the big brother to your machine.
First get a good shotshell data reloading book like the Lyman book. Pay attention to the primer/wad/powder/shell combo. Follow the book's recommendations, do not substitute! The wrong combo could cause problems.
MEC's are notoriously sloppy machines, spilling powder and occasionally shot all over the place. I recommend installing a universal charge bar and powder baffle, they make the machine more accurate and cleaner. Go slow and check your drops. Watch the powder/shot levels in the bottles and be sure a primer drops with every stroke. I have been reloading for 25 plus years andI still make boo boos. You do have a good powder scale?
Some 12 ga hulls have a 6 point crimp, some have 8 . Don't mix them up, the crimp die is specific for 6 or 8 points. Separate your hulls out as some makes have both types of crimp. I myself only reload Remington STS/Nitro 27 hulls and occasionally Winchester AA. These hulls are designed to be reloaded many times and give consistent results.
Also I put an anti static sheet in the top of my powder bottles. I use a product called bounce, sold as anti static sheets for clothes dryers. Check with Rosie for these. One sheet eliminates static which can be a problem with flakey shotshell powders like 700X, Green/Red/Blue dot, Clays/Unique and some others. Powder clinging to everything because of static is a nuisance.
Also read the instruction book, get one from MEC if you did not get one with the machine. Do some research before you start.
Geoff who just reloaded 250 loads last night.
reloading slugs requires a roll crimper; there are several such on the market.
IIRC the MEC you listed does not have such, but I could be wrong, it has been many
years since I experimented with shotgun reloading. Never had much luck with it,
and component prices were high enough that it was cheaper to shop sales for loaded
ammo, not even counting the cost of my time.
Mike, my experience is with the Mec size master but the only difference is you are able to load more shells faster.
You can definitely load slugs, just leave the shot container empty , load the powder, and manually insert the slug.
As for load data, if you are using 1oz slugs like the ones from the Lee mold just follow data for 1oz trap or skeet loads - the amount of lead is the same.
When reloading shotgun shells.make sure to follow the recipes: different hulls and different wads will generate different pressure.
There are specific loads for heavier slugs but I have gotten good results using trap and skeet loads with the Lee 1oz slugs which allow me to use the powder and wads I already had.
You can use 20ga cards like this http://www.midwayusa.com/product/167700/bpi-shotshell-wads-20-gauge-125-nitro-card-bag-of-500?cm_vc=OBv167700
Between the wad and the slug to get a better fit and a better crimp.
Regular 6 or 8 point crimps from the Mec work perfectly fine, you do not need to use a rollcrimp.
-Reader from South Florida
Ps: finish absolved
"I couldn't really afford to buy it but couldn't afford to pass it up."
Do you eBay, Mike? If you did, you could clean up all that stuff jammed higgledy-piggledy into cardboard boxes and cat litter buckets and sell what you don't want. Then you'd have more money to buy more stuff jammed higgledy-piggledy into cardboard boxes and cat litter buckets to clean up.
But be careful, or you'll end up like me- with a 30' X 50' shop crammed higgledy-piggledy full of stuff that came out of cardboard boxes and cat litter buckets.
But looking on the bright side, I tell my wife she'll be having one heck of an estate sale.
I think it depends on the type of slug you are using. I have molds for both types. Though I haven't yet started manufacturing them. I plan on using a regular shot cup as a sabot. Seems to me you can knock out the old primer, press in a new one, charge the hull with powder, seat the shot cup, put the slug in by hand then use a regular shot shell crimp on it, all with the MEC press. Just use a shot cup, (wad), that puts the top of the slug at a level that will allow the regular star crimp.
Checking the MEC website they make a reloader called the "Slugger" specifically for slugs. You might be able to get the crimping dies from the slugger and use them on your machine.
Geoff just back from the range.
It's been nearly twenty years since I reloaded, but I remember a few important things which were drilled into my head when I was new. Take two spent shells of a color you'll not likely reload (I used two blue Peters 12ga hulls) and cut the crimp off, leaving just a fuzz less than a full-length hull. As you begin a reloading session,unhook the spring on the primer feed, place these in the #3 and #4 spots (where the powder and shot are dropped into the hulls) in the turntable and place your first empty hull in #1 (closest to you). When you pull the lever down firmly, then let it back up smoothly, you'll de-prime the first empty (and re-size the brass, IIRC), and drop a charge of powder and shot into your blue hulls. Remove them and dump back into the proper reservoirs. I found that a one-liter soda bottle will replace the MEC bottles, and cut the bottoms of the bottles off at an angle to facilitate the return of powder and shot (slip an empty soup can or the like over the open top of each to keep debris out when not loading). Rotate the turntable one detent, replace the spring on the primer feed, place a new empty in spot #1, and the empty blue hulls again in #3 and #4, then cycle the lever. You'll again de-prime #1, set a new primer at #2 (your first hull), and again fill the blue hulls with powder and shot; dump these again, and return one to #3, then rotate the turntable one detent. Proceed as above, except the #3 shell will be red and gets to keep its load of powder; the #4 blue shell will have shot within, and again needs to be dumped, but you're finished with it for today. Rotate one stop again, and this time, you'll be making a set of motions which you'll be doing over and over; remember to do one task with each hand (as you'll see), and you won't screw up. Proceed as above with the addition of holding a wad atop the black ring at station #4 prior to cycling the lever. Rotate one stop, then place an empty at #1 with one hand and a wad at #4 with the other; cycle lever, then rotate. Eventually, you'll remove a finished shell from #6 and replace it with an empty, then grab a wad and hold it in place as you cycle the lever. Again, remember to do something with each hand at each rotation and you won't double-feed a hull, and use the blue hulls to catch powder and shot as you run your last two reloads thru stations #5 and #6. It's a BIG mess if you forget the blue hulls, and a piece of 9 shot inbetween the fingers of the resizing die will prevent it from working properly, so pay attention. Early on, I'd suggest no music, no pets, no distractions of any kind; obviously, don't smoke EVER when reloading (I know, we're grownups and smart, sensible folks, but I've heard of some pretty exciting "accidents" while reloading). I can't tell you you'll save money reloading, but when I was shooting tournament skeet 25 years ago this was the only way I could have possibly afforded it. I'd fill a 5-gal pail with reloads in a couple of hours in the evening - several hundred rounds - which would last a few weeks. YMMV... Good luck.
A given powder charge, wad thickness and shot column takes up a given amount of linear space in a shell. You can juggle wad thickness some but in general the stuff has to fit with no empty space inside the hull or you will be sad about the results. I suppose this is less critical with slugs vs shot. Also I'm told you don't want to roll crimp an empty that was originally pie crimped without first trimming the jagged edge off. Shell overall length is a don't care in doubles or single shots and most pumps with a couple of caveats. Firstly, the wrong length will cause some autoloaders to gag. Secondly, DO NOT use a shell longer than the chamber(s) in the gun. This can cause an overpressure situation, and shotguns are not built to take a lot of pressure.
Lyman guides and learn to correctly sort your hulls.
I second the universal charge bar recommendation. Flake powders can cause light loads and even squibs because they don't pass the powder restrictor very well. I found Hodgdon Tite Group to work very well in this application as it is a ball type powder. It also works great in .45s. Anyway, as mentioned above, no, it is not designed for slugs. You can load pretty much any size shot into it you want though. With the larger sizes like buck shot you may want to hand drop as they will not fit through the shot meter chamber. I have never tried using shot buffers but remember, they also count against your weight of shot. Also as mentioned above, unless the book says you can substitute one component for another, don't. It's even more critical than with rifles as the shotgun barrel allows for lower pressures before failing and the powder burns a lot faster. Try to stick to only quality shot shell hulls. I prefer Win AA as they usually go to about 5 reloads before failing and even then it is just cracks in the crimps. Often, public ranges have these piled up on the ground ripe for the picking. For a load data book, I actually use www.loaddata.com. It is a pay site costing $35 per year but it has every official load data source compiled into this one site. MEC has all their manuals available at their website, download and print it and keep it near the press. When it comes time to make small adjustments to fine tune the crimps and whatnot, it will make life much easier. Have fun with the new press. You will be amazed how many these will kick out in an hour.
I Think you missed something, JDR58. He's reloading with slugs.
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