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Anyone have a good online resource for learning to reload shot shells. Seems like the more I read the more confused I get. May be just a case of me making it more difficult then it really is. Pistol and rifle seems pretty straight forward. Shot shells has me lost. :confused:
 
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Shotgun loading has so many variables you have to get a shotgun loading manual by LYMAN. There are hundreds of load combinations and it explains them clearly with formulas for different brand cases, wads and powders. I reload 12 ga for hunting and have for many years. It is more component specific to load shotgun, but it is all there in the manual. You have to reproduce the loads as printed with only some minor things that you can alter. Once you get started you can develope favorite loads but you have to use the case brands and wads that are printed in the manual. I can answer a lot of your questions.

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/88...edition-reloading-manual?cm_vc=ProductFinding
 

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There is also quite a bit of goo load data on the Hogdon, Alliant and Accurate websites once you have some components in mind. I picked up reloading 00 buck and cast Lee slugs pretty easily with text and interweb info.
 

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I load shotshells using wads, never have used shot cups until recently. These were 410, 20, and 12. Shot in single shots. Loaded using Lee Loaders or the Nail and Dowell method. Never had any issues. A lot of these were blackpowder or pyrodex using the square load method. The rest were unique, or 296 if loading 410. Never had any issues.

I recently purchased a MEC 600. Reading up on shotshell reloading with it and am noticing shotshell loads are very component specific. I picked out a load from Alliant using Unique, bought the components specified and have done well with it. I have a lot to learn yet!
 

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As a teen we got into shotshell loading to save on shell cost. When shells started selling cheap we stopped. Loaded speciality loads some. I load things like the 28 gauge because of cost. When my favorite load passed $15 a box loading looked much better. Get lot of the same hull. Find a plastic shot cup in bulk that works with your load. Buying shot in bulk, by that a couple hundred pound or more. Shot got hard to find and very expensive for a while. Shotshell loaders are like reloading setups, everyone has their favorite. Easy of change for load and or gauge is a must for most. The crimp or loss of crimp can be frustrating. Changing the load, shotcup, etc changes height/volume inside hull. This can cause a crimp problem. That is one reason loads are specific. When all is right you can crank out some good rounds. I'm lazy and would rather buy when cost is reasonable.
 

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Sir, find a local skeet/trap shooter that shoots a lot and loads. Most will let you watch, ask questions and give hands on. That is how I learned shotshell as a kid. What are you wanting to load/for?
 

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Sir, find a local skeet/trap shooter that shoots a lot and loads. Most will let you watch, ask questions and give hands on. That is how I learned shotshell as a kid. What are you wanting to load/for?
No one in the area that I know of reloads shot shells, disadvantage of living on an island chain, no where to shoot skeet or trap. Right now I just want to understand the process and the reasoning behind the recipes. Your comment above about changing the height by changing components makes the most sense. Before I even think about reloading shot shells I want to understand the science behind it. For as much 12 gauge shooting as I do I am content with buying factory rounds.

What stated me down this whole wanting to understand shot shells is this crazy idea I have for another project. I will move forward on that project and report back later, I will also continue to read up as much as I can on reloading shot shells as it very much interests me and you never know when it will come in handy.

Thanks for your help, and the simple comment about changing height really triggered a lot of the confusion to come together.
 

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I only do slugs and 00 buck for cost.

I like using a shot cup BUT it can get a bit crowded and the shell can bulge - they shoot better groups than a straight wad but have to be the right match.

Some of my loads have been extrapolated from smaller shot recipes based on weight. That has worked out just fine! There may be some physics differences between an ounce of #7 1/2 shot and a 1 oz slug but the powder load seems to act just fine - this on the advise of an old time shot loader. I'm cautious and build loads like with any round BUT it has given me more options when trying to match up components.

I'll be curious to see what you are working on / thinking about M8!!!
 
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Starting with hulls, if you split several different brands long ways you will see a difference. The base of the shells and wall thickness will vary. That will cause the depth of the powder charge to be different. Then the plastic shot cups come in multiple designs, length, etc. The crimp process needs to refold the old crimp and set it down below finished length just enough to lock it in place. The load under it being right helps. To low or high and crimp does not want to hold. I like the solid brass hulls for some guns and loads. I can load more powder and shot with some loads in a 2 1/2" brass hull than a 2 3/4" plastic hull. Wads and shot cards not taking up the space a plastic shot cup does. P M an address and I will send you a brass hull and some wads, cards, shot cups etc.
 

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I cut my own shot cards for load height. I use mat board in the cup to raise a slug up (placed underneath) so the crimp lays even across the top. and a mylar film top (probably not even needed) to cover the 00 buck.
 

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I cut a lot of my wads also. I use cork a lot to adjust my shot height, and light card stock for overshot. Run them through the printer with whatever number shot I'm using listed, center the punch over the number, and use thinned down elmers glue to secure the was. This is for brass shells, cut plastic, or roll crimps. If using a regular crimp I just mark the shot size on the case with a fine tipped marker.

Lately I have been ordering components from circle fly.
 

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A good website is "shotgunworld.com". The reloading section of their forum is a great resource. I have not checked in there for a number of years, but there used to be some very knowledgeable folks who posted regularly. If you enjoy browsing, you can probably learn most of what you will need to know by reading back through the posts and/ or using their search function. As with any web site - take every tip with a grain of salt. You can generally tell after reading for a while which contributors tend to be reliable.
Shotshell reloading is no more difficult than metallic, but there is less flexibility in substituting components and developing hot loads. The first sign of overpressure can be a kaboom, so every load you use should follow a published recipie exactly, particularly as you get started.
i have two MEC reloaders, & have found them to be extremely reliable and pretty easy to use. It is generally a pain to set most presses up for a different gauge, so folks who reload for different gauges will often have one for each gauge. A club ( trap, skeet, or sporting clays, if you can get to one), is a good source of once fired hulls. There are several large clubs in the Miami/ West Palm area. Their trash cans are usually full of very scroungeable hulls. Stick with one brand to start because of the already mentioned differences in construction, which calls for different wads and crimp setups. I prefer Remington. Their cheapo hulls and premium hulls are basically the same construction, & they all hold up for many reloads.
 
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