The minimalist shotshell reloader?

Posted by: Rock Knocker

The minimalist shotshell reloader? - 05/31/21 08:11 PM

I'm looking to get into reloading for the shotgun a bit, just a bit. More just for a backup ammo supply.

I've looked at that real cheap Lee reloaded and I think the MEC Jr. The Jr boasts 6 to 8 boxes of shells an hour, that's probably 5 to 7 more boxes of buckshot than I will go through in a year.

How simple can handloading be done? Are there other types of single stage presses? I'm not worried about single weighing powder or shot.
Posted by: Mike B

Re: The minimalist shotshell reloader? - 05/31/21 08:51 PM

I dont know much about the Lee, but I will highly recommend the Mec 600 due to its solidity and versatility for the price. Consider a used press to lower the price if it works for you.
Posted by: pyscodog

Re: The minimalist shotshell reloader? - 05/31/21 10:02 PM

Find a used Mec 600. New if you can't find a used one. I had one given to me and it makes great shells. Simple to use and once you get a rhythm you can load pretty fast.
Posted by: Mike B

Re: The minimalist shotshell reloader? - 06/01/21 07:15 AM

With the MEC theres either bushings/charge bars for shot and powder measuring, or you can individually measure if you wish. If you're gonna reload any amount of different loads over time, Id suggest one of the aftermarket adjustable charge bars. Be advised that theres a model or two of Mecs specifically for steel shot (may include the harder shots like TSS, etc?), and certain presses handle 3 and 3 1/2" with adjustments. Not sure if the 600 does 3" of the top of my head....on the phone right now, so Im not gonna look it all up. Wasnt thinking of all this when I responded yday. A more experienced member may be able to put some real world experience in here on those aspects.
Posted by: AWS

Re: The minimalist shotshell reloader? - 06/01/21 09:21 AM

For the absolute minimal that will crimp star crimps it is hard to beat the old Lee Handloader. I kept my old 16ga fed with one. I still have a 16ga version of it made by Herter's.

The first incarnation of the Lee Load-All was really simple, I have one that I use occasionally to load experimental stuff or limited runs of of roll crimped waterfowl loads as there are no adjustments to be made and shot and powder are measured with scoops. The one I bought is the only one I've ever seen. It is pretty much a Lee Handloader with all the parts mounted and lever actuated.

If you are going to have a choice between a MEC 600 and a new Lee Load-All go with the MEC, parts are available back to the very first model. I just converted an old Mec 20ga to load short 10ga shells. Used ones seem to be pretty easy to find, two of mine came from yard sales.

I was given two Lee Load-alls, one I converted to 2 1/2" shells and gave them both away.
Posted by: spotstalkshoot

Re: The minimalist shotshell reloader? - 06/01/21 11:24 AM

I still have my Lee Load-All 12 ga from the 70's. Loaded some bird shells last fall, lucky that I had old primers/shot on the shelf. They went bang, and birds died, so the dog was happy. I like a mix of 5,6 for early pheasant, all 5 shot after Nov 1.
Posted by: Rock Knocker

Re: The minimalist shotshell reloader? - 06/03/21 06:47 PM

I just stopped at the nearest local gun shop to my new place for the first time and they had an older MEC 400 super something...? With a storage tote of wads and other stuff for $160 on consignment. It seemed like a good deal.
Posted by: Mike B

Re: The minimalist shotshell reloader? - 06/03/21 06:57 PM

IIRC the 400 is different? I have one of thos that came with some other stuff that needs parts, and im not sure the 400 parts are available anymore? FWIW. Id say $160 is a bit high for that depending what all comes with it. I can prob hook ya up with a well used 600 for $100 or so? Not sure what i have in components anymore? Not sure on crazy shipping prices anymore?
Posted by: mbaysinger89

Re: The minimalist shotshell reloader? - 06/03/21 11:19 PM

I use a Lee LoadAll. Use the Chargemaster to throw powder and a primer tray to count bickshot. I made up a couple hundred rounds in a weekend 5 years ago and havent gotten through them yet. Works just fine for me at that volume.
Posted by: pyscodog

Re: The minimalist shotshell reloader? - 06/04/21 12:04 AM

IIRC, with my MEC, I can load 100 rounds in an hour if I don't dump a load of buck shot on the floor and have to stop to clean it up. I don't use a primer tray either, just feed the primers by hand. Very basic and simple to use and makes a nice shell. All I used mine for was skeet loads.
Posted by: Foxpro.223

Re: The minimalist shotshell reloader? - 06/04/21 10:43 PM

I'd recommend the single stage MEC Sizemaster with a universal charge bar. Especially if you're loading for different guns. They're a little more $$, but it will last forever.
Posted by: Brad Phillips

Re: The minimalist shotshell reloader? - 06/12/21 06:20 PM

600 JR. for me. I have one one the bench and bought another for a spare.

The one I use literally has a groove worn in where the primer slides between stations. The groove was there when I paid $50 for it 20 years ago.
Posted by: ackleyman

Re: The minimalist shotshell reloader? - 06/14/21 12:56 PM

Mec 600, Mec Sizemaster

High Performance Buckshot loads

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=688KkPzDXrU&t=1228s
Posted by: 204 AR

Re: The minimalist shotshell reloader? - 06/16/21 09:17 PM

I started with a Lee 30 years ago, and it didn't take me long to upgrade. Was a pita. I found a used Pacific 12 ga, then added a 600 jr in 20 gauge, and the mec is a nice, easy to use machine.

20 years ago I bought an old Herters progressive on ebay cheap. It was a fun project getting it tuned up and making good shells but it wasn't for beginners.

I still load a few field loads, but for informal clay shooting the cheap promo loads are cheaper than buying components now. 20 years ago shot was about 16 bucks a bag, now 50 if you can find it.
Posted by: derbyacresbob

Re: The minimalist shotshell reloader? - 06/17/21 11:58 AM

Who has cheap promo shotgun shells in stock and how cheap are they?
Posted by: AWS

Re: The minimalist shotshell reloader? - 06/17/21 12:19 PM

I've been seeeing more of the 4pks at Walmart at $24. They aren't lasting long but they are getting them.
Posted by: 204 AR

Re: The minimalist shotshell reloader? - 06/20/21 10:10 PM

Originally Posted By: derbyacresbob
Who has cheap promo shotgun shells in stock and how cheap are they?


Honestly the last I bought was around Christmas time locally for 65 a case of 250. I figured they'd dry up so snagged 2 or 3. I don't shoot a lot of clays but am kind of getting back into it. Last weekend I finished off the last 2 boxes of a case I bought in 07 for $25 a case lol.
Posted by: cherokeetracker

Re: The minimalist shotshell reloader? - 06/22/21 02:40 PM

Originally Posted By: Rock Knocker
I'm looking to get into reloading for the shotgun a bit, just a bit. More just for a backup ammo supply.

I've looked at that real cheap Lee reloaded and I think the MEC Jr. The Jr boasts 6 to 8 boxes of shells an hour, that's probably 5 to 7 more boxes of buckshot than I will go through in a year.

How simple can handloading be done? Are there other types of single stage presses? I'm not worried about single weighing powder or shot.



If you own a semi auto or some Pumps, then it may pay you greatly to look into a MEC Sizemaster (singlestage) or a 9000 (progressive)since those presses resize the brass portion of the shotshell. With a single shot or some double guns you might be able to get by with just a JR. You do want the shells to fit and function right?

That BS of so many boxes per hour is just that BS!!!! That's if everything is set up perfectly and nothing goes wrong. You almost never get the claimed amount. BUT! Don't let that stop you if you want to load your own.
Good luck on finding the components right now. I also recommend #4 buck over 00 buck. IMHO I have tested them both on several things. Search out the different wads for all kinds of loads. Spreaders to Turkey tight patterns,,, Test the loads out so that you know exactly what each one will do. Sometimes a gun will pattern better with a slightly reduced load, or a different size shot.
https://www.ballisticproducts.com/ This place can help if you can't get things locally.
Posted by: Rock Knocker

Re: The minimalist shotshell reloader? - 06/28/21 02:03 PM

Thanks cherokee, luckily ballistic products is local to me as well, I stopped in and talked to them a couple weeks ago. They're short on stuff also, I might start collecting the powder, buckshot and primers or whatever is most difficult to find before I make a final decision on the press but I will be loading for pumps and 3" shells are all I'm really interested in.
Posted by: AWS

Re: The minimalist shotshell reloader? - 06/28/21 02:35 PM

If your only loading a box or two of Buckshot. First buckshot won't meter through a press.

If your just planning to load new hulls you can get by with just a roll crimper and weigh your powder and shot with your metallic reloading scale. You really don't need a press unless you are reloading fired hulls. New hulls will come primed already.

My roll crimping set up. I made the little shell clamp out of some plastic and hardware store springs because I load quite a bit of roll crimped ammo. A padded set of channel locks will work also. BP make a little shell holder for roll crimping plus they have roll crimpers, I have 16ga, 12ga and 10ga roll crimpers from them.



Finished product





Posted by: Rock Knocker

Re: The minimalist shotshell reloader? - 07/18/21 05:57 PM

Awesome AWS, thats more what I was looking for...
Posted by: pyscodog

Re: The minimalist shotshell reloader? - 07/18/21 07:29 PM

I started shooting skeet again so I dug out the Mec. I just timed myself and can load 25 rounds start to finish in 12 minutes. Not bad for an old fart. They load and shoot great in my shotty. I just seem to be the weak link.