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Thread: Reloading Steel Shot

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Default Reloading Steel Shot

    I have an old Mec 600 Jr. that I used to reload thousands of lead shot shells with. I'm wondering if it is cost effective to purchase all that's needed to convert the 600 Jr. to reloading steel?

    Thanks....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    I also have that shotshell press. I am wondering what it would need different to reload steel. I think I have read it is better to weigh steel rather than throw it, but other than that there would be no difference than adjusting the loader as far as I can tell.

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    This is what you need: http://www.midwayusa.com/product/876...2-and-10-gauge

    It's 32 bucks and you can probably get it from Sportsman's or Cabela's to avoid shipping. Basically, you will need the larger shot drop tube to allow the larger pellets to fall without jamming together. I could never get a consistent powder drop with the mec when I used Alliant "Steel" powder so I had to weigh each charge which added a step. The flakes are huge and they just don't settle the same in the charge bar at all. I ended up just dipping the powder with a little scoop, so I wouldn't recommend buying another charge bar for "steel" powder. Theoretically, you could scoop and weigh the shot too and just use the press to size, prime, and crimp if money is an issue. The yellow bottle is just like the red ones, just a different color to show that it is steel shot.

    Anyhow, cost effective depends on how many shells you load and what you pay for components. Since steel shot shells cost so much, it is a lot faster to recoup your money than loading lead. You will need to get steel specific wads and powder. Have fun!

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2jumpersplease View Post
    This is what you need: http://www.midwayusa.com/product/876...2-and-10-gauge

    It's 32 bucks and you can probably get it from Sportsman's or Cabela's to avoid shipping. Basically, you will need the larger shot drop tube to allow the larger pellets to fall without jamming together. I could never get a consistent powder drop with the mec when I used Alliant "Steel" powder so I had to weigh each charge which added a step. The flakes are huge and they just don't settle the same in the charge bar at all. I ended up just dipping the powder with a little scoop, so I wouldn't recommend buying another charge bar for "steel" powder. Theoretically, you could scoop and weigh the shot too and just use the press to size, prime, and crimp if money is an issue. The yellow bottle is just like the red ones, just a different color to show that it is steel shot.

    Anyhow, cost effective depends on how many shells you load and what you pay for components. Since steel shot shells cost so much, it is a lot faster to recoup your money than loading lead. You will need to get steel specific wads and powder. Have fun!
    Thanks much for the info! I remember hearing that it was a bit more involved, meaning, the different charge bar, tubes, etc. And I was wondering if you had to change wads and such. Boy, weighing both the shot AND powder would seem like a pain when I remember how fast I used to reload lead shot. I'll look into it and see if Sportsman's has the stuff I need.

    Thanks again.....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Checked out SW yesterday........no go on parts. I don't believe that they even sell steel shot by the bag.....I didn't ask but all I saw was lead.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    http://www.ballisticproducts.com is where I have ordered non-toxic shotshell loading supplies before.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2jumpersplease View Post
    http://www.ballisticproducts.com is where I have ordered non-toxic shotshell loading supplies before.
    Do you get steel shot from them? If so what do they charge for shipping?
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Also I wanted to ask: I would imagine you used to reload lead as well, and if you were anything like me, reload a lot of it too. I know prices on components are up quite bit now.....wads, powder, etc... But seeing that I already have the reloader and only need a few parts to get it reloading again, do you still feel that it is still cost effective to reload steel? I am asking this as my son has now shown a big interest in duck hunting but he's never shot anything out of the air before.....so I am thinking a lot of practice. I too need practice as even though I killed a few birds,(first time shooting steel) I sure missed a lot more than a used to with lead. So I'm thinking a lot of shells and clay pigeons are in order. After not buying shells for a long time, they sure do seem spendy these days. So I ask, if I'm going to be shooting a lot more now, is it still worth it to reload?......I'm thinking yes?

    Thanks.....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    why not practice with lead?

    I have a 650 jr that is collecting dust - maybe one day I'll have to get it back out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullelkklr View Post
    why not practice with lead?

    I have a 650 jr that is collecting dust - maybe one day I'll have to get it back out.
    Because lead shoots entirely different. Steel is faster. That would be like siting in your rifle with a 250 grain bullet and practicing with it at different ranges, and then go out and hunt with a 150 grain slug made by a different brand. It's going to have a different point of impact. IMO you always want to practice with the round you plan on using to hunt with.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    If you are going to shoot a lot, you will definitely save some cash quickly. Shipping is an annoying cost, some places will put shot in flat rate boxes, but buying in bulk is the only effective way to combat the shipping cost.

    Steel does need to be loaded at a higher velocity to be effective so it is different to shoot. Clays usually fly slower than most waterfowl too but some five stand or spotting g clays outfits have a few faster throwers in the mix. I shoot lead at clays but I know there are places that require non-toxic shot for coats so it's not too weird, just expensive and hard on the shoulder to do all your practice with steel. My theory is light low-recoil with a heavy trap gun for practice until just before waterfowl season then shoot a round with the waterfowl gun and loads just before Sept 1 for some calibration. Most of my hunting is upland with lead though.

    If you are going to the trouble of loading your own steel shells, I would at least try them out on a pattern board to see how they do with different chokes and any changes you want to make with the load like buffering or different amounts of powder.

    If you are really going to shoot a lot, Ponsness-Warren makes a nice progressive press that will do steel. It's around a thousand bucks do you would need to be loading thousands of rounds to recoup costs.

    There is a reloading forum at "duck hunting chat " where folks are really into loading steel. You might want to check that out, there is a lot more interest in steel shot there.

    One last thing, loading steel on the MEC jr is fairly slow. The biggest long run cost to consider is probably your time. I would guess that it will only take a few boxes of shells before you start saving money over store bought steel loads if you don't factor in your time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    Because lead shoots entirely different. Steel is faster. That would be like siting in your rifle with a 250 grain bullet and practicing with it at different ranges, and then go out and hunt with a 150 grain slug made by a different brand. It's going to have a different point of impact. IMO you always want to practice with the round you plan on using to hunt with.
    I do not entirely disagree, but a good wing shot can pick up any shotgun and within a couple shots be right back on - IMO. Sure, perfect practice makes perfect. You could find lead that shoots closer to your steel shot. Not that I am against reloading by any stretch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullelkklr View Post
    I do not entirely disagree, but a good wing shot can pick up any shotgun and within a couple shots be right back on - IMO. Sure, perfect practice makes perfect. You could find lead that shoots closer to your steel shot. Not that I am against reloading by any stretch.
    Well I don't entirely disagree either........lol. But as a kid I cut my teeth on ducks, geese, and pheasants, so I used to be a pretty good wing shot with lead. But after going 20 years (or however many years it's been since the steel shot law went into effect here in AK.) without shooting at a duck, I sure missed a lot more birds than I hit this first time out after all these years. Yes, you might say I'm just out of practice, and indeed I am, but to me steel seems to shoot quite a bit different than the lead loads I used to use. Had I had the time to shoot at all before I was out in the blind things may have been different. Needless to say I ended up getting a bit frustrated but really had a blast doing so. Brought back a lot of great memories.....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2jumpersplease View Post
    If you are going to shoot a lot, you will definitely save some cash quickly. Shipping is an annoying cost, some places will put shot in flat rate boxes, but buying in bulk is the only effective way to combat the shipping cost.

    Steel does need to be loaded at a higher velocity to be effective so it is different to shoot. Clays usually fly slower than most waterfowl too but some five stand or spotting g clays outfits have a few faster throwers in the mix. I shoot lead at clays but I know there are places that require non-toxic shot for coats so it's not too weird, just expensive and hard on the shoulder to do all your practice with steel. My theory is light low-recoil with a heavy trap gun for practice until just before waterfowl season then shoot a round with the waterfowl gun and loads just before Sept 1 for some calibration. Most of my hunting is upland with lead though.

    If you are going to the trouble of loading your own steel shells, I would at least try them out on a pattern board to see how they do with different chokes and any changes you want to make with the load like buffering or different amounts of powder.

    If you are really going to shoot a lot, Ponsness-Warren makes a nice progressive press that will do steel. It's around a thousand bucks do you would need to be loading thousands of rounds to recoup costs.

    There is a reloading forum at "duck hunting chat " where folks are really into loading steel. You might want to check that out, there is a lot more interest in steel shot there.

    One last thing, loading steel on the MEC jr is fairly slow. The biggest long run cost to consider is probably your time. I would guess that it will only take a few boxes of shells before you start saving money over store bought steel loads if you don't factor in your time.
    Thanks 2jump for your help. We'll see how it goes. If I end up getting back into duck hunting like I'd like then I'll sure consider reloading again. I think it all depends on when or if I get a moose very soon in the season as my attention is usually focused on that. You sure get a lot more meat outta them........lol.

    Thanks again....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    BTW......Are any of you guys still using 2 3/4" shells.........or is that just way too outdated these days...???........lol
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    I still use 2 3/4 shells but I don't hunt ducks much anymore. My press is an old Texan and I don't even remember the last time I loaded shells with it.

  17. #17

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    I have hundreds of pounds of zinc-plated number 3 and number 1 steel shot pellets that I'd let go for a dollar a pound. I used to load some hard-hitting handloads but I have been pleased with recent factory loads, so my loader lays idle. I'm local in Anchorage so if you want shot drop me an email. Bobshem@alaska.com.

    Trust me when I say you won't find another deal like this. I will be losing money on this.

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