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Discussion Starter #1
In another thread I mentioned getting a shotshell press. I have yet to load a shotshell.

A couple of questions came to mind:

1) dummy rounds. Is there such a thing in shotshells? Metallic loads are simple. But with shotgun ammo the powder is part of the stack. I've thought maybe I could use a spent primer, real powder to setup a dummy then confirm the wad and crimp stations

2) How do you pull apart shotshells for the inevitable rejects?
 

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first- with the price of lead shot, you are not going to be saving any money over factory ammo. second- you have to get a shotgun reload book to find the right combo for wad's and powder or your crimp won't work. As for rejects you can undo the crimp and dump out the shot then use pliers to pull the wad out, if you do it right you can reuse it.
 

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Delete the fired primer, easier to instantly recognize as a dummy. Fill the primer seat with silicone gasket compound, even. Use whatever wad, drop a bit more shot than wad calls for. Works. Yes, the lack of powder deep seats the wad. So adjust shot drop as necessary. How much "shot overage" depends on hull selected. Remember hulls are either tapered internally or have a basewad "seat". Another option: straight-walled hull wad for a tapered hull.

You can use a small driver or pick to peel open a couple petals, work it around. I usually trash the hull doing that, so more often will just use a boxcutter incision circumferentially just below base of wad.

No, you don't save money loading 12 and 20 with standard payloads. Awaiting getting my rotator fixed, find an 11/16 oz drop above 13.7 gr Extralite in CF 12 ga AAs works great. Try finding that as a factory load. There's also .410 and 28. There's also not being able to find any factory load, but having enough inventory of components.
 

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When I was reloading shotgun shells (mostly 12 ga.) and made a mistake and wanted to salvage the components, I figured the hull was to be discarded. I would simply take a box cutter razor blade tool and hold the blade on the side of the shell next to the crimped end and turn the shell while cutting the plastic only deep enough to cut the through. The wad would seldom get damaged because it set deeper than the end of the shell. After taking apart the shell I would cut the hull down to about an inch long and knock out the primer using the right sized punch. The base of the shell would be positioned on top of a MEC aluminum powder bushing.

A gunsmith friend once was asking about me making some dummy inert 12 gauge shells so he could test recycling shotguns without using live ammo. I simply made an actual shell using a spent primer and mark the brass end and sides with a colored sharpie pen so he could spot the inert rounds and not accidentally use any live rounds. This allowed him to cycle the shotgun and know that it would function with the proper weighted shells.

Steve
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
This is all good info. Thank you. I am gleaning from this that the hull is usually sacrificial. No biggie.

Another question regarding shot size.

From what I can tell, shot is measured by volume, not the literal weight of the shot. Being that smaller shot will meter in more weight in a given charge bar (volume) than larger, e.g. #10 vs #4, I would expect that the drop of #10 would weigh more than #4 out of a 1 1/8 oz charge bar. Does that sound right, and does it matter?

What I'm really beginning to understand is that the combo of charge, wad and shot combine to precisely consume the volume of a specific hull, and why we don't haphazardly swap components.

Accordingly, loads call for weight of shot, that then correlates to a charge bar (volume) but doesn't specify size of shot.

I am going to re-read the Lyman Shotshell manual, but didn't remember this being covered the first time through.
 

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Exactly. Most reloaders use bushings for shot and powder.

While charts are fine, I still verify that bushing #XXX gives me XXX ounces of XXX size shot or gns of powder.

That was my favorite part of the Dillon SL900 reloader. No bushings. But it sucked for 28 Gauge and was not avail for 410. Sold it and bought a Spolar.
 

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Take a 38spl case and remove the rim so it can be chucked in a drill. Find a piece of tractor trailer tire, always some on the side of the road. Drill into the thick part so you have a nice long piece of rubber. Taper one end, chuck the other end in your drill. Drill your dummy primer into the hull and trim flush. About the best dummy primer I have heard of.
 

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.....shot is measured by volume, not the litteral weight of the shot....I would expect that the drop of #10 would weigh more than #4 out of a 1 1/8 oz charge bar. Does that sound right, and does it matter?

What I'm really beginning to understand is that the combo of charge, wad and shot combine to precisely consume the volume of a specific hull, and why we don't haphazardly swap components.

Accordingly, loads call for weight of shot, that then correlates to a charge bar (volume) but doesn't specify size of shot.
You've got it. Just once in past 50-ish years loading shotshells have I ever gotten a fixed charge bar to throw at or above the specified weight. That was recently, and with Eagle #9. But it was just one measured throw out of 5, and only about 3 grains over specified. Which is nothing.

Have an idea we're all pretty OCD here so you'll "get" this..........about 15 years ago I specifically asked Alliant if their data was developed with charge bar drops vs weighed payloads. In no uncertain terms they responded "weighed payloads". So I stopped worrying about using different shot sizes/antimony levels.
 

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I loaded 15 rounds of 12 gauge and took them to the range today. I hadn't dragged my Mec Sizemaster from out of the cabinet in a long time.
My combination was 19 grains of Green Dot Powder, WAA 12 Sl duplicate wad, the Green Duster.
1 oz of #8 shot.
W209 primers.
I used my H&R Topper. I have other 12 gauge shotguns, but the H&R is an incredibly simple single shot break barrel, with ejectors.
I was concerned about shooting over my Chrony, and the blast did move it to the side where I had to reposition it each time.
My Velocity readings closely matched those in the Lyman Shot shell reloading manual. I averaged 1172 fps. The manual shows about 1150 with the same combination.
I fired at one sheet of poster board. Dispersement covered the entire sheet at about 10 yards.
Had some fun blasting hedge apples placed on the embankment.
Next up I will buy some more clay pigeons, and get my Trius trap thrower out and see with I can do with flying targets.
 

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I loaded for 12, 20, 28, and .410 and I don't ever remember making a dummy round for any of them. The bushing or like Lee disks, it probably will not throw what the book says it will throw.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I loaded for 12, 20, 28, and .410 and I don't ever remember making a dummy round for any of them. The bushing or like Lee disks, it probably will not throw what the book says it will throw.
By dummy, I don't mean in the sense that we use them for in metallic reloading. I'm thinking in terms of having something to run through all the stations to ensure things are properly setup without having to seat a primer.
 

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The MEC manual has good illustrations relating to precrimp, crimp, and cam adjustments. Never bothered with unprimed dummy shells in various stages of assembly. And if you seriously botch a couple getting the press set up dismantle and save all except, possibly, the hull.

Most always an ugly looking shell will fire just fine, whether too much or not enough crimp. Not akin to the pressure issues from deep seating 9x19.
 

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When I first got into skeet shooting we had this one individual that we called Chipper. He loved shooting the .410. A lot of his hulls were held together with Scotch tape. I have shot many rounds that the mouth of the hull had candle wax to prevent the shot from falling out.
 
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One of the things I like about the Sizemaster is the fact that although its classified as a single stage, it operates more like a metallic cartridge turret press. Except you move the shell from station to station, not moving the dies. 5 pulls and you have a completed shell. When I first got this I didn't think the primer feed could possibly work smoothly, but it does. I plan to crank out a few dozen shells tomorrow.
 

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I was concerned about shooting over my Chrony, and the blast did move it to the side where I had to reposition it each time...
I wonder how a LabRADAR would work for shot. LabRADAR is less effective for .22 because it can't 'see' the little bullet with RADAR, but seeing a group of shot at close range (muzzle velocity) will probably work fine. If you shoot a LabRADAR, you are doing something very wrong.
 

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Enjoying this thread for the theoretical value, as I will surely never reload for my shotguns.

Not much of a shotgun girl, having only two - an over and under .22/.410 and an over and under .22/20ga.

The .22/.410 was my Dad's and he used to shoot rats with it in the alleys of the city of St. Louis before po-po brought him home to my Mom and told her to keep him inside. Turned out to be my first gun to hunt (groundhogs) with at 13. Twenty-five cents bounty per tail... couldn't pass it up.

Haven't shot either shotgun for 10 years + but still love these shotgun threads. :cheers:
 

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Stopped at my lgs and found one 25 pound bag of #9 chilled lead shot. He also had 209 primers, so I picked up two one hundred unit sleeves. The conversion chart on the internet shows at 1 oz loads I should get 400 shot shell rounds. I have 800 more primers. This will keep me in shot shells for the foreseeable future. I still have a Mec hopper full of shot .
 

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Just a reminder if you ever use Alliant Steel powder, I was told to weigh this powder and not rely on the volumetric drop. It has to do with Steel's properties. I don't know if this information has changed since I heard this.
 
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I never bothered to make a dummy round when I handloaded shotgun. When you set it up to load a recipe, you'll go through a couple of rounds tuning it up. I've never thought of it as a big deal and recovering components isn't bad.

I was never a fan of the bushings, so I always used the Universal Charge Bar, that works like the Dillon powder bar on their presses. Just dial it in for the weight and be done with it. Same for the shot. Dial it in and get it to the weight. 1 1/8oz then lock it in and load. You will have a variance and yes usually shot sizes under #6 will have a larger variance than smaller sizes due to the way they meter in the bar/bushing. Larger shot sizes it is best to be consistent in press movement, tap the bottle before sliding to charge the shell with shot. I loaded for small game, uplands (grouse) when I lived in the UP, and played around with buckshot. Buckshot was hand metered as it was a pellet count and not weight/volume.
 
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