The process of reloading shotgun shells is quite simple, but there are a few critical things that you need to know. Many people reload shells to save money, or they enjoy doing things for themselves. Reloading shells at home is cheaper than buying them if you don’t mind the extra work. Reloading can be broken down into eleven steps. Each step has important information that is necessary for safe, fully functioning shells that perform as well as factory loaded shells. Failure to follow these steps carefully and be observant of these important details could be dangerous to you and the users of your shells.
Follow these simple steps to be loading your own ammunition in no time. The first step in reloading shells is gathering your supplies. Empty hulls are the shells that have already been shot. The brass on these shot shells needs to be undamaged. Also the shells are plastic, so you need to examine the shells for splits, tears, and leaky primer pockets. These defects could affect the crimp Discard of any shells with defects. Also, makes sure all of your shells are of one type and match the recipe you are using. Next, you’ll need to buy wadding that is appropriate for the gauge of shell you are reloading.
The wadding is the plastic piece that is inserted between the powder and shot to prevent them from mixing and providing a better shot. The wad also helps guide the shot out the barrel. Shot is the little bb’s that are the projectiles of the shell. Shot varies in size and come in two different materials, lead and steel, and have different uses. You also need primers because they are a very important piece of the final product. Primers provide the spark for that ignites the powder. In the same sense, you’ll need powder that is smokeless.
Smokeless powder burns more efficient than plain black powder. Powder comes in different blends and are used for different recipes. A reload guide is necessary to get specifications on the type of load you’re wanting to do. This guide will include the type of powder, how much powder, type of primer, wad, and shot for the shell you are reloading. Once you have acquired these things along with a reloading your reloading station, you’re ready to go. Always remember to be careful when working with gun powder. Next, you need to verify your bushing and bar.
You need to check the powder bushing and the number in your loading guide matchup. Also, That the shot charge is correct for the load that you’re doing. If this is not done, you might end up with the wrong measurements. Now that you have your bushing and bar to your desired combination you need to fill your hoppers. The hoppers, the clear plastic bottles located on the top, hold the shot and powder. The hopper on the left hand side holds the shot. If you’re loading different types of loads, make sure the shot in the hopper is all the same.
Once you have chosen your recipe that you want to use for your shells fill the hopper with the shot called for in the recipe. You can use a funnel of any material when you do fill this hopper. Then, you can fill the right-hand hopper with the powder that the same recipe uses. For safety purposes, when filling the powder hopper, use a plastic funnel to prevent a spark from friction. Now, you can begin to reload the empty shells. The used shells have a used primer that needs to be removed. To remove this primer, fit the empty shell into the slot on your reloading station.
Then, pull the lever down and the uncapping pin will remove the used primer. Make sure to fully pull down the lever. Also during this process, the brass casing is resized to the factory specifications. Ensuring that the shell will chamber smoothly in your shotgun. This is because the brass can become deformed after firing or transport. Next, you will need to insert a primer back into the shell. For shotgun shells, a size 209 primer is used. This is the standard primer for shotgun shells. The most common used brand is Winchester, but other brands do make the same size primer.
Place the new primer in the slot with the narrow end up. If you don’t do this the primer will not go in properly and could cause some difficulties. Once the primer is placed in the slot, put the empty shell on the priming ram and pull the lever down. It is important to pull the lever down firmly and make sure the primer is secured within the brass casing properly and is flush with the brass. The next step in this process is very important, and that is powder charging. After the primer has been inserted properly, place the shell under the powder and shot drop tube.
Pull down the lever fully and hold firmly, then with your right hand slide the push the powder and shot metering bar fully to the left. When you do this, make sure you do it quickly without hesitation to ensure no powder gets jammed. Now, raise the handle. Without moving the shot shell, place the wad in the wad guide. The wad separates the powder from the shot and helps for a better shot. Pull the lever fully down and the wad will then be seated firmly on the powder charge. When you do this, make sure you use at least 20 pounds of wad seating pressure (Matunas 89).
Applying the right amount of pressure will make for a near perfect crimp. The wrong amount of pressure could affect the quality of the crimp. If the meter shows too little pressure, the wad is not seated on the powder. The could be because there is an incomplete powder charge. On the other hand, the gauge might show too much pressure. The problem could be a , wrong wad, wrong case, too much powder, or a faulty wad. Keep the lever pulled down, but not applying any pressure to the wad. Shot metering is putting the shot into the shell casing in the wad, and this is the next step.
Push the left end of the shot metering bar fully to the right. Like the powder, this needs to be done without any hesitation to keep the bar from jamming. After you push the bar fully to the left, this causes the shot to fall into the shot shell. Once all of the shot have dropped down into the shell, you can return the handle to it’s original position. The crimp starting is the next step and starts the crimping process. Place the shell on the crimp starting station. Then, pull the handle fully downwards to start the case mouth crimp. This should close the end of the case about a third or half of the way (Matunas 89).
You can adjust the crimp starter to provide the right amount of crimp to start. The crimp starter must match the number of crimp folds of the original fired case. The number of folds usually in a crimp is six to eight. Now, the final crimp can be performed. The final crimp closes the shell completely. Position the partially crimped shell in the final crimping station. Then, pull down the handle slowly and smoothly to ensure a solid crimp. You can hold the lever down for a second to let the crimp set. Also, raise up and down on the lever a couple more times to ensure that you have a strong crimp.
The crimp depth should duplicate or be as close as possible to the original factory crimp (Matunas 89). Lastly, you need to inspect the round that you have loaded. You should thoroughly inspect the loaded round. Any rounds with imperfections should be discarded since they are not safe. Next, use a case ring gauge to insure that the brass head has been fully resized back to factory standards. This is important because if the brass is not the correct size it will not function smoothly. Now, you should have a fully loaded shotgun shell that performs like a brand new factory shotgun shell.
Through these simple steps you can reload shotgun shells for yourself and save money. With more practice and the more shells you produce; you’ll be able to produce more shells faster and more accurate. Just remember to follow the steps in order and to remember the safety advice to prevent any accidents and injuries. Reloading can be enjoyable for the do it yourself type of person or for someone just looking to save money. These steps will have your ammunition looking like they came from the factory, but it came from your home. Enjoy loading and shooting your own shells.