Reloading Buckshot Rounds with Bubba Rountree Outdoors and my724outdoors.com!
Wade goes step by step on reloading some buckshot rounds! This is a great how to video!! He talks about some of his best performing buckshot hunting rounds! #4 as well as some #00 1/2 in .34 cal and some #000 in .35 cal.
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About Reloading Buckshot Rounds
The first thing you will need is a reloading manual. Many are available from a wide array of sources including Winchester, Hodgdon and Alliant. Those companies make popular shotshell powders and their manuals are free. Many other resources are available online, but use data only from reliable sources in the firearms industry.
Data sets in a manual are arranged first by gauge, payload weight and shell. There will be a section for 12-gauge 1 1/8-ounce loads using Winchester AA hulls, Remington STS hulls, Federal hulls and so on. It will list recommended powder charges, primers and wads. Similar sections follow for 16-gauge, 20-gauge, 28-gauge and .410-bore. Each load will include chamber pressures and muzzle velocities.
It won’t take long to settle on a few preferred loads, but the additional data that you will probably never load is still useful for cross referencing.
Buy a press
A shotgun reloading press is a one-stop shop that performs all of the functions necessary to produce a reloaded shotgun cartridge from beginning to end. I use the MEC Sizemaster for 12-, 20-, 16- and 28-gauge.
The Sizemaster contains stations in a circular pattern where all of the steps are performed. It begins by depriming and resizing a spent shotgun shell to factory dimensions.
A priming station installs a new primer. The next station dispenses the powder charge into the shell. The next station installs the wad. The next station dispenses the shot charge, and the last station crimps the mouth.
MEC presses come with a charge bar and three bushings that meter out the proper powder and shot weight. The bushings are fairly accurate, but I replaced the stock charge bar with a universal charge bar that allows you to dial in the exact weight, to one-tenth of a grain, of both charges. This does away with the disparities that occur with different powders and different shot sizes.
Once you get the hang of it, you can churn out a lot of ammo pretty quickly with this kind of press.
For low-volume loading, the Lee Load-All is an economical starting point. It is very popular, and it works very well for its intended purpose.
High-volume shooters use auto-drive presses made by Hornady, Ponsness-Warren and others. I never could get the hang of my Hornady 366 Automatic press and spent more time cleaning up messes than I did loading ammo. A manual press like the MEC Sizemaster gives a user complete control over every step, and it suits my needs just fine.
Loading lead shot is straightforward. All you need is a bag of your preferred size of lead shot, powder, primers, wads and, of course, hulls.
Separate your hulls by brand and style. Remington STS hulls are different than Remington Express, Sportsman and ShurShot hulls. AA hulls are different than Winchester’s ridged hulls, but I use the same loading data for AA in smooth Winchester Upland and Super X hulls.
Different wads are appropriate for different applications. I love Remington’s Figure 8 wad for all of my 12-gauge skeet loads. For 16-gauge, your main options are Winchester’s WAA16 and Remington’s SP16. Those are for 1 1/8-ounce loads. If you want lighter loads, you have to insert an undercard or get 1-ounce wads from Claybusters or Gualandi.
You also need special wads to load TSS and Hevi-Shot, which is an art unto itself.
Powder makes the whole thing go. Green Dot and Longshot are my favorite Alliant powders. Longshot gets higher velocities for 16-gauge than any other. Blue Dot is another good powder for 16-gauge. Green Dot and Hodgdon Unique are my go-to powders for 28-gauge.
For 12-gauge, my favorites in order are: Hodgdon Universal, Hodgdon Clays, Hodgdon Unique and Winchester Super Field (WSF).
Shotgun powders burn a lot faster than rifle powders, but chamber pressures for shotguns are much lower than the pressures generated within centerfire rifle chambers. If you adhere to load data published in reliable sources, it is very safe.
A cartridge failure in a rifle or a pistol is serious, and metallic reloaders discard brass that demonstrate weakened structural integrity.
I’ve seen elite competitive shotgunners continue reloading hulls that should have been pitched long ago. One such person was an elderly Mr. Beck, a member of my former skeet league. He shot an expensive Perazzi over/under. Many times I watched him step to the line with shells that were held together with Scotch tape. The hull material was so soft that it wouldn’t hold a crimp, allowing the shot to spill into the pockets of Beck’s shooting vest.
Beck nonchalantly scooped a handful of shot from his pocket, funneled it into his hull with a cupped palm, closed the crimp with his thumbs and broke clays. Nobody ever rebuked Beck, but they did back up a few steps whenever it was his turn to shoot.
In no way is this type of behavior recommended or endorsed, but it illustrates that shotgun reloading is more forgiving than reloading metallic cartridges.
Like ammo, reloading components are in extremely high demand right now, including presses. MEC’s website says that there is a two- to three-week delay on orders. Powders and primers are also very hard to find.
When it is available, factory shotgun ammo is so inexpensive that there is no real cost savings to reloading. The advantage is being able to tailor loads specifically to your gun and to specific applications, as well as the satisfaction of taking game and breaking targets with self-made ammo.
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