I recently bought a MEC Sizemaster in 16 because I was tired of paying $8 per box for ultra-high velocity 1 1/8-1 1/4 oz. shells available; being a bit of a traditionalist and would prefer to shoot 1 ounce of shot out of my 16s. I plan on joining the reloading group, but in the mean time I have 3 powder bushings (23, 25 & 29) which are not even mentioned in any of the literature from MEC. I tried the #23 on two sample shells and the crimp is open - apparently I need some a filler wad to obtain the proper crimp. I was planning on doing some clay shooting tomorrow - should I try the # 25 bushing to fill out the shell to obtain the proper crimp? Any suggestions would be welcome.
Joined: 22 Feb 2006
Location: Petaluma, ca.
Welcome. I think it might be easier for a response to your bushing delema if YOU told us what powder you intended to use. For each of the
numbers you listed there may be a couple of different loads. If you use the wrong powder you might damage not only your 16 but more important YOU., by an overcharge.
P.S. iF YOU CONTACT BPI they have the mecx bushings listed in their reloading data and the different loads to powder with each bushing...
I don't know if you measured both your powder and shot but I am assuming from your post that it didn't happen. For any new reloader, a functional balance scale along with various weight to ensure your scale is properly calibrated is the most important tool a good reloader needs to have. I'm not a magnimus in regards to my loads because I prefer quality lead @ 1200 fps in good wads just make great loads. It just seems that alot of reloading manufacturers want to cover themselves with some people with room temperture IQs from blowing themselves up with bad reloads and therefore, many bushings don't drop the correct amount of powder (almost always on the light side). A good scale will inform you that you're dropping the correct amount of powder and it doesn't hurt to periodically check your powder and shot drops. One of my friends didn't think he needed to do that and somehow got one of those foam ear plug got into his powder jar and it eventually worked down into the bottom of the jar. He basically loaded almost of case of ammo before he discovered his mistake and had the hassle of trying to properly dispose of these rounds with a hot primer, shot and a little portion of powder. If you're going to reload, you are attempting to make better rounds than the factory stuff and it all starts with a good scale.
Joined: 02 Oct 2004
I looked at this site and started in January I started for the some of the same reasonswhere you mentioned.
A book or several
I have the LYMAN reloading manual and The Sixteen Guage Manual by Ballistic Products
I got mine from ebay made by RCBS Model 10-10
lots of MEC bushings
contact the low pressure reloading group and get their data. Check the ammunition forum using the search mode.
Joined: 20 Nov 2005
Location: Jonesboro, AR
rpm, being a new reloader too, I experienced some hassels too. First, get a scale to check powder and shot weights. Second, I'm using #29 bushing and getting 19.8g of Unique. It's giving me about 1200fps using W209 primers, SP16 wads and 1oz of shot in Rem Blacks. They load, crimp and shoot just fine. Nice medium load ideal for all clays without banging the old shoulder. Find something like this that works, load it a while before you start jumping around with different loads. Third, recycle hulls in order of how many times you reload them. Go to office supply store and buy some cheap plastic stackable drawers. Label them "once fired" twice fired, etc. This may be some hassel on the range keeping them separate, but when you reload all the same age hulls at the same time, you won't have problems as when you're reloading once fired hulls along side hulls that may have been reloaded two or three times or more. consistency is almost everything. good shooting
_________________ If I can't throw lead from a 16, I'd just as soon throw rocks.
Joined: 12 Mar 2005
RPM, an inexpensive powder scale from Lee is just fine for shotgun loading. As long as it weighs within plus or minus 1/10th of a grain, it will be fine for checking actual powder drop weights. Sometimes you can pick up a good used one around cheap. Check it with a penny against a new or known to be accurate scale to make sure its ok. If they are within 1/10 of a grain of each other, you are good to go.
The next thing you need are loading manuals and the time to read through them. Most powder manufacturers are on the web and also offer 1-800 numbers. Contact them and get their free literature on loading. It is invaluable. Save them too and build a small library of them over the years. I did this and manuals from 20 years ago have provided me with invaluable knowledge and insight, especially when it comes to loading for the 16.
Most of the manuals list powder bushing charts of the various press manufacturers for their powders. Most are also very, very conservative. So you will normally need to go at least one but more frequently, two bushing sizes up for the MEC. Other press companies use a slightly different system of numbering their bushings. The scale will confirm what the press is actually dropping and with direction you need to adjust to.
finally, Green Dot is ok for a 1 ounce load but Unique is better. Anywhere from 18.5 grains to 21 grains of Unique is okay with a Remington R16 1 oz. wad or SP-16 1-1/8 oz. wad and a 1/8 inch thick 28 ga. card wad in the shot cup. You can throw another grain of it for the more roomy hulls like Fiocchi, Federal, and the new polyformed Win-Cheddite hulls without getting into hot load area.
Just stay on the conservative side for a while and keep it simple. Read all you can about shotshell reloading. Save the Green Dot for the 7/8 and 3/4 oz. loads which are both very comfortable and fun to shoot in a light weight 16 gun. 16.5 grains of Green Dot will work for both shot charges. An R16 wad, one or two 28 ga. card wads in the shot cup for the 7/8 or the 3/4 oz. load, in a Remington hull will work. Once you shoot a line or two of clay targets with them, you will understand what I mean. They crush birds and don't kick at all. That is fun.
You will come to understand that the best loads are the ones that give reasonable velocities of 1100 to 1250 fps without pressures above 10,000 PSI. This requires matching the shot weight to the right amount of powder with the best burning speed and density to let you crimp the shell nice and snug.
Loading density is ideal when the powder, wad, and shot all fill the shell so the crimp folds push slightly on the shot and have a firm base to close on. This will usually be around 5/16" space give or take a tad in a 16 gauge hull.
Assuming all other things being right with your choice of powder and shot weight, if the shot does not come up to this height inside the hull, you will need to add enough card wad filler inside the wad's shot cup until it does. If the shot comes up much above this height, then you are trying to jam too much stuff in. you are either using too much shot, too bulky a powder, too long a wad, the wrong wad seating pressure or don't need a filler wad. Most filler wads will not overly affect pressure. The burning rate and amount of powder have the greatest influence on this aspect.
Finally, join the low pressure group here on this site. These guys are all very knowledgeable and will be more than happy to get you off on the right foot. you will not only save money but you will also be able to create loads you can't buy, like the light weight ones I just mentioned. Its not at all difficult once you begin to understand what it takes to form up a good load. good luck and enjoy. 16GG.
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