Reloading Slugs on the MEC 600 Slugger
Reloading Slugs on the MEC 600 Slugger
Traditionally-speaking, shotshell reloading presses have been designed and built primarily to meet the needs of clay-shooters and wildfowl hunters, and that’s certainly reflected in the marketplace today. While virtually every major reloading manufacturer offers one or more shotshell presses, MEC is the first to produce one specifically for slug enthusiasts.
MEC’s 600 Slugger is a new take on the classic 600 Jr Mark 5, which is easily the most popular shotshell reloading press in the world today. While the 600 Jr can and does load slugs, you have to remove or empty the shot bottle while doing so. Likewise, if you want to roll crimp, you need to perform this step separately using a drill and specialized roll crimping tool, the results of which are often less than stellar.
Designed exclusively for the loading of slugs, the 600 Slugger is a single stage press that produces consistently accurate and professional looking ammunition, right down to the roll crimp, without requiring any additional tools or machinery. Reloaders familiar with the MEC line will immediately recognize it’s similarities to the 600 Jr, including the body design, build construction, and operation. However there are also a number of subtle, and not so subtle differences between the two.
Starting from the top, the shot bottle has been removed and the shotbar simplified so that it only drops powder (the slugs are inserted manually by the operator). The standard MEC two-die star-crimp system has been replaced with an innovative three-die roll crimp that works well with new and used hulls. Finally the shell plate has also been modified to accommodate the new crimping system.
With the features covered, let’s discuss the process of loading slugs.
Beginning with station one, the user inserts a hull into the resizing and depriming die. This serves to remove the spent primer, while also returning the brass base of the hull to it’s original factory specifications so it chambers properly.
Next, a fresh primer is placed in the primer cup at station two, while the hull is slid onto the priming rod. Lowering the handle presses it into place.
Moving on to station number three, the operator slides the hull into the shell plate and lowers the press handle, inserting the power drop tube. The charge bar is then actuated to the left before returning to it’s starting position, dropping a pre-measured charge into the hull.
Raising the press handle, the user partially inserts a wadding into the hull mouth, lowering the handle to seat it over the powder charge at the correct depth and pressure. At this point any optional filler wads can be inserted before manually placing the slug on top.
At station four (located at the very back of the press as opposed to the front position next to station three), the operator slides the hull into the shell plate and begins the crimping process. This first stage in the crimp begins to roll and fold the lip of the hull inwards.
Now it’s off to station five (located in front of station four), where the user once again inserts the hull and completes the crimp. This stage straightens out the internal fold of the roll crimp and smooths it into a more concentric circle.
Finally the operator transfers the hull to station six (located on the far left). The last stage in the crimping process ensures the hull is the correct height, and applies a rounded edge to ensure smooth cycling with pump and semi-automatic shotguns.
Despite the number of operations being performed, loading slugs with the MEC 600 Slugger is actually a very simple and intuitive process. Ammunition loaded with this press is very clean, consistent and professional looking, with some of the best ‘home-brew’ roll crimps I’ve seen. Depending on the combination of hull length and shot column, you may notice some extra space near the top of the crimp; it’s important to note that this is purely cosmetic and will not affect accuracy or consistency in any way. If however this is something you want to further improve, I’ve had solid results using filler wads, overshot cards or by trimming hulls to custom lengths.
The MEC 600 Slugger is a pleasure to use, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who’s interested exclusively in loading slugs. Alternatively, if you find yourself wanting a second press dedicated to slugs in order to avoid changing over your primary shotshell setup, the Slugger could be the perfect solution.
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