Loading #0 Buckshot on the MEC 600 Jr

Loading #0 Buckshot on the MEC 600 Jr

Buckshot is one of the most versatile shotgun rounds you’re likely to find.  With hunting, self-defense and tactical applications, there’s very little you can’t do with it, but good grief is it ever expensive!  With prices as high as $2/round or more for the premium stuff, and even bulk packs ringing in at over a buck a shot, it’s no wonder people don’t shoot more of it.

In this article we’re going to take a look at how simple it is to reload your own buckshot for pennies on the dollar using a MEC 600 Jr press.

Components

Starting with our components, we’ll be using the following:

  • Winchester AA hulls
  • Winchester 209 Primers
  • Claybuster CB1114-12 wads
  • #0 Buckshot
  • 12G overshot cards

Process

Beginning with station one, slide a hull into the resizing and depriming die, and lower the handle.  This removes the spent primer, while resizing the hull to its original factory specifications.

Next, place a new primer into the primer cup in station two, and slide the hull onto the priming rod.  As the handle is lowered, the new primer is pressed into place.

At station number three, lower the powder drop tube into the hull, and move the charge bar to the left to drop a charge, then back to the right again.  I’m using 23grains of Universal for these #0’s, but as always, consult your manual when developing your own loads.

After raising the handle, lower the wad guide into place, and place a wad into it.  Next, lower the handle again to seat the wad in the hull.

With the wad in place it’s now time to remove the hull from the press, and begin adding buckshot.  I use #0 here rather than the more common #00, because the few thousandths of an inch of extra space this frees up allows me to load the shot into a standard wad without having to trim the petals off.   I find this improves accuracy, and reduces lead fouling in my shotgun barrel.  Another great advantage to #0 is it stacks perfectly, three at a time, for a total of nine pellets or roughly an ounce of lead.

With the shot in added, top the column off with an overshot card in order to obtain a nice, factory-looking crimp.  Overshot cards can be purchased for a few cents a piece from a number of different suppliers, but I prefer to make my own using the overshot punch I designed (which will be covered in a future article).

With the shot column established, it’s time to crimp.  Move the hull to station four, and lower the handle to begin the crimp.

Finally it’s off to station five where lowering the handle one final time completes the star crimp.  If you’ve never used an overshot card before when crimping shotshells, I urge you to try some for yourself to see just how much better looking your crimps are vs trying to make them without.  Messy crimps don’t really impact performance much, but if you’re a reloader who takes pride in constructing factory-looking shells, I think you’ll appreciate the difference.

Summary

Believe it or not, that’s really all there is to it.  Using some cast buckshot and basic, off-the-shelf reloading components, you can easily produce professional looking #0 buckshot rounds for a fraction of the cost of factory ammo.  Aside from the obvious financial benefits, the thing I love most about reloading my own buckshot is that I can make literally any kind of round I think up, whenever I like.  High power loads, or reduced recoil– wide-spreading #4 or devastating #0000, even combinations like buck-and-ball or mixed shot sizes for extra versatility, It’s all possible.

When you stop relying on factory ammunition and begin loading your own, you’ll find you’re free to explore, and experiment, with developing that perfect round that’s just right for your application, rather than having to settle for whatever your local gun store happened to have in stock that day.  With the recent instability in the ammunition supply chain, a little extra independence can be a very good thing.

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