What do I need to start Reloading?
You must have a valid shotgun certificate. We ask to see this from all our customers, old and new, when purchasing powder. This is not a legal requirement but is our company policy, the reasoning being if you need a SGC to purchase cartridges then we see it as no different to purchasing all the components separately. Shotgun primers and primed cases do not require a license according to the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 – only cap type primers designed for use in metallic ammunition for a firearm are affected by this.
You are able to store up to 15kg of smokeless powder (shooters powder) without a license. This is only for nitro powder, NOT black powder, which requires a license to Acquire and Keep.
From here you can start to look at what equipment you might need. It can be easy to start by hand loading cartridges if you’re only looking to do small volumes or want to try the process out before investing in a reloading press. This can be done by using scales and a Roll Turn Over tool to finish the cartridge rather than crimping. A roll turn tool is to be used in an upright drill and comes with one piece for rolling the cartridge top and another piece to hold the brass head. The scales we supply can be used to weigh out both powder and shot to the required charge for your load.
If you’re looking for your first loader the MEC 600Jr is our most popular. This press is single stage meaning you physically move the cartridge round each of the five stations, completing the processes required. Station 1 removes the spent primer and also resizes the brass head, which can stretch after being fired. The second station seats the new primer in the case. The third station is for dispensing shot and powder and seating the wad (plastic or fibre). The loader has fixed shot charge bars to drop different weights i.e. 28gram/1oz of lead shot and for each different shot weight you would need a different charge bar. The powder bushings sit in the shot bar and drop powder volumetrically. For the MEC reloaders there are some 40 – 50 different bushings that must be matched up to drop the correct weight of powder, as required for the load you’re using. The fourth station is a pre crimper, which brings the crimp folds together to be closed. The fifth station is the final crimping stage and will close your cartridge.
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The most important part of setting your new loader up is ensuring you have the correct shot bar and powder bushing installed. This should always be checked for each batch of cartridges produced using accurate scales. Powder density can change from one batch to another so never presume that one tub of powder will volumetrically weight the same as another.
Once you have decided what tools you need you can begin to look at components. We have a number of formulas and data sheets available to download from our website as well as new loads being produced regularly. We also have a number of reloading manuals available such as the Advantages Manual…which has a huge variety of loads for American Powders with lead and non-toxic shot as well as the Cheddite Manual which lists loads using American Powders but with the European Cheddite Cases and Primers. Be aware that the reloading market it much larger in the US and not all the components are available in the UK and use different names for some wads.
We are always available to discuss any requirements or queries you may have so please feel free to call or email if you have any questions.