Hand loading firearm cartridges has been in practice as long as there have been cartridges to load. Shotshell reloading presses make reloading shotgun shells significantly easier. They come with a few other additional benefits as well.
If you are new to reloading, then you can easily become overwhelmed by all of the options on the market. Finding the right shotgun shell reloading press for you depends on your level of experience, how often you shoot, and what sort of budget you are/strong working with. Here are the top 5 best progressive reloading press on the market today.
5. Lee Precision Shotshell Reloading Press 12 GA
Coming in first on the list of best shotshell reloaders is the 12 gauge reloading press from Lee Precision. It has been quoted as one of the best reloading presses for beginners on multiple occasions. Its affordable price, quick set-up, and ease of use make it perfect for first timers who do not have any prior experience reloading shells.
This particular press comes with a convenient handle that makes it easy to carry from one location to the next. It features a simplistic design overall, but looking sleek and sophisticated is not necessarily important in the world of shotgun shell reloading.
The ease of use and setup of this particular press are what really helps it stand out from some other similarly priced models. It takes about 20 minutes at most after opening the box to have the reloader pieced together and working.
Setup only requires a few steps. You attach a primer, mount the press, and install the necessary bushings. The primer feed is not absolutely necessary, but it does make reloading shells significantly easier.
The cheap price of the press means that it will pay for itself within a short period of time. The only setback is that it does not allow for a large volume of shot.
4. Lee Precision Shotshell Reloading Press 16 GA
This particular model does everything for 16 gauge shells that the 12 gauge variation does for those shells. The machines themselves are practically identical aside from the sizing of components.
The roots of Lee Precision were founded back in 1958 by Richard Lee and ever since then his business has managed to supply the world with high-quality shotshell reloaders. That comes as no surprise as both of the Lee Precision models mentioned above use high-quality manufacturing techniques, work with a high accuracy, and are still able to sell on markets for extremely competitive prices.
This press is designed to load shells of different sizes without requiring any additional components. That is just another way in which the Lee Precision press saves you money.
It is said to be able to reload up to 200 shotgun shells in a single hour. A primer feeder can be used to save time and prevent the need to physically touch the primer during any of the reloading stages.
As with the other model, this one does not have a particularly large hopper. It can hold around five pounds of shot, which should be more than enough for the novice reloader.
3. Lee Precision Shotshell Reloading Press 20 GA
This is the third and final model on the list manufactured by Lee Precision. Once again, you can expect to enjoy all of the same benefits as the 12 GA and 16 GA models. It can load up to 200 shells in an hour, is extremely easy to set up, easy to use, and the handle makes it easy to carry.
The 20 gauge model is considered extremely reliable. Many customers have had their Lee Precision presses for several years and have put several thousand rounds through them without any problem.
It is designed more for casual use, though to many it is more than capable of handling their reloading needs. If you find yourself using a lot more shot than the Lee Precision can handle you might move up to a slightly larger model designed for heavier use.
Even then, you are guaranteed to keep using your Lee Precision press to load your 20 gauge shells whenever you want to try new rounds or just want to load shells faster than the other model can handle.
2. Mec 600 Jr Mark V 12
Mark V from Mec is a step up in terms of pricing and complexity, but it comes with plenty of new advantages. Where the Lee Precision press is designed for the beginner reloader, this Mec model is designed for the avid hunter who goes through a lot of shells and needs a capable, reliable, long-term reloading press.
It is extremely rugged and designed from cast iron. It can handle some pretty tough bumps and scrapes without throwing off the accuracy a bit. This is why Mec models last such a long time. If you purchase one today you could still be using it a decade from now without any noticeable difference.Unlike other reloaders on the market that suffer from gradual wear and tear of components, you won’t find yourself needing to replace anything on your Mec anytime soon.
Its versatility is another reason why it is so highly regarded as a reloading press. It can reload just about any plastic cartridge you can find. This particular model is still labeled as an “entry level” reloading press in comparison to some of the most advanced machines sold by Mec. Even so, experienced hunters still rely on this press on a daily basis.
1. Mec Mayville 9000G Progressive Shotshell Reloader
Easily one of the best shotshell reloaders on the market, the Mayville 9000G comes in at number one on the list. The 9000G is based on a much older model with the same design, but don’t let the age scare you away. They remade the older model because it was so popular. Those who purchased the original 9000G could rely on them for decades without a problem.
It weighs about 26 pounds, so it is not the lightest reloader to carry around with you. That weight is considerably lighter than the older model.
The older model used steel parts throughout the manufacturing process. Many of those parts have been replaced with plastic where possible. The replacements don’t lessen the lifespan of the 9000G but do make it somewhat cheaper than it was in the past.
Operating it is slightly more complex than some of the models mentioned earlier in the list. That is why it isn’t categorized as a beginner’s reloader. It is definitely recommended for those who are serious about shooting and reloading their own shotgun shells.
Though somewhat confusing at first, once you figure out the rhythm it is extremely easy to crank out tons of shotgun shells in a short period of time. There are a few additional accessories you should consider buying to make your reloading experience easier, such as an adjustable charge bar, but they aren’t necessary.
A Brief Explanation Of Use.
The proper way to use each press is going to vary in some slight ways from one model to the next. You should always consult the user manual before operating the reloader for safety and efficiency reasons.
Aside from the reloader, you will need a few obvious supplies. This includes hulls, bars, shot, and few other things. The shot you buy will depend on what exactly you are shooting. There are various bars, but the best options are always adjustable power bars.
Once you have your supplies you can begin the process of reloading a shell. Though every machine is different, some of them work in a similar way. It usually involves priming, placing a drop tube inside the shell, and operating the bar to provide the powder.
After the powder is inside you add a wad seat it firmly against the powder using the tube. Place the tube down in the case and add the shot. The shot can usually be added by moving the charge bar in the reverse direction. Finally, you crimp the cartridge together and it should be ready to shoot.
Remember, these are not specific instructions for using every reloader. Read the individual manual carefully, follow instructions, and pay close attention to detail.
Why Use A Reloader?
Using a reloading press might seem a bit trivial at first, but it has some great advantages. The most noticeable advantage is saving you money. Over time, most reloading presses will pay for themselves.
They also allow you to create unique shells with your own custom shot. You can quickly press out some shotgun shells for whatever you are shooting. Purchasing the same shells may be difficult, if not impossible, in some areas.
Some people also just enjoy it as a fun hobby. The DIYer will love the idea of being able to reload their own shotgun shells. It can be a fun experience and teaches the art of self-reliance.
For beginners, the Lee Precision reloading press is a great option. It is affordable and easy to use. If you find yourself shooting more often and need a more serious, long-term machine, then a Mayville 9000G from Mec is a much better option. Either way, all of the five models listed above are the best shotshell reloaders on the market.