This article is all about finding the best shotshell reloader.
I turned into a clay target shooting addict the first time I tried the game. Each time you hit the flying target, your soul gets nourished with a divine feeling. It’s hard to get enough of the game, and you could easily end up needing 1000-3000 shotshells each month.
During clay pigeon shooting, you need quality ammo that can produce the dusted effect. Cheap ammo may leave you scoring a lot of zeros each time you hit the clay, but it, unfortunately, fails to show visible signs of being broken.
Quality ammo is expensive, and that is why I prefer reloading my bullets. This saves me a lot of money, allowing me to practice more frequently without worrying about my budgets.
Dive in, and I’ll help you find the best shotshell reloader so you can also start reloading your bullets.
5 Best Shotshell Reloader 2019 Reviewed
Let’s have a look around the best shotshell presses in today’s markets. I have tested over 20 models and chose the top 5 that promises users the best value for every dime they spend.
1. LEE PRECISION II Shotshell Reloading Press
I’ll start by taking you through a shotshell reloading press that is ideal for the budget-conscious shooter.
- Affordable and easy to use
- Comes with shot and powder bushing
- Safety charge bar and steel sizing ring included
- The package comes with a 6-8 point crimp starters
- Ideal for ammo reloading beginners
- 16, 12, and 20 gauge reloading press
- This equipment is slow, compared to other models
This model offers a good deal because it allows you to reload a reasonable selection of gauges at an impressive speed of 200 shells per hour. Although this may be slow, compared to other models, it’s a worthy deal for the price.
This is a gauge 20, 16, and 12 reloading press. You can, therefore, reload your 2 ¾ and 3-inch shotgun shells. One of the outstanding perks of this equipment is that it features an in-built primer catcher that is remarkably easy to access and empty.
Another impressive feature is the hopper that can hold about 5lbs of shots. You can load about 100 shells at one go to keep your press refilling your ammo non-stop for about 30 minutes. Better still, the equipment comes with sixteen powder bushings and eight-shot bushings, which is not common, even when buying shotshell reloaders that have a higher price tag.
2. MEC Sizemaster 20 Gauge Press
MEC is one of the most popular shotshell reloader brands. The Sizemaster is a brilliant model, designed to ensure you produce high-quality shotgun shells that have impressive performance.
- Designed for easy operations
- Durable steel frame
- Comes with 24, 22, and 20 bushings
- Can reload 2 ¾ and 3-inch shells
- 6-8 box loading rate per hour
This device comes with a flip-top measure that reduces the risk of spillage when refilling your ammunition.
Another handy feature is the adjustable rammer. It ensures you get just the ideal amount of pressure as you inset the wad. The spindex2 function, on the other hand, rotates and realigns the shotgun shells automatically. This helps to speed up the reloading process, allowing you to load 6-8 boxes in an hour.
This press can reload 2 ¾ and 3-inch shells. It is available in 28, 20, 16, 12, and 10 gauge models. Furthermore, it has a solid frame made from durable steel. This makes it one of the most long-lasting press reloaders in the market.
3. Lee Precision Shotshell Reloading Press
With this equipment, you enjoy an easy to use set up that is ideal for first-timers. It is the ease of use of the Lee Precision Shotshell Press that makes it both fun and practical to use.
- Available in 20, 16, and 12 gauge variations
- This equipment is made of aluminum components
- Loads 3-inch and 2 ¾ inch shells
- 5 boxes loading rate per hour
- Lightweight and easy to operate
- Creates accurate and high-performance ammo
- The equipment has some plastic components
Even though this device will not reload more shells per hour, it is quite accurate and can create high-performance ammo for competition shooting.
This device is comparable to a decent number of advanced presses that come with a higher price tag. Your investment will afford you a premium press at a more affordable rate. The shotshell reloader can load a range of calibers, including 3 and 2 ¾ inch shells.
If you do not play the trap or skeet each day, then you may find this equipment to be ideal. It produces about 4-5 boxes per hour and makes quality crimps to ensure unmatched accuracy. On the downside, this unit is made of a few plastic components.
4. MEC 9000GN 12 Gauge Press
If you are a volume shooter, here is a shotshell reloader that will not disappoint. It allows you to reload several shotshells at once, and this should increase your ammo production rate per hour.
- Best progressive press
- Works with 12, 16, 28, 20, and .410 gauges
- Can reload 2 ¾ as well as 3-inch shells
- Automated indexing and shell ejection
- Designed to create accurate and high-performance ammo
- Lightweight and easy to use
- Easy to adjust charge bar included
This is a sturdy bullet processing plant that can reload 3-inch as well as 2 ¾ inch shells. Even though this press is best for reloading 12 gauge, it can also work with .410, 28, 20, and 16 gauge ammo variations.
This is the best progressive shotshell reloader that can help you enhance the overall quality and performance of your ammunition. The auto-dex(TM) helps with automated indexing and shell ejection, and the factory set speeds ensure uniform movement for more accurately sized shells with each stroke.
Something outstanding about this model is that it is an upgrade of another MEC press that was not that bad. The new improvements make the 9000GN model lighter, more efficient, and easier to use by people of all skill levels.
5. RCBS The Grand 12 Gauge
Let’s wrap up by reviewing a stupendous shotshell reloader by RCBS. If you want to recreate ammunition that has extra accuracy and better performance, this is a model I highly recommend.
- The press enhances the accuracy and performance of ammo
- 2 automated stations for quick and easy shell reloading
- A durable unit made from quality cast aluminum
- Extra features for increased ammo recreation efficiency
- shot hopper capacity
- Steel sizing ring included
You embed your 12 gauge shells into station 1, and at station 4, put the wad in its wad guide. Every other station is automated for easy and quick shell reloading.
Another outstanding feature is that this press is made from top-quality cast aluminum. This assures you of making a one-time investment that will soon pay itself off because of the tons of saving you will be making.
The press comes with features such as an auto-ordering framework and a preliminary feed framework for enhanced efficiency.
This is a robust ammo processing plant that is unfortunately not cheap. Luckily, you can make significant improvements in the quality of your ammunition and save considerable amounts of money over time.
Features to Consider before Buying
Shotshell reloaders are not cheap. For you to enjoy the best value for your money, you must choose a device that is a perfect fit for your needs. Here are crucial factors to take into account before purchase.
- Shotshell Press Type
There are two main types of shotshell reloaders: single-stage and progressive stage presses. Single-stage presses are affordable and have stations where you reload one shell at a time. This can be a time-consuming process, and this option is hence best for casual shooters.
Progressive shotshell reloaders are a perfect option for volume shooters. These presses are more advanced and have a range of features that make them over five times faster than their single-stage counterparts.
The extra reloading speed and extra features, however, make progressive shotshell presses more expensive.
- Ease of Use
Let’s face it; it makes no sense to purchase a powerful press that you can hardly use. For any device to be practical, it needs to be easy to use. This will ensure that you make the most out of its features and functions.
To get it right, you must also understand your level of skill. Presses are designed for specific user skills, so you need one that you can handle without breaking a sweat. If you are a first-time buyer, consider choosing a simple to use the machine. You can then invest in an upgrade in the future.
For your information, a quality and well-maintained shotshell reloader press will still have good resale value after years of use.
If you need the best shotshell reloader for the money, you must consider the construction and engineering of various press models. Make sure you choose a product made with sturdy metals such as aluminum and steel.
In case a specific device has some plastic parts, there is a good chance that it will not withstand heavy-duty use. Be sure to find out what the users of brands that interest you have to say about their experience.
What caliber are you reloading? This is a question you should ask yourself beforehand. Shotshell reloaders are created different, and while some only reload one specific gauge, others can convert several calibers.
From my experience, it is better to choose equipment that allows you to reload not just 12 and 20 calibers, but also16, 28, and .410 gauge shotshells.
- Shotshell Reloader Mechanism
Your speed of reloading shells will depend on more than just your skill level. Even if you have polished skills, you may find yourself reloading no more than 100 rounds an hour if you are using a press with a slow reloading mechanism.
Simply because you are reloading your bullets does not mean you can make quality compromises. In case you have been playing clay target shooting long enough, the chances are that you understand the need to have quality ammo.
A shotgun reloading press that is not built with accuracy cannot produce top quality finished shells.
- Station Design
Each shotshell press will have a uniquely designed station. Think about your needs and skill levels before choosing the kind of station that best suits you. The right one will not be prone to spillage.
Different Types of Shotshell Reloader
Modern shotshell presses are, in most cases, gauge specific. It is possible to buy conversion kits, although most people prefer getting extra presses for each shell gauge.
Traditional reloader presses allowed users to refill a range of shell gauges. This unfortunately made the process of converting different gauge shells time intensive and not so cost-effective.
Currently, you can choose from two main shotshell reloaders.
- Single Stage Press
This device offers affordable, reloading solutions. There are several stations where you can load one shell at a time. Even though you can reload 5-8 shell boxes per hour, volume shooters may find this to be a little too time-consuming. Single-stage presses are a top choice for casual shooters.
- Progressive Shotshell Press
This type of device is best for high volume reloading. Progressive reloaders are expensive, although they have a practical mechanism where you create a new shell with each pull of the arm. This accelerates the production speed, making it a perfect choice for volume shooters.
Modern shotshell reloaders have practical, easy to use designs. Whether you choose the single-stage press or the progressive press, you can look forward to making top-quality ammo that is ideal for target shooting.
Which Gauges Should You Reload?
If you compete, I guess it is only fair that you get to reload various gauges that you typically use. If you are reloading top quality shotshells that usually cost more, you are likely to save tons of cash with your shotshell press.
12 and 20 gauge shells are cheap, especially when you buy them in bulk. This means you may not save much reloading these bullets.
On the bright side, you will now be in a position to twitch up their quality, making them better for your competitions. A quality press will create better bullets than those you can purchase at big box stores.
Where the real savings come in is reloading expensive ammo, perhaps bullets with rare gauges. In case you are reloading 16, 28, or .410 gauge shotshells, for instance, you could find yourself saving over 40 percent of the overall cost of each shell.
Do your calculations to find out how much money you save each month? For a volume shooter who uses rare gauge shotshells, your savings can quickly pay for a high-quality shotshell press in a matter of months.
Before calculating the savings you must gather knowledge on shotshell reloading process. You can check this guide here.
Cost Saving by Reloading
The first question that people ask when they see me reloading my ammo is how much money I save. Well, it depends on the quality of the ammo I’m reloading. I use cheap target loads to scare away critters from my backyard.
Such bullets have cheap wads, cheap powder, and soft wads, so their performance and reliability are questionable.
In this case, my press makes sense because I can convert these cheap loads into quality ammo, ideal for target shooting. This saves me from spending tons of cash on bullets that I use during practice sessions. The reloaded ammo is harder, and this makes its performance patterns more consistent.
I make impressive savings when reloading my hunting shells. They are 2-3 times more expensive than what I use to scare away raccoons and squirrels. Reloading my ammo, in this case, saves me about 40% of the cost of each shell.
The most significant perk of using a press is that I can produce even better hunting shells. I like altering my loads to ensure excellent performance patterns when shooting across both long and short distance ranges.
Improving the accuracy and performance of my ammunition ensures I achieve my primary objectives each time I hit the fields.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why should I reload shotgun ammo?
It is possible to buy ammo that is ready for use. However, one compelling reason to reload your ammo is for you to improve its quality and enhance its accuracy and overall performance.
2. Do store-bought bullets perform better?
Usually, shells reloaded using a press have better performance consistency. This more so the case when a skilled individual reloads them.
3. Will I make any savings by reloading my ammunition?
Yes, you can look forward to saving money. However, the amount you can save will highly depend on the kind of ammo that needs reloading.
Other aspects that may determine how much you save include the type of shotshell reloader you purchase as well as the gunpowder you use. Generally, reloading your rounds can save you 25%- 50% of the overall cost of your ammunition.
4. What do I need to reload shotgun ammunition?
The standard shotgun shell reloader should help you reload all kinds of rounds. This is irrespective of their size or weight. It is, however, crucial to understand that some reloaders are gauge specific. Most people use 12 or 16 gauge ammo for target shooting and hunting small game.
5. Do I buy a single-stage press or a progressive press?
It all depends on your needs. If you are a casual shooter using 20-30 rounds a day, a single-stage press is possibly your best option. Volume shooters are, however, better off investing in progressive presses.
Times are hard, and most people are open to all avenues of saving money. Even though quality shotshell reloaders are not cheap, they will save you a lot of money in the long haul.
The most significant benefit is that you can enhance the quality of your ammo to ensure better accuracy and performance. Our guide should make finding the best shotshell reloader a breeze.