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Eric and I are thinking about starting. I shoot 3 cases/year and it get's ridulous.

Do you have a preference to brand or model?
 

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I have a Mec. Sizemaster.I would get either that or a Steelmaster.The Steelmaster is a Sizemaster with the steel conversion kit.All the kit is,is a shot bottle with a larger opening and a larger size drop tube.I bought mine before the Steemaster came out.If you have any specific questions let me know.
If you guys shoot 30 boxes per year you should reload your own.My brother and I share ours.One of us has it in the winter,the other in the summer.
 

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I am also thinking of getting into it. I have been looking at a Steel Master. Is it worth the money to get a 3.5 reloader? I have seen loads for a 3.5 shell that can get going 1700 fps. I would like to try those on big honkers!!! Also, is there a web page where you can get spent hulls that aren't trap shells?
 

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Whether they are trap casings or not makes no difference.Only 2 3/4" sizes are used in trap.In fact trap hulls are made from better plastic that hunting hulls.It's the base wad inside that matters.Take Federal for instance.Their Gold Medal trap hulls are far superior to their steel hunting hulls,which fray on the ends even before 1 reloading.I can get 1650 fps from the AA trap hull.If you have an Italian gun that is about as fast as you can go and get decent patterns.

As far as 3.5" I've never felt that they were necessary over decoys.Fast reloads will penetrate out to 50-60 yds.Any farther than that and I don't shoot.So why waste money on 3.5 in?
 

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I would definitely reload, as you can customize a pet load to fit your individual shotgun. RSI and BP are great resources to get the materials. I can load 1700 fps three-inch mags for about 7 bucks a box of 25.
 

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Guys, here's some advice from someone who loads 15k rounds of target loads a year and a couple cases of steel a year. Also do a couple hundred HS a season. I am very fussy when I load steel or HS. By that I mean weighing every powder charge and shot charge. Overkill? Maybe, but everything is nearly perfect. Definitely get a MEC sizemaster at the minimum. I only use the press to size, prime and crimp. Learning how to crimp is the trick on any loader. Most fast steel loads are like stuffing 10# s..t in a 5 lb bag. Worry about that later. Get the 3.5 inch if you really want to load them. Buy a "short kit" for about $20 and switching between 2 3/4, 3 and 3.5 is about a 30 second deal. What makes this proposition a pricey investment is that I use a RCBS electronic powder measure in conjunction with a digital scale. They interface together and you simply program in the number of Grains of powder and hit "dispence". Poor it in the primed hull and so on. This part is about $175 for the dispenser and $165 or so for the scale. I use this set up for Rifle also, so it has many uses to make it worth the investment. If you guys want more detail, drop me a line. All of the above is about $500. You will be able to load for half the price of even dicounted shells. Also can load much better recipes than anything you can buy factory. IF YOU ARE IN IT FOR THE PERFORMANCE AND LONG HAUL, MAKE THE LEAP.
 

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Just want to add my 2 cents worth. I'm mostly a rifle reloader, but my good friend reloads mostly shotgun, for ducks mostly. Now he can hunt from say september till december, but what to do the rest of the year? By relaoding he extends his "outdoor" time. He is meticulous. Doesn't have the same extensive equipement, but may take 5 minutes per shell to make sure he has it just right. Does some pheasant hunting with an old Ithaca 37 featherweight, cut off to 1/2 inch over minumum barrel length, new bead, no choke. He loads 3 types of shells in his gun, short range, medium range and long range in that order and is able to keep up with the best wing shot I've ever met. Shoots from the hip if they're within 15 yds, etc. Is it worth reloading??????? You bet.
 

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As far as 3.5" I've never felt that they were necessary over decoys.Fast reloads will penetrate out to 50-60 yds.Any farther than that and I don't shoot.So why waste money on 3.5 in?
becuz i have a 10 ga 3.5" gun for those big honkers.... and 10 ga. shells are 20$ a box and with reloading them you can get it down to about 10$-11$ a box

PS. I have a browning BPS so all my shells eject downward into my field laydown blind so i dont have to look in the field for them
 

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zx2dxz: The guy I was referring to above has that same gun, and used it for many years. He must be getting old, because he says it is just too big of a gun, anymore. The length of the action coupled with the reach to work the pump.... He went to a winchester (1300?) semi-auto in 12 ga 3.5 and says he couldn't be happier. I'm trying to talk him out of that BPS, now. I usually only shoot one shot, hit or miss, and I can get help working the pump when I get around to it. :p With reloaders, I try to keep in mind, you can usually get equipment to load shorter, but not longer than it is built to load. If you think you will EVER want to load a 3.5 in, get the equipment to handle it now rather than having to buy new again, unless you just like buying new.
:2cents:
 

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Before getting in to reloading hunting loads, make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. If your main reason is to save money, you may want to reconsider. If you value your time at all, you'll be better off buying shells on sale. As some have mentioned above, loading steel is usually a sloooow process. If you want to get in to it as a hobby and to experiement with custom loads and cost/time is not a factor, that's another matter. I really enjoyed experimenting with different loads and loading my own hunting shells but I never seemed to have enough time to get everything done before the season.
 
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