I'm looking at getting into reloading. I don't have a ton of money to get started, but I want to buy a quality press. I figure my focus will mostly be on reloading heavy loads for pheasant and heavy steel loads as well.
I would go with the mec 77 sizemaster. You can't beat the collet resizer, and there is an available kit for changeover to steel shot.
Although anything bigger than about 1 shot has to be hand dipped.
The mec 600 Jr is also a good starter, but does not have the collet resizer and auto primer feed, although the primer feed can be added on.
I personally have a sizemaster, and a steelmaster (which is a sizemaster set up for steel) I use the sizemaster for lead, 2 3/4 inch, and the steelmaster is a 3 1/2 inch loader. I have whats called a short kit for the steelmaster to convert it quickly to 3". The sizemaster can be converted easily to 3" also.
I load from 1 oz trap loads to 1 1/2 oz late season pheasant loads on the size master, and you can get even more charge bars for different weights if you want, thats just what I use.
If you go with the steelmaster you will need to buy the appropriate lead charge bars, which would be the same with the sizemaster but in reverse.
If you are getting a 3 1/2 inch steelmaster, you will need the short kit to load shorter shells.
Other than that, I don't think you can go wrong that way. One thing I have noticed with my steelmaster is the wad clearance isn't as much as on the sizemaster, so you might have to get the sizemaster lead drop tube to facilitate easier loading.
Starting out you don't need all the extra bells & whistles. If you are primarily going to load steel, get a Mec Steelmaster. if you are primarily going to load lead, get a MEC 600 Jr.
I starting loading on a 600 Jr when I was 14 (way back in the 70's). over the next 10 years I bet we averaged 10,000 + rounds a year through it, before it finally & literally wore out. It definitely gave us every pennies worth and our savings over factory shells was enormous ( back then a guy could load a box for about 75% less than a box of factory).
Back when we hunted waterfowl with lead, it was really nice to sit down after football practice and crank out a box of whatever shot size I needed for the before-school morning hunt.
I don't load anymore because I primarily shoot steel and the savings over store bought is not terribly significant, but if I were to get another shotshell loader, w/o question it would be a Steelmaster...
I talked to a guy at scheels and he told me that you can't load steel through the sizemaster. I heard otherwise, and that you just need a different charging bar made for steel. Is that so? I want to buy a loader that will do whatever I need at that time, and I only want to buy it once. I don't intend on pumping 1'000's of shells out of it every year. Mainly I want something to help occupy my time on those crappy days but yet be productive.
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