While many gun enthusiasts enjoy using rifles or pistols, there are still a large number who enjoy the shotgun. This is become their preferred weapon, or at least one of their preferred weapons, as they enjoy hunting or competitions with this particular type of firearm.
While enjoying the shotgun, most also prefer to reload their own shotgun shells. This is done quite differently than you would with a standard pistol or rifle, often requiring different equipment to be able to accomplish the task. Having the best shotshell reloading press is essential if you are going to be able to create rounds for yourself while also saving yourself the cost of purchasing the shells from a store.
With a good shotshell reloader, you can have everything you want in terms of creating shells, and it starts with getting a quality shotgun shell reloader.
Have Some Time? Here’s What You Need to Know…
Buyer’s Guide : How to Choose the Best Shotshell Reloader?
Like any kind of product you would purchase, it is important to understand what are the key factors that help you to choose one product over another. Not every shotgun shell reloader is the same, and so knowing which ones work best with the kind of shotgun you have, as well as which ones reload easiest and more efficiently are important kinds of things for you to know. Here are some of the key factors.
There are two primary types of shotgun shell reloader, progressive and single-stage.
- The single-stage is the most basic type of press because it performs only one function. If you want the press to perform more than one function, then you actually have to change the die before the next task. The reloading process with a single-stage press is slower but the quality is usually much higher.
- The progressive shotgun press is preferred by many because it makes the reloading process a lot faster. You are able to do numerous tasks with the same pole of the handle. There are two different kinds of progressive presses out there, the auto index in the manual. The auto index moves to shell automatically while you must rotate the shell plate manually in the other option.
The capacity is related to how many shells you are able to reload in one hour’s period of time. Some reloaders are specifically designed to speed up the reloading process so the capacity becomes greater. Obviously, the progressive type of press is more likely to produce an increased capacity.
#3 Ease of Use
The ease-of-use is important as well. Clearly, some presses are far more easy to use and others. Not only in the way that the shell is loaded, but also how much force you have to apply with the press and with the set up.
If you are a person who uses different sizes of shotgun shells, then getting a more versatile press that is able to handle different types of reloading is really to your advantage. It is really dependent upon what kinds of shells you need to reload and if you need one that is able to handle different kinds of show cases.
Consider that this is going to be a product you were going to use on a continual basis, maybe even for years. If you are a person who loves to go out marksmanship competitions, that you want to make sure that you are buying a press that is going to last for a while. Get something that does the job, does it accurately, can handle large numbers of reloading loads, and will last you for several years.
Cost is always an important factor when deciding upon any product you are going to purchase, and this is included with this one as well. While I will tell you that is a good idea to stay within your budget, I will also tell you that if you were able to increase your budget by $50 you are likely to get a product that is a much better value.
7 Best Shotshell Reloading Presses on the Market
I have reviewed each of the different shotgun shell reloaders out there, have also read several reviews and spent some time getting to know each of these products. After doing so, I came up with a list of what I believe are the seven best you will find on the market. These are broken down in the three different categories to assist you with your choice.
|Best Progressive Shotshell Reloader|
|#1 MEC 9000GN 12 Gauge Shotshell Reloading Press|
|#2 RCBS The Grand 12 Gauge Shotshell Reloading Press|
|#3 MEC 650N 12 Gauge Press Shotshell Reloader|
|Best Single-Stage Shotshell Reloader|
|#4 MEC 600 Jr Mark V 12 Gauge Shotshell Reloader|
|#5 MEC Sizemaster 20 Gauge Shotshell Reloader|
|#6 LEE PRECISION II Shotshell Reloading Press 16 GA Load All (Multi)|
|Best Budget Shotshell Reloader|
|#7 LEE PRECISION II Shotshell Reloading Press 12 GA Load All (Multi)|
Putting Your Trust in This Review…
#1 MEC 9000GN 12 Gauge Shotshell Reloading Press
- Perfect for those who need high-volume and high-speed reloading
- Includes both automatic indexing and automatic shell ejection
- Can handle most high-grade gauges
- Firm base provides great stability
- A great improvement over the older model
- An adapter is required for you to purchase to reload 3 inch shotshells
- Is good for beginners, but has a steep learning curve
Out of the box, this press is set to reload 2-3/4 inch shells but can be converted to reload shells up to 3 inches. This will help to make you more efficient should you have different shotshell’s that you need to reload.
This is a press that is made for high-volume reloading and a higher-speed, and the truth is that most people don’t use the 3 inch shells, so the impact here is irrelevant for the most part. You get an automatic indexing which ensures that you get quicker reloads and the shells are automatically ejected once the reloading process is completed.
What I truly loved about this product is that they took the older model which was a fine product and made some great improvements on it. It is much lighter than the previous model, works more efficiently, and is ideal for a person of any level of expertise.
For the experienced user, this is one you are going to absolutely find to be everything that you could desire. They have added additional accessories to make reloading easier, including an adjustable charge bar. This is truly a winner and one you will love.
#2 RCBS The Grand 12 Gauge Shotshell Reloading Press
- Extremely efficient and made for high-volume
- Durable and well constructed using quality materials
- Extremely elegant in its design
- Can handle large capacity reloading jobs
- The primer tray needs a lot of improvement still as it can easily flip out
- It is true this is a heavy duty machine, but also weighs 50 pounds
- One of the more expensive options
There are four stations included with this progressive press, with each performing a specific task to make you much more efficient and able to handle high-volume reloads. This also allows you to be much more efficient in your operation, as you can continuously move on to the next shell while four are being processed at one time, with each having a specific task implemented.
You will find that you can completely reload an entire shell, including all four stages, in the matter of a few seconds, giving you the ability to create rounds at a high-volume.
Plus, this is an extremely durable and efficient looking product. It has an easy to pull handle, and is billed for you to be able to easily install into your workbench. It is high capacity in the storage of materials in preparation for the reloading, yet it does not take up a lot of space. This was built to be a minimizing machine on your workbench.
If you are a person who wants to reload a number of shells in quick order, this is a great choice. Plus you can be sure that they’re going, with the same accurate precision each and every time.
#3 MEC 650N 12 Gauge Press Shotshell Reloader
- A well designed and well built press
- Extremely efficient and accurate in the reloading process
- Durable and dealt with quality materials
- Allows you to be able to create high-volume reloading
- This is not an easy machine to learn how to use. That means there’s going to be a big learning curve
- If there is a spill of the shot, cleanup is an immediate concern as shot will stop the shell carrier from being able to rotate
Included with the kid is an automatic primer feed, which comes standard with the press. There were also three crimping stations, one which starts the process, one which places the taper on the shell, and one which closes the crimp. This helps to make you a lot more efficient and make it so that you can create high-volume reloading with ease.
MEC has long established themselves as a quality brand, and you’re going to see that and how efficient this machine is. You will get great accuracy with each shell you reload, and you will be able to do it quickly and easily. I liked that I had great control over what was going on with the operation, and that the hoppers were able to hold high-capacity amount of powder and shot.
The highest quality materials are used in creation of this product. This lets you know that the money you are spending is going to be well spent, as this press is built to last you 10, 15 years or more. Truly efficient and well built.
#4 MEC 600 Jr Mark V 12 Gauge Shotshell Reloader
- Easy to set up and easy to use
- Reloads a variety of caliber rounds and two different sized shells easily
- Billed for great accuracy
- Durable and efficient, using high-quality materials
- You can only reload steel shells if you purchased the additional adapter
- The primer feed can have issues
Once I tried it, I could not agree with them more. This is the most used single-stage press for shotgun shells in the world. It is able to handle a large variety of calibers, ranging from .410 all the way up to 10gauge. Plus, it is easy to switch from 2-3/4 to 3 inches without any fuss.
It’s true that you’re not going get a large capacity or high-volume going on here in terms of the amount of rounds that you’re going create in an hour’s period of time, but one thing you can be sure of is you’re going to get an accurate shell each and every time.
The priming is built so that you are able to easily upgrade to the 285 primer feed so that it can be automatic. This does allow you to be a little more efficient and be able to create a larger number of rounds within an hour. Included in the press is a charge bar billed for 1-1/8 ounce.
For those who are looking for a press that is built for accuracy and gives you reliable rounds each and every time, this is really the choice for you. It is built with high quality materials, and is designed for you easy use. There is even a nice grip on the handle to make it comfortable to pull down on the lever. Plus, it easily attaches to your workbench through use of the base plate.
Most Frequently Asked Questions
Before closing out this review, I wanted to spend a little time answering some of the more common questions I receive related to shotgun reloaders. Hopefully this will answer questions you have and be useful for you.
#1 What is a Shotshell Reloader?
A shotshell reloader is what you would use to reload the shells used in a shotgun. This is a press specifically designed to hold the larger caliber rounds that shotguns need, which are often far too big for a standard pistol or rifle press.
#2 Why Reload Shotgun Ammo?
You can purchase ammunition that is ready to use in your shotgun, but you are likely to find that you will get more accurate and better ammunition if you created it yourself. This is why you need a reloading press.
#3 How Much I Can Save Reloading My Own Ammo?
It really depends on the kind of ammunition you are reloading, the kind of press you purchase, and other materials, such as gunpowder, that you use. However, what you are likely to find is that you will save somewhere between 25% and 50% by creating your own rounds.
#4 Which Gauges Should You Reload?
The two most commonly reloaded through use of a shotgun shell press are the 12gauge and the 16gauge. However, you are able to use smaller or larger sized depending on if it provides you with the right dies and fittings.
#5 What Do You Need to Reload Shotgun Ammo?
You will need the same standard equipment you would use for the reloading of any round. This includes powder, primer, and showcases, but you will also need shot itself. The size and weight of the shot depends upon the kind of weapon you are using, the shell case, and your personal preference.
#6 Who Makes the Best Shotshell Reloader?
As you can see, there are many great brands out there that produce quality presses, but the one that I personally found to be the best is MEC. There are great options regardless of whether you need a single-stage or a progressive press, and they provide fantastic options for beginners and experienced reloaders.
Don’t get caught up necessarily on manufacturer. RCBS did not have a huge list included in this review, but they build outstanding reloading products for every stage of reloading, and you can count on their stuff to be top-notch. Lee is another such example. They make outstanding reloading products, and two of these wound up in this review.