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Thread: Mec 600 jr. problems

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Mec 600 jr. problems

    I've been fighting my 600 jr. for a long time. I can't believe I've just been fighting it for as many thousands of shells I've loaded on it. Anyway, the problems all revolve around alignment problems. The main shaft has a ton of wobble. I can wobble the machine a good 1/2" either way. In the past I've just shoved something in the size, forcing it left, and living with it. Crimps were never great, but always functional. I've recently tried to get the shaft centered, and when I do, the crimp starter is WAY off, probably 1/4". I can't adjust the shell plate at all. I could try and slot the hole to make the crimp starter adjustable, but I can't believe it can be so far off. On top of that, what started this all is I ended up breaking my crimp starter. I bought new ones, both a 6 and an 8 point. Now even loading like I have for many years, the crimp has a huge split in it. The inside of the starters have huge ribs for what I imagine are alignment. The problem is they fit so tight, they end up essentially crimping the outside of the hull, and with my huge alignment problem, end up ruining the shell entirely. To add to that, another problem may just be a characteristic of MEC. The crimp finisher is very finicky. The best crimps come from mostly non-compressible heavy loads like steel shot. When the load is compressible, it seems the cam adjustment is a very fine line. Sometimes I just leave it loose, and re-run them with it tighter. Some things, like round balls are just plain impossible to crimp with it. The alignment with the shell doesn't seem too bad on the finisher, at least not like the starter. I've gone to loading back on my Load All II for now, I forgot how well this thing works, it just lacks the last punch to tightly crimp heavy loads. Can anyone point me in the right direction to fix the MEC? I'm thinking of drilling and tapping both sides of the base, and using screws to center the main shaft.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    Hogtamer's Avatar
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    Broke the crimp starter? I don't see how that's even possible as the only thing it comes in contact with is the mouth of the plastic hull. Maybe time to part that one out and start over?
    "My main ambition in life is to be on the devil's most wanted list."
    Leonard Ravenhill

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    There is a bolt that holds the main shaft or column in place. Tighten this bolt or see if it is missing.

    The main column should be tight in the base plate.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    You've got something loose or broken.

    I'm with jaguarxk120 - check the bolt on the main shaft. The main column should be tight in the base plate just as jaguar said. Look for cracks or broken pieces.

    I guess there's some chance the machine is just worn out but I've seen MEC's go a longgggg time. It's a pretty simple/solid design.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master 243winxb's Avatar
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    There is a bolt that holds the main shaft or column in place. Tighten this bolt or see if it is missing.
    +1 Old models, the bolt is in the back. New model in the front. A shim may keep it in adjustment.

    Crimp and Taper parts are different between the old and new models.
    There are 3 adjustments.
    essentially crimping the outside of the hull
    One even applies a taper to the case.

    Change anything, hull, wad , amount of shot, the Mec will need adjustments.

    New model on left.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Look on the back of the base where the main shaft drops in, 9/16 bolt head tighten this up.

    Mine is older model
    Hell, I was there!

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Of course I've tried tightening that bolt, but you can't just rely on that. It has to be square first, and even then, over the course of loading shells, it works its way to the side. How I broke the crimp starter? It's easy when it falls off and you step on it. I have the old model by the way, except I have all plastic parts. Maybe some pictures will help.
    Last edited by megasupermagnum; 01-31-2018 at 02:41 PM.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Not much to see here, but you can see the gap. I've been using screwdrivers to shim it to the side for years, but I'm considering using set screws to truly get it square.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    More importantly is this misalignment. It used to work somewhat with the old starter, but now it's just plain doesn't work.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here is the inside of the new crimp starter. Notice the thick ribs below the actual crimping portion. These are actually smaller than the shotgun shell, and do not go over the end easy.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    This is what you end up with, and while they go bang, my old hand lee loader does a better job. These are some of the better shells I've made since getting the new crimp starters. I'm considering just grinding off those ribs.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here is a link to a video of me showing the play with the bolt loose. It has been this way since I first got it, I would hope they don't come that way brand new. Realize this is set for 2 3/4", it's even worse for 3", and terrible when set at 3 1/2".
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRQ3...ature=youtu.be
    Last edited by megasupermagnum; 01-31-2018 at 02:55 PM.

  9. #9
    Boolit Man Rally's Avatar
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    From looking at your pictures, it is apparent you need to raise the adjustment on your final crimp station. It is set way to deep and then adjust the cam on the back of it to get the amount the final crimps or closes the final crimp. Those two loaded shells you have pictured appear to have been crimped with an 8 point starter crimp and appear to be a six star crimp on the shell.
    You will probably also need to raise the starter crimp station, which should only just start to close the crimp. The starter position is not designed to close, say more than about 30% of the crimp, but designed to just separated the pleats and guide them into there respective 6 or eight point forms.
    Federal casings are also not known for great finished crimps, especially the 6 point versions. They are made of fairly stiff plastic and just don't form well, unless you have a heat source.
    You can adjust the wobble out by getting some shim stock and making a shim, to be placed on the shaft where it goes through the base. You may also consider buying a new bolt that holds the base to the shaft before re-assembling the press. If you've been using it loose for an extended period of time, it most likely has been "wallowed" out some. Reassemly with a thread locking agent, like Loctite 242 wouldn't hurt either.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master



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    On the picture of the post (1st picture) , you have a bolt going from front to back
    Is is TIGHT?
    Let's start there and work up
    Mike

    p.s.
    You live anywhere near Amarillo??
    We can fix it shortly in my shop
    NRA Benefactor 2004

  11. #11
    Boolit Master bdicki's Avatar
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    I've never known a 600jr to load 3.5 inch shells.
    https://www.mecshootingsports.com/Co...ents/600jr.pdf

  12. #12
    Boolit Master 243winxb's Avatar
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    Mec 600 JR

    The main shaft has a ton of wobble. I can wobble the machine a good 1/2" either way.
    The fit where the main shaft passes through the base plate has to be a snug fit? The bolt should hold the bottom?? Not sure as i didnt take mine apart. Photo of my 12 ga. set up for 2 3/4" shells.

    I didnt think 3 1/2" shells could be loaded on it?

    If you think a parts replacement would fix it, contact Mec.

    They sent me a new powder measure body to replace one that was out of specification. Had to return the old one on my dime.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Hey they sent a new one didn't they. Some company's want 50% of the part cost and the old part back.


    The OP needs to back to step one and read the owners manual. The bolt that holds the main shaft (the square shaft)
    needs to be tight.

    600JR machines do not load 3 1/2 inch shells, if your will then someone altered the machine. Once someone goes down the road of being smarter than the manufacturer -- you are on your own. No one can help you since
    you have, redesigned, made better, in your eyes, than the maker!
    Last edited by jaguarxk120; 01-31-2018 at 07:04 PM.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rally View Post
    From looking at your pictures, it is apparent you need to raise the adjustment on your final crimp station. It is set way to deep and then adjust the cam on the back of it to get the amount the final crimps or closes the final crimp. Those two loaded shells you have pictured appear to have been crimped with an 8 point starter crimp and appear to be a six star crimp on the shell.
    You will probably also need to raise the starter crimp station, which should only just start to close the crimp. The starter position is not designed to close, say more than about 30% of the crimp, but designed to just separated the pleats and guide them into there respective 6 or eight point forms.
    Federal casings are also not known for great finished crimps, especially the 6 point versions. They are made of fairly stiff plastic and just don't form well, unless you have a heat source.
    You can adjust the wobble out by getting some shim stock and making a shim, to be placed on the shaft where it goes through the base. You may also consider buying a new bolt that holds the base to the shaft before re-assembling the press. If you've been using it loose for an extended period of time, it most likely has been "wallowed" out some. Reassemly with a thread locking agent, like Loctite 242 wouldn't hurt either.
    I appreciate the help, I really do, but I've had this thing over a decade. You guys don't think I've tried tightening a bolt in all that time? Mine can load 3 1/2". I've never touched it, I bought it that way, and it never crossed my mind that some can't. As you can see in the video I posted, there is a ton of play. You can get the bolt super tight, but you are still relying on friction to hold it, which doesn't work. The bolt doesn't move, but the whole upper part can. The pictures of the shells are 8 point, crimped with an 8 point starter. The starter is adjusted as high as it goes. Now you see the problem. I don't claim to be smarter than MEC, but this thing has to be altered, it does not operate properly as is. I will try calling MEC tomorrow to see what they say.

  15. #15
    Boolit Man MusicMan's Avatar
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    Some times things just wear out and need to be replaced.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Take the bolt out and buy another about 3/8 longer, clean the mainshaft, bolt and threads, put a drop of red loctite on the threads, take the new bolt you bought and thread it in from the front(both holes are threaded)to be a stop screw. Christ if that doesn't work, line up the shaft where you want it and tack weld shaft to frame. I've had mine since the 80's and still rock solid, never tightened the bolt and only loaded, don't make me lie now, so will just say a pickup box full on it.
    Hell, I was there!

  17. #17
    Boolit Man
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    One of the MEC manuals says that you can buy a 3 1/2 kit for a 600 jr, so they probably sold them that way also.
    I leave it as as exercise for the student to dig the manual and page out of the pdf's on the MEC website

    Is the bolt bottoming out on the threads before actually clamping the shaft and chassis together tightly?

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Why is everyone so obsessed about the bolt? If that is all that holds a MEC straight I'll just end my search here and look for a better brand. I already have my eyes on a Ponsness-Warren 375.

    As for loading 3 1/2", I see no reason to need any kit. All I do is use the top bolt hole and bottom threaded hole. It loads 3 1/2" just as well (or poorly) as 3" or 2 3/4". Mine will even load 2 1/2". I almost bought a 10 gauge kit for it once, and I didn't see any thing different but different dies. The frame's seem to all be the same.
    Last edited by megasupermagnum; 01-31-2018 at 10:33 PM.

  19. #19
    Boolit Man Rally's Avatar
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    Mega,
    I have 4 of the 600 Jr.'s, the oldest around 40 years old. I went back and looked at the pictures of your dies and I've never seen anything on a Mec that resembles your dies. You mentioned you bought it used and I was wondering if maybe someone made or adapted those dies to the Mec. It kinda looks like those dies came off an old Texan or Herters press. Could you post some better pictures of the press and stations?

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    I've got 5 or 6 mec 600s ,several over 40 years old, none are loose at all. I think you may not have the correct 12 GA crimp starter. Looks kinda like a 20 , but take a factory shell and see if it will slide over the crimped end by at least 1/8 inch, seems you may be starting with the lead in bevel. Agree that those do not look like mec dies, could have been to make it load 3 1/2 . I have modified my 16 to load 2 9/16 , not rocket science. The 600 will crimp a first reloaded hull so that it looks factory, once adjusted correctly. I had a Lee loadall, not terrible but not close to the mec in quality. PW is at another higher lever, in cost too! Mecs are great for the money. I just pay ,generally, 50$ for a used press rather than buying conversion diesets. No fiddling with the setup every time it's changed either. They are out there, and I really doubt you can wear out a 600, plastic parts yes but they are cheap to replace. You got a good press , just gotta figure out what's happening. I'll look at one in the morning and see if I can make it loose, then we may know what's happening.
    “You don’t practice until you get it right. You practice until you can’t get it wrong.” Jason Elam, All-Pro kicker, Denver Broncos

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check