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Thread: MEC 600 Slugger

  1. #1
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    MEC 600 Slugger

    Hi Folks,

    I recently decided to take the plunge and get into shotgun slug reloading (Conscious decision, nothing to do with favourite tipple and online auction accessible through phone...)

    So, any hints and tips on reloading slugs generally would be welcome.

    Also, any suggestions on a powder for slugs and .44 mag plinking loads appreciated.

    Scrummy

  2. #2
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    Where to start...?

    First some questions:

    Gun?
    Barrel (choked, unchoked, rifled)?
    Slug?
    Goals?
    Hulls?
    Powders?

    First my usual warning, play but play safe! Shotshell reloading is not a lot like metallic cartridge reloading other than you stuff components into a cartridge. Shotshell reloading is best performed using recipes from a manual or reliable source and with pressure tested load data. Shotguns/shotshell do not provide clear rpessure signs as metallic cartridges do.

    I will qualify this by saying that I blew up a shotgun with a recipe from a manual but with seemingly minor changes. I had what seemed to be a pretty stout slug load in one gun and when trie3d in another gun the chamber came apart! I have posted details of my misadventure several times to deter people from making the same mistakes.

    A simple primer swap can affect pressure by up to 3000 PSI so be warned!

    Depending on your goals, there are several slug moulds available that work for rifled and/or smoothbore guns and some for both. Popular are the Lyman sabot slug and Lee Drive Key slugs. I'll say that the Lyman sabot slug seems to perform better for more people than the Lee slugs. If you are not aware, both the Lee slugs and Lyman sabot slugs fit into standard trap wads. Fit to bore with the slug/wad combination is as important as lead bullet fit to bore.

    There are also several Russian made slug moulds available from Savorghunt and AS-Moulds. Many are designed for rifled barrels but they also have slugs designed with attached tailwads or designed to have a brush wad screwed onto the slug to provide drag stailization.

    Powders suitable for both 12 ga. shotgun and .44 mag. are: Blue Dot and Unique for sure and there is a fair bit of load data for both in both cartridges. I have also used Green Dot and IMR4756 in the 12 ga. and I am sure Green dot can be used for light loads in .44 mag. but not sure about IMR4756 which is now discontinued.

    Something to consider is slug weight. Slug reloading data is somewhat scarce though far better now than it was. One of the big issues is component and powder variety. Everything affects shotgun pressures... payload weight obviously, powder charge obviously but the primer can have a major effect as noted above, the wad will affect pressure and so will the type of hull. This is why it is always best to use published and pressure tested recipes.

    Typical slug weights run from 7/8 oz. to about 1 1/4 oz. so that weight range is what most published recipes are for. Many of the Russian slugs run heavier from mid 500 gr. to 650 gr. or so and not much published slug data is available. What is considered a safe approach is to look up a recipe for an equal weight of birdshot. Slugs of normal dimensions run lower pressure than an equal weight of birdshot so substituting the slug for shot is safe. These will not be high performance slug loads but they will work and be safe.

    Another option are round balls which are easy to cast and easy to load. 0.662" and 0.678" RG's can be loaded into standard trap wads very easily and with good loads can be quite accurate to 50m or so. 0.690" RB's fit into some shotcups and some people have good success with them. I am not one. 0.735" RB's naked over a hard card wad column can also give very good accuracy out to 50m or better but they cannot be shot through a choke!

    I am sure you will get lots of others chiming in but it would help to know what gun you are loading for, if you have components already or what components you can get and what slug you want to load for.

    Longbow

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by longbow View Post
    Where to start...?

    First some questions:

    Gun?
    Barrel (choked, unchoked, rifled)?
    Slug?
    Goals?
    Hulls?
    Powders?

    First my usual warning, play but play safe! Shotshell reloading is not a lot like metallic cartridge reloading other than you stuff components into a cartridge. Shotshell reloading is best performed using recipes from a manual or reliable source and with pressure tested load data. Shotguns/shotshell do not provide clear rpessure signs as metallic cartridges do.

    I will qualify this by saying that I blew up a shotgun with a recipe from a manual but with seemingly minor changes. I had what seemed to be a pretty stout slug load in one gun and when trie3d in another gun the chamber came apart! I have posted details of my misadventure several times to deter people from making the same mistakes.

    A simple primer swap can affect pressure by up to 3000 PSI so be warned!

    Depending on your goals, there are several slug moulds available that work for rifled and/or smoothbore guns and some for both. Popular are the Lyman sabot slug and Lee Drive Key slugs. I'll say that the Lyman sabot slug seems to perform better for more people than the Lee slugs. If you are not aware, both the Lee slugs and Lyman sabot slugs fit into standard trap wads. Fit to bore with the slug/wad combination is as important as lead bullet fit to bore.

    There are also several Russian made slug moulds available from Savorghunt and AS-Moulds. Many are designed for rifled barrels but they also have slugs designed with attached tailwads or designed to have a brush wad screwed onto the slug to provide drag stailization.

    Powders suitable for both 12 ga. shotgun and .44 mag. are: Blue Dot and Unique for sure and there is a fair bit of load data for both in both cartridges. I have also used Green Dot and IMR4756 in the 12 ga. and I am sure Green dot can be used for light loads in .44 mag. but not sure about IMR4756 which is now discontinued.

    Something to consider is slug weight. Slug reloading data is somewhat scarce though far better now than it was. One of the big issues is component and powder variety. Everything affects shotgun pressures... payload weight obviously, powder charge obviously but the primer can have a major effect as noted above, the wad will affect pressure and so will the type of hull. This is why it is always best to use published and pressure tested recipes.

    Typical slug weights run from 7/8 oz. to about 1 1/4 oz. so that weight range is what most published recipes are for. Many of the Russian slugs run heavier from mid 500 gr. to 650 gr. or so and not much published slug data is available. What is considered a safe approach is to look up a recipe for an equal weight of birdshot. Slugs of normal dimensions run lower pressure than an equal weight of birdshot so substituting the slug for shot is safe. These will not be high performance slug loads but they will work and be safe.

    Another option are round balls which are easy to cast and easy to load. 0.662" and 0.678" RG's can be loaded into standard trap wads very easily and with good loads can be quite accurate to 50m or so. 0.690" RB's fit into some shotcups and some people have good success with them. I am not one. 0.735" RB's naked over a hard card wad column can also give very good accuracy out to 50m or better but they cannot be shot through a choke!

    I am sure you will get lots of others chiming in but it would help to know what gun you are loading for, if you have components already or what components you can get and what slug you want to load for.

    Longbow
    Hi Longbow, thanks for the response. So, answers to your questions:

    24" Smoothbore barrel Likely to be improved cylinder with quite a narrow bore as it's an Italian slug barrel (Benelli Supernova or Fabarm Lion)

    Components wise I have some Gualandi "Borra "

    http://www.gualandi.it/img/products/...ile-pck_12.jpg

    And can get some Cervo / Thug slugs for target work:

    http://www.feskent.co.uk/slug2.jpg

    I have some Unique on hand but understand might be a bit slow for 28gr loads.

    Primers - Haven't bought yet
    Shells - I have access to Geco and S&B slug hulls easily and possibly some others.

    I'm not likely to cast my own slugs.

    Scrummy

  4. #4
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    I see your thread started with MEC600 Slugger.? These machines are specialized for slug loading,,, one type of slug.

    They produce a "Formed Roll Crimp." IE: formed by a linier die as opposed to rolled with a Rotary Roll Crimping Tool.

    However many Slug types need a fold crimp to perform best. Lee Slugs and Lyman style Slugs need this type of crimp and don't perform as well with Roll Crimps.

    Slugs like Thug Slugs or Brenneke type slugs need a Roll Crimp and have a step on the forward end of the slug for the crimp to seat against. As far as the rest of the operations of loading they are the same as loading any other shot shell and can be done easily with any kind of Single Stage Shot Shell Loader. (Like a Regular MEC 600.) or basic hand tools. You size and deprime on the first station, then re-prime drop powder, then either insert a wad and slug or insert a slug/wad combo. Then either Fold Crimp, or remove it from the machine and Roll Crimp it closed.

    The two slugs you mention are sold by Ballistic Products Inc over here. www.ballisticproducts.com. They also have Slug Loading Manuals with loading info for those two slugs. They literally have everything known to man for loading shot shells, and will ship to you in the UK.

    Both the slugs you mention will perform well with 23-25g r of Unique and a Roll Crimp. Search for GAEP Roll Crimp tools from Italy probably in the same place as you get the slugs. Most of my Slug loads are simply my Trap Loads (18-20 gr of Green Dot) with slugs instead of shot. They work just fine for the intended purpose of shooting steel targets at my 3 gun shoots..

    As far as primers go I have been shooting Cheddite's for the last year as they are just about all that is available right now, and they have performed well. A direct substitute for Winchester 209's no misfire is the last 5000 rounds, so I think hey are good to go.

    If you decide down the road that you want to shoot a lot of slugs you will have to cast your own and there is a lot of choices. Some of the most devastating Slugs out there are home cast and made by Russians. It isn't that hard to get started and you should be able to get there for under $100 or whatever that equates to in Pounds Sterling or Euros..

    Shooting Slugs is fun, and it shows you first hand just how much power a 12 ga. shotgun is really capable off delivering. We have a saying over here. "Nothing Lives thru a slug!"

    Hope this helps.

    Randy
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    Last edited by W.R.Buchanan; 12-09-2022 at 12:19 AM.
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  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    Randy,

    Many thanks for the above. I have downloaded the Ballistic Products manual and will have a read.

    I am going to read up for more info.

    The shooting ground I use for slugs doesn't allow slugs with separate wads so can't use Lee / Lyman key drive or pellet type slugs so Cervo / Thug and the Gualandi are selection by default.

    Will the Gualandi and Cervo / Thugs will work well with the MEC Slugger?

    Scrummy

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    Sorry folks,

    Pictures here:

    Gualandi Borra

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    Cervo / Thug Slug

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    Best wishes,

    Scrummy

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrumbag View Post
    Randy,

    Many thanks for the above. I have downloaded the Ballistic Products manual and will have a read.

    I am going to read up for more info.

    The shooting ground I use for slugs doesn't allow slugs with separate wads so can't use Lee / Lyman key drive or pellet type slugs so Cervo / Thug and the Gualandi are selection by default.

    Will the Gualandi and Cervo / Thugs will work well with the MEC Slugger?
    Scrummy
    It will work with those slugs, Borra is called a DGS (Dangerous Game Slug) at BPI The other one is BPI's Thug Slug.. The Red one above is another one that just became available at BPI out of Turkey and it is the closest thing to a Brenneke Slug as I have seen. Note; in the first adn third pictures below the nice rolled top edge and how the rolled edge is seated right atop the Splines on the slug. This is what you are looking for in a Perfectly loaded slug.

    If you notice all of these slugs have a flat portion/ring around the Crown of the Slug for the Roll Crimp to seat on. So your Slugger will work with them, However the Reviews on the Slugger haven't been all that great, and I personally think a Regular MEC 600 would be more useful as you could load regular shot shells with it, and all of the Preliminary operations of slug loading . A simple Roll Crimping Tool that runs in a Drill Press or Hand Drill Motor is not very expensive and will produce a much better crimp.

    The slug with the yellow wad is a factory loaded Brenneke Slug and they load them by hand using a separate roll crimping tool. The hulls they use are the exact same Rio Hulls I use.

    Randy
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    Last edited by W.R.Buchanan; 12-10-2022 at 06:25 PM.
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  8. #8
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    Thanks Randy,

    We can't get factory Brenneke slugs here in the UK. We do get Rottweil (RWS's shotgun brand) Brenneke loaded slugs though and they seem good.

    I managed to pick up the Slugger at an auction so it isn't too pricey. Also where I reload there isn't mains power unfortunately (Mains light but no plug sockets) so something manually done that will also resize my shells is not such a bad idea. I saw a couple of guys on the reloaders network seemed to get good results with the slugger. I will see where I get to.

    Scrummy

  9. #9
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    You might find something useful in this thread:

    https://castboolits.gunloads.com/sho...-slugger/page3

    Ranch Dog bought a slugger and did a pretty good write up on his adventures with it. I thought I had seen a thread by Ranch Dog but can't find it now.

    I'll suggest using straight walled hulls and using the load data for the slugs you are planning on using. Shotshell recipes should be followed exactly as just about any component change affects pressure and/or performance. I don't worry too much about straight walled hulls as the main difference is basewad thickness which sets slug height in the hull for a given recipe. Better to have the slug slightly low and have to add a bit of filler so you get good crimp. I am not sure just how picky the Slugger is for crimping. When using fold crimps wad column and payload height is very important in order to get a good crimp. Roll crimping is more forgiving as long as there is enough hull to turn over then the amount of roll crimp is dependent on slug depth... within reason.

    BPI will have load data for both those slugs:

    https://www.ballisticproducts.com/Br...tinfo/00BTHUG/

    Ha! I thought they had a data sheet for the Gualandi DGS slug but apparently not. There is data in the BPI slug manual for it though and I found this which may help:

    https://castboolits.gunloads.com/sho...rous-game-slug

    Longbow

  10. #10
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    Very useful thread, thank you!

  11. #11
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    Well folks, got the press from the auctioneers today. Now comes the plotting where on the work Bench to put it...

    And I still need to settle on a load...

    Scrummy

  12. #12
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    Large " C " clamps will work to hold different tools on a reloading bench...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by CLAYPOOL View Post
    Large " C " clamps will work to hold different tools on a reloading bench...
    Interesting idea. I have used bolts with wing nuts as a an inexpensive and (relatively) easy QD before but with the big flat base of the Slugger the C-clamp idea might be worth a go...

    Scrummy

  14. #14
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    I may have missed it but if your basic impact distance will be 50 yards and less, the lowly round ball will serve you well.
    Cast of range scrap and launched at 1100 fps there is no deer or elk going to walk far with a 1" exit hole.
    Easy to cast and a 400 year history of smooth bore hunting success is hard to not appreciate.
    "Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
    Male Guanaco out in dry lakebed at 10,800 feet south of Arequipa.

  15. #15
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    Hi folks, quick question:

    For the MEC 600 slugger you should use Roll Crimp data?

  16. #16
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    Probably? I'd see what the press is set up to do as it is before I started changing it . If you got the BPI Slug Loading Manual it will have data for both types of crimps for the slugs you have.

    Randy
    "It's not how well you do what you know how to do,,,It's how well you do what you DON'T know how to do!"
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrumbag View Post
    Hi folks, quick question:

    For the MEC 600 slugger you should use Roll Crimp data?
    I have the MEC 600 slugger in 12 & 20 gauge. I cast my own Lyman pellet sabot slugs for 12 & 20. I also cast the lee key drive slugs in 12gauge 1oz and 7/8oz.

    All of those slugs have data to fold crimp them.....after reading the ballistic products slug manual it showed that if a roll crimp was used in place of the fold crimp that pressures were slightly less with the roll crimp.

    For safety reasons, I will NOT fold crimp my slugs. I want the slug to be easy to Identify by looking at the tip. For this reason I bought the MEC slugger, so I could easily put a roll crimp on the slugs, and it works great.

    For accuracy purposes I haven't noticed a difference.

    IMO if you have a smooth bore shotgun and want to use slugs out of it, do yourself a favor. Get a good rifled choke tube and shoot the sabot slugs with faster speeds. Accuracy is improved a lot doing so.

    My son had a Mossberg 20 gauge for bird hunting that we put a Carlson rifled choke tube on it, and did the Lyman sabot slugs in it with the higher speed slugs.......was very impressed with it.

    Also if you are reloading the slower burn powders seem to give more accuracy.

    Bubba round tree on you tube does a decent job of testing and playing with slugs. Gives a guy a good Idea on where to start.
    Last edited by Agronomist_at_ia; 12-30-2022 at 04:33 PM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agronomist_at_ia View Post
    I have the MEC 600 slugger in 12 & 20 gauge. I cast my own Lyman pellet sabot slugs for 12 & 20. I also cast the lee key drive slugs in 12gauge 1oz and 7/8oz.

    All of those slugs have data to fold crimp them.....after reading the ballistic products slug manual it showed that if a roll crimp was used in place of the fold crimp that pressures were slightly less with the roll crimp.

    For safety reasons, I will NOT fold crimp my slugs. I want the slug to be easy to Identify by looking at the tip. For this reason I bought the MEC slugger, so I could easily put a roll crimp on the slugs, and it works great.

    For accuracy purposes I haven't noticed a difference.

    IMO if you have a smooth bore shotgun and want to use slugs out of it, do yourself a favor. Get a good rifled choke tube and shoot the sabot slugs with faster speeds. Accuracy is improved a lot doing so.

    My son had a Mossberg 20 gauge for bird hunting that we put a Carlson rifled choke tube on it, and did the Lyman sabot slugs in it with the higher speed slugs.......was very impressed with it.

    Also if you are reloading the slower burn powders seem to give more accuracy.

    Bubba round tree on you tube does a decent job of testing and playing with slugs. Gives a guy a good Idea on where to start.
    That’s some really good thoughts agronomist, thank you!

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    the press has no determining factor of if you should use a roll crimp or not. its according to the load data that your using. the Lyman manual for example gives exacting loads using exact components and says either fold crimp or roll crimp. you need the special dies with the 600 slugger for it to produce a roll crimp. not sure if those dies will work on any other 600's or the sizemaster but they just might because all the single stage mecs are very similar
    I use a size master for 20 ga heavy loads and slugs. its much more versatile. you can get a very good quality roll crimper from ballistic resources at reasonable cost.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by farmbif View Post
    the press has no determining factor of if you should use a roll crimp or not. its according to the load data that your using. the Lyman manual for example gives exacting loads using exact components and says either fold crimp or roll crimp. you need the special dies with the 600 slugger for it to produce a roll crimp. not sure if those dies will work on any other 600's or the sizemaster but they just might because all the single stage mecs are very similar
    I use a size master for 20 ga heavy loads and slugs. its much more versatile. you can get a very good quality roll crimper from ballistic resources at reasonable cost.
    The 600 slugger is a specific press that has three crimping dies that put a roll crimp on the shell.....instead of using a rotary crimp tool it uses the three special crimp dies to basically fold the end into a roll crimp.

    Ballistic products data was showing that if you take a slug load that was a fold crimp.....you can put a roll crimp on it and be fine. Reason being is the roll crimp produces less pressure.

    However, it also shows that you shouldn't use roll crimp data for a fold crimp because a fold crimp increases pressures...unless you have tested it and found it to be safe.

    The point of the Mec slugger is that you can hammer out a bunch of slugs pretty quick with a nice looking roll crimp and do it all at one station/press. I've been very happy with mine.

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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