Hello All- I'm hoping this can become a sticky

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Hello All- I'm hoping this can become a sticky

Postby Blackduck » Fri Jun 22, 2018 1:36 am

To introduce myself- I have no personal experience reloading. I have always shot factory ammo. I had read a little about tss online over the years, but never had that much desire to order any of the few loads available online. I was very happy with hevi-shot performance. I burn more powder than anyone else I know trying different shell/load combos, though nothing compared to some of you I am sure. This year federal had their new tss load out, and I tried a few boxes of 9's and 7's. Put the 9's to work on the turkeys. Amazed is all I can say. With my free time lately I have been reading more and more about tss shot and guys reloading it. I have now convinced myself that I need to load this shot. That I need to load it in 4 or 5 different loads for given specifications. I don't want to experiment with my own recipes anytime soon, I want to load known safe loads. I believe I need to purchase my shot and recipes from Hal (hawglips). I assume you all agree.

I am fortunate in that I have worked at a hunting/gun store for 15 years, and can get a lot of the components conveniently and at a slightly reduced cost. Numerous guys there are very experienced rifle and pistol reloaders. Unfortunately no shotgunners, and only 2 customers that we can think of that are loading hunting loads, and only one of them doing steel. Needless to say my main resource to turn to will be online for this stage of the journey. I want to load 12 ga 3.5", 3", 2.75" shells. Most likely a 2.75" duplex tss 9xsteel 2, a 3" duplex tss 7xsteel BBB, a 3.5" 2-1/4 oz tss 9(to replace the federal load), and debating on something like a 3.5" 1-3/4 oz to 2 oz #5, and the same thing in a #3 or #2. I would like these loads moving 1300 for tss and 1450 for the duplex loads or faster if safely achievable. I have purposes for each load that I think they will work well for. I will continue to use factory steel ammo for many applications (I think), but I like the idea of tailoring my shells for maximum lethality, and I frequently have two guns in the blind, one set up for close, and one far. I hope and pray that Hal will have the recipes for all of these loads already worked up.

Here is why I am asking this question in the public forum instead of just PMing Hal(maybe it should be put in another forum?). I am looking for advice and hoping it will help others that follow in my footsteps:

***With the combined experience of the people here, if you were starting from scratch, willing to spend what it costs but don't want to throw away money, and looking to do the spectrum of 2.75"-3.5" shells, Exactly What Major Pieces of Equipment Would You Purchase?

Not what will be enough to get by, but something that will be a nice set up for a guy willing to learn but starting from scratch. Loading maybe 300-500 shells a year, unless I start reloading steel as well(thinking about it).

I am waiting for Hal to weigh in since I hope to use his recipes, and looking for everyone else's experience as well. What I take as the consensus from this thread will be what I purchase, and I hope this thread will help someone else getting started make an informed decision as well.

*I read a lot about roll crimping and press or twist crimping while searching different tss threads. I do now understand how each is done, but that's about it. I am not sure I have found the right resource to read about why one is best for a certain application. Since I suspect it may affect the selection of equipment, is there a consensus of which type would be best for the loads I want?

And yes, I know I need to buy some shotgun reloading manuals. Been reading different threads on that. I am ready to start gathering eqipment, got some garage rearranging to do, and feel eager and excited to get started on a new aspect of the hunt. I haven't found anything in my searches to really tell me what would be my best equipment purchase for loading all 3 shell lengths. Thank you for reading this and any help that you can lend. I will keep y'all updated on how this project goes for me. Thanks again.


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Re: Hello All- I'm hoping this can become a sticky

Postby james.moffat » Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:39 am

Hello Brad,

You don’t need a lot of money to setup your system. I use a Lee single stage press for 12 gauge 2.75inch and 3 inch and load about 2,500 shells a year. I think I paid $50 or $60 bucks for it. For 3.5 inch, I roll crimp so don’t need a press. If you want to go with a little higher quality on the press a MEC Jr would be a good single stage press. Hal should have recipes for everything you mentioned you would like to load. I’m fairly new to TSS as well and have only been reloading a little over a year. I have used a load very close to the duplex of BBB/7 TSS you mentioned. It was wicked on snow geese and honkers.

Good luck,

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Re: Hello All- I'm hoping this can become a sticky

Postby Drakehammer » Tue Jun 26, 2018 11:15 am

Your cheapest most versatile alternative is probably a 5-speed drill press from Harbor Freight for $65 and some roll crimp dies from BPI or PR. It is a good combination and you can cover all gauges cheaply. For 12ga only, a slightly more expensive alternative to the MEC 600jr/roll crimp-drill press combo is to get a MEC Steelmaster 3 1/2" model. You can then use adapters to quickly and easily adjust the same press to accommodate 3" and 2 3/4" shells when necessary. For much of this reloading, you are gonna weigh shot and powder by hand anyway, so a good scale is necessary.

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Re: Hello All- I'm hoping this can become a sticky

Postby Blackduck » Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:18 pm

Drakehammer, I wish I had your response before yesterday, haha. Adapters for the steelmaster 3.5" would have probably saved me some money. Either way I think I made a good choice, though more expensive. I bought a sizemaster yesterday for 2.75" and 3" shells and am planning to order a 3.5" steelmaster shortly for 3.5". At least I won't have to adjust back and forth as much. I bought a digital scale, powder scoops, funnel, caliper, and steel shot. Bought the Lyman 5th Edition and read it cover to cover last night, every word, except the progressive press section, skimmed that. Going to harbor freight this weekend and getting a drill press. Planning to order roll crimp dies shortly, debating on PR or Gaep. Waiting to hear back from hawglips on shot prices and recipes so I know what hulls, wads, primers, overshot cards, and fillers to buy. Already collecting mylar bags from my wife's shopping trips, I have seen guys using those to make their own mylar wraps.

I figured I would just get what was recommended as the best set-up, but since I can't seem to find a consensus of what that is, I guess I am going to spend more and get several of "one of the best" set-ups and figure out what I like.

Debating on if I need a chrono. What do you guys think?

How many of you guys send shells off to be pressure and velocity tested? Or do you just follow the recipe and trust it to be safe?

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