One thing I did to all of my 650 progressives was to remove the auto charge feature. It doesn't slow things down much to run the charge bar with my free hand and I can stop instantly if something hangs up. With automated charging, well crap gets dumped everywhere if something goes wrong, as it inevitably does from time to time.
_________________ Only catch snowflakes on your tongue AFTER the birds fly south for the winter...
Joined: 01 Dec 2005
How much do you want to shoot/reload?
Lots of good advice here. We see the single-stage and progressive systems advised here, and they are all good, but before you jump in, consider how much you will reload. If you are reloading up to 1000 or so per year in any gauge, a single-stage reloader is good enough. That volume of loading is fairly characteristic of one whose shooting is basically for hunting and occasionally for practice at clays, etc. A single stage loader also more easily lends itself to the loading of hulls of multiple types and loads, e.g. various hunting and target loads, various hull brands/types. With the MEC 600 and Sizemasters and the PW375, gauge changes within the same press are also fairly economical.
If you reload several thousand, or tens of thousands of shells in any gauge, you really need a progressive, and likely will set up for one or two loads and one or two similar hull types. Changing gauges with progressives is costly -- with some, like Ponsness-Warren and its close derivative, Spolar, you change with a carriage die set, and with MEC, their progressives are not really gauge changeable and you need multiple machines. By the time you've acquired systems to load, say 4 gauges for U.S. skeet or sporties, the cost of one brand over another (except for Spolar) is not too much different, with MEC still coming out ahead after raising their prices considerably over the last 10 years. I highly recommend an electric or hydraulic assist if you need to cut the wear and tear on hands and shoulders.
I fall into the MEC category, have used them for the last 50++ years, and have used almost all models they have ever made starting with the 300. I have 16 MECs. I have 600's/700's in 7 different gauges for hunting loads and load experimentation, and the rest are 9000's and one old 650, all configured for the Automate electric assist devices (2) for target loads (high production). Due to excellent functional concepts and economy of design and manufacture, MEC has captured by far the largest share of the shotshell reloader market. Consequently, MEC's are ubiquitous, and thus are very easy to sell or buy on the used market. MEC manuals, factory assistance, service and parts availability are the best out there IMHO. The only shotshell reloaders I would advise against are the Lee Load-All and the Lyman Easy-Loader. They can be frustrating to use. Some folks do swear by them, but I think most would eventually swear at them. Remember, it is difficult for people to resist defending the logic of their purchase -- me too, I guess
As a low-volume shooter the PW375 fits my production needs. A busy year of informal clays and I'll press out 500 rounds.
Being patient to wait until I got a gently used one for a significant discount makes it all the sweeter. I had made up my mind that the 375 was the way to go and drastically discounted was the only way I'd buy one. That took a little time and a lot of luck for it to work out that. Stay tuned to the Craig's List and eBay for folks that don't really know what they're selling. Of course, buyer be ware too.
Happy hunting... for machines and critters a like.
_________________ VA -- eastern slope of the Blue Ridge, South of the James, North of the Staunton
2007 Browning Citori Lightning Feather
2007 Browning BPS Upland Special
1947 Browning Automatic-5 (stealth Sweet 16) - ventilated Poly-Choke
1937-42 Savage 430
I think that I'm likely not going to be reloading more than 1K rounds a year. That might change though after I retire the second time....For now though, I'm leaning hard towards a single stage, and like JP mentioned, will be on the hunt for a good used PW 375 I think.
_________________ 1929 Thomas Bland 16ga SxS 28"
1947 Browning A5 16ga 28"
1948 BRNO 16ga SxS 27.5"
1949 Stevens 530 16ga SxS 28"
1950 Stevens 311A 12ga SxS 30"
1952 BRNO 12ga SxS 28.25"
1963 Superposed O/U 12ga 27"
1968 V Bernardelli SxS 12ga 28"
Joined: 20 Jan 2015
Location: Victoria BC & Peoria AZ
I sold my PW and bought a Spolar.
The Possnes Warren was good but the Spolar is amazing.
It takes 20 min to change heads on the PW and 10 min on the Spolar.
Either way all you need is one machine and extra heads. There is no need for any adjustments when you change heads as it will be set the same as when you took it off with both.
Still have 16 ga and 410 ga heads for the 800 Plus or 800 CVT if you are interested. $175 ea.
If you get a PW get the removable dies.
Joined: 08 Feb 2009
Location: Western WA
I use the MEC 600 JR for a handful of boxes of non-tox and a hundred or so boxes of 2 1/2" trap & skeet annually. It works great, albeit with a little teasing and tuning.
Then I see the Spolar for $2k, but when I go to http://www.losttarget.com/costcal.htm the numbers don't pencil out compared to simply purchasing ammo (std. or premium) from https://ammoseek.com/ or even Cabelas w/ discount & free shipping. What am I missing?
Last edited by Brewster11 on Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:50 pm; edited 1 time in total
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