Above is my Mec 9000 set up to load steel trap loads. Key differences are:
1. Charge bar is black - for steel shot. I have one for 1 oz of steel and 1-1/8 oz.
2. Wad rammer tube is smaller than normal because wad petals are thicker. A 16 ga tube will usually suffice.
3. Wad guide pulls out on a spring so you can get the longer wads up onto the rammer tube.
That's about it except for the special recipes which you get from the wad distributor.
Above is the detail on the swing out wad guide. You pull it out with the finger next to your pinkie, slip the wad up onto the rammer and go. My particular rammer was machined on a lathe. I believe I got this from Mec and it measures 19/32" in diameter (outside). You want it small enough so the wad doesn't ride back up when you raise the handle of the reloader. I don't know why a 20 ga rammer wouldn't work, but have never tried it.
Recipes are from Ballistic Products who sells 3 different 1 oz wads: PT1260 (pictured), the MG42 and the CSD100. I've used the first two in the STS tapered hulls. You get a little bit of a ridge in the hull from the wad because everything is so tight. Next year I plan on trying the CSD100.
Here's an article from Mec listing the hardness of steel. I know steel can range quite a bit. You don't want to use the steel sold for ballast. It may be too hard for use in shells and cause damage to your barrel.
I have loaded some 1 oz steel loads on my Mec 600 JR. I used a 1-3/8 oz lead bar to drop just a little under 1 oz of steel #6 shot. My Mec 600 JR with the 1-3/8 oz lead bar worked great with no modifications to re-load the 1 oz steel #6 shot loads.
Some TS.com threads are good, but this one is a top 10 for sure. I will pick out a top notch 1100 with the old step rib bbl, and begin building a gun for steel. I shot them well.... Sounds like tons of fun.. thanks Jose...
Jay, yes we concluded there is 'set back' by seeing there are no pellet indentations at the top of the wad petals. That lets you rest easy if the pellets are a row or two over the edge of the wad, but not by much in my opinion. I'll give you one pellet row above the petal, but that's about it. I'd rather be conservative. You can see the set back effect in the picture below. It's about two pellets worth.
Bob - The 1-3/8 oz lead bar converts nicely to 1 oz of steel and is a good thing to check if you have one of those hunting level bars. Conversely, the 1 oz steel wad can be used for 1-3/8 oz of lead. Good points.
Jack, I'm glad you like the thread and hope you find it useful. With the ranting on the thread about shooting these shells, I thought I'd try to pass out some info to those who might really need/want it.
Here's a picture of a finished shell showing the slight ridge towards the bottom from the PT1260 wad. I don't know that it hurts anything except that reloading them takes some pressure to get the wad seated deep enough to crimp correctly. That's why I'm going to try the CSD100 wad. They don't leave a ridge and don't have to be seated as deep, but they cost a little more.
Patterning steel shot is something I'm not prepared to do. It's just too much work to do it right with Dr. Andrew's software, pattern paper, etc., and the way the targets break at our range, I don't care to exert that effort.
Check it out (video thanks to Scott Calhoun):
Here's the reloader in action. When my son helps me with the wads we go a lot faster. You can see the pressure that's needed to get the job done.
I forgot to mention something. The wad pressure gauge needs to be turned upside down when reloading with the PT1260 wad. You can see in the picture below that it is indeed upside down. The set screw should be at the bottom instead of the top; the numbers on the gauge are upside down. I have both my reloaders set this way because it forces the wad to go to a certain depth regardless of pressure. You won't be able to get the crimps right if you don't do this.
To accomplish this, take the set screw out completely. Remove the drop tube and rammer tube out the top and then turn the wad pressure gauge and spring around (as shown in picture). Insert the wad rammer tube, then retighten the set screw. Add the powder drop tube and you're done except for fine tuning it per the crimp.
Note that I have two Mec 9000 reloaders. One is for steel and the other is for lead. That way I don't have to switch between different recipes and wad depth.
Was reminded by another shooter how steel shot sometimes bridges in the drop tube. A little graphite can be helpful. I went from a 16 ga drop tube back to a 12 that was machined from Mec in order to avoid the bridging problem completely.