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.410 gauge shells are not the easiest to reload. This is especially true on a progressive reloader. Some folks believe .410's MUST be reloaded on a single stage loader.

I shoot between 3000 and 5000 .410's per year (o.k. I am a Skeet shooter). Way too many shells to reload on a single stage loader. First I gave up my MEC Sizemaster for a Ponsness/Warren 800 Plus. Much faster but the shell quality was lacking. Then I stumbled onto a used MEC 9000 progressive. The 9000 was in sad shape and would not function. After watching most of the MEC how to videos on YouTube and replacing a few parts I had the MEC 9000 operational. It was then I realized that the 9000 produced just as good a shell as the single stage Sizemaster. I have modified the MEC 9000 by adding the thicker shell plate and a thing called a Smooth Operator. The thicker shell plate prevents shot spillage when the shell plate rotates. The Smooth Operator eliminates the "pop" when the depriming pin pulls away from the hull.

There is a secret to running a progressive .410 loader without encountering those nasty mistakes that require emptying the loader to clear. You must qualify the hulls BEFORE loading them on the progressive loader. Qualifying your .410 hulls makes life way easier on a .410 progressive loader.

What do I mean by "qualifying" the hulls. It is simply sorting out the bad hulls BEFORE they cause a disaster on the loader. You can do this by visual examination alone but I use an expander mandrel to qualify the case mouth. The mandrell identifies split case mouths better than a visual inspection. Forcing the hull on a tapered mandrell identifies split case mouths and expands the case mouth for better loading.

My mandrell is designed to stop a good hull a short distance from the shoulder. Split hulls will slide easily right up to the shoulder. This "qualifying" operation takes time but it eliminates those hard to clear jambs and produces a better quality shell.

I also wipe the powder residue from the hull with a shop rag after I slide the hull onto the mandrell.

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Of the progressive loaders I have used reloading .410’s (Mec 9000, PW 800+, Spolar) the Spolar is the best followed by Mec, the PW is the worst by far.
 

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My first 410 progressive was a MEC 9000. It was actually a pretty good press. My shells didn't wobble, so no need for the thicker shell plate, and I never really got the Bang, so no need for the bang-b-gone! But I started having trouble with the collet, and couldn't get the reloads to fit in my tube sets. I still keep a 410 tube beside my bench to occasionally check for fit. Got a new collet sent from the factory, and it was bad from the factory, so they sent me yet another.

Got tired of it,a nd bought a used Spolar with all 4 gauges. Even the standard dies for the Spolar were hit or miss , so I ordered a set of tighter dies from a machinist on here. He is known as The Jolly Trapshooter. They work awesome!!

Also, had him make a set of mouth opening cones to slide on to the powder drop tube, really helps.

I do not go through any such process to separate the hulls before loading, can usually tell if a hull is too bad for loading hen I pick it up!

Here's a link to that thread:

https://www.trapshooters.com/threads/410-dies-and-flare-tool-for-spolar.828725/
 

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I have two MEC 9000 progressives and one Sizemaster for the 2 1/2" 410. Case segregation and inspection are cardinal. Stack height is cardinal. I have the Smooth Operator on my progressives, if they don't have that feature from the factory.

One 9000 is set up for AA-HS hulls. The other is set up for Remington STS hulls. The Sizemaster does Eurotrash hulls. I don't change loads on the little shell.

I also load 3" 410 on a Sizemaster. This hull is even more finicky.

Some good info on this thread.
 

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Just finished 10 cases of 410 on my 9000. I do not have Trouble with wobbling shells either. Only thing I watch for besides Every primer drop is the powder/shot bar function. Using 9’s and 296 every once in a while I’ll get bar drag that I correct by tipping back the bottles and manually move the bar back and forth to free up any migrating powder or shot. Other than that it works great.
 

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Using 9’s and 296 every once in a while I’ll get bar drag
I'd be willing to bet that the 296 is the gremlin and not so much the 9 shot ?

I used to load .44 Magnums with 296 and that stuff would totally bind my powder trickler... (both hand and auto tricklers)
 

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I agree most of the time it was the powder but I did pull the bar a couple times and I found a sheared piece of shot between the bar and the housing. I really like the 296 powder. I feel 15.3 gr. closely duplicates the factory AA 1200 FPS loads.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Here is what I watch on my MEC 9000:
1. Does the new hull drop all the way down into the collet.
2. Primer drop & does it drop from the shell plate into the holder.

I am loading 9's with Hodgdon H110 and Claybuster wads. I use the red PC baffle with no powder seal. I have zero powder migration.
 
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I have the red powder baffle but used the brass dimple washer. Maybe I shouldn’t be?? I’ll try that next time. H110 is about the same as 296 I believe.
 

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Loaded a gazillion 410 cf AA on a mec 9000H--did not have shell wobble--just watch the primer feed (actually worked quite well)--sold the press/pump--hope to live long enough to shoot them all.
 

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.410 gauge shells are not the easiest to reload. This is especially true on a progressive reloader. Some folks believe .410's MUST be reloaded on a single stage loader.

I shoot between 3000 and 5000 .410's per year (o.k. I am a Skeet shooter). Way too many shells to reload on a single stage loader. First I gave up my MEC Sizemaster for a Ponsness/Warren 800 Plus. Much faster but the shell quality was lacking. Then I stumbled onto a used MEC 9000 progressive. The 9000 was in sad shape and would not function. After watching most of the MEC how to videos on YouTube and replacing a few parts I had the MEC 9000 operational. It was then I realized that the 9000 produced just as good a shell as the single stage Sizemaster. I have modified the MEC 9000 by adding the thicker shell plate and a thing called a Smooth Operator. The thicker shell plate prevents shot spillage when the shell plate rotates. The Smooth Operator eliminates the "pop" when the depriming pin pulls away from the hull.

There is a secret to running a progressive .410 loader without encountering those nasty mistakes that require emptying the loader to clear. You must qualify the hulls BEFORE loading them on the progressive loader. Qualifying your .410 hulls makes life way easier on a .410 progressive loader.

What do I mean by "qualifying" the hulls. It is simply sorting out the bad hulls BEFORE they cause a disaster on the loader. You can do this by visual examination alone but I use an expander mandrel to qualify the case mouth. The mandrell identifies split case mouths better than a visual inspection. Forcing the hull on a tapered mandrell identifies split case mouths and expands the case mouth for better loading.

My mandrell is designed to stop a good hull a short distance from the shoulder. Split hulls will slide easily right up to the shoulder. This "qualifying" operation takes time but it eliminates those hard to clear jambs and produces a better quality shell.

I also wipe the powder residue from the hull with a shop rag after I slide the hull onto the mandrell.

View attachment 1674247
View attachment 1674249
I just disconnect the auto indexer and index by hand. Saves a lot of problems and is not much slower.
 

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What’s nice is 10 cases of 410 only took just over 3 bags of shot. But about 5 1/2 lbs of powder. Lol
That's the funny thing about 410, uses very little shot, but uses more powder than anything other than 1 or 1 1/8 oz 12 ga. My 20 and 28 ga loads have less powder, by weight, in them.

My 410 load is 17.3 grains of 300-MP.
 

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I have the red powder baffle but used the brass dimple washer. Maybe I shouldn’t be?? I’ll try that next time. H110 is about the same as 296 I believe.
According to Hodgdon's H110 and 296 is exactly the same powder. They produce both under two different names.
 

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As jansonuhl said, you can index by hand, but it is crucial to have the index set up properly to minimize shell wobble if using a MEC 9000. I load mainly #8's and bridging of the shot is more of a problem than feeding hulls or powder migration (300 MP or 296).
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Index by hand, no way - you miss the best feature of the MEC 9000 - seeing that shell plate rotate automatically and drop that finished shell onto the shell chite!
 
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