Ammunition reloading is a process that may seem simple and straight-forward to the seasoned sportsman, but usually involves many challenges at first. I enjoy these challenges, and that was my primary motivation for branching out into shotshell reloading here on Ultimate Reloader. After lots of planning and painful component acquisition delays, I now have completed shotshells rolling off the Hornady 366 loader in the studio. This is a big moment, but there’s still a lot of fine-tuning and learning that I need to work through before I’d consider my operation an “well oiled machine”. That’s the fun of it all- working towards the “top of the mountain” step by step.
It’s one thing to know how something should work on paper, and another thing to actually perform a task in-person. So with much excitement, I took my Alliant load data, my components, and prepared my Hornady 366 for it’s first 12 gauge loading session. I carefully poured some #8 shot into the shot tube, some Alliant Red Dot into the powder tube, and sent a pre-primed Cheddite hull through the 8 stations (I figured I’d save primers/priming for the 2nd phase of bring-up on the Hornady 366).
12 gauge shell #1 through the Hornady 366 – needs some work, but a good first step!
OK, so you definitely wouldn’t cycle this shell through your shotgun, but all of the basic processes worked. I could tell right off that my crimp stations would need some adjustment, and that I may need to fine-tune the load/components for these Cheddite hulls. The Hornady 366 is factory adjusted for Winchester AA hulls, so I thought I’d try reloading a similar factory hull. So I decided to “go for it” and try some Remington Gun Club once-fired hulls that a friend rounded up for me. Time to get all 8 stations rolling at the same time!
Hornady 366 running full-progressive with Remington Gun Club hulls – Image copyright 2013 Ultimate Reloader
I took things *really* slow when bringing up the press into full progressive mode, and things went pretty well. Pull hull from full-length sizing station, place into depriming station, place fresh hull in full-length sizing station, place wad, pull lever, repeat. I took much care when running up the press turning on the powder station and shot stations, and turning them off at the appropriate times when running down the press (emptying stations). The 366 was running, and I was kicking out some nice 12-gauge shells! Exciting!
The first lot of Remington Gun Club shells to come off the press, looking good, but not perfect – Image copyright 2013 Ultimate Reloader
These shells were looking a lot better than the Cheddite hulls, even with factory die station settings. It looks to me like I just need a bit lower height to bring the crimp together a touch more as you can see shot “poking through” on most of these shells. I think I’ll shoot these to see how they do. I’m not afraid to have a couple bb’s fall out.
For these first shells, I decided to go with a “Standard load” from the Alliant load data center.
Data supplied for reference only, please cross-reference with manufacturer’s data before attempting to replicate loads, Ultimate Reloader cannot be liable for loads using this data.
- Hull: Remington Gun Club 12 gauge, once-fired
- Primer: Fiocchi 616 (209 type)
- Wad: Claybuster 12S3 replacement (CB2118-12)
- Shot: #8, 1 1/8 oz
- Powder: Alliant Red Dot, 19.5 grains
I learned through this process that the Hornady 366 doesn’t have an easy way to shut off primer feed, but I did find a shut-off accessory listed online. I’ll have to think about that. Next steps: fiddle with crimp station adjustments to get Remington hulls to look right, and also look at Cheddite hulls to get them to load better.
This is fun stuff! Time to go skeet shooting.
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