Getting the MEC 9000E with Auto-Mate reminds me of a recent experience involving my Case 580 backhoe, and a shovel. After owning my ~16,000lb 4×4 backhoe with 4×4 and extendahoe, I had to do some digging with a shovel. Let me just say that about 5 minutes into digging with the shovel, I exclaimed out load “I can’t do this- I need my backhoe!”. Yes, I’m totally spoiled now, and once you have an industrial tool, it’s hard to go back to the “backbreaking way”. Loading 12 gauge with the 9000E and Auto-Mate has done the same thing to me! Check it out:
My 12 Gauge Pet Load
One thing I like about shotshell reloading is the fact that when you find a pet load, it’s pretty easy to duplicate that load, and once I get a press setup to load shotshells, I rarely need to make changes. So I wanted to share with you my go-to pet load for 12 gauge shells!
The components I’m using from left-to right: (and load data)
- Remington Gun Club once fired hulls
- Alliant Red Dot Powder – 18.0 grains
- Winchester AA wads
- Fiocchi 616 209-type primers
- #8 shot – 1 1/8 oz. (not pictured)
Use load data at your own risk. Ultimate Reloader is not responsible for errors in load data on this website. Always cross-reference load data with manufacturer’s published data.
Preparing the MEC 9000E for Loading
In the last post, I performed a full unboxing and “baseline setup” of the MEC 9000E with Auto-Mate. Before loading shotshell ammunition, there’s still some final preparations and adjustments that I had to make.
These steps included:
- Filling the shot and powder reservoirs
- Validating powder charge and swapping powder charge bushings as needed (I ended up swapping a #32 bushing in to get 18.0 grains of Alliant Red Dot)
- Optional: swap charge bars if different shot or shot charge is called for (I used the 1 1/8 oz charge bar that comes with the press)
- Test loading shells, checking and adjusting crimp and components (example: swap out wads to compensate for volume issues)
As outlined in the video, I had to make a couple adjustments to the pre-crimp station, and the main crimping station. After that, things we dialed in!
Here’s what my sequence of crimp adjustments resulted in:
As outlined in the picture:
- First shell through the press – this would shoot fine, but will thrash the hull, and is super-ugly
- Main crimp station elevated, still not high enough (note swirl)
- Main crimp station elevated, too high (note hole)
- Main crimp station lowered slightly, pre-crimp station elevated slightly – PERFECTION!
Once I made these adjustments (which were very easy) I didn’t have to touch any adjustments again- every shell has come out looking great. That’s what I love about shotshell reloading on a quality piece of gear.
Loading 12 Gauge Shells in Bulk
Once things were dialed in, loading has been smooth sailing (once I figured out how this press likes to be run!). Here are the stations that are involved in loading on the MEC 9000E with Auto-Mate:
…and here’s what each station does:
- De-priming and collet sizing of base
- Priming and powder charge
- Wad insertion and shot charge
- Pre-crimp (crimp starter)
- Taper crimp (aids in feeding in shotgun)
Sounds complicated, but once you load for about 10 minutes, you’ll be cruising smoothly. Here are a few tips I’ve learned about running the MEC 9000E with Auto-Mate:
- Push the shell all the way in when inserting in station #1 – if you don’t, issues may result
- Hold the buttons down on the Auto-Mate until the press is in the bottom position, plus a tick more for good measure (1/10 second)
- When validating powder charge, if you remove the shell from the press, put an empty hull in station #3 on the next actuation to catch the shot, else shot will spill everywhere. Don’t ask me how I know this. 🙂
- When inserting a wad in station #3 carefully make sure the petals are over the punch, else the wad will crush
- Like with any press, take things slowly at first, then build up speed.
- Always keep an eye on your components (primers, powder, shot) as you are loading and add more before you run out!
- If something doesn’t look right or sound right, stop and take a look. Take your time and be patient (yes, easier said than done)
Now that I’m loading shells on the 9000E with Auto-Mate, I’m feeling a tad spoiled, and it’s motivating me to load a TON of shells. There are a lot of great tools out there to load shotshells, but the 9000E with Auto-Mate is my favorite yet.
Do you have a MEC 9000E with Auto-Mate? I’d love to hear your experiences- please leave a comment!