Many hunters prefer using shotguns instead of going with a hunting rifle. And why shouldn’t they? A shotgun is quite accurate, and the spread from this weapon gives you a better chance of making a kill shot on most game animals. If you are a shotgun hunter, though, the cost of new ammunition is not exactly easy on the wallet.
Well, what if I could give you a way you could avoid buying new rounds of shotgun shells? As it turns out, with the best shotshell reloader, you can reuse your spent shells and delay having to inevitably buy new rounds.
Besides, a shotshell reloader gives you more control over your shells, such as how much gunpowder to use or how long you want it to be. And some people consider it an essential skill to learn in order to become a good hunter.
In this article, I will talk about some of the finest options in the market and help you figure out which unit you want for your next investment.
Top 4 Best Shotshell Reloader Reviews
I know you are itching to know your options, so don’t let me hold you. Here is my roundup of some of the finest shotshell reloaders in the market that are worth your dime.
1. LEE PRECISION II Shotshell Reloading Press 12 GA Load All
For hunters who want to save cost on new ammunition, the LEE PRECISION II Shotshell Reloading Press is the perfect investment. It boasts an impressive speed capacity being able to churn out shell after shell that you can use to keep the hunt going.
The pros love it, and the beginners can get great use out of it. But before talking about its speed, I want to address its versatility. This unit is compatible with 12-, 16- and 20-gauge shotgun shells. And if you have been hunting for some time, you already know that these three sizes are the most common ones that people use with their shotguns.
Since it is a progressive reloader, I was already expecting a decent reloading speed from this press. But even when I was prepared, I was amazed by its 100 rounds of production speed each hour. In fact, I could easily prepare five to six shell boxes within an hour mark.
Now, I do not claim to be an expert when it comes to using a reloading press. But having worked with a lot of these devices, I usually know what I am doing when I get a new reloading press. However, with this unit, I needed to ask for help from a friend. The learning curve with this reloading press is pretty huge.
But I wouldn’t say it is a complete dealbreaker as once you learn how to use it, things get easier. Its production speed and performance more than makeup for the complications that it might bring to the table.
One thing that I noticed was that it worked better when I was using spent casings. With new casings, the performance was decent but not mind-blowing. So if you want to reuse old casings, this might be the perfect pickup for you.
Both the primer punch and seater for the casings in this unit are well-designed. And to further ensure consistent performance, this reloading press comes with a slider that quickly pushes out new shells.
Lastly, the build quality of the unit is also pretty good, featuring high-end plastic and aluminum components. So, it is a safe bet that it would last you a good long while. For the performance it delivers, the price of the unit is quite affordable, so that is a win too.
- Compatible with 12-, 16-, and 20-gauge shells
- Extremely fast production speed
- Comes at an affordable price
- Strong and sturdy construction
- It has a steep learning curve.
2. MEC 600 Jr Mark V 410 Press- 2.5″ Shell
While the last product that I reviewed is a great choice for those on a budget, if you want a truly high-end option, it would not be the best pickup. In that case, I would recommend going with the MEC 600 Junior Mark V 410 Press by the brand Mayville Engineering.
Now you might be fooled by the “junior” tag that it comes with. But don’t let that stand in the way of you getting one of the best shotgun reloader available on the market. Though it is pricey, on a closer look, you will see that it delivers all the quality you would expect at that price tag.
You may have guessed from the name already that this reloader is made for .410 gauge shotgun shells. Length-wise, you can work with up to 3 inches of shotshells without running into any trouble. If you wanted to reload different sizes of shells, you might have better luck with other Mayville Engineering reloading presses.
Despite being a single-stage reloader, this device is capable of reloading large volumes of shotgun shells in one go. With the one I have sitting in my workshop, I can make up to eight boxes of shells within an hour. Of course, your experience might be different depending on your preferred settings.
The combination of speed and reloading consistency makes it one of the most formidable reloaders available in the market. To ensure proper shell performance, the unit comes with a cam-action crimp die and Spandex Crimp Starter. When your shells make it out of the press, they will be ready for your next hunt.
While the professionals will love the level of versatility and consistency that this reloader offers, the beginners will be attracted more to its user-friendly design. It is extremely easy to use, and within moments of setup, you will be ready to reload shotgun shells like a pro.
The build quality of the unit is superb, giving you an excellent frame that can take a lot of beating. Alternatively, you can take a look at the MEC Sizemaster 20 Gauge Press if you want to work with 20-gauge shotgun shells. It comes with a lot of the same features as the MEC 600 Junior.
If I was to talk about its downside, I would only have to mention the price. This unit costs a fortune, and if you are a beginner at reloading ammunition, you might not consider this investment worthwhile. But for those who want to reload their own shells regularly, it’s a small price to pay for the performance it delivers.
- Excellent build quality
- Versatile design
- Suitable for high-volume shell reloading
- Both veterans and beginners can get good use out of it.
- Minor spillage of materials while using.
3. DADDY AMMO 12 Gauge Reloader Shotgun Reloading Press
Not everyone needs to punch out large volumes of shotgun shells. Some find the job of reloading a shotgun shell relaxing, and if you are one of them, I have just the right product for you. This 12 Gauge Reloader by Daddy Ammo might not look much, but for some people, this is the perfect pickup.
Let me say one thing right away; this is not for you if you want to produce a large volume of shotgun shells. This is a fully manual reloader, and you need to press each individual casing. Naturally, the speed of production is not that high, and it takes some effort to produce even a single shotgun shell.
This reloading press is designed specifically for 12 gauge shotgun shells. So if you were to work with 16-gauge shells, you need to get another model that is compatible with that specific shell size. It also does not work with any shells larger than 2.5 inches.
If you are a veteran reloader, then you should be able to produce around 50 to 60 shells if you work without taking a break. Reaching that volume, though, is quite tough, and in a realistic scenario, you would be looking at a number closer to 40 shells an hour.
On the plus side, though, the performance of the reloader is pretty consistent. If you know what you are doing, every shell should come out perfectly. And it also does not require too much setup and is pretty simple and straightforward to use. But I would not recommend it for a beginner.
The build quality of the unit, though, is surprisingly good for its price. It comes with a heavy-duty aluminum crimp starter that boasts superb durability and performance.
This reloading press is extremely affordable, which is one of the many good things it has going for it. Is it the best for professional reloaders? Definitely not. But for someone who reloads shells for fun, this can be a fantastic pickup.
- Easy to use design
- Durable construction
- Consistent reloading performance
- Comes at an affordable price
- Not suitable for high-volume reloading
4. Ponsness Warren 375C Du-O-Matic Shotshell Reloader
I did not want to go with just about any old shotshell reloaders for my last recommendation. For me, the last product needs to be just as good as the first one on the list. I like to finish things off with style, and the Ponsness Warren 375C Du-O-Matic shotshell reloader fits the bill just right.
People often compare it with the MEC 600 Junior, which, as I have already said, is a top-class shotgun reloader. The 375C comes at a slightly higher price, but it does edge out slightly ahead when it comes to certain features. For example, it does not spill materials while you are making your shells.
This is an extremely versatile model with compatibility for almost all types of shotgun shells. So, whether you are using a 12 gauge shell or a .410-gauge shell, you should have no trouble loading it with this press. On top of that, it can also work with lead, steel, or bismuth shots without requiring any conversions.
However, on the off chance that you are using a round that is not compatible with this reloader, you can buy a separate 375 Tooling Kit to convert your reloading press to that type of shot. And the time it takes to convert to a different gauge is extremely fast.
The production speed of the unit is also pretty admirable. Despite its single-stage design, it is capable of delivering up to 150 rounds per hour which is much higher than the competitors. Compared to the MEC 600, the volume is a lot better and more consistent.
I also loved the quality of the final shell that comes out of the reloader press. It is consistent, and I have never had to deal with any weird issues with the final results. Yes, it does take a while to set up, but once it gets going, it will keep working until you are done reloading your desired number of shells.
The machine features a powder-coated finish and has a double construction frame ensuring utmost durability and performance. If you have done any reloading in the past, you know how much abuse these devices have to take. With this model, it would not be anything that it can’t handle.
Sure, it is expensive, and a beginner might not want to spend this much moolah on a reloader. But if you think of the money that you save not having to buy new rounds of ammunition, this one offers an excellent value.
- Consistent and reliable performance
- Capable of high-volume reloading
- Strong, powder-coated finish
- Compatible with a wide variety of shells
- Not very affordable
The Bottom Line
Buying a shotshell reloader is a pretty smart way to cut some of the cost of buying new rounds of ammunition. So, if you are someone who hunts regularly using his shotgun, this can be your next big investment.
Sure, the upfront cost might be high, but in the long run, you would be saving a lot of money. Hopefully, my list of the best shotshell reloaders could leave you with a couple of great options to choose from. Good luck!
Larry, who is a family man and a gun enthusiast, enjoys keeping his collection in pristine condition. He also likes to take his kids shooting as often as possible.