Reloading Polywad Spreaders

Dear Readers,

For those of you who prefer the excellent MEC 9000 progressives and would like to load the Polywad spreader buttons (mushrooms? umbrellas?) on top of the shot charge, the following letter from Jeff tells you how to do it. It is nice to have readers who know what they are doing and are willing to share it.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid
(Often in error, never in doubt.)


I have just read some of your answers to questions on reloaded spreader loads. I hope that I am not too late to offer my humble advise and hard earned experience on this matter.

I shoot Sporting Clays almost exclusively, around 500 targets a week, year-round in Ohio, which means cold weather and steamy hot too. I generally shoot LMod and IC in both 12 and 20 and do not like changing chokes all the time. To compensate for my laziness I load Poly-wad “buttons” in both gauges for close-in and belly-up presentations.

The point is; I use MEC 9000’s with Universal charge bars and get excellent reloads. I believe that my tests and experiences rival any factory load “come down the pike” with this combo. I can load the “Buttons” in station 4, just after wad&shot with the tip of two fingers. I typically load about 250 rounds per hour on my progressives no matter which type of load that I am making. I personally like PC wads but have used Windjammers with equal success. I find mechanical presses outdated and slow, like dinosaurs. My MEC’s / Universal’s preform within .1 grain of powder and right-on shot charges constantly.

The only difficulties I have experienced are a tendency for some hulls to re-open if left in cold weather. To eliminate this I can reduce my shot charge by about 1/16 of an oz. or use a 1 1/4 oz. wad to compensate for the “button’. I have found that the 1 1/16 spreader loads break just as many targets as any other and have gone to using them almost exclusively in the 12. The 20 gauge reloads 7/8 with or without a “button” equally as well. I have found that American Select (12ga.) and Universal (20ga.) fill the bill well for these loads.

Additionally, for tournaments that require factory shells I use Fiocchi “Interceptors” or Power Spreader loads. They are much less expensive than Poly-wad factory loads and provide the same desired increase in pattern width. The people at Poly-wad have been wonderful to me, I just can’t spend that much on shells and shoot too. I have yet to find a reasonable factory 20 gauge spreader. If someone can clue me in on one I’ll switch from cheap 9’s in a hurry.

I sincerely hope that I have shed some light on this subject and equally hope that I have not offended your sensibilities in the process. I really enjoy your site and value most of your opinions. I’m an obsessive/compulsive shotgunner so I would miss your writings should you decide to “hole-up” on us out here in the land of the too-correct.


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