Reloading Spreaders


Some background… From time to time I shoot a pre war (II) 12 ga. O/U having 30″ F/M barrels for sporting clays, double triggers and all. I know, I know, it sounds crazy, but I’ve shot this gun in the field for over thirty five years and just love the balance, the swing, the fit, the finish, and all the stuff that makes the world go round.

What makes sporting possible for me is the use of Spread R loads, which transform the Full to IC and the Modified to Skeet. Carrying four different loads, say your recommended #7 1/2 1 1/8 oz., #8 1 1/8 oz, and either #8 or#9 1 1/8 oz. Spread R ‘s, I can concoct just about any combination I want. It really works.

The problem is, Spread R’s may as well be gold plated for the amount of dough they charge for them, even by the case. I know I’ve got to start reloading to justify using this gun. I have never reloaded before, but I’m a quick study. Apples against Oranges, but I picked up tying flies fast when I couldn’t readily get salt water flies retail up here in Rhode Island like the ones I wanted out of the book. So I got the MEC brochure, but need some direction.

Will both the Grabber and the 9000G both accommodate the somewhat unorthodox height of the PolyWad Spreader wad, which is much lower than a standard target wad? Also, as the actual Spread R loads are rolled rather than crimped, will these machines do both, or will a reload crimped do the same thing as a rolled one? My Reloading For Shotgunners (Fackler and McPherson) warns progressive reloading is a) meant for high volume standard target loads and b) probably not best for beginners to start out with. Also, they are quite clear that hunting loads are best reloaded non-progressively.

I’m wondering whether the Spreader wad is considered non-standard…some have little or no petal, and others have X’s down the side of what petals there are.

Any light you could shed on this would…..lighten my load!!!


Dear Jim,

Nothing wrong with an O/U with double triggers. Browning used to make a single/double trigger that was great. One of the first Perazzi game guns I used was a double trigger model and I wish I still had it. Those older guns have beautifully balanced barrels unlike the loady front ends of the current guns with those huge, heavy factory screw chokes.

Spreader loads can be reloaded just fine. I do NOT suggest that you get a MEC 9000 or any other auto advance reloader. If you want a carousel machine, get the manual advance MEC Grabber. You definitely do not want that machine trying to advance while you are fooling with adding a second top wad. I made spreaders with all sorts of wads, including the Polywad spreader “umbrella” on a MEC Grabber. If your volume requirements aren’t too high, I would consider the MEC Jr single stage as the way to go. Regardless of what the “pundits” say, you can make hunting loads just fine on a carousel machine. Perhaps what they are referring to is having a progressive permanently set up for target loads and then doing the hinting load tinkering with a single stage. Single stage can be a little less fussy when you are making constant changes in the shells.

The depth of the wad seating doesn’t matter as the height of the wad ram is fully adjustable. Roll crimping will require a separate machine as well as specially cut hulls. I really think that it will cause more grief than it is worth. Stick with a standard crimp.

The problem is that the factory shells are roll crimped for a reason. A standard fold-over crimp can affect the consistency of the spreader disk. You will have to test for yourself. The big problem with any spreader load is not getting it to spread. It is getting it to spread consistently with an even pattern. There’s the rub. I never got reload patterns that fully satisfied me.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

This entry was posted in Shotgun related. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Reloading Spreaders

  1. Bill E. says:

    I have used and reloaded the “umbrella or toad stool” spreaders from Polywad. I found them to be the best of the spreader devices and I have tried most of the others from the factories. They also load without too much of a hassle. The stack height to your shells will need to be altered by dropping a bit less shot before inserting the PolyWad spredr. This also helps to offset the higher pressure that the Spredr wad tends to create. I would load a sample of the ones you like and intend to use and send 5 for testing to Tom Armbrust. That will give you the peace of mind plus let you know how consistent your loads are.

    However, once you have that sorted out, it does not delay the loading sequence much. I loaded mine on a single stage machine and that is what I would use. I found the disk inserted under the crimp to actually aid in having nice level crimps. I would certainly reload them if you are shooting them much. Good luck!


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.