Shotgun Reloading Steps

Once the necessary equipment and components are assembled and organized on your reloading bench, you are ready to begin reloading!
Shotgun Reloading Steps

Editor’s Note: This description is not intended as a substitute for the instructions provided with your particular reloading equipment. Always read the instructions provided by the manufacturer of your reloader carefully and thoroughly before beginning.

Examine the Hull – The first step in reloading is to inspect your empty hulls to see that they are clean and dry, have no split ends, no cracked or split metal bases, and have no other visible damage. Also, be sure that all hulls have the same capacity and crimp (6 or 8 point). Don’t mix paper and plastic hulls.

examine hulls

Deprime – With manual reloading tools the spent primer is removed with a punch and hammer. With a semi-automatic reloader the initial pull of the handle pushes out the spent primer. On some reloaders, this same pull of the handle resizes the metal base.

examine hulls

Resizing – Almost all shotshell heads are made of brass or steel. Anytime one of these is fired in a gun the head tends to expand to the size of the chamber in which it is fired. If the shell is continually fired in the same gun, it is likely you will never have to resize. However, if fired shells are from a different gun you most likely will have to resize the metal. The most common resizing method is to force a hardened steel ring of the proper diameter down over the metal base, forcing it back to original size.

Although hull sides usually do not require resizing, you will sometimes find that paper hulls are oversized. This is because they swell when they absorb moisture. They must be brought back to size by drying them out before reloading.

examine hulls

Repriming – After the spent primer has been removed, a new primer must be inserted in the primer pocket. With a manual tool, this must be done by hand. With most semi-automatic reloaders, a pull of the handle forces the shell down over the new primer. Not all primers are interchangeable. Be sure the primers you are using are compatible with the other components being used.

examine hulls

Check out Part 1: Choosing the Right Reloading Tool

Check out Part 2: What's Really Inside a Shotshell

Check out Part 3: Selecting the Correct Reloading Components

Check out Part 4: Reloading Safety

Check out Part 5: Shotgun Reloading Steps

Article content and images provided courtesy of Mayville Engineering Company, Inc. (

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