Loading 2-1/2″ Black Powder Shotshells on a Mec 600jr

I’m getting a Coyote Cap IAC Winchester 1887 lever action shotgun and it requires the use of 2-1/2″ shells so I started loading up some.  The first thing I needed to do was to trim down some of my 2-3/4″ hulls.  In order to do that I made a jig which works in conjunction with my compound miter saw to trim the hulls.

It’s a pretty simple jig which holds the shell and allows it to be cut by the saw to a length of 2-1/2″.  I constructed the jig from some MDF scraps.  You can see it in operation in the below video.

What you cant see in the pics is that the jig is simply clamped to my CMS.  For subsequent trimming sessions alignment is achieved by simply butting the jig up against the blade and then clamping it down.

I have decided to try switching from the plastic wads I’ve been using to fiber and after some trial and error I realized that I needed to trim my filler wad by about an eighth inch in order to have enough room to use my current load.  I found that I needed a jig to perform consistent trimming.  I came up with this jig which is simply a 1/2″ hole in a piece of plywood.

Next, in order to load 2-1/2″ shells on my Mec which is set up for 2-3/4″ shells I had to make a spacer (riser) to fit under the shell holder for the charging, pre-crimping, and final crimping positions.  There is no need to adjust the de-capping or priming positions.  This spacer is a simple piece of 1/4″ tempered hardboard but it could be made from any 1/4″ material.  To make one simply remove the screw that holds the shell holder to the jig and remove the shell holder.  Use the shell holder as a template and trace and then cut out your spacer.  Reassembly the shell holder and the spacer onto the MEC.

Mec 2-1/2" spacer

So once I had the hulls and wads trimmed I loaded up a few.

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6 Responses to Loading 2-1/2″ Black Powder Shotshells on a Mec 600jr

  1. Mick says:

    Good stuff, thanks,Mick.

  2. steven komeshak says:

    Concerning the crimp-There is a tool called a skiving tool used to thin the mouth of a trimmed case, but a home made version is a long taper piece of wood-completely round about 7/8 inch diameter tapering to a point,with a fitted piece of sandpaper glued on and trimmed to fit.In use,the tool is just inserted in the mouth of the cutoff case and twisted till the mouth is thinned a little bit. Thereby easing the crimp.It doesn’t take much with medium coarse sand paper and if you count the turns, some consistency will result.
    Its not hard to cobble up a drill powered version by shortening the tool and fitting a piece of drill rod in the center of the fat end. A long taper works best.

  3. AKA aka many others says:

    Nicely done great tip on the Mec600. I have the same Coyote cap Shot gun, I chamber 2/34″ shells all day. I do hoxever make some shorter paper shells. With a rolled crimp.

  4. Willy says:

    Thanks for the comment Mick,

    When a shotshell is advertised a 3″, 2-3/4 or 2-1/2 ( or I suppose metric down there) that is the full length of the hull empty and extended. A shot gun states it’s chamber length as say 2-3/4, then you want to use a shell which when fired and opened, still fits in the chamber, so you choose a 2-3/4″ shell.

    In the case of the Winchester IAC 1887, the chamber is sized for 2-3/4″ shells but, at least in the early models, the extraction/loading port is small and the shells can get hung up. There are some other mods to the action that need to be done for reliable extraction and I’m not sure this early Coyote Cap gun has them….hence the reason I made a box of 2-1/2″ shells to try.

    The over shot card (.125″ hard fiberboard) and the 1/2″ filler/cushion wad are too big to fit through the feeder, I tried but they won’t fit. Plus they are larger than the plastic wad and very tight going into the hull so the added mass of the fingers in the mouth of the hull simply prevent any insertion.

    And lastly, yes. I have an old 1-1/8 charge bar that I drilled the powder side out to drop about 4.4gr of BP.


  5. Mick Moriarty (aka Four Fingers of Death). says:

    Good stuff, thanks. I have never trimmed cases, but have a few old doubles, so I will have to get into that soon.

    Is the case 2 1/2″ long after the crimp is applied (that’s what I always thought anyway)? If so what length to you trim to so that it ends up ok?

    With the overpowder card and the wad, wouldn’t you be better off feeding them throught the guide or whatever it is called (where you pop the plastic wads) and seat them using the press?

    Are you throwing the bp with the press?
    haha! Twenty questions.

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