It is important to take into consideration the cost implication of reloading. It is important to obtain high quality, durable products that will continuously deliver the desired results after thousands of rounds have been reloaded.
A newcomer to the reloading process may easily feel intimidated by all the various reloading equipment tools and products available on the market.
The following items are considered the essentials for a beginner’s reloading kit:
A loading manual
As reloading data changes from time to time (due to changes in the ballistic characteristics of certain components), it is critical to keep data as updated as possible.
A reloading press
The purposes of a reloading press include shaping spent cartridges to the correct size under pressure, and to achieve precision and accuracy when seating bullets. Although presses generally consist of the same parts, there are a variety of different types of presses available on the market
For the novice reloader, a single stage reloading press would be recommended. Not only is this the best reloading press on a budget (as progressive reloading presses can be very expensive), but it is also advised that a reloader build up some experience in the reloading process before attempting to master the often overwhelming and much riskier all-at-once function offered by a progressive reloading press.
For beginners, the following single stage reloading presses can be recommended
- The Lyman Crusher II
- The Redding Boss, Big Boss, Big Boss II and Ultra-Mag
- The RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme
- The Lee Classic Cast Press
Here’s our advice on how to choose a reloading press.
A shell holder
The cartridge case is fitted into the shell holder in order to be aligned with, pushed into, or, alternatively, withdrawn from the different dies used in the reloading process. Although one shell holder can accommodate a variety of different calibers, it is of critical importance to stay within the recommended series of cartridges per shell holder. If not, damage to the cases and the shell holder can occur when resizing the cases.
Reloading die set
Die sets vary and may consist of as few as two, or as many as four separate dies. The sets normally consist of at least the following:
- A resizing die to shape the cartridge back to its factory specifications and to remove the spent primer from the primer pocket. We recommend that novice reloaders make use of full case length resizing dies in order to ensure that accurate, caliber specific specifications are achieved.
- Straight case die sets include an additional die to allow for the flaring (expanding) of the case neck, allowing the bullet to fit inside the cartridge case.
- Bullet seating dies seat bullets inside the cartridges to its correct depth. This die also crimps the case necks to the bullets to ensure that the bullet is fitted tightly into the cartridge.
Case lubricant and lubricant pad
Case lubricant is a necessary requirement for treatment of cases prior to resizing, as this prevents the cases of becoming jammed inside the resizing die.
When applying case lubricant, it is advised that a lubricating pad is used in order to transfer the lubricant to the cases.
Using safety glasses while working with primers is a necessary prerequisite for reloading.
Priming units, priming punches, priming rams, or priming arms perform the function of seating new primers into the resized primer pockets. This usually occurs during the resizing of the case, or with the flaring of the case neck (in the case of straight walled cases).
An accurate powder scale
It is absolutely critical to insert the exact amount of powder into a cartridge. In order to do so, a reloader requires a precise and accurate powder scale that can carefully weigh the required powder loads.
Also known as a Dribbler, this useful tool saves a lot of time, as it is able to add gunpowder to the scale at a rate of one granule at a time, to ensure that the precise powder load is achieved.
Two loading blocks
These blocks assist the reloader in organizing the cases on the bench. Two should be used in order to distinguish between empty and loaded cases.
Dial indicating caliper
A caliper allows the reloader to measure the following:
- the depth of seated primers;
- case lengths (before and after trimming);
- overall case length; and
- investigate various aspects of the cartridge should problems arise.
Case trimmers are used to trim cartridge lengths back to their proper dimensions (as cases lengthen when fired). When trimming, a size appropriate caliber should be used as a frame for comparison in order to ensure correct trimming of cases.
This useful tool smooth’s the inside and outside of the case mouth, thereby removing the burrs that are formed when cases are fired.