All your reloading equipment for $100?


Lucky Strike
January 1, 2008, 07:13 PM
I've just gotten into handguns earlier this year and own 3 now (9mm semi, .22 and .357 DA revolvers).

I'd never really entertained the thought of reloading because i thought you needed a minimum of like $500 worth of equipment. I usually shoot around 250 or so rounds per month.

I just saw something about a Lee Anniversary Kit that's like $90. Does this kit have everything I'd need to start pumping out ammo? If not what all would I need to add in equipment (not ammo components) to load 9mm, .38spl, .357, 45acp and .44mag (i plan to get a .45 and .44mag sometime in the next 16 months) .

If I could keep the equipment in the $100-150 range I would definitely be buying a setup.

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January 1, 2008, 07:20 PM
I got a set-up for Christmas. It was the lee set, dies, caliper. I haven't used it yet (still need powder/primers) but the total was something like $130.

January 1, 2008, 07:20 PM
I got an Anniversary Kit not long ago, it has everything you need except shell holders and dies.
It does comes with shell holders but their only good for the auto prime, if you get LEE dies they come with a shell holder.
It even comes with mounting screws for everything except the press, you need to supply 3 1/4" bolts.

Lucky Strike
January 1, 2008, 07:31 PM in addition to the kit I'd just need a die for each caliber that I want to reload?

If you're reloading and want to switch up calibers do you just swap out the dies and you're good to go or is there other changes you need to make to your setup

I've also seen a 4 hole turret kit that seems to have the same stuff in it as the anniversary set but it's like $40 more. I'm guessing the turret allows you to have 4 different dies already in place and you just rotate it when you want to switch calibers. Is this true?

Is that the only difference or is that press a higher quality one then in the anniversary kit?

January 1, 2008, 07:34 PM
you gotta switch dies and the shell holder

January 1, 2008, 07:35 PM
It seems that simple, but I just started reloading and ended up sinking $600 into mostly Lee equipment. There are a lot of little tools which are necessary... it starts adding up.

January 1, 2008, 07:38 PM
This is the kit I have started with a few months back. It works fine at this time for me because I am taking my time learning all the proper way to do things. You will need dies and Lee carbide are good and they will keep cost down. If you get the .38spl dies you can load the .357 as well. Not the other way around though. I have picked up some used reload books at the gun shows and they will help with load info and general knowledge. It is an addiction but one you can have lots of fun with.

January 1, 2008, 07:40 PM
I have been using Lee stuff for some time with great success.
You might go ahead and invest in a better scale (and powder measure). The cheaper ones work but can be a pain.

January 1, 2008, 07:49 PM
I did upgrade to a Lil Dan pistol powder measure. It works better but check the rotors with a scale. They may throw different amounts due to powder size.

January 1, 2008, 08:15 PM
If your primary interest is handguns, your money is best spent on a Dillon Square Deal.

I started reloading when most (4) of our handguns were in 9mm, with a square deal you can crank out practice rounds at an amazing rate for a low relative starting investment.

The SDB will not handle rifles, and is a bit of a pain to change calibers in. If you want a "do it all" loader it is not the setup for you.

However, if you want to crank out high volumes of pistol ammo in a hurry, I know of nothing better.

January 1, 2008, 09:16 PM
If you're shooting 250 rounds a month,a single stage or turret press will get the job done,just takes time and paying attention to details.

If you were shooting 250 rounds a week,a progressive liek the Dillon Square Deal B would be the way to go.You'd pay for it in ammo savings before long too.

If you add a dial caliper, and a case tumbler for cleaning cases,YOu;ll top 150.00 I"m afraid.I'm thinking 250-300.00 to be set to go.

It sounds like a lot but consider that a box of ammo is gonna cost about 6 bucks,not 16.00 up.

January 1, 2008, 09:23 PM
Where is the best place to buy the SDB? Is it from the Dillon website, or can it be obtained somewhere else cheaper?

January 1, 2008, 09:32 PM
Although I have seen Dillon products sold in some gun stores, they all charged the same price as on the Dillon website. Of course, you pay shipping if you order from Dillon, but you may not be paying sales tax, so maybe it would even out.

At any rate, from my experience, you won't get better pricing from a non-Dillon site unless you go to eBay or something similar (maybe here in the buy/sell/trade section, for example).


Lucky Strike
January 1, 2008, 09:33 PM
I guess i need some clarification on what the difference is between the single stage and the turret press......can someone help me out? What does the turret press do that makes it worth $40 more?

Sounds like with all the other doo-dads my wish of getting everthing for $150 was unreasonable although even around $250 is a lot less then the $500 i originally thought it cost to get started

January 1, 2008, 10:40 PM
i'd say a lee turret- a turret press holds all the dies at the same time like a progressive press would, but only works on one shell casing at a time, where as a progressive press works on several. Therefore a turret takes 1 case from start to finish before another gets entered, progressive presses, manipulate cases at different stages, 'progressively' completing them as they advance through the press.

the things you really need are-
dies- (if you buy lee dies they come with a shell holder)
powder drop (if your going lee i recommend the auto disk, I love the things)

for the calibers you listed, you don't need any trimming gear. A tumbler would be nice, but its not necessary right away. a kinetic bullet puller would also be a nice early addition, but again it could wait if need be.

if you have any specific questions, please feel free to pm me :)

January 1, 2008, 10:47 PM
Sounds like with all the other doo-dads my wish of getting everthing for $150 was unreasonable although even around $250 is a lot less then the $500 i originally thought it cost to get started

The most expensive aspect of reloading is buying components...not tools.
And $500 worth of bullets and primers doesn't go very far these days.
To properly budget for your tooling you should have a firm idea of how many rounds you intend to produce per month. Without that information, you could very well end up wasting money.

January 1, 2008, 11:06 PM
I guess i need some clarification on what the difference is between the single stage and the turret press......can someone help me out? What does the turret press do that makes it worth $40 more?

Sounds like with all the other doo-dads my wish of getting everthing for $150 was unreasonable although even around $250 is a lot less then the $500 i originally thought it cost to get started

You can get a Lee Pro1000 progressive on sale from Midway right now for $132 dollars that INCLUDES dies for one calibre. I'd choose 38spcl since you can also load .357 with them.

Single stage has you doing one stage on all your brass at one time. Ie, you have 200 empty brass cartridges to reload. You'll deprime and resize all 200, one at a time. Then you'll prime all 200 in the next stage. Then you'll flare the mouth and dump powder. Then you'll seat and crimp the bullet.

A progressive has multiple stages so that as the turret or shellholder rotates with each pull of the handle, the brass cartridge progresses from the deprime/resize stage to the priming stage to the flare and poweder dump stage, then to the bullet seat and crimp stage and then is ejected.

Pretty much it's one pull of the handle produces one reloaded round.

The press in the middle is my Lee Pro1000. I bought it over twenty years ago when I first started shooting IPSC. I have literally loaded tens of thousands of rounds with it. The press on the far right is my single-tage Lee. I use it for rifle rounds and .44 magnum/special. (

I will echo the advise of some others--do get yourself a good set of scales. The RCBS 502 is a good choice.

Enjoy. You'll never look back.


January 2, 2008, 09:46 PM
I would really suggest you buy the Lee Classic 4 Hole Turret Press. The base is made of Cast Iron and the ram is twice as thick as the non-Classic Turret Press. The turret press has 4 stations which will rotate with each pull of the handle when the Auto-Index is engaged. Every 4 pulls of the handle produces a round ready to fire. You can produce 150-200 rounds of handgun ammo per hour without rushing and making sure everything is done correctly and safely. You can buy the Lee Classic Turret ( in a Kit from Kempf's online for $150 with a set of dies included. Buy the Lee Deluxe Carbide dies. (4 dies in the set including the Factory Crimp Die) I also suggest you upgrade to the "Pro" Auto-Disk Powder Measure for another $10. This is the setup I use and I'm very happy with it. I load pistol rounds and even 30-06 rounds easily with it.

Lucky Strike
January 2, 2008, 10:30 PM
Thanks for all the replies....i will likely get a lee classic turrent kit from kempf.

Just one far as dies which set do I get so I can load both .38spl and .357?

tasco 74
January 2, 2008, 10:56 PM
just my 2 pennies... if i were you- just starting out i'd get a single stage press... i found loading from a ingle stage press so much easier to learn on... now after over 20 years of reloading i still load off single stage presses.. one is an old heavy cast bair press and the other is a lee reloader alloy press.... i use lee speed dies with 2 die bodies so i can put both presses into operation at the same time... works good for me as i like reloading almost as much as shooting! i friend of mine is a mechanic and gave me some bolts out of a chevy quadrajet card to mount my lee press with... they are long bolts that look kinda trick holding down the press! as for reloading .38 spl and .357 magnum with the same dies that's what use .. but i have a .357 mag die body and a .38 spl body that i use to reload both calibers... i use the .38 spl decapper because it opens up the case better on both calibers...

January 2, 2008, 11:06 PM
"Just one far as dies which set do I get so I can load both .38spl and .357?"

If you're getting the turret press, the best thing you can do is to get extra turrets (about $12 each) and die sets for the press, so you just set up a complete turret in each calibre, and leave it adjusted properly. Otherwise, you have to spin each die in and out to the proper height, lock them down, and then take them out to do the same with your next set of dies. With extra turrets, you only set them up once, and switching calibres is just a matter of twisting the turret and lifting it off the press, then putting the new one on.

January 3, 2008, 02:46 AM
I bought some reloading stuff back around august. I paid 175 for a bunch of used stuff (was happy with the price).

Little did I know that would be the start of a disease. I think in the last few months since that initial purchase I have spent about 1500+ in reloading stuff (that includes consumables of course).

Its so damned easy to get lost in spending money on reloading stuff. I went to cabelas last week and blew 55 dollars on a box of 45acp bullets. Not a big deal but I keep doing that all the time.

I just keep thinking that I will have this equiptment for the next 50 years or so and that makes me feel less sad.

January 3, 2008, 02:03 PM
Hi all, new to the forum, but thought I would throw my .02 in here. If you really only have time to burn 250rds a month, a single stage would be fine. I reloaded on an RCBS rockchucker for years in rifle calibers. Entering pistol competition however. I burn that much or more in a weeks practice, no less match competition. I opted for the Hornady LNL-AP this winter what with the 1k bullet rebate, it drops the actual price down a fair amount (depending on what caliber you want). Take your time, read from more than one forum as there are particular biases regarding colors of presses, and most of all, be safe, and have fun. :D

January 3, 2008, 02:30 PM
I started on the Lee Anniversary kit. It's a decent kit but within 18 months I had purchased a Dillon 550B. The turret press is a good "betweener." Most 357 dies will load 38 as well but you will have to adjust them.

For loading revolver ammo (45 Colt is what I started on) the single stage worked great. But when I started loading pistol, 9mm and 45, I couldn't keep up with my habit. :D

My time has become more and more "expensive" over the years so the progressives have more than paid for themselves.

evan price
January 3, 2008, 03:01 PM
I load 9mm, .38 special and .357 magnum and .44 magnum in a Lee Pro-1000 progressive press, when I started out I was concerned about the reputation of progressive presses I heard from old-timers on "Teh Intarnet" who said a single stage was the best way to go because you don't ruin as many rounds starting out.

Truthfully this is good advice but after only a few reloading sessions you will want speed AND good ammo. Loading straight-sided pistol cases is so easy a child could do it.

The single-stage press has a single station above the ram to hold a single die. You need to do a batch process to make ammo. Take a reloading tray of 100 or 200 or how many you want to do at once. Manually put in and take out cases to resize and deprime. Next, use a manual handheld priming tool to prime your brass. Next, remove the resizing die you just setup, screw in the expander die. Expand each of the cases you just resized and dump powder in each case (IF you have a powder-through-expander die, otherwise, powder dump is a seperate step!) Next, remove the expander die and setup the seater die. Now manually load each powder-filled case, seating a bullet in each one.

That takes 5 steps to get one round of finished ammo. And you don't have ANY finished ammo until you complete the process, just stuff in progress. So if you get interrupted you have half-finished stuff sitting there.

A turret press is a good compromise between a progressive and a single-stage. It usually takes a circular turret (which are quickly removable and interchangeable) and mounts all of the dies on one turret. You set up each die correctly. Then they get locknutted and never need messed with again, if you have a spare turret for each caliber which is the BEST WAY to do this if you are loading multiple calibers.

Now, you manually put in a case. Pull handle to resize/deprime and then prime. Turn turret (or some auto-index the turret for you). Expand/powder dump. Turn turret. Seat bullet. Round is done. Now, each round is finished individually assembly-line fashion. Still takes 3-4 pulls of the handle to make one round.

Progressive combine the turret press' die handling (turret plates that contain all the dies, making interchange quick) with the ability to process multiple cases at once.

You load cases one at a time or have a case feeder. Pull the handle three times, a new empty case is loaded each time, then once the press is full, each pull of the handle ejects a finished round. You wind up with cases staged around the press in various stages of completion depending on which station it is in. Sounds complicated, but it really isn't. It's most like an assembly line there is. At any time you can stop the process by withholding new cases at the start, then a few pulls of the handle, the press is empty. You can make 300 rounds per hour on a Lee progressive, I know a guy who gets 450 RPH+ on his Pro-1000...

The Dillon guys say they can go faster.

I recommend anyone who is loading only a few calibers of pistol, no rifle, to investigate the Lee Pro-100 progressive. Sure they are not a Dillon. But they DO WORK and work well, within their limitations. I wouldn't want to run 10,000 at a time on a Lee Pro-1000 but for running a thousand at a time they work great for me.

As I have said on other boards, some of us are perfectly fine with the Sears lawn mower on sale, we don't need to spend the cash to buy a John Deere. That's not a dig on Dillon, it's just that if you are not running a machine hard enough to justify the more expensive "commercial" brand then a less expensive solution is OK.

If you are thinking about loading any rifle or are not comfortable with a progressive, a turret press is going to be "stronger" and allow rifle reloading. It is a bit slower but you have more control over each round. The lee classic cast press setup is a good deal.

A Pro-1000 brand new setup for one caliber is $130. If all you are loading is .38/.357 and 9mm, that's good. They both take the same size case feeders and same size primers. All you need to swap is a different shellplate (9mm is #19, .38/.357 is #1, about $12) and a 3-die set of Lee carbide dies ($20).

If you are loading on a turret or single stage, the Lee dies come with the appropriate shell holder for use in those presses. I really like Lee dies.

You need a powder check scale. The Lee scale is cheap, it works, it's accurate but slightly finicky until you get used to it. A set of inexpensive calipers is nice to have too. I recommend a tumbler as soon as you can get one because clean brass feeds better in the gun and in your dies and it just looks nice.
Search eBay for the good deals.
Good luck and happy loading.

January 3, 2008, 03:14 PM
Nicely said evan.

Two reasons I went with the Dillon:

A friend purchased a Lee LoadMaster when they first came out (early 90's)and had a lot of issues with it. These issues may have been resolved but I was not going to wait to find out.

I wanted to reload rifle ammo. I have loaded thousands of 223 and am getting ready to load 308 and 30-06 on it. I don't think this is possible on the Pro 1000.

January 3, 2008, 05:50 PM
Lucky Strike: I guess i need some clarification on what the difference is between the single stage and the turret press......can someone help me out? What does the turret press do that makes it worth $40 more?

With the single stage you will have to change the die for each step up want to do. The turret press holds all four dies in one turret and when you change calibers it is very fast and the dies stay setup. The classic turret press is well worth the extra money over the deluxe turret press. With the single stage most people load 50 to 75 rounds per hour. With the classic turret most people including myself load around 200 RPH.

January 3, 2008, 09:57 PM
SLV, you didn't buy little 'used' tools? Well, I let a few 'new' tools work into my setup. The more 'quality' used gear that you can get, the more you'll have for other...

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