New to reloading - please help me with shopping list.


April 26, 2008, 08:03 PM
I am new to reloading, but i figure it is time to start.

I will be reloading in the following sizes - 9mm, .40, .45, .223/5.56mm, .308 and .30-'06.

I am not interested in doing it as fast as i can, speed is not necessary. I am looking to make some qualitiy (accurate) ammunition for target practice, hunting and long-distance target shooting.

I cannot find a "complete" list of everything I need. Can someone here please help me? Please include things like calipers, lube, etc.

Also, where is the best place to buy this equipment, and is it ok to buy used?

Thanks for the help.

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April 26, 2008, 08:07 PM
I would recommend you go here

They have some of the best reloaders and a lifetime warranty. I can highly recommend the 550 (

April 26, 2008, 08:31 PM
it depends on your budget. Please tell an aproximate budget and we will be able to get a better idea of which path to send you down.

Cheers, Mate :cool:

April 26, 2008, 08:34 PM
I don't want to say that my budget is unlimited, but I am not looking for the cheapest. I am looking for quality. Any reasonable price is ok.

April 26, 2008, 09:38 PM
Get yourself the following:

Build yourself a sturdy bench. This will be your meat and potatoes.

3 - 5 good reload manuals to cross reference. Learn 'em. read them over and over and over

Redding T7 Turret for all your Rifle Loads.

Dies for all rifle calibers - Redding

RCBS Swage combo tool.

Lee Universal decapping Die w/ extra 2 extra pins

1 single stage press (RCBS, Redding)for Back up and various single stage duties such as, depriming, swaging with RCBS tool, ect.

Dillon RL550B for the pistol loads + caliber conversions & quick change, dies, caliber check gauges, ect.

RCBS ChargeMaster combo

RCBS Digital Calipers

Good Trimmer - RCBS Power or Redding 2400 w/RCBS 3way cutters for 22 and 30 cal.

RCBS Trim prep center with all neccessary accessories.

RCBS Universal Hand primer for Rifle brass. (Dillon 550b will prime pistol caliber)

Imperial lube wax for sizing rifle brass

One shot or Dillon spray on for hand gun (I use it with carbide dies)

RCBS bullet puller - Kenetic

Hornady bullet puller - Collet style with 30 cal collet

a good size Tumber with seperator and media.

That ought to be about $1,800.00 - $2,000.00 bucks worth

start stocking up on components (Brass, Bullets, Powder, Primers).

This will be a good starting point. You will pick up more practical and non practical b.s. tools along the way for the rest of your life if this hobby sticks.

It's like rifles, guns, and guitars, the next will be your last... I promise.

...But you will keep building your bench for the rest of your life...:evil:

On second thought... Run for life while you still can...!!! LOL.

Welcome to Reloading 101 :cool:

April 26, 2008, 11:34 PM

April 27, 2008, 10:04 AM
Your first step is buying the best reference book or what I call Reloading for Dummies or The ABC's of Reloading from Krause Publications. Read it cover to cover, and then read it again while taking notes! Look for a mentor at your local club, range, or purveyor of supplies! Another more technical book, is Handloading for Competition by Glen Zediker.

There are several great reloading manuals of the real kind not the freebee ones! Freebee manuals are good for cross referencing data, at times. For meaty manuals a person can not go wrong with the Lyman48th, Hornady, and Sierra. One must always look up loads when you compare/cross-reference data. Especially in larger calibers as some data might be using different brass from yours. Case in point before the Hodgdon website upgrade they Hodgdon used WW brass to work up loads with, whereas Sierra used Fed cases in their 308 Winchester loading information. Now, Hodgdon does not list what brass the loads were worked up in.

Press - Single Stage or Turret presses are the best way to learn before advancing to any kind of progressive press. You will always have need for a single stage press. Redding and RCBS are good sources of all kinds of presses. RCBS Rockchucker Supreme for a single stage and Redding T7 for a turret press are basically the gold standard for the two different types.

Dies - I like Redding Dies, and I would get the carbide expander ball upgrade for bottle neck rifle cases. Dillon makes carbide rifle sizer dies, but you still need to use case lube and make sure you lube the inside of the case neck, too. I would just stick with regular dies for rifle cartridges. Dillon makes die sets specifically for their press so to speak, meaning that it does not come with a case mouth belling die; Redding makes a set of dies for progressive presses, too. I like Forster competition seaters, and they can be had as an individual item. Dies are pretty much threaded universally, except for Lyman 310 dies, and Dillon dies for the Square Deal B. Accuracy nuts will use hand dies, and they require an arbor press be used.

Shell holders (if the die set doesn't have them like Lee) or the appropriate shell plate for the progressive press. Remember that many shell holders work for more then one cartridge. I would do some home work, especially if you get a Dillon. Some cartridge conversions might only require you to get powder funnel for the new cartridge.

A tumbler will be a good investment, as clean cases will not harm you dies. There are vibratory and rotary tumblers out there. I like corn cob media treated with some Iosso case polish. You can get walnut in bulk at Petco or Pet Smart. Bulk corn cob grit is a great way to reduce the cost of commercially supplied media, because you pay through the nose for the treated media from other vendors.

MTM makes great loading block tray that handles most cartridges.

Case Lube is great for both conventional dies, and to treat your brass used in a progressive press even with carbide dies. That extra lubricity makes the cycling of the press a tad slicker! Dillon spray lube works well for shake and bake application. I like Imperial Die Wax for rifle cartridges when FL sizing.

Case Neck Brush to clean bottleneck rifle cases

Dial Calipers

Case Trimmer (Lee works, but Possum Hollow is better, Wilson makes the best hand powered Lathe trimmer, and Giraud is the best powered Trimmer)

Deburring/Chamfering Tool

Primer Pocket Cleaner and uniformer

Primer Flip Tray is needed for loading pick up tubes for some primer systems like the Dillon.

Priming Tool (I like the RCBS (now even better with universal shell holder, but Sinclair makes the best)

Powder Scale - remember that is always better to have a mechanical scale as a back up to any electronic scale.

Powder Funnel kit with drop tubes especially if you intend to use powders like Varget.

Powder Trickler (used to tweak powder charges)

Powder Measure (nice for faster powder charges it does require a bit of learning curve to get consistent powder charges sort of rhythm thing) standard with progressive presses, but the RCBS Uniflow is nice! Redding makes a better one, and Harrell is the gold standard!

Hammer Type Bullet Puller (for taking down the boo boo's)

Ammo boxes and labels

A notebook for recording your results! Saves covering the same ground twice!

A chronograph is great when working up loads, but is more a luxury in the beginning.

April 27, 2008, 11:40 AM
I load 45ACP and rifle 223, 308, 30-06, 303 Brit, 7.62x54R, 8x57mm calibers with my Lee Classic 4 Hole Turret press. Going between calibers couldn't be cheaper or easier! Classic 4 Hole is a TANK!

1. Lee Classic 4 hole Turret - Auto indexing! Bought the "Kit" from Cabelas for $149 with Auto Prime system and Pro Disc Powder measure...added the Perfect powder measure for rifle calibers.

2. Brass Tumbler Kit - Mine is the Cabelas most any will work.

3. digital calipers - from Harbor Freight on sale for $15!

4. Digital Scale & beam scale for backup - kit came with the Lee Safety beam scale

5. Carbide dies for pistol

6. RCBS case lube kit

7. Lyman flash hole uniformer / primer pocket tool

8. Lee Case Trimmers (used handheld power drill for fast EASY trimming! )

9. Hornandy Cam Lok bullet puller and collets

10 Extra turrets for multiple calibers

April 27, 2008, 03:12 PM
HOrnady lock and load press is really nice + you get 1000 free bullets right now. super easy to set up, incredibly easy to change calibers and really good customer support. there are tons of videos on youtube showing how to set it up and how to change calibers etc. you have to polish the 9mm shell plate to get it to eject properly but I polish all parts of the press so it was not that big a deal (inside the powder hopper, inside the resizing dies, etc.)

i bought lee dies and redding competition bullet seaters for the 223 and 308, but you also get free bullets with the hornady dies right now so that drops the price of them in about half.

The lock and load is very comparable to the dillon 650, but is much less than half the price when you factor in 1000 free 45 bullets. + its much easier to change calibers.

hand primer is handy, case tumbler, scale (digital or beam or both) case prep tools, i think i spent about 1200 bucks (not including offset in price form the free bullets) on a setup to reload 223, 308, 9mm, 45, and 7.62x39.

buy your first batch of cases processed and buy them in bulk. you can eliminate a lot of tools that way or at least make it so you can wait on purchasing them. you ccan get trimmed, sized, and reamed cases for about 15$ more per thousand than plain old once fired. it will save you hours of time and hundreds in equipment costs.

everyone has covered most of the other stuff that you will need i think



I have found the manuals to be a bit of an extravagant purchase, most powder and bullet manufacturers have all the data that you need for free on the websites + its current and the most accurate that you can get (I got a bunch of stickers with my hornady manual that fixed misprints or incorrect data). I think the hundred bucks i spent on loading manuals was somewhat of a waste of money. + I really dont need the load data for every conceivable cartridge known to man when I am reloading 5 calibers. As long as you get the powder manufacturer, bullet manufacturer and any others that you can get your hands on and cross check all the sources to make sure they are the same or very close with the load that you are building then you will be fine. Also start at the bottom and work up so you dont blow up your gun. get the "ABCs of reloading" for the instructions on how to do the entire process

thats a great site for powder, bullets, brass and loading data

April 27, 2008, 03:30 PM
It just blows my mind when people make press recommendations. without knowing anything about your shooting habbits.

Please list the numbers per week/month/or year that shoot in each of the cartridges you list.

Nothing can be worse IMHO than a novice who only shoots minimal numbers of cartridges to start on a progressive he doesn't need nor can afford. But you also must "BEWARE THE DISEASE!" , because when you start reloading, those shooting numbers will undoubtably increase!!!!!!!!

April 27, 2008, 04:04 PM
Thanks for all the info guys, it is very helpful.

I usually shoot a couple of times each month at local ranges both indoor for pistol and outdoor for rifle and pistol. The outdoor range has rifle paper targets to 300yds and steel targets to 600yds. So far just target shooting but i am thinking of starting IDPA also.

When I am shooting my .308, it is usually only about 50 rounds each time and I am trying for accuracy. .223 is just for fun and is usually about 150 or so each outing. Pistols can be up to a couple of hundred each time.

Again, I am not looking for speed, just accuracy and something to do in my spare time.

April 27, 2008, 04:10 PM
I don't want to fight here but don't start the f'ing finger pointing.
I'm here for a good time, not to sit here and get called out. Show some class and respect

Looks to me like you *are* trying to start a fight and blame it on the other guy.

April 27, 2008, 04:14 PM
Steverjo, Do you go to Angeles shooting range? If you do, where do you live, if you live near Long Beach, PM me. We can talk more and possibly, you might be able to come and check out some tools at my bench.

April 27, 2008, 04:29 PM
Although you didn't mention your pistol numbers, your statements to get into competitive shooting says “volumes to load” if you do. At your current shooting levels, a Lee Classic Turret would do very well for you, but if you wish to shoot competitively, perhaps you should begin with a progressive. Read
How I spent my winter---
is an excellent and unbiased article.

I prefer the Hornady LNL AP over my 550 because of a great number of reasons. A friend owns a 650, and we trade off sessions on all three machines. We have done run-out checks on ammo produced by all the machines The LNL AP is by far the most accurate, and I have slowly come to use it over my single stage presses for loading rifle ammo.

Good Luck, and Good Shooting!

April 27, 2008, 04:35 PM
As an additional thought, Hornady has the 1000 free bullet offer if you buy the LNL AP. This brengs the price of the machine to under $100. Have been considering getting a second LNL at that price!!!!!

April 27, 2008, 05:35 PM
As you get into reloading you'll also find the catalogs are full of stuff that is absolutely worthless or that you can make yourself with a little creative thinking.

April 27, 2008, 05:45 PM
steverjo a good iece of equipment to buy or make is a Stuc Case Extractor. Eventually we all stick a case and you will need to remove it. Rather than have to wit for the order to arrive, or hunt thru the shops that do not have one, get a Stuc Case Remover early on.

April 27, 2008, 08:35 PM

The Lee Classic Turret is one of the most recommended presses on the forum. The specific items mentioned are geared towards those with a limited budget. They may not be the cheapest choices, but they are not the most expensive and represent an excellent value. All of the items described should be available from, but they are not the sole vendor and it would be very wise to shop around. FWIW, I purchased my Lee Classic Turret from

Stuff you Need for pistol:

-Reloading Manual (Modern Reloading, by Richard Lee)
READ THIS FIRST. Read it before you open all of the other boxes. In fact, you might want to purchase it before you get everything else. The first part of the book deals with the mechanics of reloading. After reading it, if reloading doesn't sound good to you, send your stuff back. This manual also has a vast amount of load data in it. As a beginning reloader, you should follow the load data as gospel. A reloading manual is an important safety item. Speer, Lyman, and Hornady also publish excellent manuals, but I included the Lee manual here since it focuses a lot on Lee equipment and will make things a little easier for a novice.

-A sturdy reloading bench
A heavy work bench is ideal, but a portable "Work Mate" bench can be used if space is tight. If possible, bolt the press to table and bolt the table to the floor.

-Lee Classic Turret Press (4-hole)
The focal point of your reloading setup. This is an auto-indexing press meaning that the turret head will turn with each stroke, bringing a different die in line with the ram. On older single stage presses, you only had one die in the press at once, requiring you to readjust the die every time you placed it into the press. In my hands, I can turn out approximately 175 pistol rounds per hour with the Classic Turret.

-Scale (Frankford Arsenal Micro Electronic or RCBS 505 Beam)
You absolutely, positively NEED to measure the charges thrown by your powder measure, regardless of the brand you choose. Over- and under-loaded cartridges both pose serious safety risks to your gun, your face, your hand, and your life. Reloading is not cooking: eyeballing it is not enough. 1/7000th or 2/7000ths of a pound can be the difference between a safe and unsafe load.

-Calipers (Frankford Arsenal Digital)
Much like your scale, calipers are the next step in the safety equation. The OAL (OverAll Length) or COL (Case Overall Length) is important because it influences pressure (i.e., safety) as well as reliable feeding in your firearm.

-Check weights (RCBS Standard Scale Check Weights)
Your scale is useless if it's not accurate. Do not use a bullet, as these can vary in weight from one to the other.

-Lee Pro Auto Disk Powder Measure
This is how you dispense powder into, or charge, cases. It works in conjunction with a powder-through die, and dispenses powder as the case is raised into the die. The pistol die (included in the Lee 4-die set) also flares the case mouth for bullet seating. The measure uses a series of disks with small holes in it to measure powder.

-Lee 4-die set in caliber of your choice
Includes your sizing/decapping die, powder-through/expanding die, seating die, and factory crimp die. A *very light* coat of CLP or similar product on the exterior surfaces of the die will keep it from rusting.

-Lee Large & Small Safety Prime set
This device allows you to prime your cases on the press. It's cheaper to buy the large and small at the same time than to get them separately. They accommodate large and small primers, both pistol and rifle, standard and magnum.

-Lee Auto Disk Powder Measure Riser
This is necessary if you are using the Safety Prime and the Auto Disk Powder measure. This is nothing more than a tube that raises the height of the Auto Disk so it does not hit the Safety Prime while you operate the press.

-Safety Glasses (shooting glasses work fine)
In the unlikely event you pop a primer while reloading, safety glasses will minimize the chance of getting debris in your eyes.

Highly Recommended

-Tumbler and Media Separator (Frankford Arsenal)
This device will clean your brass. Clean brass can prolong the life of your dies and can feed more reliably in your firearm. Plus, shiny brass looks nice!

-Post-it notes and a pencil
Label your loads! At the very least, put the date, caliber, powder type and charge, bullet type and weight, case headstamp, and OAL. Primer type is also important if you use multiple brands and types. This step is especially important if are making +P loads, hot loads, or using brass from one caliber to form another.

Nice to Have

-Plastic Ammo Boxes
The cardboard and Styrofoam boxes from factory ammo wear out. For a $1 or $2 each, these make a handy addition for separating and storing loaded ammo.

-Miscellaneous jars and containers
You have to store brass and bullets somehow, right?

-Bullet puller (RCBS)
Everyone makes mistakes, especially in the beginning. A bullet puller is an "eraser" and will save you money so you don't have to discard perfectly good powder, cases, primers, and bullets just because you didn't charge or seat correctly.

By now you're thinking, that's great, but what about rifle? Well, here's the additional stuff you'll need/want for rifle.

Additional stuff you need for rifle:

-Lee 3-Die rifle set
Includes the full-length sizer/decapper, seating die, and factory crimp die.

-Lee Rifle charging powder die
This is not caliber specific. It enables you to charge using the auto disk powder measure. This die does not flare the case mouth.

-Lee double disk kit
This doubles the powder-throwing capability of your Auto Disk. You will need this to charge most rifle cases. Depending on powder type, you can throw about 40-50 grains of powder with the largest Auto Disk settings.

-Case lubricant (Imperial Sizing Wax)
You need case lube for sizing any and all bottleneck cases. Failure to use case lube (or not enough of it) will result in cases becoming stuck in your sizing die. I recommend Imperial Sizing Wax due to its low cost and ease of use. It feels like Chap Stick on your fingers and comes off with a simple rag or paper towel. Other options include lube pads and aerosol lubes.

-Lee Zip Trim
This acts like a lathe, spinning the case so you can trim them.

-Lee Case Length Gauge (caliber specific)
Determines the trim-to length of your cases and attaches to a Lee trimmer/cutter. Cases will generally need to be trimmed after a while due to case expansion during firing and sizing. Failing to trim cases can result in failures to chamber.

-Lee Case Trimmer
Attaches to your case length gauge and actually cuts the mouth of the case to length.

-Chamfer/Deburr Tool (RCBS Chamfer and Deburring Tool)
This is used after trimming to chamfer and deburr the case mouth. Can also be used to remove a primer crimp.

***If possible, use a Possum Hollow Kwick Case Trimmer. They only offer a few calibers, but they are highly recommended over the Lee Zip Trim.

Highly Recommended

-Lee Primer Pocket Cleaner
Clean primer pockets enable more consistent and reliable seating of primers.

-Stuck Case Remover (Hornady)
If you get a case stuck in your sizing die, this will help you get it out. It's not much more than a drill bit, tap, and screw set, but can be very useful.

Visit for videos on how to set up and use the press.

April 27, 2008, 09:17 PM
thanks for all the info guys. I have a good place in the garage where i can build a sturdy bench that is about 11 or 12 feet long.

What do you recommend for the height of the bench? i guess it depends on the chair or stool used.

April 27, 2008, 09:20 PM
I am not interested in doing it as fast as i can, speed is not necessary... Also, where is the best place to buy this equipment, and is it ok to buy used?

The most important thing is a comprehensive reloading manual. (I started out with Lyman's 48th) Read it cover-to-cover, paying special attention to the chapters that are *not* full of reloading data.

I don't think you can go wrong with anything made by RCBS.

Lee carbide pistol die sets are great, and they are a lot cheaper than other brands. There is little sense in buying them used because you can get new ones for about the same price.

There are used presses and beam-balance scales and powder measures for sale on eBay, and you can get good deals on older models. The thing to watch out for with older presses is to make sure they take standard dies (most do) and shell holders (many take obsolete shell holders.)

The best deal right now is the Hornady "Lock-n-Load" Auto Progressive press, because of the free bullets rebate. It is comparable to a Dillon 650; I'm not going to speculate which is a better press. But I think a single stage or turret press is a better place to start. If you get a turret press, make sure it is very sturdy or you won't be happy with it for rifle cartridges. The Lee Classic Cast turret press and the Redding T7 have good reputations. Progressives take a lot more set-up to get them running smooth, and it's harder and/or more expensive to switch them over from one cartridge to another. You can buy a progressive press later if you need it for high-volume work. I have one, but I like loading on my old C&H "Magnum" press better. I use both quite a bit. I recently bought a used C&H "C" press, and it works well enough, but I've been spoiled by using the old Magnum press.

I bought an electronic digital calipers from Harbor Freight Tools, not expecting much because it was so cheap, and it works great. I've checked it against a Starrett calipers at several settings and it's always dead on.

You can use a nickel for a check weight. They weight *exactly* 5 grams, which is 77.16 grains.

Paul "Fitz" Jones
April 27, 2008, 11:14 PM
The disagreements have no place on this site with many helpful members who go to some effort to be helpful.

Paul "Fitz" Jones

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