the 9 millionth "I want to get into reloading. what press?" thread


March 3, 2010, 02:12 PM
I realize that this is kinda like the "what pistol should I get" thread... but please bear with me. I really have almost zero knowledge on reloading presses.

Okay fellers. I think I'm finally ready to bite the bullet and admit I need to reload.

Trouble is, I'm cheap. I've been told I need a Dillon 550 by several people.

However, having never reloaded before, I'm not sure a complicated (and expensive) progressive is the right choice for a noob.

So what do you all think of this one?

Basically I'm looking for someone to tell me exactly what I need to start. I'm not really concerned with speed at this point, but with safety.

I have primers, bullets, and once-fired brass. I have a sizer/luber and a lead furnace and bullet molds even. (I inherited a bunch of stuff). I have 20 lbs of rifle powder. But no press or dies or tumbler/vibratory cleaner or case trimmer or manuals or whatever else I need.

So what is absolutely essential to have? I want to get it all in one order to save on shipping.

Probably the first thing I'd start reloading would be .45 ACP and/or .38 special. But I'd also like to do .308, .30-06, .270, .380, .40, 9mm, and .223 eventually.

I appreciate your patience and advice.

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March 3, 2010, 02:32 PM
From what I can see of that kit, it appears to be good start on what you'd be using to get to loading.

I wouldn't worry about a case cleaner just yet, at least while you're starting out with pistol calibers. It just adds a couple more steps and extra complication. That being said, the cleaned brass does look nice when it's been loaded!

There were a couple of gripes way down the list of reviews on Midway, regarding some aluminum parts in that press, but when you're buying at that price point, and Lee, you can expect some corners to be cut.

Depending on how long you think you'd be using the single stage press, or what you visualize using it for in the future (case forming to other calibers?) you might consider it's strength, and possibly spend a bit more on a heavier built press.

Personally, I started with a RCBS Rockchucker that I picked up used for $75 and bought the basic tooling to use with it.
I've added a progressive press to my bench, but the single stage won't be going anywhere, it's too useful for everything that the progressive doesn't work well for!

March 3, 2010, 02:32 PM
That'll work, especially if you are "cheap" as you say. That is the "breech lock" version of the standard threaded press. It uses bushings along the line of the LNL bushings.

In addition to what you get with that set up.

You will want a case trimmer for rifle calibers for sure. I would recommend the Forster for overall performance.

A pair of dial calipers.

A tumbler is very nice to have.

Die set for whatever caliber and a shell holder. (Lee dies come with a shell holder)

After that there are a dozen goodies that are nice to have.

March 3, 2010, 02:40 PM
That's the kit I started with. I went to a Handpress later (so I could load in my barracks room discreetly) and kept that. I have added a loading block (can be made if you want), a Lyman's case care kit, a hand trimmer (cheap at a gun show) and made some different measuring tools. Add a set of calipers to your list.
Here is a response from a similar ?

March 3, 2010, 02:58 PM
The sticky at the top of the Reloading forum ( well addresses every question you have. I started on a Lee Classic Cast (, and later moved on to a Rockchucker single stage and a Dillon 450.

Here's the route I'd go: Lee Anniversary Reloading Kit (
Good luck!

March 3, 2010, 03:08 PM
I use a Dillon 650 but am a bit of a specialist churning out umpteen thousands, but only of .45 ACP

What struck me about your expected needs is the number of calibers! Nine or Ten?

I would look for a press that changes calibers easily and that all those caliber set-ups are also relatively inexpensive.

March 3, 2010, 03:11 PM
1KPerDay- If you're reloading like your sign on name indicated, you'll need a progressive! :)

I'd second what the guys have said about the turret, that could be a great way to get started. A Single Stage would be painful for pistol unless you have a LOT of time and patience on your hands. I would also look at progressives (a challenge on your budget :) )

I wrote a series of articles for the beginning reloader- start here:

Here's the article list you'll find there:
Reloading 101
Benefits of reloading
Gunpowder Basics
Handgun Reloading 101
Pistol Bullet Basics
Pistol Primers
Pistol Cartridge Basics
Pistol Reloading Basics
Getting Started
Before selecting a press
Types of presses
Choosing a press
What you need to load pistol

Rifle 101 is next.

You'll also find a ton of free HD videos showing single stage, turret, and progressive presses in action for both pistol and rifle. A virtual "try before you buy" if you will.


March 3, 2010, 03:33 PM
Here is a link I found. I will be looking into this when I start reloading.

After Talking with some people and finding out my brother in law had a rock chucker I have decide to go that rout. I have heard that the Lee stuff has a tendancy to break but that the customer service is really good and they are quick to send replacement parts

March 3, 2010, 03:47 PM
I started loading on a progressive, and haven't regretted it.


March 3, 2010, 04:08 PM
The Lee Classic turret is an excellent buy. It can also be used as a single stage until you are sure of what you are doing. A beginner could learn to use the press easily. I've reloaded for 20 years and have had many presses including the Dillon XL650 and for the money this press is easily the best deal. Now that I'm married I don't shoot like I did when I was single and with the Classic Turret I can crank out 150-200 rounds an hour. On a single stage for 3 boxes or 250 rounds it will take 2.5-3 hours.

March 3, 2010, 04:18 PM
Reloading is an addiction, but from what I can read (and I am often blind) you haven't said what your budget is. For the price of a Dillon 550, you can get a Hornady LocknLoad and have $$$ left over for your calipers, tumbler, etc.

If it were me (and I have .45ACP, 9mm, 40 S&W, .41 MAG, .38, and .357) that I will load for; I would get discouraged after single stage loading 100 rounds and have it take a few hours to do it. I would have no problem single staging for my 30-06 because that is precision and that is what it is intended for.

If money is a particular issue, I would +1 the Lee Classic Turret. Capavility of still cranking out a hundred rounds or more an hour and cost efficient (didn't use the word cheap) :)

I have also picked up A LOT of great info from the Ultimate Reloader site previously mentioned. Even some info which makes me wish I had some different equipment :)

Good luck with your endeavors and happy plinking.

March 3, 2010, 04:53 PM
So what do you all think of this one?

Basically I'm looking for someone to tell me exactly what I need to start. I'm not really concerned with speed at this point, but with safety.

I'd get this one instead, it gives you the option of not priming on the press:

March 3, 2010, 05:18 PM
Thanks for the input guys. Lots to think about.

March 3, 2010, 05:20 PM
If you want a single stage the lee kit will work just fine. I would recommend getting a better scale. like the dillon for 55 bucks or so. Believe it or not the dillon scale is basically the best your going to do for around 50 bucks and it is the foundation for your loads.

Or if you want to triple production the lee classic turret would be an awsome choice.

and caliber conversions are cheap cheap cheap. So you can load all of your calibers . YOu can also use it as a single stage if you wish.

March 3, 2010, 05:21 PM
At 1KPerDay, I'd get a 1050. :neener:

March 3, 2010, 05:22 PM
Did I miss where you have a scale and inertia bullet puller?

March 3, 2010, 08:54 PM
+1 Lee Precison Classic Turret - Kempf's Kit good deal. As always, I would recommend reading reviews for any piece of equipment you are considering on Midway USA and Cabelas even if myou buy from another source. You will quickly see if the equipment in question is worth buying by reading reviews/comments from actual owners and you will see that the Classic Turret is worth every penny. You will never regret getting one. All brands are good and work. Read the reviews.

March 4, 2010, 12:08 AM
If you can, I recommend you try using some reloading presses. Ask around, and see if you can find reloaders - most will gladly help you out and let you try out the press. (I would because the feel is different press to press)

I would recommend those new to reloading start out on a single stage. If you plan on reloading anything larger than 223, Lee Pro 1000 is out. You can reload both pistol and rifle on single stage though.

Take it slow and don't rush into it. You can keep an eye on craigslist or classified and buy a used press/setup for cheap too.

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