What do I need to buy to get started in Reloading?
Reloading your own ammunition is a skill that can save money and allow for greater customization of your ammunition. It's a hobby that requires an attention to detail and understanding of safety considerations. Here's a basic list of equipment you'll need to get started with reloading:
- Reloading Manual: The first thing you should buy is a good reloading manual. This will provide you with critical information about safe load combinations, how much powder to use, the right kind of primers, etc. Some popular options are from Lyman, Hornady, and Lee Precision.
- Reloading Press: The press is the centerpiece of your reloading setup. There are single stage presses, turret presses, and progressive presses. Beginners often start with a single stage press because they are more affordable and simpler to use.
- Dies: Dies are caliber-specific pieces of equipment that fit into your press and perform the operations necessary to reload the ammunition: depriming/resizing the case, expanding the case mouth, seating the bullet, and applying a crimp.
- Shell Holders: These are used to hold the brass in place while it's being processed in the press. They are also specific to the caliber of ammunition you are reloading.
- Powder Measure: This is used to accurately measure the gunpowder for each cartridge.
- Scale: A good reloading scale is essential to make sure you're using the right amount of powder. It can be a traditional balance beam type, or an electronic scale.
- Calipers: These are used to measure the overall length of the finished cartridge to ensure it meets specifications.
- Priming Tool: Some reloading presses have a built-in priming feature, but others may require a separate hand-priming tool.
- Case Trimmer: Cases stretch every time they are fired and need to be trimmed back to the correct length.
- Case Tumbler/Cleaner: This is used to clean the spent brass before reloading.
- Reloading Trays: These hold the cartridges upright and in order during the reloading process.
- Case Lube: This is necessary to lubricate cases for resizing and to prevent them from getting stuck in the die.
Once you have these basic tools, you will need the consumable components to get started in reloading:
- Brass Cases: You can collect your own spent brass, or purchase once-fired brass or new brass.
- Primers: These come in different sizes (large and small) and types (rifle and pistol).
- Powder: The specific type of powder you'll need will depend on the caliber you're reloading and the load data you're following.
- Bullets: These are also caliber-specific.
- Case Cleaner Media (optional): This is used with the tumbler to clean the brass.
One consideration for you if you get started in reloading is that you'll likely be constantly finding new things to buy and add to your reloading practice. There is a very real risk that any savings you could get from reloading can be compromised by buying more stuff. We feel the reward of satisfaction and zen of reloading far outweighs the spend. Your mileage may vary!
It's worth mentioning that safety is the most important consideration when get started in reloading. Always follow the load data in your manual exactly, never exceed the listed maximums, and if you're unsure about anything, seek advice from an experienced reloader. Additionally, make sure to work in a well-ventilated area and keep your workspace clean and organized. It's also a good idea to invest in safety gear, like safety glasses and a fire extinguisher.
If you want to get started in reloading, you should consider join a forum where you can ask questions and learn from others who reload. You can find good forum for that here.
If you know of any forums or sites that should be referenced on this listing, please let us know here.