You may be a rank beginner in the shooting world or highly skilled as a competition shooter. In either case, you will start considering reloading at some point.
Reloading your ammunition is a great way to save money and have more control over the ammunition you shoot regularly.
Choosing a reloading kit to get started can be a challenge. There are numerous reloading kits on the market. Each kit has its advantages and disadvantages for the novice reloader.
Finding the reloading kit that best fits your needs is the goal of this article.
We will explore the ins and outs of beginning to reload your ammunition, the kits that we recommend, and some things you need to know about reloading in general.
Reloading can be a big asset to those who shoot regularly, whether at the range, during competition, hunting, or just general plinking. I have been reloading for many years. Even during the ammunition shortages, I have enjoyed a steady supply of ammunition. There is a lot of satisfaction from shooting your reloaded ammunition. Join me as we delve into finding the best reloading kit for your new adventure.
Here is the list of the best reloading kits that you can get for a beginner to a professional:
Reloading Kits – Getting Off on the Right Foot
Getting started reloading is not a difficult task.
Most reputable reloader manufacturers make kits for the novice reloader perfectly satisfactory.
There are, however, some things you should know before you step off into buying your first reloading setup. I believe that you should do a little due diligence and gain some valuable knowledge before you make that purchase decision.
Understanding the reloading process, the terminology, and what you need is important when evaluating a reloading kit.
Size and Capacity
How much ammunition do you anticipate reloading?
This is an important consideration.
If you only need to reload a small amount of ammunition, a large high-capacity press doesn’t make much sense. You can probably get by with a simple hand reloader.
Most handloaders are adequate to produce can produce between 25 and 50 completed rounds per hour.
This equates to one or two hours of reloading for every trip to the range for the average shooter.
Most bench reloaders can produce far more ammunition in a given time.
I use a Dillion 550 reloader. With this setup, I can easily produce 100 to 200 rounds of ammunition per hour.
This works well for me since an average trip to the range uses about the same amount of ammunition.
What Kind of Reloading Kit is Best for You?
Reloading kit manufacturers offer diversity in the types of presses that they offer.
You can purchase single-round reloaders that depend on your hand strength to do the entire reloading job.
On the other end of the scale, you can set yourself up with a progressive reloader that will produce a completed round of ammunition with every handle pull.
Some of these progressive systems can produce up to 500 rounds per hour.
Single Stage, Turret, or Progressive Reloading Presses
Basic reloading kits come in three flavors: single-stage reloading presses, turret style presses and progressive reloading presses.
The predominant factor governing which type of reloading press you need is determined by the amount of ammunition you intend to reload.
Looking at these three options for reloading will give you a better understanding of the selection process.
Single Stage Presses
Single-stage presses, whether handheld or bench mounted, perform on reloading function with each squeeze of the reloader or pull of the handle.
A typical reloading process includes depriming and resizing the brass, inserting a new primer, dropping the powder charge, and seating the bullet.
Depending on the cartridge, you may also have to perform one more step to crimp the case neck around the bullet.
Turret Style Presses
If you intend to load many rounds of ammunition, the step up to a turret press is recommended.
Turret presses allow you to mount an entire set of dies to the press.
The dies are mounted in the proper succession for the reloading process.
After each pull of the press handle, the turret is manually turned to advance the cartridge case to the next stage in the reloading process. An empty case, ready for reloading, is inserted.
Pull the handle and repeat.
After three or four initial pulls of the handle on the press, a fully loaded and ready-to-shoot cartridge is ejected into the capture bin.
You can easily load 100 to 200 rounds an hour with a properly adjusted turret press.
A turret press is my preferred style of reloading press. I currently run a Dillion 550 press. I feel like it gives me more control over the process. A turret press is more hands-on, which I like when reloading.
Progressive Reloading Presses
A progressive reloading press is probably a good choice if automation is your thing. Progressive presses take much of the hands-on out of the reloading process.
Once the press is set up and adjusted, each pull of the handle on the press automatically advances the turret.
After three of four initial handle strokes, each subsequent pull of the handle puts a ready-to-fire reloaded cartridge in the catch bin.
This automatic progressive action can make reloading fast. Some makes of progressive reloaders claim to produce up to 500 rounds per minute.
This kind of production can certainly shorten your reloading time.
Accessories and Upgrades
I find that many of the reloading kits vary in the included accessories.
You will need some things on your reloading bench that is included with some kits. Some of the items that you may also have to buy separately include:
- Die Kits – Some kits include a single set of dies for a specific caliber. If you only need to reload one of the popular calibers, these kits make a lot of sense. However, if you want to reload various calibers, you will need to purchase additional die sets for each caliber you reload.
- Case Cleaning Equipment – Before you start reloading fired brass, the brass must be clean. There are several methods to accomplish this take. Ultrasonic cleaners, media tumblers, and wet tumblers are commonly used for brass cleaning. You will need to purchase one of these if you intend to reload fired brass.
- Precision Micrometer – If you intend on reloading rifle ammunition, one tool you will need to add to your reloading bench is a precision micrometer. In some cartridges, the case length is critical. Cases tend to stretch as they are shot and resized. You must also seat your bullets to the proper depth.
- Bullet Puller – No matter how careful you are, invariably, you will need to pull a billet from a reloaded cartridge for some reason. A bullet puller is the only way to safely remove the bullet from a loaded cartridge.
- Digital Powder Measure – Most reloading kits include a beam scale that will suffice to do the job. However, as you progress in your reloading adventure, you will want to invest in a digital powder scale
- Powder Trickler – Precision loading for competition or precision long-distance shooting requires precision on your reloading bench. Any degree of consistency will only come with the most precise measurements and methods for reloading your ammunition. A powder trickler, when properly used, can add powder a single grain at a time.
What I Look For in a Reloading Kit
When people ask me about a reloading kit, I typically make three recommendations about any kit they consider.
As I looked at the various options for a beginning reloader, I used the same criteria to judge the kits. There are the three factors I consider about any kit I recommend.
Durability and strength are critical factors in a reloading press. Some cartridges, especially rifle cartridges, can take considerable force to resize fire brass for reloading.
Many entry-level reloading presses are strong enough to withstand these forces over time.
My reloading bench is outfitted with a single-stage press. I use this press to resize rifle and pistol-fired cartridges as well as depriming the spent brass. I started with a well-known single=stage press made of cast aluminum.
As I progressed in calibers, I eventually broke the press while resizing some large caliber once-fired brass.
Strength and durability are key factors in my selections.
Precision and Accuracy
Reloading can be dangerous. If improperly done, the finished product can damage or destroy your firearm. You can be seriously injured if an incident occurs.
The precision and accuracy of your equipment are the keys to producing consistent and safe reloads.
Of particular concern is maintaining the reloading dies’ settings and the power throw mechanism. If your reloading press utilizes an automatic powder measure, the system must be accurate and consistent.
Otherwise, you risk underloading or overloading your cartridges with powder. Either situation can have a devastating result when fired.
Your dies and the die mount on your reloading press must be able to be set accurately and to hold those settings as you work the reloading press.
If the depth of seats begins to drift, you can suffer from short or long reloads. If dies move in the mount, your reloads will be inconsistent and inaccurate.
The machining quality on your press is the key to consistent and accurate reloads. I look for clean machining, the finished work on any cast parts, and the type of material from which the press is constructed.
My preference for my reloading presses is steel or cast iron.
A Good Fit For Your Reloading Needs
I always query anyone asking for advice about reloading equipment. Most of my questions are about the type of reloading the shooter expects to perform.
I do this to help prevent shooters from investing in equipment that won’t fit their needs.
Buying equipment that you don’t need gets expensive quickly.
Before buying anything, you should carefully consider your uses and expectations.
If you are interested in bulk reloading for range or casual shooting, a single-stage press probably won’t meet your needs or expectations.
If you are reloading for precision, a single-stage press allows more accuracy from one cartridge to the next.
The Best Reloading Kits – My List and Why
The available reloading kits are not as numerous as you might think.
The companies that make reloading kits are also the manufacturers of the reloading dies and other accessories. Each company has its ideas of what should be included in a beginning reloading kit.
As I looked at these reloading kits, I have chosen those that meet my criteria and fill a need for different kinds of reloading.
I must also say that this could just as easily be a simple best of reloading kits.
I believe if you are going to buy a reloading kit, beginner or professional, you should invest in the best equipment available. The extra cost will pay for itself in longevity and the quality of your reloads.
Best Overall Single Stage Reloading Kit – RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Master Reloading Kit
RCBS is a well-known name for reloading equipment.
My pick for the best overall reloading kit for a beginner is the RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Master Kit. This reloading kit ticks a lot of checkboxes for me.
Overall I find very few reasons not to invest in this reloading kit for a beginner.
The Supreme Master Reloading kit from RCBS is, in my opinion, one of the most complete and ready-to-use reloading kits available on the market. A single-stage reloading press is a great place to start a reloading hobby.
Using a single-stage press makes you learn all the steps and processes, helping to develop good reloading habits.
What Makes This Press My Choice?
The very first thing that I want to discuss is the Rock Chucker press. The Rock Chucker press is, in my opinion, the best single-stage reloading press on the market.
The quality of the materials, the choice of materials, and the construction are superior. I have the Rock Chucker press on my bench, and it has never failed to perform.
Its primary uses are resizing and depriming spent brass in pistol and rifle calibers.
A Complete Kit
What is included with this reloading kit tells the tale of what sets it apart. Open the box, and you are almost ready to start reloading. You will need powder, primers, and a set of dies.
This kit shines in accessories included making your venture into reloading pleasurable and successful.
What Is Included In the Rock Chucker Supreme Kit
- Rocker Chucker Supreme Press
- .17 – .60 deburring tool
- An accessory handle with two case neck brushes
- An RCBS mechanical scale
- A Uniflow-III powder measure
- A hand priming tool to make priming cases faster and more efficient
- A universal case loading block to help keep your reloading bench organized and efficient
- A set of hex keys to fit the screws and bolts on your press
- A case lube kit
- A powder funnel for easier powder handling
- A hardback copy of the Speer Reloading Manual
There are still things to be purchased before any actual reloading can be accomplished.
However, this is true of any kit. However, you can spend many hours reloading with what is included by RCBS in this reloading kit without buying more than your consumables and a set of dies.
- Moderately priced
- Strong, well built, and reliable.
- Able to reload even the largest rifle cartridges
- Capable of very precise reloads
- Heavy and needs a very sturdy bench
- Single-stage presses can be slow
Don’t neglect the Rock Chucker Single-Stage press by RCBS. A single-stage press can be efficient and effective at an affordable price with little work and skill.
Best Overall Turret Style Reloading Kit – Lyman Brass Smith All-American 8 Reloading Press Kit
- Features the All-American 8 Turret Press, equipped with our brand new straight line Auto Primer...
- The most complete Reloading Kit on the market.
- Includes our new Brass Smith Powder Measure, and our Universal Trimmer with 9 of the most popular...
If your reloading needs to outstrip the capacity of a single-stage reloading press, the next logical step is to a turret-style press. A turret press allows you to mount an entire set of reloading dies on the press.
As you advance the turret, each die is positioned above the next shell casing in the sequence. A pull of the handle and that stage of the cycle is complete.
Once the entire sequence is complete, one ready-to-shoot cartridge goes in the collection bin.
I like Lyman’s entry into the turret press market on several levels.
Lyman’s reputation as a producer of reliable and quality reloading equipment is one of these reasons.
Reputation goes a long way in the shooting industry. Consistently producing reliable and value-based products is the key to success, and Lyman is a very successful business.
What Makes This Kit my Choice for a Turret Press
The Lyman Brass-SMith All American 8 reloading kit is another ready-to-run reloading press kit.
Other than your favorite reloading dies, powder, bullets and primers, this kit has everything and more that you will need to start putting reloads into your range kit.
Lyman builds great equipment and the Brass-Smith All-American 8 kit is, in my opinion, the top choice.
Strength and Durability
The strength built into this turret reloading press is the major factor in my choice to include this kit on my list. The size of this press allows it to handle the largest rifle cases without a problem.
The design puts the dies on the turret over the press, lifted by a meaty handle.
This design is stable and accurate. This is a press that should serve you for a lifetime.
What is Included in the Lyman Brass-Smith All-American 8 Reloading Kit
- A Brass-Smith All American 8 Press
- Brass-Smith Powder measure with stand
- A hardbound copy of the Lyman Reloading Handbook
- Each kit includes a Pocket Touch electronic digital scale
- Powder funnel and dipper for hand throwing individual loads
- This kit includes a universal case trimmer with a multi-pack of pilots. This is usually an accessory that requires an additional purchase with other kits
- A case prep multi-tool for those finishing touches on your trimmed and prepped cases
- Each Lyman kit includes a Magnum Bullet Puller
- For resizing easily, Lyman includes a case lubrication kit
- For precision reloading, the Lyman kit includes a manual powder dribbler
- For quicker and simpler reloading setups, you also get a primer tray.
The Lyman Brass-SMith All-American 8 Reloading Kit is as close to complete as you can get. This kit includes a case trimmer, a powder dribbler, and a primer tray.
Very few other kits include these accessories. When larger quantities of reloads are in your plans, the Lyman Brass-Smith All-America reloading kits should be at or near the top of your list.
Pros and Cons of the Lyman Turret Press Kit
- Well-engineered and sturdy
- Should be mounted on a heavy-duty bench that can take the stresses
- Ergonomically very efficient.
- Capable of consistent reloads without much effort
- The spent primer catch bin may not stay in position while running the press
Best Budget Reloading Kit -Lee Breech Lock Hand Press Kit
- Package quantity: 1
- Country of Origin: United States
- No batteries required
If you are on a budget or just not sure if reloading is something you want to undertake, Lee offers a way to experience reloading without breaking your budget.
If you are only interested in reloading small batches of ammunition, the Lee Breech Lock hand press may be what you are looking for.
This kit is small enough to fit in a backpack yet efficient enough to load a range days worth of shooting in an hour.
The Lee Breech Lock Hand Press kit includes the bare essential of a reloading bench.
You will need to buy a few other essential items.
The Lee Breech Lock Hand Press can be the foundation of your start in reloading and is used by many small-batch reloaders.
Why I Put the Lee Breech Lock Reloader on My List
Not everyone wants to reload 500 rounds of ammunition at a time. Nor is their interest in getting the maximum precision out of their hand loads.
Some causal sports shooters hit the range only once or twice a month and don’t see the need for large investments in reloading equipment.
The Lee Breech Lock Hand Press is an ideal solution for someone who wants to reload small batches of custom loads.
Many survivalists and preppers include a Lee Breech Lock Reloader in their kits. Packed in a dry bag with some primers, powder, and a few basic tools.
Whatever your need, the Lee Breech Lock Reloader is a budget option for many shooters.
What do you Get with the Lee Breech Lock Hand Reloading Press?
- Each kit includes a Lee Breech Lock Hand Press
- For priming chores, the kits include a Ram Primer
- A powder funnel is included to ensure clean and accurate powder delivery
- For resizing with ease, Lee includes a tube of Lee case resizing lubricant
- A lock ring wrench enables quick and easy changes
- You also get one Breech Lock Quick Change Bushing
You won’t be setting any reloading records with the Lee Breech Lock Reloading Press kit.
However, if you want to get your feet wet with reloading or load customs ammunition, this could be the solution you need without breaking your budget on a full-size reloading press.
Pros and Cons of the Lee Breech Lock Hand Press
- Small and lightweight, easy to store.
- Is very precise and can be used to produce custom loads with great accuracy
- Strong enough to reload for years without a problem
- Is limited in the size of cartridges it can handle
- Requires some hand strength to use effectively
Best Progressive Reloading Kit – Dillon Precision ESSENTIALS RL 550C Package
In some ways, progressive reloading presses are like turret presses.
The one big difference in a progressive press is the way shell cases are handled. In a turret press, a single shell casing is held in the press, and the turret is rotated to bring the next die over the case.
A progressive press allows you to mount all the dies in a set on a stationary frame. A rotating case holder moves the cases around the press as each function is performed.
My choice of a progressive reloader is the Dillon Precision RL 500C Kit.
This is no lightweight beginning reloader. This is as near a professional reloader as you can get in a package.
I have a Dillon Precision 550C reloader on my bench.
Since I installed it, it has been my go-to reloading press and has reloaded tens of thousands of cartridges.
What Makes the Dillon 550C My Choice for a Progressive Reloading Kit
Dependability and consistency are the names of the game in reloading. Finding these two factors in a progressive reloading press can be a challenge.
The number of moving parts can make keeping a progressive press aligned and tuned is often an ongoing process. I have pulled the handle on my Dillon 550C thousands of times.
Like any mechanical device, it suffers wear and tear over time and requires its fair share of maintenance.
However, the Dillon 550C will continue to create consistent and reliable reloads with little attention.
Designed for Reliability, Consistency, and Repeatability
When reloading in bulk, the goals are consistency and repeatability. You press and dies must be able to measure powder, feed primers and seat bullets to exacting specification over and over with little or no variation.
Dillon Precision has designed a progressive reloading system that excels at both functions.
Over time, the Dillon Precision 550C has provided me with a level of reloading consistency, surpassing my expectations.
What is Included with the Dillon Precision 550C Kits?
Dillon takes a unique approach to kitting their 550C reloading presses. Rather than a shotgun approach, Dillon Precision allows you the option to customize your reloading kit when you make the order.
Each Dillon Precision 550C kit includes the following items:
- The heart of the Dillon Precision Kit is the RL550C progressive reloading press.
- A D-Terminator digital electronic scale
- A hardbound copy of the Lyman 50th Edition Reloading manual
- Digital calipers to ensure that your cases and reloads meet the length specifications
- To make reloading your Dillon Primer feed tubes easier, Dillon includes a Primer Flip Tray
- A 1-inch bench wrench
- A copy of the Dillon Case Preparation Guide
- Each Dillon RL550C press comes complete with automatic powder measure, an automatic primer system, large and small primer tubes, a low primer alarm, a loaded cartridge catch bin, a set of standard Allen wrenches, a powder die, and an instruction manual.
Dillon also offers a wide range of add-on accessories to enhance your reloading experience.
An upgrade kit includes a roller handle, mounting lift to raise the press from the top of your workbench and a few other accessories.
Some OEM options, including an automatic case feeder and bullet feeder, can be added.
Pros and Cons of the Dillon 550C
- Extremely well-built and finished
- Consistent powder throws, and primer feed make reloading fast and efficient
- Conveniently finished cartridge catch bin
- Easy to set up and run.
- The press needs the optional mounting base to be at a convenient height
Get What You Need to Start
The key element of purchasing a reloading kit is determining what you need and selecting your kit with that in mind. Remember that each type of kit has its advantages and disadvantages.
The bigger and more complex you get with your kit, the harder it may be to learn how to reload successfully.
If you are a beginner, get what you need.
Last update on 2023-09-22