Are you one of those people that like to save some money on ridiculously expensive ammunition by doing reloads yourself? If you are, then in order to get the most out of the reloading process you need to make sure its done right. That means there are certain tools that you should have in your inventory that are critical to making any reloading process go smoothly.
Check out the following list of what I feel is essential reloading products and compare it to the tools you currently use to do your reloads with:
1. Reloading Handbook
Many novice reloaders often assume that the most important piece of equipment when it comes to doing their reloads is the type of reloading press that they use. While this thinking is not totally wrong, I believe that having a detailed handbook from a proven reloading authority is the most important piece of reloading equipment you can own.
Remember, any of the reloading tools you own will only be effective if your knowledge of how to use them is maximized. That is exactly what a good reloading handbook will provide you with. A good reloading book will feature accurate recipes for loading different caliber shells and bullets, talk about different powder qualities and explain how to properly cast bullets. Most importantly a good reloading guide will have many super-important reloading safety tips.
2. Reloading Dies
There are several important pieces of equipment, but few are more critical than the reloading dies you will use in the process. Reloading dies are used to do such important reloading functions as de-capping, resizing, and expanding a cartridge. They also are used to seat a bullet in the cartridge properly.
You will need a set of dies for each caliber bullet you are trying to reload. Each caliber will usually come in a set of 2 or 3 dies which have different functions in the reloading process.
3. Reloading press
Now we get to the heart and soul of any reloading process. That is a tool known as a reloading press. Why is a reloading press important? It’s because it holds the dies in place that are the key to doing your reloads with. You might say it helps facilitate making the entire reloading process go smoothly.
There are three different types of reloading presses and the more they do, the more expensive they are. The best reloading press will make any reloading task go incredibly fast and smooth.
Here are the three different types of reloading presses:
Single Stage Press:
This is a highly recommended way to go for anyone that is new to the art of reloading bullets and shells. They are by far the easiest type of reloading press to set up and work. It is the type of reloading press that works the slowest, so it’s best for making small batches of ammunition.
These types of presses can only use a single die at a time, and there is a lot of handwork involved when it comes to placing empty cartridges and shells into their reloading position.
Do you want to make over 150 rounds of ammunition in less than an hour? Then you will need to upgrade to a turret style reloading press to make that happen. These types of reloading presses are faster because they automate several of the steps in the reloading process. You can also have more than one die installed in them at a time.
The turrets on them can usually be quickly changed too. So when you want to reload a different caliber bullet, you simply switch out the turret and start reloading again.
If you like to shoot off hundreds of rounds of ammunition or more in a single target practice session, then you will need a progressive reloading press. With practice, these types of presses can crank out some 500 rounds of ammunition in just an hour.
These take more time to set up than the other types of presses and require more maintenance too. The thing is, once you get a progressive reloading press set up they super-automate the reloading process and make it very simple.
The importance of checking out some reloading press reviews before you make your final purchase cannot be emphasized enough.
*** Note: If your reloading press does not come with a priming tool (most do) you will need to purchase one separately. ***
The name says it all about this tool. They have one function and one function only, and that is to hold the shell in place while you are reloading it. You can buy them individually for each caliber of cartridge you will reload, or they make universal shell holders too.
5. Powder Scale
When you are reloading ammunition one of the most critical steps in the process is measuring gunpowder correctly. That is why owning some kind of powder scale is necessary in the reloading process.
6. Powder trickler
Your powder measurement is critical as we just mentioned but it’s hard to get the exact right amount of powder into a cartridge. A powder trickler is used to add a few grains of gunpowder at a time to the end of the powder filling process. This helps to get the precise amount of powder into each shell.
From time to time during any reloading process, you will need to do some precision measuring to make sure everything is being done correctly. That is where owning a good pair of calipers comes into play. This is a precision measuring device that can be used to measure the thickness of a cartridge or the distance between the inner surfaces of it.
Sooner You Start Reloading Your Own Ammunition the Sooner You Start Saving
Without a doubt, you should have all of these tools at your disposal when you are assembling your reloading setup. The reloading setup you have is so important when it comes to making ammunition that is safe and works the way you intended it to do.
It’s true that there will certainly be a decent initial expense involved when you first put together your reloading station. If you shoot often enough the money that you save by making your own ammunition will pay for your reloading setup several times over in just a short period. With the best reloading press and setup, you will also be making bunches of bullets and shells in no time at all with a very minimal effort.