Equipment required to start reloading…
First will be a press. There are many on the market, you can have a single stage or a progressive press. I sell Lee products because this is what I use personally, they are great value for money and they do the job.
A Single stage is a press where you do each step individually, great to learn on.
A progressive is a press where 3 or more functions happen at the same time. These are great for speed but can be overwhelming to learn on.
I started with a Turret press from Lee. This is a semi progressive press; you do one cartridge from beginning to end. They are great to learn on and will give you ok speed. I use mine now for load development and plan to use it for rifle loads.
For pistol I now use a Lee Pro1000, this is a progressive press and is great for volume. I can run 500 rounds an hour.
You will also require the correct dies to reload, some presses come with dies, most you will have to buy separate. I use Lee dies and they work great.
You will need a powder dispenser of some sort, plenty out there but for pistol reloading the Lee Auto Disk system works great. This dispenses a charge using a volume. Most Lee presses will have this included.
You will need a sturdy bench to mount the press and a nice work space.
You need a weighing system. You can either have a beam scale or an electronic unit. You need to double check your weights until you are confident they are correct. Eyeball each load to ensure there is powder in the case. You do not want a squib ever!
You need a Vernier to determine your COL – Cartridge Overall Length – this is important as you need to check if the cartridge will feed and to ensure you do not set the bullet to deep. This will cause a pressure spike. You don’t want this.
You need a way to clean your brass, sonic cleaner or a tumbler. I use a sonic cleaner and a tumbler. When I get back from the range I run the dirty brass through the tumbler. I then deprime and give them a run through the sonic. I then let them dry for at least 24 hours. You do not want to load a wet casing, squib loads can happen …
Modern pistol dies are made of Carbide so do not require any lube but I do lube every now and again, it just helps smooth things, especially on the resizing die.
Another good tool to have is a kinetic hammer, when starting you will stuff up a few rounds. The hammer allows you to pull the bullets from the casing.
Another great tool is a Chronograph, you need to test your loads and a Chrony will show you your velocity and will show you possible pressure spikes. You can always find a friendly reloader with one to borrow or go with to use.
When you now have the tools required you can start with load development. First setting up the press and dies to the required settings. Read the manual and follow the instructions. Choose your powder, bullet weight, primers. Work out your COL, crimp required and charge weight and start reloading!
Be careful and enjoy!
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