Lists of Equipment Required for Reloading- Bare Bones and Recommended
Last Updated :: 1/22/2012 10:20:46 AM
Lists of Equipment Required for Reloading- Bare Bones and Recommended

by AssaultRifler with Input From the AR15.com Reloading Community
February 2008, updated 2-22-2012

This article contains lists of the reloading equipment needed ranging from the bare bones minimum of a person that wants to start reloading with the minimum investment, to a full up selection of the recommended tools for someone running a progressive press. Depending on the handloader’s need for specialty applications such as serious competitive target shooting, additional tools not listed might be required.

Recommendations for specific brands are pretty well left out to reduce the clutter and present just the tools needed, not who makes them or where to buy them. A manufacturer might be listed when no similar or equivalent tool is available, or a particular maker’s tool is considered to set the benchmark. You’ll see that the tools are organized by task; hopefully that will help new reloaders understand the process.

If you’re inclined, there are several things you make at home – case blocks, lube, dippers, deburring tools, and even a vibratory or rotary tumbler.



Bare Bones Equipment - Single Stage Press

Brass prep:
  • hand primer pocket reamer
Sizing/bullet seating:
  • case lube (rifle only)
  • dies
    • sizer and seater-crimper dies for bottleneck cartridges
    • sizer, expander, and seater-crimper dies for straight wall cases
  • single stage press
  • shell holder
Priming:
  • press mounted priming unit or hand priming tool
Trimming (rifle only):
  • calipers
  • case gage
  • deburring tool
  • Lee or lathe type trimmer
Powder dispensing:
  • powder Measure
  • powder funnel
  • mechanical beam scale
Notes:
  1. Not included in the Bare Bones level: a tumbler, tumbling media, media separator, media polish, loading blocks, bullet puller, or stuck case remover.
  2. The Bare Bones set up assumes the reloader will be cleaning his brass by hand, with soap and water or similar means rather than a tumbler.
  3. Case loading blocks can be made from a piece of wood and drill bit or plastic ammo trays. Or, charge one case at a time with powder then immediately seat the bullet.
  4. A bullet puller is not listed in this is Bare Bones list, toss the bad round or use a pair of pliers and the loading press to pull bullets.
  5. A stuck case remover can be fashioned from tools you might have on hand, i.e., a tap, socket, and bolt.



Recommended Equipment - Single Stage or Turret Press


Brass prep:
  • hand primer pocket cleaner
  • hand primer pocket uniformer
  • primer pocket swager
  • tumbler
  • tumbling media
  • media separator
  • media polish
Press:
  • single stage or turret press
Sizing and bullet seating:
  • case lube (rifle only)
  • dies
  • shell holder
Priming:
  • hand priming tool
Trimming (rifle only):
  • calipers
  • case gage
  • deburring tool
  • powered trimmer
Powder dispensing:
  • loading blocks
  • powder measure
  • powder measure stand
  • powder funnel
  • beam or electronic scale
Screw ups:
  • bullet puller
  • stuck case remover
Notes:
  1. An electronic powder dispenser can be substituted for the powder measure and electronic scale.
  2. A mechanical beam scale can be substituted for an electronic device, but most people find electronic scales easier to use.
  3. A hand cranked lathe type trimmer can be substituted for the powered trimmer, but most people enjoy the speed and lack of fatigue that comes from using a powered trimmer.
  4. A collet type bullet puller can be added, but this type can't pull a bullet that has been set back, hence this is a tool bought in addition to a kinetic bullet puller, not as a substitute.
  5. There’s a fair chance that the average reloader that reaches this stage will have both types of scales and trimmers.



Recommended Equipment - Progressive Press

Brass prep:
  • primer pocket cleaner
  • primer pocket uniformer
  • primer pocket swager
  • tumbler
  • tumbling media
  • media separator
  • media polish
Press:
  • progressive
  • caliber conversion kit with a shell plate and powder funnel or charging die
Sizing and bullet seating:
  • case lube (rifle only)
  • dies
Priming:
  • priming is a feature of the progressive press
  • primer flipper tray
  • extra primer pickup tubes
Trimming (rifle only):
  • calipers
  • case gage
  • deburring tool
  • powered trimmer
Powder dispensing:
  • the measure included with the press (although the measures from other makers can sometimes be substituted)
Scale
  • electronic scale
Screw ups:
  • bullet puller
  • stuck case remover
Notes:
  1. Progressive press users don't need a separate priming tool, powder measure, loading blocks, nor electronic powder dispenser.
  2. Accessories for progressive press are not listed because they're brand specific, e.g. the Strong Nount and bullet trays for the Dillon presses.