Reloading should be fun, easy and efficient. After all, making your own ammo is supposed to be a hobby, which means you don’t want to short change yourself on gear. We went looking for four must have items for any hand loader, and we found lots. But the list is for four, so we narrowed it down. These belong on any list of essential reloading equipment. See if you agree.
Lee Turret Press Kit
- LEE PRECISION Classic Turret Press Kit
- Price: $335.99
- Price as of 05/07/2021 21:46 PDT(more info about ad)
Unless you are a very low-volume reloader, at some point you’ll want to get a turret press. There are a great many of these marvelous time savers on the market, and they all have various pros and cons. However, it’s pretty hard to go wrong buying Lee equipment, and while you are at it, you can get a complete kit (see full specs) with almost everything you need to start loading for less than the price of some other company’s turret presses alone. Shipping with a powder measure, load guide, scale, press and more, you can upgrade your clunky old single stage press, and move up to a high speed turret press for a nominal investment.
The ABC’s of Reloading
- The ABCs of Reloading: The Definitive Guide for Novice to Expert
- Price: $27.99
- Price as of 05/08/2021 09:30 PDT(more info about ad)
Not just any book but a literal bible on reloading. Suitable for anyone even remotely interested in reloading, yet full of valuable information for the seasoned reloader. Not only does it include special articles on reloading, it gives valuable information on powder, primers, cases, powder and bullets, so that you can understand exactly how the entire system of a loaded cartridge works together.
Learn how to safely assemble a reloaded round, and gain a valuable source of reference material you will consult for years and decades to come. If you have to have one book aside from load data manuals on your reloading bench, The ABC’s of Reloading is the one to have!
Hornady Case Lock Trimmer
- Hornady Cam Lock Trimmer 050140, Red
- Price: $106.41
- Price as of 05/08/2021 08:39 PDT(more info about ad)
No reloader should be without a case trimmer, and one of the best is Hornady’s new improved case trimmer. Capable of being bolted down to your workbench and built extra tall for easier use, this is one of the simplest and fastest ways to trim cases to length. It uses any standard Hornady shell holder and ships with the seven most popular trimming pilots. You’ll find this is a must-have product for your bench. If you don’t have one already, now is a great time to remedy that situation. It’s should be among anyone’s essential reloading equipment.
Frankford Arsenal Impact Bullet Puller
- Frankford Arsenal Quick-N-EZ Impact Bullet Puller for Reloading Blue, Medium
- Price: $20.05
- Price as of 05/08/2021 09:14 PDT(more info about ad)
We all make mistakes or maybe we just made a good load that our gun doesn’t like. Or maybe you got a batch of mystery ammo at a gun show and want to tear it apart to reuse the case and bullets. There are plenty of reasons from the embarrassing to the practical that you’ll need to take apart loaded ammo, and when that happens, you’ll need a bullet puller. Impact bullet pullers like the one from Frankford Arsenal are inexpensive and easy to use. Bottom line: if you need to sometimes tear down ammo, this is just the ticket.
Essential Reloading Equipment – Why Are the above Items Most Essential?
A well stocked reloading bench varies depending on what you do and how often you do it. Some people are happy with an old-fashioned Lee Loader, a mallet, and precious little else. Others build grand and wonderful mini ammo factories that let them crank out hundreds of rounds an hour. Trying to pick four must have reloading items is hard, and there certainly are dozens more to consider.
The most important thing though is matching up your bench with the upgrades and tools you need. Some things should be universal; load data books and manuals are a must have, as are case trimmers. Nobody loves a too-long case, after all. Certainly too, I think a turret press of any sort is a must have. Even if you are a low volume loader, it’s nice to have a turret press, rather than go through all the steps, change dies, do the next step, change dies again, etc. And certainly there are any number of tools which might be useful; bullet pullers are just one of them.
However to me, it keeps coming back to books and manuals. You can never really have too much knowledge. There are hundreds of adequate tools already out there that suit every sort of need, but they are all worthless if you don’t know what you are doing. There are a great many reloading manuals on the market (see them here) and I like to keep several around.
Some manuals are powder brand specific, others are bullet brand specific. Some cover only the most common or popular rounds, and some are geared towards other specialized interests. And too, you’ll find plenty that cover everything from common handgun rounds to obscure rifle rounds that probably haven’t seen the light of day for the better part of a century. It’s worthwhile to have several books that ensure you are covered for a little bit of everything. In my opinions, reloading books are number one on the essential reloading equipment list.
Putting together a good reloading bench isn’t hard. Making it your own with carefully selected tools and books is a bit harder, and will be different from person to person. The important thing is that you do in fact make it your own, and you cannot do that until you look at what is available, compare them against your needs and wants, and place them in the context of your own situation. But the best part is you’ll have a lot of fun while doing it! Good luck!
Owner of Reloaderaddict.com, Boyd Smith is a major handgun enthusiast, and although he owns Glocks, he prefers the revolving wheel type. His go-to guns are a Smith & Wesson 642 Performance Center for carry and a Ruger GP100 in the nightstand biometric safe (he has kids). He loads both revolvers with old-school 148-grain Federal Gold Medal .38 wadcutters. It’s OK if you think he’s a wimp. Email him.