I Want to Reload What Do I Need?

Once you have decided that you want to reload there is much to do. Other than reading up on the topic like you are now the next step is to start pricing out and designing your reloading room. Here is a list of the items you will need to begin.

  1. Reloader Manual
  2. Workspace
  3. Reloading Press
  4. Reloading Dies
  5. Caliper
  6. Shell Holder
  7. Powder Measure
  8. Components = Brass, Bullets, Powder, Primers
  9. Case Trimmer
  10. Brass Tumbler

I have tried to list these in order of importance and need. Your mileage may vary so take this as a rough guideline only.

Reloader Manual

This is one of the single most important things to have especially for a beginner. I mention this first as it will be a help in deciding what other tools you buy. There are more great reloading books than I could ever highlight here. One of the best suggestion I have heard is to not buy one right away. Go to your local library and see if they have any available. This will allow you read several and decide what style of writing you prefer.

Amazon has a ton of great manuals at fair prices.

This is one of the books in my collection.

Sale: 28.99


Your workspace is vital to your success. While garages and sheds are great  to get out of your home and remove the danger of powders from your house they offer little protection against inclement weather. With winters in Michigan having days like today at -11 degrees fahrenheit you will want to make sure that any shed or garage be properly insulated and comfortable or you will not want to reload. On the other side very hot humid summers will also limit your time in a shed that gets over 100 degrees.
Basements make great workspaces they often offer tiled, concrete, or laminate floors that are easy to sweep up and clean. They are usually warmer in winter and cooler in summer than an exposed garage or shed. You will usually have access to power and lights.
Spare rooms are also good but beware of carpeted floors. You do not want a spill of powder to get caught up and build up in a rug. If you are using a spare room for your work space consider removing the rug and either installing hardwood or other product that is easy to sweep up. This also comes in handy when you drop a primer. Or if you are klutzy like me a box of them.
In that workspace you will want to make sure you have the following.
  • Sturdy Bench – You will be working at this bench and at times exerting some force on it. You want a stable platform that is level so that items like primers and shells do not start rolling around on.Here is an easy to build inexpensive setup 2x4basics 90164 Workbench and Shelving Storage System
  • Lighting I am a younger guy but staring at little parts for over an hour puts some serious strain on my eyes. Making sure you are working in a properly lit area will make the entire process more enjoyable.
  • Electricity In most cases this is not an absolute need but it does make life easier. Things like your tumbler and scale are likely often electric.
  • Comfortable Stool- This is one of the most often cheeped out on items in the batch. However if you are uncomfortable you will not enjoy reloading. Make sure you get a good quality stool with at least some cushion on it. A shop stool like these that has springs and is made for rugged use would be ideal. Just make sure the height works for the bench you built or bought.

Reloading Press

There is a few major brands for these and like the 9/45, Glock/1911, Glock/S&W or the Polymer/Steel debate everyone has their dog in the race. In addition to Brand you have a wide range in price based on turret vs single stage as well as the many accessories. We could write entire articles on each manufacturer Hornady, Lee, RCBS and Redding and the variances on the different options available from each. To keep things simple we will break this down in more general terms.

Like the AR-15 reloading is available in ready to go out the box or ala carte.  You can buy an entire kit like :

Price: 529.99

Or you can buy just a press like this

Price: 31.99
Either way is up to you. If your new to reloading there is a certain advantage to picking up a ready to go kit. Down the road you can always sell off or upgrade specific items in your setup to match you needs. Just make sure that whatever press you do get matches the calibers you want to reload. Some presses only do handgun or rifle and some will do both. Read carefully and ask your friends if you are unsure. You are always welcome to leave a comment below or message us on Facebook if you are unsure about your choice.
Regardless of kit vs ala carte you have one more important decision related to presses. Single Stage vs Turret.
Single stage will allow you to focus on one action so you will have to do each step of the process for all the brass you have in a single caliber before moving to the next step. Some steps like depriming and resizing are possible in one press of the single stage but overall it is a single step with 1 round being worked on at a time.

Turret style presses will allow 3 or more actions with a single press of the lever. As such you are performing actions on 3 or more shells at the same time. This is faster than a single stage press but for a beginner it can greatly increase the chance of a mistake. While many people swear by a turret press I do not use one yet. It would be my recommendation that if you are just getting started to use a single stage press. Down the road when you are comfortable you can upgrade to a turret press and use the same dies and accessories you bought already for your single stage kit.

Reloading Dies

The dies are attached to the press to do the various required actions on your brass. This includes removing old primers, resizing the cases and seating the bullet with a proper crimp. Each caliber will need it’s own set of dies. While some kits do come with dies it is likely that you will need to buy more dies to get started. The good news about this is that for the most part dies and presses are interchangeable. You can use a Lee die with a RCBS press or Hornady with Redding etc.


Reloading is more like baking then BBQing. It is a precise science the requires exact measurements of gunpowder as well as proper sizing of the cases, bullets and finished shells. You will want to have a caliper to test your finished ammunition as well as to measure and assure proper set up as you change dies. Calipers can range in price from $30-300 or more. Depending on what caliber’s you are reloading will greatly affect the cost of the caliper you will need to measure it.

This one is similar to the one I use and found at a very affordable price.

Price: 39.99

This article is already getting very long so we will continue the list in our next part.

Before we go we will give you some links to some kits that would be good for the first time loader.
Price: 329.99
Price: 329.99
Price: 289.99
Charles is the editor for 248 Shooter a midwest based gun news and gear review site as well as Online Content Director for On Target Magazine. He is an avid student taking classes from top tier trainers around the country. Charles shares his love for training as well as experience and opinions on some of the most talked about gear and products used by competitive shooters, military, leo and civilians.