Getting Started With Reloading Part 2: Basic Equipment
So you decided you want to start reloading? Great news and welcome to a rewarding hobby. This article will serve as a list of items you need to get started You can purchase all of the tools you need from the major online retailers, such as Midway USA and Natchez Shooter Supply , your local gun shop or preferred big box store. Many on the items on the list can be purchased as part of a kit. Lee Precision, RCBS, Hornady all offer kits for the beginning hand loader.
The list does not include powder, primers, cases or bullets. Once you determine which cartridges you will be reloading for you will have to purchase those items before you can start assembling ammunition. It's not a bad idea to stock up on reloading components. From time-to-time reloading components can become scarce. Given the fact that, if stored properly, the shelf life of reloading components can be upwards of 20+ years there is really no reason not to stock up.
As a side note, in addition to the tools listed below, you will need a place to mount your press. A good sturdy work bench with a generous amount of surface space will serve well as a reloading bench. Sturdiness is the key to your bench setup.
Reloading Manual ____
The most valuable purchase in your reloading setup will most likely be your reloading manual. There are many reloading manuals on the market and you likely will end up with a few in your library. Lyman’s 49th Reloading Handbook is a great book for beginners and contains a wide selection of loads for numerous cartridges. Reading and understanding your reloading manual is key to safe reloading practices. Your reloading manual trumps any other information you obtain. It will be an invaluable reference tool.
A good single stage “O” press will serve you well not only as a beginner but as you progress in your reloading skills. Many advanced hand loaders still use single stage “O” presses as their primary reloading press.
You will need dies for each caliber you plan on loading for. Most dies on the market today are interchangeable with whatever press you end up with.
Case Lubricant ____
Case lubricant is needed during the resizing process except when using carbide dies.
Priming Tool ____
Most presses allow the reloader to prime directly on the press. A priming tool that allows you to prime cases off the press will improve your efficiency when priming your cases.
An accurate scale is needed to measure charge weights. Accuracy is important when dealing with powders because you want to ensure that each charge placed into the case is the correct charge. Inaccurate charges, both light and heavy, can have catastrophic results in your firearm.
Powder Measure/Thrower ____
Most starter kits include a powder thrower . A thrower allows you to recreate a specific powder throw over and over again. Despite the efficiency of a thrower charges still must be weighed to ensure accuracy. Lee dies usually will include a powder dipper that can be used to measure charges
A funnel is needed to ensure that powder doesn’t spill when you attempt to transfer your measured powder to the case.
Blocks are helpful during the case prep, charging and seating process of reloading. You’ll want to get a few blocks that will fit the caliber(s) you intend to reload.
A caliper is used to measure empty case length and overall all length of a loaded bullet.
Case Trimmer ____
Brass cases stretch during firing and to ensure proper length trimming is sometimes required.
Deburring Tool ____
An essential tool used to debur and chamfer the mouth of a brass case.
Primer Pocket Cleaner ____
This tool is used to clean the primer pocket of a fired case.
Once you've acquired all of your equipment make sure you read and understand your reloading manual. Understand each piece of equipment and its function. Before you begin make sure you are familiar with each step to the reloading process and you are clear on each precaution associated with that particular step.
By understanding your manual, how to use your equipment and practicing safety at the reloading bench you can mitigate the hazards down to almost nothing. Once you have the manual read and the steps understood check out our videos at http://www.ammosmith.com . We have a video for each step of the reloading process. We are not a substitute for your reloading manual, but feel that because reloading is a visual process we put the technique into multimedia form to assist you as you grow as a reloader.
Hope you enjoyed, feel free to discuss this article on our forum at http://www.ammosmith.com/forum