If you are a long time gun enthusiast you have probably already discovered that creating your own ammunition is sort of a rite of passage. It not only allows you to create your own ammunition, which is often more accurate than what you would buy at the store, but is also more enjoyable for you personally as you have bigger stake in everything related to one of your favorite hobbies.
This is why a larger number of hunters, marksmen, and other gun enthusiast have opted to purchase the best reloading press to create their own ammunition. This gives them the perfect opportunity to be able to create their own ammunition, and is a reason why I opted to buy a press of my own. You will likely find that this is a great idea for you as well.
Types of Reloading Press
Before specifically reviewing brands and models of reloading presses, I think it is important for you to understand the difference between the types so that you can decide what works best for you. There are three types, which include…
- Single-Stage Press. This is the easiest type of press to use. It is a single function press that allows you to be able to create ammunition by manually pulling down on the lever, inserting the dye into the cartridge. While it is simple, this is actually a huge advantage. This simplicity ensures that you get an accurate round on each occasion, but it also takes the longest to create.
- Progressive Press. Progressive press allows you to create your cartridges at a much faster rate, even as fast as 300 rounds per hour. The advantage of this is that when one cartridge is completed, the tray moves to the next cartridge. This is done either manually or automatically, but is a lot faster process. However, it is also could be less accurate because speed becomes the priority.
- Turret Press. This is a press that is very much like the single-stage press, but the difference is that there is a turret that contains from 3 to 7 different dies making the process of creating ammunition a lot faster than normal single-stage. The user can quickly move to the next die as needed, enabling them to create ammunition that is even more accurate than the single-stage, especially if you want to use a few different dies to create a single cartridge.
Top Reloading Presses to Buy!
I hope this review will be helpful for you. It’s a lot of information; I am not going to deny that. But hopefully this will help you to make a good decision on the kind of press that you want and assist you to get the tools that you need to be able to create your own cartridges. Trust me, once you get started you’ll be glad you did. So enjoy and good luck to you!
#1 Dillon Precision 16944 XL 650 9mm Progressive Press
With a name like Dillon Precision your expectations are high that you are receiving a quality product, and that is what you were getting here. This product is perfect for 9 mm loads, but requires you to have five different dies or accessories to be able to use it properly.
This is an auto indexing device, which automatically moves to the next casing station with each pole of the handle. When the lever is pulled down, the mechanism inserts into the cases, manually feeding the bullets. While this is an automated machine, sadly the motor is not included in the base unit, meaning you need an upgrade to be able to fully benefit. No dyes are included either.
There are several pieces that are included that you will find exceptionally beneficial. This starts with a powder measuring device, as well as both large and all powder bars. The small bar measures from 2.1 to 15 grains while the larger bar gives you from 15 to 55. There is an early primer warning system that is included and a loaded cartridge bin is included as well.
#2 Hornady 095100 Lock-N-Load Auto-Progressive Reloading Press
If automated progressive reloading press, this is the choice for you, where you can quickly switch dies and loading ammunition of various calibers quickly and accurately each and every time. There is a five station Bushing station which lets you change dies from 223 to 45 quickly and the Hornady EZject system reliably ejects every cartridge after completion, every single time, without you having to make any adjustments press whatsoever.
There are quick change metering inserts, which come with a universal case retainer spring that allows you to use a diverse array of cartridge sizes. This also contains an automatic indexing system, so cartridges move quickly into the press allowing you to create cartridges much faster while still maintaining great accuracy.
This is a press machine that instantly allows you to see how high-performance it is from the first time that you pull on the handle. It offers an extremely smooth responsiveness and is built with a rugged construction ensuring that it will work properly poll after poll for years to come. The patented Power-Pac Linkage System multiplies your ability to create rounds accelerating the process for users.
#3 LEE PRECISION Turret Press
Lee has always established themselves as one of the leaders in terms of creating equipment related to reloading, and this turret press is no exception. The long stroke of this press enables you to be able to create cartridges of 3 inches or longer with ease.
This Lee Precision model works great when you purchased the additional auto disc riser, as it allows you to be able to use the auto disk powder measure to create rounds easily and getting an accurate amount of powder in each instance. Plus, you will love the safety measures that have been included providing adequate clearance and using the Lee Safety Prime to be able to create rounds that are safer to be able to generate.
This is the largest turret press in terms of the ram it provides for use with a dispense primer and attached clear PVC two. There are four slots for dies to be used during the creation of rounds, and dies of virtually any caliber can be used within the press.
#4 Lee Cast Aluminum 4 Hole Turret Press with Auto Index Md: 90932
If you are looking for a turret press that is built to provide you with a great deal of stability while also giving you a smooth press handle to create your rounds, that this is a magnificent choice. While it ranked third on this list, I loved how easy it was to assemble and how sturdy it was once assembled.
The long handle makes it easier for you to create rounds of all sizes, even those that go 3 inches or longer. It has a proven design, which offers four different dies to the turret, and allows you to create the largest Magnum cases with virtually no effort at all. You can purchase additional turrets to use with the press, enabling you to create cases of various sizes.
The frame material is made of steel and cast aluminum. This gives it a durable and sleek look, plus it comes with both large and small primer cups and three mounting hardware are included. You can create up to 300 rounds in a 90 minute period of time with ease, making it one of the best options available and one you will truly enjoy using.
What I personally loved about this particular turret press was how it was designed to easily attach to any workbench or other frame with ease. It’s the perfect designed to give great stability to ensure that you get the perfect ammunition load on each pull.
#5 RCBS 9356 Rock Chucker Supreme Press
This RCBS press is a fantastic choice for those who are looking for the single stage option. It is made of the highest quality materials, making it durable, efficient, and accurate with every poll. It is also constructed to take up a minimal amount of space, ensuring that you can mount this on just about any workbench.
This Rock Chucker press provides for a 4 inch surface with a 1 inch diameter to allow you to be able to create just about any round you desire. The handle is made of pure steel, and has a very comfortable ball grip making it so you could spend hours using the device with no discomfort. This is made to be strong, and is the perfect press for a beginner or for a professional who wants to have an outstanding quality single stage press.
This is a great press that is specifically designed for both heavy duty reloading, bullets swaging, as well as case forming. This reloading press is built to be a great option for either the right-handed or left-handed user and is ideal for those who preferred the longer cartridges. There is an accessory base that you can purchase to secure the press permanently, but this is not included with the base unit purchase.
#6 LEE PRECISION Anniversary Challenger Kit II
If you are looking for more sophisticated single stage press, this Lee option is a very good one. This is an entire kit, which not only comes with the Lee Safety Scale, and extremely precise and sensitive scale, but also contains tool camfers, as well as additional accessories.
The press itself is built at a 30° angle, ensuring that you get ease-of-use with no problem being able to control the press. It is made of their strong O-Frame design, ensuring for as longevity and its ability to handle continual use over years and years. You will get great precision with every poll, plus you can fit about any size cartridge into the press as it can handle virtually any size.
You can change dies quickly because of the bushing system created by Lee that makes it easy for you to be able to get the dies into the press and have them locked in without struggling with them being off-base in anyway. Once you have attached the die in place, there is no need to adjust it again. This eliminates any guesswork on your part and ensures you get an accurate round every time. This will also save you a huge amount of time worrying about whether the die is placed properly.
#7 LEE PRECISION 90685 Cast Iron Reloading Hand Press Only
What I love about this particular press is that it was so easy to use that I was actually watching television while I was testing it out. This is the easiest handheld press to use, primarily because of the bridge locking system that is part of the press. You don’t have to adjust the die at all. Just put the die and cartridge in and get busy.
This is a full-sized handheld press that is perfect for reloading, weighing only 1.5 pounds and costing significantly less than what you would expect from other reloaders. This press is made with a heavy duty aluminum, with no handle. You can use die sizes anywhere from 7/8 inch up to 14. The frame design is perfect in terms of being able to quickly and accurately close the press so that the die is pushed into the case to create your round.
Working very much like a hand vice, you are able to get your round completed in a matter of a few seconds and you are ready to go. I love that I can literally use this anywhere, even while sitting around talking with friends.
No matter what kind of press you have at home, it makes complete sense for you to have a handheld one as well. This allows you to continually to be able to create ammunition no matter where you are, by being able to have a handheld press that works effectively for you. This one does not need to be mounted on wall or workbench had all. It is completely portable, but does not deny you any of the accuracy or effectiveness that you would expect from a Lee single stage press.
#8 Hornady 085010 Lock-N-Load Classic Deluxe Reloading Kit
If you are looking for a great single stage press, with a lot of accessories to go with it, then this is the kit for you. This Hornady kit offers an abundance of great accessories to go along with a fantastic single stage press that provides you with the ability to use multiple dies to create cartridges with a durable construction that will last you for years to come.
This is the most complete kit of any press that I found. You are able to load both pistols and rifles, plus the kit includes a powder measure, a digital scale, three lock and load die bushings, and Hornady provides you with a great handbook on reloading cartridges of all sizes. You also receive a handheld priming tool, chamfering and deburring tools, a one-shot case lube, a package of three different dies, plus much more.
In addition to all of the accessories you receive, you’ll really love the press itself. It is built with a durable steel, and has an easy to pull handle that moves smoothly with each pole. The design of the press allows you to use larger size cartridges, and the positioning of new dies to use on the stand is a piece a cake. No worries about having an accurate cartridge made. This one is the real deal and is why if you are looking for a kit that I could not possibly recommend this one more.
#9 RCBS 9354 RC Supreme Press
Here is another great single stage press, coming with a fantastic set of accessories which will help you to be able to create rounds with great accuracy and efficiency. If reloading your own cartridges is something you really love to do, then you will absolutely appreciate everything this kit has to offer.
Included in the kit you were receive a universal case loading block, a debur tool, and a mechanical scale which provides great accuracy for measuring out each grain. Included is a uniflow powder measure which ensures that you will be eliminating waste as this is designed to make sure that clogging does not occur and that you get an accurate measurement on each turn. The hand primer tool not only helps you to seat primers quickly and safely, but makes the reloading process a snap, even for beginners.
The Rock Chucker is made of steel, ensuring that its durability will last you for years. The handle allows you to pull easily, getting an accurate cartridge created each and every time. It does not come with an accessory baseplate, meaning you would need to purchase this if you’re intending to lock the press in place. While this kit offers you most of what you may need to be able to create the ammunition you desire, there are additional accessories you can purchase to suit your needs.
#10 LEE PRECISION Classic Turret Press Kit
If you are looking for a kit that allows you to get started right out of the box, then you will love this lead option. This is a kit that is made for those who are looking for a little bit more advanced press, specifically the turret style. Not only do you receive a fantastically designed and durable press, one that is built for accuracy and ease of use, but a set of Lee dies is included for you to use with the turret press.
The kit has a great number of accessories which you will love, including the Pro auto drum powder measure and riser, which is perfect for use with handguns and small rifle cartridges. There is both a large and a small safety Primer included which makes priming extremely easy. The instant change turret makes moving to the next caliber bullet an easy thing for you to accomplish and to be able to do so quickly.
You also receive several case conditioning tools to prepare your brass for loading, this includes a cutter, a chamfer tool, a lock stud, and a primer pocket cleaner among other things. This system is built to give you a convenient and easy press to use, that also enables you to work quickly, creating as many as 250 rounds per hour. The assembly that the turret press is attached to is purchased separately.
|#1 Dillon Precision 16944 XL 650 9mm Progressive Auto Indexing Reloading Machine|
|#2 Hornady 095100 Lock-N-Load Auto-Progressive Reloading Press|
|#3 LEE PRECISION Classic Turret Press|
|#4 Lee Cast Aluminum 4 Hole Turret Press with Auto Index|
|#5 RCBS 9356 Rock Chucker Supreme Press|
|#6 LEE PRECISION Anniversary Challenger Kit II|
|#7 LEE PRECISION 90685 Cast Iron Reloading Hand Press|
|#8 Hornady 085010 Lock-N-Load Classic Deluxe Reloading Kit|
|#9 RCBS 9354 RC Supreme Master Kit|
|#10 LEE PRECISION Classic Turret Press Kit|
Components You Need When Reloading
As I reviewed the different presses that are available that you should consider purchasing, I mentioned a number of components that often times you had to have to be able to use the press. I thought it would be a good idea to spend a little time telling you about each one of these items see you will fully understand how you are too used to them and what their purpose is for.
- Powder Scale. Each cartridge you fill requires a certain amount of powder to fill the cartridge for the ammunition to work. Having a proper scale that is accurate and durable is important. The last thing that you want to do is to waste powder, and this most often occurs when a person has put too much powder into the cartridge, causing it to be wasted during the reloading process. A great powder scale is mandatory.
- Powder Trickler. This is an important tool to get the powder to the exact charge weight that is needed. This allows the reloader to drop just one kernel of powder at a time so that you get the exact charge weight that is needed. If you are not using a powder measure with your reloader, then you absolutely have to have this tool.
- Reloading Dies. The dies are specific tools that you need for each cartridge that you are creating. In some cases, you will find that you need a three or four die set to be able to create an individual cartridge, while in others you may only need to die set. Look up what kind of die you need for the round you are looking to create.
- Workbench/Stand. If you want to permanently attach your press to an area where you intend to work, than having a workbench or stand is necessary. This enables you to be able to lock the press in place, so that you can be sure you get accurate ammunition with each pole.
- Brass Tumbler. The brass tumbler allows you to clean your ammunition so that you can use cases over and over again. The tumbler you purchase should be able to last through tens of thousands of cleanings, and is best if it offers you both dry media and liquid media options.
- Bullet Puller. There is no doubt that at some point you are going to make a mistake when you are attempting to reload a cartridge. This tool helps you to get all your valuable components back if you have made a mistake. There are a few different kinds of bullet pullers, which is just a matter of which one you like best for yourself.
- Primer. The primer you are using depends upon the size of the cartridge you were talking about. Primers are dependent upon the cartridge size, as primers come in sizes to work with specific cartridges. Consult the manual before deciding upon the primer you wish to choose.
- Powder. You want to make sure you’re getting the proper powder, to include type and weight, for the specific kind of cartridge you are creating. Understand that getting the wrong powder or having too much powder in your round can create an extremely dangerous situation. Make sure that you use the load data that is published in the manual and do not deviate.
- Bullet Case. The case is the actual cartridge that you will be creating with your press. Having the right cartridge is obviously essential, but you may want to look into getting items like case polish or a case tumbler so you can clean cartridges before preparation.
- Reloading Manual. Some presses you will find provide you with a manual that will tell you exactly how you need to reload each round that you are able to use the press with. You need to know the proper measurements of each ingredient you are using, including the powder, and exactly what you need to do to prepare each round to be accurate and usable. A good manual is absolutely necessary.
Most Frequently Asked Questions
Before closing out this article, I thought it would be a good idea to discuss with you some of the more frequent questions that friends and family members asked me. As a longtime hunter and marksman, I get a lot of questions about weapons and reloading ammunition, so these are some of the more common ones I received. The truth is that there are two main benefits to getting a reloading press. While there are other benefits out there, it is really about these two more than anything else. The first is that you are going to find that no matter which kind of press you use you can be sure that the ammunition you make is more accurate than what you would buy at the store. I have found this to be an absolute truth, and I think you will too. In addition, making your own rounds is a huge cost-savings over time. You’ll be amazed at how much less money you spend by making your own rounds. When deciding upon the press that you want ask yourself these undermentioned questions. When you are able to answer these questions, you will be able to determine exactly which press is right for you. If you decide to mount your reloading press, there is just one question to ask yourself – do I want this to be portable? If you are intending to do all of your reloading at your home or workshop, then you want to workbench or some kind of stand that is permanent. Allow yourself to have some room to work and to place your accessories. If you want this to be portable, then place it on a block that you could take wherever you are going and clamp it to a workbench or other stand. I included this as the last statement I wanted to make to you about reloading your own ammunition. If you are a person who is handled guns for quite some time, you are probably aware that safety and being smart with your weapon is essential. The same kind of care that you give to handling your gun is exactly how you should care when reloading your ammunition. Don’t try to use too much powder, don’t use the wrong powder, don’t use the wrong tools to create cartridges. One small mistake can lead to you or somebody else getting seriously injured, maybe even killed. This is why it is essential that you are smart in the way that you handle the reloading of your cartridges. When deciding what kind of press you want to reload cartridges, you must consider what is your priority. If you are looking for accuracy and aren’t as concerned about speed, then the turret press or the single-stage press is the likely option. The turret press becomes your choice if you are needing to create cartridges that require both an expander and a crimp die to be used during the process of creating a single round. If speed is the greater priority for you then the progressive press is really the choice. While there is some risk of losing accuracy in terms of the ammunition you create, you can create hundreds of rounds in a single hour. This is of greater priority to some gun enthusiasts and is why you may want to consider the progressive press in this instance.
What are the Benefits of Having a Reloading Press?
What to Look for When Buying a Reloading Press?
Where should I mount my reloading press?
How to use your reloading press safely?
What Reloading Press to Buy?
The truth is that there are two main benefits to getting a reloading press. While there are other benefits out there, it is really about these two more than anything else. The first is that you are going to find that no matter which kind of press you use you can be sure that the ammunition you make is more accurate than what you would buy at the store. I have found this to be an absolute truth, and I think you will too. In addition, making your own rounds is a huge cost-savings over time. You’ll be amazed at how much less money you spend by making your own rounds.
When deciding upon the press that you want ask yourself these undermentioned questions. When you are able to answer these questions, you will be able to determine exactly which press is right for you.
If you decide to mount your reloading press, there is just one question to ask yourself – do I want this to be portable? If you are intending to do all of your reloading at your home or workshop, then you want to workbench or some kind of stand that is permanent. Allow yourself to have some room to work and to place your accessories. If you want this to be portable, then place it on a block that you could take wherever you are going and clamp it to a workbench or other stand.
I included this as the last statement I wanted to make to you about reloading your own ammunition. If you are a person who is handled guns for quite some time, you are probably aware that safety and being smart with your weapon is essential. The same kind of care that you give to handling your gun is exactly how you should care when reloading your ammunition. Don’t try to use too much powder, don’t use the wrong powder, don’t use the wrong tools to create cartridges. One small mistake can lead to you or somebody else getting seriously injured, maybe even killed. This is why it is essential that you are smart in the way that you handle the reloading of your cartridges.
When deciding what kind of press you want to reload cartridges, you must consider what is your priority. If you are looking for accuracy and aren’t as concerned about speed, then the turret press or the single-stage press is the likely option. The turret press becomes your choice if you are needing to create cartridges that require both an expander and a crimp die to be used during the process of creating a single round.
If speed is the greater priority for you then the progressive press is really the choice. While there is some risk of losing accuracy in terms of the ammunition you create, you can create hundreds of rounds in a single hour. This is of greater priority to some gun enthusiasts and is why you may want to consider the progressive press in this instance.