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.
The Different Types of Reloading Presses Available
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.
What Reloading Press to Buy?
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.
#1 Dillon Precision 16944 XL 650 9mm Progressive Auto Indexing Reloading Machine
- Weight: 35 lbs
- Dimensions: 32″ x 15″ x 14″
- Capacity: 500-800 rds/hour
- Extremely efficient machine that is ideal for those who are looking to create quality ammunition.
- Easy to use, and the automated index is one of the best you will find on the market.
- Machine is able to load between 500 and 800 rounds per hour. That is the reality.
- Durable machine that is built to last.
- Does not contain the case feed motor as part of the base machine.
- The electrical case feeder is not included.
- No dyes are included with the machine, neither is a strong mount, bullet tray, or wrench holder.
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.
The machine height for the device is 32 inches without the electrical case feeder included. With that included the machine is 38.5 inches in height.
#2 Hornady 095100 Lock-N-Load Auto-Progressive Reloading Press
- Weight: 33.3 lbs
- Dimensions: 20″ x 14″ x 11″
- Capacity: 500 rds/hour
- Accelerates the process through the auto indexing system and the five bushing station.
- Built with a durable construction and sleek design.
- Can produce anywhere from 200 to 600 rounds per hour.
- Very responsive press that is easy to use.
- Able to produce better than factory produced ammunition.
- Die sets must be purchased separately.
- When using lead tips, the press kit can improperly seek the head because of how soft the lead is.
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.
Because of the construction of the device, it takes up a limited amount of space and weighs less than 30 pounds. It is 20 inches high, meaning it can easily fit in any area.
#3 LEE PRECISION Classic Turret Press
- Weight: 3.52 ounces
- Dimensions: 15.9″ x 6.2″ x 6.4″
- Capacity: 250 rds/hour
- Creates rounds with the perfect amount of powder using the auto disk riser.
- Heavy duty construction that is built the last for years.
- Uses solid steel linkage that helps to move smoothly and accurately.
- Worthy of the Lee name.
- Auto disk riser not included.
- Small area available for attachment to workbench.
- Some parts are made of plastic which wear down quicker.
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.
You will love that it is constructed with heavy duty materials which are made to last.Solid construction, ease-of-use, and the handle pulls smoothly to ensure you get great precision with each round.
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.
#1 What are the Benefits of Having a Reloading Press?
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.
#2 What to Look for When Buying a Reloading Press?
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.
- Is greater speed or greater accuracy my main priority?
- What kind of rounds am I intending to make?
- What is the amount of money that I am able to spend?
- What other accessories do I want included with the press?
- Am I making this purchase expecting to keep this press for a decade or more?
- How advanced am I at being able to reload my ammunition? Do I need something that’s built for a beginner?
#3 Where should I mount my reloading press?
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.
#4 How to use your reloading press safely?
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.
I hope this review has been 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!