To Reload or Not to Reload?


To Reload or Not to Reload?

Reloading. Is it something you should get into? And if so, where do you start? Should you go single-stage, manual progressive, or maybe full-blown progressive? These are questions that many shooters end up asking themselves. And when a political scare happens, ammo goes up in price and is hard to find.

176078LEE Single stage press

The biggest cost to get into reloading is the initial cost. The supplies, the press, the manuals (and yes I said MANUALS–not just one), the primers, bullets, and powder. And if you don’t save your brass you will need to buy brass or start collecting it. The good news is that you usually don’t run out of everything at the same time.


The cheapest way is single stage, but that means you must move EACH case about 10 times, in and out of the press for each stage. First is resize and deprime, then prime, then flare the case, then insert the bullet and seat, then the crimp. You will put the case in and out for each of these stages. Now figure out how many times you handle cases to reload, say, 375 rounds?


Each step gives you that one more chances to mess something up. Then, after a while of reloading this way you might end up going to a progressive press anyhow so why not just start there in the first place?


As for my own personal preference, I recommend a Dillon Precision press. They are tanks and Dillon has the best customer service which they call their “no BS” warranty. Now a fully-loaded Dillon will cost you more than $1,000 but you have a machine that will last a lifetime.


And it doesn’t matter if you bought you Dillon used, online, or at a yard sale; the warranty goes with the press, not the original buyer. You gotta love that. I recommend the RL550C as a starter press. It is a progressive press that you control the speed with your own hand. It does not index automatically and this makes it a great machine begin on. Once you get it down, you can load 400-plus rounds an hour with this machine.

Whatever you choose, take your time and be sure you fully understand each operation–and how to set your press to properly perform it–before you actually begin to load live ammo.

Only you can decide whether reloading is right for you, but I’m betting it is.

Thanks and stay safe!!


Avatar Author ID 170 - 750314082

Started as a firearms instructor in 1986, sponsored pro shooter, teaches CC classes, advanced pistol and shotgun tactics, teaches reloading classes, does seminars, radio shows and in-store promotions for the sponsors. But more important is I spend as much time as possible with my family, life is just too short!

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