Skip to main content

8 Essential Products Every Reloader Needs to Own 

8 Essential Products Every Reloader Needs to Own 

Every reloader has a wish list, and typically that list is whittled down purchase-by-slowly-earned purchase; critical equipment first, followed by luxuries. But what would you buy if you were starting from scratch with an unlimited budget? What equipment is so refined that you'd buy it with glee no matter the cost, or so useful that you'd never be without it, however inexpensive? What's the best reloading press?

Eight individual products will never cover all the items that would earn their way into such a buying spree. But aside from the mundane necessities such as case lube, cartridge blocks and so on, you'll have some gotta-haves and some can't-live-withouts. I know I would.

Dillon Precision 550B

Back when I thought I was going to be the next world champion cowboy action shooter, I used to crank out a legitimate 500 rounds of .44-40 ammo per hour. The Dillon Precision 550B is simple enough that your average bear can set it up and keep it running — and just complex enough to load massive quantities of cartridges with a minimum of effort. There are shooters who will argue that the Dillon 650 press will load even more ammo with even less effort, but I've found that the low-maintenance character of the 550B keeps me cranking the handle more consistently. In addition to mass-loading handgun ammo for weekend shoots, I've loaded rifle ammo that consistently groups under an inch in my accurate old .270 Winchester.

Price: $440

Redding T-7 Turret Press

If I were a gentleman in the Victorian era, the Redding T-7 is the press my valet would use to handload my ammunition. It is sophisticated, ergonomic, versatile and as tough as the neighbor's bulldog. Made of cast iron with a 4.75-inch press opening and 3.80 inches of ram travel, it will handle the biggest and baddest cartridges — short of .50 BMG — but its real advantage is in the seven die positions in the turret plate. You can mount and use dies for up to three calibers without having to remove, change or adjust between stages or calibers. Not only is it powerful and durable, it's precise: In 2003, Kyle Brown used ammo loaded on his T-7 to set a new 1,000 yard benchrest world record.

Price: $462

Hornady Lock-N-Load Quick Trickle

Being unnecessarily fanatical about weighing powder charges for rifle cartridges — and at the same time paranoid about potential electronic equipment failure — Hornady's Lock-N-Load Quick Trickle is one of my favorite recently developed reloading tools. A high-speed knob dumps powder fast; a slow trickle knob finishes the charge off. While not quite as fast as a good electronic automatic charger, it is still pretty speedy, and with a little practice, just as accurate. You could load precision cartridges on the tail of a buckboard wagon without a power socket in sight. Couple it with a nice balance-beam scale for non-powered precision propellant measuring.

Price: $116

RCBS 10-10 Scale

There are balance scales and there are balance scales. RCBS's old battle-axe 10-10 is — in the immortal words of Chris LeDoux — tougher than the rest, and weighs powder charges and other objects up to 1,010 grains, double that of the typical 505-grain capacity that most balance scales offer. I occasionally like to dabble with classic blackpowder cartridges as well as the occasional .50 BMG, so the extra measuring capacity of the 10-10 is a significant advantage. It's accurate to one-tenth grain, and comes with a protective hard cover.

Price: $164

RCBS Chargemaster

After using most of the electronic powder dispensers on the market, I've concluded that — though they are good tools as a whole — they tend to be as finicky and high maintenance as a high-school cheerleader. They're hard to clean, too. When constructing objects that could potentially blow me — or worse, one of my vintage Winchesters — up if I bodge the loading process, minor annoyances are the last thing I want. The RCBS Chargemaster has become my go-to charger. It always turns on, calibrates and throws charges without fuss, and it's easy to empty and clean.

Price: $335

RCBS Universal Case Prep Center

Very few all-in-one systems work as advertised — I've always leaned toward tools that do one job beautifully rather than half a dozen jobs in a so-so manner. However, RCBS's new Universal Case Prep Center performs its primary function — power trimming cases precisely to length — perfectly, while offering a nice array of minor prep functions. The trim function accepts case head diameters from .250- to .625-inch, and from .720 to 3.375 inches in length, and is micrometer adjustable. Six stations are provided for mounting primer pocket brushes, chamfer tools and so on. The unit is powered by a stout 24-VDC motor.

Price: $525.95

Lyman 49th Reloading Handbook

I don't remember what edition it was, but as a grade schooler, I used to memorize cartridges and their characteristics from my father's tattered Lyman Reloading Handbook. To this day, it's one of my favorite reloading references because it's not connected to any specific component manufacturer — thus, it's very objective and complete. It also offers a splendid amount of data for cast bullets, an area completely overlooked by most reloading manuals.

This latest edition includes most of the popular recent cartridges, as well as data for a wide selection of powder and projectile manufacturers and types.

Price: $28 (softcover)

Lyman 2200 Auto-Flo Case Tumbler

There's nothing like the comforting purr of a quality tumbler polishing your cases, and this new unit from Lyman is as good as they get. The 1.5-gallon bowl is constructed of a high-durability, extra-thick material designed for longevity under a lifetime of hard use. It will hold up to 750 .38 Special cases, and progress is easily monitored through the clear, see-through lid. When the cases are clean, just pull the drain plug and let the tumbler's vibrating motion separate the cases from the polishing media. Drain pan included.

It ain't cheap, but your grandkids will still be using it when your personal case has gone to that great tumbler in the sky.

Price: $165

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Black Hills Evolution of Rifle Cartridge: .308 Win. 175 Gr. Match

Black Hills Evolution of Rifle Cartridge: .308 Win. 175 Gr. Match

David Fortier talks with Jeff Hoffman of Black Hills Ammunition about the evolution of the .308 Win. 175 Gr. Match bullet.

The Future Of Special Operations Small Arms

The Future Of Special Operations Small Arms

We're taking a look at what the Army's Elite Units are using for service rifles and what the future of SOCOM sniping looks like.

Tactical Solutions Introduces New X-Ring Takedown SBR Rifle

Tactical Solutions Introduces New X-Ring Takedown SBR Rifle

Keith Feeley of Tactical Solutions sat down with Michael Bane at SHOT Show 2018 to talk about the new X-Ring Takedown SBR .22LR rifle.

Skills Drills: 3-Second Headshot

Skills Drills: 3-Second Headshot

James Tarr runs through the 3-Second Headshot drill.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

With three versions, three barrel lengths, and three different finishes from which to choose, the Savage Renegauge is by definition a eumatic alternative for a variety of shooting situations.Savage Renegauge Shotgun Review Shotguns

Savage Renegauge Shotgun Review

Steve Gash - July 13, 2020

With three versions, three barrel lengths, and three different finishes from which to choose,...

The new Bushnell FORGE riflescope is “the only choice for long-range hunting enthusiasts.”Review: Bushnell FORGE 4.5-27X 50mm Optics

Review: Bushnell FORGE 4.5-27X 50mm

Sam Wolfenberger - May 01, 2019

The new Bushnell FORGE riflescope is “the only choice for long-range hunting enthusiasts.”

The .30-06 Hawkeye Hunter features a 22-inch stainless-steel barrel and a satin-finished walnut stock. Magazine capacity is four rounds. It is well made, accurate, and attractive. This is a fine rifle that is light enough to tote over hill and dale but heavy enough to hold steady for precise shooting in the field.Ruger Hawkeye Hunter .30-06 Review Rifles

Ruger Hawkeye Hunter .30-06 Review

Steve Gash - August 17, 2020

The .30-06 Hawkeye Hunter features a 22-inch stainless-steel barrel and a satin-finished...

The Winchester Model 52 is a fine, handbuilt smallbore match rifle that was once known as the king of the .22s among competition shooters.Winchester Model 52 Review Rifles

Winchester Model 52 Review

Joseph von Benedikt - July 20, 2020

The Winchester Model 52 is a fine, handbuilt smallbore match rifle that was once known as the...

See More Trending Articles

More Reloading

Federal Premium is now offering new Fusion hunting bullets just for reloaders.Reloading Federal Fusion Component Bullets Reloading

Reloading Federal Fusion Component Bullets

Lane Pearce - December 05, 2019

Federal Premium is now offering new Fusion hunting bullets just for reloaders.

The Winchester WinClean 244 is a nice addition to Winchester's handgun powders.Winchester WinClean 244 Ball Powder Reloading

Winchester WinClean 244 Ball Powder

Brad Miller, PhD - February 14, 2020

The Winchester WinClean 244 is a nice addition to Winchester's handgun powders.

Starting the handloading process with clean brass allows the cases to be better inspected, and that enhances safety as well as the loads' performance.Reloading Tip — Start With Clean Brass Reloading

Reloading Tip — Start With Clean Brass

Lane Pearce - September 18, 2020

Starting the handloading process with clean brass allows the cases to be better inspected, and...

The .270 Winchester is the first big-game cartridge the author ever handloaded for is still a great choice.Reloading the .270 Winchester Reloading

Reloading the .270 Winchester

Lane Pearce - December 26, 2019

The .270 Winchester is the first big-game cartridge the author ever handloaded for is still a...

See More Reloading

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Shooting Times subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now