Gear Guide: Essential Reloading Tools for Beginners

Reloading tools are a lot like kitchen appliances; there are a lot that make life easier, but only a few that are absolutely necessary.


My father got me started handloading when I was 13 years old, because he couldn't afford to feed my shooting habit. Ever since then, I've been reloading to support my practice, hunting and competitive shooting needs. In fact, though I hunted from the time I could keep both ends of a rifle aloft, I never shot a big game animal with a factory load until I was 29 years old.


Even with the increasing prices of copper, lead and gunpowder on today's market, it's possible to produce handloads for about a third the price of good factory ammo. Better yet, for 30 to 60 cents per shot, you can equal the performance of premium factory loads with top-shelf projectiles, rather than paying three dollars per cartridge. You can also tailor the loads to fit your particular rifle's sweet spot, potentially achieving better accuracy than other ammunition on the market.

For the first several years of my reloading career, I produced some top-notch ammo with a very basic setup. Doing so was slow, methodical and deliberate, but resulted in very consistent reloads and a good understanding of the process.


One thing I did right — or rather, my father did right — was to start with quality gear. It doesn't have to be expensive gear, but it shouldn't be cheap gear. Buying quality up front avoids frustration with sub-par tools and the eventual expense of buying again for better quality. You don't need every shiny gadget in the display case — get started with a minimum setup of solid tools, and then add to your setup as need and desire dictates.

Check out this list of very basic components needed to start reloading. With this setup, you'll be prepared to lube, size and prime fired cases, charge them with gunpowder and top them off with bullets — creating quality home-brewed cartridges.

Recommended for You

Rifles

Accurize It

Greg Rodriguez - March 11, 2011

You don't have to spend a fortune to make "Ole Betsy" shoot better.

Rifles

Yugoslavian M24/47 Mauser-Pattern Rifle

Joseph von Benedikt - May 13, 2019

These cheap postwar variants offer perhaps the best value on the vintage-Mauser market.

Ammo

Get the Most Out of the .30-06

Joseph von Benedikt - April 01, 2019

Cutting-edge projectiles provide unprecedented performance in the venerable old workhorse, the...

See More Recommendations

Trending Stories

Ammo

True Velocity Rifle Ammo

Joel J. Hutchcroft - May 31, 2019

True Velocity is exploring options to make its distinctive ammo available to civilians.

Optics

Review: Crimson Trace CTL-3420 4-20X 50mm

Joel J. Hutchcroft - April 29, 2019

Crimson Trace enters the riflescope business with the Crimson Trace CTL-3420 4-20X 50mm.

Reloading

Share the Handloading Experience

Lane Pearce - May 19, 2019

The joys of handloading are many, and one of them is sharing the experience with a novice.

See More Stories

More Reloading

Reloading

Lyman Products Reloading Kits Include Essential Tools to Start Reloading

Shooting Times Online Editors - April 24, 2018

Lyman Products is introducing three new reloading presses in 2018: the Brass Smith Ideal...

Reloading

Fillers for Reduced Rifle Loads

Allan Jones - October 10, 2018

Two classes of fillers for reduced rifle reloads are 'puffballs' and granular. Puffballs are...

Reloading

Loading Down the .44 Magnum Safely

Lane Pearce - December 05, 2017

Reader Dan Hobart recently asked, "Why should any handloader be concerned about fouling caused...

See More Reloading

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

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

×