Best Reloading Press Equipment For The Money – Reviews 2017
Investing in the best reloading press adds a unique set of benefits to your hunting or long range shooting career.
Imagining becoming the manufacturer of your own ammo? You’ll know what’s in your ammo and you can always control its overall quality.
A reloading press helps you save lots of cash; reloading is, doubtlessly, cheaper than buying new ammunition.
And oh! This would also be a new hobby- trust me; you’ll learn many new things along the way!
BUT…using a high-quality reloading press is the ONLY way to get the best out of your “newly found hobby.”
This post has everything you need to know about a reloading press - from how to choose the best one, to the different types out there, how to use your kit properly and safely.
I’ve gathered for you the 10 best-quality reloading presses that meet your needs.
Let’s dive right in…
What's a Reloading Press?
If you’ve never seen or used a reloading press before, I’ll explain to you what it’s all about:
But first, can you make a wild guess?
I bet you’re right…this is a great piece of equipment that allows you to reload your blank shells and make them ready for re-use. And before you start wondering how it does that, keep in mind that this kit will provide you with many, many benefits that will make your hunting life easier.
- Saving money. This is my best part…by manufacturing your own ammunition, you’d be saving respectable amounts of money as opposed to buying the expensive factory made ammo.
This couldn’t be any truer, given that we’re living in an era where ammo price keeps getting higher (plus it has limited availability).
- I also love the fact that this kit puts you in charge of the quality of your ammunition. By being the manufacturer of your ammo, you can decide on what ingredients- powder amount, primer tools, shape of cartridge, bullets, etc. - to use.
And this will put the quality of your ammo a step above other hunters. This way, you can easily minimize chances of misfires, jams, and other ammo-related issues.
Do I have to mention that this will improve your hunting life?
With that said, it’s important to understand that reloading is usually a time-consuming practice, so you’d want to set apart enough time for the hobby.
As I said earlier, reloading proses come in various types, each with its own set of features (as we’ll see later in this post), brands, prices, etc.
I scoured the web and found the 10 most popular reloading kits that will not only meet your specific reloading needs but also your limited budget needs.
Let’s look at them next…
10 Best Reloading Press Reviews:
1. Hornady Lock N Load Auto-Progressive Reloading Press Review:
Starting our top-rated reloading presses review list is the Hornady Lock N Load, which ranks as one of the most popular auto progressive reloading kits available today. It boasts of a lot of qualities which enhances its reloading speed, longevity, and overall quality.
One particular feature about this press that drives hunters bonkers is the EZject system. This unique feature allows you to easily remove the reloaded cartridges without making any special adjustments, as it’s the case with most presses out there.
Thanks to this feature, you can enjoy perfectly reloading up to 600 rounds in an hour…plus you’ll have an easy time operating the machine (even if you’ve never operated one before!)
This Hornady also beats its rivals with its five auto indexing stations- which promotes a faster, hassle-free loading. Moreover, changing between different dies for different calibers has been made an extremely simply process with the quick changing bushing system.
Best part: the auto-progressive reloading kit comes with a case-activated powder drop that ensures you upload with casings with the right amount of powder.
And when you’re done reloading your round of ammo, they’re all put in a collecting tray where you can easily offload them to your storage box.
2. Lee Precision Classic Turret Press Review:
If you prefer using a turret press for your reloading needs, you can never go wrong with the Lee Precision Classic Turret Press. In spite of its attractive price tag, this model comes with all the features you’d expect in an award winning turret press.
It comes packed as a complete kit with everything you need to start reloading your ammo.
The first thing you’ll probably note about this top-quality turret press is its unmatched durability. It’s made from durable materials all-round to enable it to withstand any punishment you throw at it for generations to come.
The base in particular features cast iron construction which ensure you enjoy a more stable and durable working station.
Quick refiling becomes possible with this kit. Once you get used to its operation, I can guarantee that you’ll be able to refill up to 250 rounds in an hour! Not many turrets presses in the same price range can achieve such a number.
The fact that it doesn’t require you to change the dies (you only need to change the turrets- a 30 seconds task) when working with different calibers makes this Lee product even more easier and quicker to work with.
3. RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Press Review:
The RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Press is, hands down, one of the sturdiest, most durable single stage reloading kits you’ll find on the market today. Unlike its rivals, its frame features a heavier and bigger construction of heavy-duty steel.
This minimizes its chances of breaking down while offering you a more stable reloading workspace.
Beginners who haven’t used a reloading kit should try this model today. It comes with a lengthened design which facilitates easy loading of the today’s cartridges that come with slightly longer designs.
This teams up with the ambidextrous handle, outstanding strength, and remarkable versatility- making it the perfect choice for beginners as well as pros.
Because it’s heavier than most single presses out there- weighs 20 pounds- you can count on this press to do an excellent job of refilling higher caliber such as magnum cartridges.
However, I’d caution you to tightly secure it to the bench when using it as its heavy weight might make it tip forward and probably hurt you.
4. Lyman Reloading Press T-Mag Turret Press Review:
The Lyman Reloading Press T-Mag Turret Press is back! And this time, the turret’s press reengineered/upgraded design comes ready to give you unmatched power, versatility, and precision. It comes with new premium features that promises better functionalities, all while minding your pocket.
The new Lyman features a flat machined base that helps you quickly set it up on the bench and start reloading. It’s ideal for folks who wish to refill smaller ammo- like pistol owners.
To keep it going for longer, its links and handle are made to resist rust. And its design facilitates easy changing of turrets- making it an easy to use model for all beginners.
All the users of this press love the Hi-Tech iron frame plus in-fashion silver coat finish that takes its durability to a whole new level. It also features the Lyman's improved Turret Retention System which promotes smooth indexing ensuring rock-solid turret support.
The fact that it features an ambidextrous means it can be operated by all kind of users, including the right- and left-handed users.
5. Lee Reloading Press Review:
Even if you already own the best reloading kit, you might consider looking for another one that you can use exclusively for decapping, bullet sizing or bullet seating. In that case, you can rest assured that the Lee Reloading Press will do the job for you.
Using this press is extremely easy! It firmly attaches to the bench using a g clamp for stable performance. It accepts the standard 7/8 x 14 thread die. It works with standard and universal press shell holders, making it a highly versatile press.
6. Hornady Lock N Load Classic Reloading Press Review:
Another Hornady appears in our 6th spot of the reloading equipment review list. The single stage press is another ideal choice for all beginners as well as other users who want to have total control of the entire refilling process. With this Lock N Load Classic, you’ll experience the ultimate precision and dependability.
One of its most praised features is the super string angled frame. The high-strength alloy frame grants you the ultimate stability and rigidity you need for precision reloading while minimizing chances of breakages. The unique angling offers greater visibility as well as easier access to the cartridge in the kit.
Thanks to the quick bushing system, switching from one die to the next becomes an extremely quick task that takes only a few seconds. All you have to do is set the die, make a quick twist, and the Lock N Load technology will let you advance to the next die in seconds. No more screwing/unscrewing of dies or special adjustments!
Because it comes with an easy grip handle- with large, ball style grip, you won’t get fatigued easily when operating this press. Add this to the fact that it comes with a long handle and you’re sure to use the reloader all day long with less effort.
7. Lee Precision Breech Lock Challenger Kit Review:
Also worth mentioning is the Lee Precision Breech Lock Challenger Kit. It balances well in terms of affordability and durability. It comes with a simplified design that comes fully optimized to offer you faster reloading speeds than most of the other single stage presses out there.
The entire kit comprises of the Breech Lock Challenger Press, Lee safety scale, powder funnel, and a Breech lock quick change bushing. For easy reloading process, the kit comes with its own powder handling system that’s known for consistent, precise powder measures.
Inside the package, you’ll also get case preparation tools- like the cutter and lock stud for trimming your shells. You can use the included Lee chamfer to chamfer inside/outside the case mouth. The large and small primer cleaning tool, and the premium sizing lube completes the package.
8. Lee Cast Aluminum 4-Hole Turret Press with Auto Index Review:
Constructed from high-strength, heavy-duty cast aluminum, this Lee Cast Aluminum 4-Hole Turret Press can handle anything you throw at it- from the smallest to the highest cases. And that makes it a preferred choice for many shooters and hunters who put affordability, speed, and convenience as a priority.
As experienced reloading press users will agree with me, one key issue associated with most turret kits is that the turret heads can give you headaches trying to line it up correctly. Luckily, this Lee turret press comes with an auto-indexing feature that permanently eliminates this problem.
For each pull of handle you make, the turret head will automatically switch to the next die and precisely line it up with the cartridge.
I was amazed to discover that you can easily change out the turret head of this press. That is, you can acquire additional turret heads and load them with dies of different calibers…this will save you the hassle of having to change to change the dies when you want to refill new caliber.
Clearly, this Lee turret press is worth every penny!
9. Hornady 85003 Lock N Load Classic Reloading Press Kit Review:
We are nearing the end of our reloading press review list. At this point, we’ll discuss another Hornady product- the85003 Lock N Load Classic Reloading Press Kit.
This would be an ideal choice if you refill more than one caliber. It comes with a unique design aimed at improving your its overall reloading speed to meet your specific needs.
100% made in the USA, the classic reloading press comes with everything you’ll need to successfully load your bullets. It comprises the single stage press, electronic scale, powder measure, handheld priming tool, positive priming system, and prime catcher.
Additionally, you’ll also get a universal reloading block, primer turning plate, chamfering and de-burring tool, three die bushings, and one-shot case lube.
Even more amazing is that the package comes with the Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading. This will be of great help to beginners who have never reloaded ammo in their life.
10. Lee Precision Breech Lock Hand Press Kit Review:
Lastly, if you’re looking for the best reloading kit with portable characteristics, the Lee Precision Breech Lock Hand Press Kit is your number one option.
It’s an extremely portable model that let you start reloading your ammo instantly- without setting it on the bench first. And when you’re done using it, you simply pack it in your box!
That sounds unbelievable, right?
Hunters who don’t have enough space at their home to set up the bigger reloading presses we’ve reviewed earlier- e.g. apartment dwellers- can count on this kit to meet their reloading needs.
It’s also a great piece of equipment for hunters who would want to refill their cartridges when out in the woods or shooters in the range.
The complete kit comprises the compact hand press, cartridge lube, powder funnel, and ram prime. Moreover, it comes with the one-quick bushing that makes it easier and more efficient for you to switch between dies.
The maximum length this hand press can accommodate is 3.650”. This means it can’t work with the magnum cartridges…but you can bet on it to meet most of your cartridge filling needs.
Reloading Press Buying Guide: Know Before You Buy
I can’t promise you that it you’ll have an easy time shopping for the best reloading press. It’s quite hard experience as there are numerous kits on the market and more are being made.
But I can guarantee that things will get easier with the following guide:
Your budget is one of the most important factors in determining what type of reloading kit to buy.
I’ve seen many hunters, especially beginners, make the mistake of spending more money to buy a press they’ve not budgeted for.
By coming up with a budget, you’ll be able to limit yourself to the best reloader kits that suit your needs as well as pocket.
We said that reloading is a time-consuming process. However, the reloading speed varies from one model to the next.
In the light of this, you’d want to figure how much time you’d be willing in reading your empty shells. This will help you pick a model whose reloading speed matches your personal needs.
And if you can’t figure the speed factor out, you can bet on the turret-style press to meet your needs.
Always make sure you inspect the quality of any press you intend to buy. The best presses come with steel and other metals well known for high strength and durability.
Besides, ensure your unit comes with a long handle. According to experienced reloaders, this has an added advantage in that it prevents you from inserting a lot of effort when working with it.
This is closely related to the quality factor. Finding a top-quality press can become much easier if you restrict your choices to the well-known brands.
And that brings us to the million-dollar question- which are the top reloading press brands?
I’d suggest that you buy from Hornady, Lee, Dillon, and RCBS. These are considered to produce the ‘bestest’ quality reloaders.
Needless to mention, you’d expect the products from these brands to differ in terms of feature. Regardless of this, you can always rest assured of getting the real quality from them.
Ease of Use (Type of press operation)
Different refilling presses come with different styles or modes of operation which translates to different levels of ease of use.
If you’ve not used this equipment before, you’d want to start out with a beginner level model. In such case, you can count on the single stage press as it’s the easiest to operate.
For experienced reloaders, I believe that you can successfully refill your shells with any reloading kit you’re presented with.
Different Types Of Reloading Press Available Today
We’ve mentioned severally that there reloading presses come in different types. These can be categorized into 4 groups below:
1. The single stage press
2. The turret press
3. The progressive press
4. Hand Press
Let’s get a better understanding of each of them:
1. The Single Stage Press
The single stage press is the simplest of all the reloaders. It’s incredibly easy to set up and operate- making it the ideal choice for beginners.
Having said that it comes with a simple design, you don’t expect this model to offer you a lot of features…and this could be the reason why it also comes with a pocket-friendly price.
When it comes to performance, you should only consider looking into this press if you don’t plan to do a lot of refilling.
Because the machine is generally slower, and can only produce a few ammo in a given hour. In most cases, your total production would be limited to 20-80 bullets an hour.
I attribute this to the fact that it requires you to keep changing (manually) between switching reloading dies for every bullet you refill. That means you’ll have to use around 3-4 different dies depending on the type of cartridges you’re refilling as well as your specific needs and requirements.
2. The Turret Press
Like the single stage press, the Turret Press allows you to make only one bullet at a go. However, that does not mean that it has a production rate like the single stage model.
It can load more bullets in an hour since its turrets hold all the dies you need to work with, eliminating the time-consuming process of manually reloading them in every reloading stage. You just need to turn the handle and the turret head rotates to bring in the next reloading die.
Depending on what cartridges you use, a turret reloader can load between 100 and 200 bullets in an hour.
3. The Progressive Press
Any hunter who wishes to produce vast amounts of ammo in a short period of time should consider buying a progressive reloading press.
It comes with unmatched speed and can load up to 500 ammo in an hour! Add this to the fact that it loads several cartridges at a go and you’ll understand why it’s the fastest on the market.
With a turn of the handle, you will turn a cartridge to the next stage and align it with the next reloading die.
Also, keep in mind that most of the progressive models come with auto-eject feature that spits out a cartridge once it’s done.
You’ll also appreciate the fact that these models feature a gunpowder container that automatically fills up your cartridge with the exact amount. This not only improves the refilling speed but also makes the process precise.
For the improved speed and functionality, you have to pay more to get a progressive reloading press.
4. Hand Press
Unlike all the other types we’ve discussed above (which need fastening on a table or bench), this model requires you to be held by hand.
It comes with a compact design which makes it ideal for people who don’t have sufficient space for setting up a bigger reloading station.
Its portable nature makes it ideal for hunters who are always on the go. You can even use this press to reload your shells just anywhere, even when in your hunting stand or at the shooting range.
Tips On Using a Reloading Press Properly/Safely
Reloading your rounds might sound like a simple, fun job. But that doesn’t mean it safe. You need to learn some basics before you start using your new equipment to ensure you conduct the process safely and correctly.
These tips will guide you on how to properly use your reloading press:
1. Inspect the shells first. After collecting your empty casings, check them to ensure they don’t have any damages- like dents, cracks, bulges, etc. in case you discover any damages, just discard the shells
2. Clean the shells. Now that you’ve only been left with shells that are in good condition, clean them thoroughly, both inside and out, removing any residue present with the help of a case neck brush or soft cloth.
You might also consider lubricating the shells to prevent them from getting stuck when put in the sizing die
3. Ensure you’ve all the necessary supplies. Before you can stat the refilling process, it’s important that you check whether you’ve all the required supplies. These include the primers, enough powder for the shells at hand, powder measuring device (some presses might lack this feature).
4. The first thing you’ll do with your shells is removing any used primers and replacing them with new ones, with the help of your press.
5. Next, start reloading your ammo with powder. But before that, ensure you fully understand the type of powder you’re using and the safety measures it comes with.
Also, avoid overloading your ammo with powder, thinking it will become more powerful.
6. Finally, seat the die to insert the bullet to the appropriate depth within the shell. Now remove the reloaded ammo, apply some gun oil on it, and place it in your ammo storage box.
Congrats! You’ve replenished your round of ammunition and you’re set for your next hunting trip!
- Use eye protection to keep off any debris (or potential primer explosions) that might harm your eyes
- NEVER mix different types of powders as they can act differently and cause accidents
- You should also put on a pair of gloves to keep your skin safe when handling the different materials and elements
- Avoid using your shells too many times; this may cause them to crack and result in accidents
- NEVER cast your own bullets. You might end up inhaling hazardous fumes or you can cast them inappropriately and damage your gun barrel
- NEVER overload your ammo with more than recommend amount of powder to prevent potential accidents from occurring
There has never been a better time to start manufacturing your own ammo like today! Having given you the 10 best reloading equipment for your used cartridges, you can now start setting up your reloading station and stat working on your newly found hobby.
Remember that refilling ammo has unique benefits as opposed to buying the factory made bullets. You’ll save a lot of cash, control your bullets quality, and learn new things along the way.
Above all, I’ve offered you a list tips of using this fantastic equipment to ensure you get the best out of it while minding your own safety.
Have you ordered your reloading kit already?