Those that have advised to buy a book are missing a very important point.
The book must be read, then it must be understood. Then it must be read again and referenced just about every time you reload.

Do not deviate from the instructions. What may perceived as needless minutiae, or an over abundance of caution, will often, if bypassed, result in mayhem.

Asking questions of internet ninjas may be a pleasant way to pass the time , but a policy of "Trust but Verify" is always prudent.
Spend more time educating yourself with reading, watching YouTube videos and deciding what your priorities are...
Your question is like asking "I want a motorized vehicle, what should I get"?
For starters, a press to load shotgun shells is a totally separate press that loads only shotgun ammo, you can not load pistol or rifle ammo on that press (no press that I am aware of)...
My choice would be different depending if my priority was volume pistol shooting vs. precision long distance rifle shooting vs shotgun skeet & trap shooting vs some of each on a budget...
I agree that a single stage like a RCBS is a good choice for a new person just learning (it gives time to thoroughly understand each step of the reloading process), it can be bought inexpensively new or used, will load very precision rifle target ammo, last multiple lifetimes and could certainly be the only press you ever need for pistol or rifle. The only drawback is if you shoot hundreds or thousands of pistol rounds per month it is very time consuming labor-wise...
If your priority is 100's - 1000 plus rounds per month in as little time as possible, you will probably want a progressive press...
And as always it depends on each individuals financial situation.
Last Edited:
Douglas ridge rifle club also has some beginner as well as advanced reloading classes coming up in May.

Reloading isn't rocket science.
But you need to understand the principles of safe reloading. I have a hell of a lot of reloading equipment and still buy more. 99% of the stuff I buy is used.
Personally I like Hornady, Dillion and RCBS products. Their customer service is Great.

When you start buying stuff don't go the cheap route. You will be replacing it not to long down the road.

I like the Hornady Lock n Load system.
Once you set your dies up you just drop them into the press and give it a 1/4 turn and go. No screwing them in and out.

If you pick up a RCBS Rockchucker press you can take the plug out and put the adapter in to except the Hornady Lock n Load bushings.

Three good manuals to pick up would be the Lyman manual, the Hornady manual and the Lee manual.

The Lyman manual probably is the better of the three.

When reading the Lee manual be prepared to read about Lee constantly slapping his own back over & over & over again.
I have a 10 by 14 shed that I am working on to be a reloadingan cave. Once I get it done I will be starting up reloading classes.
I has heat and AC.
There will be twenty feet of reloading bench.
I will be setting up a Dillion 650, two Dillion 550s, a Hornady AP press, two Hornady Single-stage Lock n Load presses, two RCBS Rockchucker presses, a Redding T-7 press, a Lee turret press , a lee challenger press ND cheap Lee single stage press.
Plus I have lots of dies so whe the guys come that can load up ammo for wherever they are using.
.I also have lots of brass in many calibers on hand.
I have two friends that sell used reloading equipment. Plus I have a lot of extra equipment and dies.
When you get your stuff all together I can take a trip up to Bellingham and help you get things set up.
Your reloading bench needs to be built strong and secure.
Resizing brass takes a lot of pressure. You don't want the bench flexing when working your press.
As far as equipment goes you will need a press of course. I suggest a Rockchucker
For powder measures I have two in my reloading room. One for pistol powder and one for rifle powder. RCBS or Hornady powder measures are really good.
A stand for the powder measure.
A good set of dial calipers. ( I BOUGHT ALL OF MY DIAL CALIPERS OFF OF E BAY)
A case trimmer for trimming bottle neck cases. I like the Lyman case trimmers with the cam lock system.
I have several Lyman case trimmers. One for every caliber I load alot of. Once it is set up for a certain caliber it stays set up.
I have several extra case trimmers to use on other calipers I will be loading for.
If you are only loading small batches of ammo you should pick up a hand priming tool. I have a bunch of them as well.
I have one set up for small pistol primers.
One set up for large pistol primers.
One set up for small rifle primers
And one set up.for large rifle primers.
For priming larger volumes of cases I have four of the Lee Bench Priming tools.
Set up just like the hand priming tools.
One for small pistol primers
One for large pistol primer
One for small rifle primers
And one for large rifle primers.
You will need shell holders..
I use the Lee shell holder packs.
You will need shell holder for the press and if you go with the Lee priming tools they take special shell holders.
Then you will need loading trays to hold your cases whole loading them.
And a decent scale to weigh you charges.
Some people like electronic scales.
I don't trust any electronic scale of calipers.
I bought a bunch of extra scales for out in the shed when I get it done.
Plus you will need a powder trickler to bring your powder up to the proper weight.
Turning a hand trickler is a PITA.
I I bought a Hornady electronic poeder trickler on Amazon for around $45.
Another tool you will need is a case tool to clean up the cases after trimming them.
I bought a bunch of the plastic ammo boxes caliber specific with the hindges to store my loaded ammo.
Good lighting is important.
The cabelas down here in Marysville has had powders there lately. Forty to fifty-five dollars a pound
Primers are going for about 100 dollars a thousand.

Depending on what type of shooting you are doing you will need bullets.
I buy some from cabelas. 22 caliber bullets I buy from Everglades ammo 1,000 of them for $119 with free shipping.
This spring i will start casting bullets.
i have about 600 pounds of lead, a bunch of molds and three electric melting pots.
For brass you can buy range brass for a decent price for most calibers.

Then you should have a tumbler to clean your brass.wet tumblers get the brass 100 percent clean compared to dry tumbler.
Last night I dry tumbled a mixed batch of range brass for two hours.
Then I retumbled then in my wet tumbler and the water was back as black could be.
So the dry tumblers do not get them as clean as a wet tumbler.

The dry tumbler.
Then the brass in the bucket after dry tumbling.
Then the water after retumbling the brass in the wet tumbler.
And then the clean cases on my drying racks.

I'm sure I forgot to mention some other things that you will need.

20230204_171937.jpg 20230204_153029.jpg 20230205_101153.jpg 20230205_115658.jpg
1) The internet will have all the information you need, for free.

2) Different caliber, powder combinations require different considerations. Some are far more forgiving than others.

3) If you value your time and see reloading as a function of obtaining ammunition, and not something you want to spend your spare time doing, you’ll want a progressive press.
I just began the process of starting my son in-law out reloading, so I might give some pertinent advice. First off being to find someone whose reloaded their own ammo for a very long time, and see if they'll mentor you, and let you watch them reload. Starting out cold without someone to give you tips, and precautions will really make the learning process go very slow!
I'd also advise to check out used loading equipment before going crazy buying all new stuff. Good reloading presses, scales, powder measures, just don't wear out. And used equipment can sell for huge discounts over new. Stick with great quality used like RCBS, or other well known names, and you'll save hundreds starting out.
We hit our local gun show to find items my son in-law needed, and got a nice Hornady powder measure for $5, and a scale for $10. I gave him my old RCBS Rockchucker press, and a spare tumbler.
The big issue starting out now will be primers, and powder. But everyone who didn't build up a good supply stash is having the same issue also.
This deal is quite good. Don't forget code FEB40 at checkout or you will pay more

It is important to note that generally you can use different brands of dies with different brands of presses.

A good single stage press is perfect for getting started. You use one die then replace it with the next and perform the operations serially.
Generally performing the operations on a small number of cases works for most people. Once you have the dies adjusted, and tested, set the lock rings so you won't have to adjust next time. Once you set the lock rings on the dies, the dies can be removed and replaced with repeatable results.

Like all reloading equipment there are lots of choices and everyone has favorites. Thread-lock die rings potentially can damage the threads of your dies. These have little set screws. Some use a bit of bismuth to protect the threads. Clamping lock rings don't mess with die threads. Lee lock rings with orings don't even lock, they are friction fit and work well once you learn they move if you aren't careful.

Consider Lee pistol dies as a great place to start. The lee carbide dies don't require case lube and the 4 die sets allow you to seat the bullet and then crimp separately giving you great control. Some people don't like the expander/powder flow through on Lee dies. I use them with a turret style press. This lets me rotate the dies and finish one bullet one step at a time.

Charging pistol cases with powder is probably the most dangerous step in reloading. Here's why: Pistol powder is so efficient it doesn't take very much which means if you put one charge on top of an existing charge by mistake, it will likely fit in the case but will potentially just explode your gun and anything holding it like your hand. Rifle cartridges are larger and tend to over fill and alert you to the mistake.

For me filling a case then seating a bullet immediately after is how I make sure I don't overfill. To do that efficiently, I use a multi-die press called a turret press.

Reloading books are a great resource. Lee and Lyman are some of the best. Bullet manufacturers sell their manuals. Powder Manufacturers post online.

Ask questions, get a mentor, learn something then write something down, watch youtube, repeat... Good luck on your journey.

Here's an example of something worth remembering/writing down. Bullets with the same weight but with different designs will have different load recipes.
More pronounced with rifle bullets as the different designs have different lengths of bearing surface ie the part of the bullet contacting the lands.
This changes pressure which is why you start with lower amounts of powder (but above the minimum) and work up.
Last Edited:
When I first started I went to YouTube and typed in "reloading". I started watching vids regarding the various setups (sizing, bullet seating, crimping, etc.)

After watching YouTube's I started on my RCBS JR2 (single stage) press and went real slow and checked, rechecked, measured and remeasured everything at every step.

By the time i was done loading for my very first time I had loaded 50 rounds of 357AMP ammo.

Every single round fired and cycled as if I had been reloading for years.

Good luck!

Upcoming Events

Centralia Gun Show
Centralia, WA
Oregon Arms Collectors March Gun Show
Portland, OR
ONRI Rally at the Capitol
Salem, OR

Latest Resource Reviews

New Classified Ads

Back Top