With all the problems with people being able to locate ammunition lately, I have had more than a couple of friends contact me about getting into hand loading.
I put together a simple list of the things someone would be needing to get started. I know there's a lot of different ways to go about this but I think some might find it helpful to understand the type of gear that will be needed.
You can use this as a guide and use it to compare other items in the same category just to have a base line to start from.
I put this list of items together just to make it simple and be able to get things from one source, this being Midway USA. There are other reloading distributors like Midsouth, Natchez and Sinclair and there are also different price points for this type of gear. This is a list of items on the entry level but not quite rock bottom. You can go lower or higher in price.
These are some of the things you'll be needing to get started for hand loading ammo. Basic single stage kit
. Comes with powder measure, press, priming tool, digital powder scale, case pube spray, loading tray and a powder trickler. Hornady and RCBS both make decent starter sets. The stuff I have identified in this list are examples of basic equipment. There are always more expensive options if you want them. Keep in mind there are "craftsman" or "snap-on" priced loading tools. Depends just how much you prefer to spend. I have two presses. One is a Harrell's Precision
and the one at home is a larger RCBS Rockchucker permanently mounted to my loading bench. The Harrell's is portable and can clamp itself to any solid table and very well made. If you do decide that a Harrell's is for you, I suggest getting the magnum sized press. Its not really that big but its capable of loading cases up to and larger than a 30-06. The other presses they sell are mainly used for loading small BR sized cases. I don't suggest using the Harrell's for full length sizing large cases though, leave that to the Rockchucker. http://www.midwayusa.com/product/749...tage-press-kit Powder dispensers
. The kits I recommended come with a basic powder dispenser but you can always upgrade down the line. I use a Harrell's Precision Benchrest
powder measure but you can get by quite well for years with what comes in the basic kit. You'll need calipers http://www.midwayusa.com/product/417...tainless-steel chamfer and deburring tools http://www.midwayusa.com/product/211...deburring-tool http://www.midwayusa.com/product/342...-very-low-drag http://www.midwayusa.com/product/729...uniformer-tool Shell holders
for the press and priming tool. Lee is the cheapest of the loading tool companies but for something this basic, Lee shell holders are all you need. I don't use anything else they make. Its too cheaply made. These kits come in the most common sizes so you'll just need to buy the specific loading dies for what you intend to load for. http://www.midwayusa.com/product/566...-package-of-11 http://www.midwayusa.com/product/786...-package-of-11
storage boxes, you'll need two of these. http://www.midwayusa.com/product/628...e-shellholders you'll need a method to clean your brass
. Ultrasound which takes up the least space, but it also cleans brass in the smallest batches. If you intend to load a lot, I suggest going with a wet stainless steel media system. The ultra sonic can also clean gun parts with the other solution.
medium http://www.midwayusa.com/product/344...steel-110-volt http://www.midwayusa.com/product/711...n-32-oz-liquid http://www.midwayusa.com/product/338...lution-1-quart
Wet system I use. Requires this kit, water, dawn dish detergent and Lemishine or concentrated lemon juice. Lemon juice is cheaper and more readily available. Its great and causes much less mess and no lead dust that the dry method of tumbling in crushed walnut shells causes. http://www.stainlesstumblingmedia.co...e-package.html Case trimmer
. you'll have to occasionally trim brass because shooting and resizing brass cases causes them to stretch..grow in length. Each caliber has a maximum serviceable length. Let them get too long and they may not chamber and will cause a pressure spike when fired.
They're generally trimmed to .010" (ten thousanths) shorter than SAAMI Specs to be safe and allows the brass to be used a few times between trimmings without having to trim them too often.
If you mount a case trimmer like this one to a 1x6 block of wood, you can C-Clamp it to your bench without having to permanently mount it leaving your work space less cluttered. http://www.midwayusa.com/product/315...se-trimmer-kit
For making things faster some tools are powered but they get pricey.
This tool is caliber specific and uses a drill motor to power it. It works but at $70 a pop, they add up. http://www.midwayusa.com/product/997...-223-remington You'll need a bullet puller
in case you make a mistake and need to safely disassemble a loaded round.
Press mounted collet puller. Uses caliber specific internal collets which are sold separately http://www.midwayusa.com/product/680...-bullet-puller Rifle dies
....I like Redding and Hornady dies. Both are well made. Calibers like 223 are all backordered now. A standard 3 die set is just fine to start with. One die is a full length resizing die which reshapes the entire case from top to bottom. Best used when resizing fires cases from a semi-automatic or when using once fired brass fired from an unknown weapon in that caliber. Chambers can be different in dimension enough that a case fired from one 223 rifle may not fit into another rifle in the same caliber after being fired. To correct this, full length resizing brings the fired case back down to minimum specs and will fit into all chambers of that caliber provided that its also been trimmed for excess lenth.
The second die is a neck sizing only die. For brass that will be fired from the same bolt action rifle, you only need to neck size the fired case so that it will accept a new bullet. Full lengh resizing isn't necessary if the brass is going to be shot from the same gun again except for a semi-auto. Semi-Auto's are rough on ejection and often dent and ding up the brass.
Both the Full length and Neck Sizing dies both remove the old primer during the process. Both dies reqire the use of case lubricant so the brass won't get stuck in the die. You'll only make this mistake once...trust me.
The third die is the bullet seating die. http://www.midwayusa.com/product/307...-223-remington Case lube
. My preference is for Imperial Sizing Wax. Its the simplest to use and a single tin lasts a very LONG time. If you don't lubricate a case before full length sizing...be prepared to be very frustrated with trying to remove it from the die. http://www.midwayusa.com/product/519...izing-wax-2-oz Loading manual
I like the Sierra 5th Edition manual. Pick your own but this one is complete with recommended accuracy and hunting loads. That saves precious powder, primers and bullets that would normally be used up on load development. You'll be lots
Closer to having that special load right from the start.
Pistol dies. Loading pistol takes a few more steps and patience.
Scared yet...? Don't be. If you shoot enough, it'll pay for itself. Once loading supplies get back in stock, you'll be able to buy powder and primers from Powder Valley online.