The Best Reloading Kits for Beginners (2021)

If you’re a newbie that just started picking up shooting, you’ve probably picked up new ammunition off the shelf whenever you’ve run out of ammo. Over the months the expenses add up and you find yourself looking for a cheaper alternative. Or maybe you want to have fun with something aside from your gun.

A quick search would have brought you to multiple suggestions of handloading, which is a general term for assembling your own ammunition. What I’m going to talk about here is reloading, which is a method of handloading. To put it very simply, it is to manually assemble your ammunition using the casings of your expended rounds.

Do it yourself – sounds daunting, but fret not because OpticsPlanet has a variety of the best reloading presses and kits for beginners just like you.

Reloading KitsNameEditor’s CommentRatingGet The Deal
Hornady Lock-N-Load Classic Reloading Kit

Most Recommended Option

1. Easily switch calibers
2. Very Tidy and clean
3. High precision when setting cases

10/10Check Current Price
RCBS Explorer Reloading Kits

Premium Option

1. Consists of only important tools
2. Suitable for beginners
3. Available for pistol and rifle rounds

9.5/10Check Current Price
RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Master Kit 9354
1. Well built and very durable
2. Ideal for heavy users or passionate beginners 
3. Consists of most of the items you want for a kit
9.0/10Check Current Price
Lyman Brass Smith Victory Press Reloading Kit1. Easily organize your shells
2. Perfect for rifle shooters
3. Can hold up to 10 rounds
8.5/10Check Current Price
Lee Value 4 Hole Turret Press Kit1. Easy to use with simple visualisation
2. Perfect for handgun owner
3. Auto indexing which allows flexibility
8.0/10Check Current Price
Lee Breech Lock Challenger Kit1. Produces less bullet run-out
2. World Record Holder
3. Highly Convenient
8.0/10Check Current Price

The Reality of Reloading Yourself

Advantages of reloading yourself are aplenty, as with everything that you could possibly do by yourself. But of course, it’s not always sunny in Philadelphia. There are always going to be downsides of doing things by yourself and I’m here to show you what you can expect by reloading. Hopefully by the end of this article, we can convince you that you need to start reloading.

Pros

You can save money

You’re waiving off the cost of production that commercials incur when they produce the ammunition as well as the markup price and the good and service taxes from the stores you buy your ammunition off of the shelf from. So now all that you’re left with is just paying for the parts and the tools. Who knows, you might even make a profit out of reloading someday.

Unique customization

Factory ammunition all have uniform design. By making your own ammunition, you’re free to customize them however you wish for your specific purpose, whether you need more accuracy or more the impact from a bullet, it’s all on you. You can also make specialty rounds that are not available out in the market and maybe some novelties.

A hobby

It is something new you can pick up that is relatable to your shooting activities. It doesn’t hurt to have an extra skill and reloading does have some flair to it, so you can show it off a little to your friends and family.

Cons

You can’t save money instantly

Producing each round from its basic components is cheap, but the tools to enable that isn’t. Given that, it’ll take a while before your savings offset your initial costs. With this in mind, reload only if you’re planning on doing this long term and not just on impulse.

It is time consuming

It takes time to learn it, it takes time to do it. It’s completely normal to fail a couple times when you are just starting out, but with enough dedication and practice, you’d get the hang of it eventually and produce stunning results. But if you do not have the time to cater for reloading, you shouldn’t do it. 

Some ranges do not allow reloads

There are several indoor ranges that prohibit the use of reloads, so if you are a shooter that patronizes such ranges, do check back with them for their rules and regulations regarding reloads.

Lack of space to reload

Not so much a con, but more of a safety precaution. You need a dedicated space for your  reloading kit and process as you’d be handling some hazardous materials. If you stay in an apartment, it’ll be hard to find such space. So do heed this safety precaution before you consider reloading.

Reloading for Dummies 101

So you’ve weighed the pros and cons, made up your mind and now you’re here, so let’s get started on what you need for your reloading needs.

All The Items You Need

Before we delve any further, we’ll go through the basic needs of reloading so you know exactly what to look out for later. Here’s what you primarily need before you can start reloading: 

1. Reloading Press 

The most basic piece of tool for handloading. A press pushes the cases into a die that performs the reloading operations. There are 3 types of reloading presses namely the single stage press, turret press and progressive press.

  • Single Stage Press

A Single stage press only holds one die at a time. Each time the lever is pulled, the ram will raise to reload. This is an easy to use reloading press making it the best for beginners.

  • Turret Press

Similar to single stage presses, turret presses only act on one die per cartridge. However, unlike a single stage press, a turret press can hold multiple dies at once, allowing for manual switching of reloading dies. Being more flexible, the turret press is faster than a single stage press, but it comes at the cost of accuracy.

  • Progressive Press

When the lever is pushed down, several processes happen simultaneously as the shell plate turns so that each shell is prepared for the next operation, making it excellent for reloading multiple rounds quickly. Progressive presses, however, are not so easy to use, thus not the best for a beginner.

2. Reloading Dies

A vital supply for reloading. Dies are fixed onto the reloading press and are used for the production of each and every cartridge that you reload. Their purpose is to decap, resize and expand the case mouth, bullet seating and crimping.

3. Shell Holders

Generally sold separately, it is still a necessity to hold the case in place as it is forced into and out of the dies.

4. Priming Tool

To seat primers into the base of a cartridge.

5. Powder Scale

Increases the precision at which a load can be adjusted, reducing the danger for accidentally overloading cartridges with powder for loads near or at the maximum safe load.

6. Powder measure

A device for dispensing consistent amounts of smokeless powder as charges for handloading cartridges used for your ammunition.

7. Reloading Manual

A guide to help you through the reloading process, make sure your reloading kit has this inside.

That’s quite a number of tools to take note of, which is why we recommend  a reloading starter kit, as it offers a complete set and often comes with a discount.

Know What’s In Your Calibre

There are multitudes of casting dies out there, each fitting their own calibres and sizes. Knowing the calibre you own allows you to choose the right one so you can seal the round perfectly with a reloading press. Casings and primers are not like your oversized t-shirts or your skinny jeans, using the wrong size gets your round damaged instead.

Gunpowder Gun-Power

Too much or too little, both are bad. The last thing you’d want is a chamber explosion, and that’s what you may get if there’s too much gunpowder. Having too little gunpowder however, would produce too little energy for your round to fire off at all. So it is important to get a good funnel and measuring scale to help you measure just the right amount of gunpowder you’d need.

Choosing A Great Reloading Kit for Beginners

Your reloading kit will be sticking with you for a long time, you don’t want it to fail on you too soon, so it is important to choose one with quality and all the necessary components to avoid the hassle, and cost, of remedying whatever went wrong. Also remember, you’re dealing with ammunition here, you don’t want to compromise your safety over some poor quality kit just because it’s cheap.

If you think about it, it’s the poor quality reloading kits that may be costing you an arm and a leg, which is why you would need the best reloading kit you can get your hands on.

The Best Reloading Kits for Beginners – Reviewed

1. Lee Breech Lock Challenger Kit

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About Lee Precision

If you are thinking about starting to reload, you found the best place to start. Reloading indeed saves you money, and no manufacturer saves you more when you buy your kits than Lee. Their mission is to produce the best American made value in reloading kits. Lee Precision guarantees that their dies produce ammunition with less bullet run-out than any other brand.

Ammunition loaded with Lee collet dies is guaranteed to shoot the smallest groups, even when matched against custom bench rest equipment, and it is proven as their kits have already broken a world record. If their kits can’t convince you that they are the best, then who can?

What’s it loaded with?

The Lee Breech Lock Challenger Kits come with a Lee Breech Lock Challenger Single Stage Reloading Press and provides a complete powder handling system. It boasts the most repeatable powder measuring system while being highly convenient to use. Top it off with the Lee safety scale, the most sensitive and safe to use of all powder scales and an included powder funnel to fill your ammunition casings with. 

For the preparation of your ammunition casings, this kit includes a cutter and lock stud to trim your cases by hand as well as a chamfer tool that chamfers the inside and outside of the casing’s mouth and a tube of premium sizing lube is included. A small and large primer pocket cleaning tool completes the case preparation package.

But that’s not all, this kit comes with 11 auto-prime shell holders and the Auto-Prime XR hand priming tool, which is a fast hand held priming tool with unmatched feel and  pinpoint accuracy.

The reloading manual is easy to understand and will help you learn to reload properly, perfect for a beginner.

Who’s the target for this reloading kit?

This reloading kit is for those who prefer to prime off the single stage press as well as one of the best reloading kits for beginners who just got into reloading.

Recent reviews from customers

The most recent review from a customer was that this kit works great and comes with everything you need for reloading, aside from the die sets which you would have to purchase separately as it is dependent on the calibre you are looking to reload.

Another recent customer stated that this set is fantastic for starters to learn, simply read the instructions and apply some common sense and in turn you’d acquire a new skill which further enforces that this one of the best reloading kits for beginners.

The Bottom Line

At the bottom line of it all, if you’ve just started out and don’t want to spend a bomb while wanting it quick and easy so you can get right down to it, this kit is definitely for you as this is one best reloading kits for beginners.

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2. RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Master Kit

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About RCBS

RCBS was founded in 1943 by Fred T. Huntington, a dedicated shooter, in pursuit of obtaining quality varmint bullets. Today, RCBS produces state of the art productions but still remains true to their roots.

While no longer manufacturing bullet-swaging dies, RCBS is the one of the best manufacturers of ammunition reloading equipment for pistol rounds and rifle rounds while also offering reloading tools throughout the world.

What’s it loaded with?

Well, aside from dies and shell holders which are dependent on the calibre you are using, this kit has literally everything for you to start reloading like a professional, even if you’re a beginner, for $405.99. This kit also comes with a single stage press.

This reloading press’s handle is ambidextrous and made of solid steel, with its body made of industrial grade cast iron and it is so versatile that it can be modified into a progressive reloading press. Living up to its name, this thing is made to last a lifetime, but despite that, it still maintains a sleek and simple appearance. 

Alongside that solid reloading press, are everything else you need for the best experience, such as a mechanical scale, powder measure, hand held priming tool, a universal case load block, .17 – .60 debur tool, hex key set, case lube kit, powder funnel and of course, a reloading manual.

Who’s the target for this reloading kit?

This is the best reloading kit built for gun owners with heavy use in mind, so given that, it is made for hardcore reloaders with a passion for reloading and also for beginners building a passion for reloading.

Recent reviews from customers

The most recent review from a customer was that this reloading kit is a great deal for a person new to reloading, with everything they would need in a box. This customer praises the top quality of this reloading kit and states that he owns other equipment of this brand for over 5 decades and that they are still working exceptionally well.

The Bottom Line 

To sum up this reloading kit, at the bottom line of it all, if you are wanting to buy a kit made to last, this is it for you. It does have a relatively hefty price tag, but it does have the quality to back it up making it good value for the money.

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3. Hornady Lock-N-Load Classic Reloading Kit

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About Hornady

“Ten bullets through one hole” is the philosophy that brought Hornady® from a two-man operation in 1949, to among the best innovators of bullet, ammunition, reloading tool and accessory design and manufacture today. They rise up to challenge the constantly changing industry and outdo their competitors by ensuring the products they make are the ones their customers need whatever the current situation may be and accurately predict what they’ll want in the future.

They recognize trends, and respect when to leave well enough alone. Their workforce includes an ample number of hunters and competitive shooters, as well as veterans and former law enforcement officers. At Hornady® Manufacturing, ammunition is a major part of their daily life.

What’s it loaded with?

The Hornady’s Lock-N-Load Classic Kit, technology that lets you switch dies to a new caliber and begin your entire process again immediately. This is the best progressive press you can get your hands on if you’re working with multiple different ammunition types. This kit also has an automatic priming function so you can keep your hands clean while working on the press and your reloading process.

Inside this kit comes 3 die bushings that allow for quick change from one die to another with just a quick twist. The die and ram openings on Hornady’s Lock-N-Load System are CNC machined, creating the ideal alignment of the ram and die, so cases are always set properly.

Other tools that this kit contains are the powder measure, an electronic scale, a primer catcher, a universal reloading block, chambering and deburring tool, a primer turning plate, a one shot case lube and the 8th edition Hornady handbook of Cartridge Reloading, and all of this is pretty much everything you need as a reloader.    

Who’s the target for this reloading kit?

Being a single stage press, this is desirable for both beginners and professionals who want complete control over the entire reloading process.

Recent reviews from customers

There aren’t many reviews for this reloading kit, but the one customer that did do a review gave a 5 star rating and emphasised on how easy to use it was and set up this kit.

The Bottom Line

Overall, this kit seems to be kind of a middle ground between Lee’s Breech Lock Challenger and RCBS’s product, giving a little more than what a complete beginner would need for their reloading process. As with all reloading kits that will be recommended here, it is another one of the best for beginners.

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4. Lee Value 4 Hole Turret Press Kit

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What’s it loaded with?

Lee Value 4 Hole Turret Press Kit has a rugged design and produces top quality handgun ammo at almost a hundred rounds per hour with some quick lever action, even more when you become skilled at the entire reloading process. To help you visualise just how easy to use it is, you just have to pull the lever a couple times and a finished round is produced.

The Lee Precision classic turret press is a progressive press which is able to reload a variety of calibres ranging up to belted magnum rifle rounds. To change calibers, simply lock in a new turret and begin loading within seconds. As with most presses produced by Lee, this kit includes the Lee Safety Scale, a primer pocket cleaner, cutter and lock stud to trim the cases and a chamfer tool to deburr cases after trimming. 

Who’s the target for this reloading kit?

This reloading press is an ideal choice for handgun owners. With enough practice, you can even load over 200 rounds per hour. For those who wish to use the press as a single stage reloading press, the auto indexing feature in the press can be disabled in seconds and then re-enabled in the same amount of time.

For reloaders of rifle rounds, you aren’t forgotten as this press is also able to reload cartridge lengths of up to 2.3125 inches. However, for any cartridge longer than that you will have to dis-engage the auto index and manually turn the turret by hand in order for the press to be used at full capacity.

Recent reviews from customers

The most recent review from a customer stated that the press itself was great for its price, however he would skip the set as a whole. He did comment about the suboptimal stability of the mounting setup.

The Bottom Line

Overall, the Lee Precision classic turret press is best suited for beginners who are reloading pistol rounds. To complete this reloading outfit though, a set of Lee Dies is required. Despite being able to reload rifle rounds, I personally would not recommend it to rifle owners as it is quite a handful. I say this because rifle owners will need to purchase a rifle charging die, and to top it off, an appropriate rifle case length gauge to trim your brass after sizing.

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5. RCBS Explorer Reloading Kits

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What’s it loaded with?

Another great reloading kit from RCBS, the RCBS Explorer Reloading Kits-2 is a great kit to start out learning the art of reloading. In this kit, RCBS has compiled the most important tools you would need to start reloading. This kit includes a Reloader Special 5 Reloading Press, powder measure, 1,500 grain digital pocket scale, hand priming tool, Speer #15 reloading manual, deburring tool, fold-up hex key set, case loading block, case slick spray lube and powder funnel.

Who’s the target for this reloading kit?

This is a reloading kit and press is suitable for beginners and benefits your needs for all ammunition used by all sorts of shooters from pistol rounds to rifle rounds as this is a progressive press. Easy to use for a beginner with the help of a simple yet concise reloading manual. 

Recent reviews from customers

There are no reviews by customers for this reloading kit as of yet. However, given the reputation of the manufacturer and the reviews of other reloading kits made by RCBS, it is safe to say that customers who purchased the RCBS Explorer Reloading Kits-2 are satisfied.

The Bottom Line 

At the bottom line of it all, this is a solid well rounded reloading kit for beginners, there’s really not much to say about this reloading kit. The RCBS Explorer Reloading Kits-2 does have a higher end price tag at $349.49 for a beginner, but by no means unreasonable. I would suggest that if you do have the budget for this, go for it. This is truly a high quality reloading kit living up to expectations, one would have of the reputable RCBS.

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6. Lyman Brass Smith Victory Press Reloading Kit

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About Lyman

“Brands That Perform” is Lyman’s slogan and it holds meaning. For Lyman, performance means delivering value while advancing technology. Most importantly, it means listening to the needs of shooters and reloaders. As a matter of fact, the development of their products most often directly linked to the feedback they get from their customers and the retailers who supply their customers.

Whether pioneering the use of digital technology in reloading tools or reintroducing “antique” calibers and bullet molds, Lyman continues to improve and innovate the tools and accessories used by serious shooters and reloaders. Lyman has been among the best in the development of innovative products for reloaders and shooters.

They introduced a vibratory case polisher called the Lyman Turbo Tumbler in the early 1980s which revolutionized the way reloaders cleaned and prepared fired cases. More recently, Lyman has continued to be at the forefront of advancements in case cleaning, first developing a line of Ultrasonic cleaners and now moving to the very latest technology with a Rotary Tumbler released in 2016.

What’s it loaded with?

Rugged in design and precise in execution, the Lyman Brass Smith Heavy Duty Victory Press Kit contains a single stage reloading press that impresses. These Reloading Presses from the vanguard at Lyman comes with a 1500 grain capacity pocket touch digital scale for precise measurements and weighing.

The press is also coupled with the 50th edition reloading handbook the Lyman Brass Smith Precise Reloading Kit helps users easily maneuver reloading their firearm. Topped off with a powder measure and powder measure stand, reloading block, case prep multi-tool, magnum bullet pull, powder funnel, case lube kit, powder dribbler and even a primer tray to organize your newly loaded rounds.

The Lyman Brass Smith Single Stage Press Kit gives freeloaders all of the tools they need in one impressive reloading kit.

Who’s the target for this reloading kit?

An ideal choice for precision rifle shooters, being capable of holding up to 10 rounds, this is the best reloading press as it is a progressive press and it is one of the best option for people who are looking to deal with more rounds than normal.

Recent reviews from customers

There are no reviews by customers for this product as of yet. However, there has been feedback elsewhere that the primer may get stuck on the die and the batteries that come along with the electronic scale may be dead.

The Bottom Line

At the bottom line of things, the Lyman Brass Smith Victory Press Reloading Kit is a beginner friendly reloading kit and will cater to your need to reload if you are looking for something with the remarkable reloading capacity and speed, especially when handling rifle rounds. This reloading kit offers you everything you need to ensure swift and clean reloading while keeping it easy to use.

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Final Thoughts

In my opinion, these are some of the most qualifying purchases as these are the best reloading kits for beginners out there in the market. These reloading kits are not ranked in any particular order as they each have their own perks and the said perks all depend solely on your needs and budget, only you know what’s best for yourself.

We have the Lee Breech Lock Challenger for beginners new to reloading and not wanting to overspend. The RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Master has the highest quality and recommended for beginners passionate about reloading, and willing to do it for a lifetime. The Honady’s Lock N Load Classic offers a little of both worlds, offering everything a beginner would need for reloading and then some.

Lee Precision’s 4 Hole Turret Press is best used for reloading pistol rounds, while Lyman’s Brass Smith Victory Press best used for reloading rifle rounds. And then we have outstanding quality of the well rounded RCBS Explorer Reloading Kits-2, for a higher price.

So by giving a brief summary for each recommendation for your best reloading experience, I hope to have aided your decision making. With all that is said, I now conclude my guide for the best reloading kits for beginners, load away.

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