If you like getting cheap ammo, reloading might be for you.
If you like using ammunition that’s tuned specifically for your gun, reloading might be for you.
Look, if you like shooting, reloading is probably for you.
The first thing you’ll need is a reloading press. That’s what we’re here to talk about.
SPOILER: If you’re eager to get started, pick up the Lee Cast Aluminum 4 Hole Turret Press With Auto Index. It’s a good mix of price and efficiency.
If you’d like to see what else is out there before you dive into the wide world of reloading, stick around. We’ll give you a rundown of all the best reloaders.
The Top Models in 2020
The Best Reloading Press Reviews: Make Your Own Ammo
The usual drill is to put our winner first. So, that’s what we’re going to do. The rest of the reloading presses will be covered in order of price. The reloading presses that you can buy on a shoestring budget are up first. The reloaded presses that you’ll need to take out a loan to buy will be covered last.
Time to make some rounds.
1. Lee Cast Aluminum 4 Hole Turret Press with Auto Index - Best Overall Reloading Press
When it comes to reloading presses, you usually have to pay more for more efficiency. The Lee Cast Aluminum 4 Hole Turret Press with Auto Index is a good mix of cost and efficiency. It’s got a lot of good features that help you reload rounds quickly. But, the initial investment for this press is reasonable.
The 4 holes hold all the dies you need for the reloading process, which helps you streamline your reloading. And, the auto indexing makes it easier to make ammo quickly, even though this is a single stage press.
Also, the locking lugs for the auto indexing turret are placed so that they make the turret much more stable and eliminate tipping. All this simplifies seating the bullet to a matter of pulling on the lever.
Speaking of the lever, this reloading press is nicely ergonomic. The stroke is very long. It makes it easier and more comfortable to press rounds, without knocking your knuckles against your press.
There are a couple downsides to the lower price of this reloading press.
First, it’s aluminum. More expensive reloading presses are usually steel or iron. So, this may not be an ideal press if you plan on doing hardcore reloading. However, most casual reloaders won’t have a problem.
Also, this reloader is only suitable for shorter cartridges. This reloading press is only capable of reloading rounds with an overall case length of 2.313 or less. That means that this reloading press is not ideal if you plan on reloading larger rifle rounds.
Even though it’s not a great reloading press for those who intend to do mass reloading or reload large rifle rounds, it’s an excellent option for anyone who’s looking to get into reloading without spending too much money up front.
2. Lee Precision Loader - Budget Reloading Press
The Lee Precision Loader might be the lowest cost way to get into reloading. It’s super affordable. But, as you know, it’s not the fastest way to make your own ammunition.
First, this loader is available in a variety of calibers. However, you only get one caliber in your kit. These are the calibers you can get:
Although you can purchase the other calibers, there are more cost efficient ways to reload if you plan on reloading several calibers.
This loader is affordable and portable. It’s portable enough that you can use this press to make ammunition anywhere. But, the reloading process is slow and tedious. You can still make good ammunition. It just takes time.
Overall, this kit is an excellent option for anyone who wants to make low quantities of rounds or learn the basics of reloading before investing in a more expensive reloading press. In any case, the low price of this press offers an opportunity to make ammunition at an extremely low cost-per-round.
3. Lee Precision Cast Iron Reloading Hand Press - Value Reloading Press
If portability is important to you, but you want a more efficient reloading process, the Lee Precision Cast Iron Reloading Press is a good compromise between portability and ease of reloading.
Unlike some other portable reloading presses, this is actually a true hand press that uses leverage to press rounds. But, it’s handheld. So, you can take it anywhere. This way, you get leverage and simple pressing motion like a bench-mounted press, but you can move it easily.
Also, the bushing is a breech lock, quick-change design. So, you can swap out your dies quickly to keep things moving.
Now, this isn’t as easy to use or as fast as a traditional bench-mounted press. So, you do lose a bit of reloading efficiency for portability.
And, the case length is limited to 3.650 inches. That’s enough for most rounds. But, you may not be able to reload large, magnum rifle cartridges.Even though it’s not the fastest reloading press ever, it’s very affordable and portable. It’s an excellent option for a reloading hobbyist or beginner.
4. Lee Anniversary Challenger Kit II - Budget Bench-Mounted Press
If you plan on getting into reloading a bit more seriously, the Lee Anniversary Challenger Kit II is an excellent option. It has everything you need to set up your own reloading bench and start cranking out rounds.
The press itself is strong enough to load almost any round, including magnum rifle rounds. The press mounts to a bench, and the long handle gives excellent leverage and comfort for reloading lots of rounds.
Also, this kit includes all the loading accessories you need to run the entire reloading process. Everything you need to charge the cases, prime the cases, weigh the powder, and seat and crimp the bullets comes in the box.
The loading accessories are not premium equipment. The powder measure and scale aren’t great for getting extreme precision in measuring your powder charges. If you want to load benchrest competition ammunition, this kit may not be ideal.
However, it’s just fine for the casual reloader, and you can purchase aftermarket loading accessories to complement this kit.
Also, this isn’t a mass production reloading press. The process is still very slow and deliberate, as with most basic presses.Overall, this is an excellent price for a complete reloading kit. It’s perfect for anyone who wants to get a feel for reloading, and progress to making more and higher quality ammunition.
5. RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Press - Single Stage Reloading Press
A single stage press is often enough for even serious reloaders. You may not be able to produce as many rounds as fast. But, you can make some great ammunition. The RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Press is easily one of the best single stage presses around.
This press is an O frame press, which offers more strength and rigidity than most C frame presses. Also, the ram-bearing surface is four inches. This keeps everything even and concentric as you press rounds.
The handle is steel. And, the handle can be configured for right or left-handed people. Additionally, the handle is mounted to a sturdy cast iron press that will probably outlive you.
This press can also be upgraded to a progressive press with the addition of an attachment, which is also built by RCBS. So, it gives you the ability to take your reloading to the next level, once you’ve perfected your process.
However, all the functionality and upgradeability comes at a cost. This is a fairly expensive single stage press. And, it weighs about 20 pounds. If you want to build a mobile reloading station, you may want to consider a lighter option.
But, even with the drawbacks, this is still the best reloading press for anyone who wants high-quality equipment that offers plenty of room to grow.
6. RCBS Supreme Master Kit - Complete Single Stage Reloading Kit
If you’re considering using a single stage press for all your reloading, no matter how advanced you get, the RCBS Supreme Master Kit is a very cost efficient option.
The kit is built around the RCBS Rock Chucker reloading press, which is a solid single stage press, with a comfortable, ambidextrous action.
But, RCBS has added everything you need for serious reloading. All the tools are here:
- Case deburring tool.
- Mechanical scale.
- Hand priming tool.
- Powder measure.
- Case lube kit.
- Universal case load block.
- Nosler #7 Reloading Manual.
So, it has everything you need to set up a reloading station. And, all the information for perfecting your reloading process and dialing in your handloads.
Even though this kit is high quality enough to produce really high-quality rounds, there’s no automation. So, it takes longer to make a lot of ammunition. But, with a little practice, you could create a fairly fast system.
The only real downside with this kit is that you could get a progressive reloading press for about $200 more. So, this reloading kit is probably most suitable for those who want the benefit of fine-tuned ammunition, but aren’t aiming to mass produce ammunition.
7. Hornady Lock-N-Load Auto-Progressive Reloading Press - Value Progressive Reloading Press
If you want to reload a lot of rounds fast, a progressive reloading press is the way to go. The Hornady Lock-N-Load Auto-Progressive Reloading Press is one of the most affordable ways to get that efficient, progressive reloading process.
First, there’s a quick change bushing system that enables you to quickly change dies and switch calibers in less than 5 minutes. It’s a great system for those who want to reload multiple calibers, or make both handgun and rifle rounds.
This press offers a lot of efficiency with an automatic indexing system, built-in priming system, case-activated powder drop, and a high-capacity hopper. All this means that you need to spend less time fiddling with your reloading press, and more time actually making ammunition.
Additionally, Hornady’s EZject system reliably ejects the completed rounds into the collection bin. Progressive presses are all about efficiency, and this saves you the trouble of popping rounds out of your press.
The only trouble with this type of reloading press is that there are a lot of moving parts. This press jams more than a single stage press. And, the price is significantly higher than even the most expensive single stage press. So, this system isn’t without its flaws.
However, this is still a great deal for a complete progressive reloading station. If you want to make a lot of great ammunition quickly without an astronomical upfront investment, this press is for you.
8. Dillon Precision Progressive Auto Indexing Reloading Machine - High Volume Reloading Press
If you shoot a lot of rounds, you need a reloading press that makes a lot of rounds. The Dillon Precision Progressive Auto Indexing Reloading Machine is designed for cranking out tons of rounds every hour.
This press is capable of reloading any type of cartridge. It includes everything you need for large and small powder bars, large and small primers, and reloading rounds with any case length. So, this is an outstanding option for those who want to reload a lot of rounds in multiple calibers, like 3-gun competitors.
However, you will need to buy dies for the calibers you want to reload, as the dies are not included with the press.
But, this press is built to an extremely high standard. And, if you have problems with it, Dillon offers excellent customer service. The press will last a lifetime. If not, Dillon will fix it under the lifetime warranty.
This press is capable of producing 500 to 800 rounds an hour. And, it comes with a .223 conversion kit. So, if you run an AR-15 and shoot a lot, this is a really good option for you.
9. Dillon Precision Super 1050 - Professional Reloading Press
The Dillon Precision Super 1050 is a professional-grade reloading press that enables you to produce a lot of high-quality rounds, fast.
This is a complete reloading station. Everything is attached to the press. Just load up the casings, primers, and powder and start cranking.
That’s not an exaggeration. Almost everything is automated:
- Automatic case feeder.
- Automatic indexing.
- Automatic powder measure system.
- Automatic priming system.
All this makes this press capable of dumping out 1000 to 1200 rounds per hour. This press produces enough ammunition for a small commercial operation.
And, Dillon lengthened the frame and redesigned the crank assembly to make it easier and smoother to crank out rounds. So, you won’t get worn out producing thousands of rounds.
Unfortunately, Dillon only covers this press with a one-year warranty, rather than their lifetime warranty. And, this press only comes with one priming system (large or small) and one casefeed plate (small or large pistol, or small or large rifle). So, you’ll need to purchase some additional equipment for reloading multiple calibers.
Also, swapping calibers takes a long time. Plan your caliber changes wisely.
This isn’t a progressive reloader for beginners. The cost of this machine is restrictive, and it’s fairly complex.So, it’s best for shooters who are shooting thousands of rounds a month or those who want something capable of minor commercial production.
Finishing the Batch
Reloading your own ammunition has a lot of benefits beyond just saving money. You can fine tune your loads to match your gun, and experiment with different bullets and powder types. So, reloading your own ammunition can be a real advantage for professional and competitive shooters of all sorts.
If you want a solid, cost efficient reloader, get the Lee Cast Aluminum 4 Hole Turret Press With Auto Index. It’s efficient enough to make quite a few rounds. But, the cost of the reloading press itself is super reasonable.
Now that you know which presses are the best (and best value), set up your reloading station and start making custom handloads.