Anyone who enjoys shooting on a regular basis will certainly benefit from adding the best reloading press to their armory. Those shooters who decide to invest in an efficient reloading press will see their initial outlay returned over time. While the return on investment is important, there are also other advantages to be gained.
A reloading press will allow you to optimize loads that will match and work in tandem with your chosen weapon(s). It will also allow you to experiment in terms of assembling different bullets and types of powder.
With this in mind, let’s see what is on offer…
8 of the Best Reloading Equipment Reviews
After we’ve reviewed eight of the very best reloading presses currently available, our buying guide will dig deeper into things you should take into account when deciding on the best reloading press for your needs. In it, we will also explain the three different types of reloading presses available.
Our reviews cover everything from best starter reloading kit models right up to top-end reloaders. As can be imagined, prices vary significantly. So, let’s get going with our reloading kit reviews and find the best press for you…
1 Hornady 095100 Lock-N-Load Auto-Progressive Reloading Press
Our first review relates to shooters who need to reload lots of rounds and get the job completed quickly. The Hornady Lock-N-Load is classed as a progressive reloading press. This type of press is fast, efficient, and once set-up, can produce a high volume of rounds per hour.
Quick change bushing system…
We mentioned that this complete loading kit is suitable for those with lots of rounds to load, and it certainly is. It has a rapid change bushing system. This allows you to change dies and switch calibers at will. A very good fit for those looking to reload different calibers and a handy piece of kit if your intention is to produce rifle and handgun rounds.
Good efficiency reduces your workload…
You are buying into efficiency. This best reloading press has:
- An automatic indexing system.
- Built-in priming system.
- Case-activated powder drop.
- High-capacity hopper.
This combination allows you to press on with ammo production quickly and correctly. An additional bonus is that the EZject system ejects every completed cartridge into the attached collection bin. This means you are not having to constantly pop out rounds from the press.
But, there’s something to be aware of…
The functionality of this press means it utilizes a far higher number of moving parts. As with anything that has lots of elements working together, there is a greater chance of something going wrong. It should also be said that due to its quality and functionality, you will pay more to own one.
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.
- Ideal for those who want to produce large quantities of ammo.
- Quick change bushing system means ease of switching between calibers.
- Automatic – fast, efficient reloading system.
- Solid build.
- Lots of moving parts – could lead to eventual breakage.
- In the ‘more expensive’ category of best reloading press.
2 Dillon Precision Super 1050 40SW
Our next review refers to one of the ammo reloading kits that also requires a significant investment. The Dillon Precision Super model is up there in the professional-grade category.
This best reloading press will be of interest to serious competition shooters, or anyone looking to produce enough ammo capable of running a small commercial operation. And this automated, complete reloading kit can turn out between 1,000-1,200 rounds per hour!
Automatic is the name of the game…
For the significant investment made, you are buying into automation. Just about everything on this best reloading press is automated – You get automatic:
- Case Feeder.
- Powder measurement system.
- Priming system.
It is an all-in-one piece of equipment. Operation is achieved simply by loading the casings, primers, and powder. You then start cranking to rapidly produce your rounds.
Decide before you buy…
With the cost involved, you need to be aware that the press comes with only one priming system – Large or Small and one casefeed plate – Choose from Large or Small pistol, or Large or Small rifle. This means that if you are looking to reload multiple calibers, additional equipment needs to be purchased.
Not the best starter reloading kit…
The Dillon Precision super reloading press has a specific target market in mind. It is a good pick for experienced self-loading shooters who have lots of rounds to produce. This means it is not the best starter reloading kit out there.
- Ideal for those producing a high volume of rounds on a regular basis.
- Very fast and efficient reloading system.
- Allows for the production of over 1,000 rounds per hour.
- Redesigned cranking action makes round production smooth and easy.
- Produces very high-quality ammo.
- Not for beginners.
- Additional equipment purchase required for multiple caliber use.
- Caliber swapping takes a long time.
- You only get a 1-year warranty.
- Very expensive.
3 Lee Precision Load Master 45 Reloading Pistol Kit
Lee Precision makes some of the best reloading press equipment available. Their Load Master 45 reloading pistol kit is an example in a specific niche.
High quality at a very keen price…
We have to place this in the cheap reloading press category, but this does not mean you will sacrifice quality or features. As ammo reloading kits go, you are getting excellent features for the price. This includes:
- Quick-change tool head.
- Cast aluminum body.
- Manual & Automatic indexes.
- Five stations.
- Removable turret head.
- Powder measure system.
Dimension-wise it is 19 x 11 x 10 inches and weighs in at 6.61 lbs.
Who is it suitable for?
The Lee Precision Load Master 45 Reloading Pistol Kit is a solid choice when it comes to reloading kits for beginners. It will also suit shooters who have a little experience but are ready to move upwards and onwards with self-loading. This is because of the included manual and automatic indexes. Start off with the manual indexes, progress to the automatic ones without any additional cost.
Round production per hour…
As with all self-loading work, practice and patience are required. However, with a dose of both, you have the ability to produce around 400 rounds in an hour. This is thanks to the five progressive stations and means you can perform a maximum of five functions at once. The Lee Precision Loadmaster 45 reloading kit is also compatible with a varied range of die sizes.
Practice really does mean perfect and will also allow you to spend more time out shooting, less time casting rounds.
Ease of caliber change…
The provided removable turret head allows ease of change from caliber to caliber. The powder measure system will help reduce waste, and importantly, it helps to keep your workspace clean.
- Quality features.
- Easy caliber change.
- Ease of transition from Manual to Automatic indexes.
- Five progressive stations = ability to achieve five tasks at once.
- Very keenly priced for features and functionality.
- Lightweight frame.
- Potential for seating primer issues.
- Occasional jams.
- Powder measure could be better.
4 Lee Precision Classic Turret Press (Red)
We stick with Lee Precision for the next of our reloading equipment reviews. The Lee Precision Classic Turret Press has all the features of their award-winning turret press.
Quality yet cheap reloading press…
This is another best reloading press that is a versatile, cheap reloading press. It is an excellent choice as a best starter reloading kit or for those with intermediate reloading experience.
The easy-change turret plate ensures an uncomplicated process for switching between calibers. It also features four stations to assist when reloading various die sets.
Case size capability…
Utilizing the auto-index feature gives the capability to load cartridges with overall lengths of up to 3.313 inches. When longer cartridges are required, simply use the manual turret advance feature.
Although you should not expect to produce vast amounts of ammo in a session, the bullets you produce will be of high quality, and the production rate suits many shooter’s needs.
As mentioned, this is a four-station loader with automatic and manual indexing features. It has primer arms, the frame is made from solid cast iron, and you benefit from a high clearance. This allows for ease of larger bullet production thanks to the long grip lever, which is made from quality hardwood.
To top this best reloading press off, you get a 2-year quality warranty with purchase.
When looking at other reloading equipment reviews, you will find this is regularly placed on the ‘best buy’ list.
- Ease of set-up.
- Quality projectile finish.
- Suitable in the reloading kits for beginners & intermediate user categories,
- Solid, high-quality frame.
- 2-year quality warranty.
- Long hardwood lever prone to cracks or breakage.
5 RCBS 9356 Rock Chucker Supreme Press
This RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Press must be placed in the best single stage reloading press category.
Don’t dismiss a single stage press
While it is true, you will not produce as many rounds per hour with a single stage press; this is not always a necessity. It is a fact that many serious reloaders use them. This is due to the quality of ammunition that can be produced.
Strength, Rigidity, and Flexibility…
The Rock Chucker Supreme Press is designed as an O-frame press. This design offers more strength and rigidity than the vast majority of C-frame presses out there. It also features a ram-bearing surface of 4 inches. This means everything is kept solid, steady, and concentric as you produce pressed rounds.
Further proof of its solidity is seen in the fact that this press is made from cast iron with a steel handle.
This best single stage reloading press is ambidextrous. So, lefties, as well as right-handed users, will have no problem with operation.
A huge selling point…
We have already stated that opting for the best single stage press is the way to go for many shooters. While this is true, the RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme offers a big advantage. It can be upgraded into a progressive press. To achieve this, you simply add an RCBS-built attachment. By doing so, you are taking your reloading activities to the next level.
Words of caution!
If your preference is for an easily movable/mobile reloading station, this is probably not the best choice. Due to its very solid build, it weighs in at around 20 lbs.
It’s also expensive when compared against other models of best single stage reloading press models. However, the extra cost should be balanced with its upgradeability when weighing up its value.
- Supremely solid O-frame design.
- Ambidextrous steel handle.
- 4-inch ram-bearing surface ensures concentric rounds.
- Ability to prime on the press.
- Upgradeable – Possible to move from a single stage press to a progressive press.
- Heavy. Not the best choice for those looking for a mobile press.
- Quick-change die feature could be better.
- Expensive for a single stage press.
6 RCBS 9354 RC Supreme Master Kit
We feel it makes sense to stick with quality, so let’s stay with RCBS and their RC Supreme Master Kit.
The best starter reloading kit out there?
Those shooters who are just starting out on the reloading trail will benefit from reading reloading kit reviews. By doing so, it will quickly become apparent that this Supreme Master Kit from RCBS is a prime choice for beginners.
We certainly cannot place it in the cheap reloading press category, but it will provide you with everything required to be up and running in just one afternoon.
You may save money buying individual parts of a reloading system, but it is unlikely you will save time or potential frustration. This is because it is often the case that an individual part that should have been ordered has been forgotten.
What it says on the tin!
This is certainly a stand-out choice when it comes to the best reloading kits for beginners. It will also benefit shooters who are looking to improve and perfect their ammo making skills.
There are a healthy band of shooters who maintain single stage press equipment is the way to go for all of their reloading needs. This is regardless of how experienced or proficient they become. If you are one of this group and are looking at the best single stage reloading press, the RCBS Supreme Master model is a complete reloading kit in every sense of the word.
Everything you need for serious reloading…
Here’s what you are buying into when purchasing this complete reloading kit:
- A case deburring tool and hex key.
- Hand priming tool.
- Universal case load block.
- Mechanical scale.
- Powder measure.
- Case lubrication kit, 2 oz. bottle of case lube & case lube pad.
- Two case neck brushes (.22 and .30 caliber).
- Reloading Manual – Nosler #7.
Based around the ambidextrous RCBS Rock Chucker reloading press just reviewed, you should feel comfortable that you are buying into long-lasting quality.
No automation means a longer time at the bench, but…
This best single stage reloading press is very high quality and therefore allows you to produce rounds of high quality. While practice will increase your output, it will still be below what can be achieved with other types of reloading presses.
Those shooters who wish to benefit from ammunition that is fine-tuned as opposed to mass produced should strongly consider this complete reloading kit.
However, we feel it is important to point out that a quality progressive reloading press can be had for only a few hundred dollars more.
- In terms of reloading kits for beginners – Ideal.
- Perfect for the more experienced who are perfectionists.
- Everything you need when it comes to a complete reloading kit.
- Press and included accessories of high quality.
- Educational literature – A useful resource to perfect your reloading skills.
- Lifetime warranty.
- Nearly as expensive as a progressive press.
- The single stage reloading process is slow.
- No mounting plate included.
- No reloading dies, or shell holders included.
7 Dillon Precision 14261 RL550C 4 Stage Manually Indexed Progressive Reloading Machine
The second of our Dillon reloading equipment reviews is more affordable than the first, but is still an investment that needs consideration.
Caters for a wide variety of cartridges…
Many experienced reloaders will sing the praises of the Dillon Precision line. Their RL550C has been classed by the company as being their most versatile. We would not necessarily recommend it as the best starter reloading kit. However, it is a very good choice for shooters with reloading experience who have a wide range of loads to produce.
It is capable of loading rifle and pistol bullets galore. You have a choice of loading over 120 calibers. This includes 32 ACP up to 338 Lapua, 416 Rigby, and 460 Weatherby.
What does the “C” in the model name mean?
The “C” designation represents a significant design change in the RL550 line. The pivot pins in the upper link arm are now threaded in place. They also have a grease groove around the pin that connects to a lube hole on the pin end.
What this means is that shooters can now use a grease gun with needle fitting to lubricate the upper pivot pins. This makes for far smoother operation and much faster, easier maintenance. If you’re looking for some gun grease, please check out reviews of the Best Gun Oil Grease currently available.
Strongest Dillon press produced to date…
The reinforcement of key points on the actual frame makes the RL550C the strongest reloading press the company has produced to date. And you get to choose your preferred caliber conversion kit with purchase. It should be noted that Dies are sold separately. There are also optional accessories you can purchase, which will enhance your reloading experience.
- Sturdy, the strongest Dillon reloading press built to date.
- Highly reliable.
- Loads rifles and pistols in a very wide range of calibers.
- There are better options in terms of reloading kits for beginners.
- Not the cheapest.
- Accessories need purchasing separately.
8 Redding Big Boss II Reloading Press
We complete our reviews with a model that should be placed in the best single stage reloading press category. The Redding Big Boss II is a good choice as the best starter reloading kit. It also has a place in the workshop for those with more loading experience.
Enhanced features really do help…
You are getting a solid, cast-iron O-frame press that is offset by 36 degrees. This means increased visibility is yours, no matter what size cartridges you are working with. Having said this, the Big Boss II has been specifically designed to target larger cartridges or those loading magnum rifle loads.
There is also a 3.8-inch usable ram stroke. You will not find many that are longer among other best single stage reloading press models. Both features really do help your reloading activity.
In terms of size and weight, it comes in at 15 x 7 x 7 inches and weighs 16 lbs.
While it is not a cheap reloading press, it is certainly not out of reach for many in terms of investment.
The added benefit is that the quality build and effective use helps enhance the reliability and accuracy of self-made ammo. This press is particularly beneficial to those shooters who need to produce their own long-range bullets.
- Long Ram Stroke (3.8 inches).
- Solid cast iron frame – Built to last.
- Excellent choice for long-range shooters.
- There is no quick-change die system.
- Better choices out there for those looking to press smaller cartridges.
- In the higher single stage press price range.
Best Reloading Press Buying Guide
There are many ‘components’ involved in pressing your own ammo.
While this includes a lot more than just a reloading press, there is no doubt that this piece of equipment is the most important. It is also the most expensive. With that in mind, here are some important considerations to take into account. Ticking these off in priority fashion will go a long way to acquiring the type and model of reloading press that is perfect for your purpose.
What weapon(s) do you shoot?
This should be the first consideration. If you are making loads solely for handguns, then a reloading press that has a high clearance in order to produce longer cartridges is not what you are looking for. However, those shooters whose main use is a rifle will benefit from a press that has a high clearance.
If you are a shooter that uses different weapons on a regular basis (an example being handguns and hunting rifles), then you should go for a far more versatile reloading press. Match the weapon(s) and bullet size you regularly use with the most appropriate reloaders for the job. By doing so, you will reap the rewards.
Current and Future Needs
None of us have a crystal ball! But, wherever possible, look at your current needs and any planned or expected changes in your future shooting habits.
You may be a shooter that has found their comfort and enjoyment zone in the sport. This will mean you have no real intention of changing your activity. In this case, you can go for a reloading press that suits your current needs.
However, if you are determined to improve your skill in the foreseeable future, you will need to increase ammo use.
Two examples here:
- Those whose current skill level is low to average but who are determined to up their proficiency in order to take part in competition shooting.
- Shooters who currently hunt on an occasional basis but know that given time, they would be out far more often. Don’t worry; if you are bitten by the hunting bug, you will make more time for this exhilarating sport!
If you are a shooter at any level who intends to increase their shooting activity, then this should be reflected in the type of reloading press you purchase. It should be a reloading press that meets your current needs but one that is flexible enough for future requirements.
What are you after in terms of bullet production?
Those shooters who are at the range or out hunting on a very regular basis will obviously need a far greater volume of rounds than an occasional shooter. Different reloading press types produce different results in terms of output.
To help you understand the three different types of reloading press available, we will describe these in the section below. However, to give you a broad guideline:
- Experienced shooters and those with above-average reloading experience who need to produce a high volume of rounds per hour (1,000+) will benefit from a progressive press.
- Shooters who spend a reasonable amount of time shooting should look at turret press models. These can produce between 100 to 500 rounds per hour and are relatively easy to get to grips with. Additionally, you can purchase aftermarket accessories as required to speed up the process.
- Occasional shooters, those new to reloading, or experienced shooters who are looking for exact loads will find a best single stage reloading press the way to go.
What space do you have available?
This consideration may not seem so important. Truth be told, it is not if you have the benefit of a large workspace such as a garage, workshop, basement, or separate premises. However, if you are short of space or have limited free space, make sure you take measurements of the different reloading press models into account.
They need to fit comfortably in the space you have. You should also allow additional space for accessories, other tools, and personal movement.
Being comfortable is the name of the game, and reloading in cramped conditions is not ideal. You also need to bear in mind that a very solid mounting arrangement is required. If you decide to buy a stand-alone mount, be aware that this can take up as much space as the press itself!
Whatever shooting equipment or accessory you are looking at, cost needs to be a major consideration. This is certainly a valid point when it comes to purchasing a reloading press. They range from 100’s of dollars way up to 1,000’s of dollars.
Yes, producing your own ammo will save money over time on factory ammo.
No, the amount spent should not be beyond reasonable need and means.
Make sure your outlay for a reloading press relates to expected ammo production levels. It should also be a sum you are comfortable spending.
Three Different Types of Reloading Press
We have touched on which type of press is generally best for different shooters. To back this up, here’s a brief description of what the three different types of reloading press are. We will also reconfirm which type of press is considered best for which type of shooter.
Let’s start with ‘simple’ and move up from there…
1. Single stage
The single stage press is certainly the simplest type of reloading press. You will generally find they are built on a strong, sturdy frame.
As the name would suggest, this press holds only one die at a time. In terms of operation, your chosen die is screwed into an opening, which is at the top of the press. In order to secure the cartridge case, a shell holder is attached to the ram.
As the attached lever is pressed down, the ram raises to reload. Some of the best single stage reloading press models have priming attachments. Many require manual intervention with the use of a hand priming tool for this task.
- Most straightforward type of reloading press.
- Easiest to use.
- Cheapest reloading press.
- Suitable for beginners.
- Good for shooters looking specifically at high accuracy and quality round production.
- Slowest type of reloading press.
- Not suitable for high volume output.
2. Turret Press
The Turret Press is mid-tier. It has similarities to a single stage press in that the one die, one cartridge process is in place.
However, the Turret Press simultaneously holds multiple dies. This allows the reloader to manually or automatically index from one die to the next. When looking at this type of press, check whether manual or automatic index is achievable. You can then consider how important this feature really is.
With a turret press, you still need to complete a good number of lever strokes per completed round. But, bullet production is faster than with a single stage reloading model. This is thanks to the indexing capability.
While finished precision may not be as accurate as that produced by a best single stage reloading press, this is not really seen as an issue for the majority of reloaders.
The Turret Press is a good choice for shooters of varying levels of expertise. In terms of reloading kits for beginners, it is a solid pick. It also works as a more than acceptable precision set-up for those with more reloading experience.
- Faster ammo production than a single stage press.
- Some models come with automatic indexing.
- Not as precise as the best single stage press models.
3. Progressive Reloading Press
A progressive reloading press is the most effective press in terms of reloading output. You get a complete round for each cycle of the lever.
The shellplate holds multiple cases at once. The ram stroke process is initiated by pushing down on the lever. From there, a variety of things happen at once. As the ram cycles, the shellplate indexes (turns). Once complete, the next shell is ready as the last completed round drops into a chute or round (bullet) bin.
You can choose between automatic or manual indexing. You will often see these descriptions as:
- Auto indexing progressive.
- Manual indexing progressive.
Progressive reloading presses are popular with those shooters who use lots of rounds. Examples here are pistol shooters, those whose main weapon is an AK-47 or AR users who load .223 ammo.
There is nothing to stop bolt action rifle loaders using a progressive reloading press. However, the lower quantities of ammo required make a single stage or turret press totally adequate for these shooters. The progressive reloading presses are also the most expensive.
Increased Speed, Increased Complexity
Shooters who really want to speed up their reloading process can go for progressive presses with inclusive case feeder attachments.
Case feeders work by inserting a case automatically into the shellplate for each lever cycle. The choice of case feeder is yours. Simple tube type feeders can be manually filled, or the more expensive motorized feeders automatically refill tube(s).
Case feeders increase complexity in terms of set up, caliber changeovers, and operation. This means they are best utilized by those shooters who are into bulk reloading exercises.
- Best choice for those who need to reload multiple rounds fast.
- ‘Bins’ in place to hold automatically ejected rounds.
- Best choice for shooters of pistol and semi-automatic rifles.
- Not the best choice for novices.
- Time investment required when it comes to caliber changeovers.
- Very much in the upper price range.
Best Reloading Press Brands
As we have mentioned, investing in the best reloading press for your needs can mean a significant investment. This means that it is beneficial for you to understand the positives and negatives of companies who manufacture reloading equipment.
You should also take into account comments left by other shooters on various forums. Frank comments are available on such things as brand, warranty, and customer service. From our viewpoint, we believe that the quality of equipment needs to be balanced against cost. We also feel that manufacturer reputation and good customer service is vital.
With that in mind, here is our pick of four manufacturers that have a very good name in the best reloading press equipment market.
If longevity, and the staying power of high-quality reloading press equipment, is what you are after, then look closely at RCBS. They have been in existence for eight decades and counting. You will be assured of efficient, precision-engineered equipment that is built to last.
All of the best reloading press equipment produced is made from heavy-duty cast iron. This ensures your chosen press comes with a long life. And RCBS show their pride in quality reloading press equipment through comprehensive warranties and informed helpful customer service.
You may not be buying into the cheapest brand of best reloading press when opting for an RCBS mode. But, the plus side of such investment is the fact that you will still be using your press many, many years from now.
Lee are not very far behind RCBS. Indeed, when looking at reloading kit reviews, many who have purchased and are using the companies reloading presses state there is nothing better. They have been in existence for over 70 years now, so are obviously doing something right.
High-quality manufacturing processes go hand-in-glove with affordable prices…
The reason prices are attractive comes from the fact that quality lightweight cast aluminum is used for sturdy body construction. It is far cheaper than cast iron, yet with Lee’s tough powder coat finish, it is strong, durable, and more than capable of lasting you a long time.
Customer service is good. Purchase of any Lee Precision press comes with two warranties:
- A 2-year, no questions asked warranty.
- A limited lifetime warranty.
Lee Precision offers very good quality at prices to please.
Hornady have long had a place in the hearts of American shooters. The company was established as far back as 1949. And they have stuck to their principles throughout long and successful business growth. The company’s motto to this day is: “Accurate, Deadly and Dependable.”
They are not the cheapest manufacturer out there. What you are buying into is the longevity of use, quality, and all-inclusive patented features.
Hornady has worked hard to produce the best reloading press equipment to meet shooters requirements across all levels. They also show flexibility and foresight in the fact that other brand accessories can be added to their presses.
In terms of established years in the reloading press sector, Dillon Precision may be behind the last three manufacturers mentioned. Having said this, they are clearly here to stay. The company philosophy is to move forward and build upon the foundation of innovation and improvement of its product line.
In the main, warranties are excellent. You will find return or repair policies are more than fair. When it comes to customer service, you can expect first class attention in a knowledgeable, friendly manner.
Dillon Precision has made it their business to listen to comments from users in the field. It is clear that the company is listening to and responding in a manner that benefits ‘real’ reloaders.
When purchasing from Dillon Precision, you will not feel like another ‘number in the system.’
So, what’s the Best Reloading Press?
It is clear that investing in the best reloading press can mean a significant investment. However, the benefits and satisfaction of self-reloading really can enhance your shooting experience. And depending upon your needs, there is a reloading press for you from those reviewed above.
But, for shooters new to reloading or intermediate shooters wishing to progress, we would recommend the…
Granted, this is one of the more expensive single stage presses out there. However, its solid build will last a lifetime. Among other things you are buying into, is an ambidextrous steel handle, a 4-inch ram-bearing surface that produces concentric rounds, and the ability to prime on the press.
On top of these factors, there is a stand out feature you will benefit from:
As your reloading expertise and needs increase, you can purchase an RCBS-built attachment to turn this from a single stage press into a progressive press. Through this enhancement, you have the ability to take your reloading activities to the next level.