Never reloaded before


Banned !
Full Member
Jun 14, 2012
There is a shop about two miles down the road from me that sells all kinds of reloading supplies . The man in there has a kit with everything you need to get started by RCBS. He says it has a book and everything. Does anyone know anything about these. Are they OK for someone like me that know nothing? Thanks for your info.


Ham Fisted Gorilla
Full Member
Feb 17, 2014
Yea, like the 350 dollar RCBS reloading kit? You will need dies specific to your cartridge, and powder and some bullets, and brass.


Professional Know It All
Full Member
  • May 11, 2010
    Hooker, OK
    You need to do a lot of reading online. Read the sticky's in this section of the forum as a start.

    You need to understand the different types of reloading presses and their pros and cons. This will get you started looking for the right kit. For example, if you are doing precision shooting only you probably would want a single stage press, but if you are doing bulk ammo reloading for pistols or semi autos you probably want to start with a progressive reloading press.

    A kit from RCBS is not the worst investment ever. The kits generally come with the most bare bones reloading equipment. You can make ammo with them, but you will quickly find yourself upgrading certain parts of the kit. For example, the kit probably comes with a balance beam scale and most people doing precision reloading eventually upgrade to something like an RCBS chargemaster combo.

    I would suggest doing research online for free and then make sure that you know what each piece in the kit does before you buy. You may find that you simply want to buy different pieces of equipment one at a time and piece your own kit together. I started with a kit from Lee about 8 years ago and there are only a few pieces of equipment from that kit that I still use. It would have been cheaper for me to do research and buy the good stuff the first time around.

    I suggest watching lots of online tutorials in video form. You will start to understand what equipment is needed.


    Gunny Sergeant
    Full Member
    Feb 12, 2017
    Read all the books you can about handloading. If you're primarily going to be handloading for your precision rifle, read handloading for competition to start. Watch YouTube videos, read the pinned topics in here, do as much research as you can before you buy.
    I think it's a whole other beast, precision rifle handloading, if you want to be meticulous and systematic, versus mass producing 9mm. Not saying you have to get expensive equipment, however there will be a few items that will make you time easier and more efficient, and less pain staking.


    Gunny Sergeant
    Full Member
  • Apr 25, 2017
    Read all the books you can about handloading.

    This +1000

    You need to understand the basic theory behind cartridge and chamber design and why things are done the way they are done. It's NOT enough to know what to do, to do it safely you also need to understand WHY it is to be done a certain way. Once you have that understanding and have mastered basic reloading by the book, then branch out into more precision oriented stuff.

    I tried to help a friend learn how to reload but basically cut him off because he would not read anything. He wanted the answer first and the knowledge later.


    Gunny Sergeant
    Full Member
  • Jun 3, 2012
    I wouldn’t buy anything until you check out all the sticky’s at the top of the reloading section so you know why you’re buying what you’re buying. I’d start with my video reloading for 223 and 308, regardless if you’re reloading 223 or 308... will atleast get ya going full length resizing... and buy the best can afford if you’re serious about it. If you reload to save money YOU WILL GET BURNED OUT! You reload because you enjoy it and want the most out of your rifles. I would personally part my reloading equipment together and not buy kits


    Full Member
    Jul 29, 2017
    I'm pretty new to reloading myself. Have 3 manuals so far. Hornady, Lyman, and got the LEE recently.
    My advice get the LEE manual. The first 159 pages are all about the process and philosophy of reloading. The instruction is the best of the aforementioned manuals.


    ain'T goT no how whaTchamacalliT
    Full Member
  • Jun 5, 2011
    Pierce County, WA
    I can give some advice, I got started with the RCBS kit. It doesn't have all you'll need by any stretch, so it may behoove you to put together a list (get help on here, Padom is a mod on here and has tons of good advice even for experienced loaders) and then buy some of it used. A better press can be bought alone, and used for a good price. People upgrade and sell stuff all the time. I'd look at the kits and then get the better parts you'll use for a long time vs. stuff that gets upgraded and sits. When I got my RCBS kit, it got me started cheaply but was far from complete. If on a budget, and planning to upgrade later, a kit can be worth it but for the love of fuck, PM me before you buy a new one, I can save you a lot of money on one of these basic kits and/or parts to get started.

    Press. I'd get a Forster Co-Ax. That's a damn nice press. Or maybe an RCBS Ammomaster --it's single stage made for .50 so that means it'll be more than powerful enough and easier to work smaller cases. You'll use the single stage even if you upgrade to a Dillon. I still use my little Rock Chucker all the time for pulling, depriming odd cases, swaging .50, etc. A single stage is good to learn on so you can focus on each step and it usually yields more accurate ammo in general, especially for beginners, though a 650 can roll amazing ammo.

    Scale. I'd get the dispenser and scale combo and be done with it. I have a beam scale and trickler and measure that just sits, though that setup will work fine if used right. I used it to check the digital one but the weights and calibration always is dead on so it's not needed. The auto dispenser and scale is indispensable, I still use it with the 650 for working up loads all the time. With the single stage, it helps reduce or eliminate under or over charges since you work one at a time. Under charges can mean stuck bullets, happened to me early on, doesn't anymore.

    Priming. I use press primers, but hand primers I hear have a better "feel" and you can use watching TV if you like. This is up to you. You'll want a primer tray, I'd get the metal Dillon one (it won't spark).

    Case holder. IF you use one of these and it's not a bad idea, I'd just take a 2x4 and drill the appropriate size holes and use that, or drill a 1x4 all the way through and glue it to another one and do it that way. Cheap, custom and works better.

    Funnel. Plastic ones are okay and it's what I use, but I'd rather have the one Satern Custom Machining sells. It's non-sparking metal and just a better funnel.

    Calipers. I'd get good ones here, I have a set of probably 60yo. Mitutoyo's, came in case with thin copper adj. tool (so dial will always line up TDC, AMAZING this wasn't lost and means it was taken care of) and they are dead on accurate. I have a set of cheap Frankford Arsenal calipers and they work fine too, I dedicate them to Hornady headspace and COAL gauges. Digital or dial, digital is certainly easier but get a good brand, get what machinists use, not what reloading suppliers sell. Good ones can be had at pawn shops, but they like to charge new prices for old junk. I happened to get a good deal 25 years ago, but I consider that lucky. This is probably the most important tool IMO. It's used for everything.

    Gauges. I'd get Wilson headspace gauges to start with. They are easy to use and measure case length and trim length at a glance and can be measured with calipers to get dead-on measurements. Most people misuse these and don't understand the value. I can't impress on you how important these are. They are used to setup your sizing dies if those are to be setup accurate, otherwise you don't know what it's doing. Same with trimming. Hornady gauges are preferred by some, they don't measure trim length but can do other things Wilson gauges can't. They're not too expensive, worth getting later on. I'd get the Wilson gauges for any round you plan on loading for right now. Again, you can't setup the dies without these.

    Dies. I like the Forster micrometer dies. You want to get good ones and be done with it. Note different calibers can come in different sizes. NM, FL and SB. You want to start with FL (NM doesn't mean "better" here). If an SB seater is needed, just get one but only if needed. Bushing and neck dies can be added later if you go that route, or you can use them right away if you have some help and know what to get and how to use 'em. In general, a FL sizer and a good seater are what's needed, it doesn't need to be a micrometer seater but they are accurate and easy to setup. For crimping, get the Lee "Factory Crimp" dies. Cheap and they work really well, better than using the seater IMO/E.

    Brass prep. RCBS case prep is something handy if using a single stage and doing it all by hand. You can do all the operations at once. Hornady makes a nice one but it costs more. Or you can get the stuff to do it by hand. You'll need a trimmer, again if doing this by hand and not planning on a Dillon anytime soon, get a good one. A good trimmer like a Giraud or something is the way to go here. You want it to have a motor, you want an accurate one. Some can be used to turn the necks if you get into that later.

    Brass cleaning. A vibratory tumbler and corn cob and walnut media work great to start with or for smaller amounts. Still, I'd get a bigger one, perhaps the Dillon. Dillon also has a media separator which is handy to have but not exactly necessary. Ultrasonic also works well, Hornady makes one I have and it'll clean parts too. With the solution they sell and the machine on hot water, it really cleans the brass and fast. If cleaning a lot (like a drum of .50 and tens of thousands of other cases) a cement mixer and steel pins is nice. I'd start with the vibratory tumbler because it can be used for smaller or larger amounts of brass and you can use it to safely clean loaded ammo (though they recommend not to) or bullets.

    I know I'm leaving something out, but for a beginner that wants to get the right stuff the first time and stuff they'll be able to use if/when they upgrade, this is the way to go IMO and wish I'd known this but even 15 years ago there wasn't as many options as there are today. It'd be best to go straight to a 650 but you'd miss so much that you learn on the single stage; it sucks but it's how it is. Unless you know someone that has one and can spend one on one time with you.

    PM me if I have any gear you can use: I have a lot of stuff laying around I'd be willing to sell to get you started if you PM me. I have a sale going right now but don't have that listed. I can sell you an RCBS powder dispenser, 5-0-5 scale and trickler, a loading block, funnel and a primer tray, all RCBS. I have a set of RCBS standard FL .308 dies and a set of RCBS SB 5.56/.223 dies (for AR's) and an older set of .45ACP dies. I have a used but fine Lyman tumbler and a slightly used RCBS case prep station with tools. I'd even be willing to sell my RCBS press and priming kit. Basically, I can sell you the RCBS kit for less than you can buy it for and you won't be out near as much when you go to upgrade and can spend your money now on the other important items, like gauges and calipers and such. I wish I had this option when I got started.



    Senior Chief
    Full Member
    Mar 29, 2011
    Northern Colorado
    Not sure where you are located but there are some big box stores (Sportsmans Warehouse) in CO and WY that offer reloading intro classes. As far as kits, most RCBS kits are pretty nice, they have all you need to get started. Just read about different types of dies and then buy those last based on the type of rifle you are shooting and the brass etc.

    Have fun and always keep one bottle of powder on the desk at a time, inspect each case before seating the bullet, and if there is ever any doubt about which powder you have, throw it out.


    Captain, USMM (retired)
    Full Member
    Feb 13, 2017
    It's a bottomless pit of constant upgrades, better pieces parts & faster time saving equipment, don't do it! OK, just kidding. Good advice above but theres two basic ways to go here. Do the reading of the stickies and a good manual of course. If possibe, get close to someone thats been doing this awhile, nothing like actually seeing a process happen to clarify your understanding of certain steps, alternative ways of using equipment, etc. Then comes decision time as to what to buy. You can go the basic budget beginner route & rebuy better/more efficient tools as you go such as trimmers, powder measures/throwers, scales, etc. Most go this route. Kinda depends on the type & how many guns you are loading for. Ive been doing this for 30 years & I'm still buying newer and better tools & equipment for the process lol. Or you could go the buy once/cry once route if you're really commited to the process as a longterm "lifetime" process & hobby. I have a reload room full of stuff i don't use any more , kinda wish I'd gone that route now! Budget plays a key part of course. Make sure you have the room you need to set up too without ending up in divorce court. Good luck!

    Greg Langelius *

    Resident Elder Fart
    Full Member
    Aug 10, 2001
    Start with single, simple bottleneck cartridge, like the .223. It's a very versatile chambering and responds well to load development. It's also rather economical to feed, and I have gotten to do some of my most enjoyable shooting with it at 600yd.

    Bear in mind that all rifles are at least in some small way different, and will probably like different loads even though you may have 4 or 5 of them in a single chambering (like my 223's). This is the good news, if you really get to liking handloading.

    I suggest that you follow your own desires regarding how and why you do this thing. Over twenty-some years my own hows and whys have gone though many evolutions; enough so that I'm not really a big fan of recommending any particular approach. Do it long enough and you will be making up your own reasons and methods.

    I am probably in my final phase, seeking simplicity and commonality. I am systematically standardizing on chamberings and powders. I have found that the Dillon RL550B Progressive press is a very good combination of capabilities, and I load precision rifle, semi-auto rifle, and semi-auto handgun ammunition on that same press. I have tried to eliminate chamberings that are close approximations of others, and I find that for my own purposes, the .223 is becoming a larger and larger proportion of my handloading and shooting. Other chamberings I mainly favor are .260 Rem (but the 6.5CM came along later and is also a good choice), and .30-'06. Less frequent flyers are 7.62x39, 7.62x54R, and Garand (yes it's also the .30-'06, but the Garand requires a different approach). For handgun, I'm making it a firm point to stick to 9mm (I wonder how long that resolution will last....).

    Start your education with the major cartridge reloading handbooks. I find that I stick mostly with the Hornady 10th Edition Handbook these days, but no single book will serve, and they all have annoying quirks like which powders they choose to use. I try to mostly confine my powders to Varget, IMR-4064, and H-4350. I also use IMR-4198 for the 7.62x39, but that's not a frequent flyer in my collection. Most of my current bullet selections are Hornady, but I still employ Sierra and Nosler. I use CCI BR-2's and BR-4's for nearly everything except military chamberings 7.62x39, 7.62x54R, and Garand, which get Winchester WLR/WSRs. For purely personal reasons, a lot of my brass is Prvi Partizan/PPU, and I'm also getting partial to Hornady brass.

    Keep this forum foremost in your evolution, and like the handloading books, understand there can be many ways to defur a feline, take it all with that grain of salt.

    Final point, if it isn't safe, it's eventually gonna stop being fun at some point.

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    Gunny Sergeant
    Full Member
  • May 7, 2009
    My advice is to start with a pistol caliber and then graduate to rifle after you become confident shooting your own stuff