With social unrest and political uncertainty stoking an unstable environment across the country, more people turn to firearms for protection.
However, the influx of new buyers and the panic of the COVID situation caught the manufacturers and gun store owners by surprise. The volume of ammunition sales across the US surged in 2020, creating shortages in various calibers, especially in 9mm and S&W.40.
As a result, new firearms owners find themselves with a weapon and no ammo available to purchase online or in their local gun store. As a result, people turn to extreme measures, with reports of people driving across state lines to source ammunition.
Fortunately, it’s not illegal to purchase and carry ammo across state lines. However, it’s a mission. Can you imagine dropping a few tanks of gas so that you can go on a 10-hour drive to buy ammo? Sure, we get it – you’re willing to do it, but what if there was an easier way?
While ammo is in short supply across the country, the materials to make ammunition are in abundant supply online and at gun stores. You can pick up casings, primers, and a reloading press, allowing you to make your ammo at home without taking that 10-hour journey.
Reloading refers to the practice of loading your ammunition yourself. It’s an interesting subject, and all firearms owners should have an understanding of the reloading process.
In this review of the best reloading press, we’ll look at the top listings we found online. You have choices for a range of calibers, and there’s sure to be something to suit your firearm ammo requirements.
Our Top Picks
- 1 Our Top Picks
- 2 Reloading Press Reviews
- 2.1 LEE PRECISION Classic Turret Press
- 2.2 RCBS Rebel Single Stage Press
- 2.3 Forest Camping Set Reloading Press
- 2.4 LEE PRECISION II Shotshell Reloading Press
- 2.5 LEE PRECISION 90180 Breech Lock, Hand Press Kit
- 2.6 LEE PRECISION Pro 1000 Load-Master Progressive Press
- 2.7 LEE PRECISION 90258 Classic Loader.357 Magnum
- 2.8 LEE PRECISION .45ACP Lee Loader
- 2.9 Forest Camping Shotshell Reloading Crimp 12 gauge
- 3 Other Best Selling Options
- 4 Reloading Press Buyer’s Guide
- 5 Types of Reloading Presses
- 5.1 The Single-Stage Reloading Press
- 5.2 The Turret Reloading Press
- 5.3 The Progressive Reloading Press
- 5.4 What are the Safety Considerations for Reloading Ammo?
- 6 Reloading Press FAQs
- 7 Reloading Presses – The Verdict
A reloading press is a customized piece of machinery designed for a specific purpose. There are various styles and designs of reloading presses available from a range of leading manufacturing brands.
We soured listings online to find the best models for this review. We selected these three top picks for the best reloading presses in overall, premium, and budget categories. Choose the press that suits your firearm caliber and your wallet.
Best Pick: LEE PRECISION Classic Turret Press
- This kit and a set of Lee dies is everything you need to begin reloading
- Note: the Bench Plate system the Classic Turret Press is mounted to in the photo is sold separately.
- Made in USA
- The kit includes the Pro Auto-Drum powder measure and riser, perfect for all handgun and small rifle cartridges.
The LEE PRECISION turret press wins our award for the best overall reloading press in this review. You get compatibility with a range of calibers and a clean reloading action that’s smooth as silk. This model features a sturdy base, with high-performance reloading action and fantastic production output.
Premium Pick: RCBS Rebel Single-Stage Press
- Heavy Duty cast iron frame with wide base for extra stability
- Biggest O-Frame opening of any standard size RCBS single stage press
- Machined qualified surfaces for tight tolerances
- Bottom of Ram Primer Ejection, Ambidextrous handle
The RCBS single-stage press is out choice for the best premium reloading press in this review. You get a sturdy cast-iron base with machined surfaces for tight tolerances on your reloading. The long single-action lever provides a clean reloading action, with compatibility for a range of dies and calibers.
Budget Pick: Forest Camping Set Reloading Press
- A SIMPLE tool that is RELIABLE in usage. It can be easily installed on any horizontal surface. Electricity supply is unnecessary for usage, which is why it is possible to reload shotgun cartridges under any conditions. The tool is mainly made of steel and aluminum, giving the product a long life.
- EASILY learn to use this tool. You don’t need any special knowledge or manuals to start using the tool for shotshell reloading. You can immediately begin to use it after fixing it on the surface. As the speed of shotgun cartridge spin is low, you don’t need to use any additional lubricants.
- More AFFORDABLE prices in comparison to other manufacturers. Product prices are more affordable in comparison to other manufacturers of shotgun cartridge reloading tools.
- A STEADIER result of shotgun shell crimp. Manually spinning a cartridge is a more controllable process during which you achieve the necessary result and a steadier crimp, in contrast to reloading with a power tool.
- It can load MORE than 10000 shotgun shells. A removable aluminum crimp starter is used in the tool, which can be replaced with another one as needed, ensuring your tool will last many years.
If you’re a hunter heading out for some time on public land, take along this handy 12-gauge shotshell reloader. This model features a lightweight design, with a service life for reloading up to 10,000 shotshells. This model comes with compatibility for plastic and paper shotshells and an affordable price tag.
Reloading Press Reviews
After reading through our top picks, let’s unpack them in detail. We’ll also look at other reloading presses for caliber-specific and general use.
After reading through the reviews, stick around and check out the buyer’s guide. We’ll give you everything you need to know when shopping for the ideal reloading solution.
LEE PRECISION Classic Turret Press
This turret press from LEE PRECISION has all the top features of the company’s award-winning model. This press is a precision reloading instrument with convenient reloading action. You get a hardwood lever providing smooth reloading action and a sturdy iron base for stable use on any work surface.
The long reloading stroke caters to shells up to 3-inches long, with automatic indexing. This model comes with 12-square inches of surface area, and if you deactivate the auto-indexing feature, you can load cartridges up to 4-inches in length.
This LEE PRECISION reloading press comes with a clear primer dispensing tube, with all primer caught-guaranteed. You get instant turret changes between calibers with this model. The LEE Lever Primer System and Safety Prime tool make it easy and safe to load your caliber of choice with this press.
This model is easy to set up, and if you purchase the reloading stand, you get a dedicated workspace for your reloading tasks. This model is our top choice for the best overall reloading press in this review.
- Long stroke for rifle cases up to 3.313”
- Machined surfaces for fine tolerances
- Rigid cast-iron frame
- 12-square inch loading area
- Award-winning model
- Works with RCBS dies
- Multi-caliber compatible
RCBS Rebel Single Stage Press
The RCBS Rebel Press is our top pick for the best premium reloading press in this review. With this RCBS model, you get a heavy-duty cast-iron frame, allowing for stable reloading. The surfaces on this press come with precision machining, allowing for the tightest tolerances in your reloading duties.
This single-stage press from RCBS features the tallest opening of any press in its category, allowing for reloading of cartridges up to 4-inches in length. This model includes a bottom-of-RAM primer ejection for no wasted materials when reloading.
You get an ambidextrous handle and a zerk fitting for easy use, and the machine comes with a lifetime warranty. This model is a fantastic successor from the original RCBS Rock Chucker press that is now the industry benchmark in single-stage press reloading.
- Heavy-duty cast-iron frame
- Wide base for stability
- Suitable for a wide range of calibers up to 3.313”
- Largest opening in any RCBS single-stage press
- Machined surfaces for tight tolerances
- Ambidextrous handle
- Clean primer ejection
Forest Camping Set Reloading Press
If you’re heading out for a weekend of duck hunting, take this handy, lightweight shotshell press with you on your trip. This Forest Camping model is the ideal choice for portable shotshell reloading at any remote location. This model features a lightweight aluminum design, making it the perfect camping accessory for small game hunters.
The Forest Camping shotshell reloader only works with 12-gauge, but that’s one of the more popular calibers available in shotshell reloading. This model guarantees 10,000 reloads, providing an extensive service life that pays for the press’s cost in no time.
This press comes with easy loading action and silky-smooth spring-assisted press action. It works with paper and plastic shells, providing safe and accurate reloading of 12-gauge shells. Considering the affordable price tag and the extended service life, we think this model wins our top award for the best budget reloader in this review.
- Easy-use reloader system
- Steel and aluminum frame for lightweight carry
- Lubricant free shotshell reloading
- 10,000 shell loading life
- Removable aluminum crimp starter
LEE PRECISION II Shotshell Reloading Press
The Forest Camping model is a great choice for reloading on the road. However, if you’re looking for the best shotshell loading press for your workshop, we recommend the LEE PRECISION II Shotshell Reloading Press.
This press comes with compatibility for reloading 12 / 16 and 20-gauge shotshells. Its versatile use makes it one of the more popular models, with a reloading capacity of up to 200-shells per hour. You get a smooth reloading action, with the hopper holding over 5lbs of shot that’s suitable for loading over 125 shotshells.
This LEE PRECISION benchtop model offers safe and secure use, with recesses at each loading station for fast shell positioning. You get easy and efficient gauge conversion, with 24 shot and powder bushings included with the press.
- Top reloading brand
- Bench-top design
- Loads 2¾ and 3-inch shells
- 12/16/20-gauge reloading
- Fast loading capacity – 200 shells per hour
- Recesses for easy positioning
LEE PRECISION 90180 Breech Lock, Hand Press Kit
Firearms enthusiasts looking for a portable reloading solution will find this LEE PRECISION kit a fantastic buy. This model comes with a mobile design and a carry kit included for easy transport to the range or the hunting site.
You get options for reloading a wide range of calibers, accommodating cartridges up to 3.65-inches. There’s no wasted time mounting this reloader on a workbench. The Breech Block hand reloading press comes with a full accessory kit, including Power Funnel, Ram Prime, Case resizing lube, locking-ring wrench, and a Breech Lock Quick-Change Bushing.
This press features construction with durable ASTM aluminum, featuring a breech-lock system to secure the dies. You can adjust and change your dies in seconds with a twist of the wrist. The reloading die kit sells separately with this model, and that’s all you need to set up the press to a caliber-specific reloader.
- Portable reloading kit
- No need for bench-mount
- Suitable for reloading at the range
- Comes with all accessories included
- Max length 3.65-inches
LEE PRECISION Pro 1000 Load-Master Progressive Press
The LEE PRECISION Pro 1000 is the pinnacle of cartridge reloading for firearms enthusiasts. You get reloading of several calibers, from 32 S&W Long to Remington 223. The best part about this press is the price tag.
While it might be on the higher side of the price range, it provides excellent service life and some of the best reloading action. You get fast caliber changes in less than three minutes, with an easy to configure set up. After loading 800-rounds, you’ll finish paying off the press in the money you save on ammo.
The first loading station features depriming and resizing; the second takes care of priming, case flare, and powder-charge. Station three handles bullet seating and crimping. You get an auto-feed loading action, with chamfered primer pockets for positive primer seating, and a fantastic production rate.
- Automatic reloading operation
- No wasted primer with case-loading action
- Alternate loading sequences
- Fast caliber changes
- Multi-caliber compatible from 32.S&W to 223
- Loads up to 250-rounds per hour
- Chamfered primer pockets for positive primer seating
LEE PRECISION 90258 Classic Loader.357 Magnum
Moving onto a dedicated reloading solution, LEE PRECISION offers this premium reloading kit for a .357 Magnum caliber.
This kit comes with steel loading parts, and a plastic powder dipper included. However, when using this reloading kit, it’s important to note it’s not suitable for .357-special loads.
This kit includes the following parts. A decapping and priming chamber, bullet seater, sizing die, and powder dipper.
You also get a priming rod and a set of instructions on reloading using the kit. This model has everything you need to reload .357-Magnum, and it comes in a convenient carry kit.
- Popular choice for .357 owners
- All accessories for reloading .357 included
- Suitable for high-velocity loading up to 1,400-fps ammo
- Precision instruments for tight tolerances
- Carry case included
LEE PRECISION .45ACP Lee Loader
This LEE PRECISION reloading kit comes with dedicated use for .45ACP caliber ammunition. All LEE PRECISION products feature design and manufacture in the USA, producing reloader with accurate finishes for tight tolerances and the best-quality reloading.
This kit is suitable for loading high-velocity ammo, and it’s a great choice for a portable solution. This model comes with all the accessories included, with a priming and decapping chamber, sizing die and bullet seater, as well as a powder dipper.
You get a convenient carry case included, and it’s important to note that this kit is not suitable for reloading ammunition for semi, pump, and lever-action firearms.
- Popular choice for .45ACP owners
- All accessories for reloading .45ACP included
- Suitable for high-velocity loading up to 1,400-fps ammunition
- Precision-designed instruments for excellent tolerances
- Storage case included
Forest Camping Shotshell Reloading Crimp 12 gauge
Forest Camping rounds out our review of the best reloading press with this model for 12-gauge shotshells. 12-gauge is one of the more popular choices for hunting and home defense. This press offers you an affordable and functional reloading system that sets up on any surface.
The handy benchtop mounting design provides a stable work surface, with the lever providing smooth reloading and crimping action of 12-gauge shells. This reloader comes with a sturdy cast-iron body, with lubricant-free reloading thanks to the slow spinning reloading process.
The model comes with a great price tag and a great choice to take along with you on your next hunting trip. This model comes with a service life for reloading more than 100,000 shotshells.
- User-friendly operation
- Crimp shotshell design
- Use on any surface
- No lubricants required
- Works with paper and plastic shells
- Manual control for stable reloading
Other Best Selling Options
- Made of the highest quality materials
- Hunting reloading presses
- Another quality Bushnell product
- Rock Chucker press frame provides a full four inches of ram-bearing surface to rigidly support the one inch diameter main ram
- Handle is made of solid steel and features a comfortable ball-type handle grip
- DIMENSIONS: 20" L x 9" W x 6. 5" D and weighs 21 lbs
- EASE OF USE: Integral floating shell-holder plate system allows for precise bullet-to-case alignment without the need for individual shell holders
- VERSATILITY: Loads small - magnum caliber pistol or rifle cases and has a selectable cam over operation
- RELIABLE: Features 2 parallel guide rods for stability, spent primer catcher and the included quick-change die blocks fit standard 7/8"-14 reloading dies
- DURABLE: Heavy-duty, robust die-cast construction
- Heavy Duty cast iron frame with wide base for extra stability
- Biggest O-Frame opening of any standard size RCBS single stage press
- Machined qualified surfaces for tight tolerances
- Bottom of Ram Primer Ejection, Ambidextrous handle
- Includes the Lee Safety Scale which is very sensitive
- Has a power funnel to fill the case
- A chamfer tool camfers the insdie and outside of thecase mouth
- Auto-progressive reloading press for quickly switching dies and loading other calibers
- 5-station bushing system lets you change from 223 to 45 in less than 5 minutes
- EZject system reliably ejects every cartridge, every time, without adjustments
- Quick-change metering inserts; universal case retainer spring; automatic indexing system
- Built-in priming system; case-activated powder drop; large-capacity hopper
Reloading Press Buyer’s Guide
With ammo shortages set to last for months, and stocks only coming back late in 2021, it’s time to start reloading your ammunition.
Reloading might seem complicated at first, but it’s easy to get an understanding. Starting with pistol ammunition like the 9mm, and moving onto rifle 5.56mm rounds is a great way to gain experience reloading various calibers for your firearms.
Your goal should be proficiency with reloading ammo for any caliber weapon your own. To do that, you need a good quality reloading press with a caliber-specific design for your firearms.
Choosing the right reloading press is like shopping for a new car. You can spend hours or weeks looking at prospective models before settling on a purchase decision.
Reloading presses come in a variety of styles and formats from a range of manufacturers. There are simple single-stage models for reloading and complex progressive reloaders with casing feeders. Each system has its benefits and drawbacks. We cover all of them the pros and cons of each of the models in this review.
However, we realize buying a reloading press is a significant investment in your time and future ammunition reloading tasks. Many presses come with additional accessories, so you will have to stay with that system or go for a costly replacement if you choose an expensive model.
Think about your needs when choosing the right press. If you’re thinking about increasing your firearms inventory, it benefits you to pick up a press offering compatibility with multiple calibers.
In this section, we’ll give you everything you need to know about choosing the right reloading press for loading the correct ammunition.
Types of Reloading Presses
There are three types of reloading presses. Each of them comes with different functionality. Let’s unpack the features and specifics of each reloading press.
The Single-Stage Reloading Press
The single-stage model is the ideal entry-level model for beginners starting in reloading. It features a user-friendly operation and a mechanical lever, pushing the casing, attached to the case holder, into the reloading die in a single, smooth operation.
Depending on the reloading caliber die used in the process, you can complete several reloading tasks with one operation. The system allows for the simultaneous decapping and resizing of the ammo, reducing the time spent on your reloading tasks.
The entire reloading operation with a single-stage reloading press requires multiple dies, and you’ll need to remove them manually after each process. It’s for this reason that a single-stage press is suitable for reloading small quantities of ammunition.
Trying to do hundreds of rounds with a single-stage press is cumbersome and boring. Even the most experienced operators only produce around 100-rounds per hour using a single-stage reloading press. However, it’s a cost-effective solution, and you’ll find the biggest expenditure is the die sets.
- Affordable and user-friendly
- Easy setup
- Simple reloading action with few moving parts
- An excellent choice for low-volume reloading activities
- Relatively easy changes between calibers
- Flexibility for small load changes
- Smaller footprint than other models
- Some presses come with independent stands
- Slow reloading rates of 100-rounds per hour or less
- Require external tools like punches and dies
- Requires use of specialist locking dies
The Turret Reloading Press
The single-stage press is effective and user friendly. However, it has limitations on the round capacities you can produce in an hour. If you want to turn out more ammo, you’ll need to invest in a turret press.
This model comes with a higher production capacity than a single-stage and a higher price tag. However, with a turret press, you get the fast and efficient loading of various calibers. The turret press features a “turret,” sporting multiple die stations, allowing for more rapid changes between pressing actions.
The holes typically feature a 7/8”-14 thread/inch (TPI) thread . this size is the industry “benchmark” for reloading dies. Depending on the turret press model, you could have multiple stations, but most presses come with four to five stations.
The turret comes with a fitment of reloading dies, rotated over the holder so you can perform all your reloading applications in a single casing. This rotation is either automatic or manual. With automated turrets, it rotates to the sequential station after each handle pull.
- Somewhat affordable
- Higher production capacity compared to a single-stage press
- Easy setup and user-friendly operation
- An excellent choice for low to mid-volume reloading duties
- Easy caliber changes, with automatic operation making for simple processes
- Flexibility for making load changes during reloading tasks
- Small benchtop footprint
- Only produces one casing at a time
- Some models need external primer pouches
- Some models don’t accept automatic primer and case feeders
What features do I Look for In My Turret Reloader?
- Interchangeable tool heads
- Compatibility with primer and casing feeders
- Compatibility with as many calibers as possible
- Design with industry benchmark 7/8”-14 TPI dies
The Progressive Reloading Press
The progressive reloading press is the top-shelf machine in this review. These models come with varying progressive stations, like a turret press. However, these models might have as many as eight stations or more, depending on the design.
A progressive reloading press with plenty of stations offers you more reloading functionality. The more stations, the faster your production rate. Some models allow you to get through as many as 1200-casings per hour, depending on the machine.
The average speed of the reloading rate depends on the specific press’s configuration and the specific components, like the installation of your case feeder. During operation, the feeder sends casings to the case holder disk.
Each time you pull the handle of the progressive press, it moves the casing through each station. As a result, the machine moves the process forward systematically until you get a completed product.
At every intermediate loading station, the loading plate goes through tasks; primer cleaning, resizing, replacement of the primer and powder, the projectile’s seating, and crimping. You complete each action with a pull of the lever until the final round drops out of the press into the collection bin.
- Fast reloading rates with high production capacity
- An excellent choice for large reloading volumes
- Easy to change calibers
- One-off adjustment of dies with progressive loading features
- Require no external tools
- Compatible with case and primer feeders
- Compatible with case trimming and primer swage
- The most expensive kind of reloading press
- Somewhat complicated initial setup
- Potential for mechanical components to fail
- Bulky design takes up workbench space
What Do I Look for In a Progressive Reloading Press?
- Compatibility with interchangeable tool-heads
- Additional press stages for expansion
- Compatibility with case and primer feeders
- Multi-caliber compatible
- After-sales customer support
Choosing the right reloading press depends on your needs as a firearms owner. If you only have one caliber gun and don’t intend on acquiring more firearms, you might only need a single-caliber solution.
Since you’re likely not going to need thousands of rounds, you could get away with a high-quality single-stage press for your reloading needs.
However, if you’re a sports shooter and using different calibers, a progressive or turret press is the better option. You get higher reloading capacity and compatibility with different calibers.
What are the Safety Considerations for Reloading Ammo?
Before you start reloading, it’s important that we go over the safety precautions when reloading.
Follow these tips for a safe and effective reloading experience.
- If you’re reloading, make sure you place your CCW firearm on a separate table and clear the gun.
- All new firearms owners should follow proper protocols in cleating guns before attempting any reloading practices.
- Place your magazine on a separate table to minimize the chances of firing malfunctions while you work.
- Start by gathering your Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
- Always wear safety glasses when reloading.
- Ensure that you’re using your ammunition in modern firearms to prevent loading malfunctions.
- After finishing your reloading duties, make sure you pack away your reloading components in a safe place.
- Never let children use a reloading press without adult supervision – even if they know what they’re doing.
- Gun powders and primer is explosive. Store it in a cool, dry place, away from the reach of children.
- Keep your primer and reloading components in a locked safe or cabinet to prevent theft or misuse.
- The author of this article bears no responsibility for incorrect loading procedures or improper handling or reloading materials.
Reloading Press FAQs
Do I need to tumble the cases?
According to information on forums, some people don’t bother tumbling cases before reloading. However, if your casings have debris in them or scorch marks, they may cause loading malfunctions in rifles and pistols after reloading. Tumbling before resizing and lubing is always the best reloading practice.
What do I need to start reloading?
To start the reloading process, you need the right reloader and knowledge of your caliber’s right primer options. It’s an extensive process and a somewhat steep learning curve. However, there are plenty of videos on YouTube unpacking the reloading process in any caliber.
Is reloaded ammo better than factory ammo?
It might surprise you to learn that reloading ammo yourself is a better option than buying factory-assembled ammo. Factory ammo can be inconsistent, and you’ll find that doing it yourself produces better results.
Where can I buy the best Reloading Press?
We recommend picking up your reloader on Amazon. A reloader is an expensive piece of equipment, and the buyer protection on your order ensures it gets to your home. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you get fast and free delivery directly to your door and hassle-free returns. Amazon has the best prices and range, making them the ideal option for purchasing the best reloading press.
Reloading Presses – The Verdict
With the ammunition shortage set to continue across the United States for the coming months, finding a reloader solves the problem.
By now, you should have an idea of the best reloading press solutions for your firearms. We covered the types of reloaders and the caliber-specific options in this review. However, if you’re having trouble settling on the right model., why not go with one of our top picks?
The LEE PRECISION Classic Turret Press is a great choice for a fast and productive reloader that works with all ammo sizes up to 4-inch cartridge lengths. This model comes with a high-volume output, sturdy design, and efficient use. It’s the ideal choice for reloading 9mm and 5.56mm rounds.
The RCBS Rebel Single-Stage Press is the ideal solution for your reloading needs. This model works with dies for cartridges up to 3.56-inches in length. This model has a silky-smooth single-stage operation and a sturdy cast-iron base.
The Forest Camping Set Reloading Press is the ideal reloader for hunters requiring 12-gauge shotshell reloading. This lightweight model is portable and user-friendly, making for easy reloading in the field. This model comes with 10,000-reload service life and compatibility with plastic and paper shotshells.