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Choosing a press

Choosing a reloading press can be like shopping for a laptop. After hours or even days of pondering, you can feel no closer to an educated decision…

Reloading presses range from simple (single stage) to complex (Progressive reloader with case feeder). There are quite a few considerations and features to consider. Each press has its strengths and weaknesses. Buying a press can be a major committment- if you buy a progressive reloading press, you will be spending a good sum of money each time you want to add another caliber to your reloading setup. The more you invest in your system, the more you are “married” to that brand and model of press. Clearly, one should educate themselves about products and contemplate their current and future reloading needs.

Here are some criteria to consider regarding different types of presses:

  Single Stage Turret Progressive
Cost Low Medium High
Complexity Low Medium High
Precision Best Excellent Very Good to Excellent
Speed Slow Medium Fast

You should buy:

  • A Single Stage Press if you are:
    • - Primarily loading for rifles, and do not need large quantities of ammunition
    • - You are on the tightest of budgets
    • - Accuracy is the most important thing to you and you don’t mind spending the extra time
  • A Turrent Press is you are:
    • - Loading for rifle and pistol and favor accuracy and attention to detail over speed
    • - Loading primarily for rifle and want decent speed
    • - Are on a fairly tight budget, and want more speed than a single stage
    • - Are new to reloading, and want something simpler than a progressive to start with
  • A Progressive Press if you are:
    • - Loading primarily for pistol, and are shooting large quantities of ammunition
    • - Are loading for pistol and rifle and are shooting large quantities of each (you shoot pistol and AR in .223 for example)
    • - You are tight on time, and large on budget
    • - You like machinery with lots of levers and knobs, are mechanically inclined

Now, I know some of you are going to say: “Hey what about having more than one press?”. Well, that’s going to be a requirement for serious shooters that shoot both pistol and rifle. Either the compination of a Single Stage and a Progressive, or a Turret and a Progressive can be good options for the well-rounded reloading shop.