There’s what you WANT, and then there’s what you NEED… Usually, you end up with something in the middle.

When you decide you want to start loading pistol, you’ll likely put together a list of all the things you need in order to get going. Having an organized approach will be of great benefit. There’s nothing more frustrating than ordering up a bunch of stuff, excitedly opening all of the boxes, and later discovering you don’t have everything you need. If you have to mail order the remaining items, that could cost you a week, and all the while you’ll be daydreaming about gunpowder, bullets, primers, and brass.

In order to save some frustration and endless searching on forum posts, web pages, and elsewhere, I’ve put together this list of the items you’ll need to get started loading pistol. You will need to figure out all of the parts and accessories that you’ll need for the particular press you buy.

Required? Quantity Item
Yes 1 Reloading press and accessories/parts
Yes 1 per caliber (some shared) Shellplate (if press is a progressive), Shellholder (if press is a turret or single stage)
Yes 1 per caliber (some shared) Die set
Yes 50-1000 per caliber Brass, used or new
Yes 1lb per application Powder
Yes 100-1000 per application Primers
Yes 100-1000 per caliber Bullets
Yes 1 Scale, digital or mechanical
Yes 1-20 per caliber Ammo boxes (can reuse factory ammo boxes and trays)
No 1 Bullet puller
No 1 Powder funnel
No 1 can Case lube (required if your dies are not carbide or Titanium Nitride)
No 5-10lb Case tumbling media (ground walnut shells, dried corncob)
No 1 Case tumbler (Vibratory cleaner or similar)
No 1 Micrometer (0-1″)
No 1 Digital Caliper (0-6″)

This list may not contain everything you would want, but it contains everything you’ll need to get started.

Next: What you need to load rifle ammunition

Originally published 01/2009

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