Reloading Brass For Handguns-Part 2
In part one of this two-part series, we looked at starting
with a single-stage press when reloading brass for handguns. In this part, we
will continue looking at handgun reloading, as well as dabble a little into
A single stage press does
not have a powder hopper, so powder charging is almost always done by means of
a separate powder measure, and priming is best done by a hand operated tool,
although it can be accomplished on most single stage presses. (It's just easier
and faster to use a separate priming tool.) There is also no bullet hopper;
bullets are removed from their box one at a time by hand and fed into the
cases, then seated using the press and the bullet seating die.
For reloading rifle cartridges, a few accessories are indispensable.
Among these are one or more reloading manuals (At a minimum I like to have the
manual for every brand of bullets to be used. Another is an accurate powder
scale, necessary to set up and check the powder charges being dispensed. A lube
pad and lubricant are necessary so the cases will slip into the steel resizing
die (unless a carbide resizing die is used--a great convenience), as is one or
more loading blocks to hold the cases.
While not, strictly speaking, absolutely required for
reloading, a solid and dedicated reloading bench is a practical necessity.
Presses can be clamped to breadboards or kitchen tables, but these temporary
set-ups are rarely completely satisfactory.
The experienced reloader usually acquires numerous other
accessories that make the job easier, faster, or more precise. Among these are
case trimmers, deburring tools, case neck brushes, case gauges, primer
flippers, primer pocket brushes, powder tricklers, powder funnels, bullet
pullers, dial calipers, and other gadgets. None of them are absolutely
necessary to begin reloading, but most are useful. My advice is to buy a
"starter set" that includes a press and the basic necessities
required to begin reloading, and then acquire additional accessories as you
The RCBS Partner Press Reloading Kit and Reloader Special-5
Starter Kit includes a case loading block, case lube kit, primer tray, powder
funnel, powder scale, deburring tool, and the latest edition of the
The former also includes a light duty RCBS Partner
Press and a basic RC-130 powder scale (maximum capacity 130 grains), and the
latter includes a more powerful Special-5 press and 5-0-2 scale (maximum
capacity 500 grains). For either you will want to add at least a powder measure
and probably a hand priming tool. Also required will be a set of reloading dies
and a shell holder for each caliber you intend to reload.
The deluxe RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Kit adds a Uniflow
powder measure, automatic primer feed, and hex key set. This kit comes with a
heavy duty, case iron Rock Chucker press and a better 5-0-5 powder scale
(maximum capacity 505 grains) and includes basically everything you actually
need to at least get started reloading except a set of reloading dies and a
shell holder. Since it includes an outstanding press and a powder measure as
well as a primer feed, it is actually the best deal of the three RCBS starter
Everything comes with instructions for set-up and use. If
you read them carefully and follow them exactly you will have no problem
learning how to reload handgun cartridges. There are also detailed
instructions, including tips to make the process faster and easier, in most
Today, it is rare to find a serious shooter who does not
reload. Many shooters enjoy reloading as a hobby in itself; to others it is
merely a necessary chore that they must finish before the next shoot.
Regardless of the motivation, the cost of factory loaded cartridges is at a
level where few handgunners can afford to do much shooting without reloading.