COWBOY T'S SHOPPING LIST FOR
BASIC RELOADING SETUP
Updated January 3, 2023
This shopping list is what I used to get started. With this very setup, which I still have and use, I made my first 500 rounds each of .357 Magnum and .45 (Long) Colt. You don't need to spend a lot of money to get started reloading. With this setup, I can comfortably do about a box of ammo an hour, without rushing. With a powder measure, I can increase it to about 75/hour. To get started, that's all you need; remember, reloading is not a race.
The important thing is that you do just that--GET STARTED!
0.) Two good reloading manuals. currently I use Lyman's 49th Edition, Richard Lee's Modern Reloading, 2nd Edition, and Hornady's 8th Edition. This is your most important purchase. Newer versions come out periodically, as one would expect. About $30 each.
1.) Single-stage "Lee Reloader Breech-Lock Press", $50
2.) Set of three dies (Lee Precision) for your cartridge, $40 (standard shell holder is already included)
3.) Lee New Auto-Prime, $25
4.) The special shell holder for Lee Auto-Primes for your cartridge, $2.00 or so
5.) Beam scale, either RCBS 500 or Dillon Eliminator ($90) (Note: I do *NOT* like or recommend the inexpensive digital jobs--too unreliable)
6.) Set of analog dial calipers, $25 (the digital jobs go through batteries WAAAY too fast--I've already been there)
7.) Kinetic bullet puller, $15
8.) Reloading tray, about $7.50 (e. g. Frankford Arsenal). You can also use the plastic tray from most ammunition boxes, which is what I do.
NOTE: Cleaning your brass is, strictly speaking, optional, but I recommend it to keep your dies clean and to make it easier to spot defects in your cases before reloading them. The following items are for cleaning your brass.
9.) Vibratory tumbler, $35 (e. g. Frankford Arsenal, Harbor Freight)
10.) Brass cleaning medium, fine crushed walnut or corn cob, $11 at PetSmart or PetCo ("Lizard Litter")
11.) Good car polish, e. g. NuFinish or Wicked Metal Polish, for helping the crushed walnut--DO NOT USE BRASSO or anything else with ammonia in it, though! $5 to $10.
12.) Colander-type sifter to separate the brass from the cleaning medium once the brass is clean (mine was $7.00)
Total: about $360. Again, this is a complete, functional setup, and the same thing I used to make my first 1,000 rounds. I have the original version of the Lee Reloader Press, which cost me $35 in 2009. That press remains on my bench and continues to see plenty of use, even though I have progressive and turret presses as well.
Be sure to check out our videos, too, here at our homepage, to see just how easy it is to "roll your own"!.