August 21, 2023 3 min read

Reloading your own ammunition with a single stage reloading press can be a fulfilling and cost-effective way to support your shooting hobbies. Whether you're reloading for a rifle, pistol, or shotgun, the steps remain largely the same. We thought it might be helpful to give you a step by step guide as a type of checklist for you to use until you become familiar with the various steps. Please be aware that you will need a reloading manual or reloading data in order to reload within the specs of your cartridge. Never "eye-ball" it or guess; this is a science! But most of all, enjoy the fun of tweaking your loads (within parameters!) and the relaxed mindset reloading your ammunition can bring.

Before You Begin:

1. Gather Your Equipment: Ensure you have all the necessary equipment, including a single stage reloading press, brass cases, primers, powder, bullets or shot, reloading dies, shell holder, powder scale, caliper, and a reloading manual for reference.

2. Clean and Inspect Brass: Before reloading, clean your brass cases thoroughly to remove any dirt, debris, or residue. Inspect each case for cracks, splits, or signs of excessive wear. Discard any damaged cases.

Step 1: Resize and Deprime the Brass

1. Place the resizing die into the press's top die slot and secure it firmly.
2. Lubricate the brass cases using a case lube pad or spray. This prevents the cases from sticking during resizing.
3. Insert a brass case into the shell holder and raise the press handle all the way up. This will resize the case to its original dimensions and remove the spent primer (deprime).
4. Lower the press handle and remove the resized and deprimed case from the shell holder.


Step 2: Prime the Brass

1. Place a new primer into the primer arm or tray on the press.
2. Insert the resized and deprimed case into the shell holder.
3. Align the primer arm or tray with the primer pocket on the case and press the handle firmly. This seats the new primer securely into the case.
4. Double-check that all primers are properly seated before proceeding.


Step 3: Measure and Charge Powder

1. Refer to your reloading manual for the recommended powder charge weight for the specific bullet or shot and powder you are using.
2. Set up the powder measure on the press according to the manufacturer's instructions.
3. With an empty case in the shell holder, cycle the press handle to drop a charge of powder into the case.
4. Use a powder scale to carefully measure the powder charge and ensure it matches the recommended weight.

Step 4: Seat the Bullet or Shot

1. For rifle or pistol cartridges, place the bullet of your choice into the mouth of the resized and primed case.
2. For shotgun shells, place the appropriate shot charge and wad into the case.
3. Insert the case into the shell holder.
4. Raise the press handle to seat the bullet or crimp the shotgun shell to the desired depth. Use a caliper to measure the overall cartridge length (COL) or shotshell length and adjust accordingly.


Step 5: Crimp (if necessary)

1. Some handgun and shotgun cartridges may require a crimp to secure the bullet or shot more firmly in the case.
2. Install the crimping die into the press and adjust it according to the desired level of crimp.
3. Insert the cartridge into the shell holder and raise the press handle to apply the crimp.

Step 6: Inspect and Label

1. Visually inspect each reloaded round or shell for any defects or irregularities.
2. If everything looks good, label the completed rounds or shells with the bullet or shot type, powder charge weight, and date of reloading.
3. Store the reloaded ammunition in a safe and dry place.


Reloading ammunition using a single stage reloading press allows you to tailor your own cartridges or shotshells to suit your shooting needs. Following this step-by-step guide will ensure that you have the basics to reload safely and produce consistent and reliable ammunition for your firearms or shotgun. Always double-check powder charges, bullet or shot seating depths, and overall cartridge or shotshell lengths to maintain accuracy and safety. Happy reloading!

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