“The Bare Essentials of Reloading”


This Week’s Tips or Tricks…




TIP:  Using the “buddy system” to cost share precision reloading tools and components for use amongst the “group” can get you better results, faster, and without the worry of “breaking the bank” from having to buy it all yourself!  You can ask just about any seasoned reloader as to how they got everything they have and I can assure you that 90% of people you ask that question will answer simply “It wasn’t overnight!”.


Pull all your shooting buddies together for a night of drinks and shooting the bull (no live firearms or ammo…that’s a FELONY!) and map out your “plan of attack”.  Establish a list of who already has what, what you all need individually, who will get what, and what line of standard equipment/tools you all prefer so that in the event that one of your buddies needs to borrow something from the group…it will work on all your shared platforms!!!




What are the “essential” reloading tools and equipment that ALL “buddy system members” should have as a bare minimum for reloading?


-Reloading Manual…you can NEVER have too many of these! (We suggest getting the Lyman Reloading Manual which covers most popular bullets and calibers and is NOT manufacturer or bullet brand specific in their reloading data!  For our long range go-to Manual…the latest Berger manual is the ticket…and don’t forget about online resources such as the following listed online Reloader’s guides.)


Printed Manuals & Resources…











Online Manuals & Resources…











Other Online Reloading Data Resources…






Online Ballistics Resources…







Please see the following articles written by the CEO of Broken Box R LLC regarding a quick how-to of successfully implementing a process for metallic cartridge reloading practices:


            Reloading For Success


            A Short List of The WHAT NOT TO DO’s of Reloading



-Single Stage Press…Why should everyone have their own press???  In order for a Reloading Press to be sturdy, effective, and accurate…it MUST be ROCK SOLID!!!  This means that if you use your buddies press all the time you won’t be able to just go over and “pick it up” if he is out of town to use it!  Get your own Single Stage Press to have in case you can’t use your buddies…last thing you want to do is miss that shot on a monster bull because everything you needed to reload those tac driver reloads is at your buddies house but he is out of town on his own hunt!!!






Please see the following articles written by the CEO of Broken Box R LLC regarding a quick how-to of successfully implementing a process for metallic cartridge reloading practices:


            Reloading Presses...Which is Right For YOU!!



-Dial Caliper or Micrometer





-Quality Bullet Comparator Tool Set for your Dial Caliper





-Lyman Case Trim Gauge Tool





-Good set of Dies for your particular caliber(s) you are reloading…there are numerous dies available ranging from standard to custom, Cowboy Action and AR, and even Match Grade to Benchrest…so choose the appropriate dies for the appropriate results desired, budget willing of course!














-Mechanical or Electronic Powder Scale…old school balance beam scales may not be as nice as a newer electronic scale, but just remember that when the power goes out or your batteries go dead in the electronic scale...that old balance beam with still be working!






-Powder Measure…electronic powder measures are very nice to have, but for the economically challenged reloader we highly recommend you just start with a simple manual powder measure like the RCBS Uniflow or alike.






-Powder Funnel & Large Automotive Funnel…these two items should be the first on your list and are least expensive!  You will need a good .22-50 CAL powder funnel to transfer you powder into your primed cases.  But what is the large automotive funnel for???  Well, this is for transferring powder from larger bottles such as 4, 5, and 8 lb. kegs into smaller 1 lb. reloading bottles or when filling your powder measure or powder trickler...having one of these will save you hours of cleaning up messes around your reloading stations!!!  Note: clean all of your funnels immediately after purchase and then periodically as needed to ensure the funnels are removed of all oils, particles, dirt, or other contaminants that could potentially contaminate your reloads.







-Case Trimmer…a good case trimmer is a must to ensure that your casings are always properly trimmed to within SAAMI specifications.











-Lyman "Universal" Case Prep Accessory Tool Set…you will find throughout your reloading adventures that sometimes precision hand tools such as these will come in very handy!





-Hand Primer Tool…(Note: may/may not be required if you are investing in and/or have an auto-progressive press)





-Primer Turning Trays…these are essential to ensure that your primers are all indexed “anvil up” when staging primers for being loaded into auto-progressive press primer tubes.





-Bullet Puller Hand Tool or Bullet Puller Die and Bullet Puller Collet(s) for your caliber(s)…sometimes you just need to extract those bullets, so have the tools on hand to get the job done!





-Necessary Shell Plates, Shell Holders, Collets, Spacers, Shims, etc. as required by your reloading press and case trimmer…depending on which presses and other equipment you choose…some of these items may be able to be used across all the equipment or they may only work with manufacturer specific equipment, so be sure to plan ahead accordingly and evaluate which all tools and accessories with work with what equipment.








-(1) Spare Decapping Spindle and (1) 5-Pack of Spare Decapping Pins for small, medium, and/or large calibers…(depending on what all caliber sizes you are reloading and the sizes required).






-(1-2) Case Lube Pads and (2-3) Cans Resizing Lube…properly lubing cases and other precision components will save wear and tear on your equipment and tools and is required to keep from getting those cartridge casings stuck in your dies.  Some components you can over-lube and it will cause harm such as denting and other tools it may be ok to over-lube…so learn and understand WHY you are lubing certain components, tools, and/or precision equipment so that you know what lubes, lubrication points, and how much lubrication you should or should not use!!! 






 -Good cleaning and oil lubrication products for you Dies and equipment… We suggest M-Pro 7, Frog Lube, Shooters Choice, Hornady, and Lyman products for these…many other great choices out there for sure, but these are the ones that we use and/or recommend.


Breakfree - https://www.brokenboxr.com/store/index.php?controller=search&orderby=position&orderway=desc&search_query=breakfree&submit_search=Search

Frog Lube - http://froglube.com/

Gunslick - http://www.gunslick.com/

Hoppes - http://www.hoppes.com/

Hornady - http://www.hornady.com/store/One-Shot-Gun-Cleaner

M-Pro 7 - http://www.mpro7.com/


Outers - http://www.outers-guncare.com/

Otis - http://www.otistec.com/



-Powder, Primers, Bullets, and Brass Casings specific for your caliber(s)


Smokeless Powder Manufacturers/Brands:


Accurate Arms - http://www.accuratepowder.com/

American Pioneer - http://americanpioneerpowder.com/

Alliant - http://www.alliantpowder.com/

Hodgdon - http://www.hodgdon.com/

IMR - http://www.imrpowder.com/

Ramshot - http://www.ramshot.com/

Nobel Sport - http://www.vectan.fr/UK/

Norma - http://normapowder.com/

Shooters World - http://www.shootersworldsc.com/

Vihtavuori - http://www.vihtavuori.com/en/homepage.html

Winchester - http://www.wwpowder.com/index.html



Small Arms Primer Manufacturers/Brands:


CCI - http://www.cci-ammunition.com/products/primers/default.aspx

Federal Premium - http://www.federalpremium.com/products/components.aspx

Fiocchi - http://fiocchi.gunsamerica.com/

Remington - http://www.remington.com/

Rio - http://www.rioammo.com/rio_primers.html

Winchester - http://www.winchester.com/Products/components/primers/winchester-primers/Pages/winchester-primers.aspx

Tula - http://tulammousa.com/products/



Black Powder Manufacturers/Brands:


Goex - http://goexpowder.com/

Olde Endsford - http://goexpowder.com/olde-eynsford.html

KIK - http://goexpowder.com/index.html#8

Swiss - http://www.schuetzenpowder.com/swiss-black-powder

Schuetzen German - http://www.schuetzenpowder.com/



Please see the following article written by the CEO of Broken Box R LLC regarding the proper methods for beginning your selection of Smokeless Powders and Primers for reloading:


            Powders and Primers



-Disposable Nitrile Gloves…gloves serve several purposes to help reduce the risk of body oils, sweat, and other contaminants from ruining reloading components such as primers, powder, or inducing oxidation on brass casings as well as reducing your exposure to lead ingestion.





-Z87 Safety Glasses…safety glasses are always a must have item to have laying around your reloading bench as well!


*Note: I hope I haven’t missed any of the absolute basic essentials on this list, but if I did forget to add a MUST HAVE on this list, please comment on it and I will get it added!




Now…what components may be purchased strategically using the “buddy system”?


First, we will start with the MUST HAVE items:


-Good quality tumbler big enough to accommodate the size(s) and quantity of brass you will be reloading…a tumbler is an old school tried and true method of routinely cleaning and polishing your brass.  Note: there are two modern ways of tumbling brass…dry vibratory or wet rotary tumbling which uses a water/cleaning solution with stainless steel media.







-Media and Media Sifter…Whether using corn cob or walnut dry media or stainless steel pins media to wet tumble, you will periodically need to replace your media to keep the cleaning process to its optimal cleaning/polishing performance.  Additionally, once each dry/wet tumbling process has been completed, you are also going to need a way to separate the media from the brass and this can become a very messy process without the proper tools at hand!








-OAL Gauge & OAL Gauge Modified Cases…if you are trying to get every ounce of accuracy out of a firearm and your ammunition possible, then you will need a good OAL Gauge or other similar tool in order to establish maximum Cartridge Overall Lengths (COL/COAL) for your firearms and ammunition.






Please see the following article written by the CEO of Broken Box R LLC regarding improving the accuracy of your reloads through best COAL/COL/OAL/CBTO measurement practices:


CBTO vs. COAL Measurement Benefits


Ladder Load…Finding Optimal Charge Weights


Audette ‘Ladder Load’ vs. Newberry ‘OCW’ Test Methods…


Finding That Node



-Quality, Accurate, and Reliable Chronograph…Chronographs are an extremely important tool designed to allow you to gauge the performance of your reloads.  Such statistics as Minimum Velocity, Maximum Velocity, Average Velocity, Velocity Extreme Spread (ES), and Velocity Standard Deviation (SD) are vital statistics required in order to accurately gauge your rifle and/or ammunitions performance.  We highly recommend MagnetoSpeed Chronographs because of their excellent accuracy, flexibility, and capabilities.  If you have any questions regarding any of the MagnetoSpeed products, Broken Box R LLC is an Authorized MagnetoSpeed Chronographs & Accessories Dealer so we would be more than happy to answer any questions you have regarding any of the MagnetoSpeed products and accessories!





Please see the following article written by the CEO of Broken Box R LLC regarding understanding the benefits of using Chronographs and how the data analysis capabilities of using Chronographs can improve your reloads:


The Benefits of Chronographs




Now we will cover some of the “Nice to have, but NOT required” luxury components:


-Powder Cop…a powder cop will help you police under or overcharging your reloads powder charges to help prevent catastrophic failures.





-Powder Trickler…for those that are obsessed with perfection down to the very last drop, a powder trickler is the answer!





-Hornady Hot Tube Sonic Cleaner…EXCELLENT way of deep cleaning brass, gun parts, dies, etc.!





-Automatic or multi-station electric case trimmers and/or all-in-one case prep centers…simply stated, these tools will have the following side-effects: 1.) Makes your life much easier 2.) Increases your levels of production, and 3.) Will rapidly deplete your checking accounts…so beware!





-Ammunition Concentricity Tool…when everything must be PERFECT, truing your casings can greatly improve your accuracy through consistent case neck tension and minimal “run out”.





-Neck Wall Thickness Gauge…this gauge is used in combination with the Concentricity Tool and will help determine uniformity of case neck wall thickness when reloading for maximum accuracy.





-Automatic case annealing rotary system…annealing cases, when done properly, can increase the life of your brass and increase your accuracy by improving the neck tension consistency of your reloads through reduced brass hardening which shortens your brass’s useful lifecycle.  WARNING! – Broken Box R LLC highly recommends that this process either be done RIGHT or not at all!!!  You should always use a quality annealing rotary system to conduct this process for the following reasons: 1.) Cases improperly annealed and overheated can become rapidly weakened and dangerous 2.) Improperly annealing cases by way of not providing adequate enough heat during the annealing process is just a waste of money and has no significant benefits…thus you might as well not even do it at all or waste your time in the first place 3.)  This is not a job that will be well-done by the YouTube.com experts out there that think this can be done simply with a blow torch and a pair of vice grips because the consistency of a poor man’s annealing process will be highly variable!





-Kestrel Portable Ballistics Weather Meter…if your objective is to put lead and/or copper on steel at target ranges once thought unattainable, a quality ballistics calculator solution can help you reach lengths you have never dreamed of before…but remember, garbage in equals garbage out, so before you start complaining about your ballistics solution being inaccurate – make sure the problem isn’t your misunderstanding or poor data input first! 





Please see the following articles written by the CEO of Broken Box R LLC regarding understanding the benefits of using Ballistics Calculators to improve your reloads, long range target shooting, and hunting accuracy:


Ballistics Calculators


Ballistics Calculators for Hunting


Long Range…Understanding Your Kestrel and Which Factors Matter Most???


There’s An App for That!


To Steel or Not to Steel


*Please Note:  there are thousands of products available for Metallic Cartridge and Shotshell Reloading enthusiasts and we have only had a limited time and capability to cover just a small fraction of these items and/or processes but we hope that this guide will serve as a good “starting how-to” for the common majority of the processes that typical reloading enthusiasts will contemplate or venture into.




Where do I find information regarding popular reloading products currently available?


Dillon Precision - http://www.dillonprecision.com/

Forster - http://www.forsterproducts.com/

Hornady - http://www.hornady.com/

Lyman - http://www.lymanproducts.com/lyman/main/

Lee Precision - http://www.leeprecision.com/

MEC - https://www.mecshootingsports.com/

Frankford Arsenal - http://www.btibrands.com/brands/frankford/

RCBS - http://www.rcbs.com

Redding - http://redding-reloading.com/

L.E. Wilson - http://www.lewilson.com/home.html




Do you have a Tip or Trick regarding reloading that you would like to see posted?  Please send us your Tip(s) or Trick(s) and we will see about getting them posted!




Written By:  Kyle R. CEO of Broken Box R LLC


Copyright © 2015 Broken Box R LLC – All Rights Reserved