New to Reloading


Feb 6, 2010
N.W. Ohio
Hey guys my name is Randy I am brand new to the board and want to start to reload my .243. I know by reading some posts there are some very knowledgeable people on here to help so if someone would care to give me guidance on equipement,books,and supplies I need I would appreciate it. Please keep in mind I am not ready to spend a bunch yet so any purchase suggestions should be bare bones. Thanks Randy
I'll tell you up front that you should not buy any equipment until you have a good picture in your mind of what you'll be doing. That means reading, talking, asking questions. Performing SEARCHES on the forums will bring more than you could expect.

For starters, I'll suggest a couple of books. The ABC's of Reloading and Lyman's Reloading Handbook will give you basic overviews of the equipment and how to use it. There are some more advanced books once you've absorbed those. You should go through several stages of anticipation before purchasing. The more you know, the better your choices will be.

There are different qualities of equipment and pieces practical for different loading processes. Forster and Redding make some of the better stuff, especially their presses and dies. Careful consideration should be given to your choice of powder weighing and dispensing equipment. A powder measure may not be very useful for rifle cartridges due to the powders used. Your loading volume and degree of accuracy desired will influence your choices, as will the number of guns.

I don't recommend kits. They usually have mediocre accessories and equipment that is either inappropriate or not first choice. I like to choose each piece on its own virtues. You'll want to have a Sinclair catalog; they have excellent accessories and tools/gauges. It's available online for the asking.
Last edited:
Bare bones:
Start by getting and reading a good reloading manual.
1. You need something to take out the old primer. (usually done with a sizing die using a press)
2. You need something to resize your fired case. (a sizing die).
3. You need something to hold the die and move the shell in and out. (usually a reloading press of some sort).
4. You need something to lube your case before you are resize it or it will stick in the die. (usually a case lube pad with case lube, or a spray).
5. You need something to put in the new primer. (Can be a hand tool or a loading press mounted tool.)
6. You need something to measure powder. (can be a scale (most common) or a volume measure (a lee dipper), but, really should be a scale in my opinion).
7. You need something to get the powder into the primed casing (usually a funnel or a drop type powder measure).
8. You something to seat your selected bullet back into the shellcase. (usually a seating die).

The above can be accomplished with a single reloading press, a die set, a case lube pad, a scale, and a funnel. This is why you will see many sets with these components in the sets.

MOST IMPORTANT is a GOOD CURRENT Reloading Manual. Follow the recommended loads, and stay safe.

I am sure the above is missing some things above. Pistol dies generally include an expander die, etc.

I just started this list because it was a good question and I hadn't thought about it in a long time.
ahh i remember those days of starting out and not having a clue what i was doing. Well anyway i started reloading for accuracy but over the last couple of years it is getting where it is also a lot cheaper to reload so my first advice to you is if you shoot a lot and wont to shoot dime size groups at 100 yards go ahead and invest in some good equipment because it will pay off in the long run. If you only shoot a box or less a year just stick to the factory stuff because you will never be able to "break even" and offset the cost of the reloading equipment. Here is a list of what you will absolutly need along with the aproxamate cost

Brass $22 per 50 Midwayusa
Primers $5 per 100
Powder $28 per 1lb
Projectile $20 per 100 but thats about the cheepest Midwayusa
Press $30 Midwayusa cheap but rating says it works fine
Dies $25 Midwayusa
Scale $75 Midwayusa dont go cheap on this item
Funnel $3 Midwayusa
deburing tool $12 Midwayusa
hand primer $13 Midwayusa
primer pocket cleaner $2 Midwayusa
resizing lubricant $8 Midwayusa
case neck brush $4 Midwayusa

Gives you a total of $247. This is the cheapest way to go and if you get really into reloading you will defanatly want to upgrade several of these items

The cheapest box of 243 ammo i could find was $15 a box acording to my reloading calculator it will cost you $10.21 per 20 shells and you will know what your getting. A $15 box of shells now days normally will only get out of the barrel who know where it will go after that.
I hope this helps

NOTE: i did not put a reloading manual on there because there is a lot of information you can find online. Just as much if not more than a reloading manual and it does not get out of date where a reloading manual will.

Welcome to LRH and to the addiction. I started reloading last year with the Lyman kit ($299) with Redding dies and I am hooked.



This is an old pix and have accumulated more stuff since then. :D

Good luck!

Welcome aboard Randy, I pretty much agree with the other guys. Most of us have been loading for several years now. I've got twenty years under my belt and I'm still learning stuff constantly. I wish there would have been something like LRH when I started handloading. I pretty much learned from a combination of trial and error. It was a slow road but with the info you can gain from the guys on this forum, it will be a much shorter road for you.
My personal advice is to start out with some equipment that is good enough but don't blow a bunch of money on the expensive, high end equipment. It will be a while before you are able to take advantage of the difference between the equipment.
Midway USA has great deals and right now there is a digital powder scale for $19.99 on sale. I paid over $300 in 1990 when I got my first one. (I now have three digitals and one beam scale) As far as presses go, That's where you may want to get a pretty good one.
The RCBS Rockchucker is a solid platform and not too spendy.
If you want to save a few bucks, you can drop down to a Lee.
Lee Auto Prime By far and away the best for the money (or maybe even at any price)
Lee hand trimmer You can't screw up with them. A great tool and nearly fool proof
As far as dies go, you can get what ever you want but for your needs, I'm back to Lee again. Get the Lee deluxe set and order the factory crimper if you are shooting an auto loader or tube magazine rifle.
Eventually you may want to spring for a powder measure. DON'T bother with the cheap ones. Jump right up to a Redding Powder Measure.
Case lube, Midway spray on stuff is awsome for loading a lot of cases in a hurry. It's cheap and not that messy even.
I have about three of everything! I have a little bit of the cheap stuff and I have Redding custom dies costing well over a hundred bones for a two dies set.
This isn't everything but it's a start and may help you make a decision or two. After all, no need to re-invent the wheel.

Good luck and good shooting!
Go get a Cabells Shooting Catalog, and buy a $27.00 loading book, like Hornady 7th edition, and READ the front section. Very informitave, you learn the ''language'' and what it means(WITH PICTURES!!!) And looking at the catalog, you get an idea how much each piece costs, what it looks like and what its function is. See what you want/what you need. As posted above by others.
As soon as you decide your mind is made up it will change. NO your not going female, its normal for people just starting out. Buy it piece by piece with the highest quality you can afford. Get the most crucial pieces first Press, scale 243 dies,etc. put it on a shelf untill you have enough pcs to start. Make a goal of....1 piece every 2-4 weeks, and birthday/Christmas ideas etc. Even for a meager left over income, its do-able in 8 mo. or less for most anyone.
lightbulb**********BUY A RELOADING BOOK 1st AND READ IT!!!**********lightbulb
Order a Cabellas Shooting Catalog, even if you NEVER use it, the pics of the components ALONE are worth it! Pics also help keep you motivated!
**********************POST YOUR RESULTS***********************
Thanks to all for the great advise. as of now books are on order and my mind is racing with anticipation. Keep the advise coming and I will keep you posted with my results. Thanks again Randy :)
+1 w/Winmag when he says "Buy it piece by piece with the highest quality you can afford."

Otherwise...assuming you get hooked you'll wind up like some of us rebuying everything. Think about it if you read everything you can get your hands on, do your homework, absorb it, and ask questions then by the time your ready to make purchases several months may have gone by. In those months you could accumulate maybe enough dollars to go first time with what you really want...maybe it'll take a few more months of saving. On the otherhand, others have listed some basic components...nothing wrong with that at all...if that works for you great. Either way pay attention to safety, avoid distractions and have some fun.
The best advice I can give anybody just starting out is:
Buy now what you'll end up buying in 5 years time as your needs grow!
The initial outlay may seem large, but you will recoup this rather quickly as your loading progresses in volume.

DO NOT go down the path of buying a bit from here and a bit from there!
This is what I did many years ago, and most of what I bought back then has gone to other people or in the bin!
There was no such thing as a "Starter Kit" when I started, I bought each individual piece, sometimes without much thought other than an attractive price, only to discover that what I bought was either junk or not really what was necessary!

I highly recommend the purchase of an RCBS Rockchucker Supreme Kit, it will outlast you and your grandchildren!
You get everything from the press to a powder measure and scales, even a quality reloading manual, just add dies and you're good to go!
I won't go into the advanced parts that may be necessary as your needs and shooting enhance, but with a basic kit that entails everything you need up front, you can't go wrong.
Warning! This thread is more than 14 years ago old.
It's likely that no further discussion is required, in which case we recommend starting a new thread. If however you feel your response is required you can still do so.