reloading kit or peice by peice?


Well-Known Member
Sep 14, 2009
I want to get into reloading. Should I be looking at kits or would it be wiser to buy each component separate? Money is an issue. First I would like to order a "how to" book for reloading so that I can familiarize myself with the terminology and the components that I would need (suggestions on a book{think beginner here}?). Then I will probably have a better idea about what I'm getting myself into and what I want. But in your opinion is the kit a better value or would you prefer to buy everything separate?

I very much favor obtaining individual pieces of equipment based on their capability and your needs. The following link covers a situation very similar to your own, and my contribution describes a minimalist approach to building first class ammo.

Wanting to Reload...Need basic Equipment...? - Sniper's Hide Forums

I recommend The ABC's of Reloading and a good reloading manual like Lyman's to introduce you to the practice. When you understand what you're trying to accomplish and what tools are available, then you can devise a tentative reloading process. Studying and reading the online forums, taking advantage of the Search function, you can obtain a good familiarization of the ins and outs. If you want to know it all before buying equipment, Handloading for Competition by Glen Zediker will get you there, but it is advanced and has the disadvantage of the author's writing style.

With that, if you take the shortcut of getting a kit, only the RCBS Rockchucker kit represents a real value in what you get. However, unless you're loading for handgun, the powder measure may not be of much use to you; mechanical measure s don't do well with the coarse powders that rifles like. I don't see any great savings in anyone else's kit. All of the kits come with a mediocre selection of accessories; IMO, you're always better off getting some decent accessories.

Reading the books is the place to start. Studying, and participating in, the forums will add greatly to your understanding. I should mention that Sniper's Hide's search function is defective. Another forum, Accurate Reloading, has a great repository of info and a working search capability. There are also some good DVD's available these days.

Many recommend finding a mentor, and I won't say that it's a bad idea. The downside is that you may just end of copying whatever he does, which may not be exactly what you need to be doing.
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You might check your newspapers for equipment or even place an ad. Most people getting out of reloading or upgrading will sell items at a fraction of the cost of new stuff. I bought six die sets this past summer from guy for 50 bucks, all were like new. As for buying new, I prefer doing it ala-carte, I usually don't like the choice of scales or other items used in kits. Buy the best the first time, that way you won't have to spend more in a year or so upgrading.
I am in the same boat or should I say same casing. I looked at peace by peace YES you can get exatly what. But do you know what you want I dont. IT IS MORE $$$$$ TO. I went to a reloading shop to talk to them I now KNOW iam getting the rcbs rock chusher kit and biuld off that. stop looking at LEE Yes there WILL be dubbles of some stuff after time. But that way I get what I need and want. By the time I left hour and a 1/2 later I had LYMAN 49th edition in my hands only on page 64 (long way to go) It is a good book tells me what I need to know for now RCBS comes with a speer book. I DO NOT WANT A BOOK FOR A SPECIFIC BRAND OF BULLET OR POWDER. :D
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+1 on Winchester 69's post.
If your planning on ending up with an electronic powder measure why would you buy a kit that uses a powder dump and scale. Makes more sense to buy the pieces you want to end up with in the end. Buy once and cry once. Problem is most people do not know what they really are going to want or need in the end.
The RCBS kit with the electronic powder measure kit is kind of spendy but it has all the right pieces to satisfy most die hard reloaders. At around $800 its not cheap though.
Hi Matt,

The kits are definately a cheaper way to go, but they may or may not be the better value. As far as getting started with the least expense, they're probably the way to go. However, piece by piece is the way to wind up with the best set up in the long run. Part of the problem here is that you're new to all this, and don't really know what you want/need just yet. Everybody has different needs for the particular types of shooting that they do. Your situation's no different, you just haven't figured out precisely what it will be yet. Take some time and start with a basic set. Win 69 already mentioned The ABCs of Reloading, and that's a worthwhile place to begin learning about the process itself. There's also a host of good manuals out there that will help get you started. Take a look at a few, and I think you'll find that they all offer something. I'd hold off on Glen Zediker's Handloading for Competition though, since it is truly a book for more advanced handloaders. Good info, just not really what you need right now.

In the meantime, as you've seen, there's more than enough folks here on the boards who'll be more than happy to lend a guiding hand or offer helpful suggestions. Don't hesitate to make use of this, as it's a pretty good resource.


Kevin Thomas
Lapua USA
My argument against kits, borrowed from Sniper's Hide:

Gunnery Sergeant

Registered: 07/04/03
Posts: 1276
Loc: WA the everblue state

I got the RCBS Rockchucker reloading kit when I started reloading in 1999.
The following things came in the kit:

1) Rockchucker press .. don't use it anymore, now use Co-ax.
2) "Speer 12" reloading manual... loads in it are a joke, I find my start load with Quickload software.
3) Bottle of glycerin for lube... don't use it any more, now use Redding imperial die wax.
4) Pad for applying glycerin... don't use it, I use my fingers.
5) Brush for lubing inside of case neck.. don't use it any more, I remove the expander ball so I don't need inside lube.
6) Loading tray made of plastic... don't use it. I throw cases into a TV dinner tray. I seat bullets as soon as I charge the case.
7) 5-0-5 scale [Ohaus OEM]... I still use it.
8) Uniflow powder measure.... I still use it.
9) Inside outside neck chamfer [Wilson] I still use it.

Most wouldn't be using the powder measure.

The literacy of the OP's request prompted my qualified recommendation for the objectionable book. The technical level of the book is less of an obstruction than the author's prose. It is the extensive information that reduces the impediment posed by ignorance in the selection of equipment. Some of us have been successful in educating ourselves prior to purchasing, and it's been very valuable in avoiding bad decisions. In the end, it's the OP's choice as to what direction he feels more comfortable with.
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It is interesting that given what in the RCBS kit was no longer used, a Lee reloading kit would have been a better investment to arrive at the eventual list of equipment (less $ spent on equipment no longer used).

I'm not a fan of reloading kits myself, nor much of Lee's equipment, but the Lee kits do give the opportunity for a user to get their feet wet without dumping a load of cash on the problem. Sure, most of the Lee equipment will likely eventually be replaced, but so was the RCBS kit's equipment, and the Lee cost a lot less.

I have been a mechanic for 25 years now I own more tools than a snap on truck. Some of them I buoght for a 1 time job and I still got them in my box I wont sell give or any thing close to that . (THERE ARE MINE) NO one can go out and buy ALL the tools for reloading biuld a house fixxing a car,diesel truck or a crain on the first TIME. So how mutch are U willing to dump?
My argument against kits, borrowed from Sniper's Hide:

Most wouldn't be using the powder measure.

My brother also has an RCBS uni-flow powder measure, and I spent some time last night pulling down 50 rounds of 401 PowerMag handloads in modified 41 mag brass, because the Unique Powder had sometimes hung up in the meter.

What powder measure are you suggesting?
"reloading kit or peice by peice? "

Obviously either way works. It's also obvious that a kit offers a near complete set of the manditory tools while placing the smallest burden on the new guy who hasn's a clue as to what is "best".

ALL of the kits are quite good, so far as that goes, but what is "best" is subjective to what the user likes to use best, that's not exactly the same thing as " does it work well?" Seems those with the least experience with different brands are the most emphatc that only their favorite - the only one they've used - delivers the best value/quality/service, etc. Not so.

Few truly knowledgeable, experienced loaders are locked into one color/brand across the board. We buy tools by the features we perfer instead. The ONLY advice worth attending is from those who HAVE used other tools of the same type. Someone who says "I use...." or "I heard....". etc. are valueless if only because they have no basis of reference.
I started with this earlier this year ...

My $.03.... Research handloading and decide how you want to go about it. Then research the tools and equipement you need to get it done Then buy exactley what you need, for the precisiona nd quality you arte looking for.

It's hard to go wrong with Redding and Sinclair.

A lot of items can be got on ebay for a good price. Becareful of getting used dies.

I am just getting the pieces together to start into reloading myself. One article I felt helped in some of my selection process was by a guy called "Doc" at Snipers Hide. He has posted a piece called Reloading 101. Look it up and give it a read. he goes through the process plus explains why, after a few decades of reloading, he has ended up with the tools he uses. Good article. Helped me. Might help you also.
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