You’ve thought about it long enough and now you’re ready to make the plunge into reloading. Good for you, it’s a rewarding discipline and adds depth to your shooting experience. Luckily, there is no better time to get involved with reloading then now with most manufacturers offering fully-loaded starter kits.
Well stocked as these kits might be, almost all typically require supplemental purchases. Here are five of the most common tools you must plan on buying after you’ve bought your reloading kit to start cranking out the ammo.
Next to your press and scale, a caliper is perhaps your most important reloading tool. The instrument is used to measure case length, inside and outside case diameter, primer pocket depth and other case dimensions. There are two styles available – dial and digital. Both are accurate, with most measuring within one one-thousandth of an inch.
Dies are where the rubber meets the road in reloading. They are the tools you use to size cases and seat bullets to finish your cartridges. The simple reason why dies are not included with your kit is manufacturers have no idea what calibers you plan to reload. The good news, dies are universally compatible with presses, so you needn't confine yourself to buying from one manufacturer.
A Shellhoder is the intermediary between your case and a number of reloading tools. Like its name implies, a shellholder holds your shells – in a press, on a hand priming tool and in a case trimmer. Similar to dies, they are not included with your kit because manufacturers don’t know what you’re reloading. The nice thing about a shellholder, it will typically work for more than one caliber.
You won’t need one of these right off the bat, but fire the same brass a few times and it’s a different story. Case trimmers become a must once brass reaches a certain length. Without trimming your cases you'll either need to buy more brass or run the risk of a hefty gunsmith bill to get your action unstuck.
Really, you might not have to buy this, just get a little inventive. There are many fine reloading benches on the market and designs available for free and purchase. But if you have an old sturdy desk or table you don’t mind drilling holes into then you're set. Now you just need to find that quite out of the way spot to put it and get reloading.