Question: “I’ve been wanting to get into reloading my own ammo for a while. I get a lot of conflicting information online and would rather hear from someone who actively reloads. What do I need to get started?”
Answer: We may have to do an entire series on this question alone!
Let’s assume (because we specialize in ARs) that you’re wanting to load .223. There are 2 directions you’ll have to choose between at this point – Do you want to plink or load for precision shooting?
If you choose “plinking”, we recommend the Lee Pro 1000, a progressive press that will allow you to load over 250 rounds a week in a variety of calibers, including .223. We’d suggest springing for the Hornady digital scale as opposed to a beam scale for better accuracy. You’ll also need various dies (the kit comes with some) for the different calibers you’ll be reloading.
All in all, for plinking, you’ll be into the kit for about $250-$300.
If you’re serious about reloading plinking ammo, you’ll spend about $500 for an upgraded kit. Once you add the powder, primer, bullets, and brass, expect to be in around $1,000 to load 1,000 rounds. However, that price includes the cost of the kit, so future reloads will obviously be cheaper to make.
Now, if you’re looking for precision loads, expect to be into a single stage press kit with all of the various tools for around $3,000 or more.
The issue in reloading for precision is one of patience and making certain that you are actually reloading to at least beat the factory loads for match-grade ammo. If you aren’t beating what’s already on the market, you’re merely paying more money to waste time – the opposite reasons you start reloading!
Whether you’re reloading to plink or for precision, the name of the game is Patience and Equipment. Making sure that you get everything set up properly, that you’re following the “recipes” to the letter, and that you invest in the equipment to make your job easier and exact.