This is part of the About Hunting & Shooting online Reloading Course. Check my Ammo Loading Course Index for links to other existing articles, and be sure to bookmark it and check back there from time to time, since I'll be adding more as time goes by.
As I stated in page two of my "Load 'em Up!" article (which is a general overview of handloading), the press is the workhorse of reloading, and several different types are available. The two basic categories of presses are single-stage and progressive, and there are several varieties of each available. I'm going to describe and illustrate some of these on this and following pages.
This is the most common, and most affordable, type of reloading press. It basically consists of a strong press body (usually a high-quality cast iron or steel) in either a "C" or "O" shape, with a threaded hole above for the die (die station) and a cylindrical ram below. A handle is attached to the ram via linkage to gain needed leverage, and the shell holder attaches to the top of the ram. Operating the handle causes the ram to rise, forcing the shell into the die.
is Lee Precision's "Reloader" press.
(Photo property of Lee Precision Inc.)
- Lower cost
- Usually offers best alignment of die & ram
- Smaller & lighter (this usually doesn't matter unless you'll be using your loading equipment away from home)
- Higher Strength (as a rule, strongest design available)
- Low maintenance - it's mighty hard to wear out or break a single-stage press
- You must change out dies every time you change operations (slower, must adjust dies more often)