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Some people think that shooting is an expensive sport. For the most part they are correct. Though some types of pistol ammo can now be had for prices cheaper than dirt, the overwhelming majority of calibers would still cost too much to keep on buying new. What is a gun nut to do then? Reload of course!

"Reload" can mean two things, to put fresh ammunition into a firearm or to recharge a spent ammunition case with new primers, a powder charge and a new bullet. We are interested in the second sense of the word reload in this wu.

For starting shooters who don't go through a case of ammunition per week, a single stage press would be sufficient, but for this wu we will consider the use of a progressive press, the Dillon model 550 RLB in particular.

The steps that you will need to do in sequence starting from a batch of spent cases would be as follows, we assume that the dies are already screwed in place and adjusted to the proper heights, the powder charge has been adjusted, the primer loader and powder charger is filled with the appropriate sized primers and appropriate smokeless powder respectively:

  1. Tumble the brass in your brass tumbler. This step is optional but is ideal to make sure the brass is clean and that potential cracks and splits will become visible.
  2. The first stage in this 4 stage press will decap the case in the down stroke of the lever and reprime it with the up stroke. Take note that the two actions of the operating lever do a different function and one should take note to pull and push on the lever fully to properly seat the primer. This stage also resizes the case to proper dimensions.
  3. Operating the lever on the next stage will throw in the powder charge and bell the case mouth to accept the new bullet.
  4. Stage 3 will require you to lightly put the bullet over the now belled case mouth. Operating the lever will seat the bullet to the proper depth.
  5. And finally the last stage will put a crimp on the bullet firmly setting it in place. The bullet now falls to the container and is ready for use.

Take note that this is called a progressive press because after moving the case from one stage to the next the previous stage becomes free for another one. Once you get the hang of it, you will be actually performing 4 different actions on 4 different cases simultaneously per pull and push of the operating lever.

Check your over all length and take a random sample and shoot it, check the results. Happy? Good! Safe shooting to you all.

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