Reloading Tools: How to Find the Best Single Stage Reloading Press

best single stage reloading press

We all know how expensive ammunition can get over time. While you don’t necessarily go through a lot of rounds when you’re in the field, you need ammo to keep your shooting skills sharp year round and to sight in each set of optics. If you’re new to reloading, you’ll want to start with the best single stage reloading press you can find, and we’ll show you how to pick one out.

**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

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What to Look for in a Single Stage Reloading Press

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There’re a lot of presses on the market, and a variety of configurations that allow you to reload ammo. Whether you’re trying to save money or make specialized ammunition for your rifles, a reloading press is something that most shooters will consider at one point or another in their career.

A single stage reloading press is undoubtedly the best way to start out. The investment is still substantial, but compared to more advanced reloading equipment like a turret press or progressive press the cost is almost negligible.

This is why a single stage reloading press is most often recommended for beginners. They’re simply a great way to get started, and you’ll know if you want to continue with this rewarding hobby before you start spending a whole lot of money.

There are a few qualities to keep an eye out for when you’re looking into getting a press, however, and there’s a bewildering array of them on the market. Keep an eye on the following and you won’t be able to go wrong.

Construction Quality

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The first thing to keep an eye on is construction quality. These presses exert quite a bit of pressure, and inferior materials are just going to leave you wishing you’d purchased a better press within a couple of months or years depending on how heavily you use them.

While a lot of hand reloaders swear exclusively by steel, there are some aluminum options on the market which are still fantastically durable with the added bonus of being much lighter than if they were constructed with a ferrous metal.


Type of Reloading Press

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There are a few different design types which can have a minute, but measurable, effect on the rounds that you’re reloading.

O-shaped presses provide a more ridged frame, which helps to ensure that each and every round is exactly the same. They also tend to be a little bit more expensive and will take a few extra seconds to produce each round.

On the other hand, C-shaped presses have a tiny amount of flex in them. When you’re working with high velocity and relatively small projectiles tiny differences can make a pretty big difference in the end product. They do tend to be a bit cheaper and quicker to work with.

Which type you go with will tend to be


7/8”-14 TPI Compatibility

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The industry standard for centerfire ammunition dies, basically the bits that’ll be doing the work for you, is 7/8”-14 TPI. Don’t bother with a press outside of this range or you’ll have to use proprietary parts in order to finish reloading your rounds.

This can be a big problem and lead to a lot of wasted money when you think you were making a smart deal and saving money. Seriously, go for the industry standard to avoid having to deal with a specialized mess.


Package Deals

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There are a lot of tools and odds and ends that go into the reloading process. This means that keeping an eye out for kits is a good idea, since quite often you’ll be able to get everything you need, sans the dyes, in a single place and you can replace things as you go.

Single stage presses, in particular, can require quite a few external pieces to get everything done. If you’re careful when you choose a kit, you’ll only need the raw materials for the bullets themselves which makes things a lot easier on you when it comes time to reload.

Many reloading packages come with a single stage press and almost everything you need to get started. They’ll also end up costing less at the end of the day if you have to piecemeal parts together from a variety of different sources.


Using Your Reloading Press

The best way to learn is definitely to watch videos, or preferably watch someone use one in person.

There are also books on the matter. Most people participating in the hobby will end up with a couple of reloadingmanuals lying around to make sure they know exactly what they’re getting into.

Very few kits come with dies as well as the press, so make sure you’re compatible and you can purchase them for commonly used rounds like .223 and .30-06 fairly easily. Remember that smaller rounds, like .22LR are rimfire and there really isn’t a feasible way to produce them at home.

If you’re primarily interested in pistol rounds, you might be better served with a turret press than a standard single stage, as they’ll make the process much quicker.

Once you have everything together, it’s time to get some practice in and see just how deep this rabbit hole goes.

The Five Best Single Stage Reloading Presses Reviews On The Market

We’ve taken the trouble to crawl through the pits and mires of presses and slapped together a quick list of five of the best on the market. Whether you’re a rank amateur or just want to make an upgrade from a lesser reloading press, you’re sure to be able to find something here to let you get on the road to match grade ammunition.

**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Press

Via: Amazon.com

The RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme is a fantastic addition to your workshop and it’ll perform well in the hands of both novices and experts. There’s a whole lot to like here, from the durable construction to the heavy duty action which can handle pretty much any high caliber magnum cartridge.

It’s compatible with industry standard dies as well, so you won’t have to be stuck with one brand of die. This is especially important since it can be integrated into a progressive press with the additions of some other parts.

It’s heavy, which is one of the first things you’ll notice as soon as it’s out of the box, so make sure you’ve got a heavy bench to mount it on as well. If you’ve got that in order, however, you’re not going to find anything better.

Of course, it comes at a high price point, but if you know you’re going to fall head-over-heels in love with your new hobby then starting here might be the best choice you’ve ever made.


Pros

  • Impressive leverage
  • Top notch construction
  • Upgradable to a progressive press
  • Made for heavy duty rifle rounds
  • Ambidextrous handle

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Primer catcher can be finicky

Last update on 2017-08-21 PST - Details

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Lee Precision Breech lock Challenger Press

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If you’re not sure if you’re going to be reloading for long, then the Lee Precision Challenger might be just what you’re looking for. This C-style press is pretty impressive for its price and will allow you to load your ammo pretty quickly.

The unique breech lock system can be either a boon or a drawback depending on who you ask. Those who love it have generally purchased a couple of extras in order to make sure that they can quickly switch their tools when they want, but others think it takes up too much time.

This is one of Lee’s best presses, and despite the normally disastrous melding of steel and aluminum in the frame a lot of people swear by it.

This is the press to buy if you want to get into reloading without hassle. It’s not top of the line, but it’s a small investment and even if you upgrade later you’re likely to still find specialized uses for it in your shop.


Pros

  • Relatively cheap
  • Quick lock system
  • Adjustable lever length
  • Super smooth action
  • Durable and lightweight

Cons

  • Not suitable for rounds larger than .30-06
  • Primer catch needs to be removed for other functions

Last update on 2017-08-22 PST - Details


Lee Precision Classic Turret Press Kit

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For the person who wants to reload a lot of rounds quickly, it’s hard to beat a turret press. They essentially work the same way as a single stage press but allow you to switch between tools without having to be removed individually.

This is one of the best turret press kits on the market, it comes with almost everything you need to get started apart from dies. Even better, it comes with a manual as well which will allow you to get your ammunition set up exactly how you want without needing to purchase another book.

The main advantage is, of course, being able to switch quickly and cleanly between tools. This is great for rounds for semi-automatic rifles and pistols, which eat up your ammunition quickly at the range, but a single stage press is probably better for those who demand unerring accuracy for their shots.

It also doesn’t come with a base plate, you’ll need to purchase that separately in order to mount things. A lot of users were also unhappy with the analog scale that comes with it and the primer catcher, but both can be upgraded pretty easily and cheaply if you find them to be a problem.

This is great for those who want to be able to quickly put cartridges together for their semiautomatic arms, however, and it’s almost as user friendly as a standard single stage press.


Pros

  • Turret design allows for greater speed
  • Comes with a reloading manual
  • Comes with most of what you need to get started
  • Suitable for small rifle rounds and any handgun round• Smooth action

Cons

  • No baseplate included
  • Primer catcher is problematic

Last update on 2017-08-22 PST - Details


Lee Precision Breech Lock Challenger Kit

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If you’re looking for a single stage press and a kit to get started with minimal fuss, then this is a great place to start. In addition to the Lee Challenger which we noted above, you’ll also receive nearly all of the tools you’ll need to get reloading alongside it for just a little bit more money.

It comes with a great hand primer tool, which saves you from having to purchase a separate tool for the press and tools to clean up and resize the brass before you get too far into things.

The powder thrower which comes with it is plastic and doesn’t seem to be all that durable, but it’s a good place to start before you purchase a more expensive one.

Overall, this kit comes highly recommended for someone testing their toes in the waters of reloading and most people will have no problems with it. The only thing is that you’ll likely end up spending money replacing the accessories if you end up enjoying your brand new hobby.


Pros

  • The best kit around for beginners
  • Great cost to value ratio
  • Comes with almost everything you need to get started
  • Has an excellent hand primer
  • Versatile and functional kit

Cons

  • Some cost cutting compromises made
  • Doesn’t come with a manual

Last update on 2017-08-22 PST - Details


Lyman T-Mag Expert Kit Deluxe with 1500 Micro-Touch Scale

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This is probably the best single stage reloading press kit on the market. It comes with pretty much everything you’ll need, as well as a valuable manual which covers a ton of different ammunition types.

The turret design is fantastic as well, allowing you to quickly and easily switch between 6 different tools to speed up the process. Like all turret designs, however, it’s not quite as accurate as you’ll find a standard single stage press to be.

Even better, it comes with a digital scale and a trimmer to make things easier on you and speeding up your workflow.

The only real disadvantage comes from the design of the press, which makes tolerances a bit wider than with an O-type single stage, and the fact that it costs a lot of money.

If you’ve got the money to spend, however, and you aren’t planning on bullseyes at 500 yards, you’ll probably find this kit to be one of the best investments you’ve ever made.


Pros

  • Turret design allows for increased speed
  • High-quality tools
  • Trusted reloading manual included
  • Can switch between six tools
  • No shortcuts

Cons

  • Not as accurate as a single stage press
  • High cost

Our Recommendation

Our recommendations will depend on what you’re planning on doing with your press. For those who are just testing the waters or want to make precise shots over hundreds of yards we recommend the RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Press. As a single stage press it simply can’t be beat.

For those who are looking to reload ammo quickly, the Lyman T-Mag Expert Kit Deluxe with 1500 Micro-Touch Scale is the way to go. Any of the above options are sure to suit you just fine though.

Conclusion

We hope that we’ve helped you find the best single stage reloading press you’ve been looking for. When it comes to an investment in your shooting, few things can promise you both saved money and increased accuracy, but a wise purchase of a press can do exactly that.

Did we leave out your favorite press? Have any questions? Let us know below.

Kevin Steffey

    Kevin Steffey

    I am Kevin who is a founder of deerhuntingfield.com; Here at Deer Hunting Field, we want to teach and educate. Hunting is a passion which has existed in mankind since almost the beginning, and with the advent of the internet, we can now share information, tips, and more with each other faster than ever before. This is a crucial part of our philosophy.

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