Getting Started in Reloading with Colonel Smoothbore
By OutdoorAly

Posted: December 28, 2014

rl1Earlier this year, I finished instructing a NRA Metallic Reloading Class at the Lifelong Learning Center in Missoula. After 3 months of rehab (still ongoing) for knee replacement surgery, it was really refreshing to get back to a class. The eight students were really inquisitive and enthusiastic. When the class ended and the students had received their certificates, I realized just how much I enjoy teaching NRA approved courses. I also had a few other thoughts about the reloading hobby I’ll share with you.

While most new ammunition is much easier to locate than it was a year ago the cost is higher, making reloading a real and viable option for shooters. One of the most FAQs I get is “How much does it cost to get started?” The answer is up to you and your budget.

There are reloading “kits” available that start around $120.00 and they include most nearly everything that one needs to get started. For instance, Lee Precision has their 50th anniversary kit available for about $108.00 and it includes the following:

  • Lee Precision Value Trim now shipping with this kit
  • Breech Lock Challenger “O” Frame Press
  • Large & Small Safety Priming Tool
  • Perfect Powder Measure with Stand
  • Powder Funnel, Case Trimmer, Chamfer Tool
  • Small & Large Primer Pocket Cleaner, Sizing Lube
  • Powder Scale
  • Breech Lock Quick Change Bushing


Add a cleaner (I suggest one of the new ultrasonics I described a few weeks ago), a set of caliber specific dies, brass, primers, powder, bullets, and a good reloading manual and you can begin making your own quality ammunition. Total cost depending on caliber will be about or under $300.00.


Dillon, Hornady, RCBS, Lyman, MEC, and others have kits available with both single stage and progressive presses available. I suggest researching the websites of reloading equipment manufacturers for more information. If you are a beginning or novice reloader, I also strongly suggest you take a course such as the NRA Basic Metallic or Shotgun Shell reloading class. These classes will take the mystery out of the process and remember the “net” is a great source of quality information such as recipes, set-up, and technical data.


Reloading your own ammunition usually cuts costs by 50% or more meaning you can shoot twice as much or in other words, have twice as much fun. If you have any questions about getting started, I’d be happy to try to answer them for you. Just send those questions to: colsmoothbore@guncoach.net.

Be safe and good shooting.

Colonel Smoothbore

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