Most gun owners who use store-bought ammunition all the time think of reloading their own cases as a difficult task. Now, I’ll be honest; reloading can get complicated. And if you are doing it professionally and prepping cases and loading ammo for a wide range of weapon calibers, things can become quite challenging.
However, if you are doing it for yourself, reloading your own ammo can be a better, cost-effective solution to stocking up on ammunition. You will end up saving a lot of money if you simply reload your spent casings instead of buying new magazines every time you run out.
But before you can do that, you would need the best single stage reloading press. Now, why did I go with single stage presses? Progressive reloaders are supposed to be faster, right? Well, yes, but using a single stage reloader is fast enough for most people, and it is also a lot easier to handle for a newcomer.
In fact, many professionals still stick to single stage reloaders instead of progressive reloaders because, frankly, it works just fine. And when it comes down to quality, it mostly depends on your skill and how much attention you give to small details.
In this article, I will give you a quick rundown of some of the finest single stage reloading presses out there so that you can decide for yourself which one is more suited to your needs. So, without further ado, let us get started.
Top 5 Single Stage Reloading Press Reviews
Here are my top picks for the best single stage reloading press that can give you a good performance regardless of your skill level.
1. RCBS 9356 Rock Chucker Supreme Press
If I were to talk about the best reloading press out there, I would have to start out with the RCBS 9356 Rock Chucker Supreme. This press promises exceptional performance at the hands of a skilled reloader and makes reloading easy and manageable for a beginner.
Thanks to its sturdy cast-iron construction, durability is one thing that you won’t have to worry about with this reloading press. It promises outstanding strength and can serve you well for years to come, even if you do not take care of your tools as much as you should.
But that’s just scratching the surface. This reloading press features an ambidextrous O-frame design allowing you to use it comfortably regardless of whether you are a lefty or a righty. The handle is made of solid steel and has an ergonomic ball grip that minimizes stress during long reloading sessions.
This reloading press is compatible with a large variety of weapon calibers. However, most people tend to use it with rifle cartridges because of its large 4.25-inch loading window. You should still be fine with smaller cartridges, though, so don’t let that dissuade you.
The four-inch gap between the one-inch diameter ram and die allows you to work on long cartridges efficiently without any issues. This was a problem with the older iterations of this product. But with the newer revisions, the manufacturers addressed the issue, and it no longer is a factor.
It also requires very little setup before you can start reloading your cases. The speed is pretty decent, but if you want to convert it to a progressive reloader, you can use the Piggyback 4 conversion kit that can be bought separately.
Of course, there are a couple of issues here and there, as with any other options. For example, the quality of the primer tray, in my opinion, is not that great. But you can easily replace that, so I would not worry about it that much. Without replacement, though, de-priming can be quite troublesome.
For the price, though, the performance that it delivers is top-notch. It can compete with other more expensive options on the market despite costing only a fraction of the price. And because of its straightforward design, it can make a solid addition to a beginner reloaders setup.
- Very easy to use design
- Smooth and comfortable handle
- Ambidextrous design suitable for both hand orientations
- Durable, cast-iron construction
- The primer tray is not that great
2. Hornady Lock-N-Load Classic Reloading Press Kits (Best Single Stage Press Kit)
Now, before you start acting up because I gave RCBS the top spot instead of the Lock-N-Load by Hornady, let me say this; the RCBS is the best because of its simple and straightforward design. The spot for the best single stage reloading press kit is still reserved for the Hornady Lock-N-Load Classic.
This is a must-have kit for any reloaders if you want to make it a regular thing instead of doing it just for a hobby. If you have a decent bit of knowledge and skill when it comes to reloading, this kit is what you need to take everything to the next level. That is why it is a favored press for many professionals.
Now before I go further, it is a good time to mention that it is expensive. But since it is a complete kit, you would practically get everything you need to get started except the calipers. In fact, the manufacturers also include a reloading handbook to make sure you are on the right track.
The build quality of the unit is exceptional with its cast-aluminum frame. It boasts impressive durability and strength while keeping the device itself pretty lightweight and portable. As a bonus, you can remove the priming system quite easily.
However, the true highlight of this device is the Lock N Load system that it uses. Typically, with single-stage reloaders, when you are switching out the die while reloading, you need to screw or unscrew them before removing them.
However, with this design, you can remove the die with just a 1/8-inch turn and slide it right out. This might not seem much of a big deal, especially if you are a beginner. But this can speed up your entire operation by quite a bit when you are reloading large volumes.
Other than that, I also love the handle design, which rotates on steel pins to grant you better leverage while reloading. This can help prevent the fatigue that usually comes from long reloading sessions. With this unit, you will be able to work longer, which directly translates to better productivity.
The only real downside of the unit is its steep price. It is extremely expensive, almost double the price of the RCBS Rock Chucker that I reviewed. While it can make reloading for beginners a lot easier, if you don’t have the budget for it, I would recommend going with something else.
- Allows easy switching of dies
- Self-aligning primer arm
- Durable, cast-aluminum build quality
- Comes as a complete kit
- Not very affordable
3. Lyman 7726500 Single Stage Reloading Press
The Lyman 7726500 Brass Smith is another popular choice when it comes to single stage reloaders. However, while most professionals would prefer going with the Lock-N-Load, I have seen only beginners and those on a budget choose the Lyman Brass Smith.
That does not mean the quality of the press is any less. Instead, it says a lot about how affordable and easy to use this device is, especially for beginners. Sure, there are some strengths and weaknesses here, but as a reloading press for hobbyists, there is no beating it.
Like all other reloading presses by the brand, this one features a heavy-duty cast iron construction. And it has a decent bit of weight to it which I really loved. While it does take a bit away from its portability, it makes sure that the unit will remain functional for a good long while before you need to look for a replacement.
As for its usability, I was quite happy with everything from its performance to ergonomics. The handle design is ambidextrous, so whether you are lefty or righty, you should be able to use it without any issues. I also love the action of the lever, which is pretty smooth and short, meaning less fatigue for you to worry about.
This reloading press is also compatible with most of the standard calibers out there. The caliber length is decent, and it will accept all standard shell loaders. So you will not have to deal with too many incompatibility issues if you are just starting out as a reloader.
All of these features make it a truly ideal pickup for beginners. But that does not mean that it is a bad investment for experienced reloaders. If you know what you are doing, you will be able to work through large case volumes within a short time with minimal fatigue.
It can work great as your primary press, or you can also make good use of it as an auxiliary unit if you already have another one. Overall, for the price that it asks, the level of performance that you can get out of this reloading press is quite impressive.
- Sturdy build quality
- Comes at an affordable price
- Gives quality ammo
- The finish is good
- The retaining clip to hold the shell holder feels flimsy.
4. LEE PRECISION Reloading Press
I’ll be honest, the first time I heard of the Lee Precision 90045 Reloading Press, I was quite intrigued. The first thing on my mind was how on earth did they come up with a sub 70 dollars reloading press. And on top of that, what is all the hype around it.
So, I decided to bite the bullet and get myself one. The worst-case scenario would be I would waste a few bucks. But after trying it out, I was pretty amazed at how good this was. Sure, it’s not on the same level as the Hornady Lock N Load, but for the price, this has to be one of the finest options out there for newcomers.
It is constructed with 380 aluminum alloy, which boasts impressive frame strength while keeping everything lightweight. So, what that means for your press is that it will be able to take a lot of abuse without any issues, and on top of that, it will not be as heavy as a cast-iron unit.
Because of its C-frame design, you will get amazing hand clearance. And it also makes the unit ambidextrous, meaning both lefties and righties will be able to use it without trouble. The handle feels solid with a large ball-grip at the top to make sure you will be able to hold it tightly as you activate the ram.
In addition, the action of the handle is pretty smooth. You get a decent bit of leverage to ensure the casing gets pressed perfectly without any consistency issues. So, whether you are seating bullets, decapping, or sizing bullets, you should face no trouble using this unit.
Since it is breach-lock enabled, you will not have to worry about readjusting your die after switching it. This helps reduce die changing time and ensures that your die will remain adjusted and secured inside the breach-lock bushings.
All of these features make this unit a must-have for beginner reloaders as you get a taste of what you will get with more expensive options. Sure, it will not give you the same level of consistency as a high-end option, but this can get you started on the right track.
- Comes at an extremely affordable price
- Amazing performance for the cost
- Strong yet lightweight design
- Easy to use
- Not on the same level as high-end options
5. Forster CO-AX Reloading Press Version B5
I will be wrapping up my reviews with one of the most expensive options on this list. This one is by the brand Forster which is a pretty popular name among reloaders. The CO-AX reloading Press features an impressive design and a superb build quality, making it a great pickup for professionals.
However, the one thing that may deter most newbies who want a reloading kit for beginners from looking at this one is its price. Sure, it makes up for it in other sectors, but a newcomer would want something that offers them a pretty consistent level of performance at a lower price. But that’s about everything that is wrong with the unit.
At first glance, it becomes pretty clear that it is one of the strongest single stage reloading press out there. It is made with strong, heavy-duty steel, and it has a decent bit of weight to it. And if you take care of it, it should last you a lifetime without a single complaint.
As for its reloading performance, it sets a gold standard for all other reloading presses out there. It is a simple and straightforward machine capable of quickly reloading high-quality ammo that you can use not just in practice range but also just about anywhere.
The device features a snap-in, snap-out die changing system that lets you quickly switch between seater and sizer die, saving you valuable time in the process. And to make sure your workspace remains clean; it comes with a spent primer catcher system that scoops up dirty carbon and spent primers.
To ensure perfect alignment, the device features a dual floating guide road. This means your ammo will come out accurate and consistent. And it also offers a lot of elbow room for you to work since it does not offer any frame support or swinging primer arm that can get in the way.
Of course, you might wonder whether it will affect your stability while you work. Well, thanks to the design of the unit, you will be able to set it comfortably on your workbench, and there will be practically zero wobbles.
The handle is extremely smooth. In fact, the manufacturers claim that you would be able to even use your little finger to press down on it without losing any pressure or force. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend doing it. But it does mean that you will not be stressed out while operating the device.
The included S-jaw can house most of the standard, common calibers out there. For rarer calibers like the 22 Hornet or 25 ACP, you can get the LS jaws that the manufacturer sells separately.
I know the price of the unit does put a dent in its attractiveness. But if you want a single stage reloading press that you can use for a lifetime, then this one is a solid pickup.
- Highly accurate and easy to use
- Smooth and precise ram
- Easy to prime
- Strong and sturdy build quality
- Not very affordable
The Bottom Line
Getting started with reloading can be difficult, considering how many different tools you have to get beforehand. A single stage reloader is an essential investment and getting the right one can drastically improve your overall experience.
I hope my article on the best single stage reloading press could help you find the perfect unit for your needs. Good luck!
Larry, who is a family man and a gun enthusiast, enjoys keeping his collection in pristine condition. He also likes to take his kids shooting as often as possible.