1. Lube pad & fluid
The first thing you always need to do is clean and lubricate the empty shell before re-sizing the case (and decapping the old primer). Just a light amount of lube on the pad goes a long way. You can place several cases on the pad and roll them together to lube several at once. You only need a LIGHT film on the cases.
2. Scale that weighs in grains for powder and bullets
It is necessary to always weight your powder charge to know how much you are putting in the cases. Even the little “volumn” measuring scoops people use need to be checked with the type of powder you are using on an accurate scale. The scale is also needed when setting an automatic powder measure like that below. You keep adjusting and weighing the charge until you get exactly the amount you want. Also, you can see how much the charge might vary from measure to measure. For extremely accurate target handloading, weight EVERY charge on a scale (but this takes a LONG time to do). The scale shown will measure in TENTHS of a GRAIN.
3. Powder Measure
The powder measure allows you to fill the hopper with your favorite powder and adjust the micrometer adjustments on the side to dump exactly the right amount of powder into the case below the spout. A little “kicker” weight is used to shake the measure to allow all the powder to fall into the case, should it be inclined to stick to the sides or hopper. You should always weight several measures after you get it adjusted on an accurate scale to make sure it is constant with the load you want.
4. Holder for Cases
Some type of holder for cases is needed. I have 4 of these blocks that are reversable. One side accomodates the smaller cases like .38 and the other larger ones like .45 and 30-06 rifle brass. This version holds 60 cases. You can hold the cases under the powder measure to fill each one without removing them, but ALWAYS visually inspect every case after filling to make sure that none are empty or got a double charge. Either error could result in a serious or fatal accident.
Discussion: Of course a set of reloading dies for whatever caliber you are using and a reloading press are needed. I use a manual, single stage press, changing out the dies after each step. Now, on the market are presses that keep all the dies in a different position so you can go through every step without changing dies. (See reloading steps page) This is called the “progressive reloading press” and if you plan to reload many rounds at a time, I highly recommend them. I use a Dillon 550B.
Other accessories are discussed on the “optional” accessories page. They are nice and handy, but not needed as these are. Even the case lube pad could be eliminated, if you wanted to lube each case by hand with a rag and lube, but that is really messy and slow.