What are reloading dies?

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We will tell you what are reloading dies and what it takes to get started reloading for a beginner or a pro. In this article, we have compiled detailed information and we hope that it will help you as much as possible in reloading dies.


  1. Up-to-date Loading Manual
  2. Reloading press
  3. Shell holder 
  4. Reloading die set of appropriate caliber
  5. Case lubricant* 
  6. Case lubricant pad* 
  7.  Safety glasses (especially for priming)
  8. Priming unit
  9. Primer tray
  10. Powder scale (graduated in grains avoirdupois)
  11. Powder trickler
  12. Powder funnel
  13. Two loading blocks
  14. Dial indicating caliper  (graduated in 0.001” increments)
  15. Case trimmer with pilot
  16. Deburring tool

*Note: items 5 and 6 are not required when using a carbide die with some handgun calibers


Keep in mind that all data sources are prone to becoming obsolete. The ballistic properties of certain components may alter in time. Components can undergo a significant change without the need for a name change. Data also changes as time passes. Inability to keep your data and information up-to-date can have dire consequences.

Tables of data are just a part of the information required for assembling safe ammunition. It is important to go through all the instructions within each manual update. Reread it periodically to refresh your knowledge.


The reloading press you choose will serve as the basis for the bench for loading. It is a good idea to choose one station press with an “O” shaped frame, like Brass-Smith(r) Victory Press. This kind of tool provides exact alignment of dies and shell holders because the die station hole and the hole in the shell holder’s ram are precisely machined.

The tools generally provide the possibility of long-term usage. Less expensive reloading equipment is accessible to shooters with an extremely tight budget.

It is usually beneficial to buy the reloading press in a package set. These kits contain several of the most essential components that are required, at a substantial discount as compared to purchasing every item separately.


The shell holder allows the cartridge case to be aligned with, then pushed into, and then removed from the various dies. A single shell holder could be used for a variety of cartridges.

For instance, a 30-06 shell holder is suitable to use with calibers 22-250 25-06, 243, 25-06 308, 270, and other calibers. Make sure you choose the correct shell holder as the case rim could break off when the process of resizing. This could leave the case trapped in the die. This is an extremely difficult issue to fix, and that should be handled by the manufacturer of the die.

Utilize the chart for Shell Holders to ensure you have the proper shell holders for your workstation. An essential item for anyone who reloads their ammunition.


What are reloading dies? A die set may consist of two, three, or four separate dies. One die can be a resizing one designed to restore the expanded and fired case to the factory dimensions. The die will also remove the fired primer. If there isn’t a proper resizing procedure the fired cases could not be able to rechamber.

To begin advanced projects, we recommend purchasing a complete length resizing tool set. Most die sets are caliber specific. If you want to reload your ammunition, look at reloading die sets for the correct bullet resizing.

NOTE: In the case of many gun cartridges with straight walls using a carbide sizing tool will remove the need to apply sizing lubricant on the case, and then to take away the lubricant following the sizing process. This is a time-saver, and also prevents jammed-in-the-die cases caused by inadequate lubrication.

Warning: Never attempt to resize a loaded round.

Die sizes for bottleneck cases have an expanding button mounted on a spindle which expands the neck of the case to a size that will securely hold and accommodate the bullet. Straight walled cases need to be expanded neck-wise in separate die. This means that all straight case die sets have an extra die.


The bullet seating die seats the bullet to the correct depth (adjustable). If required, it will connect bullets to cases. Crimps are required for ammo that is used in the majority of revolvers, as well as in guns that use tubular magazines. Ammo used in semi-automatic or pump rifles are generally made crimped.

Certain shooters believe that crimping can be more precise when done separately to bullet seating. This is why an additional die can be employed. The majority of bullet seat/crimp dies to utilize rolls crimp. However, taper crimps are utilized for reloading cases that headspace away from the case mouth.


To ensure that reloading is done properly (except for the use of carbide dies for Straight walled cartridges for handguns) the cases must be lubricated before the resizing. In the absence of this, it will result in the case being stuck in the die for resizing.


The most effective method to apply the lubricant is by using pads that lubricate to transfer the sizing lubricant onto your cases. Instead of using pads, you can apply a spray-on lube. Enhance the reloading process by using this Case Lube Kit.


Priming units can also be referred to as priming punches, primingrams are also known as priming arms. Priming units are utilized by loading presses to ensure the highest precision. Every loading press comes with basic priming equipment which is capable of placing new primers.

In these units, the primer is typically seated after the sized case is removed from the die for resizing (or when it is straight-walled cases after it has been removed from the neck-expanding die). But, it is suggested that shooters who want an even and uniform seating of the primer will be advised to replace regular priming machines with the Ram Prime system.

Ram Prime units are mounted on the standard die station and can be adjusted to provide an extremely uniform primer seating depth using the press stroke to control the depth of the primer that is inserted.

Other devices, like the hand priming tool, can significantly increase the speed and comfort of which cases are priming manually when hand loading. It is recommended for those who are new to handloading to begin by using first using the Ram Prime die as only one primer at a go can be handled.


The primer tray helps place the primers in a single direction to make sure that, when everyone is taken and put into the post for primers it is properly positioned. It can also ensure that primers are free of contamination.


To ensure that the correct quantity of powder is inserted into each container, each powder charge should be meticulously weighted. A scale for powder is necessary to ensure the proper adjustment of any powder measure accessory. There are no dangerous gun powder overfills or underfills should be done with the help of a Powder Scale by a good company.


This allows the task to go quickly and precisely. The trickler will add the powder in one granule at a time into the scale pan to increase the propellant charge in line with the exact weight. For example, the Lyman’s Powder Trickler is the only trickler to work with any reloading scale, electronic or mechanical.


Without a funnel to collect powder there’s no method to transfer propellant from the scale pan. A straightforward funnel can be used with cases that are as small as 22 calibers as well as big in caliber as 45. This Powder Funnel is an ideal reloading device to put gunpowder in cases without spills.


Blocks for loading hold the bench’s cases in a well-organized order. Always use two loading blocks. Cases are taken out and loaded before they are placed in the secoblockcks (positioned to the other side of the tool for loading). The Bleacher Blocks are small and strong enough to hold your cases when reloading.


This tool permits the reloader to precisely determine the depth of primes that have been seated, as well as verify the length of the case before and after trimming, maintain the correct length of the overall cartridge, and also to identify the root of many issues. Calipers are offered as low-cost plastic models or stainless steel versions that can outlast the reloader.


Cases stretch when they’re fired. Case bodies tend to be shorter when resized however their necks are prone to stretching when firing. After one firing and the resizing process, a case could be stretched beyond being suitable to reload. In certain circumstances, a case can be fired five times until its length exceeds the maximum allowed dimensions.

In all cases, there will be a point when the case has to be cut back to a size that is workable before it can be loaded again. Trimmers require an appropriate pilot to ensure that the cases are aligned during trimming. In certain cases, trimmers require the use of a suitable shell holder. The precise length of the case is crucial for accuracy and smooth, reliable operation.


While trimming, burrs are formed both on the outside and inside of the case mouth. The deburring tool can make the case clean and ready to reload. Cases must be deburred before the first time for reloading, specifically in the case of mouth, even if they’re not trimming.

The cost for setting up the essential tools will vary based on the location where the equipment was purchased and the exact model of tools chosen. The ROI on your initial investment could be quick or slow based on the frequency of your shooting.

You’ll need a supply of primers, powder, and bullets to start the process of reloading. The price of these items will vary based on the caliber and type of ammunition you wish to build.

Additional Accessories

There’ll come a point when you’ll want to upgrade your reloading equipment. Accessories can aid in improving accuracy, cut down on costs for ammunition, or even make loading faster. Some of the most beneficial accessories are:


A powder measure enables the reloader to disperse the exact powder charge quickly. Since the charges that are thrown out by measures can vary and vary, gun powder measures should be employed alongside an appropriate scale. To do this, you must adjust the measure so that it throws charges that are slightly lower than the desired weight.

Make sure that the measure is set so that each charge won’t exceed the desired weight as it can be annoying trying to eliminate any propellant that is not removed from the scale pan. After that, you can meter the amount directly on the pan.

Bring the pan back to the scale and then bring the charge back to balance by adding the final handful of powder granules using the help of a powder trickler to ensure accurate measurements.


After decapping, look at your primer’s pocket, and you will see a black and crusty deposit. If left to build up to a large extent this build-up could cause problems with the uniformity of primer seating and, consequently, cause misalignment. A primer that is too high could cause danger. This buildup can be removed by a few turns of cleaning agents for the primer. Great for hand loaders.


A plain-looking case is not of any importance. A filthy case could affect the quality of reloading and prevent a flaw from being discovered or chambers or reloading dies that scratch that require replacement of the die or firearm.

Cases can be cleaned in many ways. Case tumblers that are vibratory or rotary can help make an extremely dirty brass appear brand new. Case tumblers can meet almost any need in terms of the number of cases that need to be processed as well as the price. Ultrasonic cleaners can also perform a fantastic job and clean the pockets for primers and the interior cases.


Reloading equipment that helps keep the scale honest. Scales can be delicate tools. If a scale is accidentally exposed to excessive harsh handling or manipulation, the check weight set will help determine if the accuracy of the scale is compromised.


Turret presses have multiple die stations. They are advantageous in that the reloader can place the case inside the holder and load it completely by rotating the die in its place. This speeds up loading and is a method that is sometimes preferred for handgun cartridge reloaders.

They also permit the reloader to load cases using the technique of batch loading (performing the same procedure for all the cases that are loaded before proceeding onto the next stage) to put up the dies in a single place and put them in the presses.

This will eliminate the need to constantly remove and replace the dies. New and more versatile turret presses allow for easy indexing and maintain solid turret support.


This handheld reamer can eliminate the burr near the end of the hole for flash. This tool was originally used by seriously bench-rest shooters. In the present, as they quest for precision, numerous handloaders consider it beneficial to remove flash holes.


Primer pocket reamers are needed to remove the crimped materials from military-style cases. The primer is secured by an impact-shifting mechanism of the case head brass at the edge of the pocket. It is suggested to use a specially designed rod assembly for decapping that is designed to get rid of crimped primers in-place.

After the removal of fired primers from these cases and a new primer is not able to be properly or safely installed until a reamer has been used to break the crimped materials.


Many shooters enthusiasts use the primer pocket uniformer to make sure there is a flat bottom to each primer pocket level and ensures that each of the primers is seated at a consistent depth. The advantages of this extra effort.

However, will not be evident until you are reloading for an extremely precise rifle. Its Primer Pocket Uniformer allows reloaders to have the same primer depth, which results in better ignition consistency and increased accuracy.


While it isn’t cheap it can ease the process of powder charge weighing and improve the accuracy of powder measurements. With the push of a button, the electronic scale automatically loads powder onto the pan of the scale, initially at a rapid rate, before moving to a slow rate, bringing the scale back to equilibrium. Once it’s started, it’s an operation that is hands-free.

As time passes you will notice that the variety of available accessories is almost infinite. The real-world needs or personal objectives dictate which items are needed on your bench for loading.


To begin, you’ll need only the previously discussed 16 basic items. Indeed, one could happily load hundreds of thousands of rounds with only a few additional accessories – a powder measure and primer pocket cleaner being the most likely candidates. From here it should be evident that you’ll gain from adding a tool to your tools of the trade. If there isn’t a clear need there is a good chance that you’ll enjoy your life without additional accessories.


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Author - Hans Wimberly
Hans-Wimberly - the owner of Gearsadviser
When I`m not spending time with my beautiful wife and great 3 children, you will find me reloading ammo!
Doing sport shooting, or talking with my friends about (oh, yeah!) guns.

Read more about me here.

At Gearsadviser, I`m committed to ensuring that you have the best possible reloading experience. I conduct thorough research, testing, and evaluation of reloading gear, offering impartial and informative reviews to assist you in making informed purchasing decisions. My reviews are based on hands-on testing, research, and analysis of customer feedback. I regularly update my reviews to reflect changes in product availability and new information, so you can be confident that you're receiving the most current recommendations.

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