Well here's my reloading EDU, keep in my that is what I do and that each persons steps and equipment will vary somewhat (for instance if you're bulk reloading you aren't going to weigh every charge like I do). Also some of the pics came out on the blurry side but I'm not a photographer plus I had to take a few with one hand so thats about as good as its going to get. I guess I should write some kind of legal thing so: I assume no responsibility should any harm come to you, your family, pets, possessions, etc, as a result of reading the following information. It is intended as a general guide only and is not a replacement for a true reloading manual. Use this information at your own risk. good enough? OK, here we go. Equipment In no particular order: - A Press - single stage, progressive, one of the Lee Hand presses, whatever. - Powder measuring device - it could be a scoop like Lee sells but realistically you're going to want a beam or digital scale. - Powder Thrower - You don't really need a thrower but it's going to suck without one. - Dies - for whatever cartridge you're reloading, for bottlenecks you need a sizing/decapping die and a seating die. - Shell Holder - Holds the case in the press, hand primer, etc. - Priming Tool - either an on-press priming setup (most presses seem to come with these) or a hand tool like I use; I recommend the hand tool. Chamfer/Deburring tool - cases that are trimmed need to have the necks chamfered and deburred. Chamfering the neck makes it noticeably easier to seat bullets and will keep the sides of the bullet from getting shaved off. Case Trimmer - self explanatory. these range from about $10-15 for a lee trimmer up into the hundreds for a bench mounted electric unit. Primer Pocket cleaner - self explanatory, there are a few different types of these. I like the wire brush type but the last one I had fell apart. - Bullet Puller - You're going to mess up eventually so it's best to have something on hand to take the cartridge apart. The hammer type is probably the most common though I don't recommend them as they will deform the tip of soft bullets and it a pain to save the powder. I use a Hornady puller that uses collets (see pics). Calipers - For measuring overall length, etc. - Loading Tray - keeps your cases from falling over and going all over the place - Storage boxes - you need something to carry your ammo in though you can use old boxes the factory stuff came in. Optional Things - Powder Trickler - you can drop a granule at a time into the pan to get your charges up to weight though if you're reloading in bulk this probably isn't going to be used. Case Tumbler - Handy for cleaning and polishing though you can easily clean cases by hand with a clean rag. - Decapping Die - This die punches out the primers and nothing else. I use one as I can deprime dirty cases and toss them in the tumbler, making it easier to clean the primer pockets later. Components Obviously there are four: powder, primers, cases, and bullets. For this example I'm loading for my 30-06 using Winchester brass, Reloder 19 powder, 150gr Nosler Partition Golds, and Federal 210 Match primers. Choose a Recipe You're best off sticking with manuals from the manufacturers you're using, for instance I'm using the 5th Edition Nosler Manual because I'm using Nosler bullets. The bullet is a 150gr Partition Gold so all you do is turn to the 30-06 page, find the weight, and then go down through and choose a powder you want to use. I have some Reloder 19 on hand so that's what I'm using Notice that the minimum load is 57.5grs but remember that all guns are different so you should always start a couple of grains lower than what is listed. Personally I've never had a minimum load end up being too hot in a rifle but still I'm going to aim for 56 grains of powder. 1. Clean and Inspect Your Cases You don't want to run dirty cases in your gun or dies as it can damage both. At the least you're going to want to wipe them down with a cloth to remove any grit. Personally I tumble mine (the media is walnut shells coated in jewelers rouge). Right before tumbling is when I would use my decapping die. While wiping the cases off or after they're out of the tumbler visually inspect for splits in the neck, dents in the shoulder and body (most neck dents should come out), separation of the case head, etc. If any cases are suspect toss them out; they're cheap to replace, guns are not. Also you're probably going to want to wipe off the cases after tumbling too as new media is rather dusty. The stuff I have was particularly bad but it seems to have calmed down and isn't a problem anymore. 2. Sizing and De-priming After all of your cases are clean you have to resize them. Here's an example of why - the case on the left is sized, the case on the right is not: If I just touched the bullet on the right it would have fell into the case; I'm actually surprised it stayed. Now you're going to want to lube up the cases with whatever lube you use The RCBS lube is designed to be put on the pad in front, then you roll the cases over the pad with your palm. It works but the lube is sticky to work with. Instead I use Imperial Sizing Wax which you apply with your fingers and Imperial Dry Neck Lube which is just powdered graphite: You want to keep the lube off the the neck and shoulder and just on the body. You just need to lightly coat the cases, once you get some of the lube into the die things will really run smoothly. Screw your sizing/decapping die into the press and snap the shell holder into the ram. Insert a case and lower the handle. You'll probably feel a fair amount of resistance when running the ram up. Once you can go no further lower it all the way and you have now have a sized case. 3. Case Prep Get out your caliper and check the length of your sized cases to make sure they're in spec. The max length for 30-06 is 2.494. As you can see this case is fine. I left the case trimming process out of this because I lent my trimmer to my friend You're also going to want to chamfer and debur the neck at this point and clean the primer pockets 4. Priming If you're priming using the press extension follow the directions included. Personally my kit came with a hand priming tool so I'm going with that. It's also nice as you can prime a bunch of cases while you're watching TV or whatever. It uses the same shell holder as your press and seats the primers using hand tension so you can feel how far the primer is seated. You're going to want to seat the primer till it is just below flush with the case. 5. Charging the Cases Your cases are now cleaned, sized, prepped, and primed. Get one of your favorite cigars, light a couple candles, and set off some sparklers cause it's time to add the powder. There are really two ways to charge cases, either throwing into a pan and weighing every charge or throwing the charge directly into the case. Personally I weigh every charge so this is how that would go (insert picture of me throwing charge into pan that I forgot to take) Always make sure you zero the scale before use as this can become a large problem if you don't (not that I've had any rounds with, say, 65.1 grains of powder or anything ) I'm aiming for 55 grains as previously noted (no the pan isn't touching the bench either) and here I am fake pouring powder into a case (it's a two handed operation, fuck you guys) of course if you're throwing directly into the case I took a pic of that too, just because I'm cool like that 6. Seating the bullets Finally this hell is almost over Screw your seating die into the press (I'm assuming you've already set the depth to what you want; read the directions that came with the die to do it), snap the shell holder in, and go at it. Really this process is pretty self-explanatory, the trickiest part is keeping the bullets in the neck on the way up, though boat tails are easier. (blurrier picture of ram all the way up, you didn't need to see it anyway) Congratulations, you now have a poorly taken picture of 5 rounds of ammunition If I'm finding the best load for a rifle I'll usually load 5 rounds then go up .5 or 1 whole grain of powder and load 5 more. To keep them straight I usually write the charge on each case with a sharpie but I have no idea where mine is. Other Things If you mess up and need to pull a case here are the two options, the hammer type puller which I mentioned sucks and the collet type that I use. All you do is raise the shell partway into the puller so the bullet is inside the collet, lower the handle on top to grip the bullet, and then lower the ram to removed the bullet from the case. That is a shell holder on top of the dies, note how on each die the shell holder number is listed. Keep in mind these numbers are not standardized, for instance a 30-06 uses a Redding #1 shellholder but if you were to buy an RCBS holder you'd need a #3. Also that is the decapping die on the right, it's really just a solid steel pin in the center of the body and is pretty much universal. You can store your loaded ammo in old boxes or whatever but I reccomend purchasing some real storage boxes. The one I use are from midway and run something like $1.50 to 2.00 each. You're also going to want to label EVERYTHING you load. There is nothing worse than loading something and then having to pull a round and weigh it out to figure out wtf it is.