These days, ammunition is expensive and can even be hard to find. For years, those looking to reload their own ammunition that is consistent, and consistently good value have turned to single-stage reloading presses to help them do this. From a glance, reloading can look a little intimidating.
Luckily, it is pretty simple so long as you start slow and work carefully.
To get started reloading you don’t need any fancy equipment, but you do need a good reloading press to get you on the right path. I
n this guide, we’ll be helping you to evaluate some of the best single stage reloading presses on the market, at a variety of price points, so that you can choose the one that fits your budget and need well.
Whichever you choose to go with, you’ll be able to make quality ammo at bargain-bin prices.
Our top pick is the RCBS Summit press; it is the press you want to have if you know, for a fact, that you plan on reloading ammunition for years.
It’s built from the highest quality materials, is massively sturdy, and can easily accept a variety of RCBS addons to become a highly capable ammunition manufacturing setup.
If reloading is something new to you and you want to dip your toes in without breaking the bank, this LEE PRECISION 90998 press by Lee is a solid choice.
It is a simple, easy to use press that is more than capable, especially if you are just reloading hunting rounds for yourself.
Table of Contents
- 1 Quick Comparison
- 2 Best Single Stage Reloading Press Review
- 2.1 1. RCBS Summit Single Stage Reloading Press
- 2.2 2. RCBS 9356 Rock Chucker Supreme Press
- 2.3 3. Hornady Lock-N-Load Classic Reloading Press Kits
- 2.4 4. LEE PRECISION 90998 Classic Cast Press
- 2.5 5. RCBS Partner O-Frame Design 87460 Single Stage Press Cast Aluminum
- 2.6 6. LEE PRECISION Breech Lock Challenger Press
- 2.7 7. Lee Reloading press 90045
- 3 Things to Consider When Buying a Single Stage Reloading Press
- 4 Conclusion
Best Single Stage Reloading Press Review
1. RCBS Summit Single Stage Reloading Press
- Bench Top Mounting
- Ambidextrous Handle
- Accepts One-Inch Die Bodies
- Made in the USA
- Compound Leverage for Consistent Pressure
Undoubtedly, this single stage press is one of the best available on the market today. This is meant for users who want to know that their press will last them a lifetime and can handle large volume reloading.
This press, a made in the USA, high-quality model is likely the last press you, or your children would ever need to buy.
It’s made to accept the industry-standard one-inch dyes that will make it easy for you to be able to reload the calibers of your choice.
Taken with its bench-top design and cast-iron body, this will make an excellent press if you want to reload or manufacture ammunition to extremely precise specifications for many years to come.
Unlike many other presses, this one mounts directly to a benchtop, meaning that you have more options for your reloading setup when compared to edge-mounted presses.
Since this company also makes a lot of other reloading components, it is also a great base to add other accessories in order to make the ultimate reloading setup.
This is the most expensive one on our list. But, thanks to its overall quality we imagine that, over time, you’ll save a ton of money on ammo as using this press is a total joy to use.
2. RCBS 9356 Rock Chucker Supreme Press
- Heavy Duty Construction
- Stainless Steel Handle
- Edge Mounting Design
- Large Loading Window
Another single stage reloading press that we can wholly recommend is basically the little brother to the Summit. This press is made with the same attention to detail and durability that make RCBS presses some of the best in the world.
This press is just about perfect for the home reloader who plans on doing a medium to a large amount of work with it. It’d also be well suited to getting the most consistent hunting loads that you possibly can.
Like most reloading presses in this category, this one mounts to the side of the bench to make for a convenient and consistent setup.
The all-stainless handle, providing excellent leverage for good grip and great results, can be switched for left or right-handed use.
This one comes with a one-inch main ram that makes it ideal for reloading any caliber shy of an artillery shell: it should work more than well for your needs.
We really like the large loading window, which not only makes room for bullet components but also gives you enough room to actually work: this extra space makes reloading more efficient.
In terms of construction, this press is made out of cast iron with stainless working components. It’s heavy, solid, and built to last several lifetimes with basic and sensible maintenance, which is outlined in the included manual.
Marketed at a space that’s meant for dedicated hobbyists or professionals who plan to make high-quality ammo for the rest of their lives, we highly recommend the Rock Chucker as a press, as it is built to last and will give you extremely consistent ammunition if you do your part.
3. Hornady Lock-N-Load Classic Reloading Press Kits
- Classic Design
- Made by Hornady
- Quick Change Bushings
- Self-Aligning Primer Arm
- Solid Steel Linkage Arms
Hornady is a familiar name to anyone in firearms who appreciates high-quality ammunition. This press is a continuation of that brand that will allow you to make excellent ammunition.
If you had a father or grandfather who reloaded his own deer ammunition to take whitetails at distances that you couldn’t quite believe until you tried his ammo for yourself, he likely had one of these presses.
The Lock N Load by Hornady is one of the more tried and true designs in single-stage reloading presses, and there are good reasons that it is still so popular.
One of the major selling points is its quick-change bushing system, which allows you to change out dies in a few seconds, which does save a fair bit of time and frustration in the reloading process.
In terms of construction, it is meant to last. The edge mounting design comes with a steel handle and linkage arms, meaning that this press will serve you well for years and years to come.
It’s also set up to help you align the primer, which is handy for anyone but is of special use to new reloaders who like a little bit of assistance built into the design.
The cast frame has a large window so that you can easily access the cartridge, which, again, makes your life much easier in terms of reloading.
This press is a great choice for people looking to get into reloading, especially if your goal is small to medium volume of extremely well-done ammunition.
The Lock N Load is a staple one workbench all over the country, and with this kind of quality, we see why.
4. LEE PRECISION 90998 Classic Cast Press
- Large Opening
- Cast Iron Construction
- Long Handle for Leverage
- Powder Coat Finish
- Left or Right-Side Primer Installation
Sometimes, you want something right in the middle that is capable of just about anything the hobbyist could throw at it, but doesn’t break the bank, either.
If that’s what you’re looking for in a single-stage reloading press, then the Lee Precision Classic Cast Press is the one for you.
This press, which comes in a both attractive and durable powder coat finish, mounts to the edge of the bench for ease of access.
It is designed to be useful for a wide variety of users, accepting both 7/8” and 1-1/4” inch dies with the use of the included thread adapter.
There is one feature that we think is especially useful for new users: there’s a travel stop on the handle which you can set to avoid cam over when making rounds.
The classic O shaped design means that there is plenty of room to work in this press, which can also be configured for right or left-handed use.
The Lee Precision Classic Cast press sits at a really nice point in this list and the market for single stage presses. Sure, it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that some of the highest-end presses come with.
And that’s just fine, especially if all you plan on doing is reloading a lot of a few calibers, which is the case for most people anyway.
But this is a cast iron, well-made press that will certainly do the job for you for many years to come and might free up some cash for more reloading supplies.
5. RCBS Partner O-Frame Design 87460 Single Stage Press Cast Aluminum
- Compact Design
- Ideal for Portable Use
- Cast Aluminum Design
- Primer Arm Included
The Partner O Frame press is a perfect single stage reloading press for people who want to reload in the field or might have space concerns in their workspace.
Most of the presses out there, admittedly, are beefy pieces of equipment. That poses some challenges to some users and situations.
Say, for example, you live far from your range and want to try out a few different kinds of load to get your hunting rifle shooting its best.
You can make multiple trips, bring out multiple loads, or just guess at one load made at home. This press solves that problem.
Givens that it is compact, made of cast aluminum, and generally lightweight, this can be easily rigged up in the field on a bench to be able to reload in most conditions.
While it does have somewhat limited travel compared to the big presses, this comes at the major added benefit of having a smaller footprint than others.
This can be a serious consideration for someone who has a small workspace: apartment dwellers without a dedicated garage would do well to pick up this press.
Despite its small weight, this single stage reloading press is still more than capable, with quality made parts we expect from RCBS that will be able to handle the vast majority of user needs for reloading pistol and rifle ammunition.
This would be a great press on its own, or a portable companion to one of the larger presses if you plan on making a lot of ammunition.
6. LEE PRECISION Breech Lock Challenger Press
- All Steel Linkage
- Highly Durable
- Made in the USA
- Large Opening
- Quick Change Dyes
If quick and convenient are things you want in a reloading press, then the Lee Challenger is the press you’re looking for.
This relatively small press accomplishes in a small package what you need to do in terms of reloading, and still manages to pack in a nice feature set.
The edge-mounted O shaped design is relatively compact while still retaining the strength you need for a consistent final product.
Speaking of strength, the working parts of the press are all steel, meaning that this will last you many years to come. One really classic touch that we like is the wood ball on the end of a handle: it adds a nice touch of tasteful nostalgia to the piece.
The really neat feature of a lot of the Lee presses is their quick-change dye system, which allows you to change dies with a simple twist: this makes the Lee Challenger one of the fastest presses out there in terms of switching between dyes and parts of the reloading process.
In terms of application, this would be ideal for the hunter or hobbyist who plans on making a small to moderate amount of ammunition at home and is considering both cost and size of a press as major factors. This shines in both of those categories while maintaining a high standard of quality.
7. Lee Reloading press 90045
- Simple Design
- Great Value
- Quick Change Dyes
Rounding out our list with our budget pick, the Lee Reloading Press 9005 is an excellent pick for people just learning to reload, or as a second press.
When getting into reloading, it’s understandable that things can look a little daunting, with all of the new things to learn and new gear to buy.
One thing that can really make that process a lot less daunting is keeping things simple with some of the equipment.
If you’re reloading, as many do, primarily to save money on our somewhat frequent trips to the range, do you really need a press that costs a lot of money?
In a lot of cases, the answer to that is no, and you can learn good reloading skills on something like this Lee press.
This one is simple, a C shaped design that mounts to the edge of a bench and is designed, first and foremost, to be simple and user friendly. Like other Lee presses, this one has a quick-change dye system that makes it fast and convenient to do the whole reloading process.
It is lightweight and compact to the extent that it would not be ideal for doing commercial-scale reloading, but that makes it great for individual use as well.
We recommend this press for people learning how to reload on a budget or, to others as a dedicated press for one specific thing, such as case sizing. Overall, a solid budget pick to round out the list.
Things to Consider When Buying a Single Stage Reloading Press
When looking into buying a single stage reloading press, there are some things that you should keep in mind that are worth mentioning before you make a purchase decision. We’ll cover a few of them here to help you narrow down your choices.
Use of Reloading Press
First and foremost, you should establish the kind of reloading that you plan on doing. Are you a hobbyist who is just going to reload for a little bit of fun? How about a hunter making few, but very consistent rounds?
Maybe you plan on going into business for yourself to sell reloads at gun shows. If you’re in the first two groups, a smaller press will almost certainly do the job for you. If you’re in the latter, you’re going to want one of the larger presses that will be more comfortable to use for hours on end.
Another thing to consider is accessories. Most of these can have other things added to them to make them into a fully fledged reloading station.
This is true mostly of the larger presses that are oriented at people who are going to make a ton of ammunition and will get the most benefit from a fully compatible system all made by a single manufacturer.
For most people who just need a press to finish out their hobbyist setup, one of the smaller presses is about perfect.
A final consideration that needs to be one of your primary considerations is the form factor and size.
If you have all the room in the world in something like a shop or garage, something that mounts on the surface of a dedicated bench is the most ergonomic and consistent way that you can reload ammunition.
If, on the other hand, you have less space at a shared workspace or in an apartment without any garage or shop at all, then one of the lighter, edge-mounted presses would be the way to go for you.
When choosing a press, it’s important to consider how many rounds you’ll be making, and how often, and then dialing in the press from there. All of these we think, are good ones. We hope that you found this useful in picking your next press.