Whether you want to save cost on buying new ammunition or check the quality of your bullets, reloading ammo is an economical way to do.
Back then, I got a gun-dealer in my downtown area reload my ammo twice a month. But this turned out to be time-consuming and expensive.
Now that I know the presence of reloading press, I reload bullets myself.
Not only have I saved my wallet, but I also have a new hobby of making my own ammo.
I will share more about this way-fun hobby later on. Let’s discuss the best single stage reloading press tools!
Top 5 Single Stage Reloading Presses 2023
1 RCBS Rock Chucker 9356 – The Best Single Stage Press
If you search for reloading equipment, there is a big chance that you will come across bunches of RCBS’s products. In fact, this is the leading manufacturer in the market.
Rock Chucker 9356 is among the best-sellers, for good reasons:
The tool features a cast iron construction, along with a solid steel handle and comfortable ball-type grip.
You can expect the press to be ultimately durable. Even better, the ambidextrous O frame makes it available for almost everyone.
The operation is also user-friendly.
What I also like about this Rock Chucker is its small primer arm that fits the shell case on every priming stage.
Plus, the 4-inch-tall clearance makes the press compatible with almost every bullet types. The full loading window also supports the more efficient reloading.
And exciting enough, you can upgrade this single-stage reloading press to a progressive loader using a Piggyback. It is more economical than buying a completely new progressive one.
The only problem is, the iron material makes the press extraordinarily bulky and heavy.
All in all, Rock Chucker 9356 is the best single stage reloading press for both amateurs and pros as long as they want heavy-duty reloading, bullet swaging, or case forming.
- Long-lasting material
- Comfortable handle and grip
- Small primer and tall clearance
- Heavy-duty reloading press
- Upgrade construction to the progressive
- Sturdy and heavy feeling
2 RCBS Summit Single Stage Reloading Press – Best for Beginners
Though most single-stage reloading presses are easy to use, you still need to be careful. For beginners, I recommend the RCBS Summit for the sake of your safety and efficiency.
Unlike other presses which keep the shell holders up to the dies, the Summit brings up the shell right on its position.
Accordingly, the ammo becomes straighter, and the brass remains intact. As a result, reloading is more efficient and reliable.
Like the Rock Chucker 9356, the Summit model is made from the cast iron so that you can rely on the durability even when you put a significant force on the reloading stage.
The handle is also ambidextrous. It means you can place the lever on either side and the press is ready to load your ammo.
Besides the frame material, you should also pay attention to the ram. It supports the weight of the ammo, from my experiences, the more extensive – the better. The 2-inch ram of the Summit makes the press both dependable and durable.
The wide frame opening of 4.5 inches is another praise. It features a flexible room for various brasses, even those more substantial than the standard ammo.
The wide opening also means you can move your hands freely in between to alter the position of bullets as wished.
Many users also like the Spent Primer under the shell holder. This simple additional feature is thoughtful to tolerate your maintenance work later.
Amazing the features are, the price is far higher than others on the list. Besides, you might have to buy a shorter handle separately if you expect better reloading for smaller bullets.
The feature richness is worth its price. If you are not very tight on budget, you should make an investment.
- Easy and safe operation, especially for the beginners
- Durable cast iron material and comfortable handle
- Wide frame opening
- Extra cost on other parts
3 RCBS Summit Single Stage Reloading Press – The Quickest Reloading Rate
The fan club of Hornady presses might be the second largest after that of the RCBS presses.
It is due to the unique design and technology, making the Hornady dependable and precise for the reloading press.
Take the Hornady 085001, for example.
The Lock-n-Load bushing system is the most exciting feature. It supports setting up and switching between dies in seconds.
All that is left to do is to insert and lock the die bushing into place before fitting the standard dies. No worries about re-adjusting the dies for each of your loads.
The primary material is also the cast iron, so you can expect the press to be built to last.
Moreover, there are steel arms, accomplished by the ball-style handle, running along the cast frame. Such a long and easy-to-grip handle improves the leverage and saves your efforts in reloading.
What’s more, the power-pac linkage is in place so that you can apply various leverage to your handle to the cases and minimize the user fatigue.
Do not forget to try the positive priming system, which has many interesting parts, such as the self-aligning primer arm. You can place it in the middle of the ram so that the priming and depriming process becomes quicker and quicker.
As there are things I want the manufacturer to improve, I do not vote the Hornady press as the best single stage reloading press. For example, the dies are sold separately. It means paying more.
In case you have many standard bullets to reload at a time, the quick Hornady 85001 press is the right choice.
- Flexible Lock-N-Load system
- Comfortable handle and arms
- Additional helpful features
- Extra payment on other parts, like dies
4 RCBS Summit Single Stage Reloading Press – The Most Compact Press
Unlike the RCBS and Hornady who try to develop their products with fascinating features, LEE keeps the construction as compact as possible. And the feature list is basic but versatile!
First, the low price does not mean the cheap materials as thoughts of many users.
In fact, the LEE Precision Breech Lock is made from the cast iron to increase the durability of the tool.
More exciting, the total weight of 1.6 lbs is not as much as of the other cast iron presses on the list thanks to the compact dimension.
You can carry the press outside for your reloading work with ease.
Not to mention, the press can handle a wide variety of ammunition since it is up to 3.65 inches long.
The “O” frame is ideal for your small workspace since it saves a significant space compared to the “C” frame.
In addition, the frame can work with different calibers.
However, do not expect to hold up abnormal-sized bullets.
The features might not be as impressive as those of the RCBS and Hornady products. However, they save your wallet significantly. The reloading quality is reliable.
- Space-saving O frame
- Lightweight and portability
- Strong cast iron construction
- Affordable pricing
- Limited usage for the big bullets
5 Lee Reloading Press Md 90045 – Best Budget Single Stage Press
At a glance, the press is straightforward and compact, isn’t it?
The Lee 90045 features a classic C-frame to access your ammo easily. The material cast aluminum frame holds up the loading tasks very well, which is beyond the expectation at this price range.
The three-point mounting system makes this press different and money-worthy compared to the conventional 2-point system. You can feel a significant difference in exerting the downward force.
At such an affordable price, LEE equips this press with a comfortable wooden-ball handle at the end. Feel at ease to reloading the ammo for hours without the pain in the palm.
The ram is 3-¼ inches in length so you can expect the compatibility with the smallest rounds. Beginners working with the caliber rounds will fall for this press.
However, I do not recommend this Lee press for heavy-duty reloadings like a .50 BMG or a .577 Nitro.
You can hardly find better single-stage reloading press at this price. The features are helpful enough for those having a small collection of bullets. No need to waste money on two fancying add-ons.
- Surprisingly low price concerning the features
- Compact design
- 3-point mounting system
- 2-year unconditional warranty
- Not efficient enough for the heavy-duty reloading
Types of Reloading Presses
Reloading task requires the involvement of several reloading tools, one of which is the press.
This is usually in place to resize the case of the bullet and push the old primers out of the brass.
Besides the single stage reloading press, there are other two press types: Turret and Progressive reloading presses.
Single Stage Press
The single-stage reloading press is the best-known tool to reload your bullets at home.
The working principle is to employ a single die to operate one cartridge at a time. Its popularity is for good reasons:
- Portable size: The footprint is small, and the setups/caliber adjustment is in a matter of minutes. I recommend the single-stage press if your workspace is limited.
- Versatile design: Interesting enough, this press can load both rifle and pistol cartridges. It is also compatible with various accessories.
- Affordable: Of the three reloading press types, the single stage is the cheapest. Its price is around one-fourth of the progressive.
- Time-consuming loading: It takes time to work with bullets with the single-stage press. On average, a skilled reloader can only load from 50 to 100 ammo per hour.
The turret press also works on a single cartridge at a time like the single-load press.
However, it can hold multiple dies instead of one. You do not need to change the dies in the middle of the loading.
- Quick index between dies: Since the press can handle an entire set of dies, you can speed up the indexing. In other words, the loading rate is much higher than that of the single-stage cousins.
- Smooth operation: If you have a go for a turret press before, then you will find it easy to master.
- Less versatile construction: Though most turret presses can work for pistol and rifle cartridges, the result is not as simple and effective as the single-load one.
- Higher price: You have to pay an extra fee to get the turret press. So weight carefully between how many cartridges you need to reload and how much you will spend.
Progressive Reloading Press
I have three words to describe the progressive press: impressively-quick, large, and expensive.
Principally, the press employs all dies to run multiple operations instantly to yield a full cartridge per pull of the lever.
- High loading rate: If you have a high volume of bullets to load at a time, it is worth to invest in a progressive press. To say, this tool is a time-saver with an ability to load about 600 cartridges per hour.
- Complicated operation: With many moving parts included, the press is such a burden to operate for beginners.
- Expensive budget: The progressive press is four times as much as the single-stage. Not to mention, the press comes with various accessories that might cost you more to buy and maintain, such as primer feeders, pocket swaggers, trimmers, etc.
Read more: Top 5 Best Progressive Reloading Press
How to Choose a Single Stage Reloading Press
Every purchase has a secret to ensure you spend your cash in the right place. Here comes the buying guide for the best single stage reloading press.
There are three criteria to keep in mind.
From my experience, you should not pay too cheap for a good-quality reloading press.
The unexpectedly good-for-price tools are often made from fragile materials which end up breaking after several uses.
Not only do you waste money, but it might also cause dangerous incidents.
Hence, you had better scan for the material information before digesting any long details.
Make sure that the press is durable as you must use the same parts and lever for all reloading stages. Most of the press should be made from steel, iron, or aluminum.
Iron: The cast iron is commonly used for the best single-stage reloading press thanks to its durability. However, it is heavy and quite bulky.
Steel: I like steel parts of the reloading press since they take a lot of impact. For example, the steel arms help leverage the application to the press’s handle.
Aluminum or polymer carbon: These materials tolerate the weight and help to push the bullet case more quickly.
However, they are less durable than iron or steel. If you do not reload the ammo frequently with a high volume, they are still recommended.
Style Of Press
The reloading presses are not all the same. They come with different structures to produce the most efficiency of bullet reloading, in which the O frame and C frame are the most common for the single stage press.
In terms of cost, the C frame is more economical than the O frame.
However, you might come across the annoying deflection since the frame is easy to bend outward under the loading pressure.
It not only causes the possible inconsistency and deformities but also poses the press to breaking.
I recommend the C frame for pistol reloading since the size of the case is smaller for the frame to fit in.
Moreover, you should choose the quality materials to handle the pressure better.
To size significant caliber rifle cases, I choose the O-frame press. This supports both sides of the die to give off a greater force on the bullets.
Thanks to its strength you can expect the press to be more durable.
Brand and Warranty
Better safe than sorry – Do not jump to buy from a whatever brand because of their low price. You had better go for a branded name.
The warranty is also essential so that you know where to ask for help when the press suddenly goes wrong.
In this post, I have introduced you to some reliable brands of the reloading equipment such as the RCBS, LEE, and Hornady.
Take these products into consideration, and you might not have to search elsewhere.
Also, you can refer to several names such as Lyman, Barnes, or Sierra.
Of the five presses, I like the RCBS Rock Chucker 9356 the most for its durability and reloading efficiency. This press is versatile for various types of bullets and works.
If you give it a try, you might also turn into its advocates. Or you can also consider the others which suit your purposes and budget the most.
Whichever you choose, it is helpful to save money on reloading or buying new ammo. More importantly, you can ensure the bullets are available to shoot at all times!