Best Single Stage Reloading Presses – 2020 Review

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Finding the best single stage reloading press might be a challenge. If you know how they work and what they’re used for, the search will be much easier. The single-stage reloading press is one of the easiest to use out of the few types of reloading presses that are currently on the market. It’s also one of the best types for beginners who are starting out with reloading their own rounds.

Reloading your ammo is an exciting and even more affordable approach since so many are getting tired of purchasing boxes of ammo that might set them back hundreds of dollars each time. To help you find the best single stage reloading press for your own use, we’ve taken the liberty of putting together a list of six of the best reloading presses that are currently on the market.

Before we get to the list itself, we’re going to discuss what a single stage reloading press is and how you can choose one out of the many that flood the market based on characteristics and some additional aspects.

Comparison of the Best Single Stage Reloading Presses

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Constructed from high-quality cast iron.
  • Best overall single-stage reloading press.
  • Best used for reloading rifle and long magnum rounds.
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  • Threaded in ⅞ 14 inches.
  • Designed for large caliber rifles rounds.
  • Runner-up for best overall single stage reloading press.
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  • Features a 1-inch ram.
  • It allows for many standard shell holders.
  • Best single stage reloading press for the money.
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  • Compatible with 7/8 -14 thread dies.
  • Compatible with .22 Hornet to .416 Rigby rounds.
  • Best single stage reloading press for accurate rounds.
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  • Accepts ⅞ 14 dies.
  • Made from cast iron for superior durability.
  • Best reloading press from the Lee Precision brand.
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  • Best of the Hornady brand.
  • Made from high-quality cast iron.
  • Best used for pistol and rifle rounds.
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What is a Single Stage Reloading Press

A single-reloading stage press is one of the simplest types of reloading presses on the market. How this type of reloading press works is you’ll be using one reloading die while you’ll be reloading an empty casing of a pistol or shotgun round. They do not have a rotating tool head that you’ll see with some other reloading presses and the die will usually need to be replaced before you move on to the next step of the process.

While it is possible to reload a large number of rounds in a matter of an hour, it will be slower than if you’re using another press like a progressive reloading press. Fortunately, the single-stage press makes bullet production easier to do once you’re able to get the hang of it all.

How to Choose a Single Stage Reloading Press

It’s always important to find a single stage reloading press that is the best in quality, reliability, and operation. Reloading your ammo shouldn’t be done with a reloading press that is the opposite of that. Here are some things you want to consider while choosing a single stage reloading press:

Price

If you’re a budget shopper, obviously it will be the price tag that will play a role in your final purchasing decision. That doesn’t mean it should be the only reason why you should choose it. As a rule, find the best single-stage reloading press that is the best in quality and performance, but fits your budget. Even if it means paying a bit higher on your budget scale, it’s way better than sacrificing quality because you went cheap.

Material

The most high-quality materials are made from the best materials. The better they are, the better chance they have of lasting you a long time. Make no mistake, these reloading presses will have the ability to last you many decades (some users still reload their ammo with presses they’ve bought over 30 years ago). Most of the presses will be made from cast iron, a material that is one of the strongest in the business.

What Type of Rounds Are You Reloading?

There are some single-stage reloading presses that will reload just about any ammo type. However, there are some that will be exclusive to either or type. It doesn’t matter which one you choose, a single-stage reloading press will be best used by you if you’re starting out with reloading your own rounds.

Quick Take - The Best Single Stage Reloading Presses

Review of the Best Single-Stage Reloading Press

The following is a list of the best single-stage reloading presses on the market. As you look through all six of these, it’s important to take a note of features and characteristics of each reloading press so you know which ones will match the criteria of what you’re looking for. Now, let’s get started by taking a look at the “best overall” choice for the best single-stage reloading press: 

Pros

  • Fits Most Brass Sizes With Ease
  • Lever Action is Nice and Smooth
  • Best For Heavy-Duty Reloading Jobs
  • Excellent For Reloading Rifle Rounds
  • Super Durable Construction, It Can Last You For Many Years or Decades

Cons

  • Linkage Might Be Too Close To the Die
  • May Not Handle Some Larger Caliber Rounds
  • Some Lubrication May Be Required Before Use

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of recent buyers were satisfied with the reloading press. They were able to fit the dies perfectly and were able to easily reload and close off their rounds with little to no difficulty. One user said using it was easier than he thought. He was able to crank out about five of his AR-15 magazines in a matter of a half-hour.

Why it Stands Out To Us

This reloading press design appears to be simple. It’s not as intimidating and makes it look like it is something that is easy to use. Granted, there is a bit of a learning curve to using these kinds of reloading presses. By the time you know how to use it and load some cartridges for the sake of practice, you’ll be able to reload your ammo for the real deal.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be a reloading press that will be best used by those who have a rifle or even long magnum rounds. It will be an easy to use reloading press for the beginner but will be even easier once you get the hang of it. You don’t have to move up to a more complex type if you don’t want to. But it will definitely be your best friend if you’re an AR-15 or .270 user.

What Could Be Improved and Why

Since you’ll be using this on a regular basis, it’s important to include something that might be needed prior to using it. While some users have reported lubing it up on occasions before use, some lubrication should be included. This will save new users a lot of money and give them a good idea of how often they should use it for as long as they have the press.

Bottom Line

If you want a reloading press that is easy to use and is considered one of the best for many rifle rounds and calibers, the Redding Ultramag Reloading Press might be exactly what you’re looking for. The design isn’t so intimidating and the use isn’t too complicated.

Pros

  • Lever Action is Smooth Moving
  • Easy To Change and Replace the Dies
  • Excellent For Reloading Large Caliber Rifle Rounds
  • Easy To Use, Might Be Used By Beginner Level Reloaders
  • It Allows For Better Creativity For Making Your Own Rounds

Cons

  • Some Dies May Be a Little Difficult To Fit
  • Won’t Be Compatible With Smaller Rifle Calibers
  • Lever Action Might Be a Little Stiff For Some Users

What Recent Buyers Report

This reloading press was easy to use for most users. One user said that he was able to reload his .50 caliber rounds and allowed himself creative freedom in making his own rounds. He said he was able to make his bullets slightly faster than the ones he’s purchased in the past.

Why it Stands Out To Us

This reloading press is one of the single-stage reloading presses that is exclusive for large caliber rounds like .50 and .25 ACP calibers. It will give you enough ample creativity for creating better and faster rounds. You might give yourself an even better edge over those who manufacture the bullets themselves. You can crimp, install the primer, and so on.

Who Will Use This Most

This reloading press might be best used by those who own rifles that have the ability to fire off large-caliber rounds. These are your AR-15 rounds among others. If you’re a fan of firing off heavy-duty rifles and want to reload your own rounds rather than purchase them outright, this reloading press will start you off on the right track.

What Could Be Improved and Why

One of the things that can be considered for improvement would be to make it easier for the dies to be changed out. Some of them have had some issues with the switching in and out of these casting dies. Some changes in the mechanism might be considered.

Bottom Line

The RCBS AmmoMaster 2 is the reloading press that might be your best friend in the workshop if you’re looking for a possible reloading press that will give you more large-caliber rounds than a single, expensive box. Once you get the hang of this, there is no limit to how much firepower you can give yourself.

Pros

  • Affordable For Most Budgets
  • Lever Action Movement is Smooth and Easy
  • Best Used For Rifle and Magnum Pistol Rounds
  • Includes Multiple Cast Dies, They Are Easy To Install
  • Super Durable, Has the Potential To Last You Decades

Cons

  • Diecasts Might Be a Little Difficult To Fit
  • The Primer Stop Plunger May Have Too Much Tension
  • Lever Action Might Be a Little Difficult To Use For Some Users

What Recent Buyers Report

This reloading press was a favorite among budget users. A lot of them were looking for a reloading press that allowed them to reload many rifle rounds. They were happy with the overall operation. Some of them were able to reload as many as 500 rounds in a single hour depending on the caliber they’re reloading.

Why it Stands Out To Us

This reloading press has multiple dies that can be used at your discretion. This is a turret style single-stage press that will allow for the reloading of multiple rounds. Compared to other single-stage reloading presses, this is an intermediate level press.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be used mostly by rifle users. AR-15 and .30-06 users will be able to reload their own rounds, albeit much faster than some other single-stage presses. This will also be used by those who are intermediate level reloaders. Which means it might be a little complicated for beginner users.

What Could Be Improved and Why

Once again, we’ll be suggesting the possibility of making some changes to the mechanism that holds the dies in place. The goal here is to make sure that each die you use is easily attached and detached. There’s a good chance that users will use all the different dies depending on what they’re reloading.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a really good reloading press that will be used for rifle and magnum pistol rounds, the Lyman Brass Smith 8 Station Turret Press might be the best one you can invest in. For those who are on a budget, this is one of the best quality reloading presses that you can afford.

Pros

  • Best Used For Many Rifle Calibers
  • Lever Action is Smooth and Easy To Move
  • Construction and Overall Quality Are Strong and Solid
  • Easy To Use Reloading Press, Lever Action is Fluid and Easy To Use
  • It Allows For Easy Creation of Rounds With the Intent of Better Accuracy

Cons

  • Lever Action Might Be a Little Stiff Upon Initial Use
  • Some Die Fitting Might Be a Little Challenging At First
  • Some Adjustments May Need To Be Made Before Attaching it To Some Benches

What Recent Buyers Report

Most users were quite happy with the reloading press overall. The design is simple and is easy to attach to most workbenches. A lot of them were able to reload dozens of rounds in a matter of a half-hour. One user said it took him about 20 minutes to reload a full magazine of rounds. Some were able to use a bit of creativity to ensure their bullets were faster and more accurate.

Why it Stands Out To Us

This reloading press not only does its job in closing off parts of the bullet that keeps the powder in place, but it also allows users to get creative with making their rounds. In other words, they were able to make their rounds more pinpoint accurate. This can easily be done regardless of which caliber you’re trying to reload.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be a reloading press that will be used by many who intend to use their rifles for the purpose of hunting, target shooting, and even competitive shooting. These three applications are where accuracy holds the highest importance. If you’re looking for a press that will give you a bit of flexibility to create and reload your own rounds with the intent on making them more accurate, this press will work to your advantage.

What Could Be Improved and Why

A possible suggestion for improvement is to include a vise-like attachment so it can maintain a stronghold on most benches. Most users will be able to use this press without having to worry about it damaging or warping the bench itself.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a reloading press that will allow you to reload rounds that will be best used for accurate shooting, the MEC Reloading Marksman Single-Stage Reloading Press might be exactly what you’re looking for. Depending on your application, nothing will give you more confidence than having rounds that will guarantee better and tighter shooting groups at your disposal.

Pros

  • Smooth and Easy Operation
  • Best Used For All Kinds of Round Types
  • Dies Are Easy To Change Out and Replace
  • Solid and Well Made, It Can Last You Years or Even Decades
  • Primer Arms Work Well With Both Large and Small-Sized Primers

Cons

  • The Lever Movement Might Be Stiff At First
  • May Require Some Lubrication Upon Initial Use
  • Some Significant Amounts of Play Reported, May Affect Consistency

What Recent Buyers Report

Most recent buyers were familiar with the Lee Precision brand. They found this reloading press to be solid in construction. Most expect them to use this for years or decades. The operation is smooth with no grittiness to report. Reloading and closure of each round were easy with little to no damage done to the cartridge.

Why it Stands Out To Us

This is another reloading press with a simple design that makes the press easier to use. Don’t be surprised if this is another one of the reloading presses that will be easy to use, even for a newbie user. Plus, you get quite a bit of creativity for making rounds that might be a little faster and more accurate than normal bullets right out of the box.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be a reloading press that will be used by rifle and pistol owners alike. It doesn’t matter what kind you use, you’ll be hard-pressed to find something that will match the overall performance and ability of this reloading press. As far as applications, this press will reload ammo that will be used for a wide variety of them.

What Could Be Improved and Why

One possible improvement that can be considered is investigating why there is some play associated with this reloading press. Once the manufacturers are able to pinpoint what exactly is the cause of it, they can get rid of it with the right kind of adjustments.

Bottom Line

If you trust in the Lee Precision brand, you’ll be quite happy with the Classic Cast Press. It’s a simple design that makes it simple to use for many calibers and round types. You’d be insane to pass up on the opportunity to give this a closer look.

Pros

  • You Can Easily Install or Remove the Die
  • Excellent For Reloading Large Caliber Rifles
  • Easy To Use Action Level, Very Smooth Movement
  • Includes a Tray For Empty or Reloaded Bullet Cases
  • Construction is Nice and Sturdy, It Can Last You Years or Even Decades

Cons

  • Some Lubrication May Be Required
  • Lever Action Might Be a Little Stiff Upon Initial Use
  • Dies Might Be a Little Difficult To Install or Uninstall

What Recent Buyers Report

Most recent buyers liked the overall design and ease of use with this reloading press. Most of them used it for reloading their rifle rounds. However, some were able to use it for reloading most pistol rounds. One user said his rounds were quite accurate when he was able to create them with his own personal touch.

Why it Stands Out To Us

The Hornady brand is considered one of the most reliable among reloading presses. But the name alone isn’t the reason why we chose this. They are best known for making a reloading press that can be used for decades without any reliability issues. That is if you take care of it and give it some routine maintenance.

Who Will Use This Most

This reloading press will be used across many users. Pistol and rifle users who want to reload their own rounds will likely use this to their advantage. They’ll use their ammo for hunting, competition shooting, or casual target shooting among all other uses.

What Could Be Improved and Why

One of the things that should be included with this reloading press is some extra dies. This way, it will be a lot easier and less of a challenge for those who are reloading rounds that are not just rifle rounds, but also a wide variety of pistol rounds as well,

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a reloading press that has the potential to last you a long time and will work with most bullets, the Hornady Lock-N-Load Iron Press Loader will definitely be something worth a closer look. Whether you’re using it for pistol or rifle rounds, this reloading press will stick with you and stay reliable for as long as you have it.

Benefits of Using a Single Stage Reloading Press

If you choose to invest in a single-stage reloading press, you’ll get to enjoy some sweet advantages. These will definitely serve you in the long-run no matter which reloading press you choose on the list. Here’s what you’ll likely get for benefits:

Fast Reloading

It’s a challenging process at first, but once you’re able to get the hang of a single-stage press, you’ll be able to load your rounds much faster than most. You can have a box of rounds ready in hand in a single hour depending on how fast you’re going.

Super Sturdy

If you choose a single-stage reloading press, it will probably be the last one you’ll ever buy in your lifetime. That is unless you decide to upgrade to something more like a progressive reloading press. Regardless of how often you use it, it’s cast iron construction makes it rugged and tough. In fact, most users still have their reloading press after buying it more than 30 years ago. 

Best Used For Practice Purposes

If you are indeed starting out with reloading, there is no other type of reloading press that will make it easier on you than a single-stage reloading press. So go ahead, learn how to reload your ammo and do make some mistakes along the way. These presses are easy to use and therefore the best type you can use to practice all kinds of creative reloading methods. 

How to Use a Single Reloading Press

Knowing how to use a single reloading press may be difficult. But if you follow the instructions below, it will be a lot easier than ever. Here’s what you need to do:

  • First, install your casting die on the reloading press. Make sure it’s screwed in nice and secure. 
  • Test out the lever-action by moving it around a bit. If it’s moving smoothly, you’re in good shape. However, it is widely recommended if you lubricate some of the key parts of the reloading press before you continue.
  • Deprime your rounds by simply lubricating the top parts and add them into the reloading press. Deprime and set aside the casings.
  • Using a cleaning tool, clean the pocket primers. This way, you will prevent any gunk or buildup inside the primer. Be sure to clean the neck of the casing as well.
  • Toss the casings in a tumbler and let them run for a few minutes. 
  • Once the tumbler cleaning is complete, remove the casings from the tumbler and remove any dust that might get caught in the casing themselves.
  • Using a primer pocket seating tool, you can reprime your freshly cleaned and loaded rounds. Place the primer end first and clamp down.

Conclusion

A single-stage reloading press might be what you need if you’re starting out with reloading your ammo. Even if you do get the hang of it, you can continue to use it or move onto another type of reloading press that will allow for reloading multiple bullets at the same time. Either way, you have something that will allow you to make your own rounds, especially the ones that no manufacturer ever makes anymore. 

About Josh Lewis

Josh Lewis the managing editor at Gun Mann and when he isn't writing about guns he is more than likely tinkering with them. He also enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time outdoors. As a lifelong gun owner he knows his stuff!

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