Reloading a Cartridge

Now that you have cleaned and returned the cases to original manufacturer specifications you are ready to build cartridges. The following steps go much faster than case prep. If you use a single stage press you will accomplish each of these steps by inserting the proper die into the press and repeating the steps for every case until you have a completed cartridge.

The steps of building a new cartridge are as follows:

Insert a new prime

I use a Lee Safety Prime attached to my reloading press. This tool allows easy insertion of the primer into the case as safely as
possible. There are hand loaders for primers. I have never used one of these.

Charge the case with powder

You must consult a reloading manual in order to select the right type of powder to purchase. There are different brands of powder, each very different. When selecting powder from the lists provided the fastest burning powder is listed first.

Once you have selected the powder to use you must then select the load for the size bullet you are reloading. Different bullet speeds are shown in the chart. Stay away from the largest load shown and NEVER exceed the largest load shown. We want the cartridge to go Bang, not BOOM.

Use a powder scale to measure the powder before charging the case. Be exact with your measurements. If you wish, after verifying the powder measure device that is dispensing the powder several times for accuracy, you may charge the case directly from the device.

Seat the bullet

Insert the new bullet into the case and use the Bullet Seating Die to push the bullet into the case the proper depth.

Measure the overall length of the cartridge and compare to the Case Overall Length (COL) shown in the reloading manual. Make adjustments to the die by turning the knob on the top. Never exceed the COL for the cartridge being loaded.

Crimp the bullet

Rifle cartridges and most pistol cartridges need to have a slight crimp to hold the bullet in place. Without this crimp I have had bullets move in the finished cartridge during the firing process. This happened to cartridges in the magazine that felt the recoil during the firing of other cartridges. The bullets began to come out, thus exceeding the COL and then not fitting properly in the firing chamber of the gun.

4 Pulls With a Lee Turret Press

A Lee Classic Turret Press allows you to use 4 reloading dies in a cylinder that rotates with every pull of the handle.

Insert a single case into the press and with 4 pulls of the handle you will:

  1. Insert a new primer into the case.
  2. Charge the case with the proper amount of powder.
  3. Insert the new bullet into the case at the proper depth.
  4. Crimp the bullet into the case.

You now have a completed cartridge that is ready to fire.

After doing the case prep on the single stage press allows for extremely fast building of the finished cartridges on the turret press.

Once the dies and powder dispenser is properly set up the cartridges are built 3 – 4 times faster than on a single stage press.

Watch this video to see how easy and fast a Lee Turret Press reloads ammunition.