Since 1969
Getting Started 5.56mm or .223 Remington: If you are new to reloading or have been sitting on the fence - you may be a little overwhelmed by how much or what exactly you need to do that first load. Hopefully, this page can help you out a bit. We've tried to break this page down into 3 different easy to understand sections to get you on your way.
- Load (The first load - Equipment needed for loading with new brass)
- Components (What components you'll need)
- Reload (After you've shot that first batch - what you'll need to "Reload" it)

This page is set up as an example for those who are starting with .223 Remington. The component section reflects what you would need to get the job done and is just a basic first load. For other calibers - please consult to your reloading manual.
What Equipment is Needed to get your first batch loaded. First, take a look at what Hornady lists as "needed" from their 8th Edition Reloading manual so you can see where to start.

- Reloading Press
- Die Set
- Shell Holder
- Reloading Manual (Also needed but not listed)
- Powder Scale
- Powder Measure
- Priming System
- Case Lube

The most common way to get started are Reloading Kits. Keep in mind, there are lots of different kits, brands, or configurations your reloading bench could be comprised of. Below are links to our top 3 selling single stage reloading kits based on popularity, price and technical ease. We've also listed what they contain, and what you will still need if you choose to buy that particular kit.

Lee Breech Kit Lee Breech Lock Challenger Single Stage Press Kit
A great way to give reloading a chance if you aren't sure quite yet if it's for you. A small investment, but nevertheless, a good single stage press and some good tools included if you decide to move forward and upgrade a bit.

Price $117.39

- Breech Lock Challenger Press
- 1 Breech Lock Bushing
- Lee Auto Prime XR
- Auto Prime shell holder set
- Perfect Powder Measure
- Safety Scale
- Powder Funnel
- Case Cutter and Lock Stud
(case length gauges not included)
- Chamfer tool
- Sizing lube
- Small and Large Primer Pocket Cleaners.

What's Still Needed?
- Die Set & Shell Holder
- Reloading Manual

- Lee .223 Rem Die Set
(Includes Shell Holder)

- Lee Reloading 2nd Ed. Manual

- Case Length Gauge & Holder
(this goes with the cutter and lock stud
and will be needed for the "Reload")

- Bushing 2 Pack The press uses a quick change "Breech" bushing system but only includes 1 bushing. You may want to look at getting an additional Bushing 2 pack, . not necessary to actually load your first batch, but if you want to "Reload" you'll probably want to get them.

Final Comments:
If you get just the kit and what's needed, you're looking at under $170, get the case length gauge and bushings and you're under $175!

RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Master Reloading Kit RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Master Reloading Kit
By far the most popular reloading kit out there. More Rockchucker presses are mounted to benches across the globe than any single stage press made.

Price $300.00

- Rock Chucker Supreme Press
- Speer Reloading Manual
- Hand Priming Tool
- Uniflow Powder Measure
- 505 Mechanical Scale
- Powder Funnel
- Hex Wrench Set
- Case Lube Pad - Case Lube-2
- Small & Medium Case Neck Brushes
- Accessory Handle-2
- .17-.60 Chamfer/Debur Tool
- Universal Case Loading Block.

What's Still Needed?
- Die Set & Shell Holder

- RCBS Shell Holder #10

- RCBS .223 Rem AR Die Set
(This is $8.00 more than the standard .223 Rem die set, but read this or watch below, and you see why it's worth the $8.00)

Final Comments:
This is a kit that will pretty much last you a lifetime. You can upgrade some of the parts, but really - it will do the job, and do it well.

Hornady Lock-N-Load Kit Hornady Lock-N-Load Classic Single Stage Press Kit
This kit is also very popular and for several reasons. The whole "Lock-N-Load" quick change die system is really finally starting to catch on. The quality of the items that are included are top notch. Great press, great powder measurer and what sets this a part - a digital scale and a trickler.

Price $314.99

- Lock-N-Load Classic press
- Lock-N-Load Powder Measure
- Electronic Scale
- 8th Ed Hornady Handbook
- Three Lock-N-Load Die Bushings
- Primer Catcher
- Positive Priming System
- Hand-Held Priming Tool
- Universal Reloading Block
- Chamfering and Deburring Tool
- Primer Turning Plate
- One Shot Case Lube

What's Still Needed?
- Die Set & Shell Holder

- Hornady Shell Holder #16

- Hornady Die Set
We've listed the Hornady Die set above, but you can use the RCBS AR Die Set listed in to the left with the video. and at the very least, watch the video to see the advantages of the AR Die Set and see if it's right for you.

Final Comments:
This as well, is a kit that will last you a lifetime. You can upgrade some of these parts also, but Hornady really makes some great products. The Lock-N-Load bushing system is really convenient when switching out dies - especially on a single stage press. Another big plus is the "Get Loaded" promotion where Hornady will send you 500 FREE Bullets when you buy the Kit!

Components - Bullets, brass, primers and powder. Components for reloading can add even more variables to the mix. Bullets, brass, primers and powder are a mix of direct instruction from the reloading manual(s) that you use and personal preference. Your reloading manual will typically offer load data for several different combinations. Depending on the caliber, a manual could feature anywhere from 3 to 20 different variations of bullets with 10 to 15 different powders. They will list what primer they used during testing and data collection to ensure your loads match as close as possible to the results they achieved.

For this first load, we've simplified this process for you and are listing a basic and very popular combination of components, with load data for .223 Remington. The components we list for this load are based on popularity, ease of reloading and value. If you have a manual and see a combination that you prefer, feel free to substitute.

Bullets - Varmint Nightmare 22 Cal .224 Dia. 55 Grain Soft Point 500 Count
Brass - 223 Remington (5.56mm) Unprimed Rifle Brass 100 Count
Primers - CCI #400 Small Rifle Primer (1000 Count) *Haz-Mat Fee Applies (See Note)
Powder - IMR 8208 XBR Smokeless Powder 1 Lb *Haz-Mat Fee Applies (See Note)

*Note about Haz-Mat Fee's: All orders containing gunpowder, primers, or percussion caps will charged a $25.00 hazardous materials charge per shipping box with these items. Powder and primers can be packed together on ground shipments for one hazardous charge provided the total weight of the order (including packaging) remains below 50 lbs. These items must be shipped separately from the other items.
Bullets, Primers, Brass and Powder
Bullets, Primers, Brass and Powder
Reload - After you've shot it! Now, what makes this all "Reloading." Pick up that brass from the range, your buddy, your back yard and put it back to use! This will require a little more equipment than most kits come with. Cleaning the brass and making sure it's the right length are 2 big parts of reloading. So we've listed some budget minded solutions for getting these jobs done below.

Case Cleaning - Lots of different methods of cleaning brass after it's been fired. Probably the most common is the Tumbler and Media method. Our own Midsouth Tumbler Kit covers this. It includes everything you need to get it clean. (A Tumbler, Separator, 6lbs of Corn Cob Media, & 8 oz of Brass Polish). It's a great tumbler, that has a Lifetime Warranty on the plastic and a 3 year warranty on the motor. Actually a great value at under $75.

If you don't want the kit - Here are the items separate:
- Case Tumbler
- Rotary Sifter
- Brass Polish
- Corn Cob Media 6lbs

Case Trimming and Prep - So, most of the kits include a Chamfer/Deburring tool for removing burrs from the case neck, but really that's about the extent of the case prep tools included. If you do "Reload" that ammo, you are going to have to measure that case length, and might have to trim down the neck of the brass a bit from where it sometimes stretches from firing. Trimmers come in all shapes and sizes. Simple to complex, expensive to cheap, manual to automatic.

Here are our thoughts - Lee makes a simple, but really very effective case length and trim system. If you buy all of the components for it, it comes to under $15. Just for the first few loads, we think this is a good way to get your cases prepped and get a feel for trimming and case prep before diving into more equipment. You'll probably quickly see what you like and don't like and see the practical application of the tools that are out there by trying Lee's tools first. (A lot of reloaders never change from the Lee tools!) So, if you go the Lee route, here's what you'll need:

- Cutter and Lock Stud - (Included the Lee Breech Kit)
- 223 Remington Case Length Gauge and Shell Holder
- Primer Pocket Cleaner - (Included the Lee Breech Kit)
- Chamfer and Deburring Tool - (Included the Lee Breech Kit)

- Case Conditioning Kit - Just get this kit. It saves you about a dollar. It includes the Cutter and Lock Stud, Primer Pocket Cleaner and Chamfer and Deburring Tool. (All you need to get then is the Case Length Gauge and Shell Holder.)
Bullets, Primers, Brass and Powder
Lee Case Conditioning Kit
What else do you need? Finally, we've made a list of some things that you might also need (If they aren't included in your kit of choice) or make the job easier.

Loading Trays - These keep your cases upright as you load. (Keep you somewhat organized as well)
Ammo Boxes - These keep your ammo organized and protected for storage.
Primer Flipper - Flips the primers all to one direction for you.
Bullet Puller - For fixing an incorrect load. To see it work - Watch This!
Calipers - Actually a must, check case length, and overall length when done.
Lyman's Case Prep Multi Tool - Versatile, inexpensive and covers all the bases. Great Tool.
Reloading Videos - The best one to start with is the RCBS Precisioneered Handloading DVD
Reloading Books and Manuals - The most popular Reloading Manual by far: Hornady's 8th Edition Handbook Of Cartridge Reloading
The ABC's Of Reloading (9th ed) - A pretty good book to get you started.