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Reloading is a fantastic hobby for gun owners to get into, but reloading for precision rifles forces you to elevate your efforts into an art form. Precision rifles need extra care and attention to work as well as they can. But if you produce top-tier reloaded ammunition for your precision rifle, you’ll be astounded at the accuracy and performance you can get. Let’s take a look at the best reloading presses for precision rifles.
- 1 Best Reloading Presses for Precision Rifles Compared Head-to-Head
- 2 Best Reloading Presses for Precision Rifles
- 3 What Is a Precision Rifle?
Best Reloading Presses for Precision Rifles Compared Head-to-Head
Best Reloading Presses for Precision Rifles
This is an ultra-high-quality single stage press kit that even comes with a digital scale and a powder measure you can use in conjunction with the main press. It’s quite expensive compared to all the other options on our list but it’s well worth it if you don’t have any of the needed accessories to complete your reloading session. Thus, it’s a great choice for beginners. Experienced reloaders may also find plenty of value within the reloading press itself.
Accessories include a casing/shell holder, an instruction manual, a primer catcher, a handheld priming tool, chamfer and deburr tool, and even our universal reloading block.
The press is a single-stage variant, but it also has a solid cast frame for extra visibility and easy access to every cartridge you reload. It even features a quick-change bushing system to let you swap between dies quickly. We would still recommend taking your time when reloading bullets for a precision rifle but it’s a nice option to have.
The arms are made of solid steel and the press is built with a positive priming system. This lets you add a new primer that self-aligns at the bottom of the brass casing. It makes priming your new casings a lot easier compared to other reloading kits and presses.
All in all, combined with the excellent accessories included with the kit, this precision reloading press is one of the best options on the market. It’s well worth the high asking price.
This is a much simpler purchase, although it’s still quite pricey overall. It’s a single turret press that can accept all threaded dies sized between 7/8”-14, as well as universal shell holders. The press is made from heavy-duty cast-iron frame that facilitates extra strength and wear and tear resistance. In other words, you’ll be able to use considerable muscle power on this press without breaking it for the brass casing in question.
The turret head is built with seven stations to let you swap between dies or casings as you desire. The operating handle is large and easy to use even from a higher angle, which is useful if you’re tall. The press is also built with a powerful compound linking system and a positive ram stop.
A special smart priming arm and a lifetime warranty round out this purchase and make it a fantastic choice for those looking for a slow but steady precision reloading press.
This high-quality piece of equipment is an excellent choice if you don’t mind taking a bit of time with each cartridge and want something that’ll last a lifetime; the warranty will help in this respect.
This is a much more affordable precision reloading press, making it an ideal choice for beginners who are just getting started on their precision reloading hobby. It still features quality construction with an all-steel linkage and a lever that can be adjusted along variable lengths. This makes it a great choice for reloaders that have different size arms.
Speaking of size, you can purchase this reloading press in several different sizes depending on what works best for your needs. It’s an “O” frame press, which provides a larger than average opening for maximum hand clearance and ease-of-use.
Priming is also particularly easy thanks to the specialized priming system inherent in this press’ design. A breech lock quick change die system allows you to swap dies instantly by twisting your wrist, although you may not use this feature for precision reloading.
All in all, this powerful and precise reloading press is a great choice for beginners and experienced reloaders alike. It’s also quite affordable depending on the size you choose.
This is a classic variation of the Lee Precision turret press line. Solid steel linkage and heavy-duty construction ensure that this press will last for a long time to come. The press also features the largest ram in the industry, which is drilled completely through to help you dispense primers quickly and cleanly.
The press comes with four stations on its turret to let you swap between casings for dies very quickly. The stroke is also long enough to let rifle cases over 3 inches long be loaded using the automatic indexing feature. This will be a great addition for anyone looking to reload high precision bolt action rifles with particularly long cartridges.
You’ll also benefit from a high-quality handle, which is made to last for a long time and even with considerable strength. Finally, this press can be affordable depending on the size you choose.
This is an excellent single stage press that is fairly affordable, and it has all the quality and ease-of-use we’ve come to expect from the Lee Precision brand.
What Is a Precision Rifle?
What distinguishes a precision rifle from other types of rifles on the market can vary depending on who you ask. But in general, precision rifles are used to hit distant or small targets with much greater degrees of accuracy compared to standard firearms.
In essence, while a regular rifle would be deemed acceptably accurate if the bullet landed within one MOA or MIL of the reticle, this would be terribly inaccurate for any precision rifle. Of course, this means your ammunition quality matters a great deal more when using a precision rifle.
Precision rifles are made with several technical features that can assist with greater accuracy. They are often used in military or tactical contexts by sniper units (such as sniper rifles) or are used in civilian target practice competitions. Indeed, precision rifle shooting is a designated competition type in which the most accurate rifles are measured head-to-head with top-tier marksmen from across the country or world.
Precision rifles are usually made with free-floating barrels that don’t touch the rifle at any part save for the action. This allows the barrel to project bullets with much greater consistency and better accuracy. Precision rifles are also usually made with a bolt action mechanism.
These mechanisms make consistent muzzle velocities and project gas out of the front of the barrel as opposed to other spots. This prevents gas ejection from affecting the accuracy of the weapon. Plus, this type of mechanism is a lot simpler to use than other types of rifles.
Even the inner design of the rifle barrel may be slightly different to facilitate better rifling and greater accuracy. High-quality precision rifles are usually built with very durable materials to allow them to be used in a variety of weather conditions. Alternatively, precision rifles might be made with materials like stainless steel if they are only expected to be used for civilian target hitting competitions.
Additionally, precision rifles are often used with match grade ammunition.
Match grade ammunition is, as the name suggests, ammo that is good enough for professional target practice competitions i.e. matches. Match ammunitions can come in all kinds of calibers and varieties but generally speaking, match grade ammunition is constructed or reloaded with extremely high quality. Many brass casings for match grade ammunition cartridges will be shaped in particular ways to project better accuracy and killing power at a distance.
This type of ammunition is distinct from regular ammunition, which is often made in bulk and without much attention given to individual cartridge quality. Many military brass casing sources produce sub-par ammunition for precision rifle needs.
All in all, precision rifles are best thought of as a distinct type of firearm, or a higher quality of weapon compared to your standard platform. Every aspect of their design is built in such a way to boost user accuracy and allow you to hit shots at 1000 yards away or greater depending on your cartridge caliber and rifle type.
This also means that you can’t use a regular reloading press set up for many precision rifles. They have additional needs that have to be accounted for.
What Specifics Do They Need in a Reloading Press?
The truth is that there are very few “precision rifle specific” reloading press is available on the market. Instead, what you want to target our reloading presses that allow you to craft handmade ammunition with the utmost quality and care.
Naturally, this means you should stay away from reloading presses that can produce multiple brass casings or cartridges at once. Every cartridge you feed into your precision rifle should be examined beforehand and taking care of. You’ll probably want to go with a single-stage press or a T-press, particularly if you only want to load one cartridge at a time.
But wait, we hear you asking; don’t you have to adjust your die every time you change out a casing? You do, but taking your time and being extremely precise with your work is part of the process.
You should also avoid reloading presses that have shell holders or simply not use a shell holder if you have a great press and don’t want to buy a new one. Shell holders aren’t precision devices and will standardize the headspace of your brass casings. This can make the rim of your casing a little sloppy and affect the overall accuracy of the bullet once it is ejected from the firearm.
You’ll also want to find reloading presses that either come with powder measurement tools or pick up a powder measuring scale yourself to use in conjunction with the press. Measuring the perfect quantity of powder for every one of your precision rifle bullets is critical if you want to maximize your accuracy and the performance of your rifle.
It may be a good idea to pick up a reloading press that can work with a wide variety of reloading dies depending on how many types of ammunition you like to use. However, most precision rifles are built to accept a limited number of cartridges without significant modifications or customizations. Thus, top-tier precision reloading presses may only accept a single type of die or certain cartridge sizes. This is alright, in our book.
Ultimately, you want to look for presses that allow you to maintain a steady hand and precise machining work on the part of the manufacturer. Keeping your casings in prime condition should be a top priority.
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