Portable reloading kit

Petrol & Powder

Active Member
I was thinking about the minimal amount of gear that would be needed to reload; 1 type of cartridge with 1 particular load. Not some prepper or survivalist set up (I don't subscribe to that ideology), Just the least amount of gear one could get by with.
The consumables would be powder, primers and maybe bullets (if you didn't cast your own).
So let's say you had a pound of powder that makes X number of your cartridges of choice. You then match the required number of primers and if needed, bullets.

After you have assembled those items, you need some type of press, dies, a fixed powder measure (dipper), maybe a funnel, some way to prime the casing and that's about it.
The obvious choice is a 310 tool but a Lee hand press may be a better option.
If your cartridge was a rimmed, straight walled case like a 32 S&W or 38 Special, it would be fairly easy.

If you added bullet casting to that set up, you would need a mold, a ladle, a small pot, a supply of lead, some way to heat it, some way to lube the bullets and maybe size, the bullets.

Any thoughts?
 

CWLONGSHOT

Residing in New England
I had a kit for the back if my pickup. Made a bench that mounted to my hitch with a box slid onto the gate.

I dont have that range access anylonger so havent used that setup in many years. But it was nice and worked well. No bench just stool and press mount. Bench was tail gate. Sorry no pics.

My range now limits close access to firing line.

CW
 

Outpost75

Active Member
I have used the Lyman Tong Tool, the Lee Hand Press and the Huntington Compact (Decker) hand press.

The Lee is the best compromise for the money, because it uses standard dies and shell holders and can full-length size rifle brass.

The Huntington can be either used by hand or bench mounted. It is a better technical solution, but is out of production.

At the hunting camp I keep Lee dippers and a charge table with dies, powder, primers and bullets for the most common calibers. Works for me.
 

RicinYakima

High Steppes of Eastern Washington
Until this year, wife and I traveled in a 22 foot 5-th wheel several months of the year. I started out in 1996 with an Ideal tong tools that worked great for the 30/06 Springfield I always used. They were cheap, and took up little room, a major problem RV'ing. However the ammo was not of the best quality (I'm a match shooter remember) and with arthritis in my hands too hard to work. Lee press didn't fit into the only space I had to storage reloading equipment. Next was the Huntington press (btw, back in production from the Oroville retail store, but made in China) that was much better than the Lee. But again very bulky and accessories were bulky also.

The last five years I have been using a W. English PAK-TOOL and dies. High quality, light weight and straight line bullet seating. Tool with dies for 30/06 and 32/20 with small tools, dippers and primers fit in a large cigar box. Only the bullets and powder need additional storage. It is not for everyone, and the tools have been out of production since about 1987, but worth looking for in your caliber.

PAK-TOOL ad.JPG
 
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Petrol & Powder

Active Member
Thanks for the responses.

In terms of just pure weight and space considerations, loaded ammunition is probably the winner until you either get into big cartridges or very large amounts of cartridges.
However, there is some attraction to reloading just for the sake of reloading. I enjoy that activity.

I think in today's world, the Lee hand press may be the best option for a portable kit. It's a little bigger than a 310 tool but the ability to use standard dies is a huge plus. Some of those other options, like the Huntington press and the PAK-TOOL, are interesting.
I think once you start mounting things on benches and receiver hitches, you're moving away from the truly portable gear.

I'm not seriously considering a portable set up right now, but it is something that's always been in the back of my mind. I may get a hand press of some type and see if that leads me somewhere.
 

Ian

Notorious member
20200728_140314.jpg

Everything except the dies, bullets, powder and loading data. It could be a lot more refined for just one cartridge, and the priming could be simplified with a press-mounted die, but I wanted a complete system capable of loading anything.
 

MW65

Wetside, Oregon
My setup is similar to Ian's... I pre-prep a bunch of brass, so it's ready to charge with powder and seat/crimp a projectile. Great when testing different load combos... Lee hand press works pretty well. Enjoy!!
 

Petrol & Powder

Active Member
I'm thinking the bare minimum for one type of load, for one type of cartridge, would be:
Some type of hand press
A sizing/de-capping die
Some means to re-prime the case
A dipper calibrated to throw the correct charge of powder and a funnel to get it in the case.
A seating die, and some means to apply the crimp.
A loading block would be useful. If you have some type of box to hold all of the tools you could incorporate the loading block into the box.

You don't need a scale. You really don't need the load data once you assemble the kit.
If you're using a carbide sizing die, you don't need case lube.

If you're loading rifle cartridges you will need some means to trim the case and maybe a case length gage.

After that, all you need are the powder, primers and bullets.
 

Hawk

Well-Known Member
I've got more .38 SPL and 357 Mags pistols than anything else. I've got a setup for my go bag that is pretty much the same setup as Ian, but set up to load only .38 SPL/.357 Mag and a dual cavity 358379 mold with handles and a bottle of BLL.
If stuck in the hills or woods during a SHTF event, I could scrounge up wheel weights from abandon vehicles and at least put some meat on the menu.
 

MW65

Wetside, Oregon
You don't need a scale. You really don't need the load data once you assemble the kit.
If you're using a carbide sizing die, you don't need case lube.
The Lee dippers work fairly well and consistently for me. For my "load data" I write on some older business cards, could also use a 3x5 card, and jot down a favorite load... or the parameters for some load dev... Try 1.9 to a 2.2cc dip. These fit in my small Tupperware bin for my dippers and I have a Otis kit in there as well.
 

StrawHat

Active Member
I have been using a 310 tool for reloading all of my rifle cartridges except the 50-70. I could easily adapt it to 45 ACP.

Kevin
 

Spindrift

Well-Known Member
Some type of hand press
A sizing/de-capping die
The Lee hand press is a perfect match with their collet dies. I have a hand press with breech lock, and collet dies in a «lock ring eliminator». Once the dies are adjusted, swapping to another cartridge takes 10 seconds, and die settings are very consistent. Most of my brass get sized with this, I actually prefer it over theRock Chucker. I don’t bring it to the range, but I can size my brass on the porch, in the living room or wherever I want.

The Lee ram prime unit is a bit vulnerable, but the Lyman ram prime is an excellent tool that uses standard shell holders. It handles «difficult» primer pockets better than my hand-held RCBS priming tool.

For trimming cases, you’ll find no solutions more compact than the Lee system. The Lee deburring tool works well for removing crimp in primer pockets of both large and small primers.
 

Petrol & Powder

Active Member
I went through a small collection of the old round trey Lee hand primers until I couldn't cannibalize enough parts to make one work. Then I switched to the RCBS hand primer for the times I wanted to prime off-press. A plus is the RCBS tool uses standard shell holders.
A separate hand primer would add another tool to the kit but I think it would be worth it to avoid priming on a hand press.
 

CWLONGSHOT

Residing in New England
Found this for ya...



CW
 

RBHarter

West Central AR
I once assembled a kit for 3 cartridges for a trip with large tools . M5 scale , 2 powders , 3 die sets , parts and the Partner press . I also had 240 rounds in boxes in tow . I put it in a 20 mm can . If I were making it permanent I would have drilled and welded press studs to the can lid or figured out a hook clamp for a plywood backer on top of the can for the press mount and a couple C clamps to park it someplace else , like a truck bed rail , desk or table top .
 

Rick H

Active Member
I remember way back in the 60s at our local indoor range. An old timer showed up with a small tackle box, opened it and took out a Bedding and Mull powder measure, a pound can of powder, a small priming/depriming tool, a handful of bullets and one case. He then uncased an ornate single shot rifle with iron sights and laid it gently on some sand bags (also in the tackle box).

The old gent then inserted a bullet in the breech with a little tool, primed the case, dropped a charge with the B&M, chambered and fired the charged case........and started the whole process all over again, for a 10 shot string.......Shuetzen rifle, and he put 9 out of 10 modern bolt rifle shooters to shame. They (we) were chuckling and winking at each other about the crazy old guy...... until we went downrange and saw his target.

It doesn't take a lot of equipment to load good accurate ammo.
 

Rally

NC Minnesota
I've pondered the idea a couple times, but decided, for me, it just made more sense to carry more ammo. Even in a SHTF scenario, it just made more sense to carry the ammo rather than the components, and a kit to load it. If like Ric, and going match to match, I'd have to limit my clothing selection in the RV, and have a portable kit, but even then, I'd have a surplus of prepared/primed/sized brass onboard, to limit what I really needed.
When I'm on the road with my snare business, I had conventions often, back to back weekends, so stayed in my van the five days between conventions, to save on travel time/expense. I often made/ completed up to 50 dozen snares in that five days, but the cable was cut to length, and had a stop on one end. I have a bench swager mounted to a piece of 2x10 that allowed me to screw/clamp it to most any table, and a traveling parts kit. I also had thousands of parts/cable to replenish/sell at the next convention in the van. No matter the finished product, it would seem to be wise to do as much prep at home, in a better working environment, if at all possible.