Hardcore metallic reloaders will not be disappointed by the class of gear that hit the market in 2014. From case prep and ammo storage to simplifying the entire process, here are the must-have items of the year.
1. Hornady Lock-N-Load Case Prep Trio. – $129
Anybody who is serious about metallic cartridge loading needs either a case preparation station, or a good carpal tunnel surgeon. While there are similar models on the market from other manufacturers, the Hornady Case Prep Trio is reliable, easy to use, small enough to not junk up the bench, and affordable. The Trio includes simple onboard storage for extra attachments in addition to the three in use. This makes it so easy to chamfer, deburr, clean and ream primer pockets.
2. Frankford Ammo Vault: – $10
Most reloaders seem to have way more brass—whether prepared or loaded—than reloading boxes, so they’re always buying more. Frankford makes some of the best ammo boxes out there. Their Ammo Vaults are the “tanks” of ammo boxes. Rubberized and durable, Frankford even demonstrates one being ran over by a truck! While most shooters shy away from using their equipment as makeshift speed bumps, it’s good to know the equipment is so well made when lobbing one quickly into a shooting bag. Best of all, the two sizes of Ammo Vaults fit all major rifle calibers, with a ratchet type locking system and padded interior top to prevent rattling around, perfect for silent hunts.
3. CTK Precision Brass Catcher – $60
Arguably the best part of reloading is sending rounds flying down range. The worst, is chasing down brass. Enter the CTK Precision Brass Catcher. While not the most tactical of accessories, brass-catchers are a must at public ranges often plagued by ‘brass-vultures’ Equipped with a heavy base for both bench and prone shooting, it’s also built for tripod attachment for standing shots. This is the most solid, well-made brass catcher out there and is virtually unaffected by wind. With a heavy steel frame and one foot by one foot steel base, the CTK precision Brass catcher is the last one shooters will ever need. Makes a great pair with CTK’s Shooting Rest.
4. Lyman AR Reloading Handbook -$15.95
The newest reloading publication to hit the market is Lyman’s AR Reloading Handbook. 100 pages jam-packed with Modern Sporting Rifle-specific information coupled with photos and diagrams. The soft-cover guide includes a good basics chapter for new reloaders and copious of load data for all popular brands of powder and bullets. For NFA-shooters out there, the book includes a section dedicated to handloading for suppressors. The book includes full loading data for 7.62 NATO, 7.62x39mm 9mm Luger 204 Ruger 5.56mm 6.5 Grendel 6.8mm SPC 300 AAC Blackout and Whisper. It even has data for less common loads like 30 Rem AR, 450 Bushmaster 458 Socom and 50 Beowulf.
5. MTM Case Gard Ammo Can Combos: – $30
One of the great new reloading products from MTM, are the American-made Ammo Can Combos. Reloaders invested in multiple calibers understand the need for organized extra storage all too well. MTM makes these Ammo Can Combos labeled for the most popular calibers, including 9mm, 45 ACP, and 223. The ammo can is durably built with a water-resistant o-ring seal, heavy-duty dual latch and double padlock for protection. Each combo includes one olive drab ammo can filled with individual plastic boxes and labels, and the boxes fit a variety of calibers. For example, the 9mm combo includes ten 100-round boxes that make nice homes for all things 9mm, 38 and 380ACP. Shooters in dire need or organization will find these cans a boone.
6. Lyman Turbo Sonic 2500 Case Cleaner: – $100
Most reloading-enthusiasts are fans of media tumblers for brass cleaning. However, there are always stubborn cases that just won’t come clean. Thankfully, Lyman makes a reasonably-priced, compact-yet-spacious sonic cleaner for both case and weapon component cleaning. Lyman’s mid-range 2500 Turbo Sonic has a heated tank, plastic basket and purportedly cleans up to 900 9mm cases in under 15 minutes. Testing with some well-stained deprimed 22-250 brass in Lyman’s cleaning solution, the cleaner proved quick, quiet and effective.To achieve a super-shiny finish, shooters must give them a quick run through the tumbler, which also ensures thorough drying. There are larger, more heavy duty options on the market, but at $100-120, the Lyman 2500 is an economically viable option for any reloader, and a necessity in reloading caves.
Crimp, Bang Boom!
These hot new reloading items aren’t 100 percent necessary to the craft, but each one is about making the process easier, more accurate and ultimately more enjoyable. While most people don’t enjoy reloading, having some of these products at their disposable goes a long way to make it less stressful.