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The 4 Best Portable Reloading Press for the money

Production of Aluminum Cases cartridges for a rifleIf you’re a shooter, you may find yourself in a situation in which you need the best portable reloading press instead of the standard reloading press.

The compact version of the press may offer a solution that the regular reloading press won’t because of its bigger size.

With a portable reloading press, you can reload your ammo when you travel, while you’re on a shooting range, or even when taking a break while out hunting. It’s even a good option when a standard reloading press is just too big for a small home or apartment.

With lots of options available, we can help you find what you need more quickly with our list of the top options today. When you’re looking at the options, just keep in mind that these are also called hand presses, to differentiate them from the regular reloading presses.

Top 4 Portable Reloading Presses: Comparison Chart

Here’s a quick glance at some of the key features you may expect from the portable reloading presses on our list:

Portable Reloading Press Function Kit or Standalone Length Weight View on Amazon
LEE PRECISION 90685 Hand Press Standalone 11.5” 1.75 lb. Check Price
Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Hand Deprimer Deprimer Fully contained system 11.375” 1.34 lb. Check Price
LEE PRECISION 90180 Hand Press Kit 11.5” 1.75 lb. Check Price
RCBS Partner O-Frame Design 87460 Single stage Standalone 11.9” 4.75 lb. Check Price

Best Picks for Portable Reloading Press

Here’s our list of the best portable reloading presses you can choose from. They’re all quite affordable, and they’ve been picked for their high quality and compact size.

We also picked models with different designs to suit your particular purposes. One of these recommended presses are suited for only a single task.

But we also put in one of the most compact and most affordable single stage reloading presses on our list as well.

LEE PRECISION 90685

Sale
Features
  • Frame material: aluminum
  • Press type: single stage
  • Handle location: bottom center

Last update on 2020-10-29 /  Affiliate Links (#ad)  / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This small portable reloading press is the most popular hand press in the world, which is just one of the reasons why it’s first on the list.

It’s extremely compact, with a length of 11.5 inches and it only weighs in at a mere 1.75 pounds.

Still, you have enough leverage here that it’s able to work on magnum cartridges up to 3.65 inches long.

What’s really great about this is that it features the Breech Lock Quick-Change Die feature, along with a bushing.

With this feature, you’re able to change dies instantly just with a simple twist of your wrist. You won’t have to readjust your dies at all.

The frame type is made from aluminum as well. That means it’s strong while it’s not so heavy either.

Pros
  • Its compact size makes it easy to pack in a bag
  • It doesn’t weigh much at all
  • It works on a variety of calibers, up to 3.650 inches long
  • Lets you change dies quickly for different tasks, without having to make any die adjustments
  • It’s made of tough aluminum
  • It’s great for decapping and crimping
Cons
  • People with larger fingers may wish for more clearance space
  • It’s not as easy to use for bullet seating

Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Hand Deprimer

Sale
Features
  • INNOVATIVE: The patented Universal Collet System deprimes brass from .20 cal up to .338 Lapua
  • EASE OF USE: Features an easily removable spent primer catch tube and an assisted-ejection case holder for easy removal of deprimed cases. The handle is spring loaded to return the collet deprimer to the start position automatically
  • VERSATILITY: Works on pistol brass, rifle brass and military crimped primers
  • CONVENIENT: Deprime a significant amount of brass, from anywhere, and without hand fatigue
  • DURABLE: Constructed with a full-length, ergonomic grip

Last update on 2020-10-29 /  Affiliate Links (#ad)  / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you’re going to just use the hand reloading press at home to remove spent primers, then this is what you actually need. You can just sit down and relax, watching TV while depriming.

It saves you the trouble of having to set up your standard reloading press for depriming. The steps are simple:

  • Put in the collet in the right size (you have 3 collets) for your cases.
  • Insert the case.
  • Squeeze the handle to deprime the case
  • Remove the deprimed case

This comes with a clear plastic tube that catches the primers, and you can just dump them later when you’re done. The spring-loaded handle returns the deprimer to the start position automatically.

You can work with pistol and rifle brass, from .20 cal to .338 Lapua. You can even use this for military crimped primers.

After this step, you then won’t have to deprime your cases when you use your actual single stage or progressive reloading press for the other steps in the reloading process.

Pros
  • Made with aluminum
  • Works with lots of different calibers
  • Comes with primer catch tube that you can easily remove
  • It’s easy to use and you avoid hand fatigue
  • You won’t need any other accessories
Cons
  • It’s just for depriming
  • It’s not really “auto-ejecting”, because you still need to pull out the case by hand
  • Whenever you change the collet, an O-ring at the base of the collet adjustment cap keeps getting out of place

LEE PRECISION 90180

Features
  • Package quantity: 1
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • No batteries required
  • Product Type: SPORTING GOODS

Last update on 2020-10-29 /  Affiliate Links (#ad)  / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Well, this is just the Lee Precision hand press that we mentioned first on this list. It makes a repeat appearance because this option comes with the full kit, for only a couple of dollars extra.

That makes this package a lot more cost-efficient, because you save money and time having to buy these accessories separately. All you need after this is the set of reloading dies, and you’re good to go.

Aside from one bushing, you also get the ram prime, powder funnel, and case lube.

Pros
  • Comes with accessories that you won’t have to buy separately
  • The extra cost is minimal, compared to the separate costs of each of the accessories
  • You only need the die set to start
Cons
  • You’re limited to about 40 rounds an hour

RCBS Partner O-Frame Design 87460

Features
  • Partner press
  • Made of The highest quality materials
  • Note: accessory base plate not included
  • Easy to use and incredibly durable
  • Big Performance in a compact package

Last update on 2020-10-29 /  Affiliate Links (#ad)  / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This one is actually not a handheld reloading press at all. It’s really a single stage reloading press, except that it’s the smallest in the RCBS lineup.

It’s not only compact, but it doesn’t weigh too much as well. It weighs less than 5 pounds, so it’s not really heavy.

It will work for pistol rounds, and for rifle rounds as well. The sole exception is the 50 BMG, but then that’s a normal limitation for most single stage presses.

The body is made with cast aluminum, while the handle is made from steel. It offers an easy grip, and the center position of the handle works for southpaws too.

This comes with a primer arm, so you don’t need a hand priming tool to work with this. It also comes with a spent primer tray.

Just keep in mind that you still need a portable reloading station for on the road use, as this will still have to be mounted. You can’t use this while sitting on a lounge chair.

Pros
  • Works for pistol and rifle rounds
  • Comes with primer arm
  • You get a spent primer tray too
  • Very compact and lightweight
Cons
  • You need to mount this
  • You’ll have to get your usual accessories, plus the die set

 

What Is the Best Portable Reloading Press?

portable reloading press starts with a compact size
Photo by Ryo Chijiiwa / CC BY

You’re the best person to answer this for yourself. But for the most part, the best portable reloading press starts with a compact size.

That makes a lot of sense, because you need a smaller model to make it easier for you to bring along when you go on the road. Also, lots of people go for a portable reloading press for its small size because they don’t have enough space in their tiny apartments.

Of course, it still means that you should be able to use it to reload your own ammo without too much difficulty. While you’re not expected to reload your ammo at high volume, you should still be able to reasonably expect to get accurate loads.

It also has to be tough, since you need to bring it along with you on the road and there may be some bumps along the way. It should last long enough so that you don’t have to replace it too often.

What’s the Use of Portable Reloading Presses?

Portable reloading presses offer several uses for shooters who like to reload their own ammo.

For some, it’s a handy alternative when their living quarters don’t have enough space to accommodate a standard-size reloading press. A compart portable reloading press may be small enough for these tiny apartments.

Perhaps they tend to travel a lot, so they can bring their portable reloading press with them. Others may want to be able to reload their own ammo at a shooting range, or even at camp when they’re out hunting.

You may also want to use this to complement your standard reloading press at home. You can do a single task with it while watching TV, and then when you use your regular reloading press you don’t have to do that task for your ammo while reloading.

Things to Consider Before Buying Portable Reloading Press

When you’re picking your portable reloading press, you may to consider the following factors first when you’re reading the portable reloading press reviews.

Design

Exactly how will be using this reloading press? Its purpose will largely determine the design you need.

If you want a reloading press that can do everything, then you actually need a single stage press. It’s just that you should pick one among them that’s the most compact so it’s handier to bring along with you.

That way, you’re also able to use it at home without needing much space. This is also a great beginner’s reloading press if you don’t want to spend much.

Others are complementary tools that you may want to use for specific tasks. Decapping your cases is one of the more common tasks for these reloading presses.

Standalone or Kit?

If you’re using this for reloading your ammo on the road, you may want it to already come with all the necessary accessories. That way, you don’t have to buy these things separately.

The portable reloading kit may even come in its own case, which also makes the entire package much more portable.

Cartridge Compatibility

The press should be able to work on the ammo caliber you actually use. Even if you only need to reload the ammo for your single gun, the press should work on that ammo.

But it’s great if it can work on several different calibers, especially if you have a gun collection. You may also be able to try out reloading a different caliber without needing to buy another reloading press.

Brand Name

It has to bear a brand name that’s well-known in the industry. Brand names forge their reputations by consistently manufacturing high-quality tools that last a long time.

Ease of Use

It’s understood that using a portable reloading press won’t be as efficient as using a standard variant. It’s not really meant for high-volume reloading

But it should have features that make the work much easier.

Durability

Aside from the brand name, check the material used for the press. It should use high quality materials such as aluminum.

Cost

While going with famous brands may cost you a bit more, it will be worth it.

Besides, a portable reloading press often costs less than a standard-sized single stage. If you don’t have the budget for a single stage, a more compact version may fit your limited budget.

A kit may be more cost-efficient, even if you pay a bit more. In some cases, you may get accessories for just a few dollars more.

How to Use A Portable/Hand Reloading Press

This may depend on the portable reloading press model you got, as each model may offer special features and require different steps.

For some people, the portable reloading press is useful for doing a single task of the reloading process while relaxing in a lounge chair and watching TV. For example, you can use this type of press for decapping or sizing a hundred cases while just lounging around.

Out on the road, you need to compile a list of the things you need and then prepare them to go together whenever you need.

What you have to remember is that if you neglect to bring along a single item you need for reloading, you won’t be able to just stand and get what you need. You’re not at home!

Using the portable press is basically the same as using its bigger counterpart. You’ll just need a lot more muscle power for some tasks to get things done.

Just have reasonable expectations. You’re not going to be able to reload your ammo as quickly as with the standard size models. A portable reloading press is meant to be easier to carry around, and not for high-volume reloading!

Final Verdict

It’s up to you to make the final choice. But if you’re really in need of a hand press you can use for on the road reloading, you should just go with the Lee Precision kit.

Your kit gives you the most popular hand press in the world, plus all the other accessories you’ll need. Just get the die set, and you’re all set as well.

With this setup, you can use this while on the range or on the road. This may be the best portable reloading press you can get, but you can use this at home as well.

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