The Field Portable Reloading Kit


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Kit outside of the carrier

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Kit packed and ready to go. Overall weight is slightly under 10 pounds. Magazine is for scale

As a teenager I read everything I could about Survivalism, and wanted to be as prepared as possible to carry what I needed on my back. Although I no longer think that the “Backpack Bugout” plan is the primary thing to do when the SHTF. I still like to keep things as portable as possible, or at least have a portable back up to something more heavy duty in my home.

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Lee Hand Press

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Some of the smaller items, some of which come with the Hand press kit.

One of the things I was concerned about was my ammo supply, and how I could maintain it if I could not access factory loaded ammo. I read some articles in American Survival Guide (Feb ’85 and Dec ’87, yup, still have ’em) about portable hand loading, and the Lee hand Press kit, and realized it was the perfect base to build a portable reloading kit from.

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This is the 7.62x39S die set. I put the bullet sizing dies in with it also since I only need one of the round red containers to catch the bullets once sized.

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Here’s the .45ACP dies. One of the things I like about Lee Dies is that they come with a powder scoop so you don’t need a measure for a separate device. Remember, this is field reloading, not precision bench rest reloading, and this type is accurate enough to load decent cartridges.

OK, so we’ve started with the reloading press that comes with a few accessories such as the Ram Prime for priming cartridges, a tube of brass resizing lubricant, and a powder funnel. Next, you need reloading dies for your specific cartridge. In this kit I have Lee Precision dies for 7.62x39s rifle, and .45ACP pistol, because they both work very well with cast lead bullets.

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This is the 160 grain .30 caliber bullet mould. It can be used with most .30 calibers if sized correctly. .22 caliber (5.56x45mm) semi automatics are not good candidates for cast lead bullets, due to the high velocity needed to make them effective stoppers. Lead bullets don’t do well at higher velocity.

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This is the 225 grain .45ACP bullet mould



Next I have Lyman bullet moulds for both cartridges. The 7.62x39s has a 160 grain two bullet mould, and the .45ACP has a 225 grain two bullet mould. I like the Lyman moulds because I can use one set of handles for both. Along with the bullet moulds you will need a lead dipper (mine’s a Lyman)  to pour lead into the moulds. I also use a small cast iron pan from Cabelas to melt the lead initially, as it can be held over a fire with a multi tool, or attach a thick green branch to its handle with hose clamps.

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Lead dipper on right and cast iron pan for melting lead over the fire. Deburring tool is shown to give scale to the cast iron pan.

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Overall, the length of the longest item is only 12.6 inches (the hand press) and the mould handles and lead dipper is slightly shorter.

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The other bullet sizing die in its original container along with a bottle of bullet lube.

If you are making/casting bullets, you will need sizing dies for those bullets to make them all of a uniform diameter. I use the Lee sizing dies (7.62x39s and .45ACP) because I can size them using the press instead of a separate sizing press.

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Last but not least will be a case deburring tool (mine’s a Lyman) for taking the burrs off of the case mouth after you trim it. You will be shortening the brass as it gets stretched out from being fired. The shortening can be done with a multi tool file, but you definitely need a deburring tool after doing so.

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The carrier is an old surplus gas mask carrier. I have another one of these kits that is in an aviators gas mask carrier.

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When I pack the kit I put the dies in the bottom.

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The bigger, bulkier items in the middle.

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And the smaller items in the top. Make sure to put some padding (old dish towel, or some type of rags) in and around the containers for protection and noise reduction. Also it’s a good idea to put padding in the plastic containers to keep them from rattling.

After all is said and done, you have a portable reloading kit that weighs a little under 10 pounds, and with the addition of your empty brass, smokeless powder, primers, and gas checks (all of which can be left in caches) if needed for one or both of your cast bullet types, you can completely reload your cartridges in the field. Whether you want to carry your kit with you, or place it in a cache, this kit will do what you need, when you need it to, and it’s as compact as a complete reloading kit can be. There are some who would use one of these. It dispenses with the need for a press, but without the press, you can’t size your cast bullets.

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This type of kit is very compact and simple, but you can’t size your cast bullets with it.

I will not discuss loading data here. There is a number of factors that go into it, and you need to do your own research on that info. This post is just to give you some insight into my kit, and maybe some ideas to send you in the right direction. Here’s a good video of a guy reloading 7.62x39s with cast bullets.

Note: Yes, this is Survivalist stuff. Don’t bother commenting about “That’s to much crap for us militia infantry/unconventional fighters/guerrillas/militant arm of Cert, et alia guys too carry. You are correct. Your best bet would be to cache something like this.


American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE.


26 thoughts on “The Field Portable Reloading Kit

  1. I would say if you cache it would have on top a few 100 rounds minimum in cache along with a couple of magazines,you cache this and need it times are very interesting.

    My friend black powder shoots a revolver and has a conversion cylinder so can shoot both styles at cowboy meet ups.He has a very compact Lee which uses a mallet to deprime/load ect. along with a stout stump as a base,and it works.

    On a side note,the revolver is not a brass frame,they will stretch with cartridge pressures.

    This would be a cool critter for someone just entering reloading on a budget/travel companion and a times are really challenging tool.

    I know a carpenter who while others collect the junk brass/copper on sites goes after the old rolled lead roof flashing/old lead plumbing for reuse,smart guy.

    • I agree that it would be a last ditch cache that this would be in. Having a cache with this, but not having a loaded ammo, mags, and parts cache is a sign of someone who hasn’t thought through reality. A Buddy has a Ruger blackpowder revolver, and has the cartridge converters, and it’s a great gun. I’m doing a flintlock rifle/pistol post to address the “last ditch, nothing else available” concern, since technically all you need additionally is powder (can be home made), and flints. They also are good for hunting use so you can save your loaded ammo for self defense.

      • JD,the mini loader will load cast bullets,load 250 grain cowboy loads with poured lead bullets(again,Lee),flat nose,works in rifle tube also.I am not sure what I am missing in your last post regarding capability to use cast bullets also,perhaps I need some coffee.

  2. Some years ago I watched a foreign military reloading practice ammo to save limited .45 ball. Guys would pop the primer out, remove the anvil, then smear in a mixture of pulverized safety match heads and acetone. They’d press a piece of onionskin paper into the cup, replace the anvil, and load it. Carefully. Quite the malfunction rate but it worked.

    Like your set up. Don’t forget the Lee Loader for bolt guns.

  3. Pingback: Three From MDT | Western Rifle Shooters Association

  4. Man, I thought those tiny cast iron fry pans were just a gimmick – never thought of it as a container for melting lead. Thanks for that idea.

  5. Be advised that cast from LEE molds, MANY boolits do NOT NEED to be sized but may be loaded as cast, thus making the LEE Loader a very viable alternative to that huge hand press.

  6. What I find interesting is all your shit is brand new, your oiled unused bullet mold isn’t even installed on the handles, or is this just a quick way to write another article? Frankly, this looks to me like you’ve never done this before. Any pics of the finished product?

    • Here’s the same reply I gave you at WRSA
      OK, now you’ve gone from stupid assumptions, to baseless assertions emanating from your 4th point of contact. You said, “What I find interesting is all your shit is brand new, your oiled unused bullet mold isn’t even installed on the handles.” (on a side note, it’s more compact storing it that way)
      Did you read this line in the post, “The carrier is an old surplus gas mask carrier. I have another one of these kits that is in an aviators gas mask carrier.”
      Wanna know why most of that equipment was brand new? It was a kit I just put together for my Son, and before his becomes “Less than easily accessible” like my well used kit is, I took picks of it.
      “Frankly, this looks to me like you’ve never done this before.”
      Really, because most of the equipment pictured is brand new? What a ridiculous statement. Here’s one for you, KISS MY ASS! I don’t get paid to write these posts, I do it because people have asked me to. I’m not the be all know all of anything I write, but to make an allegation like that is in poor taste,
      You said, “I can produce pics from 30+ yrs ago of myself doing primitive horse trips across the Rockies, I was also employed by Green River Rifleworks in the late 70’s, building custom muzzleloaders, I was the owner of Oregon Trail Riflesmiths in the late 80’s, so I’m speaking and asking as someone highly experienced in this field.”
      Here’s a question, where’s your posts from your blog. I don’t have near the blackpowder experience that you do, but I just wrote a post about flintlock blackpowder guns for survivalists because someone knows I’ve been into it a while, and asked what I’d use it for in that context if needed,
      I do this for free, and usually expect some morons to ask stupid questions or make ridiculous assumptions or assertions, (especially if it is re-posted on WRSA) but give me a fuckin break. Implying that the new equipment pictured equals no experience shows someone that is trying to start shit, not someone who wants to add to the discussion. Maybe you’re right, maybe I should say “Fuck Yall” and concentrate more on things like family, since obviously, you already know everything. Ooooor maybe not because I know the commenters here are a small portion of those that read it and from email feedback, actually appreciate the effort.

  7. Excellent post, right up there with Skeeter Skelton’s doomsday kit; he chose the Lyman 310 tool to keep his .357 fed. This was many years ago when he wrote his article.
    It just makes a lot of sense to have the the equipment and skills to make what you need right along with that flintlock or a single shot 12 ga and all that you can do with that.
    Thank you for writing it.

    • Thanks for the “Atta boy”. If I was going with a single caliber, without military cross over, it would probably be a .44 Mag instead of Skeeter’s .357 mag choice. It works great out of a rifle or pistol, is a simpler straight wall case, and along side a single 12Ga and a flintlock BP rifle will cover most Survivalist needs.

  8. My wife and I are preparing for our retirement. We intend to sell the house and travel. This is exactly the kind of setup I’m looking for. Thanks for the article.

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