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.



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