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Need help with building a reloader bench

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by brickman, Oct 31, 2010.

  1. brickman

    brickman Tualatin Member

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    I am new to the reloading arena. I did reloaded shotgun shells when I was much younger (many years ago) but I am sure reloading brass is going to be a different game. We just received our new Dillon RL 550B and are planning on getting it set up today. Can someone with some experience give a little info on bench structure and size? I am building a dedicated loading bench starting from a left over kitchen cabinet lower. I plan to put a 2x4 frame on ~16" centers on top of the cabinet with two 4x4 legs on one side and the cabinet itself for the other side support. Then top it with a 3/4" sheet of plywood. I picture it looking somewhat like a desk when I am through. My primary questions are: will this be strong enough, how big should it be and where is the best place to mount the reloader and still have room enough for all the other accessories? We have watched a very informative utube video on putting the reloader itself together and we of course will follow the directions (haven't read them yet) but I just have not heard much about the base bench. Any advise will be appreciated.
     
  2. chainsaw

    chainsaw East side of Or. Active Member

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    My loading bench is a roll away steel frame that has a 2' x 1.5' top and 3/4" plywood.Cramped but it works.The bench you want to build sounds awesome compared to mine.The only suggestions I can make are to secure it to the floor and put a layer of masonite or similar material on top of the plywood.Like on your kitchen counter.Much easier cleanup.
     
  3. svxr8dr

    svxr8dr Vancouver, WA OathKeeper #004404

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    Here is a link to the NRMA bench...maybe it can be of assistance
     
  4. brickman

    brickman Tualatin Member

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    I like the idea of a more cleanable counter top for the bench and I was probably thinking around 2'x4' or so. Nice to hear that it can be done with even less. Why secured to the floor? Would the bench move a lot when loading if it was not?
    The NRMA bench is way cool! Might be a good plan for the future
     
  5. bmgm37

    bmgm37 Coos Bay Active Member

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    Sounds like you should be plenty strong by your description. For tops I suggest using MDF and seal it with a clear coat of water base poly. Dense, durable and solid and easy to clean up to boot. You can get it up to 1 1/4" thick which is what I use. If you can, secure it to a wall even if it just 1 or 2 screws it will make a world of difference when loading. I have the luxury of being a cabinet maker so here are a couple pics of mine :D

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  6. chainsaw

    chainsaw East side of Or. Active Member

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    The torque generated by full length sizing some calibers is pretty stiff.A good stable bench that is connected to the floor or at least VERY heavy,will keep other things on your bench from wobbling around and falling over while resizing.
    Securing it to the wall works just as good as said above.I am not a carpenter so I didn't think of that.I guess what I am saying is that it needs to be secured,period.
     
  7. brickman

    brickman Tualatin Member

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    Sounds like good advice, I'll be sure to secure it well. But hey, BMGM37, can I just come over to your pace to do all my reloading? Your set up looks great!
     
  8. Page.k

    Page.k Seattle Active Member

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    If you can't connect it to a wall or the floor you can find weights from a old weight bench to use. Just place them low as you can get them or make a holder on the lower back side for them. Also try to lessen any flexing of the work table.
     
  9. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    Any sturdy bench will work. I have most of my presses mounted to a heavy steel workbench I bought at a furniture auction. If you are building a bench, make sure you have enough room around the press to put stuff like bullets and brass. BMGM37's setup looks great, but his presses are a bit close together. I don't see anywhere for him to put primer tubes, boxes of bullets, or buckets of brass. You need room for the press, but you also need all the room for the feedstocks for the press. I usually try to keep 18-24" of space in all directions around my presses. You will also need something to store extra heads.
     
  10. bmgm37

    bmgm37 Coos Bay Active Member

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    Space is a good thing but in my case with 3 progressive loaders and 2 have case feeders, not as much room is needed. Primer tube filling and case lubing is done to the far right by the tumbler. Primer tubes are then laid next to the press and cases dumped in the feeders. Each press has its own onboard tray to hold bullets as you can see on the Dillon 1050 on the right, the other two presses are removable. This bench was carefully planed out after 20 years of reloading and finally getting a dedicated room for it.

    If you only have one press like many do, a 4' bench is plenty of room if you mount the press in the center.

    Here is a link to a Google image search of reloading benches......lots to look at for ideas!!

    RELOADING BENCHES
     
  11. mudslinging79

    mudslinging79 oregn Member

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    i just use a desk i saw for free on craigs list. dies go in one drawer, manualks in another, non combustable components have their drawers, etc.
     
  12. brickman

    brickman Tualatin Member

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    Holy cow! That's a lot of reloading benches.
    I didn't have much time to work on my bench today, but I got a start. I've cut an old 7/8" counter top 6' x28". I've cut 2x4's to stand on edge around the perimeter with cross braces on ~16" centers. I have a 24" wide x 29" tall 3-drawer cabinet to fit under the right side end. I have 2 4x4 legs for the left end. I plan to screw the back brace 2x4 to the wall and screw the legs and cabinet to the floor. I ran out of time today so I will glue and screw it all together in the morning, let it dry a few hours then mount the 550b. We will eventually find a cheap way to go on the powder, bullets, and primers (I already have about 5000 9mm brass), but we will probably pick up a small supply of components at either Fishermans or BiMart so we can give it a whirl. I have defiantly modified my plans from all these reply's. More advice is still welcome.
    Thanks,
    Brickman
     
  13. The Cheese

    The Cheese somewhere special Member

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    I went all out for mine. Granted I also have a small mill and a lathe on mine, plus a vice and some other crap. These are all about 2yrs old and some stuff has come and gone, but the bench has remained the same. Its about 28" deep IIRC. Since I am 6'4" tall I made this sucker pretty tall as well. Its basically a bunch of 2x4's laminated together using wood glue, long drywall screws and 3 pieces of 5/8" hot rolled barstock that was center drilled on my lathe then tapped so that it could be held together with a couple big allen bolts. The uprights are 4x4's with some bracing about 1/2 way up. It took 5 dudes to lift it into place, then I just ran 3 looooong screws into studs in the wall to hold it still. I sanded it flat with a belt sander and some 60grit belts. Then covered the top with a bunch of clear epoxy to seal it up. Its freaking stout. Even will all my junk on there and me standing on top it will not even begin to bow. This is a man's bench. I could put a small block on there and I doubt it would do anything.

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  14. Partsproduction

    Partsproduction Tillamook Oregon Active Member

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    I went down and bought a good surplus solid wood door, screwed it to two drawer bases I bought at a cheap furniture store and then build a pegboard back, well braced. It works well, but is a bit crowded. Considering where it is there is no help for that as it's in a bedroom that is small.

    bench.jpg
     
  15. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    If you're really limited for space, you can mount your press to about a 1' square of 3/4" plywood, and then clamp the plywood to your bench with C clamps. That way you can hide it or get it out of the way and have a multi-purpose work bench, and also mount different presses as needed. I always remove my press and box it.

    I like a tall bench and stool over a desk height unit and a chair.

    I really, really, hate to show this pic. I built this bench from 3" and 2" angle iron and welded casters to it so I can get it out into the middle of the room when I want to work around it. It's 2' x 8' and 36" high with a double thickness of 3/4" plywood glued together and bolted to the top. The whole top is sealed with polyurethane. Using a biscuit joiner and glue, I put maple edges on it for overhang to C clamp to.

    I'm right in the middle of reorganizing my garage and all of the junk landed on and in front of the bench while I build some more shelves. My apologies.

    Cliff

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    Anyone else into 50 year old Schwinns, LOL?


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  16. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    I noticed in a flier I got that Harbor Freight has a hardwood woodworker's bench on sale. It is 5' wide, has drawers and a woodworker's vise built into the end. It looks pretty sturdy in the pics if it was attached to the wall.

    I forget what the price was, but it was well under $200 - maybe much less. When I saw it I know I thought I couldn't buy the hardwood etc. materials for that price and build it myself. It's nice looking and would be really handy.

    Cliff

    Edit. Here it is. It's $159 and there are other benches on the same page.

    Cliff

    http://www.harborfreight.com/catalogsearch/result?category=&q=bench


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    $99 for this metal one but I'd bolt and glue 3/4" plywood to the top for reloading. I suppose I'd get a tube of construction adhesive for glue unless someone has a better idea.


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  17. sandsquirt

    sandsquirt United States New Member

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  18. HollisOR

    HollisOR Rural OR, South of Dallas Active Member

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    Bench size depends on what all you will reload. A heavy bench is great for large cases and case forming.
    This is part of my set up,

    reload2.jpg
     
  19. Brandon44647

    Brandon44647 Portland Member

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    I have this exact bench and for the money I don't think you can beat it, very solid , not wobbly at all. I work for a metal fab shop so I made a few custom brackets for mounting my press , case trimmer etc etc....
     
  20. 4dogs

    4dogs 3 miles from the range Active Member

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    Very sweet set up!