New Reloading Bench Setup

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New Reloading Bench Setup - Page 2 Empty New Reloading Bench Setup

Post by cam_1100 on 4/28/2019, 2:28 am

First topic message reminder :

I'm building a bench for my first venture into reloading, and I'm trying to gather advice on what makes a bench useful, safe, and comfortable.  I've searched this forum and several other sites and have basically come to realize that there are as many different ways to set up a bench as there are folks who reload.  So I thought it might be best to provide some info on my specific situation and pick your brains for any advice you might have.

Background: I've been shooting .22 indoor bullseye at my local club for the past couple years and I'm getting ready to venture into centerfire.  To help facilitate this, I plan to start reloading with a Dillon 550 on a Strong Stand I inherited last fall along with all of the associated parts and supplies to get started.  So far all of that stuff has been sitting in boxes taking up space in my garage, but I recently made room in my basement to be dedicated to reloading. 

So far, I've got a basic 2x4 foot bench, about 36" high since I plan to stand while reloading.  I slapped it together with some scrap material I had laying around, so I'm not really attached to what I have.  I consider it more of a prototype just to see how it works and what I might change.  I plan to be build some shelves with small cubbies to mount on the wall behind the bench to store dies, brass, tools, scales etc. (Powder and primers will be secured elsewhere)

Here are some of the questions I am trying to answer:

1. What is the minimum size required to fit everyting you need for reloading comfortably on the bench?  Is 2x4 big enough?  I want the press permanently mounted, with enough clear bench space for cleaning and tinkering.

2. What needs to be on the bench while reloading?  I figure I need room for scales and supplies of bullets and brass (I don't have case or bullet feeders).  I figure being able to have a reloading manual open for easy reference would be a good idea as I get started.  Is there anything else I should have handy?

3. How much bench space to I need on each side of the press?  I plan to mount it as far to the right edge of the bench as I can and still have room for a supply of clean brass to the right of the press.  I'm right handed if that makes a difference.

4. What would you do differently with your bench if you were building a new one? 

I'm not looking for any advice related to the actual reloading process just yet.  I'll be starting slow and learning carefully as I got.  For now I'm just looking for feedback on the bench itself and tips or ideas for how to set it up while reloading, and efficient storage near then bench. 

Here's what I have so far.  I'll update when I get shelves built.

New Reloading Bench Setup - Page 2 Bench010New Reloading Bench Setup - Page 2 Bench011




Thanks!!
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Post by LenV on 4/29/2019, 7:07 pm

john bickar wrote:Len, it's cool that you fit a TRS-80 into your reloading bench.
It goes with my Tammy 209. See if the young ones can figure that out. Very Happy No, not a Tandy just and old Sony.

Len
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Post by jim lock on 5/1/2019, 9:12 am

IMHO --  2x4 might be alittle small but if space is an issue than it will work. 1) It must be sturdy no wobble, attach to wall if necessary 2) it must be level 3) No junk on the bench, everything shold have a place, shelving, tool chest, labled. 4) Lots of lighting.  A dillon 550 is a great starting press as you can use it as a single stage or manual rotation as a progressive. Keep it clean.
Just my 2 cents
Thanks Jim

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Post by Wobbley on 5/1/2019, 9:16 am

One thing I like to have on my bench is a small two or three drawer tool box to hold all the smaller tools and gizmos. Something like this:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-20-in-3-Drawer-Metal-Mobile-Tool-Box-with-Tray-TB-303B/203206053
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Post by chopper on 5/1/2019, 11:18 am

I was lucky and found a machinist tool chest at garage sale for $25, best buy I had in a long while. Wished I had it when I took the rear sight off my 686, I still can't find that one.
 Stan

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Post by Jack H on 5/1/2019, 1:56 pm

When I was loading rifle years ago, the A2 press was mounted on a steel pedestal with an about 16"x16" heavy steel top.  The back of the top and the pedestal were firmly bolted to the wall and floor.  A table was sitting right beside.  The rifles were from 222 to 378 Wby.  That pedestal is still around.  Maybe I will mount it to the wall someday.  Probably not.
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Post by dronning on 5/1/2019, 2:12 pm

Go to the fishing department and find some Plano or BrandX clear plastic lure boxes for parts.  They come is sizes to hold everything from small jigs to muskie lures.

- Dave
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Post by Jack H on 5/1/2019, 2:21 pm

Today I simply clamp the 550, or the SDB, or the LnL single to the corner of a fairly normal table.  All are on strong stands either Dillon or Inline Fabrication.
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Post by cam_1100 on 5/1/2019, 9:48 pm

jim lock wrote:IMHO --  2x4 might be alittle small but if space is an issue than it will work. 1) It must be sturdy no wobble, attach to wall if necessary 2) it must be level 3) No junk on the bench, everything shold have a place, shelving, tool chest, labled. 4) Lots of lighting.  A dillon 550 is a great starting press as you can use it as a single stage or manual rotation as a progressive. Keep it clean.
Thanks for the tips. This is kind of a prototype, so if I decide I need more space I can build it a little bigger but I wanted to keep it as small as possible and still have enough room. I put adjustable feet on it because I knew the poured concrete floor might not be exactly level, especially up against the wall. Shelves are going up on the wall above the bench to organize and to give me a place to mount a shop light. I plan to start slow and load one round at a time until I really know the ins and outs of the press.

Now I just need to find the time to get everything done... Rolling Eyes
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Post by cam_1100 on 5/1/2019, 9:54 pm

Wobbley wrote:One thing I like to have on my bench is a small two  or three drawer tool box to hold all the smaller tools and gizmos.  Something like this: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-20-in-3-Drawer-Metal-Mobile-Tool-Box-with-Tray-TB-303B/203206053
Good idea! I've got a small Craftsman toolbox just like the one you linked that's been sitting empty since it got replaced by a bigger one. I was thinking of putting a pegboard on the wall behind the bench to keep things handy, but sometimes a box is better if you ever need to do something away from the bench.
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Post by cam_1100 on 5/1/2019, 9:56 pm

dronning wrote:Go to the fishing department and find some Plano or BrandX clear plastic lure boxes for parts.  They come is sizes to hold everything from small jigs to muskie lures.
We think a lot alike. I've already got several of those I use when working on cars and motorcycles to keep all the small parts from getting scattered. Keeping a couple on the loading bench is a good idea, too.
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New Reloading Bench Setup - Page 2 Empty Nice looking bench.

Post by judgecrater on 5/10/2019, 9:03 am

I have four presses, three of which are Dillons.  Excellent choice.
Single best tip after 40 years of reloading:  Securely tie it to the back wall to prevent movement.  If it is tied solidly to the wall or floor, your results will be better. Presses don't like to move or flex during operations.  Leave lots of room on either side of the press.
No matter how large the bench, you will wish it were larger.

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New Reloading Bench Setup - Page 2 Empty Single stage vs progressive press

Post by A. Lin Clapp on 5/10/2019, 9:34 am

I have a Dillon 550B and I love it. However, I would never give up my single stage press. I work up small batches of loads with it, swage out military rifle primer pocket crimps, etc. I highly recommend leaving room on one end to add a single stage press and powder measure--even if you have to remove them for some work. I started with a 2x4 table, so don't get table size envy yet, but the more I did, the more room I needed. Don't worry about that until you find that you are really into reloading.
I do highly recommend going to a home garden supply store and getting some concrete pavers to put on a low, back shelf to stabilize the table. You can put a board on top of them to make a smooth shelf surface if you want.

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