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Thread: Setting up my first reloading bench. Any "dos and dont's"?

  1. #21
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    I really like the ideas about light and/or a small mirror to view powder in the case mouths. Dental mirror? Not sure, but will have to figure something out. I can see where it would be handy to be able to quickly view inside the cases. Thanks for all the great input.



    -Dan

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKHunterNP View Post
    Start with more space than you think you need. My bench is a bit small now with three presses, powder measure, scale, brass trimmer, etc.
    Quote Originally Posted by .338-06 View Post
    All good thoughts above. Over the years I ended up with 5 different presses and ended up mounting each press on a small piece of 13/16" plywood and I attach the mounted presses to the bench with 3/4" bolts (2) so I can change presses fairly easily. Also, I found those cheap construction lights that have a spring clamp to work well and they are easy to move.
    I have 6 assorted presses I use and my bench is 6 foot wide by 3 foot deep, just one bench as that’s all I have room for. How I do it is with trailer hitch receiver tubes bolted (upright) to the front legs and each press has a post that fits into it. The tubes have a ½” nut welded to them and a “T” bolt to keep the presses from rattling and wiggling around. I can have 2 presses set up at a time and the others live standing on their posts in a plywood box on casters that fits under the bench. I roll it out like a piano bench to sit on when working or to get a press in or out.

    With no presses mounted I have a flat work surface 2’X6’ and the back foot of bench has 2 Craftsman tool boxes then 2X12 shelving all the way to the ceiling stacked with all things reloading. For lighting I use those spring clamp type work lights clamped to the shelves, I have 3 with 100w bulbs that I can move and aim just how I want them.
    Andy
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  3. #23
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Creative set up you got Andy. Thanks for sharing.


    Below are the two benches I have to work with. I am 6'6" 300 lbs for reference. Pretty good size benches.







  4. #24
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    They look like good sturdy benches but i would anchor them to the wall. Once you start working some of the bigger brass it will take some force. Here's some other resources for you. I left out Midway because it was already mentioned.
    http://www.handloadersbench.com/
    http://www.natchezss.com/
    http://www.sinclairintl.com/
    http://www.midsouthshooterssupply.com/
    http://www.grafs.com/
    http://www.ableammo.com
    http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/
    http://www.thebulletworks.net/default.asp
    http://www.reloadingsupplieshq.com/
    http://www.affordablebrassandbullets.com/
    "...arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe...Horrid mischief would ensue were the good deprived of the use of them." -Thomas Paine

  5. #25
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    Those benches will work, that’s what my brother uses. Lagging them to tha wall isn’t a bad idea though. Even if you load them down they will move/tip when sizing some large bottleneck rifle brass. It sucks when something brakes loose under pressure the bench jumps, scale gets knocked around, brass knocked over, and coffee goes all over . . . been there, done that, got the coffee stained britches.

    My brother used a couple heavy hasps lagged to the wall that catch the top of the boxes so bench can’t tip but he can move it so he can get his truck in the garage.

    My bench is in my basement agents a Quadlock (foam brick filled with cement) wall so I couldn’t lag in. That’s why my shelves go all the way to the ceiling, to tip it I’d be lifting the floor above, it works great and don’t even wiggle.
    Andy
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    When I first read your post I wondered if you'd be sitting or standing. I stand and my bench is a bit taller on my body than yours is on you. Nice looking benches. I like a smooth top so you can keep it clean.

    As to the light shinning in the cases, I load in 50 round blocks and after the powder is inserted in all the cases I hold the block under the over head light (standard height room) and the light shines into the cases just fine. By tilting the cases just a bit I can easily see if a case is high or low on powder.

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    The 50 round loading blocks are fine until you start using the Dillon as the progressive just doesn't lend itself well to loading blocks. Slows production just a bit. I once made a loading bench from rail road ties and it weighed about 600lbs and didn't need to be attached to anything. Anything much lighter needs to be attached to something to prevent the coffee stains and other bad stuff Andy mentioned. Most of my presses are mounted on permanent benches built onto the walls of my loading room. I still use a Lyman AA bolted to the top of an old heavy duty metal office desk. With the drawers full of cast bullets and such it weighs about 400/500lbs and is marginal when loading large cases.

  8. #28
    Member AKHunterNP's Avatar
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    I was going to make the same comment about the loading blocks, only gonna use those if using the Rock Chucker you've got, not for the 550. Ironartist, your press and trimmer look a little dusty?
    "...arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe...Horrid mischief would ensue were the good deprived of the use of them." -Thomas Paine

  9. #29
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    I don’t have a Dillon but if you are loading on a progressive with any powder that could possibly be double charged I’d highly recommend a powder check die. I took a gander at Dillon and they have what looks like a very cool check for their presses (HERE) but there are cheaper ones (Hornady) (RCBS) that will also work.
    Andy
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    The Dillon powder chek die doesn't work on the 550 but it's easy to attach a light and or mirror depending on whether you can see directly in the case or not from your loading position.

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    Both Natchez and Midway are good internet sources. Sometimes Cabela's can be as cheap or cheaper on certain items as the first two.

  12. #32
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Thanks for the great input guys. In NC mountains fly fishing with wife this week. On iPhone so keeping it short. Learning lots and just wanted to say thank you.

    Dan

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by ADfields View Post
    I don’t have a Dillon but if you are loading on a progressive with any powder that could possibly be double charged I’d highly recommend a powder check die. I took a gander at Dillon and they have what looks like a very cool check for their presses (HERE) but there are cheaper ones (Hornady) (RCBS) that will also work.
    Andy,

    I don't know of any properly selected rifle powder that can be double charged. Pistol powder can be doubled very easily if you get distracted. Keep the beer away from the reloading bench...

    As far as the Dillon goes, that's what I load with. The powder station throws ball or flake to perfection, extruded is another story. If I'm in the precision mode I size all cases in station one then trim, de-burr, polish and rinse. After priming I put all prepped cases in the loading block except for one. I use that one case in station two to drop powder. Dump that powder in a scale and trickle if necessary. Dump that powder in one of the pieces in the loading block, repeat. When finished seat all bullets in station three.

    If your loading with ball powder or plinking loads consider going progressive. I generally load all rifle loads one station at a time and load pistol ammo in the progressive mode.

  14. #34
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    Some pistol powders can be double charged in some cases ( bullseye in a 38spl). Some can't (2400/h110 in a 44mag). If loading progressive it's not a bad idea to load with a powder/charge that if doubled won't fit in the case. If not, then the light/mirror is a good plan. Progressives wouldn't be progressives if you had to use a loading block. I use my dillon for handgun and a few rifle rounds (223,308) and use a single stage or turret for most precision rifle loading and load developement.

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by marshall View Post
    Andy,

    I don't know of any properly selected rifle powder that can be double charged. Pistol powder can be doubled very easily if you get distracted. Keep the beer away from the reloading bench...
    Well “properly selected” powder would depend on what you are electing to do with the round when you selected the powder. Usually you want a good full case if your goal is optimum performance but not all of us are looking for that all the time, therefore there are countless possibilities of unusual caliber/bullet/powder combinations that could be doubled in a rifle.

    Where a progressive press shines is pistol rounds though and there are lots of standard loadings for pistols that can be doubled. So if your cranking out 45acp plinkers with Bullseye, the usual suspect, on a progressive I’d sure suggest a powder check die in addition to all the other normal precautions.

    The number one dangerous reloading mistake would be powder charge error, too much, too little, nun at all . . . all can be very bad news. Easy to have a powder hiccup no matter how diligent and sober you are, bridging, mechanical mix-up, static, short stroke, etc, etc. Belt and spinders could save looking like a wounded donkey.

    I sure agree with no beer at the bench, not an issue for me as a six-pack goes skunk around here before I get to the end . . . last six I bought was New Years Eve and there are still 4 left in there. There is always a cup of coffee on my bench though and a Mr. Coffee machine right next to it.
    Andy
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  16. #36
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    Take a look at the Hornady Lock and Load, powder measure, I just got one and it sure makes weighing your charges a lot easier and quicker, I have used powder dispenser measures before, but this weighs each load of powder, I check it on another digital scale, put in case, put bullet in press and put loaded round in block. By the time you get this done the next weighed charge is ready to do it over again. Of course the Dillon uses the built in powder measure, so this is only used with the Rock Chucker.

  17. #37
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    The problem with the Dillon 550 is there are only 4 holes in the die holders. Sizer,powder dump station, seater, and crimper. So unless you want to seat and crimp at the last stage there is no room for a powder check die. Now if you decided to use the third hole for powder check, you would have to install the bullet at the last stage and although possible, it would be awkward at best because of where the fourth hole is and you would have to seat and crimp at the same time. Good plinker loads can be made for most any pistol cartridge using Trail Boss which is probably impossible to double charge in a pistol round. I don't often load rifle rounds light as I have better luck just using a rifle with a smaller cartridge. But, yes, you certainly can double charge anything using bullseye. That is why I recommend using a mirror and or light so you can easily see in every case right after the powder is dropped.

  18. #38
    Member AKHunterNP's Avatar
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    All this talk of powder made me think of a contraption one of my buddies put on both of his Dillon 650's. He replaced the bolt on the powder bars with a knob and put marks on it so you know how much to turn it to make powder adjustments. He typically sticks with one powder for each caliber once he finds the one he likes so he marked the knob, made an adjustment to see how many grains it went up or down and put that mark on the knob. Seemed to work better and faster than using the wrench and going back and forth to make powder adjustments.
    "...arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe...Horrid mischief would ensue were the good deprived of the use of them." -Thomas Paine

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    One idea I haven't seen mentioned is to mount the press on the end of the bench rather than the front. Depends on how much floor space you have to work with, but it is one way to keep from jolting the bench around when sizing big brass. Works for me anyway.

  20. #40

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    You have a lot of great information from experienced reloaders. The only thing that I feel like I can add tonight is that the Lee Universal Decapping Die is worth it's weight in gold. It works on multiple calibers and makes sizing easier since the primers are already knocked out. I reloaded for 3 years before I learned about the Lee Decapper, and now that I use it, I won't go back.

    http://www.midwayusa.com/Product/136...-decapping-die

    Take your time and enjoy reloading...it's worth your time.

    MyTime

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