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Thread: Reloading benches

  1. #1
    Member aknewbie's Avatar
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    Talking Reloading benches

    First of all, I'd like to thank everyone on here for all the help in getting started handloading. I have ordered a set up from cabela's- the Lee Breechlock Kit- and I cant wait until it gets here. I also ordered a set of Lee 30-06 dies for my first endeavor into reloading. I have a Ruger #1 in 35 whelen, but I'd hate to hurt that rifle due to a first timer's mistake so ill take the risk with my old remington 742 until I get comfortable with what I'm doing. My first question is in regards to a comment made by a guy I was talking to. He said to "watch out how hot I load for an old auto like that". Is there any truth to older autos being brittle, or is he just blowing smoke. Also if anyone has loaded for a 22" barreled 742 do you have any data as far as loads you liked, what was accurate, or any other advice you can give a beginner.

    Also, is there anywhere I could go to look at some pics of other people's reloading benches to give me some ideas when I get set up? Thanks
    Last edited by Murphy; 03-19-2008 at 10:29. Reason: I just had to fix this.....

  2. #2
    Member Matt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aknewbie View Post
    Also, is there anywhere I could go to look at some pics of other people's reloading benches to give me some ideas when I get set up? Thanks
    Go to google.com and click on the image tab at the main page on the top left corner on your screen (or it is for me with using firefox). Then type in "reloading benches" and you'll come up with a bunch of different pictures.

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    There was a thread full of pictures a few weeks ago...

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ad.php?t=25517
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    Member Whelenator's Avatar
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    Default 742 Bomb

    Aknewbie, you can load safely anything that a normal manual says is ok for any other rifle for your 742. Some service rifles like the M-1a and others need to be backed off a bit because the rounds will stay in the chambers when fired and the extractors will rip the rims off the brass and cause you some serious cussing. With the remington autos, their big thing is keeping the chambers very clean, and they will function fine. Your Ruger #1 is a far safer action though for you to start handloading for since your a new guy. The Whelen is super easy to work with, and is nearly impossible to blow up because of the volume of the powders involved. Since the case will be nearly full anyway with the chosen powders, you can't charge one twice like a pistol round. I don't know what your gonna use for bullets, but try some RL-15 for your whelen, it will do great. there are others and you'll get plenty info here i am sure. Don't be afraid to jump right into loading. You will be fine if you just go by the book, and go s-l-o-w.

  5. #5
    Member RMiller's Avatar
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    The single shot may be much easier to load for.

    Auto loaders can be very finicky about reloads. You may have to full length resize your cases and keep an eye on case length. Keep them trimmed. Auto loaders have a tendancy to stretch cases.

    I had a H&R ultramatic 308 that was a finicky sob. But once I got the technique down I did good with reloads for it.
    "You have given out too much reputation in the last 24 hours, try again later".

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whelenator View Post
    Aknewbie, you can load safely anything that a normal manual says is ok for any other rifle for your 742. Some service rifles like the M-1a and others need to be backed off a bit because the rounds will stay in the chambers when fired and the extractors will rip the rims off the brass and cause you some serious cussing. With the remington autos, their big thing is keeping the chambers very clean, and they will function fine. ....
    I will say the Remingotn 742 will not do well with slow burning powders. You should use the service rifle loads for the autoloader. The newest Remingto autoloader may be different but the 740/742 gas system I think is going to require a certain pressure at the port. Slow powders keep the pressure higher at the port and give extra energy to the cycling of the action, while the internal pressure is so high as to freeze the case in the chamber (the bullet is still in the barrel). The extractor will jerk a piece off the case then after it jams the case can be poured out of the action easily. Stay with mid burners. 4895, 4064, RL-15, etc no 4831, RL-19, etc. But I agree the No. 1 is a better platform to load for.
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  7. #7

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    If my fast read was accurate, your 742 is in 06? I agree on the mid speeds. My own setup like that is best with 4064 using 150's and 165's, and better with 4895 under 180's. I loaded up some 200 grain Partitions over 4320 a few years back, and though they shot well I only shot one deer with it. Good load, too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aknewbie View Post
    <snip>
    Also, is there anywhere I could go to look at some pics of other people's reloading benches to give me some ideas when I get set up? Thanks
    Here's my $16 reloading bench ...well, sorta. My start-up probably cost between $400 and $500 for tooling, dies, powder/brass/primers/boolits. The shelves that you see were made from a sheet of OSB and scrap wood ...that's the $16 part. I already had the work bench with 3/4" thick top on it. I just added bracing under it (look closely) to prevent the ply from flexing much while operating the press.

    On top, you see my lead stuff ...mostly for smelting and making ingots right now (note the slab of wax for fluxing to the left of the shelves). The right-hand cupboard has a lock on it and that's where anything explosive or dangerous goes (ammo, primers, powder.) The middle section is for tools, scales, vibratory cleaner, powder measure. The left section is for bags of brass (prepared and otherwise), shell trays, empty plastic boxes, and on the bottom (work bench level) goes heavy stuff like boxes of bullets. My press is always mounted in place but my powder measure just gets clamped in place when I'm using it. This setup seems to work just fine for me. Oh, the compressed air is handy for blowing off the press and blowing out the cartridge trays. The shelves are 11" deep ...just deep enough to allow long-ways storage of the large red shell trays and three 1# cans of powder ...I wanted to keep the max bench space that I could while having adequate storage. Note the overhead halogen work lamp. If you place a tray of cases under that light, it makes it very easy to inspect them for accidental double charges and what not. Beats the "light on the press" concept. You can check 50 cases at once.

    Things that I like: Being able to get the powder measure out of the way, being able to lock up the stuff I'm afraid kids might want to play with, and the eye-level scale. I'm anal and weigh a lot of loads along the way ...and am very happy with the RCBS powder measure w/baffle installed (+- 1/2 grain is very typical on TiteGroup and Trail Boss ...vastly different powders yet they both measure great.)

    Things I don't like: My work bench is a tad low for someone my height, so when I go through a big reloading session like this weekend (250 cartridges), I get a back ache. The eye-level scale is great ...but make sure your bench is high enough to prevent having to bend over when the press' handle is all the way down.

    Brian
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails my_bench.jpg  

  9. #9

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    Just make sure you build your bench high enough you are not slouched over it all the time. You will find you are there a lot for the next few years. If you haven't, get the Lee Auto prime. Works well and you can sit and watch t.v. while you prime a lot of cases. Lets the wife or significant other see you once in a while too. Trust me, you are going to be at that bench "playing" most of your free time.

  10. #10

    Default 742

    I started loading for the Rem. 742 in the late 70's and these rifles are still used by my family exclusive to all other rifles.
    The pressure curve to ensure proper function isn't that broad. The best powder I've found is IMR 4320 in this auto. It likes pointed bullets but has a tendancy to damage lead bullet tips while feeding from the mag, causing errant flight and larger groups.
    These rifles also like their ammo loaded with small base dies.
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  11. #11
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    Default Stand or Sit?

    You need to figure out if you want to load, standing or sitting, and have the bench top height set up for that. Folks seem to be 50/50 on which one they like best. I'm a stand up kind of guy!

    Make it sturdy! I followed the plans the reloading organization put out years ago. 4X4 legs, 1" plywood top and shelf, 2X6 bracing on front and sides, parts bolted or screwed together, 1/2" plywood sides and back. If it wiggles bolt it to the wall.

    I wish I'd put a laminate or finish on the top to make it easier to clean...like when I spill powder. I wish the top was a bit wider than 2'.

  12. #12
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    Reloading presses do put a lot of leverage on the bench ...mine's got a 3/4" thick plywood top and 2x4 framing directly lined up with (and under) the press and it still flexes a little. I think the best bench would have a much thicker top, and made from lumber not plywood ...maybe 2x4s face to face with their skinnier dimension upwards, then a thin (1/2"?) layer of plywood on top to give it a smooth surface. Nahhh.. too much work.

    I stand when I reload ...the length of the motion required to operate the Rock Chucker seems a bit long for trying it seated. Seems to me that you get a lot better leverage when standing.

    Brian

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    In the lower 48 I glued 2 3/4"x48"x24" cabinet grade plywood sheets for my bench top. Supported by the wall and 2 4x4 legs. This worked well for thousands of rounds but unfinished it stained with powder spills. My next bench will be a laminated "butcher Block" style and we'll see how that goes. Good luck on your project!

  14. #14

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    Unfortunately the bench I made was left in Missouri when I moved. It was over built. the top was 2x6 over 2x4 with 4x4 legs and skirted with 2x6. The legs were tied together sides and rear and bolted to the wall. Underneath locking cabinet on one side and shelves on the other It was at a height I could stand or use a bar stool, I'm 6'2". It doubled as an anvil. I wished I would have put a smooth top over it as I was contantly getting stuff stuck in the cracks and spills were impossible to clean up without the shop vac. I miss that bench.

  15. #15

    Default Reloading Bench

    Well, it ought to be pretty strong. Mine is 2" Steel tube frame, and 3/4" Oak Veneer Plywood top with a routed groove at the edge on top all along the front side that loose primers park in when they go rolling across the thing...
    I had to add an additional 1" x 2" rectangular steel stiffener across the front there, see all the screws? It's 4' x 8' and everything seems to land on it. A solid door might work but it has to be really stiff. Frame it well.
    You just won't believe how much force you put on these.
    All my presses are bolted through the steel, and this is just strong enough with not much to spare. Notice only two legs, back bolted dead level to wall.
    The next one will have two legs too but they will angle to the wall to make it even easier to get around.
    Good luck,
    Mark
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  16. #16
    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    I have two lead lined solid core doors. I would be happy to donate for anyone needing a good top for a bench. Just contact me if you can drive out to the valley with a truck and a strong friend, it's yours. Send me a PM with a contact number.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tryants." (Thomas Jefferson

  17. #17
    Member Kurt S's Avatar
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    Speaking of benches, I am in the process of clearing out a storage space for one of my clients. There are 18-85x35x1/34 commercial oak doors taken out of an office space. They asked me to sell them for $30 bucks apiece. They are 20 min to 1 hour rated so the cores are dense particle board of some kind with oak skin on the outside. These are very heavy and would make a great benches. Let me know if there is any interest, they are in Anchorage.

    Kurt

  18. #18

    Default commercial door for bench

    Kurt's got a deal there if someone needs a great bench top. I bought a commercial fire door like he described a few years ago and made it the top of my loading bench. It is heavy, stiff, and doesn't flex or anything when using the press.

  19. #19
    Member frankd4's Avatar
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    Default messy


    Its a bit messy but cranks out lots of ammo.

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