Ideas for setting up new equip ?
Just got my RCBS kit home,got loads of bullet types and powder, primers, can't wait to get started so tonight as I am working on beefing up my bench with an extra sheet of 3/4" plywood on top and 2x6 for strength beneath as well, now i am wondering if anyone has good ideas for setup like,
Should I mount the Press in the center of the work space, (40" wide and 30" deep) or to left or right?
Should the powder measure be higher and behind everything or on the edge of the work bench?
I'm kind of figuring have press dead center and space on both sides for working through the process
Hopefully this is not a ridiculous question, just thought to lean on you guys for what you found to work best after experience
Well everyone is different but I like my press to my right since I’m right handed.
The way I’m set now is a 6’X3’ bench made from 2 layers of 2X6 laminated together at 90* so they won’t split when I do 50bmg sizing which is not often. On the back of the bench I have two Craftsman center type (made to sit on a rolling chest with a chest on top of them) tool chests with about 2’ between them for books. Built on top of the tool chests are 3 shelves made of 1x12 lumber with uprights on the ends and 2 in the middle so it won’t sag. All my powder, bullets, brass, and junk is on the shelves to add tonnage to the bench top at the back. Dies and tools are mostly in the tool chests.
My presses are all mounted on ¼” steel plates with a bar that goes under the bench that has a ¾’ nut welded on and a clamp bolt to lock the press down. This way I can switch presses, move them around at will, have more than one set up, or none at all for working on guns. Under the bench is a box on heavy casters that just fits under the bench and is 2’X3’ open at the top. This is where I keep my tumblers, presses when they are not on the bench, and some other bulky items. I plan to change this to some kind of a chest on casters with a padded top I can sit on and roll under when I’m standing allowing me to do away with my office chair that is always in the way.
Just starting out like you are I would say keep it changeable so you can fix it when you learn what you need. Also beef it up and keep your heavy stuff adding weight to the back side of the top to help keep it stable.
Here is how I do things and why I built my bench like that.
I work in stages of 50, 100, or more rounds at a time in batches.
@First I decap and resize the whole batch, or just decap if they are gritty.
@Then tumble them in a batch. If they were gritty I now resize.
@Now they all get run through a trimmer so they are of a known uniform length.
@I use a hand primer and do this as I watch TV at night.
@The cases are then boxed or bagged for future loading usually.
@Last stage, most important stage is loading and I will describe my set-up for that next.
My powder measure is on a heavy movable base and I place it just left of the press almost in front of me. In front of the powder measure as close to the press as I can is where I set the bullet tray. To my right I set up my scales so I can double check that I’m thronging good charges from the measure. Between the scale and measure is the loading block with primed prepped cases.
Everyone does it different but here is my loading drill.
@I pick up one case in my left hand, hold it under the measure as U through a charge with my right and it goes in the press.
@I grab a bullet with my left hand and set it on the case as I run the press with my right.
@Remove the loaded round and place it back in the tray. When a case comes from the tray it is the only one and has my full attention till it’s loaded and back. If the phone rings I let it, wife walks in I ignore her . . . this diligence came from double charging 8g (16g total) of Bulseye in a 357 and firing it once!
@Every so often (3 to 10 rounds maybe) I through a charge for the scale right into the pan for a check. I never dump from the case and refill it like I have watched some guys do because it gives a chance to double and is not accurate.
When working with small powder charges each round gets a turn on the scale when I’m done to triple check for a double powder charge.
That should give you some ideas hope it helps more than hinders
It's a good question. With a single stage it probably won't make much difference. If right handed you probably will run the press handle with your right hand and move brass and bullets with your left and will want to have the components on the left. So maybe put the press to the right but not clear to the edge. Wrong handed would be opposite. I like the scales up level with my eyes and behind the press but I don't have a preference on the measure. Everyone seems to get there own method that works best for them. I have used presses mounted left, right and center and it does't seem to make a lot of difference to me. Sorry I can't be more help.
Pretty much ditto what Andy said here. I have both my press and my powder measure set up to my right on my loading table. The press on the front edge, the powder measure on the right edge. All the other components are on shelves except a small box with divided sections with odds and ends, smaller tools like the primer pocket cleaner, etc. This leaves an open area for working through the processes not involving the press.
The other 299,300,000 people can have it.
Noone has a more intimate understanding of, or deeper appreciation for freedom, than a soldier who has fought for it in a country where it does not exist.
I sure wouldn't put the press in the middle. It's going to be in the way of everything else you do, plus the bench should be stiffer to the side. I've got a long bench (20 feet) and it's 36" deep. I can shift myself all over the place, so positioning isn't a "problem." I will say this though: I'm a lefty, and I always end up sitting on the right side of the press. So if you're a righty, right side is likely to be best.
Another thing: Forget about mounting any tools toward the back of your 30" bench, unless your arms are a whole lot longer than the ones mounted on my 6'4" body. The back of the bench is great for keeping loose stuff handy, yet out of the way. Mounted tools should be within easy reach of the front. If they're further back than the length of your forearm, you're going to be whacking your elbows unless your bench is pretty low.
Man, that is great info Thanks you guys,
Another question, do you have covers, (even a tarp cover) to keep the area clean or just have everything put away at end of session so is not an issue?
I am setting up in the end of a shop that is inherently dusty and even have carpentry going on in other end, sawdust flying around a bit twenty ft away, so even though I do have an air compressor to keep the area pretty clean, should I factor in some kind of cover or just plan on everything going into box or shelf that can be air cleaned before pulling out to do some reloading?
Obviously the scale will be in a drawer or box everytime but it seems you would want to keep even the press Really Dustless, trays etc??
All I have seen pictures of are guys with immaculate shops and reloading on a spotless bench, have plans to build that brand new shop someday..... but have NEED to get reloading sooner,
PS pictures of anyones setup would be great
You've hit on why I built a 20' bench in the first place. I figured it would give me the room to leave everything set up. Fat chance. I've got carp scattered all over the bench, and have to do a major cleanup any time I want to load. Right now, I bet it would take me an hour just to get things clear enough to spread out my reloading accessories, so it's a problem for multi-use spaces.
Covering is a good idea, if nothing else, just to keep you from stacking extra stuff in your reloading area. Might even try that myself, even with a long bench. My mind is running toward a plastic coated fabric picnic tablecloth.
I don't have any pictures of my bench and my camera died, I will see if I can post some when I get another camera.
In Arizona I had my bench on the covered back porch for years and it worked fine. I had an old steel office desk with kitchen upper cabinets sitting on the back and bolt mounted equipment. I would just blow it off and wax the press arms after a dust storm. I would think about adding doors to keep the sawdust out of your goodies but other than that you should be fine blowing it off with air.
Here is a good thread to look at also.
What the heck do you do with the arbor press in reloading? Maybe just nowhere else to put it?
That looks like mine but I have the tool chests under the shelves.
Actually the arbor press is just taking up space, as I plan to reposition the other bench with the lathe and drillpress next to the loading bench.
There are uses for an arbor press for reloading, but I haven't used mine for those tasks.
I have an arbor press (and a 25ton shop press) and it has thousands of uses but never found a reloading use for it so it made me wonder if I was missing something.
Badger1 I have seen that type of die before but it fit in a big 50bmg type press not an arbor press, very interesting!
I used ta have a nice bench that I made in highschool. 2x4's on edge spaced with about 3/4 inch between them for support, then 3/4" ply on top of that - nice shelf on the back...fairly high so your back doesn't get sore from bending over.
I guess I still have the bench - but it is in my garage in Denver. My garage here is just too small. Now everyting is in plastic containers under teh work bench. I made a short - about 18 inches high bench to set on top of my regular work bench.
I put my press on the RHS - it is a single stage press. The most important thing for me is that a short bench sucks. I like something that is nipple high or so!
here is my bench
I just built my bench this week. Ive had my press mounted on all kinds of different desks and assorted tables. This is my first official loading bench. I love all the space. Its way faster and a heck of alot more comfortable to stand at. No more knocking this over.
My Reloading Bench
I built this bench a couple of years ago. I don't have any pics of my bench but here are the plans.
I have a Lyman T-Mag on the right side and a Lyman Crusher on the left side. The center of the bench is where I set up my shotshell reloader and then remove it when loading pistol or rifle. The Crusher is for decaping and sizing and the T-Mag for loading. I have plenty of room for everything I use on this bench. That is everything I need for what I'm doing at the time. I have several shotshell reloaders and must store them on a shelf in the garage with wads, empty shells, etc. All of my pistol and rifle tools and components fit on the bench. One day when I start casting my own boolits I will probably build another smaller dedicated bench for sizing and lubing.
FWIW I am right handed and having my primary loading press on the right side of the bench and moving shells and other components with my left hand works for me. Were I a lefty I would put my primary press on the left side of the bench and use my right hand to move shells.
New Load Bench Photo & Rookie Mistake
Thought I'd follow-up this thread with my results, the bench I slapped together and some stuff I learned.
Of course, I posted this question as I was "impatiently, in-process" and went ahead and mounted Press just off of center,.... then went inside and read results of this post with many opinions to, "NOT mount in the center,"
You guys were right, after just 60 rounds I was tired of squeezing between press and measure to get to the scale, and knocking elbow on return, so you'll notice the place were I had the press all notched in and stuff, have now moved to the right (am right handed) but still like a little extra room on the right of press for final product tray, out of the way.
I like the scale being up at eye level and back a bit to keep cleaner and away from other stuff, dies etc being moved around. Have the little tools each in it's own hole drilled on top shelf to keep from clutter and always where I put them last time
I just beefed up an original work shelf (fairly strong already) with a sheet of 3/4 plywood on top, floor hardener finish on top surface worked nice to make things smooth for cleanup and sliding stuff around, screwed up a 2x6 underneath the outer lip to strengthen Press mount and I can hang my weight on it. It's all tied into the back wall so doesn't move at all. Might fabricate some covers especially for the scale as this is a rough shop and lots of dust flying around during other projects. I do have an aircompressor nearby which is already a real nice addition to the whole process.
I like having it all high up for a standing approach (with stool for 2am loading, ) The whole area for is 48"wide by 26"deep and seems to work for small time reloader at this point. Probably close in some of the shelves later to keep organized and clutter free ??? Scale is good distance to reach for finger trickling. Not confident in that measure yet, kind of caught up in being exact...
I found a plastic organizer case laying around that works great for stashing bullets, and primers in a sure dry environment. There's moisture just hanging in the air here in Kodiak so this seems to work well, It's on top of gunsafe, you probably can't really see it too well, but is a good idea.
Want to hear a classic Rookie Mistake?
Reading in the manual about Powder Measure having been packed with preservative oil inside, and requiring good cleaning before using... I reached for the Brake Cleaner can and even as I was pressing my finger on the trigger to hose the inside out and clean it out REAL GOOD, it flashed through my mind.. "Nooo, that's plastic on top," I ran straight to the kitchen sink and rinse, rinse, rinse and joy soaped it ... to no avail. Spent the next hour trying to scrape the melted plastic out of the brand new Powder Measure Hopper. Man, that brake cleaner works fast!! So you might notice I fogged my Powder Measure forever before ever using it. Of course you can't replace just that part, so I have to look in the top to see the level of powder....
Oh Well, So, don't do that... just soap and water it out
Experienced Guys, have any more tips??
Looks good and I like the press right over the leg like that. Live and learn on the other stuff, we all do it . . . it is a 'work' bench after all. As for the brake cleaner I had the nozzle pointed wrong and sprayed my face once which made my new eye glasses look a lot like your powder reservoir.
Also I knocked my RCBS powder measure off the bench and lived with duct tape on the reservoir for years. Eventually I called to buy a replacement from RCBS customer service and they would not even let me pay for it. Give them a call and I bet they make you very happy also.