Condo Reloading?


December 25, 2008, 09:19 PM
I live in a condo and every square inch is already occupied. What can I do to get started in reloading if I have no room for a bench? Is there some kind of portable bench I could use and then put in the closet when I'm done? Thanks in advance.

If you enjoyed reading about "Condo Reloading?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
Art Eatman
December 25, 2008, 09:49 PM
Two pieces of 2x8 and three pieces of 2x4 and you can make a waist-high stand for a press. If all you do is neck size for rifle, it's easy to use a foot to hold it steady. I use my dining table for all the rest of my reloading--laying stuff out, repriming, weighing charges.

I have a stand that's sorta portable; weighs about 40 pounds. An 18" square steel base plate, 1/4". A length of 2" pipe, waist high, that threads into a pipe fitting that's welded to the plate, in a corner. On top is the mounting plate for my press and powder measure; it's a piece of 3/8" plate which is welded to a 2" pipe fitting. The whole thing screws together and can handle full-length resizing.

You can always get a Lyman 310 Tong Tool, and create the strongest grip in Christendom...

December 25, 2008, 10:01 PM
Scooter, first do the research. Read the stickeys and comments here. Decide what your needs are based probably on how much shooting you do or are planning on doing. (If you reload, you will probably shoot more because you will be able to!) Then do more research based on your needs, basically refining your research to a single-stage, semi-progressive turret press or progressive press. Once you have done the reading (there are a number of good books recommended in the stickeys) and the research and made the decision on which type of loader will best suit your needs, then you can make your plans on a portable/stowable bench. My bench is a 6ft tall shelf unit with the 3ft shelf being the actual bench; I have storage overhead and underneath. It stores everything I need. It resides in one corner of my wife's sewing room! :D It sounds like you do not have that much space. But the basic size of my actual workbench: 20in deep x 48in wide could be made up of something like a scrap piece of laminated kitchen countertop. You could pre-drill the holes for the press and, using wing nuts and washers, clamp the countertop to a counter or table and quickly mount your press using the wing nuts. My tumbler stores in a 5gallon bucket with a lid. The bucket is used to sift out the media after tumbling. My cheap-ass tiimer and the bag of media and my cleaning towel all fit in the bucket when finished. Figure out what you need. You can make something that will work just fine.

December 25, 2008, 10:01 PM
I forgot to mention I will only be reloading 9mm and 45 acp.

December 25, 2008, 10:59 PM
If it means anything, I reload 45acp and 380acp, or 9mm shorts. Can't ditch anything and throw in a shelf unit, can ya?

December 25, 2008, 11:16 PM
You could do those two calibers in small amounts with a set of regular dies and a lee hand press. (not the lee loader, which uses a mallet. I love my lee loaders, but it's not the greatest for .45 ACP I hear). Those tools would fit in a shoebox. I'd personally add a small scale and a load manual of some sort as a minimum for safety's sake.

December 26, 2008, 12:17 AM
Easy - my bench an most of my components fit on a TV stand and a loocking tool box. Go for it!

December 26, 2008, 12:41 AM
IMO, if you are only reloading for (two) pistol calibers, then you could use a bench as narrow as 32" wide, assuming complete access across the front.

I'd use a Lee Turret--the Classic Cast Version--and simply set up two turrets with each die set.

Jim H.

December 26, 2008, 02:37 AM
A condo is just an apartment you bought. snicker. A Black & Decker Workmate makes a good portable loading bench. Look in pawn shops and at garage sales. They seem to appear at both regularly.

December 26, 2008, 07:42 AM
I once lived in an apartment. I made a workable bench top to fit on a 2-drawer file cabinet by layiing 1 pieces of 2x12 on top, and screwing the pieces of 2x12 to pieces of 2x4 paralleling the sides of the file cabinet. I could even do heavy resizing with it, if I piled some weight on top of the benchtop.

December 26, 2008, 08:24 AM
+1 on the B&D Workmate. I used one when I was in my apartment. Worked great!

December 26, 2008, 10:19 AM
Thanks for all the advice. Now I just need to decide what type of portable bench to start with.

Ky Larry
December 26, 2008, 10:34 AM
I used a B&D Work Mate for several years. I mounted my powder throw on the left side and my Rockchucker on the right side. Still left plent of room for my scale, bullets, and cartridge box. Very neat, small, and handy.

December 26, 2008, 10:44 AM
Try a Lyman 310 (used to be called the nutcracker since it is similar in appearance to a nutcracker) or a Lee handpress. Slow but effective. I have a full reloading/ gunsmithing room but I use the Lee handpress on occasion just out of convienience. You can reload at your kitchen table (just make sure mama ok's the task) I have used a gun mat or some other covering to prevent any ding in the table. Good shooting.

December 26, 2008, 11:04 AM
You could do those two calibers in small amounts with a set of regular dies and a lee hand press. (not the lee loader, which uses a mallet. I love my lee loaders, but it's not the greatest for .45 ACP I hear). Those tools would fit in a shoebox. I'd personally add a small scale and a load manual of some sort as a minimum for safety's sake.

Is the Lee auto prime better than the ram prime that comes with the hand press kit?

December 26, 2008, 12:07 PM

December 26, 2008, 01:15 PM
What's the easiest and fastest way to fill all the cases with powder accurately when using a single stage press like the Lee Hand press?

December 26, 2008, 04:29 PM
I recommend mounting your press to a board about an inch and a half thick with lag bolts. Then use c-clamps to bolt the board to your kitchen table. When you are finished reloading, put the press in the closet.

December 26, 2008, 04:38 PM
Here is a portable bench in a suitcase I built a while back. Will sell it for $100 if you are interested.


December 26, 2008, 06:07 PM
You can easily use a workbench and make it functional to your needs:

December 26, 2008, 06:07 PM
My first reloading was done in a small apartment. I had no reloading table, so I bolted the press to a stout piece of aluminum plate. 3/4" plywood would serve the very same purpose. The plate/plywood needn't be larger than 18" square. (Hint: Home Depot gives away plywood scraps that size.) Then I used 3 C-clamps (I believe the Brits call these J-clamps) to temporarily mount the press to a sturdy kitchen table.

When I was done, the clamps came off and back the closet everything went. It de-stresses the table so well I still use the system today. And even with a sturdy work bench it allows you to "clear the decks" for other projects. Your press doesn't have to be in your way when the wife asks you to rewire the table lamp or such. It's very handy.


December 26, 2008, 07:54 PM
I used a Rockler router table leg set, and got the heavy duty casters on it, and it works great. I load it up with brass, bullets, powder and tools, and it is very stable, yet easily rolls back into the laundry room when not in use. It would easily fit in a small closet too. The leg set is heavy gauge cold rolled steel angle, and very sturdy when bolted together with shelves and a top. The casters lock both pivot and roll so it stays put when you lock them.


December 26, 2008, 09:40 PM
Well, there you go. Plenty of good ideas. Loading in your condo is a cando! Now all you need to do is decide how much loading you intend to do, how much time you want to spend doing it and then which outfit will get you there!

December 27, 2008, 09:38 AM
Lee hand press (not a Lee Loader). Small, inexpensive, easy to use. Uses standard reloading dies. Ive had mine for 2 years and love it.

All the Best,
D. White

December 27, 2008, 05:33 PM
For charging the cases, use a loading tray or block, and a powder funnel.

December 27, 2008, 05:44 PM
I'm another Lee handpress fan. I don't go thru a ton of ammo, but I crank out 9mm, .38/.357, .44Mag and .45ACP in lots of about 150 a time. Sit in front of telly and size/deprime, then prime using the Lee Autoprime (nifty bit of kit). Then switch off telly, switch on your mind and charge the cases (I use the dippers). Then seat the bullets and lastly use the factory crimp die. Buy some inexpensive calipers and inexpensive scale (electronic or otherwise) to check periodically. I've found the most important bit to be checking powder levels in the load tray with a little hi-intensity flashlight. I've never double-charged yet, but I did do a couple of squibs when I was distracted :(

December 28, 2008, 06:12 PM
Call me old fashion, but I still believe the fastest, safest, easiest way to load powder is an RCBS Uniflow powder hopper (or one of the many look-alike variants) set using a balance beam scale. Then dumping powder into primed cases set in neat rows in a loading block, or 2x4 drilled in neat, clean rows.

December 28, 2008, 07:51 PM
I ran my RCBS rockchucker master supreme kit out of a small fliptop plastic storage box for a year or two from the kitchen table before I got serious and dedicated a bench and some cabinetry to it. Now, 2-3 years later, I've got two kitchen cabinet upper type cabinets and a bench dedicated to the hobby and own a single stage and progressive press.

A workmate or sturdy kitchen and a storage box will do you really well in a condo.


December 28, 2008, 08:20 PM
Years ago I did exactly what chuck520 suggested and it worked fine. I don't recall where the idea came from though. Still have the c-clamps.

December 28, 2008, 09:31 PM
I ordered a Lee hand press, dies, and a hand priming tool tonight.

December 28, 2008, 10:32 PM

Here is my apartment rig. The only thing not in it is my scale. I have loaded thousands of rounds with it. From 38 to 45-70.

If you enjoyed reading about "Condo Reloading?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!