New to Progressive reloading!!! Where do you sit?


September 15, 2009, 11:29 AM
Well, after loading a hundred rounds on my hornady LNL AP I realized that I need to get a new chair as the one with wheels no longer works when seating primers on the downstroke. Now that there are no primers on the floor keeping me from rolling around I had to adjust my chair after every single bullet. I now have a pretty good pain in my lower back. I tried a stool but I'm still twisting my back in a funny way that is not conducive to good back health. What are you guys doing to reduce back pain while reloading? I am considering building a higher table so that I can stand up to reload, but will that even solve the problem?

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September 15, 2009, 11:40 AM
I built my bence 40 years ago to reload standing up.
Even put a 3 1/2" " riser block under the press to raise it higher a few years ago.
Base of press is now 37" from floor.

I do have a 30" steel stool nearby to rest my butt on if a session drags on for a long time, but don't really ever set down to reload.


September 15, 2009, 12:23 PM
My bench is 37" off the floor. I sit in a kind of a bar stool type chair (Sits up high) with a back. It has a rail around the bottom several inches off the floor for resting feet on. I am offset a little bit to the left of center of my LNL. The height is about right to stand and load as well. (I'm 5' 10")

Pic link (

September 15, 2009, 12:26 PM
I've taken the opposite tack. My benchtop is nominally 38" off the floor--which is a good standing height for my height and my arm / elbow height.

However, I typically work sitting down now because of lower back pain.

Further, with the "aging eyes" problem, I find I want my work closer--so, in fact, I have replaced the 30" stool with a height-adjustable one. So, my typical position is now seated, with the seat fairly low--and my eyes at about the top of the press. It's comfortable for me--and I can work as long as my attention span holds.

added on edit: Like Walkalong, my taller stool has a foot ring to rest my feet on. And, like him, I set up a bit left of center--and, in fact, on this (limited) worlkbench, I laid out the press locations to accomodate a seated-left operator location.

And, in addition to overhead flourescent strips, I also have work area lights--the typical swing arms.

Jim H.

September 15, 2009, 12:28 PM
I have back issues but stand when I load because sitting is not convenient for me at all. Get a good anti-fatigue mat, they make a HUGE difference. Build your bench to fit you, it needs to be at least as high as your waist and your arm should naturally sit on the handle (raise the press if necessary) and you should be able to apply leverage with your arm muscles, not your body. I take a break every hour or so and stretch, that will help as well. Sitting just doesn't work for me, I can't move around and do the things necessary to feed the press.

September 15, 2009, 01:32 PM
My bench height is about 42" from the floor, which puts it at elbow height for me. This ends up being very comfortable as I do not have to bend over at all while working, and i have a good view of the press.

I stand to reload, because every combination of stool height and footrest configuration that I tried ended up feeling worse than standing.

I noticed that since almost everything besides pulling the press's handle gets done by my left hand, locating the press on the far right of the bench made sense.

Hope this helps.


September 15, 2009, 01:50 PM
Many, many years ago, I settled on 39" for the bench height for both my reloading benches. I use an adjustable height swivel stool like those found in machine shops, with an adjustable back and foot rest ring around the legs. The seat height is set at 29" for me, and I'm 6'1" tall. I also have 1/2" thick rubber fatigue mats, covered with rubber grooved mat over them in front of both benches.

I have four presses mounted on my benches, and I sit just to the left of each one, using my right hand/arm for operating the rams, while my left hand does all the other work. This setup has worked well for me for many years.

Hope this helps.


September 15, 2009, 02:39 PM
For years I sat on a stool while loading at a ~30" high bench. I recently added the strong mount to my Dillon 550b. This raised the press to ~39". That was to high for my stool so I started standing while loading. I found this to actually be much easier on my back. Now my feet have become my main stress points due to the concrete floor in my garage. Fixed this by wearing good shoes while reloading. In the near future I am planning on adding some of that thick rubber matting in front of my bench to help my feet some more. Now those long loading sessions no longer kill my lower back. Should have raised the press sooner.


September 15, 2009, 02:42 PM
I checked around the local thrift stores and found a comfortable chair, "Cheap" that fit myself and matched the old well used bench. I have found just to the left works as most others I see.

D. Manley
September 15, 2009, 03:00 PM
I use adjustable height stools to sit while using single-stage and turret presses but for my progressive, I prefer to stand. My bench is already fairly tall and I have the Dillon on a strong mount. This places the operating arm at a comfortable height for use with no bending whatsoever and the shellplate is well positioned for easy access and observing visually. To me, running a progressive while sitting seems a bit cumbersome...YMMV.

David Wile
September 15, 2009, 03:11 PM
Hey folks,

In all the moving I have done over the past forty-five years, I have built quite a few benches in all those houses. In the last 25 years or so, I have kind of settled on a height of about 42 inches. This height allows me to do work standing, but I also have several stools that allow me to sit while working a press. When I do sit at a press, I usually am off a bit to the left side so I can operate the handle with my right hand without hitting my right knee, and this offset seating allows me to do the other things with my left hand.

If I am doing various things that keep me moving, my bench height is good for standing and moving around. When I am doing something for a long time like working a big batch on a press, I sure do appreciate being able to sit on the stool with my feet up on the rungs.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

September 15, 2009, 06:19 PM
Chair? I stand when operating the press.

September 15, 2009, 07:50 PM
My bench top is 38" off the floor. I sit on a stool that is centered on the bullet catch bin of my LNL. My bench has a shelf about 6" off the floor, so when I sit doing reloads I usually have my left foot up on the shelf, right foot on the floor, and I find a spot to perch on the stool that's comfortable.

I too have back problems (what is it with reloaders and their back problems? : ), but this setup causes me no difficulty.

I get leverage on the upstroke for seating the primer, and I have no problems reaching the end of the downstroke.

Certainly there's no one-size-fits-all way to do this as everyone's bods are different in proportion.

September 15, 2009, 08:05 PM
Great thread on reloading ergonomics. Is it too late for you to add a poll ?

My bench is 37" with a 17" folding chair. I am thinking of adding a block to lift the press up 8" so I can stand.

September 15, 2009, 08:13 PM
I stand while reloading. It keeps me more alert. In the past I tried using a stool but the stool itself wasn't comfortable and felt I didn't have the leverage.

To help the lower back pain I drink a lot during reloading. Just kidding!

September 15, 2009, 09:28 PM
Dillon 550B with strong mount, adjustable height office chair.

I thought the swivel chair would move around, but the carpet pile is too deep for it to roll easily. You kind of position it where you want it, sit down, then swivel to face the work. This works fine for reloading, as you don't have to constantly readjust the chair...

With the strong mount and a 32" bench height, I find it is easy to look down on the shellplate and watch the process.

As far as ergonomics go, the bullet tray on the L side and prepped brass in a bin on the R side make it fairly easy, without a whole lot of bending.

No back pain issues. Yet. :)

September 16, 2009, 12:25 AM
I stand. My antifatigue mat is some double thick bubble wrap that is about 3X6 feet. Works well for me. I have the press high enough that I barely have to bend my knees on the downstroke. I'll probably raise the press a bit to get it to a more comfortable height.

September 16, 2009, 01:00 AM
If I had to stand to reload, I'd buy factory ammo. I stand, or am on my feet constantly at work. When I'm off work, I want to relax, that DON'T mean standing some more. I too use a swivel chair, with rollers. It's so simple to get it where you have the required range of motion to operate the loaders.IIRC my benches are at 33" to the top. No strong mount for my 650, she's bolted right to the top!

September 16, 2009, 01:02 AM
My bench is 32" of the floor. I sit in a office swivel chair on wheels. I load in a spare bedroom and the carpet keeps it from rolling. On my LnL I have learned when seating primers to take my left hand and grab the back of the press when I push on the lever to seat the primer. It gives me a lot more force to seat and keeps my back from huring.

September 16, 2009, 07:16 AM
My loading bench is a normal office desk and the chair is an adjustable, swivel with rollers. I used to stand to load but age and injuries took care of that.

September 16, 2009, 11:52 AM
I have tried both sitting and standing and I much prefer standing. Mainly because I can look down on what is going on all the time. When I'm sitting I keep thinking I might miss something if a problem would occur. I would prefer to sit but you just can't monitor whats going on all the time in a sitting position. And I tend to position myself just to the left of the press.

September 16, 2009, 12:10 PM
I do the same as Randy1911, my bench is also 32" off the floor and I also use an office swivel chair, you can roll right in to where you want to be, checking the powder charge is a snap, grabbing he back of the press when seating a primer works great and it gives you a lot of control when seating, you can feel the primer bottoming out.

September 16, 2009, 01:45 PM
I think you can sit running a single stage press, but not a progressive press if you are loading at any decent rate. Between feeding in cases, bullets, and running the primer filler it would be annoying to stand up and do all those things every time I have to feed that 1050. 42" is my deck height for a 650XL with a strong-mount and a 1050 without one.

David Wile
September 16, 2009, 02:19 PM
Hey folks,

With my bench height at 42 inches and my stools at whatever they are, I am pretty much at the same height whether I am sitting on the stool or standing. It's just when I am sitting on a stool, I have to shift over to the left side just a tad so the handle does not hit my leg. Even when I am standing, I am over to the left side just a bit for the handle to move. If you can get your stool at the right height, you can still be at or near the same height as when you are standing.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

September 16, 2009, 02:21 PM
My Dillon 550 is bolted to a sheet of plywood, which is in turn bolted to a Black & Decker Workmate. I either sit in a kitchen chair or a metal folding chair. Works just fine for me.

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