Reloading Bench for 1br apartment


March 15, 2012, 12:49 PM
I need a reloading bench. I live in a 1br apartment and I have a Dillon xl650. I was leaning towards this bench:
Does anyone have any experience with it?
Any deals on a similar style/size of bench?

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March 15, 2012, 01:06 PM
Looks like it would work. You will probably want to glue all joints in addition to what ever fasteners they provide and maybe add some angle braces to the legs.

You want the bench to be as rigid as possible. Without some help, screw or bolted joints in wood will loosen over time under the operation of a reloading press.

My presses, including my progressive, are mounted to a free standing floor stands and I operate off a table. One benefit is the press can be easily stored away when not in use.

March 15, 2012, 01:09 PM
Looks good. Any small table will do, even half that size. Strongly suggest fixing it to a couple wall studs with small angle braces. Real solid.

March 15, 2012, 01:17 PM
I've seen this bench up close at HF.... very rickety, so any extras that have already been posted along with whatever else you might find necessary will make this bench work.

March 15, 2012, 01:25 PM
I have actually seen that table in person a few times. I was actually impressed, as far as HF stuff goes. As stated before, I would try to glue or otherwise secure the joints. I have also seen a pretty neat bench(which I isntantly thought would make a great bench for a new loader)(or for me if I didn't already have a bench) at my local Costco, but I can't seem to find any info on thier online catalog. If you have a local Coscto, it might be worth a look. IIRC, it was a more $$ than the HF bench, but it also had lockable cabinets and you could hang a 4' light underneath them, and a pegboard-like back, and a nice 1.5-2" butcherblock style work top.

Edit: Found the bench I was talking about. I would take the wheels off it and find a way to make it more stationary. I really like the lockable cabinets for components, and you can put a light below it. They are pretty beefy in person.

March 15, 2012, 01:46 PM
Rickety won't do it.

The bench I've got is made from a surplus solid oak office table, 34"X18." Screwed to the wall it's all I've ever needed. I have a RCBS Partner Press and Uniflow powder measure bolted to it. Plenty of room for scale, loading blocks, etc.

Midway has several benches for sale under $200.

March 15, 2012, 02:27 PM
If your willing to add bracing to the HF bench you can stabilize it. It's current design has no bracing. Just enclose the back and sides with ply wood screwed to the legs will tighten it up. Any that you can secure to the wall will greatly stabilize the bench.

March 15, 2012, 03:01 PM
I had one very close to that design, also from HF. It was very wobbley if any off vertical pressure was applied. My current workbench is just 2x4 construction, but is cross-braced and solid. IME I can build far better for far less money. I rent a place during the week, so I have my press mounted to a 2in thick plank. All I need is something to clamp it to and I am set. At home I use the wb, at the rental I use a desk or counter.

Am I the only one wondering about the guy living in an apt with a dillon 650? :)

March 15, 2012, 03:10 PM
Apartments by all means can be nice, some cost more than a 2 story house. But I said hmmm too.

March 15, 2012, 03:13 PM
I think you'd come out ahead on cost and just the right size building your own.

I laminated 2x4's (take 2 cut to the same length, damp a little & apply a small amount of Gorilla brand wood glue, & then screw together with 2.25" - 2.5" deck screws). I used a 2"x10" plank for a lower shelf and added support. For the top I used a pre-made 18"x36"x1" table top, but plywood would have been cheaper and just as solid.

Single 2x4's halfway up around 3 sides (front open). All joints used deck screws & the Gorilla wood glue.

So my bench is really small, but rock solid. Maybe $50 in materials if I had to go to Lowe's & buy it all, but most I already had in the garage. Not pretty, but exactly what I wanted.

I get around the lack of space by mounting the presses & tools like Dillon Super Swage to oak boards. Then I just clamp whatever I want to use to the bench and whatever is not in use is stored out of the way. My entire reloading setup - including all tools, consumables, bench, chair, etc takes up less than 25 sq ft. That means I have to move stuff around a lot - not nearly as convenient as nice big basement setup - but it takes up less than 1% of my house this way :)

Oh- if I were still single, I'd probably still live in an apartment too (and might have a Dillon instead of a Lee press :) ). I had much nicer toys & stuff not dumping tons of $ into mortgage, insurance, taxes, & upkeep even though I made a lot less. A lot more free time too not dealing with any maintenance, renovations, or yard work. Before I met my wife, I had a large (950 sq ft) apt right on the lake & in a very nice part of town. It cost much less per month than the house in a much less nice (but not crappy) neighborhood I bought after we'd been together for a while.

March 15, 2012, 03:26 PM
Depending on the press you use may prevent the drawer(s) from opening on the Harbor Freight bench.

I have the black metal Whalen bench pictured above.

March 15, 2012, 04:02 PM
I am in a tiny apt. I picked up a 2x4 basics brand workbench kit. You cut the 2x4s to whatever size you like and pick your own shelving/bench top material.

It is 20"x40", has two sheets of 3/4" birch hard ply glued and screwed for a 1-1/2" solid as a rock bench top and holds my 650 with casefeeder fine along with my LCT.

It is lag screwed into wall studs and it also has about 300lbs of bullets and ammo and other reloading goods on the shelves, it doesn't move much. ;)

There is a reloading bench picture thread around here somewhere, lots of ideas and options in there.

March 15, 2012, 04:03 PM
What about this one? Looks like the price is right:

March 15, 2012, 06:38 PM
Strongly suggest fixing it to a couple wall studs with small angle braces.
+1 Can't imagine doing without.

March 15, 2012, 06:43 PM
Don't forget you have to buy the wood & probably screws n such.

That one at HF is junk. check this one out:

It is normally $400. There is another for $700. That is the route I'd go.

March 15, 2012, 07:29 PM
Go to Home Depot or Lowe's and buy a 30" or 36" base kitchen cabinet. Add a double thickness plywood top. Add your press and you have a cheap, nice looking loading bench. Attach it to the wall and it is very solid. Works well. Speaking from experience.

March 15, 2012, 07:53 PM

When reloading gets repetitive, I move a press from the reloading room and clamp it in front of the keyboard and watch TV recorded off the cable TV receiver in my computer with Windows Media Center.

Use the hands to operate the press, but use the mouse to fast forward through the commercials.

March 15, 2012, 10:25 PM
I have to disagree. I use the OP linked HF workbench as my cleaning station. Maybe the ones in the store are rickety but the one I put together is quite sturdy. It doesn't submit, sway, quiver, shake, wiggle or buckle to a very tight patch going down the bore. I've been using it for over a year and would buy another if I needed it. I'm not using it as a reloading bench so the opinion I give pertains to its function as a very solid cleaning station. The shelf below and the 4 drawers make it ideal for this purpose.

Glock XIX
March 15, 2012, 10:44 PM
I agree with "daboone", I have the same HF bench. I attached it to the wall studs with L brackets and lag bolts, solid as a rock ! I have a xl650 and a LnL both mounted on it. Just think about where you mount the press so the overhang doesn't block drawer access. I have LnL mounted on the end of the bench, and the 650 is on a strong mount in the middle. I will say the bottom shelf is useless for storage of heavy items.

March 15, 2012, 10:44 PM
I built this bench for my son's new house out of wood sent to my company as shipping crates. I bought a $18 piece of plywood so it would have a smooth finish top.

The point is this. Scrap materials abound to build whatever size bench you want for next to nothing.

March 15, 2012, 11:35 PM
This is the one I use.

Lowe's Workbench (

It's going to set you back more than the one from HF but it's a great workbench. After reading the reviews on the Lowe's page, I'm not the only one who has made a reloading bench out of it. It needs a stouter top but that's an easy fix. I used the existing piece of MDF that comes with the bench as a template then I cut a piece of 3/4" finish grade plywood to match that. You could double that and it would be plenty thick and beefy enough. I chose to triple that. The bottom piece is the same size as the factory piece. The two upper pieces which are sandwiched together add a 1" lip all the way around (except the back). This allows me to get the press out away from the drawers and give me enough room for the handle to cam over.

Fortunately I have a countertop person in the family who trimmed it out with some formica but this isn't necessary. You could put a coat of paint or polyurethane on a good piece of plywood and call it done. Either way you're out the door for about $250 and the bench will last you a long time.

March 16, 2012, 12:30 AM
I used one of these, while in a one bedroom, more a table than a bench:

Or you could start with this and add a shelving unit on top (I did that too):

Here's a pic of the 2nd link, with a dumpster desk find next to it.

It seems most posting here don't get aircraft carrier size bench won't work in a one bedroom apt.


T Bran
March 16, 2012, 12:49 AM
I built my bench from jobsite scraps as well the only cost was the screws. 4X4 legs 2x4 bracing and shelf brackets 2x4 top (solid) and 3/4 plywood on top of the 2x4's making the top 2 1/4 inches thick. It turned out heavier than I expected but thats ok it doesnt move around.
Point is if you can build a good bench for free you can apply the savings to components and shoot more 8).

March 16, 2012, 01:09 AM
What about this one? Looks like the price is right:

Same kit I bought. The hardware that came with it was fine.

You have to get your own 2x4s and cut them or have home depot or lowe's(if that is where you buy it.) cut them for you, they will do it for 25 cents a cut if you have no saw.
A walk down either of those store lumber sections will turn up a large variety of 2' x '4 ply panels of whatever quality you could want. You can go light on the shelves, but the top should be sturdy.

As has been pointed out, there are a lot of options. I choose the kit because I didn't need much in the way of carpentry skills to make a nice bench.

March 21, 2012, 04:48 AM
a sewing machine cabinet works great if space is limited they are sturdy and you can usually get them at a second hand store for almost nothing. they have the foldouts for more room while reloading. I used one for years until just recently I built two benches to accommodate a second reloading press and a swage press.

March 21, 2012, 05:43 AM

I made this bench. It works great, inexpensive, and folds up and can be put in the backseat of a truck or put away in the closet.

March 21, 2012, 07:32 AM
I bought a Solid Oak Student Desk with Two Drawers & a tummy drawer
That has worked for me. I Attached a Dillon 550B to mine & it works great.
I found the used student Desk for $30. Good luck you will come up with something I'm sure.

March 21, 2012, 11:31 AM
Most designs posted are great, but from what I know, apartment dwellers usually don't have woodworking tools to build stuff or the room to do it.
They need something cheap to bolt a press to out of the box:

March 21, 2012, 11:35 AM
A used desk or small table is even cheaper and possibly better.

March 21, 2012, 04:34 PM
I use a wooden stool for a portable bench. (rectangular top) Don't know if it's big enough for a progressive press, but it'll be sturdy enough if you can keep it from tipping. New ones are about $20.

March 21, 2012, 07:18 PM
here mine

March 21, 2012, 08:21 PM
For small places, the Black and Decker Workmate (the good version) with a reinforced or replaced top works well. The wider legs give stability, it can folded up and stored in a closet when not in use

March 22, 2012, 01:57 PM
I didn't even think about it at the time, but my neighbor uses a one of those work tables that looks like a sawhorse with the top that adjusts using a crank. He has it tucked away in his garage. He bolted a solid piece on top like a piece of pre-painted shelving (usually MDF) to it and it works great. Takes up minimal space. He's got a full size Hornady press bolted to it.

David Wile
March 22, 2012, 06:38 PM
Hey folks,

I have to agree with dsb1829 and SlowFuse in wondering how someone can use a progressive press on anything that would be used in an apartment. For progressive presses to function properly, they really need to be rock solid. Perhaps it is folks in apartments with progressive presses that write the threads complaining about their presses not throwing consistent charges or dropping powder and having problems with priming.

I lived in an apartment for a couple of years and did my reloading on a very small table. However, I was using a single stage press, and I also had a metal bar across the bottom of the legs so when I pulled the press handle back up the table would stay on the floor when the neck expander was pulled back through the sized neck. Loading can be done on a small table with a single stage press as long as you can keep it from tipping and from lifting.

As far as the Harbor Freight table goes that Morrow asked about, I have one of those tables I bought on one of their sales, and it is a very good table to do various types of light weight hand work. It is good quality and very solid, and the drawers are very convenient for storing tools. It is not, however, a real good choice to mount presses on it. If you put a press on the front, it ruins the advantage of the drawers which can no longer be accessed. I think it makes a great work bench to go along side a reloading bench which really is a different design.

I just cannot understand how one can expect a light duty bench and even a stool to perform satisfactorily as a platform for a progressive press.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

Samari Jack
March 23, 2012, 08:04 AM
My reloading stuff got relegated to a corner of our home office. Key word here is OUR meaning my wife is into neat and tidy and me not so much (probably pictures speak for themselves).

What I have is a Black & Decker Workmate. Model 400 I think. Kind of like what oneounceload was talking about. My Dillon 550B is bolted to the top. I clamped a small board in the jaws of the thing slightly lower than the top surface to form a trough. Taped over the holes. Bullets, powder and stuff are on part of a built in bookshelf to the right of the bench. Lights are on a portable stand behind the bench. The only help with stability is seating the primer. I work the lever with my right hand and hold the 550B from behind with my left in kind of a hugging motion to keep things stable.

In an apartment set-up, the workmate can be folded up in 10 seconds. Attach the press using wing nuts instead of hex nuts. Put the whole thing in a closet or behind a folding screen if you wanted to leave it set up.

The brass tumbler did get relegated to the garage due to dust and clean up.

March 23, 2012, 09:31 PM
Where did the OP go ??

March 24, 2012, 08:50 PM
May I suggest this one instead:

Search for "waterloo WB5002" and you'll find it from many sources. It is a metal bench with a thick particle-board top. I've had one as my reloading bench for about a year and it is perfect.

March 24, 2012, 09:07 PM
My reloading "bench" is this one from Frankford Arsenal:

I actually have two single-stage presses mounted on it on opposite sides. My powder measure clamps to the kitchen counter, which also holds my scale and trays for the brass. Everything packs up on a couple of shelves in a closet when I'm done.

March 25, 2012, 01:19 AM
Hey folks,
I just cannot understand how one can expect a light duty bench and even a stool to perform satisfactorily as a platform for a progressive press

Wow...I wish I knew that before I reloaded using a piggyback in an appartment for 2 years, 6000 rds of 9mm :what:

See my pic in post #22,


March 25, 2012, 06:26 AM
If you know a weldor, a sturdy table they can make you. Angle iron legs, cross braces, and a 3/16" top would make it heavy enough and be cheaper than $100.

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