NRMA Reloading Bench


April 26, 2004, 11:21 PM
Here is my weekend project. I pretty much followed the instructions by the letter. I still need to mount my gear. :)

What do you think?

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April 26, 2004, 11:25 PM

April 27, 2004, 12:34 AM
Looks pretty darn good! :D

April 27, 2004, 02:14 AM
Looks like a first class job. My only comment would be that it looks a tad small to hold all the reloading equipment and components I consider absolutely necessary to produce an unending supply of reloads. Just a few nit-picks.

The lower shelf doesnt seem large or strong enough to hold a years supply of lead ingots (1000 pounds or so).

The bench top area might be crowded with both a Dillon 650 for high capacity handgun ammo output and a Rockchucker single stage for Rifle rounds, plus the case trimmer and Luber-sizer with heater.

I just dont see any way you can place the vital case preparation equipment, At least 2 case tumblers minimum on an already crowded work surface

Then one final jab, while photos may be deceiving, it just doesn't seem to be physically possible to store a minimum amount of vital components such as 8# kegs of powder, 4 at a minimum, a small supply of primers (4 sleeves of of 5000 per sleeve, Small Pistol reguABOV E SAID lar, Small Rifle, Large Pistol, Large rifle, and probably an additional sleeve of small pistol Magnum. I can't see where you could squeeze out enough room to hold the cast and jacketed bullets (at least 1000 Rds per caliber cast and 500 jacketed) and we haven't begun to address space needed for the storage of cleaned and polished brass collected from numerous range trips, counted by the coffee can full.

Nice try, but I see right now that you have at least 2 more weekend projects in the near future to make 2 clones of the bench shown.

What do you mean you don't have all that stuff? Doesn't everyone.


April 27, 2004, 08:05 AM
Thanks for the comments.

A few of my observations (I'm not taking credit for the design, I built it straight from the NRMA plans that somebody was kind enough to post on this board a week or two ago). The thing is ABSOLUTELY sturdy. It is made with 2x4s (lower shelf frame only), 2x6s, 4x4s, and 3/4 inch plywood. The sliding doors and cabinet back are the only 1/4 inch plywood used.

The picture seems to make it look smaller than it actually is.

Here it is again with my first load test!

April 27, 2004, 09:03 AM
Nice bench, If you dont mind me asking, how much did the materials run?

April 27, 2004, 09:55 AM
Plywood is EXPENSIVE! :cuss:

The 3/4 inch plywood was $33 per sheet and you need 3 sheets. That's a c note right there.

One sheet of 1/4 plywood ~$15. The other lumber ran roughly $30. The piano hinge, shelving hardware and door sliders probably we about $20.

All told, with tax, just under $200 and about 6 - 8 hours of your time (I was taking my time).

April 27, 2004, 02:57 PM
I built one from the plans and it is STOUT.

One suggestion that worked out great for me. Put about 6 coats of MinWax stain and urathane stuff on the work surface. 000 steel wool between coats is a good idea. Not a hint of chemical stains after severe abuse.

Great project! Great results!

April 27, 2004, 03:10 PM
I'm debating at to whether I should stain or paint it. I'm also thinking about putting a laminate top on the work surface. Any suggestions?

April 27, 2004, 03:37 PM
Wouldn't mess with a laminate. Dropping stuff will chip it.

Personally, I won't use paint if I can use stain. I like wood grain. I stained only the work surface thought I had plans to do the whole thing later on. I loaded the bench and decided a stained work surface was just fine. The stain is plenty tough and stands up to physical abuse well.

Enjoy your bench! I sure did.

April 28, 2004, 12:01 AM
Could someone tell me the thread which has the bench plans ?
You sure did a great job ! Cute kids to .
Thanks Bill

April 28, 2004, 12:40 AM
Can we get a link for the plans?

April 28, 2004, 10:26 AM

All the way at the bottom is a section "Mix and Match". Dead center is a button which downloads a pdf file.

April 28, 2004, 10:32 AM
Dunno where you plan to store your "flammables":

it just doesn't seem to be physically possible to store a minimum amount of vital components such as 8# kegs of powder, 4 at a minimum, a small supply of primers...

but I wouldn't store them in those cabinets. The recommended place to store primers, powder, and assembled bullets is a "cool, dry place" that won't go through temperature fluctuations. I store mine in derelict refrigerators that I got free from Lowe's. Use only the refrigerators that are built to seal with rubber weatherstrip, not the metal-clasp locking type.

When Lowe's delivers new refrigerators, they haul off the old ones as a courtesy to the customer (some Home Depots do too, but that's a store-to-store policy). I just asked the manager of my local Lowe's if I could purchase the derelicts for his usual salvage fee, and he said I could take as many as I wanted for free. It took me 5 visits (once a weekend whenever I remembered) to accumulate 3 suitable 20 cu. ft. units (by "suitable", I mean presentable, with doors that still sealed like new). They are surprisingly light; with a rope and handtruck I was able to move them around easily. Even getting them into the back of a pickup truck is a one-man operation.

They make for good, free, (hermetically sealed) storage units. Because of the humidity of the Deep South, I also store my electronic scales, reloading dies, and magazine ("clips") there when not in use.

April 28, 2004, 12:32 PM
Thanks for the advice. You mean my garage in Houston isn't cool and dry???

My only way to store cool and dry is to store in an airconditioned space. Unless the old fridge was on, in my garage it would be hot and humid inside it or outside in the summer.

Won't the containers that the powder is sold in maintain a dry, if not cool, environment?

April 28, 2004, 01:34 PM
I haven't seen container made out of cardboard recently, but that doesn't mean there ain't a lot of us shooters (geezers) who ain't got 'em. They date back to the 80's, and are still good if they've been kept in a cool (and dry) environment.

The common (newer) powder containers offered nowadays are either plastic or metal so far as I've seen; they'll keep them dry, so long as the surrounding environment doesn't go through wild temperature fluctuations and cause condensation inside the container. But that still doesn't keep your primers and electronics dry.

I should emphasize that the refrigerator doors must seal by the weatherstrip method. In case of a fire, the explosive gas created by powders igniting must be allowed to vent easily, rather than be contained by a 'locked' door.

April 28, 2004, 03:54 PM
I love my laminate top; just don't glue it down.

I got some high density laminate board from the local supply house and cut it to fit. Screwed it down at the corners. When it got dinged up and too nasty to keep, off it comes and a new one is put on. Spills and grease/grime wipe right off. Slick.

Now the mea culpa : this thread reminds me that I need to get off my duff and get a new one. I took it off a while back and never got around to replacing it; my bench is taking a beating as a result.

Got this idea watching Norm on New Yankee Workshop. He did the same but instead of screws, put a lip around the bench to hold the HDL in place.

April 28, 2004, 06:01 PM
Thanks Waitone for the link! :D

April 29, 2004, 07:36 PM
12 Volt Man has started a thread over in gerneral about building benches and work tables using MDF instead of plywood. It's a good bit less expensive than plywood and is very dense and hard. Thread is here (

I'm using benches built using the NRMA plans and am quite happy with them.

April 29, 2004, 08:32 PM
Thanks for the link Hank.

12 Volt Man's bench looks great.

Where I live however, MDF and OSB are not good choices, too much humidity.

With that said, for inside use or desert use I think it is an OK product.


April 30, 2004, 05:21 PM
I have a bench with a MDF top and I just sealed it with urethane. I have yet to have any problem with oil or solvents and I figure if it gets too scratched up I can just slap a new coat on.

May 1, 2004, 11:27 AM
The maintainance guy at work just built a platform truck and used MDF for the deck. I check on it's condition from time to time. We have pretty high humidity here in Miss. and our warehouse and plant are not air conditioned.

Here is what can happen to a loading bench over time:

June 2, 2004, 07:49 AM
I'm pretty much done now. Here is the final product. I added a laminate top and bolted down my presses. Works like a charm. :)

January 29, 2008, 02:04 PM
Very nice. That thing looks familiar!


March 9, 2008, 07:37 PM
Where did you guys get the sliding hardware?

March 10, 2008, 02:16 AM
Damn, I'd be afraid to use it! Might mess it up! I got furniture ain't near that nice!

March 10, 2008, 10:21 AM
Where did you guys get the sliding hardware?

I can't remember where I got my bypass track for the doors but it is available here.

April 10, 2008, 06:49 PM
It's been a while but I'm pretty sure I got the sliding hardware at Home Depot. It is just plastic, not very durable.

April 13, 2008, 11:19 PM
I could not find the track. I made mine on my table saw.

April 14, 2008, 10:08 AM
I didn't bother with the sliding doors. I have enough trouble finding stuff when it's out in the open, let alone behind closed doors.

April 15, 2008, 09:59 PM
I could not find the track. I made mine on my table saw.

That's a better way of doing it anyway.

April 15, 2008, 11:03 PM
I like the design, but I simplified it and built it in.
As soon as I get the old furnace space sorted out then that will become my archery and bulk storage and most of this clutter will go away.
So here it is: doors closed, doors open, above the bench.

Quickdraw McGraw
April 15, 2008, 11:18 PM
Thats a clever set up there theotherwaldo.

April 16, 2008, 05:07 PM
My old workshop bench is 16 foot long. Years ago I used the end of it to build this NRMA style cabinet.

October 11, 2008, 07:55 PM
Hi all
I just finished building one of these and am wondering why it's designed to sit so high?
Is the idea to stand up while reloading?


October 11, 2008, 08:23 PM
The link for the plans don't work for me. Anyone have another link?

October 11, 2008, 08:36 PM
Try this one


October 13, 2008, 02:45 AM
I was thinking of doing away w/ the doors as well, as I think it would allow me to only need two sheets of plywood instead of three.

I was also thinking of making the legs shorter so I could use the bench sitting down. I prefer to reload that way.


October 13, 2008, 08:50 PM
When I finished my top, I just used the clear matte finish Varethane. It took about three coats to do the job for me and it brings out the color of the wood just fine.

I liked your load test. Nice looking crew you have there. :)

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