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New bench setup from scratch

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by bds, May 30, 2010.

  1. bds

    bds Well-Known Member

    I am teaching another shooter to reload (He has several 1911s and been shooting factory ammo) and he is interested in buying my entire setup (he reasoned cost to shoot 1K factory ammo will more than pay for the setup + supplies to load 1K reloads: 2'x3' portable bench, 2 Pro 1000s, 1 single stage with 9/40/45 dies) so that "I could setup the reloading bench the way I like." :rolleyes:

    I initially told him I would probably setup my bench the same, but got to thinking (yes I know, that's a very dangerous thing to do :D).

    Knowing what you know now, how would you setup your reloading bench starting from scratch with upto $1,000-$1,500 budget?

    My immediate draft was:
    1. Dillon 1050 with motorized case feeder + O-ring single stage as second press - I really like the RCBS Reloader Special 5, but haven't use the Rock Chucker yet.

    2. From what I have read on various threads/posts, Hornady LNL may be a consideration too + single stage.

    3. Since I am a fan of Pro 1000, I also thought about Load Master/Pro 1000 combo setup too + single stage. Since I shoot more of 9/40 and don't have the primer issue with LP in Pro 1000, Load Master for 9mm/40S&W and Pro 1000 for 45 ACP.

    What are some of your suggestions? You can be "painfully" honest for me, I have thick skin. I may use this new setup into my retirement and until I die. :D
  2. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    So, you want us to tell you whether to pick a blond, a brunette, or a redhead? :eek:

    1050 is top of the line. I would still want a smaller press for little runs to test with I think, but I have never run a 1050, so maybe it would be fine for short runs.

    I make short runs (10 to 50) on my LNL for testing, where some folks would only go single stage to do that.

    If I went Dillon, it would be a 650 with a case feeder, or 1050 if I could afford it.

    So, pick a color you like, and go for it. I married a blond, but my press is a redhead, and I really like dark haired beauties. :cool:
  3. pcwirepro

    pcwirepro Well-Known Member

    Oops. Misread post.
    Last edited: May 31, 2010
  4. Wildbillz

    Wildbillz Well-Known Member

    If (or when) I setup anew. I will have two Dillon 550Bs on it. One that will stay setup for small primers and one setup for large primers. These go on the outside corners of the bench. In the middle somewhat off set will be the Rockchucker. On the left hand side to the outside rear of the bench will be a Mec 600 Jr for the ocasional shotgun sell I need to reload. On the other side to the rear I would like to put some large press for 50Bmg. But then I have not thought much about it (Ya right) I have it all except the Mec and the 50 press. I just need to build a new bench to house it all the way I want it. With luck this winter.

    Wild Bill
  5. dc.fireman

    dc.fireman Well-Known Member

    BDS -

    Your initial two steps sound like my set-up exactly -

    I run an 8' bench. On the right 1/3 of the bench os the 1050, set-up for .223. On the left 1/3 is a RC IV, set up for whatever the hell else I want to do. I have the Universal Powder Charge in a separate stand, on the left end (near the RC), and a bench top drill press in the middle 1/3. Along the 'back' 1/3 (laterally speaking), I have my manuals, and some plastic organizers from IKEA for all the small bits and pieces and allen keys and screwdriver bits and shell holders and and...you get the picture. I like the 1050 for its volume, but I really like the RC for it's ability to easily change over to something else. I keep the powders in a bin on the bench, but the primers and dirty brass are in buckets and boxes on another bench, 6 ft. away. The tumbler is underneath the bench, as are all the dang shipping boxes from all of this 'stuff'.

    If I had it to do all over again, I might have gone with a smaller 'working' bench - 5 or 6 ft. And then just keep everything else in an old kitchen pantry cabinet bought for $5 from Habitat for Humanity. Easy enough to put a lock + hasp combination on, or even those little barrel locks. It just seems like my set-up takes up so much real estate - and I really loved some of the creative set-ups I've seen in the 'Show me your _____' threads here...

  6. bds

    bds Well-Known Member

    We had our first reloading session this afternoon and he's really interested. He'll be coming by tomorrow afternoon and probably take the whole setup (Now I gotta pack up my reloading setup in the morning ... I was hoping to shoot some more Monday morning for Promo/Green Dot test, but I am off this week ... so, plenty of time for shooting).

    I have thought about replacement press all day. I have used the two Pro 1000s the past 15 years and feel very "comfortable and familiar" with them. As my wife asked me when she found me drooling over the Dillon 1050, "Will you be able to load any better bullets?" My answer is still no.

    Well, at least I have this week to chew over the pros and cons of different progressive presses (I know, I know, Dillions don't have any cons other than the blue color :D). I have ready access to another Pro 1000/RCBS setup I put together last year and the owner said I can borrow his setup as long as I load for him also (win-win deal).

    To be honest, I am not sure what to do. I feel like I am letting go of my most worn and comfortable blue jeans. I mean, if I consider the two Pro 1000 setup now, it will be because I want to, not because "I have to settle" for the Pro 1000.

    Wife just yelled out, "Regardless of the press you end up with, you can always mount a new Pro 1000 next to it." - Dang. :eek:
  7. RustyFN

    RustyFN Well-Known Member

    That's a tough question. I think I would go with a Dillon 550 or 650, would have to have another Lee classic turret and trade my Lyman lube/sizer in for a Star lube/sizer.
  8. Rollis R. Karvellis

    Rollis R. Karvellis Well-Known Member

    Go with the 650 with the case feeder, get all the convertion's now, spend the leftover on componets. Also for forty dollars buy a RCBS Partner press for the odd job that always pop up.
  9. jeepmor

    jeepmor Well-Known Member

    nevermind, lost track. A progressive your happy with an a single stage also should have you set for life
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2010
  10. THe Dove


    I'm a brunette man myself Walkalong!!!!! However, a red head taught me 1st and a blonde kept me interested in learning! The brunette definately keeps me home!!! HAHA

    The Dove
  11. ambidextrous1

    ambidextrous1 Well-Known Member

    As previously suggested, a reloading bench 5 feet long should be adequate. That's what I use, with a 650 and a single-stage press. The bench is used for reloading 90% of the time, and pistol maintenance 10%. Long gun maintenance is performed elsewhere.

    Long benches invite clutter; but so do short benches :rolleyes:. I wonder if a 4 foot bench might be better...
  12. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    My homemade bench is 49" wide. (Made from scraps of a tossed out entertainment center with a few new wood pieces) I load on about half of it, and clutter up the other half. I have three holes drilled in the top to the left of my LNL. I have a Partner press bolted to a board that I can bolt there when needed. Two more holes in the middle that will accept either trimmer, also mounted on boards.

    Some folks here have some cool set ups where they have multiple presses mounted on plates of some sort which mount to the bench interchangeably.

    Attached Files:

  13. lgbloader

    lgbloader Well-Known Member

    I'd probably go with a good single stage (my old Rockchucker) and a Lee Classic Turret.

    I am in the process of tearing down and packing up The Cave due to remodling, and am only using my mini bench inside my family room. It boasts a Lee Challenger (old one without breechlocks) an RCBS PM stand and Uniflow, RCBS 510 scale, RCBS trickler, 1 set of Lee Dippers, Lee Zip trim, and various RCBS, Lee, Redding brass hand tools. I will run a single stage for the next few months and I am not bummed about it at all.

  14. bds

    bds Well-Known Member

    That would be a great setup for low volume reloading. I reload around 1000-2000+ rounds per month and need a progressive press setup for higher volume.
  15. lgbloader

    lgbloader Well-Known Member

    I hear ya... I have 3 Blue presses right now (2 x 650's and 1 x 550B) and used to fire alot more ammo than I do right now. Me and Mrs LGB used to fire a bit more a week than you do a month. Fact is, right now, I don't really have time to shoot more than I do right now, probably about half what you shoot right now. Based on that, all I would really need right now is a single stage and a LCT.

  16. bootcamp

    bootcamp Well-Known Member

    Have you seriously priced out a dillon 1050 for multiple calibers? We're talking a couple to a few thousand dollars for multiple calibers. And add time for caliber changes. It's not a 5 minute deal.

    I would go with a 550 for bulk pistol and low volume rifle, a 650xl for one or two rifle calibers for high volume and a rock chucker for accuracy & precision hand loads and small volume loads.

    I can do a caliber change on a 550 in 5-10 minutes. Caliber conversions cost $45 + dies.

    I can do a caliber change on a 650 in about 20 minutes (I just acquired this press) Caliber conversion cost about $100 + dies.

    I've heard caliber conversion on the 1050 taking 30-60+ minutes. Caliber conversion cost $257 + dies.

    Just food for thought!

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