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Portable Bench for Progressive Press

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by roo_ster, Apr 18, 2007.

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  1. roo_ster

    roo_ster Member

    Oct 2, 2003

    Have any of y'all had success with portable/tear-down type benches & progressive presses?


    1. I am resigned to the fact that for the forseeable future, I will have no designated reloading area.

    2. I have also outgrown the (lack) of productivity provided by my Rock Chucker and Lee Hand Press single-stage presses.

    3. Time is dear, these days, so I want to upgrade to a progressive to make best use of the time I can steal away.


    I have snooped around and saw the following benches/stands.

    Stanley 93-292 - FatMax® Mobile Project Center
    * 2-in-1 portable work center - clamping work bench and hand cart
    * Hand cart: designed to carry 220lbs
    * Work surface: 660lbs load capacity
    * Surface height: 33”
    * Clamping mechanism is easily adjustable with rotating handles
    * Versatile clamping with multiple peg holes
    * Electric power capability – 3 sockets and cable holder
    * Innovative folding mechanism
    * Telescopic cart handles are ergonomically designed and retract below the work surface when in the work bench position

    Black & Decker Workmate® 425 Project Center
    Advanced One-Handed Clamp™ system with exclusive clutch design allows clamps to be adjusted together or independently
    Front jaw swings up for vertical clamping to increase flexibility when clamping odd-shaped objects
    Removable center panel provides extra-large work surface when using as a workbench or bench tool stand
    Folds for easy storage
    Heavyweight steel construction supports up to 550 lbs

    Frankford Arsenal Portable Reloading Stand
    # Lightweight Plastic Top and Base
    # Steel Tube Stand

    # Top = 9 x 9"
    # Complete Assembled = 27"
    # Base diameter = 17 1/2"

    # Two Accessory Bins
    # Top Plate
    # Base Column
    # Base Plate
    # Template for layout of mounting holes for various presses

    # Bolts and washers for mounting presses and accessories not included.
    # Fits LEE Turret, Loadmaster, Reloader, Challenger, Dillon Square Deal, 550-B, RCBS (except Ammomaster), Lyman, Forster, Redding, and Hornady.


    Off the top of my head, I suspect that all three above would benefit from:
    1. Lead shot bags placed to steady the bench
    2. 2-by-whatever boards attached to the bottom of the surfaces to increase rigidity and so a C-clamp has something to dig into

    My current bench presses (Rock Chucker & Lee C-press) and other bench tools are all mounted on 2-by-whatever boards, so I can mount/unmount them with C-clamps.

    Anyways, thanks for your input.
  2. RustyFN

    RustyFN Member

    Jul 5, 2006
    West Virginia
    I have never tried any of those but have read posts of a few people that were happy with the workmate. The workmate does look to be the most sturdy.
  3. BigJakeJ1s

    BigJakeJ1s Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    Arlington TX
    I've used a workmate, though not with a progressive (with a co-ax). They are very sturdy. Probably the best bet of what you've shown. But you have to take everything off of it to fold/store it.

    What I use now started out as a steel router table leg set from Rockler, along with the optional set of 4 locking swivel casters. The casters are the kind that lock both the wheel and the pivot. I added a top and two shelves, and store a lot of my reloading stuff on there (heavy). I roll it out of the laundry room when I need it, and roll it back when I don't. It is rock solid, but the co-ax does not need the operating leverage that a progressive does (or most other single stage presses for that matter.) I'm pretty sure it would not flex, but it might tip a little while operating a progressive. Adding more weight would probably fix that (the casters are rated at 600 lbs total.)

    Rockler offers a variety of different size rails/stretchers and leg lengths for building different size benches. They bolt together with heavy carriage bolts, and are very sturdy, even more so when you add shelves and "ballast".

    Hope this helps,

  4. mike240se

    mike240se Member

    Mar 28, 2007
    check out the husky x workhorse at home depot. I use it with a nice slab of thick mdf on the top (2ftx4ft) its pretty solid, especially if you mount the back of the mdf to a wall to avoid any shaking. portable too.
  5. jmorris

    jmorris Member

    Sep 30, 2005
  6. DaveInFloweryBranchGA

    DaveInFloweryBranchGA Member

    Dec 7, 2005
    NE Georgia
    I used the workmate with great success. You want to build a "base" to clamp into the workmate, then bolt your press to that. Helps to make the base a strong mount sort of thing where you can place the press and base on a shelf when you put it up.


  7. Deanimator

    Deanimator Member

    Mar 30, 2006
    Rocky River, Ohio
    I've had two different Dillon RL550Bs mounted to two different Black & Decker Workmates. Both worked perfectly.

    My first Dillon was mounted using a small wooden fixture made for me by an engineer friend. The press bolted to the fixture, which in turn was clamped onto by the Workmate's jaws. A friend in Seattle is still using both the press and the Workmate.

    When I bought my second Dillon, I bought a large sheet of plywood. I drilled holes in the plywood to match the plastic jaw mounting holes in the top of the Workmate. I then cut and drilled bushings from dowel rod. Mounting bolts go through these, the plywood and the top of the Workmate. This provides a much larger work surface for bullets, scales, lamps, case trimmers, etc. I subsequently added an RCBS Rockchucker single stage press for loading rifle, as well as a Sinclair powder measure and RCBS case trimmer.

    I HIGHLY recommend the Black & Decker Workmate for mounting reloading presses.
  8. benedict1

    benedict1 Member

    Jun 12, 2006
    Southern **********
    I would worry about tipping or vibration. You have a goodly amount of force going with the operating handle on a progressive press, plus some stuff moving around that causes some rotation movement.

    I built a bench out of 2x4s and bolted it to the studs in my workroom wall. I just didn't like the idea of a portable bench falling over.
  9. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Terlingua, TX; Thomasville,GA
    My portable stand is sorta heavy, but it's easy to disassemble if need be.

    Base plate of 1/4" steel, about 20x20. In one corner is welded a threaded fitting for two-inch pipe. Two 18" joints of pipe, joined by a collar, make the storage easy and space-saving. Another flat plate with a welded, threaded fitting to sit on top of the pipe; holes drilled for 3/8" bolts.

    It's big enough for my old Blue 350, an RCBS O-type, and my powder measure. A tad heavy to pick up and move around, but quite doable. And darned sturdy. :)

  10. Gnarkill

    Gnarkill Member

    Sep 10, 2005
    I use one of those 7-8' wood topped fold-up steel tables, it works pretty well. If you only mount the press on it with bolts I guess you could unscrew them and pop the bad boy off.
    Also, I have a rock chucker supreme and I got the piggyback system. It works very well I would suggest buying it, unless you are going to keep your single stage as well.
  11. hankpac

    hankpac Member

    Jan 7, 2007

    Sears makes a wheeled tool box with a top drawer, and a large bottom, with a locking door. A friend set his bench up on this, by cutting some 2X12's to fit, with one board sticking out to one side. This is where he bolted his press. He bolted the boards in from underneath. He changed the wheels for locking wheels to keep the whole thing from walking. Pretty nice set up, for a temporary mobile bench. Sorry I don't have photos, but if you look at a tool box like that you will imagine some pretty nice adaptions.
    Best of luck.
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