reloading re-start

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by WilTx, Nov 27, 2020.

  1. WilTx

    WilTx Member

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    After a hiatus of over a decade, I would like to start handloading again. I know, from a component availability standpoint, this is not the most opportune time, but I don't need to be operational immediately. Anyway, I still have my old presses (an RCBS Jr. and a Lee Pro1000) and some dies, a powder measure, an auto-prime, various small tools.

    Apart from components, what I am really lacking is a workbench. Saw the Frankford Arsenal folding workbench; wonder if anyone has used it?

    https://www.frankfordarsenal.com/reloading-tools/presses-and-tools/stands/platinum-series-reloading-stand/489621.html#start=1

    My old bench was made from 2x12 pine. I did a little cipherin' and see that to more or less duplicate it would cost over $100. The unit linked above is on sale for about $140.

    Wil
     
  2. forty_caliber

    forty_caliber Member

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    The linked item isn't really suitable. The reality is no matter how strong it is built for downward pressure, it is not heavy enough to support much upward pressure on the handle. This will become very apparent the first time a piece of brass gets stuck in the die.

    .40
     
  3. berettaprofessor

    berettaprofessor Member

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    I agree with forty-caliber. When I started, I purchased the most thick work benchtop I could find at the time, which was this Seville Bench....it was about $200 on sale. This thing is HEAVY and I've always appreciated that I started with a solid bench! The drawers and lights and metal pegboard don't hurt to have either.
     
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  4. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Member

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    To me, what you bolt the press to is more important than the press itself, because if you have to chase your press and bench around the room because it's too light, then the bench is pretty much worthless.
    You need to be able to feel what's going on with your press while your loading and if you can't feel that because you lifting what your using for a bench off the floor or chasing it around the room then your going to have problems. You may think it's no big deal with light pistol rounds but wait till you try to resize rifle cases on it.
     
  5. SunnySlopes

    SunnySlopes Member

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    Yeah, the bench is pretty unstable for serious work. It will suffice, but you're going to go heavy duty sooner or later. Might as well save the money and build something that bolts to a wall, so to speak.
     
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  6. WilTx

    WilTx Member

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    Thanks for all of your comments. I have learned that the Frankford Arsenal unit weighs 30 lbs. Actually, I suspect that when positioned against a wall it would suffice for the calibers I will be starting with (.38 special and 9mm Para). I also did a rough estimate of what my 2x12 bench would weigh -- something above 80 pounds. So the homemade one would be more stable, as well as providing some storage space. The FA unit would of course be more portable -- the bench is going into the den (aka hobby room) and would be better suited to room reconfiguration. Gonna have to think on it some more. But don't let that stop further discussion ....
     
  7. 2011redrider

    2011redrider Member

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    Last edited: Nov 27, 2020
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  8. wst38tx

    wst38tx Member

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    I made my first reloading bench with an old Black and Decker Workmate. The plywood top has a 1x4 glued & screwed under it to get clamped in the jaws, and I attached a piece of plywood to the legs for lateral stability. Another piece lays on the crossbars, and when I have heave work to do I lay one or two 25 pound weights from the weight bench on it. It'd hard to describe but it works well and I can take the two shelves off and fold it up, stores in a small space at the end of a bookshelf in a corner. (in a few minutes) It works so well, I haven't gotten around to building a better one. Contact me if you wwould like pictures.
     
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  9. roval

    roval Member

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    i have this. i have my dillon 550b up on a mount in the middle and my first press a redding turret t7 press on one end. i therefore don't have the drawers on one side mounted as I wouldn't be able to pull them out. i attached a shelf bracket to a wall stud and the middle of the table right behind the dillon to make it more stable.
     
  10. jebova2301

    jebova2301 Member

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    Well, I'm gonna have to disagree with most of the posters here. For larger rounds, it will probably be insufficient. That said, for 9mm, 10mm, 223, and even 8mm mauser, it has worked fine for me with a lee classic turret on there. Are they're better reloading benches available? Hell yes there are. Will it get the job done if it is all you have? Yes it will.

    I like that it is portable and I was easily able to fold it up and take it to a neighbor's house to left him get a taste of reloading since he was interested in getting started. It is great being able to move it anywhere in the house so I can reload in the front room with the tv on if I want to listen to a show while I work. If you want to add a little more stability to it, put some weight on the legs on the ground. Since I have lead for casting, I put a pair of 25# bags on each leg, and it doesn't move at all.
     
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  11. bullseye308

    bullseye308 Member

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    You could always just get that bench and add 2 layers of 3/4” plywood to the top held on by a couple bolts. That way if you need to move it, you take the top off and move it in 2 pieces.
     
  12. Highland Lofts

    Highland Lofts Member

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    My brother bought a Harbor freight bench and it wouldn't of been my choice. Very cheesy. You get what you pay for most of the time.
    The reloading bench needs to be strong and this is not a place to skimp on
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2020
  13. bersaguy

    bersaguy Member

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    Well, you start where you're at, my first "bench" was a harbor freight workmate knock off....way too light duty, but got my start on that. But I agree, anything bolted to the wall is better, and barring that, weight is your friend.
     
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  14. Demi-human

    Demi-human Member

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    Or fasten it to the floor.:thumbup:

    We have come a long way since Ramset pins.
    A hammer drill and Tapcons will keep it still.

    Drive in anchors with an eyebolt, while completely overkill, are what I lift sidewalks out with for replacement. They are absolutely necessary for turning bowls on a lathe. There’s some force there!

    “Weigh it down” is so last century. Fasten it tight!;)
     
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  15. dgod
    • Contributing Member

    dgod Contributing Member

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    Home Depot has a rolling or fixed table that is pretty strong, I have one and it does what I need it to do. Sorry my press is a turret mounted to a home made carrier.

    good luck
    Dg
     
  16. lordpaxman

    lordpaxman Member

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    With HF items, you get what you pay for. I looked at the HF woodworking bench and could make it work for a reloading bench. I opted for 2 layers of 3/4” plywood glued and screwed together. It’s a lot more stable than 2x12 material, which may warp. And if you get something like AC the top is ready to finish, a couple coats of poly and you’re in business. Good luck.
     
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  17. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    When I moved into my current house, I built a workbench in the garage out of generic cabinet bases and 2 sheets of MDF. While it worked, MDF will, eventually, start losing it's rigidity if flexed... and it has. I moved my circus to an upstairs bedroom closet (hey, beggars can't be choosers...) and decided to go all the way and just build a purpose-built bench... started by screwing the frame right into the wall studs. Between that, and the weight of the components underneath... it doesn't budge.

    OH7hU8Al.jpg

    5GxRcb2m.jpg

    Even if you buy a prefab table or bench, I can't over emphasize securing it so it won't move... even if that means screwing it into a wall.
     
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  18. South Prairie Jim

    South Prairie Jim Member

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    Hell no..
    Sportsman’s Wharehouse or Harbor Freight has much better product
     
  19. lightman

    lightman Member

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    Welcome back to the hobby!

    I'm with the others, buy or build a sturdy table. You won't be sorry. I sometimes buy packaging supplies from a company called "Uline" that has work tables in their catalog that look pretty good. Check them out. Some to the other tables suggested look like they could be modified to have shelves under them and maybe a few mods to increase their strength.
     
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  20. C.F. Plinker

    C.F. Plinker Member

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    Thick and heavy are your friends when it comes to reloading benches. Another thing you might consider is a solid core door either new or repurposed. It simplifies the carpentry needed. Think about mounting the press along the short end. That way the length of the bench is resisting the uplift.
     
  21. buba68

    buba68 Member

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    Agree with you 100%. Sounds like we have pretty much the same set up I have the Lee Classic Turret press too and I load pistol calibers, .380, 9mm, 45acp, 38spl and .223 rifle rounds. I was concerned about it not being stable enough at first but it has worked well for me. I mounted a LCD light strip over the bench and have plenty of light to see by. I have mine in a spare bedroom and I have another set up in the garage but if it is to hot or to cold in the garage I reload in the extra bedroom.
     
  22. jebova2301

    jebova2301 Member

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    That is exactly what I do. I have a nice bench in the garage with a mark 7 evo for bulk 223 production, and then a lee classic turret out there for when I want to do larger amounts of 9mm/10mm/450bm/50ae, and then the classic turret on that portable one for when I want to either sit in the living room or basement and just load small batches, do load development, or size cast bullets. The folding "bench" has been stable enough that I have swaged out the primer crimp on more 9mm than I care to admit. As an added bonus, when I want to cast bullets, it is light enough that I can just carry it out the garage door and run an extension cord to it, and go to town. As far as using it strictly for reloading, it's probably not the best bang for the buck. My workbench in the garage is solid as a rock, but it still has some shortcomings(specifically, when the garage is excessively hot or cold). After you start realizing all the other things you can do with it, though, it really turns itself into quite a useful and versatile workstation. While I still think a true workbench is a better choice for a permanent reloading setup, it makes for an excellent small form factor reloading setup, a portable reloading setup, or even a starter setup for a beginning reloader.
     
  23. buba68

    buba68 Member

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    The way you can adjust the table up and down I even thought about throwing it in the car and taking it to one of the outdoor shooting ranges and using it for a shooting bench.
     
  24. kmw1954

    kmw1954 Member

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    I went a bit different in that I scavenged and repurposed some old discarded kitchen cabinet bases that I collected for Free. Then a pcs of 3/4" 4'X4' plywood from the Home Depot cut in half and glued together. Works very well and did not have to bolt it to the floor or the wall. Maybe $50.00
    invested. 001.JPG
     
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  25. treedoc1

    treedoc1 Member

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    I loaded 9mm, 38sp, 45acp, 45 colt all from this setup for 2 years. Even swapped out a Lee Load all for 12 ga. I upgraded to the Sams Club Seville workbench this summer. Still free standing. Maybe if I start bottleneck cartridges in quantity worrying about stability will come into play.

    [​IMG]
     
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