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Old January 1, 2012, 08:48 PM   #1
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New to reloading looking for a bench

I ordered my press kit the other day now I need a bench. I don't know if I want to build one, buy one, or use a kit minus lumber. I was looking at the wooden bench from harbor freight for 160.00 just to save time of building one. Has anyone used one of these benchs I have a store close to me so shipping is not an issue. Buying a kit i is about 70.00 bucks pluse shipping, lumber and time. I will only be loading .357 for now soon .44 mag and 22-250. Shooting is slow this time of year but looking to be stocked up come spring.
I ordered a lee deluxe turret kit with safty primer and .357 dies. I am open to many suggestions.

Thank you
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Old January 1, 2012, 08:52 PM   #2
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I use the "Gorilla" rack system from Sam's Club (or Costco). I add a stock piece of counter from Lowes or Home Depot and a sheet of good plywood - glued and screwed - underneath to strengthen the counter top. This gives me a bench 8' long and 24" deep with enough overhang for presses. At over 260, I can stand on the edge when the bench is bolted to wall studs and it doesn't flex or move. Total cost is about $150 total
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Old January 1, 2012, 09:35 PM   #3
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Lowes used to make a work bench kit which was about sixty bucks. It must be discontinued since I do not see it on their web site. I have three of them side by side and overlapped by 3/4' plywood on the top. As you can imagine, it makes for a very long work bench. Then Cabela's has another bench kit which is a kit and only come with the brackets, You have to buy and cut the lumber. Here is a link to it at Cabela's. I also have one of these, and it works well.

I do not use all these for reloading since I also do a lot of antique clock work.
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Old January 1, 2012, 09:44 PM   #4
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I was lucky. I converted a plywood 4 level junk shelf to an L shaped bench. I didn't even have to take apart the shelves. Just seperated them from the supports, re-did the supports, then painted the bench, and tacked on some metal door frame liners.

What I learned from all this, is build larger if you can. I thought I had lots of room. When I could actually use more.
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Old January 1, 2012, 09:58 PM   #5
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I just bolted a couple of sheets of plywood that I cut down to size to the top of my table saw. Not much but it works and less than 20 bucks and done...
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Old January 1, 2012, 10:02 PM   #6
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I have a friend that mounted his press to a 2x10 and clamped it to his kitchen table with C-clamps. It worked great for him since he didn't have alot of room in his apartment. He just set the 2x10 with the press mounted to it in the corner when he wasn't using it.
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Old January 1, 2012, 10:26 PM   #7
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Surplus kitchen base cabinets

I got some surplus kitchen base cabinets 2 - 9" fillers with a small drawer on top and a 36" with 2 drawers from a local building supply ripped an 8' sheet of 3/4" finish grade grade plywood to 2'X8' "I would recommend 2'-4" for a bigger overhang" I spaced out the cabinets to give me 2 sitting areas to work. A 9" at each end and the 36" in the middle. The bench is in a corner so the 9" at the left is tight to the wall at the end but the 9" at the other is set back 6" to allow for clamping things down. Once I got it the way I liked it I screwed it all together. I then got a box of foe oak laminate flooring, glued it down on top and made a back-splash with it, this makes a great easy to clean surface and has held up well to solvent spills. The storage space in the cabinets is a godsend as my collection of dies, powders, tools, equipment and such continues to grow. eventually I may add wall cabinets above. All less than $150.
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Old January 1, 2012, 10:32 PM   #8
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I have the Harbor Freight bench you are considering. I use it for all my gun cleaning and smithing. I have 3 reloading benches (1 handgun, 1 rifle, and 1 shotgun). I would NOT use the Harbor Freight bench for handloading. Mine works fine for my application, but it just isn't what you need for handloading.

But realize my handgun bench in the NRMA bench, so you can tell I like them built stout. You can build a bench that is just as strong for much less, but I built mine in the 80's and it has served me very well.
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Old January 1, 2012, 11:04 PM   #9
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I bought an old wooden desk from a thrift shop, put on a double layer
plywood cover it 30X60. I use L brackets to attach to wall it's very solid has and has plenty of room. I have peg board as back wall. Total cost $42.00.
It works great.
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Old January 2, 2012, 05:51 AM   #10
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I agree with Jepp on the Harbor Freight bench, also have one and use it for smithing and general purpose crafting same as he does. It will not hold up to the stress that reloading would put on it.

I bought a bunch of 2 x 6's and some MDF from Lowes and made my own reloading bench. I think it might have cost about 100 or so to build. It aint pretty but it works and it's built like a tank.
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Old January 2, 2012, 10:49 AM   #11
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I couple of my friends started with a used/traded out solid core door. One cut his down the other is full size.
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Old January 2, 2012, 01:35 PM   #12
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If you need to watch how much space it takes up, I took a Black and Decker Workmate and bolted a wooden top to it.

This one isn't mine, but it's close. I put a slightly larger top on mine. Takes up very little room and could be portable if I needed it to be.
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Old January 2, 2012, 01:47 PM   #13
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I bought a $25 grinder stand at Harbor Freight. I bolted a 2x12 to the top and it now wears a solid "O" press, a Dillon 550B, a Lyman powder thrower and a Redding powder thrower, plus has a shelf underneath. It is easy to put away and is heavy but solid as a rock.
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Old January 2, 2012, 02:20 PM   #14
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i got a new press for XMas and i built a new bench last week. I used 4x4's for the legs that i had left from diff. project and used Bucher block maple i got from a buddy for the top. I did have to go get $20 in 2x4's and a box of screws. i think it turned out pretty good. here is a pic.

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Old January 2, 2012, 10:12 PM   #15
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I've loaded thousands of rounds on my portable little bench. It's stored in the basement or the guest room them carried down into the living or kitchen or wherever I want to reload:

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Old January 3, 2012, 10:05 AM   #16
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I checked Sears Outlet for workbench deals, and found separate pieces for a butcher block top, bench, and pegboard back with light for very cheap. They were in three different stores, but I scheduled a weekend trip that just happened to get me close to all three . Prices are going to vary; use the site's zip code feature to sort the results by distance from your location. When I bought:
  • Butcher block top was $30
  • Pegboard / light backing was $20
  • Workbench frame was around $100,
    • a pair of old kitchen cabinets would work too
I use the above for general gun work; I have a second smaller bench made from a Rousseau frame kit from Woodcraft. Very solid; I have my Rock Chucker mounted on it, and bolt on other tools with C clamps when needed.
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Old January 3, 2012, 11:18 AM   #17
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Whatever one you choose make it bigger than you think you will ever will find a use for the space. Secure it to the wall studs and have enough overhang in front for the press. I mount my powder thrower on a wooden block then clamp it to the front of the table top with C-clamps, same thing for my case trimmer. Lets me have a variable set up for work space. A shelf on the bottom makes for a good place to store, lead, brass, etc. and weighs everything down nicely. Set up plenty of lighting too! Have fun. Joe
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Old January 8, 2012, 07:42 PM   #18
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problem solved

My problem is solved my wife said her work is giving away two steel office desk. This should be perfect heavy enough drawers for storage large enough work space for cleaning and working on rifles and i can work off of both sides. Now i just have to wait for my press to come in off of back order and go get the desk in two weeks.
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Old January 21, 2012, 08:04 PM   #19
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ok the desk was not going to work out

Went to go look at the desk and it was not going to work out for what I want. And I went shopping at sams club today and just for the hell of it i looked for a bench and found a really nice wood topped bench with steel legs. It was nice and heavy and foot long two foot deep. It was much more than I wanted to spend but sometimes we pay for convenice cause it only took 20 minutes to put together. so if all goes well by tomorow should be reloading.
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Old January 21, 2012, 09:25 PM   #20
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I use an old counter height kitchen island for my work bench. A friend was moving and ask me if I wanted it so I took it. It serves me well and I have drawers and storage underneath.
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Old January 21, 2012, 09:46 PM   #21
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Opposite end of spectrum. Which end are you on?

I am at the opposite end of the spectrum from most of those who have posted here. My bench is minimal and I put my gear away after every loading session.

I have an RCBS Rockchucker and a Lee Classic Turret (which gets 100% of my loading activity since I got it). I load for handguns exclusively, 7 calibers and a few hundred at a sitting.

I use a folding workbench and have no problems with it. I mount my press on a 2x6 and clamp that into the workbench. My scale sits on a different small table (isolated from press movement/vibration).

Tell us what you load, how much and how often, if you have a permanent setup in mind or if your bench will do double duty as a regular work area or what?

Help us help you.

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Old January 22, 2012, 08:34 PM   #22
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I am only loading .357 mag for now but others later. The bench will do at least double duty reloading and gun cleaning and gunsmithing. My wife will love to not see me sitting at the dinning room table doing this stuff any more. in the next few days i will get a pic posted of whati i got going on.
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Old January 22, 2012, 08:59 PM   #23
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I've been using a NRMA bench since the 80's as well, hell for stout and very well laid out. Comes apart for relocating. Building one requires a sizeable investment of funds and floorspace. I bought it well used but it'll certainly outlast me.
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Old January 23, 2012, 06:38 PM   #24
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Mine is just like Duck911's. I did wind up screwing it down though. It helped with setting primers and anything else done on the up stroke. I can still unscrew it and move it around if needed.
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I load, 9mm Luger, 38 and 40 S&W, 38 Special, 357Magnum, 45ACP, 45 Colt, 223, 300 AAC, 243 and 30-06
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Old January 23, 2012, 07:22 PM   #25
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Who needs a bench? 14K rounds in 2 years.

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