When it comes to portable reloading bench, less is more. Of course, you could build an over-engineered, highly complex reloading bench, but you’ll be surprised to find out that a simple design could achieve even better results.
With some time, work and dedication, you can create your own DIY reloading stand, and not only save some money but also some space!
And today, we’ll be happy to share with you a couple of ways on how to create a portable reloading bench and what you’ll need to make it!
Why You May Need a DIY Reloading Bench?
If you live in an apartment or a small house, there’s a big chance that you’re short on space as it is. Sure, you could go down the route of purchasing a mass-produced collapsible workbench, but unfortunately, the affordable options cannot accommodate a single-stage reloading press without collapsing.
However with some work and minimal investment, you could make your own portable reloading bench, and we’ll show you how!
How to Build a Portable Reloading Bench?
Reloading Bench Size
You might have heard that size doesn’t matter, but we suggest you go all out when it comes to a portable reloading station. If there’s enough space for you to open it, you won’t have to worry about storage because the end product will be compact enough. However, if you are indeed pressed for storage space, we suggest that 40” x 32” should remain the minimum size for a small reloading bench.
From our experience, at 40” x 32,” it will be able to accommodate the press itself, the brass and bullets designated to the staging area, the loading blocks, and all the measuring tools you might have.
You also could be saving some space through shelves and drawers. And this might come as a surprise, but if you are planning on using more than one reloading press, we suggest that you increase the space to have both of them mounted. It won’t take that much space, and it’s much better than having it stored because you will be hard-pressed to find a model that sits flat on the floor.
Reloading Table Height
Plan on using a chair? In that case, consider the height of the bench and the chair. Most importantly, you need to ensure that both the lever and the riser are at a comfortable height; since you must minimize unnecessary movement.
If you plan to purchase a brand new single-stage or a progressive reloading press, like the Dillon 550B, you need to have complete visibility of the whole process. To get the best of both worlds, we would suggest going for bar height. That way, you can perfectly operate while standing. Plus, you can always purchase a bar stool later on if needed.
Homemade Reloading Bench Materials
At this stage, you are going to have to make a choice. If you want to go on the workmate reloading bench path, we highly recommend choosing the entry-level Black & Decker models. The 425 heavy-duty would be ideal, but if you plan on using a single-stage reloading press, you can go with 225, which will be cheaper. When it comes to the tabletop, wood will be the only viable option. Going for metal or Plexiglas would be a mistake because of static electricity.
Ideally, you would want to carve out a stump. Still, if that’s too much trouble, then we suggest a minimum of ¾” plywood. Remember – if you choose under ¾” inches, there’s a risk of you bench flexing, and your tools and components might fall off. Carving or purchasing a hardwood tabletop might be mandatory if you don’t plan to bolt down the workmate. The increased weight will ensure that the whole structure won’t be moving around.
Reloading Supplies Storage
If this isn’t your first reloading rodeo, you already know just how many tools, components, and metrology equipment you’ll need. All of them need to be within reach when reloading, and you need to figure out a reliable method of placing them in storage afterward. We also suggest paying extra attention to how you store the powder – we recommend using stackable, plastic bins.
Building your portable reloading bench might sound tedious at first, but it’s not that complicated. Pay attention to the size and height, choose suitable materials, and arrange proper storage.
And we would love to hear how the process went for you! So after you have built your compact reloading bench, feel free to share your experience in the comments below!