With all the ammo shortages we now have a reloading shortage. This summer I have spent a considerable amount of time talking to our customers about the cost ratios of reloading vs buying ammo, and the cost factor of purchasing equipment. With that in mind I though I might give you a quick look at my loading bench.
First you can see that it is homemade. I probably have somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 in the bench. I bought a nicer grade of plywood than necessary, but that was my choice. I used 6×6 for the legs and 2×4 for the other material. It was put together by wood screws. Incidentally, I had Home Depot cut the plywood into four sections when I bought it to save me the hassle and make it easier to get home. This is the same bench I have had before that now holds several belt sanders.
The press on the left is from the Lee Company. I believe it is from what is known as their Challenger Kit. This was the first reloading set up I ever had. I still use it regularly to load things that I’m not interested in loading progressively. It’s slower, but it gives me a sense of better control. I just loaded some .357 Sig on it recently. I also load many revolver cartridges on it. By the way, I am an advocate of starting out this way. it is much easier to learn off of a single stage press where you are only doing one operation at a time. It is also the most economical way to start.
In the back you will notice some RCBS Dies. I use RCBS and LEE dies only. Why? Because I do. I don’t have a great rationale for it. The RCBS dies have a great reputation and have never let me down. The LEE dies are cheaper, but they have a great factory crimp die that I like using. The shop where I was mentored used a variety of dies depending on what was being loaded. There were reasons for all of that, but I’m just not that precise in my loading. Most of the time it is not for match quality ammo. I will generally buy that if needed. I’m loading test ammo, and personal plinking ammo that is easier to shoot than factory loads.
Next you will notice a PACT electronic scale. This scale is definitely on the bottom end of electronic scales in my opinion, but it has served me well. I didn’t need a powder dispenser with it, so I’ve been pleased. If you order the Challenger Kit, this is the one piece of equipment I would encourage you to buy asap. It just makes life easier than the old balance scale.
The organizer holds all my shell plates, powder meter inserts and other things related to loading on the progressive press. I keep all the dies, shell plates and powder meter inserts together by caliber. That makes life very easy to change calibers on the progressive press.
Finally we have the Hornady Lock N Load Press. Why didn’t you buy a Dillon you scream!? I don’t know. I got a great deal on this press and would buy it again if I had to. The price was right, and I never looked back. Here is an interesting article that I found recently comparing Hornady, Dillon and Lee progressives. I honestly don’t think I’ve given up anything to Dillon, in fact I would argue that changing calibers is easier on my Hornady. Others are sure to argue. One experience cemented my feeling towards Hornady. I was a newbie having a little trouble readjusting my indexing pawls. Called Hornady and they had the press picked up by UPS, adjusted it, and sent it back free of charge. Great customer service.
Currently I’m set to load, 9mm, 40 S&W, 45 ACP, 45 LC, 44 SPl, 44 Mag, 357 Mag, 38 SPL, .223, .243, .357 Sig
I am by no means an expert. I load for enjoyment sometimes, but I started loading for necessity and that is my main reason today. I will normally buy 9mm at the right price rather than reload. Cost is most beneficial on larger calibers and odd ball stuff like 357 Sig. The other reason I reload; recoil. I’m a recoil wimp and not afraid to admit it. I would rather shoot all day than get beaten up by my gun.
Gotta question? Leave a comment and I will try to help. Need Load Data? Buy a load book. I don’t give out loads.
Hope this helps. Happy Loading!