Reloading room

Todd M

Active Member
Just shows, we don’t need all the STUFF that society says we do. Thanks for that history, my goal is to live as simply as possible, seems like you are doing well in that respect. My inlaws are from CA, and have that big money mindset (albeit much much less than many from that state.) Helps me to stay small, and something to contrast our life against. No I’m not blasting the inlaws, just the facts.


Active Member
A clean bench is a sign of a sick mind.
I try, I really do. But I swear there is a couple of other people using my bench!
As to tossing stuff. When I bought the lathe from Bill, I cleaned and threw stuff away, even gave stuff away. I have to be in the correct mind set to do this. Place was clean tidy and orderly.

Fast forward. Buddy had some powder ordered we were
going to split up. Well guess what all of those empty jugs and bottles I tossed were needed. All I had was two one pound bottles.
Ya never need it till you throw it out. But dang it gents, we can't save it all no matter ho hard we try.


Well-Known Member
I grew up dirt poor and without. Both my parents had master's degrees and teacher certs, but back then were doing the "back to the earth" thing and trying to make a go at homesteading. Didn't even have electricity or a bathtub. The little bit of stuff we did have was pretty good, though. Instead of having a drawer full of Chinese folding knives, I had one Case pocket knife, and took good care of it. When I made my own way in this world my first purchase was a 16' bumper-pull travel trailer. With my old truck and that trailer, I could carry everything I owned with me and be out of town on 45 minutes notice. That was a good feeling, but eventually I figured out where I wanted to stay a while and put down roots. THEN it was time to begin acquiring all the things I'd dreamed of having since a child. Not big things, but little luxuries like a good set of Nicholson files. A Dremel tool. A drill press. Cordless drill. Circular saw. Welders. My own oxy-acetylene torch. An upright freezer. A gun safe. Hot, running water. All the little stuff I didn't have growing up. Now I'm in the midst of an accumulation glut, beginning to turn the corner to paring down to the nice stuff, replacing the junk with better stuff, and only keeping what I really need. When you're poor, you hoard everything and take anything people will give you for free, whether you need it or not because one day you might or might trade it for something else. Fortunately I've managed to build a better life for my family, but the instinct to hoard junk is still a tough one to overcome.

One of my dreams since high school was a dedicated reloading room with a casting bench, ventilation system, and lots of shelves for my gun library. When I built our house in 2011, I finally earned my dream. I still have too much stuff in there (seven presses and three lube-sizers all set up with their own, independent workspaces, 6' computer and gunsmithing/cleaning counter, etc. etc.) but I can just walk in, sit down, and start cranking out ammo without wasting any time setting things up. I can cast bullets no matter the weather or time of day. All I have to do is stop buying stuff, because the room is at about 110% capacity for organization right now and needs a good cleanup.


Well-Known Member
They tell me that "stuff" doesn't eat, but the time/money/energy needed to keep building storage space and adding on to storage space can get WAY out of hand. I have to look at it like "I'll just go buy it if I need it" and choose to hoard money instead of more stuff. Problem with that plan is if/when events happen when you can't just hop in the car and go buy something you need at will.
11 brothers and sisters equals dreams of having also. I modified the loading bench plans from the national reloading foundation but haven't put the three 3/4" sheets of oak plywood to use yet.(only 10 DSCF2892.JPG years ago) It has lots of shelf space with sliding doors. I had a very small bench and wanted a larger one to use all year round. This is bolted to the wall and floor with lost of bracing underneath makes it very strong, but doesn't do much good if you can't keep it clean. when I finish the shelving, I can bring lots more stuff inside. I also have plans to bolt a steel plate to the bottom. I use c clamps, but will someday mount them permanently


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I had two big realizations about work space through the years (many different temporary, makeshift set ups are good at sorting this out). One is that if my reloading benches are deeper than 18", the space behind is a wasted, difficult to access catch-all. The other is that having a single space rigged up with interchangeable hardware is not suitable for my personality, though it may be for yours. What I need is dedicated space for each task, otherwise tasks (and thus tools and such) end up layered on top of one another.

Maximizing my bench efficiency and room space by making 18"-deep reloading spaces with 5.5" deep shelves on the back going up helps a lot with clutter on the benches and wasted space. Having a whole bunch of permanently-mounted presses crammed right next to each other with a bare minimum of working space between also keeps clutter down (there's no where to put any) and keeps my equipment ready to use.
Great insights and advice. As a Mark II bench, Mark I was years ago, the store bought bench kit will be built as shipped. This way it will get done quickly. The bench top is sacrificial so trying placements is no issue as with a nice top. The bench will have an overhead fluorescent single tube, be attached to the wall, and a telescoping 5" magnifier lamp. Ian's note regarding bench size is interesting. This bench is 20X40 inches. I thought a width of 25-30" might be better, not now.

The discussion of simplicity struck home. My purchase list was reviewed with an eye to needless clutter and unnecessary complication. The list was quickly chopped in half. As an example a case cleaning system is out. For now a bath in Lemi-shine and Dawn will do. Case prep machines and neck turning are out, Lee trimmers are in!

I load for 6 cartridges and only shoot 22lr rimfire. For now that is plenty. I'm lucky to hit the barn at a 100 yards so worrying about things precision shooters worry about is folly.

In light of this are primer pocket uniformers required with normal cases for plinking ammo basically? The darn things are pricey even for Lyman manual ones.

I expected the call from the tool store that it was in, no luck. Hopefully it comes tomorrow!


Well-Known Member
I consider primer pocket depth uniformers to be essential for certain things like some of the lower-quality flavors of military brass, and all flavors of .30-30 Winchester (high primers due to excessive pocket radius are a chronic problem for some calibers). This is a matter of safety and convenience of reloading more than precision shooting.


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Spoiled rotten here....well,not really if you consider I built it all but still,pretty dang blessed.

OK,reloading room.#1 White Oak flooring (hand nailed of course,try it sometime) is the only way to fly.Cabinets because I put a beautiful set of Cherry cabs in a customer's kitchen back in the late 80's?But the cabs I got are pretty special,if your into history of modern (post WWII) kitchen design.That house was mid 60's....and kitchen cabs were turning a corner industry wise.These are early Maple with that honey,medium brown tone.Imagine a nice college chem lab,1960.Needless to say they're pretty sweet.

Told the story before of snagging a Kennedy machinist cab and chest.Bought sight unseen over the phone for beer money.Was going to put them in the shop but,they were SO early,they are noticeably smaller than tool boxes these days.So the decision was to utilize them in the loading room.




Lights receptacles,check.

Nice toolbox,check.

Now,throw in some custom boxes (Gerstner wannabes') for moulds and bullets,built in house.There's a drillpress in there,but I think it's going to one of the boys.We have much nicer ones in the shop.Oh yeah,cpl nice freeby gubment swivel chairs.The hdwd floor makes easy rolling.Got framed prints of wildlife and vintage reloading stuff for the "Martha" effect (the boys call me Martha Stewart derogatorily).


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I figured out the 18" rule in 1976, thank goodness, making my first real bench. I had used several 24 or deeper benches and you nailed it
exaclty....excess depth is wasted, collects too much junk.

I wasn't poor as a child, but four years of college and two more of grad school and then three years working and two off (planned) put the
"keep anything you could possibly use or trade with" thing you were talking about into my head pretty solidly. Trying to get past it now. In college
I was fortunate enough to have tuition, dorm and meal plan paid by my parents. Never asked for another cent. My mother told me decades
later that they were surprised. My younger sister hit them up for extra money every couple of weeks. I worked jobs during school and summers
to get stuff. Lived on $3200/year in grad school, plus a bit from mechanic work I did for people. Tight times. I remember pulling the rings
off a junkyard VW engine to put in mine because a new cylinder and piston set was $80, and the used rings went for $10, got me two years
down the road with a lot less oil burn than before. Just got to be a real cheapskate. Slowly, slowly getting past that.

Cleaned out a huge number of used targets today. They had only been shot a little......and pasted, or could be pasted, ghhaaaaa! Thinned
down to only unshot targets. Will buy more if I need them, only pasting targets during one range session, and only once per target. Throw them
out when done.......hand shaking.....:eek:

Got a lot of junk mixed brass that is only good for plinking, not for any real accuracy. Need to find someone else to pass a lot of it on to, once I
get it sorted out.

You are doing it way earlier than I figured it out.

I consider primer pocket depth uniformers to be essential for certain things like some of the lower-quality flavors of military brass, and all flavors of .30-30 Winchester (high primers due to excessive pocket radius are a chronic problem for some calibers). This is a matter of safety and convenience of reloading more than precision shooting.
That answers that. Thanks, I got crimped cases and IVI military 303 Brit and 223 to deal with.


Well-Known Member
The depth uniforming tool won't help you much with the crimp, but will sure help with positive primer seating and nothing sticking proud or having to be forced to the pop point to get the correct depth. Once you use a depth tool you'll wonder how you lived without one. If you use pistol primers for light .30-30 loads, you won't need the tool in that instance.


Active Member
Forster makes a DBT (deburring tool) base. Sinclair International makes great primer pocket uniformers and an adapter to use them with the DBT base.


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My rings were broken, power and oil control was terrible. Unbroken used rings
with hand sanded roughened cylinders so they would seat, restored a good bit of the power and
the oil consumption dropped to pretty much normal. Poor folks have poor ways.
I had time, I had no money. Damn glad that is in the rearview, and retirement
is comfortable, no worries.



Well-Known Member
try that now.
I have pulled several engines down and re-built them.
now I open the hood and spend 5 minutes looking for the dipstick, or where to put more coolant.

I like the pocket tools just for cleaning the pockets.
they will cut the short ones, but their best use is double checking swaged pockets.
if the cutter doesn't go in easily the crimp needs to be swaged or cut again.
it doesn't save a ton of time but it sure saves from having a bunch of cruddy primers.


Well-Known Member
I have an RCBS pocket bottom cutter and a primer pocket swager. The bottom cutter is adjustable
depth, will deepen as needed or just clean our crud if the depth is right. Couple of turns and done.
Only for match rifle ammo, though, or my "serious" hunting ammo which might be used in a hunt
which is either expensive or a big deal on time or effort. For local hunting, ordinary loading practices
is good enough to kill a deer from a tree stand.

I received the bench. It is exactly what I suspected, a sturdy but inexpensive workbench. I recycled the box and did not check country of manufacture, it sure resembles Chinese made. Assembly happens soon once overhangs and tool mount hole locations are confirmed. Also the combined reloading and gun bench combo is back on the table.

I did a layout plan. The original top will use the plywood mount plates even if permanent mounting is used. It is just a good idea for early layout experiments. The utility of having clamp bolts that do not require handling a nut under the top are top of list. I'm going to use 2 1/4 inch lag bolts as there are a bunch in the garage shop. Eventually the threaded metal plate version will be used. It will be sturdy as a wobbly bench, tool, or machine is quickly fixed or thrown in the bush!

The space is 6'X5' excluding the door walkway. It is a corner of the basement but does have a redeeming quality. A very well built storage cupboard that lines the walls (previous owner built by a true carpenter). I've claimed the end portion of 5 shelves of 20"X30" size with doors. This location will now be permanent, storage, heat, good power, window to the world, and expandable lighting. I stubbornly held on to the idea of moving to an eventual man cave and almost tripled the work and added much complexity, a word to the wise! It will easily handle a shop vac and stool but the bench top is maxed as is, a good thing after this thread.

A brief hazard assessment was done. The T Mag will be going on the end of the bench. Front mount will restrict movement severely in the utility room it will be mounted in. The top's corners are being beveled. They are at a nasty height! Pics to follow when further along.

Powder, ammo, and primer storage must be researched. It needs to stay in the room as the garage shop will be terrible on primers. Temperature swings from 90 to -40F are normal. Our climate is dry however. Any ideas about reactive component storage are sure welcome.