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Reloading Rooms - Part One

Copyright 2019 - Stephen Redgwell
 Reloading rooms are individual things, as are the benches.
We all have different requirements.  Here's what I use.
 
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My office reloading bench

A reloading room can be big or small. It can be full of fancy equipment or just have basic tools. It may take up the whole basement, or just part of the kitchen table. Regardless of its size or complexity, these rooms exist to assemble ammunition. They house a collection of gadgets - some useful, some not - that have accumulated over the years.  One thing is for sure, the longer you reload, the more stuff you'll collect! Ask me. In 45 years of reloading, I've bought, and tossed, quite a bit!
 
And those useless accessories? They appeared because you read great reviews in a magazine or on the Internet. According to the write ups, that latest, greatest thing was guarantied to take your reloading to the next level. Your groups would shrink. Hunting trips would be a success.  And you knew it had to work because the author backed it up with target pictures showing tiny bullet clusters, or he posed with a trophy game animal.  Wow! It would make you the envy of your group!  
 
What was that? Those gadgets didn't always work as advertised?  You got suckered by ad men? Worse, you were fooled by Internet posts, written by people who never used this magic gadget, but praised it at length.  Don't feel bad. You aren't the only person who ever got duped.  No worries.  Accept that despite the most careful vetting of every new product offered, you're gonna make the odd mistake.
 
Most of the new gear is announced in January, when the industry converges on Las Vegas for the annual SHOT show (Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade). Hey, it's Vegas!  Lots of glitter, gambling and guns!
 
 
In a nutshell, it's an event that shows industry and media people what is new for the coming year. If you'd like to learn about what happens at SHOT, follow the link and prepare to spend some time reading.  You have to be part of the industry to attend. I have gone twice, and found the experience overwhelming. Coming from Canada, where we had burdensome gun legislation, visiting SHOT was like being let loose in Santa's workshop!  Gadgets, gizmos, guns, and gear were everywhere. At the same time, I realized that you had to be a multi-millionaire to afford a lot of what was on display.  Trust me, there's a lot to see.
 
A lot of the equipment you've purchased was debuted at SHOT. It was also featured on TV, websites, magazines and smaller exhibitions. How you learned about this new stuff was due, in large part, by media stories released after SHOT was over.  As well, some equipment was sent to outdoor writers for review. The last ten years or so has seen a revolution of sorts st SHOT. Technology has allowed everyone to get a glimpse of what's happening there.  You've probably seen some of the videos posted at the SHOT Show site and elsewhere, featuring this year's new outdoor products.
 
No matter how the information gets out, there is a truism - good equipment remains on the market for a long time; junk quickly disappears.  Ultimately, you, the user, are the judge. 
 

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My Rock Chucker and Lubrizer for cast bullets

My Presses
 
 I have two benches that house most of my gear.  One is a large table in my workshop.  Frankly, it doesn't get much use.  On the other hand, the "bench" in my office is in constant demand.  It's a 24x30 inch table with three presses. Beside it, there's a really cheap tool cabinet, I bought at Walmart.  It works great, and holds most of my reloading tools.  I keep all my bullets, brass, ammo boxes and other accessories in the workshop.  I only bring up what I need.  
 
Sometime in the late 1980s or early 1990s, there was an article in one of the gun magazines about maximizing space for reloaders living in apartments.  One of the things they suggested was putting a press on a small tool stand.  Not long after, a couple of companies that made reloading gear came out with portable stands.  At first, I thought it was a great idea - until I saw the price!  Over $100 for what amounted to a bench grinder stand.  Hmmm, a bench grinder stand...I went shopping at my local Princess Auto and bought one for $20.  They are still cheap, with many models for sale at places like amazon. 
 
This sturdy little stand, fitted with an RCBS Rock Chucker and a Lyman Lubrizer, augments a Redding Boss press, mounted to the reloading table. 

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My little Lee C press

Of the three presses on the table, this one gets a lot of use.  It is an inexpensive Lee C press that I use primarily for decapping, case mouth flaring and a few other jobs.  It can handle most reloading chores, but I use it as an accessory press. Having several presses is great for times when you are working up loads and need to perform several functions concurrently.  Owners of multiple presses are never stuck, should something happen to their main press.  It can also mean more speed, depending on how many processes your brass goes through from the fired to the reloaded state.

Everyone's needs are different.  Progressive presses are great for people who need to crank out a lot of ammunition quickly. Trap and skeet shooters fall into this category, as well as competitive handgunners, and high volume varmint hunters. 
 
There is a caution here. With a progressive press comes complexity. If you will not be using it regularly, you may want to forego the bigger, more expensive press and buy two or three single stage presses instead.  They are simpler to use and, regardless of brand, work in much the same way.
 
Buy REALLY Expensive Reloading Gear
 
You know those Internet posters who only use Forster or Redding equipment - complete with competition dies, expensive bullets and the best brass?  They say that they only use the best because it makes the best ammunition. Okay.  How do I put this kindly...You're loading for an off the rack rifle, don't shoot much (do not practice), but spent big bucks on tools that will not improve your shooting. 
 
I guess if you can afford it, great. but I have to say, with the exception of competition shooters and some dedicated souls, all that expensive equipment and premium components will do nothing to improve performance. What?  How DARE you?  You have no idea how much, or for what I reload! 
 
Tell you what, help the new reloader. Don't fill his head with nonsense, or try to impress him with how smart you are.  We all have to start somewhere.