Scot’s Product Review: Bench Space

Like a lot of shooters and preppers, I reload most of the ammunition I shoot. While I agree with those who say they can reload better ammunition than the factory makes, my main motivation is saving money so I can shoot more. I suspect that is true of most reloaders.

A problem I have is space. Reloading presses and equipment need to be solidly mounted to a workbench. They also need space around them to work in. I don’t have room for a bench dedicated to reloading. Mine has to share duties with Pinewood Derby cars for my son, broken appliances, cleaning guns, and so forth. The reloading tools get in the way most of the time. Like most reloaders, I’ve accumulated more than one press plus a number of other useful tools. Clearly, a means to save space is valuable.

I’ve found four strategies to do this. (I’m sure there are more, so please tell me about them!) Two are homemade and two are commercial. The first one I’ll cover is from Inline Fabrication and it’s one I’ve spent my own money on. It feels pricey when you look at it on a web page, but after talking to a friend, I took a chance. When I got it in hand, I did not feel cheated by the cost.

The unit I bought is their quick change systems. This allows you to secure reloading equipment to a plate that can then be easily attached or removed from your bench. They offer a selection of heights of risers to boot. When not using a press or other piece of gear, you can stow it out of the way. They make a bracket that allows you to hang them on the front of a bench or on a wall.

They have a number of other riser options that aren’t quick change, but they didn’t help solve my main problem– space. There are also a number of press accessories to hold bins or process brass more quickly, so the site is worth looking through. I hope to add a few items later.

I have an RCBS Rockchucker and have found that this system holds the press well enough to full length size .308 brass fired from a semi-auto rifle. It works well with the Dillon Square Deal B set up for .45 ACP as well as a Lee Loadmaster for .223.

I chose the Junior 6-inch riser, as it fit both my height and the height of my bench. They have other, higher options that might fit you better, so do some measuring and thinking. I also purchased their mounts for the Dillon Square Deal B and the Lee Loadmaster with one of their brackets to hold the tools not in use.

All of the parts I’ve gotten have been very well finished with a black powder coat. I haven’t had the gear for long, but the finish appears durable. Everything is well machined, and parts fit quite well. The hardware is excellent, and everything you need is included.

The customer service from Inline is great. Emails are answered promptly with good solutions provided. I had a question about fitting the bin that catches loaded rounds for the Lee Loadmaster and was helped by Inline.

Using this system has allowed me to add about 24 inches of space for other jobs on my bench. This makes it a lot easier to clean long guns as well as fixing errant appliances and polishing axles on our winning Pinewood Derby cars.

I used a cheaper alternative before I got the Inline stuff. I made up some 12×12 inch blocks using two layers of ¾ inch plywood leftover from building some shelves. I laid out the pattern needed by various loading tools and secured them to the blocks with hanger bolts– the ones that screw into wood on one end while the other end takes a nut. To my bench, I then bolted toggle clamps. These clamped my square blocks holding the presses, trimmers, and the like to the bench. The system worked pretty well for a number of years, but I never felt it was strong enough for sizing rifle brass with the Rockchucker. I left that bolted to the bench which meant it was always in the way. The toggle bolts also got in the way when I wanted to clear the bench for other duties.

Another commercial system I haven’t tried but looks very promising is Pat Marlin’s ROCKdock. The beauty of this system is that you can remove the tool and have an almost flush bench. I didn’t know about this one when I bought the Inline, and I’m not sure which I would have gotten if I had known about both. I like the extra height provided by the Inline riser, but I also like the flushness you get from Pat Marlin. A friend who uses it really likes it. Marlin’s website says there are plans to make adapters to work with the mounts of other companies, such as Dillon and Inline. There are a number of other interesting items on his page, so it is worth exploring. I hope to try some later for review.

The final one (or at least the final one I know of) is a homemade system that reminds me a bit of the Pat Marlins one. Basically, you mount your tools to blocks of wood and create an inset on your bench that the blocks slide into. What I really like about this system is that you can slide a blank into the position and have a completely flush bench top. If it would not have required completely rebuilding my bench, I think this is what I would have done. I like it a lot better than my old system of toggle clamps, and I like the price. I’m not sure about building it out of particle board, though. I would prefer plywood. Incidentally, Father Frog’s pages are well worth exploring for other material. He has a wealth of information on his site, including homemade gun cleaners and lubes.

At any rate, you can reload without giving up your entire workbench. If you know of other alternatives, please write us. I would like to share them with our readers. – SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Scot Frank Eire