The new Reloading Bench System at Ultimate Reloader

I’m the kind of guy that likes to get tool and shop “systems” setup and dialed-in before undertaking projects, and for daily tasks as well. Until recently, I had to bolt down reloading presses on my steel pedestal to use them. That created a lot of extra work to switch between tasks, and also prevented effective group loading sessions.

For a few months, I’ve been planning an overhaul to my storage system and bench that would permit the use of many different presses and tools at arbitrary positions on the bench. What I ended up with was 2 heavy duty T-Tracks embedded in my bench top (for a total of 12′ of workspace). I fabricated 1-up or 2-up hardwood plywood baseplates for each tool group or press, and also updated my storage shelf so that I can “slide in” presses without needing securing hardware or clamps. The net results is much improved usability and minimized setup time. Best of all, I can still use my heavy duty pedestal when needed (better for filming and is more rigid).

 

 

New bench system with some presses and accessories mounted for use – Image Copyright 2011 Ultimate Reloader

As you can see from the above photo, this permits the use of many different tools at the same time. Gotta love that!

 

 

1-up (.75″) mounting plate used for accessories and light tools – Image Copyright 2011 Ultimate Reloader

 

Every 4′ I added a milled out section (of the top surface of the T-Track) so that bolts can be inserted and withdrawn easily for the mounting and dismounting of tools. The T-Tracks are separated by 8″ center-to-center.

 

 

Closeup showing heavy-duty T-Track, 3/8″ 16 TPI Bolt, and hand knob – Image Copyright 2011 Ultimate Reloader

 

So far, I’m really liking this setup. I contemplated the 1/4″ 20 TPI bolt T-Track system (lighter duty) but thought that I may as well go with the more heavy duty 3/8″ 16 TPI optimized system so that I can use stronger hardware for the mounting of presses and tools.

 

 

Presses mounted using the new system - Image Copyright 2011 Ultimate Reloader
Presses mounted using the new system – Image Copyright 2011 Ultimate Reloader

So where did I get this stuff you may be wondering? I ordered the T-Track and hardware online at Peachtree Woodworking. Here’s a link to the product page:

http://www.ptreeusa.com/ttrackproducts.htm

My friend Tim took the doors that make up this benchtop down to a friends wood shop, and dado’d out the proper channels for the T-Track to fit in. I then used 3″ stainless screws to mount the T-Track sections – with the screws engaging with a 2×4 running the length of the bench added for this project.

You’ll be seeing plenty more photos and videos that utilize this system, here’s one example:

http://ultimatereloader.com/2011/03/25/ar-mpr-phase-ii-checking-and-correcting-bullet-concentricity/

Next, I’m going to look into square nuts or t-nuts that can stay in the channel with the idea of adding a bunch and then using knobs with 3/8″ 16 TPI threaded ends on them that screw down into the nuts. That way, I wouldn’t even have to worry about having to insert and remove the bolts. We’ll see…

Thanks,
Gavin

 

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31 thoughts on “The new Reloading Bench System at Ultimate Reloader”

  1. I have been considering this idea as well. Since I was space limited, I needed a desk as well a bench. I used 2 – 6 foot sections of kitchen counter top arrainged at 90 degrees. I been thinking of slotting one section. Embeded slots are nice but sometimes make it difficult for use as a large flat surface. I may use an above surface system using removable track from a company called 80/20.

  2. That’s a very good idea for a fellow who would have more than one press. If I was going to build a new bench I would incorporate the channel tracking for sure. Good luck with it.

  3. Gavin,

    I am planning on building a similar bench for this summers project. What height above the floor have you found to be good for mounting your presses? I have the LNL w/the automatic case feeder. My current setup allows me to easily look inside each case after charging, (cant remember how high I have the LNL mounted from the floor) but the case feeder is way too high for me to easily reach up and add in new brass. I am looking to lower the entire setup, but don’t want to go too low and have to bend over a bit each time I lower the handle.

    Just looking for some general recommendations as to the floor to press heights you find work well.

  4. When mounting a press to the hardwood plywood baseplate, how do you prevent the fasteners from dragging / digging into the bench?

  5. I wonder how well the track system would work for a .50 BMG press or a large swaging press (Corbin, etc)?

    I only have 3 presses, but I want to add another and space is limited.

    I also work on electronics in the same space, so this would be great.

    1. I think it would work ok if you had substantial enough mating surface to handle the tensile requirements of, say, the CH4D Rock Crusher. Or just add and stack bigger washers and use case hardened steel bolts, etc.

  6. Can you tell me where you got your heavy duty pedestal? I like the way it really secures the 650 press.

    thanks and your videos are very helpful to this nube.

    Rob

  7. Curious how this has held up under a full year of use?
    Think this is a great idea for workspace flexibility.

    Also, what would you do different after a year of use?

    Thanks for a great site.

    William L

    1. Looks like he routed out the channels, laid the tracks with wood glue and finished with flush mounting screws. Or at least that is what I would do LOL

  8. I’m thinking about adding a t track to my new bench. Now that you have had yours for a few years I was wondering how it is holding up. Also, is it a truly stable way to mount all pf your presses. No flex, no slop.

    Thanks.

        1. Gavin,

          I know you have content coming, but I am getting ready to have someone make the dado cuts for the t-rails.

          I am making a small (48″) workbench and similar to yours, I intend on having one of the t-rails on the “leading edge” of the table top.

          Can you advise the spacing between your t-rails? Initially, I am going to be mounting a Redding Big Boss, but will ultimately be mounting a Dillon 650 as well as the occasional “accessory”.

          Also, if possible could you please advise the thickness of the plywood you used to mount the various presses to that would be helpful.

      1. Hi Gavin,

        Any further word on the “bench content” you mentioned here? I’m in the process of building my own, and I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on mounting your presses using the T-track system. Looks like you started out with wooden mounting plates, but then abandoned those in favor of aluminum. I’d love to see your full write up on the bench.

        Thanks for the awesome site! It’s been invaluable.

  9. What is the total space required on a bench for a xl 650 with case feeder and strong mount? Looking for height, depth and width. I have overhead shelving I concerned may conflict with a case feeder.

  10. Gavin,
    I see your comment above about content on the way regarding this project. When you make the video, give us an Idea how you store the presses when not on the table. Do you have a cabinet with tracks on the shelves?

    I just built a shop and now I’m building the table.

    Thanks
    Jeff

    1. Hi Gavin,

      An excellent idea for a work bench. I just purchased my Hornady L-N-L Classic Press Kit and some Lyman case prep tooling just after Christmas last year from one of my local gun dealers in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada (I live in Halifax, Nova Scotia). I’m waiting for more Lyman tooling, dies and other misc. gear to arrive to complete my set up. I’m now at the bench build stage while my remaining gear arrives.

      As most newbies to reloading rifle ammo, I’ve been doing a great deal of research for a reloading bench to suit my needs. As I’m space limited while living in a one bedroom apartment, my work bench will be modular in design; have a table top area of min. of 2 foot x 3 foot to a max. of 2 foot by 4 foot; with a multi-level removable shelving system and a lower shelf system under the bench top for storing unused gear/supplies and my Lyamn 2500 Auto Flow Turbo Tumbler.

      Since I have past experince in reloading shot shell ammo, I would like to have the option in the future to be able to add a new shot shell press to my bench but be able to move the other reloading equipment to the side of the bench or on the shevles above my work area, using your track design on it. I would also like to add an AP press in the distant future when I get into pistol shooting. Hence, your track system seems to the most logical way to go for this kind of set up.

      My questions and concerns are pretty much the same as other individuals that have asked you since you first started posting this subject on your blog … bench and/or press height set up; track spacing; press storage set up on your shelving design; your shelving design for storing presses/tooling (ie. power measure, case trimmer lathes; any tooling that would use the track system); design durability since its inception (ie. problems with bolts pulling through tracking, track flexing during press operation, alternate design of fixing press/tooling plates to tracking – use of square nuts in track instead of head of hex bolts); plywood base plate designs for the presses and other tooling using the track system; issues with the press/tooling mounting bolts to their plywood bases digging in the the bench top; and whatever other issues that you may have been asked about or have found since your new bench design inception not yet talked about. What would you do differently design wise about your new reloading bench?

      Please advise when you are going to post new content about your bench design.

      I find your blog and videos are very informative, especially for someone new to the hooby. Keep up the great work. I look forward to more exciting postings.

      With many, many thanks,

      Keyan

  11. I currently joined the US Army as a Combat Engineer, I been told by my recruiter and
    some veterans that as combat engineer I would learn a bit of carpentry
    and construction work. I have a few ideas of what
    I want to do when I get out. One is to start my own business.
    My plan is to go to a community college and take some classes to learn some electrician skills
    to help me out. Unfortunately the Army wont help me get certified,
    so my question is would I actually be able to have a business
    if I’m not certified in Houston, TX? Is it hard to get work in this kind of business?
    What is an estimate of what I would earn in a year? I understand that some projects require permits would I be
    able to get permits without being certified?

    Also what is a way for me to get certified with
    out having to do an apprenticeship?. . Thanks..

  12. Greetings Gavin,

    First of all I would like to thank you for your blog and you tube channel as they are both VERY informative and I have gotten ALOT of info & help from them.
    That being said I would like to ask you s few questions; first, when are you going to post the specifics about you reloading bench system (ie: spacing measurements for the T-Tracks), Second, what are the measurements of your work bench and what type of materials did you use to construct it?
    Any info would be most appreciated. Please keep up the excellent work and stay safe.

    Respectfully,
    Wolfen189

  13. I am about to build a reloading bench and I saw your site. What you did looks great! I can’t wait to get started on mine. Thanks for the ideas.

  14. Gavin

    I am wanting to use an inline fabrication riser with the t rails so that I can slide my press to the far left of the bench leaving me room for other projects since my bench is dual use ( relaoding/ firearms- Honey do list)

    Would this application work for my needs?

    Thank you

    Mark

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