There’s nothing like a solid piece of iron. Cast iron tools and machines are a lifetime investment, and I love it when I look at a tool and see “Made in USA”. Recently MEC (the Mayville Engineering Company) made an interesting announcement. This company which is known for top-notch shotshell reloading gear announced they are getting into the metallic cartridge reloading gear business. The cornerstone of this announcement was the MEC Marksman single-stage reloading press. The MEC Marksman features ductile cast iron construction, an open-front frame design for easy cartridge access, a new floating shell holder design with a unique retention system, ambidextrous handle setup, and is made right here in the USA! Curious about this new reloading press? Read on!
The Mayville Engineering Company is located in Mayville Wisconsin, and is well-known for their many metal fabrication services and related finishes and coatings. MEC is perhaps best known for their comprehensive lineup of shotshell reloading gear which spans from simple single-stage units like the MEC 600 Junior MK4 all the way up to the Auto-Mate and 9000-series Hydraulic progressive units. Here’s a picture of the Mayville North MEC facility:
The MEC Marksman
The MEC Marksman reloading press is all about precision, quality, and features. When you pick up this press, you can feel right away this is a “substantial tool”. It’s compact and stout- with a rather “beefy” ductile cast iron frame at its core. The 1″ ram is turned, ground, and polished and with one cycling of the press you can “feel” how smooth the action is because of this precision fabrication and machining.
Here’s a CAD rendering of the MEC Marksman showing the entire press assembly as a digital solid model:
You can see here how the primer tray sits behind the ram, where spent primers are caught after exiting from an angled hole near the bottom of the ram. With a quick tip, you can remove the tray and empty the contents into a garbage can. The MEC Marksman is 100% made in the USA- so you’re not only getting a great piece of reloading gear when you buy a MEC Marksman, you’re supporting American families and workers, like the technician seen here assembling a MEC Marksman press:
Hands-On with the MEC Marksman
MEC offers the MEC Marksman press as a stand-alone product, but they also offer a very nice steel mount and riser for the press that will ensure a solid platform, elevate the press to a great eye-level, and also offers an integrated die rack. I got early production units of the press and the mount- Here’s a picture of the boxes before I opened anything:
And here’s a view of what you get with the press (right-hand side) and the mount (left-hand side).
The MEC Marksman press kit (1311080) comes with:
- Press assembly
- Ambidextrous handle
- Primer tray
- Mounting hardware
- Instruction booklet
The MEC Marksman mounting kit comes with the following:
- Press mount
- Press-to-mount mounting hardware
- Press-mount-to-bench mounting hardware (with wing-nuts for quick mounting and removal)
- Instruction booklet
Here’s a close-up of the press mount showing a reloading die in the die storage rack:
Here’s another picture of the MEC Marksman in use on my bench- it’s a great looking press, and is very pleasant to use!
Initial Test Results
As you saw in the video, I got straight to work with the press testing two key scenarios:
- Heavy-lifting: sizing military once-fired .308 brass (a difficult job!)
- Precision and concentricity: Seating .308 bullets with a precision die (Redding competition seater)
The leverage and smoothness of the press was evident from the first piece of .308 brass that I sized. I was using Dillon DCL on the outside of the cases, and Imperial Case Sizing Wax on the inside of the case necks. I put about 500 cases through the press, and it tackled the job with ease. I really like the large-diameter smooth knob!
The bullet seating test was equally impressive. The first .308 cartridge off the press indicated less than +/- .0005″ runout! I attribute this result to the combination of a great seating die (the Redding competition seater ensures optimal bullet alignment) and the floating shellholder design on the MEC Marksman.
So far so good with the MEC Marksman- I can’t wait to do more with this press, and to spend more time reloading with it. Overall I feel the MEC Marksman represents a solid value, is packed with great features, and I love the fact that it’s made in the USA!
You can get great deals on the MEC Marksman and the rest of the new MEC metallic reloading products at Midsouth Shooters Supply.
Do you have a MEC Marksman? How are you liking yours so far? Please leave a comment!