Tricking Out the MEC Marksman Single Stage Press

Tools are very personal when you think about it. Think of a good work truck: you purchase this vehicle as a “platform” and built it out to meet your needs. You may add a custom flatbed, lights, a canopy, a tool box, a fueling setup for your heavy equipment, a winch, and countless other “work-ready enhancements”. After all this you’re ready to do some serious work! Reloading equipment is no different: dialing-in your equipment and workspace will greatly enhance both your efficiency and your enjoyment of ammunition reloading.

So now it’s time for me to take something great (my new MEC Marksman press) and make it even better! Yes, it’s time to trick-out the MEC Marksman using input from all you that I collected from my first story on the MEC Marksman.

Here’s a high-level overview of how I’ve configured my upgrades on the MEC Marksman:


Here’s the specifics:

  1. Rear shellholder tray with shellholders stored
  2. Hornady Lock-N-Load bushing conversion kit + Lock-N-Load bushings for individual dies
  3. MEC Accessory Tray – small, storing L.E. Wilson case gages
  4. Right-hand die storage (in MEC Marksman base) – note: the holes work with Hornady Lock-N-Load bushings, but are fairly tight
  5. Lower MEC Accessory Tray – storing bullets for bullet seating
  6. Left-hand die storage  (in MEC Marksman base) – note: one die station is taken up by bracket for tray shown here

I’ll show this awesome setup in an upcoming blog post showcasing loading precision .25-45 Sharps ammunition. For now, I’ll walk through each of the upgrades and lend some insights regarding how to optimize this kind of setup.

MEC Accessory Trays

If you visit MEC’s metallic reloading accessories page, you’ll see  a variety of gear, including some handy trays! Here, from left-to-right I’ve got a side-mounted tray (mounts to top of press), a base-integrated tray (hooks into the MEC Marksman Press Base in die hole, left or right-hand side), and the shellholder tray (mounts to top of press, back side).


There are a bunch of different ways you can use the general-purpose trays: I chose to use them to store bullets, and case gages. The shellholder tray works with all standard shellholders, note the smaller holes- those can be used to store tools like screwdrivers. I have tried this tray with Hornady, LEE, and Redding standard shellholders, and they all fit great.

Lock-N-Load Conversion Kit

You may not realize it, but most single-stage reloading presses have a “bushing” that has 1 1/4″ x 12 TPI threads on the outside, and standard 7/8″ x 14 TPI threading on the inside, including the MEC Marksman!

MEC-press-bushing-next-to-lock-n-load bushing-2000

If you have a single stage press with this type of bushing, you can remove it and replace it with a Hornady Lock-N-Load conversion kit bushing. This was the most frequent question from my first story on the MEC Marksman: “Will it work with the Lock-N-Load Conversion Kit?” – the answer is: YES! At less than $15. street price this Lock-N-Load Conversion Kit is a deal!

Lock-N-Load bushing conversion kit

As you saw in the video, the installation is very simple, but I did “develop” a trick: milling a couple flats on a Lock-N-Load die bushing to facilitate the tightening of the Lock-N-Load press bushing. This “special tool” works like magic! You can use a large adjustable wrench to lock down the Lock-N-Load press bushing, and boom! You’re ready to go.


The kit comes with three die bushings which facilitate two things:

  1. Quick 1/8 turn insertion and removal of dies or powder measures
  2. Slight die float which further enhances the MEC Marksman’s floating shellholder design


In the next MEC Marksman story, you’ll see the results of this awesome precision loading setup. Let’s just say: concentricity is not a problem! My MEC Marksman is now producing great precision ammunition, and I’m enjoying the optimized workflow with the accessories and enhancements that I covered in this article.

As a parting thought I’ll share one more MEC Marksman “secret” you may not have picked up on: the top of the press casting is actually a “tray” of its own. You can store small items in this recessed area just like an accessory tray would be used!

More MEC Marksman content coming soon, and if you are interested in purchasing the MEC Marksman (or other MEC metallic reloading gear), you’ll find it at Midsouth Shooters Supply!




2 thoughts on “Tricking Out the MEC Marksman Single Stage Press”

  1. I need to mill the flats too, I don’t understand why Hornady doesn’t do that themselves and sell a cheap thin wrench. I’ll make my own wrench with milling machine, even aluminum plate should work.

  2. That is cool conversion BUT for us average guys without access/skill to a milling machine to mill the flats can we still use the Lock and Load feature?

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