Your reloading bench should be rugged enough to withstand the weight of your loading equipment and tools while it's in use and for storage. If you plan to keep yours stationary and need it to hold a reloading press, the more weight, and stability the table offers, the better.
If you're looking for something more lightweight and portable, you'll want to ensure it has a high enough load capacity to accommodate your heaviest reloading equipment while still being light enough to move.
Whether you opt for something heavy-duty or more lightweight, having a durable tabletop and supportive frame will provide you with a safe and reliable workspace for many projects to come. Ensure the base is bracketed and braces the tabletop to prevent sagging.
For the tabletop, securing a solid surface that's both dent and rust-resistant will provide you with long-lasting use and a more aesthetically pleasing workstation. Opt for stainless steel for easy cleaning or solid pressure-treated wood, sealed for durability.
Like any functional workspace, one of the most important elements of your reloading table is adjustability. This can include anything from height or length adjustment to whether it's compactable and portable.
Depending on your height, mobility, and preferred working position, you'll want a surface that can be adjusted to accommodate you sitting or standing comfortably at varying heights. If the unit itself isn't adjustable, consider one with an ergonomic step platform. If you're looking for a bench that accommodates both sitting and standing, most users opt for a height of between 35" - 37".
If you plan to move or transport your bench, having one with wheels that you can securely lock and unlock as needed is a must. Similarly, if you need to transport it, having something that can be folded is incredibly convenient.
Some benches have attached wings that you can raise to expand your work surface when reloading and then collapse when transporting, giving you the versatility you need for compact storage and custom use.
When it comes to your bench's size, it's essential to consider the environment you'll be working in. You need to determine how much room you have to store your bench and the amount of surface area you need to maintain a practical workstation. The bench should be large enough to accommodate all your reloading components or other materials while taking up minimal space in your garage or shed.
For those who need to work on multiple projects at once, like cleaning and reloading, or need to attach a press or a substantial number of tools and materials, larger table sizes are more advantageous. Generally, the greater your workspace's size, the more easily and safely you can complete the task at hand.
However, if you are confined to a smaller space you may find you need a smaller unit. Reloading benches come in all shapes and sizes. Many gun owners recommend a minimum 48"x32" tabletop for a permanent reloading bench set up.
Storage solutions are important for any project owner but are especially critical for gun owners who need to keep all their reloading components organized in one place. It is also vital for war reenactors and black powder enthusiasts who create their own ammunition. Secure storage is key to ensuring thatgun maintenance and ammo reloading can be done smoothly and safely and is incredibly useful for virtually any other project.
Depending on what and how much you intend to store on your bench, having an array of storage solutions can help keep you organized so you can easily find what you need and focus on the task at hand.
Storage space can come in many forms, including roomy storage drawers and cabinets, heavy duty shelving, and pegboards for hanging additional reloading accessories and tools. A reloading bench should also feature small shallow drawers for holding casings and powders that are efficiently labeled and positioned for optimal display.
When it comes to customizing your reloading bench, the options are limitless. Choosing a bench that allows you to make modifications and additions down the road is always a smart choice. Here are just a handful of customizations you might consider making:
- If you plan on mounting a reloading press, find a bench worktop material such as birch that is robust enough to withstand impact dents but allows you to drill mounting holes in.
- Consider raised or lipped tabletop edges to prevent materials, such as ammo casings, from rolling away and falling to the floor.
- Add built-in light fixtures to your bench to give you enhanced visibility and make your workspace pop.
- Find a bench with a large pegboard and pre-drilled holes on the legs that allow you to add further accessories and reloading equipment.
- Choose a reloading table with outlet fixture pre-installed to allow for easy access to electricity for your tools.
- Ordinance and space-permitting, a small indoor firing range is another great addition to your bench, making it even easier to do a performance check of your loads.
- Find a work stool with padded seats and a supportive back for added comfort when working at your bench for extended periods.
Choosing the Right Reloading Bench
Reloading benches run the gamut from a simple workbench to a one-stop-shop for all your reloading needs. When choosing a bench, ensure it's sturdy, spacious, adjustable, has ample storage, and can be customized to best suit your needs. With those five features, you can enjoy the perfect setup for many projects to come.