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Author Topic: Reloading Venues  (Read 6174 times)

Outbreak

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Reloading Venues
« on: February 25, 2009, 06:54:41 pm »
I know most people reload in their garage or basement, but what if you don't have one of those? I live in an apartment (hoping to buy a house within the next year, then I'll have a garage). Is there a feasible system for reloading, say, on a kitchen counter, or a dining room table? I'm not concerned much with volume, so a small set-up would be fine. I only need one or two calibers to start with, before I get that house, with a garage, and a proper set-up for a bazillion calibers.
TexasOutbreak

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I'm glad that your chains rest lightly upon you. --JesseL

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    Thernlund

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    Re: Reloading Venues
    « Reply #1 on: February 25, 2009, 06:59:08 pm »
    Arizona  Arm yourself because no one else here will save you.  The odds will betray you, and I will replace you...

    JesseL

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    Re: Reloading Venues
    « Reply #2 on: February 25, 2009, 07:07:41 pm »
    The hand press is a good option.

    Another good option is to mount a conventional press to a board that you can clamp to a kitchen table.



    Either option will work but may give you some grief with full length sizing of large rifle cases.
    Arizona

    xsquidgator

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    Re: Reloading Venues
    « Reply #3 on: February 25, 2009, 08:53:20 pm »
    The hand press is a good option.

    Another good option is to mount a conventional press to a board that you can clamp to a kitchen table.

    Either option will work but may give you some grief with full length sizing of large rifle cases.

    Clamping to a board works well, I've been doing that for 2 years now.  I have a good bench now, but my turret press is still  bolted to a couple of boards that I C-clamp to my bench.  Easy to take down for cleaning or if I need the bench for something else. 

    An inexpensive and not too bad way to do it is to buy a Black and Decker shopmate (maybe $40), lay a plank or two across the base of the legs, and then add a bunch of stabilization weight on top of the planks.  I reloaded that way for almost a year and it does work, and it tears down easily when you need the space for something else.

    IMerrell

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    Re: Reloading Venues
    « Reply #4 on: February 25, 2009, 09:19:16 pm »
    When I started reloading I bolted my press to the table and about 20 rounds later I had broke the table-It wasnt that sturdy to begin with. So after that I made a reloading stand. This way my press is about 42 inches off the floor, better work height. I can also throw it in the back of my vehicle if I want to take it out to try some loads in the field. The base is some angle iron welded at a 90. It is very sturdy and fits in a corner quite nicely. I am actually considering modifying so it will fit in a receiver hitch for loading in the field-not sure if I am really going to go that all out. I am actually on about my 3rd generation of improvements. When I get it all done I will post some pics, that might be a ways down the road though.
    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    cpaspr

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    Re: Reloading Venues
    « Reply #5 on: February 25, 2009, 10:07:10 pm »
    20 or so years ago, I started out with one press bolted to an 18" square piece of 3/4" plywood bolted to an old chair frame.  The only place it could reside was in an under-the-stairs type of closet.  Reloading occurred from a kneeling position.  Not much reloading happened there, just a couple of dozen .308s.

    11 years ago it all came back out of storage, and got set up on a 30" x 27" bench, with that same 18" square piece glued and screwed to the top, to give me an inch and a half thickness.  Worked much better, as I could now sit in a chair to reload.  Problem was, it was in the garage.  Got hot in the summer, and very cold in the winter.  And I had to keep it covered to keep the cats away from it.  So every time I wanted to reload, I had to pull the scale, powder, bullets, shells etc. out of the cupboard, re-balance the scale, fill the powder measure, then reload.  Then empty the powder measure and put all the small stuff away and cover the press & the powder measure up again.  In a couple of hours I could get a little over one hour of actual reloading.

    Two months ago I cut that bench down in width and depth, sufficient to fit in a closet next to my desk in the bedroom we converted to a home office.  The closet doors can close without having to remove the handles on the presses.  Now, I can sit down, open the door and be cranking within 30 seconds.  Need to go somewhere?  Close the doors and walk away.  I've loaded more in the last two months than in the previous 20 years.  Which for me with a pair of single stage presses is a lot, but for people with progressive presses is only a few hour's work.
    Oregon

    Outbreak

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    Re: Reloading Venues
    « Reply #6 on: February 27, 2009, 07:47:27 pm »
    Wow, thanks guys! Like I said, volume isn't an issue right now, and the handloader is looking like a good choice for 7.62X39, 9mm, and maybe .223. I can sit here for a couple hours a night and do it. More productive than sittin around watching TV.

    Its interesting to me that no one mentioned any hazards of reloading indoors. I've read about worries of lead in brass tumblers, and I'm imagining powder spilling all over my coffee table.
    TexasOutbreak

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    I absolutely despise Glocks. That's why I only own two.

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    IMerrell

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    Re: Reloading Venues
    « Reply #7 on: February 27, 2009, 10:56:49 pm »
    You dont really have to tumble your brass, it just makes it look better, its not essential. As far as powder I would make sure you only work over a surface you can sweep up, because as you correctly assumed, you will spill powder, really not a good idea to use a vacuum to pick it up. The first and foremost thing I would worry about is where and how you store you powder and primers. My father in law is the local volunteer fire chief, when I started reloading he told me of the number of house (and apartment) fires he has been on due to problems associated with reloading. I would definately store your powder and primers in an ammo can, and consider double sealing it (a small can inside a larger one). Just a few thoughts. 

    You are headed down a fun road. There is just something about loading your own rounds from scratch and then taking them out and using them. Something very basic about it. Not to mention the $$$ aspects.
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    Re: Reloading Venues
    « Reply #8 on: February 28, 2009, 12:03:40 am »
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    I would definately store your powder and primers in an ammo can

    Please DO NOT do that.  Seriously.  It's like building a small bomb.
    This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty. . . . The right of self defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction- St. George Tucker, Blackstone's Commentaries

    Antibubba

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    Re: Reloading Venues
    « Reply #9 on: February 28, 2009, 03:55:33 am »
    Lee Hand Press.

    bensdad

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    Re: Reloading Venues
    « Reply #10 on: February 28, 2009, 11:28:38 am »
    You dont really have to tumble your brass, it just makes it look better, its not essential. As far as powder I would make sure you only work over a surface you can sweep up, because as you correctly assumed, you will spill powder, really not a good idea to use a vacuum to pick it up. The first and foremost thing I would worry about is where and how you store you powder and primers. My father in law is the local volunteer fire chief, when I started reloading he told me of the number of house (and apartment) fires he has been on due to problems associated with reloading. I would definately store your powder and primers in an ammo can, and consider double sealing it (a small can inside a larger one). Just a few thoughts. 

    You are headed down a fun road. There is just something about loading your own rounds from scratch and then taking them out and using them. Something very basic about it. Not to mention the $$$ aspects.

    I vacuum powder all the time.  No worries.  I know many others do as well.  It takes a lot more that being sucked up to make it flash.  It takes a lot more than I spill to make a fire.  That being said, I keep two fire extinguishers in the reloading room.  One is a "Flamestop".  I think I got it at a hardware store.  The other is a big, red commercial rig that I got from a school.

    xsquidgator

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    Re: Reloading Venues
    « Reply #11 on: February 28, 2009, 01:07:37 pm »
    Wow, thanks guys! Like I said, volume isn't an issue right now, and the handloader is looking like a good choice for 7.62X39, 9mm, and maybe .223. I can sit here for a couple hours a night and do it. More productive than sittin around watching TV.

    Its interesting to me that no one mentioned any hazards of reloading indoors. I've read about worries of lead in brass tumblers, and I'm imagining powder spilling all over my coffee table.

    I wouldn't tumble brass indoors, I think you are right to believe the media gets chock full of lead dust.  I'd do it outside your front or back door, and stick some pieces of used dryer fabric softener sheet in there to help absorb the finest dust particles.  Since I started accumulating lead in my blood (separate thread here on WTA reloading area) I've been wearing a lead dust respirator when I handle my tumbling stuff, and wash with soap and hot water afterwards.  You probably don't need to tumble brass, but I like to do it and would recommend that you do, if not for appearances sake then to save grit from causing wear and tear on your dies.

    I would definitely be cautious of the powder thing.  A number of people are in your situation and reload inside, so as long as you're careful, really careful, you ought to be fine.  I think smokeless powder is a remarkably intense fuel, after accidentally burning a few flakes of it that spilled onto something when I was casting lead bullets once.  The piece of lead with the flakes got into the pot to melt (650-700F) and when the piece of lead got up from room temp to about 450F or so, the powder flakes burned.  Kind of like a sparkler going off, and startled the H out me since I wasn't expecting it   :clap.  That was from just a few flakes, like 0.02 grains worth maybe.  After that I got a lot more careful about those little flakes of powder that spilled out and seemed to be here and there on my bench, and on the floor.  I've been using a Lee pro auto disc measure and my old one (a plain Lee auto disc measure that I bought the upgrade kit to turn it into the pro auto disc measure) did have the bad habit of spitting individual granules of powder here and there every time it cycled.  I finally went and bought a Lee Pro Auto Disc itself, since it has a teflon wiper in it (that a plain Lee auto disc plus the upgrade kit does NOT have) that I think really reduces the amount of powder that escapes from it.  If you're buying Lee equipment for your setup, I would definitely just make sure and buy the Lee Pro Auto Disc powder measure from the get go (don't order the Lee Auto Disc measure and a pro upgrade kit, just order the Pro Auto Disc measure.  The difference is significant.).

    +1 on keeping a fire extinguisher handy, I got a $15 one at Lowe's just because of this little hobby.

    I read somewhere, can't remember exactly where, that it's a good idea to store your powder in a 1" thick wooden box, and the box needs to have a vent path in case the powder inside did somehow catch fire.  As has been already said here, smokeless powder sealed in a metal container is actually a bomb.  I made a box from some 3/4" plywood, and a top that rests in place on top, but loosely enough to be the vent path if thw worst happened.  A 3/4" or 1" thickness of wood will provide at least some thermal insulation from the radiant heat if, God forbid, you were to have a housefire get near the powder. Give it some protection while the fire gets put out.  Something for you to consider, anyway.

    I keep my primers in spare USGI surplus ammo cans, or old metal machine shop tool boxes (sheet metal with a latching lid)  with a little desiccant thrown in.  As long as the primers are in their packaging it should be ok.  I keep a brick or even two in there at the same time, with my other bricks (1000) of primers kept in an old Sentry fire safe that I use for some ammo and other stuff.


    THE NORSEMAN

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    Re: Reloading Venues
    « Reply #12 on: February 28, 2009, 08:54:53 pm »
    Quote
    I've been wearing a lead dust respirator when I handle my tumbling stuff, and wash with soap and hot water afterwards

    Use COLD water for this.  Cold water helps close the pores in your skin so the lead washes off instead of getting rubbed in.  Germs are a different matter, but for lead dust, use the cold stuff.
    This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty. . . . The right of self defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction- St. George Tucker, Blackstone's Commentaries

    ljnowell

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    Re: Reloading Venues
    « Reply #13 on: March 01, 2009, 02:49:50 am »
    Please DO NOT do that.  Seriously.  It's like building a small bomb.
    I second that.  Modern powder containers are designed to burn through so that no pressure builds up.  No explosion just a good burn. 
    Exodus 22:2
    "If a thief is found breaking in, and he is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed"

    Outbreak

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    Re: Reloading Venues
    « Reply #14 on: March 01, 2009, 11:35:10 pm »
    I was thinking about doing all the messy stuff over or in a shallow rubbermaid tub or something like that. I have one that's about 12"X18." Good info on the storage, too. I'm going to try to buy powder in smaller volumes so I don't have to store it in my apartment.

    I think I'm going to crack open my ABC's of Reloading tonight. Get a list going.
    TexasOutbreak

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    I absolutely despise Glocks. That's why I only own two.

    I'm glad that your chains rest lightly upon you. --JesseL

    Dave R

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    Re: Reloading Venues
    « Reply #15 on: March 09, 2009, 12:19:12 am »
    Great idea.  I did the "store my stuff in a Rubbermaid tub and bolt my press to the kitchen table" for a couple years.  No problems.  Keeps things nice and portable.  You could reload at your buddies table with a setup like that, if your wife had something going at the kitchen table when you wanted to reload. 

    I didn't tumble brass for the first few years, either.  Just clean by hand.  Works fine.

    Worked my way up from there, but that's a great way to start out.

    Outbreak

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    Re: Reloading Venues
    « Reply #16 on: March 09, 2009, 01:19:34 am »
    Great idea.  I did the "store my stuff in a Rubbermaid tub and bolt my press to the kitchen table" for a couple years.  No problems.  Keeps things nice and portable.  You could reload at your buddies table with a setup like that, if your wife had something going at the kitchen table when you wanted to reload. 

    I didn't tumble brass for the first few years, either.  Just clean by hand.  Works fine.

    Worked my way up from there, but that's a great way to start out.

    Ahh, but I'm single. :D And my kitchen table is too nice. I got a 2X12 plank in my truck that I can cut a chunk off of and make a portable reloading board out of and C-clamp it to my (crappy) coffee table or the desk in my spare room. YES! that's it. The guest room will double as the reloading room!
    TexasOutbreak

    I take my coffee black...like my rifles.

    I absolutely despise Glocks. That's why I only own two.

    I'm glad that your chains rest lightly upon you. --JesseL

    THE NORSEMAN

    • To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them. - Richard Henry Lee
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    Re: Reloading Venues
    « Reply #17 on: March 09, 2009, 09:07:37 am »
    Quote
    The guest room will double as the reloading room!
      WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!!! :bash

    What you really have is a reloading room that doubles as a guest room.  Your perspective is a bit skewed.  We're here to help. ;D
    This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty. . . . The right of self defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction- St. George Tucker, Blackstone's Commentaries

    Antibubba

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    Re: Reloading Venues
    « Reply #18 on: March 10, 2009, 01:59:10 am »
    Quote from: outbreak
    The guest room will double as the reloading room!

    I would strongly recommend a "No smoking" rule for your guests.  Explain to them EXACTLY why.   :hide

    Outbreak

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    Re: Reloading Venues
    « Reply #19 on: March 11, 2009, 02:03:03 am »
    I would strongly recommend a "No smoking" rule for your guests.  Explain to them EXACTLY why.   :hide

    There's no smoking in my house, ever. And its not because of any hazmat inside. There's an empty beer can on the porch for your butts. That's where I go on the occasion I decide to enjoy a smokey-treat.
    TexasOutbreak

    I take my coffee black...like my rifles.

    I absolutely despise Glocks. That's why I only own two.

    I'm glad that your chains rest lightly upon you. --JesseL

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