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  1. #1
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    Got a new Reloading Setup

    This is kind of a discussion and kind of a review so feel free to ask questions or add comments or whatever. My old press had been around for decades (literally). We used to reload on it when I was a kid even. It finally bit the dust so we got together and revamped our reloading setup. The images below are not mine but the give a representation of what I am talking about.

    What we got (so far) is a Redding T-7 turret press, an InLine Fabrication quick change Jr mount. I have also been playing around with some new (to me) dies, and yes they do make a huge difference.

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    My setup looks something like that except I don't have the aftermarket handle on it and my top plate where the stuff is actually mounted is removable.

    The mounting system is just flat out awesome. They come in a variety of heights, but I got the one that is 7 1/2 inches high and has quick change plates on it. Basically after the mount is screwed down to your bench you mount whatever you want on the plate(s) for whatever tool you want to use. It has a tongue on one end and a couple of screws on the other that tighten down with some wing nuts. The thing is rock solid.

    If you want to swap out a various item, just unscrew the two wing nuts pull it off and put the other thing on top and tighten two screws with your fingers. With mine you could drag the whole bench around the yard with a truck. It's VERY solid. You would screw up the bench but not that mount.

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    I have an RCBS priming tool, a Dillon swage tool, and I might get a vice or something (if needed) and I can just swap out the plates onto the base mount as needed in about a minute or less. It's a very awesome design and well worth it. I am very glad I helped make that choice.

    ---

    The press in a word is very cool. It has some unique things to it. It is SOLID and HEAVY. You can change the turret heads out but I have not tried that yet. We are going a different route (for now) to see how it goes. Taking the head off is not as easy or fast as other systems but it's got almost no play in it at all. Overall I am extremely pleased.

    One thing we are doing is we found out early on that the threads on the turret head holes are all a little different. Slightly. By that I mean the thread pattern is the same but when they were machining the head they started the threads a quarter of a turn off from the other holes or whatever. Basically if you have your dies pre-set and locked into place you need to use the exact same turret hole for the specific die you are using from now on. It's either that or buy more turrets, which could be an option. We numbered the turret holes 1-7 and we will come up with a system to know which die goes in which hole for each caliber.

    ---

    A really long time ago I bought a Forster die and just recently got around to using it. I started with the Lee dies but eventually all my rifle dies will be Forster.

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    I have a set just like in the picture and they are awesome. They need to be oriented just right (especially the micrometer die) but that's no big deal especially if you use the same turret hole for a given die. I could talk a lot about these dies. Definitely a massive improvement on a number of fronts. I got the dies (at first) for 300 Blackout because they were like a steal cheap and with that caliber there are so many different types of bullets it's just insane and with that I can zero the die and actually keep a log of my setting for various bullet types. Absolutely amazing.

    Also the way it grabs and seats the bullets is different than other dies. Many other dies grab on near the tip of the bullet, but the seating stem here comes down over the bullet more and centers it over the case mouth. Also the shell goes fully inside the die so it is supported during seating so you don't damage the bullet or have to try and cram in a bullet with excess force because of bad alignment. It keeps it all straight up and down.

    The resizing die is also on another level. People think dies are dies and SAAMI is SAAMI but not so. These are way more than I ever expected. Also another neat feature is if you get a stuck case you just unscrew the top portion and put a washer over the die stem and thread on a bolt that's about an inch tall and really fat. You just tighten it down until the expander is out of the case and you can tap out the case as needed. With Lee for example the expander and die stem are all one piece and they are not threaded so stuck cases can be a real pain in the ass. With Forster removing a stuck case is substantially easier without marring or damaging the die.

    ---

    Lock rings. Initially I was in love with the Forster Lock Rings because they keep the die very flush to the turret head... but I don't like them as much anymore. I am going with Hornady. I spent a little while playing around setting things up and here are the differences.

    Forster Rings:

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    They are made out of aluminum. They work great if you are going to just set them and let them be in one place forever. After getting the depth and orientation of the die just right if you tighten down the ring to lock it you will never get it off the press. That metal gives and expands and is like it's just glued onto the press turret. That's a good thing if you are changing turrets but since we are going to try one turret and just do caliber changes from time to time [instead of swapping out the head] using those rings you basically have to almost start all over every time you do a caliber change. Not entirely, but there is an easier way.

    Here on the other hand are Hornady Lock Rings:

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    First off they are steel and second off they have wrench flats. You can tighten the dies down to the specific depth, tighten up the lock rings, then use a wrench to loosen or tighten them without having to loosen the ring itself up which would alter your die setting. With the Forster lock rings if they get tightened down too much or even a little bit you can't get them off by hand. With the Hornady it's no problem. Just use the same turret hole for the same die and tighten it up as needed either by hand or snug it with a crescent wrench and you're good to go. Caliber changes are about as easy as unscrewing a die and putting another one in it's place.

    It's also worth noting that at least for most of my stuff you can put two calibers in place at once if you really want to do so. Say you are loading 9mm and .45ACP, or you plan to do so, you can set the 9mm on one set of holes and the .45 dies on another set of holes and go from there.

    That's the basic set up. I have more things to say obviously, but this is all a serious upgrade in equipment.

  2. #2
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    Alamo sweet setup brother. The ILF mounts are spot on and are some of the most solid mounts I have ever used. I own 4 now
    “Fast is fine, But accuracy is final.” Wyatt Earp

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by DISCOM View Post
    Alamo sweet setup brother. The ILF mounts are spot on and are some of the most solid mounts I have ever used. I own 4 now
    4?! What are you doing with so many? I guess just dedicated one to each station. The quick change plates are definitely a space saver and allow a lot more organization.

    I'm extremely impressed by their products for sure.

    I think I could get hooked on gear for reloading :)

    Now I just need a Dillon progressive press so I can pump out pistol ammo by the bucket full.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by alamo5000 View Post
    4?! What are you doing with so many? I guess just dedicated one to each station. The quick change plates are definitely a space saver and allow a lot more organization.
    I have looked at the quick change plates and they seem nice but, I also think moving big presses like I have would not be such a wise thing.

    2- Dillon XL650
    1- RCBS RC IV old but a great press and, I do most of my seating on this one.
    1- Lyman T-Mag turret press. OK press IMO but, has to much movement. Currently trying a friends Redding T-7 like yours
    My 300 blackout subs are seated using a Wilson inline micrometer seating die and a arbor press.

    If you end up getting a Dillon they are great presses and easy to upgrade.

    I have had friends Redding T-7 since last Monday and may soon ditch the T-Mag. Much better press.
    Last edited by DISCOM; 15 June 2019 at 20:06.
    “Fast is fine, But accuracy is final.” Wyatt Earp

  5. #5
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    I've been eyeing that RCBS Summit press. That one for forming and resizing brass, and use some Forster rifle dies. That would be awesome.

    Not sure if you watch but that guy on GavinToob did tons of tests and that one had the best performance of all single stage presses.

    I also like the Forster Coax but odds are I won't need so many presses.

    They make little wall mounts for the units that are not in use (for the QD system) so those will be put in the mix eventually. $20 bucks, why not.

    Moving the press around is not so bad but that T7 is heavy as hell. It must weigh 30 pounds. Just don't drop it on your foot.

    If I had more space I would probably go with a separate station for each thing but as is it has made a TON of room on the bench top.

    With that swappable top plate you could have a whole reloading set up in an apartment even.

    I do have to say that I'm very pleased with the press so far. I've never really played with a progressive press before so I have to see one in person and get some me time with it before shelling out that kind of coin.

  6. #6
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    Thought I'd tag on to this instead of starting a new thread.

    My question to the Alamo and any other reloaders in the group if they've developed any strong preferences over the years about where / how you set up your bench. E.g. height of bench (or press if you use a riser from IF), location of, say powder measure in relation to press, where on the bench do you like your press, etc. I'm building a new bench at home so am just trolling for additional ideas.

    I was going to build a reloading bench out at my property but decided instead to build a custom "built in" bench at home and move my Seville HD bench out to the property.

    I'll be mounting two flush mount quick change plates from Inline Fabrications in my bench. Generally, I'll have a vice on the left side and my Forster Co-Ax on the right side, but with the IF mounts I'll be able to remove both and have a full, clear, flat bench if I need it. Today, on the Seville HD bench I have a vice bolted down just right of center and my Forster Co-Ax mounted towards the right side, back a little bit, on 9" high Inline Fabrication mount. It's worked out well, but the vice kind of kills the table top space. My bench is in the garage in a recess, so nothing can hang over the sides. With the quick change system, it will be fairly easy to take my press with me out to the property when I want to load on sight. I'm building the top of my new bench at 39" high. Bench top will be butcher block that I'll probably give a medium wood tone stain. Any recommendations on good varnishes that hold up well to gun oils and solvents?

    "Before:"

  7. #7
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    It's hard to answer your question without seeing your space or knowing what you are reloading for exactly. That said here are a few pointers from my perspective. It's a long post so please pardon that. You know I am stupid about detail.

    First off you want to be able to have a good 'flow' to your work. That will dictate a ton of things right there. However the right flow for 9mm on a Dillon will be different than that of match grade rifle ammo. That all said I am a huge fan of sitting down like a civilized person in a comfortable chair when I reload. I definitely recommend inline fabrication and particularly their quick change plates but not the flush mount (not that it's bad but their other options are better IMO).

    I forgot exactly how tall my inline mount is but I think it's the medium height (I think 7 inches). If your inline mount is the one with QD plates they can/will make you a custom mount for your vice so you can take that completely off the table until you need it. You can hang whatever you are not using on the wall out of the way. Just unscrew two wing nuts, lift off your press, put the vice there and viola. It's absolutely perfect to open up space.

    I would not dedicate a space for the vice. It makes your work flow suck (sorry for being blunt). Put it on a QD plate and use it when you need it, but get it out of the way otherwise.

    As for where to put the powder measure, I put it right by the press (to the left) and in about a foot from the edge of the table. I leave enough space to work around it. In your picture put your charge master where the vice is at or even to the left or right as you see fit. I don't use a charge master. I just use a powder drop for now. I get a block that fits the right caliber and the right kind of funnels. The trick is to have an arm for the powder drop that extends far enough out and is tall enough to where you can fit your loading tray under it and move it around. I can charge 50 cases in almost no time. Just put the funnel on a case, actuate the lever to drop the charge and move on by simply sliding the tray around. I am sure there are way faster ways to do it but I am working with what I have until I can experiment with other options.

    Another thought on the inline fabrication mount(s). It looks like your Forster press is on a dedicated mount. If possible ditch that and get ONE quick change ultra mount at the correct height for you. 7 inches vs 9 inches won't make a big difference in the long run. I am not sure how familiar you are with inline products but doing multiple flush mounts is a waste of time and space if you ask me. Just get a single ultramount with QD plates for each component that you use or plan to use. Basically if I need my priming tool I can completely remove my entire press (T7) from my table top all together and put my priming tool in it's place.

    For me I work in different batches. I will do all my brass prep in one step (which is several steps). Say for example if I am loading 223 or 9mm or 45 or whatever... I will decap and size my cases. Usually I do big batches so it might take me a week to just decap and size. Then I tumble... sometimes it takes another few days because the barrel size is not big enough to hold all the brass at once. After I do that I will prime my cases in a separate action. By the time I am done I will have a bucket (3 or 5 gallon) completely full of nice primed brass. It usually winds up being thousands of cases at a time. I find 3 gallon buckets are easiest to work with myself. But I also buy lids for the buckets because once the brass is tumbled and primed I've found that if you leave it open to the air it can tarnish a little bit (nothing functionally wrong)...but if you put a bucket lid on it it keeps it nice for a very long time.

    So basically I have actual buckets full of say 10K primed 9mm brass. I am always open to new ideas to get each section done faster though. If/When I get a progressive press I will probably work out a different method. Or if I can figure out how to prime cases faster that would be nice too.

    When I want to shoot I can just drop powder and seat a bullet and that's it. The other day my brother and sister came over and some friends and they wanted to shoot. I charged and seated about 200 rounds in just a few minutes. On days when I just want to do something I will drop powder and seat bullets so I can have finished ammo on hand.

    As for your 'other property' I don't know if I would go through all that hassle. I am not sure exactly what kind of shooting you plan to do out there (pistol/long range precision etc)... but if I were you I would do your brass all (trim, clean, prime) and just get a little arbor press that you can haul out there to seat the bullets (provided you are doing precision rifle stuff).

    I've seen some people who even charge their cases and seat bullets super long and when they get to wherever they are going just finish seating with a small arbor press. Super easy. If you say wanted to do load development out there just take something to drop and weigh powder and then just use the little arbor press to seat as you go. MUCH less hassle.

    I am spoiled though because I can do all of it right here. I am not driving an hour to a shooting range so I don't have to have a mobile capability for 99% of my load development or whatever.

    Watch F Class John on youtube. He has a lot of great content. Erik Cortina as well. Gavin Gear (Ultimate Reloader) as well are three great subs to catch up on if you haven't done so already.

    The "ideal" set up (to me) depends on what I am trying to do. Bulk pistol is a bit different than ultra accurate match rifle etc. But based on your counter tops there you can get a TON of that stuff off the top of the desk and out of the way without losing any functionality or giving up any tools. The case prep center...move it to the closet until you need it. Get rid of the vice all together but mount it to a QD plate and hang it on the wall until you need it. The QD plates are $20 bucks each and you can get one for your Forster press or anything. They will make custom ones if you ask.

    You could even move the press mount over to the right a little more (giving you more space) and put your charging methods just to the left of that. Whether it's a chargemaster or a traditional drop it's up to you. But keeping the cases in a shell holder and leaving them sitting flat on the table top is very important (you won't spill or drop or knock stuff over if you do that).

    Here is a quick video of what exactly I am talking about. Get a plate for each component (such as the press/vice/primer tool, etc) and make more efficient use of space. I would put the chargemaster to the far left on your main table and maybe a powder drop with a stand in between the charge master and the press. You need to put that powder drop back more in the middle of the table though so you can simply slide your case tray in and out and around on a flat space as needed.

    All the rest of that stuff can go. Having your chargemaster on a different table top in my opinion made me raise my eyebrows and go 'why?!'... You can have more than enough space as is. On your other site just leave a way to drop powder out there and you can take an arbor press, or if you really wanted to have another QD mount out at the other place and just take your whole press with you. Lots and lots of options.

    Sorry about the rambling. It's after 1am and I can't sleep.


  8. #8
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    The biggest problem I see in your picture is basically carrying a tray of brass from one table top to another table top (that has a big fat vice in the way). And once you charge your cases you have to carefully meander around the world and physically pick up a tray of charged cases to move it to a completely different counter top (hoping you don't drop or spill something in that process)... and then trying to work around a vice all at the same time.

    It's just me but I would re-arrange in a minute to keep your trays of cases, especially charged cases flat on a table top at all times before seating happens.

  9. #9
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    Regarding the Inline Ultra Mount...one tip to determine height... find a chair that is comfortable to use while working. Sit down at your table top and imagine where your case will be when it's on the press. You don't want it down so low that your head is looking down. You want it at or just below eye level so you can see what's going on. If you are looking down a little bit or 'some' that's ok, but not flush with the table top.

    If you can just slide your tray of charged cases over you can pick up one case at a time and visually inspect to make sure there is no obvious over charge or whatever on your way to seating and not risk turning over a whole tray of charged brass in the process.

  10. #10
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    Name:  Capture.JPG
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    You can do all that and more from a single mounting station.

  11. #11
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    For the other location you can take a bucket of prepped brass and have a little press like this. There are a ton of options from cheap and basic on up...Just drop powder and seat.

    If you wanted to you could also just set up a ultra mount base at the other site and just take your entire press with you.


  12. #12
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    Another idea would be to put your chargemaster just to the left of where those ammo cases are stacked and at the same time move your press over towards the center about where your vice is currently located. You want your charge master or other charging system to be far enough forward to the front of your table to where you don't have to hunch over or 'reach' to get to it. Main thing is to have a clear "lane" from where you are charging to where you are seating. Once the cases are charged they shouldn't leave the table top. Just slide them over and start seating.

  13. #13
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    Thanks for the replies. Yes, everything will be going in QC plates, including the vise, and I'll be putting storage for the QC mounted items off to the side. The IF mount seen in the picture above will be converted to QC but it's going with the bench out to the property. So, I'll have a QC mount out there and then can just take out whatever I feel I need for the trip. Out there, I mostly want to be able to load ladders then hone in on what's working while I'm shooting. I doubt I'll do case prep. Generally, I try to load for precision more than volume, but I do see a Dillon in my future to support higher volume loading.

    The power measure was on a separate table for two reasons: 1) it isolates vibration caused by working the press from the powder dispenser, and 2) it created some extra space so I could leave it out. Even with this set up, I was dumping powder into cases in a tray on the main bench. I'm not so concerned about #1 anymore, but one reason I'm planning on two QC systems on the bench is so I can have multiple items mounted to the bench at one time. Sometimes I drop powder and seat the bullet in the same session so I like to have both out, so I'm thinking I'll get a QC plate for my Redding powder measure, too. But, yeah, I think I agree that working a flow from left to right will be more natural, so moving powder to the left side will be good. The other up-side I see to having two flush mounts is I get the extra flexibility in the layout.

    The new bench will have a bit of an L shape, in that it will extend out where you see the powder measure in the picture above, but it will be one contiguous bench. Am actually considering putting one of the flush mount plates over there. That might prove a useful spot for the vise, which I actually use quite a bit.

  14. #14
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    My next single stage is a Forster Co-Ax. Used one a few times and it’s awesome

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    ^^ those are nice presses

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