• Press Base Mark II

      On my last vacation, I took my smallest press and some loading kit along to help pass the time.

      Usually, I would bolt the press to a piece of 38mm pine, and C-clamp the pine to a table or rigid surface with custom shaped mouse pads between so as not to mark the surfaces. On this occasion, there was no adequate rigid table surface available, and I had to make do with a flexing countertop.

      The loading went ok, but the whole excercise was sufficiently irritating for me to go and make a free-standing, stable reloading press stand and base that were reasonably portable.

      The criteria I used for portability were :

      • MUST be totally free-standing
      • able to be lifted and carried up stairs by one person
      • handles to facilitate a two-man carry
      • easily fit inside the trunk of a small car
      • quick set-up
      • quick take-down

      and of course

      • a stable, rigid base for a reloading press

      I used the same method as for the Reloading Press Mark I, the difference being that the concrete base section and metal stand separate, and that the design allows me to use any of my presses on the same stand.

  • Unit Assembled

      The entire stand is at a comfortable height for working from a standard chair. I used a 20 liter plastic washing basin as the base for this. The large circular plate was a piece of scrap found on a farm. Once I stripped the paint I found it was actually stainless steel, but any mild steel of at least 3mm thick would do.

      The upright is a 70mm tube of 2mm wall thickness. I made the height to suit me seated.

      The plate on the press stand tube and the mount-plate on the press are 3mm mild steel. This is rigid enough, a thicker plate just adds weight.

      Bolts are 5mm, four of them hold the press to the stand. I used the same size to bolt the press to it's plate.

  • Unit Dis-Assembled

      The base seperates from the upright, which also seperates from the press itself.

      This makes it easy to pack inside a trunk with the rest of the luggage.

  • Press Mount-Plate

      The actual mount plate on the upright has four holes, one in each corner.

      The press is bolted to it's mount plate with tapered head machine screws. The heads sit flush with the bottom of the mount plate, and so do not interfere with the seating on the press stand.

  • Press Removal 1

      This shows the press with it's mount-plate being removed from the press stand. Note the plate below it which is the top of the stand,

  • The Naked Press

      The stand with the press removed.

  • Press Detatched

      A Lee Loadmaster Press with it's mount plate. The mount-plate on the press does not need to be removed, and remains permanently on the press.

  • Press Underside

      The underside of the press mount-plate has a custom shaped and fitted mousepad. I put that between the press mount-plate and the press stand to save scratching the paint surfaces. It also acts as a vibration dampener.

  • Press Stand 1

      The press stand is bolted to the press base with four nuts. I used dome nuts to protect the threads while transporting and moving around.

      The press stand with the nuts removed, and the stand ready to detatch from the base.

  • Press Stand 2

      Press stand off the base. Note the fender washers that are between the press stand and press base.

  • Press Stand 3

      Press stand and press base seperated, and all washers removed. The nuts locking the threaded bar to the base are visible.

  • Press Mount-Plate Underside

      Showing the underside of the press mount-plate. Tapered machine screws hold the press to the press mount-plate. The four bolts are for the bolts to fix the mount-plate to the press stand.

  • Challenger Mount Plate

      Showing a mount plate with it's Challenger press attatched. The four bolt holes match the holes in the press stand. This allows the same press stand to fit either press.

  • Conclusion

      This unit works well where a free-standing, stable base is needed where a bench is not available. It works equally well with a Lee Loadmaster and Lee Challenger.

      This size unit it too light for any press that primes on the upstroke, like the Hornady LnL. Priming on the upstroke required a force that acts to tip the press backwards, which this design does not compensate for.

      The Lee Loadmaster looks like a large press, but it is aluminium, and so it's light. My Lyman T-Mag II is heavier. The weight of it, together with it's compact dimensions make it a good choice for a portable press.

      The Challenger is a bit smaller, but unless you need to load longer rifle cases, the progressive capability of the Loadmaster makes reloading more convenient.

      Volumetrically, the difference between the Lee Loadmaster and Challenger that I have with their mount plates attatched is not enough to make one preferable to the other.

      The field trial of the setup went smoothly. Using the Lee Loadmaster, I get a little flex on the downstroke, which is because of the resistance of four cases in four dies simultaneously. Cycling the press with one or two cases on the shellplate at a time goes very smoothly without the flex, so if I lube the cases before reloading I should get no flex at all with a full shellplate.