June 8th, 2008

Workshop Project: Build a Wood Rack for Your Dies

We recently had a chance to visit John Adams, and to shoot his wickedly accurate 22 Dasher (3300 fps with 80gr Amax) at the monthly Pala Range Varmint Silhouette Match in Southern California. John, a founder of IHMSA and a former owner of SAECO Tool Company, has a vast collection of dies and reloading tools. While visiting John’s workshop, we were impressed with the wooden die rack he has constructed above his main reloading bench. This would be a great do-it-yourself project for your reloading room.

John’s Loading Die Rack is a simple flat plank of wood, about 3/4″ thick. It is mounted with wood side brackets to stand at eye-level above a tool chest. The Rack is set at about a 45° angle from vertical. This holds the dies securely, but they are still easy to move in and out of the rack. At the top rear is a flat section with a single row of dies mounted upright.

You can see that all the dies for a particular chambering are arranged in a column, one above the other. The die sets’ respective calibers are marked with highly visible labels made with a label-printing machine. John also has labels on many of the dies themselves.

Vintage RCBS Die Rack
Below is an older, metal die rack. These were once manufactured by RCBS, but they are no longer sold. John Adams managed to snag a couple from RCBS years ago. The design is handy, but you can achieve the same results with a home-made wood block (perhaps that’s why RCBS discontinued its metal rack).

Quick Access vs. the Rust Factor
WARNING: While it is handy to keep your dies in a rack, this leaves them exposed to the elements. If you reload in a basement or garage where it gets cold and damp, your dies will rust much more quickly out in the air than if they are kept enclosed in their original boxes, with a small desiccant pack. Always keep a thin layer of oil or corrosion blocker on your dies. We recommend Eezox or Corrosion-X for that task.

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