April 6th, 2008

RCBS Partner Press

Compact in size, and weighing just 5.3 lbs., the RCBS Partner Press is popular with 100/200 yard benchresters who load at the range between match relays. Made of cast aluminum with a steel compound-leverage linkage, the Partner press is small enough to fit in a toolbox, and light enough that it can easily be moved from truck to loading table. Natchez Shooters Supply has the Partner press on sale currently for $58.20. Elsewhere you’ll see it priced from $60.00-70.00.

While we prefer something beefier for heavy case-forming duties, the Partner is a good portable press that you can take to the range or on a varminting trip. In the shop, it has a small footprint, so it doesn’t take much space on your bench. The Partner handles full-length sizing of smaller cases such as the 22-250 and 6mmBR with ease. The big ball handle is comfortable and there is enough leverage to handle most tasks. This press WILL load accurate ammo — last week we tunnel-tested 220 Russian ammo loaded on a Partner press. (Bullet seating was done with hand dies on an arbor press.) That ammo produced three-shot groups in the ones and zeros.

Negatives? We would NOT use the Partner for heavy case-forming duties, and the Partner is not designed for large magnums or very long cases. The press is less rigid than its RCBS RockChucker Big Brother and the priming system is inefficient. As with most presses we recommend you use a separate tool for priming.

Still, given its price and intended purpose, the Partner performs admirably. The Partner is also a good choice if you’re looking for a small, secondary press to mount on a portable workstand, so you can de-cap cases or seat bullets while watching TV or working indoors.

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