I’ve recently began reloading pistol and rifle ammunition, and use both single-stage and turret presses for these tasks. My workbench is eight feet long, but I didn’t want to mount both presses to the surface because it consumes so much table-top real estate. This is where the Bench Plate (model 90251 by Lee Precision) comes in handy. The Lee Bench Plate allows you to mount a reloading press and quickly change it out with another. For someone who actively builds pistol ammo on the turret press and precision rifle ammo on the single stage press, and item like this is invaluable. In this review, GunWarrior evaluates the Lee Bench Plate 90251 kit.
The Lee Bench Plate includes two blank wood base blocks, and one base block (template) pre-drilled for every current press in the Lee Precision line. There is a steel Bench Base Plate, two Z-Brackets, and Philip’s pan head screws for securing the brackets to the steel plate. Kit 90251 includes six ‘Short Bench Plate Bolts’, and three ‘Elevator Bolts’. All of the bolts are elevator bolts by definition: very similar to carriage bolt, but instead of a round cap these bolts are completely flat and low-profile. Despite a name like ‘Short Bench Plate Bolts’, and even though there are a matching number of mounting holes in the steel plate, the bolts are all intended to be used in conjunction with the Elevator Bolts for mounting a press onto wood base blocks – not to the bench. You must choose and supply the hardware for mounting the Lee Bench Plate to your work area.
Since my single-stage and turret presses both have a tall base, only the longer ‘Elevator Bolt’ fit them. The problem was that only three were included, which is enough for one press. After discussing this matter with John Lee, the president of Lee Precision, he explained that most other Lee press bases are not as tall, and that a revised instruction card (click link for PDF) would rename the ‘Short Bench Plate Bolt’ to ‘Short Elevator Bolt’. I think this would help, and people would not expect the bolts to be used for mounting the kit to their bench. Including six tall elevator bolts would also be suggested, since the Lee single-stage and turret presses are among the most popular.
Aside from having an adequate number of elevator bolts for my presses, installation was simple and strait-forward. I ultimately used carriage bolts to mount my single-stage kit to the wood base block, but they leave small scratches in the steel base plate and raise the height enough to where the wood doesn’t mount flush. It works, but another set of tall elevator bolts would be suggested (SKU: FQ1835).
As of July 2011 the Lee Bench Plate 90251 kit was available at TheGunSource for $26. This kit is widely available online, so shop around and compare prices.