Following in the tradition of the Reloader Special and the Rock Chucker, RCBS new Reloader Special 2 carries some unconventional features at a reasonable price….
The Origins Of The RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Press
RCBS, A COMPANY synonymous with longevity in the handloading field, has introduced a metallic cartridge loading tool that’s a followup to the Reloader Special. The new RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Press, is based on the original RCBS Reloader Special 2, is a less expensive and considerably different offering than RCBS’ Rock Chucker-or even the Reloader Special, its predecessor.
First of all, the Reloader Special 2 has the familiar RCBS “O” – frame design, but it is offset 30 degrees for convenient, left-hand access to the top of the press ram. The frame is made of 48,000 psi aircraft-type aluminum alloy which is lightweight but reportedly as strong as iron. The Reloader Special 2 is cataloged at 8¾ pounds, but mine weighs about 6½ pounds without shell holder, priming device, or primer catcher.
The RCBS Reloader Special 2 has two mounting holes about 3/8 inch in diameter and spaced 3-7/8 inches apart to attach the press frame to the bench. The mounting plate, an attachment surface mating with the bench top, is quite large, allowing for a secure, no-wobble setup.
The linkage of the RCBS Reloader Special 2 is designed so the press can be mounted flush with the face of the bench. The linkage does not buckle rearward to interfere with ram cycling like some other presses do. The Reloader Special 2 has a compound linkage handle/frame leverage design similar to the Rock Chucker.
Twin linkage bars attach to the press frame underneath the bench-mounting plate, unlike the Rock Chucker, where linkage bars attach to the bench-mounting plate. The top of the twin linkage bars are fastened to the frame with a thru-bolt which passes through the ram housing casting behind the ram. Each of the operating links is about 5½ inches long.
The three linkage pins in the RCBS Reloader Special 2 are held in position by half-moon spring clips which fasten into grooved recesses near either end of each pin. This spring clip fastening device secures the pins in place so they don’t slide laterally to jam the operating linkage or drop out, yet the fastening device permits a very short extension of the linkage pin beyond the linkage.
Unlike the Rock Chucker’s handle, which attaches outside the right-hand linkage bar, the handle of the RCBS Reloader Special 2 attaches between the linkage bars so the operating handle lines up with the forward portion of the “O’s” vertical supporting member when in the raised position. The handle is about 13 inches long, and the upper five inches of the rod-like grip are coated with a plastic/rubber material for a comfortable gripping surface.
Linkage bar is attached below press mounting plate. With linkage bar contacting linkage stop, the press ram is in the up position.
Primer ejection hole is located in the side of the press ram. The primer drops from opening into a plastic primer catching receptacle.
Linkage is designed to allow press to be mounted flush with face of loading bench.
Die receptacle is drilled and tapped into press frame. No bushing is needed.
Three linkage pins are securely held in place with half moon spring clips.
The threaded end of the operating handle slips through a hole in the linkage casting and is secured by tightening a nut. The press ram stop is incorporated into the toggle linkage casting. It is the same casting into which the operating handle fits and to which the ram and bottom portion of the linkage are attached. When the handle is in the lowered position to advance the press ram to the top of the stroke, the linkage buckles and the stop contacts the linkage bars.
On the press I received for testing, when the handle is in its lowest position and the ram is raised to the top of the stroke, it doesn’t pass top center like some other presses do. This makes die adjustment much easier on the Reloader Special 2. The RCBS Reloader Special 2 has a primer catcher, which is a plastic cup that fits closely around the rear of the press ram and is held securely in place by snapping two plastic “claws” onto the press frame.
The press ram is hollow for the top 1V* inches or so, and the primers are ejected down into the press ram’s interior; then they drop out of an opening in the side of the ram just above the primer catching cup. The cup has a “backboard” which extends upward an inch to deflect any bouncing primers into the receptacle. Priming on the new RCBS Reloader Special 2 press is also non conventional, although it is identical to the priming setup on RCBS’ Big Max.
Instead of having a conventional priming arm which swings into a ram recess and inserts primers into the base of the case, priming on the RCBS Reloader Special 2 is accomplished at the outside top of the “O” frame. To prime cases on the RCBS Reloader Special 2, any dies are first removed from the die receptacle in the top of the frame. Then the die-like device is threaded into the die receptacle.
It is slotted at the top to accept a standard shell holder and is drilled through for a priming punch extending upward through its center from below. The top of the press ram is fitted with a primer punch-holding receptacle somewhat resembling a shell holder. The punch holder is snapped into the top of the press ram just like a shell holder. Next, the priming punch is inserted into the top of the cup-like receptacle.
This supports the priming rod, and as the press ram is raised, the rod is extended upward through the priming die body to insert a primer into the case above. Priming on the RCBS Reloader Special 2 does take longer to set up than other presses since it requires turning the priming die body in and out and replacing the shellholder with the primer punch receptacle and primer punch.
However, after priming a good number of cases with the RCBS Reloader Special 2-type priming, a hand loader begins to prefer it. It’s an asset to be able to accomplish priming at the outside top of the press frame, where every-thing is easily accessible with the hands, and there are no vertical frame supporting members here to obstruct access. There isn’t a provision for an automatic primer feed on the Reloader Special 2 as on some other presses.
I have not been fond of most automatic primer feeding systems and rarely use them, so I don’t consider the lack of this provision to be a serious drawback. The vertical press frame opening of the RCBS Reloader Special 2 measures about four inches; the useable opening from the shell holder face, with the ram lowered to the top of the ram’s stroke, is about 3¼ or 3-3/8 inches. I found the RCBS Reloader Special 2 press to be large enough for loading long cases like the .375 H&H Magnum.
For the handloader wanting a quality press at a reasonable price, the Reloader Special 2 deserves serious consideration.
I had a quantity of .22-250 cases to load. I fitted an RCBS .22-250 sizing/-decapping die into the press frame and snapped in a shell holder. (The shell-holder slot has the conventional spring-clipping device.) Then I adjusted the die down to contact the top of the shell-holder at the top of the ram stroke and started full-length sizing .22-250 cases which had been fired in several rifles.
The first thing I noticed about the RCBS Reloader Special 2 is the operating handle sideplay which is not typical of other RCBS presses. Though the sideplay suggests tolerances may not be as close as on other presses, the play results primarily from the linkage design of the Reloader Special 2.
This has no effect on the close ram tolerances in the press frame. The ram fits the press frame precisely, and unlike other makes of presses, there is no “play” in the press ram. Furthermore, the ram is supported for about three inches of its vertical travel by the press frame casting. For these reasons, the handle sideplay is of no consequence.
I also found the primer-catching receptacle on the RCBS Reloader Special 2 quite efficient, trapping virtually every primer ejected.