Chances are youve seen the
advertisement. Anywhere Press, it says and shows a picture of a portable
reloading press that, the verbiage suggests, will work most anywhere. Meacham T
& H, Inc. appears in the ad along with a telephone number and some Internet
Chances are also that unless your
shooting interests include Schuetzen or Black Powder Cartridge Rifle competition, the ad
didnt strike a cord. It turns out Meacham T & H, Inc. is Meacham
Tool and Hardware, whose owner Steve Meacham has been making restoration parts and loading
tools for over 20 years. Meacham also makes a first-rate reproduction of Winchesters
famed High Wall, the Model 1885 Single Shot. It is an accurate copy of the original down
to the mistakes, as Steve Garbe and Mike Venturino put it in a review that appeared
in the spring 1996 issue of the Black Powder Cartridge News. The only departure is the
addition of a Niedner-style bushed firing pin. It is available in several guises including
Schuetzen, Silhouette and Sporting with numerous options.
It is from this background and
clientele that one should view the Anywhere Press. Literature on the Anywhere Press begins
with a brochure that informs its readers what the press is and, happily, what it is not.
Included with the press is a four-page set of instructions that further explains the presss
To begin, the Anywhere Press is a
straight-line press using simple linkage that operates just the opposite of most presses,
that is, to raise the ram the operator must raise, rather than lower, the handle. It is
machined from aircraft-grade aluminum and anodized. It accepts standard shellholders and
is threaded for standard 7/8x14 reloading dies. The press body is about 11 1/4 inches in
length and 1 1/2 inches in diameter. It has an opening, or window, all the way through of
about 7/8 by 3 inches allowing cases to be accessed from both front and rear. The ram is
steel, about .875 inch in diameter and 4 1/4 inches long. Ram stroke is 3 inches.
The Anywhere Press is available
separately or in kit form, and accessories can be purchased individually. My press arrived
in kit form, which included the press, two docking plates, one for the top and
one for the bottom of the bench or surface onto which the press is to be mounted, and a
powder measure plate that attaches to the press and accepts a typical powder measure. The
docking plates are 3/4x4x4 5/8 inches and have four, 3/8x16 socket setscrews. Additional
docking plates are available in 1/2 and one inch thicknesses. The powder measure plate is
roughly 3/8x4x3 inches with a 7/8x14 threaded hole. It mounts to the press in a range of
As I set about to use the Anywhere
Press, I began by reading the instructions. They cover the advantages and limitations of
the press quite well although there are a couple of points that can stand emphasizing. The
docking plates do allow for mounting the press under a wide variety of conditions, but you
are not going to mount it to your dining or coffee table, whether you-know-who is home or
not! You could insert something between the docking plates and the mounting surface, but I
suggest it be mainly to correct an uneven surface rather than protect the surface.
Specifically, the socket setscrews must be tightened, and their ends will mar anything
they come in contact with. A plastic kitchen cutting board cut to size may be the best
such padding. Alternately, you can remove the docking plates entirely and
simply operate the press while holding it in your hands.
Operation is just the same as with
other presses, except for handle movement. The straight-line nature of the press assures
that there will be no springing. A shellholder is inserted into the top of the
ram as with other presses except it is not secured. This concerned me at first, but it is
not a problem. Cases are inserted into or removed from the shellholder at the bottom of
the stroke, and here the shellholder is held in place by the press body. This may be
changed, Meacham tells me, to accommodate a future tool under development. The act of case
manipulation is somewhat slower than with most other presses, but not that much. Being
able to touch the case from the front and rear makes handling quite safe.
Perhaps the easiest way to
understand the Anywhere Press is in the context in which it is most likely to be used. One
scenario is at a Schuetzen or benchrest competition where the competitors work from a
bench. Enough cases are prepared for a string, and reloading is done between relays. The
press and powder measure are mounted on the bench or shooting box; depriming and repriming
are done by hand. Neck sizing, if done at all, and bullet seating are done on the press.
When finished, the press and powder measure are stored away in the shooting box. For this
environment, which is Meachams customer base, the Anywhere Press is ideal.
Another scenario, perhaps more
readily identified by the rest of us, is load testing at the range. One situation might be
working with a single powder and seating depth. Full-length size and prime all the cases
you need at home on your bench-mounted press. Charge with powder and seat bullets at the
range. Shoot a group with the starting load, then increase the powder charge by a
predetermined increment and repeat. Keep this up until youre satisfied or the
maximum charge has been reached. Here a powder measure with a micrometer-adjustable screw
is very helpful. Determine the various settings at home using your scale. When the best
load has been determined, there will be no loaded rounds left to tear down or another trip
to the range required.
A second situation might be after
the powder charge has been determined and you wish to experiment with seating depth. Here
a seating die with a micrometer-adjustable seating stem is desirable. Prepare the cases at
home, throw the powder charges and seat the bullets at the range. The benefits are the
same as before: You make your decisions based on your targets, not on what you loaded at
home. For both of these situations, the Anywhere Press is well suited.
You will note I did not mention
full-length sizing on the Anywhere Press. Meacham said it best in the brochure: The
Anywhere Press will stand the stress, but your arm may not. I full-length sized
.30-30, .30-06 and .45-70 rifle cases and several handgun calibers. Id rather not do
it again. Between the relatively short handle and the simple linkage, it is not an easy
task. In its defense, however, decapped primers fell into the hollow ram to be disposed of
later. The operation was flawless, with no primers escaping their destiny. The ram is
easily removed for primer disposal and cleaning.
For me, the Anywhere Press is best
suited for neck sizing and bullet seating. In fact, given its straight-line design, it,
along with a straight-line bullet seating die, will produce ammunition as concentric as
you are likely to see. And that, coupled with its go anywhere nature, seems to
me, ought to be enough.
Meacham sent along another tool with
which I am extremely impressed. It is a Pope Style Re- and De-Capper. Tools, notably guns
and knives, sometimes reach a level that exceeds the sum of their parts due to exceptional
design or execution. This is one of those tools. It is made of steel and color
casehardened to perfection. Having had some experiences with color casehardening, both
good and bad, in the last couple years, I can honestly say Ive never seen better
work. The tool utilizes a shellholder for securing the case during priming. A
size-specific decapping rod is used for depriming. The decapping rod can be interchanged.
The shellholder can, too, but with less ease. The shellholder is held in place by a
bushing and can only be removed by disassembling the tool. It is not difficult, but I
suspect most of us will be happiest if we think of the tool as suitable for a family of
cartridges that share a common shellholder. At the end of one arm is a sharpened primer
pocket cleaner of the appropriate size. I requested mine in .45-70, and its performance
has been flawless. Sizes, with respect to the decapping rod, run the gamut from .22 to .50
Not all of us need a portable
reloading press, nor yet a hand-held de- and re-capper, no matter how well made, but those
of us who do wont be disappointed in Steve Meachams products.
For more information you can reach him at:
S.D. Meacham Tool & Hardware Co., Inc., 37052 Eberhardt Road, Peck ID 83545; or online
at: www.meachamrifles.com. - R.H. VanDenburg, Jr.