Lee Handloader


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andcam
January 2, 2008, 05:23 AM
I would like to ask if anyone has had any experience with the Lee handloader. I am considering testing the waters as to reloading and would just like a simple/cheap way to learn and experiment before I take the plunge. It seems to me as a simple, inexpensive way to learn the process before I get all crazy with it...haha!

I'm looking into reloading for .40 s&w, as that what I shoot with the most...the wife is starting to get mad at the size of the "ammo budget"!

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msmyth
January 2, 2008, 06:15 AM
I started out with one 30 years ago. Painfully slow, BUT, very inexpensive. Some people don't like the way you seat primers, but, if it wasn't safe, they wouldn't be making them still today. Give it a try. If you don't like it, you won't be out that much.

uk roe hunter
January 2, 2008, 06:37 AM
i also started with them, they are slow.... but i have never matched the accuracy results. they are great.

steve

Sgt.Dusk
January 2, 2008, 07:58 AM
Dont know about rifle calibers, but with pistol/revolver calibers classic loader
is just great. Started my reloading with .357 set and did about 5000 with
it until I REALLY got tired of all that hammering and bought a press.

Sigma 40 Blaster
January 2, 2008, 08:09 AM
It would be very SLOW, TEDIOUS, and PAINFUL for any bulk loading. I think you can get a Lee 50th Anniversary kit for under 100, you can get a Lee Pro 1000 for 130.00. Good low cost equipment to see if this bug bites you or not.

I opted for a Lee Pro 1000 when starting out, just got my Dillon 550 in today. Pretty much any choice you make will save you some serious money and pay for itself in the long run.

lee n. field
January 2, 2008, 09:44 AM
Lee handloader

Lee Loader or Lee Hand Press?

PsychoKnight
January 2, 2008, 11:23 AM
Quote:
Lee handloader

Lee Loader or Lee Hand Press?

Yep, makes a big difference.

I don't know why Lee even makes the Lee Loader anymore. Hammering ammunition together just doesn't make sense in this day and age. Maybe during the depression (the 1930's, not the one we are entering), but not in the 21st cent U.S. Getting a Lee Loader to decide if loading is for you will probably turn you off to reloading. 2 hrs for 3-40 rounds of anything would just kill me. Even a the Lee Hand Press is a pain, and only used as a field press for small test batches of 5 or 10 rnds.

At the very least, start with an inexpensive single stage, like the Lee Breech Lock Challenger. Get it in kit form and you'll save even more.

Monkeybear
January 2, 2008, 11:46 AM
I got mine in .357 for about $12. It was great to have. I loaded maybe 300 rounds though it before I purchased a Lee Turret and I personally felt better about my ability to monitor and produce safe ammo after spending some time with it. I still used it from time to time until I sold my reloading gear along with most of my guns. Now that I am back on my feet I am looking a Lee Classic Turret and will likely order one of the Classic Loaders in every caliber I own a gun in.

I think that it is great if you are a little nervous about reloading. Its really gets you intimately familiar with the reloading process

Owens
January 2, 2008, 12:30 PM
FWIW, the Lee handloader is a cheap substitute for the Wilson handloading dies (used with a small arbor press). The Wilson dies are what most benchrest competitors use for extreme accuracy, although it is only 1 part of the accuracy puzzle.

ranger335v
January 2, 2008, 01:07 PM
No one considering the Lee hand loader is expecting to load for match shooting of a few hundred rounds so that argument is irrelivant to this poster.

Fact is, the Lee Hand Loader is a marvel of enginering simplicity and sophistication. Even if the owner gets deeper into loading later he will not reqret spending a few bucks on the small tool. The objective to using a press or hammer to insert a case into a die is to put it in there, there is no magic in either method

The Loaders are on Ebay frequently, just wait for your caliber to show up.

dstark
January 2, 2008, 02:31 PM
I'm looking into reloading for .40 s&w, as that what I shoot with the most...the wife is starting to get mad at the size of the "ammo budget

If you are talking about the 'lee loader', they don't make it in .40S&W. As for the .223, .270, and .357 that I use it works great. I do it more of a hobby than to stock up for WWIII. As for why they don't make it in .40S&W, lee says the demand is not large enough for them to produce it.

andcam
January 2, 2008, 04:11 PM
Sorry about the confusion, I was asking about the hand press..."new guy blundering into the unknown" syndrome. I've heard good things about the Dillon reloaders so if I really start to get serious into reloading I would consider getting one of those. Thank you all for the information!

zac4551
January 2, 2008, 04:41 PM
It will get real old trying to load ammo that way. Have you thought about lees annivesary kit that comes with the scale, primer and other accesories for less that $100 ? They also sell cheap presses like this that will be a million times easier to load on. http://wideners.com/itemdetail.cfm?item_id=6536&dir=210|212|237

I would personally go with a turret if I was just starting out, It is fairly cheap(only $81 for the entire kit minus dies) and you can crank out a fair amount of ammo in a short time. They are easy to learn on and good enough to keep up with your needs. By the time you buy the handloader and a scale you will be around this price anyways. And if you decide you dont like it you can sell it and not lose much.

http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/templates/product/standard-item.jsp?_DARGS=/cabelas/en/common/catalog/item-link.jsp_A&_DAV=MainCatcat602007-cat20847&id=0032404215922a&navCount=4&podId=0032404&parentId=cat20847&masterpathid=&navAction=push&catalogCode=2UG&rid=&parentType=index&indexId=cat20847&hasJS=true

JonB
January 2, 2008, 05:17 PM
I use a Lee Hand Press for 10mm, 9mm and .223 so far. Is it the fastest way? No. But if you don't shoot a lot you can easily keep up. I loaded 200 rounds of 9mm in about 4.5 hours on a Saturday afternoon. I don't see it being any slower than a single stage press - it just takes up less room and you don't have to mount it to anything.

Handloader kit was 25 bucks from Cabelas. I added a digital scale, digital calipers, and of course dies to get started.

Since then I have added a Lee AutoPrime - very fast way to prime cases vs the ram prime deal that came with the Hand Press kit. Also added a case tumbler and media 'cuz I like shiny brass.

A turret would allow you to set it all up and crank out the rounds faster and would probably be the way to go if you have space for a press to be mounted and have the need to make rounds faster. Where I live its too damn cold to shoot this time of year (except indoor pistol range) and I enjoy the reloading 'hobby' so the time factor doesn't bother me.

lee n. field
January 2, 2008, 05:37 PM
Sorry about the confusion, I was asking about the hand press...

The hand press is extremely handy. Somewhat sucky ergonomics. Not quite as fast as a bench mounted press because you always have to have one hand on the press.

Mine gets a lot of use.

I am considering testing the waters as to reloading and would just like a simple/cheap way to learn and experiment before I take the plunge. It seems to me as a simple, inexpensive way to learn the process before I get all crazy with it...haha!

The Lee Hand Press is the absolute minimum press to get you into reloading. For your stated purpose it will work find.

dwhite
January 2, 2008, 07:23 PM
I've had a Lee Hand Press for about nine months now. I use it for loading 38 Special, 357 Mag, and 40 S&W. My problem was space in my small house. I have a folding table to load on which is not stable enough for an "O" frame press.

Thus far I'm pleased with it. I shoot 200 rounds or so every couple of weeks. I can knock out about 50 rounds in 45 minutes so three or four hours and I've got range ammo. It's not terribly fast but it gets the job done more than adequately. The only problem is the ram is hollow and collects the spent primers as they are de-capped. If you don't empty it before it's completely full it gets very difficult to take the shell holder off to empty it. I believe being slow tends to make you more aware of each step in the process, especially powder charging and bullet seating.

Buy one. You'll enjoy it. You'll easily recoup the cost with just a few boxes of ammo.

All the Best,
Doug White

mallc
January 2, 2008, 07:37 PM
I have a Lee Hand Press. It's a cool idea but a lot of work. Go to Lee's website and download the operating instructions. That will tell you how you operate the press.

I recommend the Lee Anniversary Kit. The cost difference is small and you get a lot more equipment that you'll have to buy anyway. You'll make a lot more ammo and be a lot happier.

Scott

Bringsteen
January 2, 2008, 07:40 PM
But I will be getting a turret model when I can afford it and live in a house.

I love my hand press. I reload 10mm, and can churn out 100 rounds in two hours. I had the presence of mind to invest in carbide dies, which allow me to skip the lubrication and delubrication processes. Brass moves nice and easy with the carbide sizing ring. Coupled with my cheap hand priming tool, things move pretty quickly. Once I move from dippers to a powder thrower, things will move even more quickly.

I live in an apartment so using the hand press was my only option. It is a great way to learn. It is also nice because once you get a bench press, you can still bring your hand press to the range to do some testing. You could also use it at home to do assembly-line reloading, if you can get someone to join you.

Go for it. You will be glad you made the investment.

JNewell
January 2, 2008, 08:24 PM
The hand press will always be at least a little useful to you - at the range or cabin, for example. Yes, it's a very good way to test the waters, and is uses the same dies regular presses use.

Asherdan
January 2, 2008, 08:26 PM
I load with the Lee hand press in 44 Mag and 45-70. Works fine and I can turn out 50 an hour with no rush. I do think you'd come out about at the same cost as the Challenger Anniversary Kit regardless of press choice as you'll still need the kit tools plus some others. Considering that, if you have the space I'd go with the Challenger kit, reviews of the press are good and you'll always get value out of a single stage press if reloading suits you.

jd70
January 3, 2008, 12:19 AM
I have loaded with a Lee hand press for several years, in everything from 9mm to 45/70. It is a little slow, but I bought it for 16 bucks! It paid for its self very quickly and takes up very little space. If you want to test the reloading waters for not a lot of money, or have very little space it's hard to beat. If you do like reloading you can get another press later and you will still find yourself useing it occasionally when your other press is set up and you would like to reload another cartridge fast.

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