lee hand press


March 6, 2008, 10:22 PM
Iím going to get in to reloading but I have no room for a bench press can I use a lee hand press.
How does it work. can I use normal dies, is it hard to use, is it a good press, does it work or is it junk.
I will be loading 600 rounds of 38/357 a year I hope to shoot more this year maybe 1000 rounds


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March 6, 2008, 10:41 PM
It works fine - I use one for collet sizing .308 and .22-250 rounds.


I'd suggest an RCBS Partner press, which you can then screw/bolt onto a piece of 2x4, which can then be clamped to your favorite work surface.

Those folding black&decker workmate things are nice too.

March 6, 2008, 10:44 PM
I've been wanting to get one for a while too. I've heard they're fine for low volume shooters although a bit of a workout for rifle shooters.

March 6, 2008, 10:47 PM
I have a couple Lee Hand Presses.
For the amount of loading you intend to do it will serve you quite well.
You can buy these as a kit already to go, all you need are the components.

I would suggest you invest in a Lee Auto Primer hand tool and table top powder drop measure if you want to speed things up a bit but the powder dipper and ram mounted primer seater that come in the kits will work just fine.

March 6, 2008, 10:58 PM
I've got a Lee Classic I bolted to a 2 x 6 and have subsequently C-clamped to lots of hotel writing desks in the last couple of years. I just need to plan ahead what and how many I want to load while I'm on the road. The whole set up packs into a Rubbermaid box smaller than a lot of folks coolers. This set up also works when it is a cozy 22 degrees Farenheight in the garage and I want to move things into the house. I can't speak for the hand press but I will admit that I have contemplated that equipment for the range....

March 6, 2008, 11:08 PM
i used the lee hand press for thousands of rounds prior to buying a pro1000. it is great and versatile. good way to get into reloading. it is a bit slow. about 50 an hour. good for sitting infront of the tv, and teaches you the process well.

March 6, 2008, 11:12 PM
I also have a Lee hand press and have used it both for decapping only and for loading ammunition. I did about 100 an hour or so.

I personally wouldn't do more than decap in front of the T.V.

loud-mouth shnook
March 7, 2008, 12:34 AM
I've had one for about 2 years and loaded about 4000 rounds on it through that time. I use a balance scale along with dippers and a trickler to absolutely nail down the consistency and charge-weight accuracy.

I love it, personally. You can even put together a modular, portable reloading station that fits in to a couple of small bags and then into a larger one.

Granted, so far I've only loaded handgun cartridges with it so I have no input re: rifle cartridges. I hope to change that soon, however.

+1 about the Lee Auto-Prime. It's hap'nin'.

Note: If you do put together a portable setup, use extreme caution when transporting primers.

lee n. field
March 7, 2008, 08:14 AM
I will be loading 600 rounds of 38/357 a year I hope to shoot more this year maybe 1000 rounds

For what you'd be doing, the Lee Hand Press would do fine.

March 7, 2008, 10:34 AM
I use the Lee Hand press for 9mm, 10m, and .223. It's a bit slow but for low volume shooting its perfectly acceptable. If your round count is 1000 per year - you are good to go.
To make it fast, get the let hand prime - that will save a bunch of time. The biggest time factor using the hand press is the powder. I have to weigh each load on a small digital scale so it take time. But as fas as the sizing, deprime, bullet seating it definitely works. I went with the Lee dies that include the Factory Crimp die which add a separate step as well.

For the price and the convenience of being able to stick all your reloading stuff in a small rubbermaid tub its worth it.

March 7, 2008, 12:20 PM
How does it work.
You just squeeze it shut to open, a two handed operation.

...can I use normal dies...

...is it hard to use...
Straight walled pistol or slight taper rifle like the 45/70 are smooth & easy. I do 44 Mag and 45/70 with one. Carbide die set for the 44 simplifies things.

...is it a good press, does it work or is it junk.
38/357 is perfect for it. It works well for it's purpose. Not fast but convenient.

I will be loading 600 rounds of 38/357 a year I hope to shoot more this year maybe 1000 rounds.
For that volume this is an inexpensive and decent tool. As others have mentioned, the hand prime would be a very useful addition. I'd also look at adding a powder measure, scale, calipers and manual along with the die set. I store my stuff in a milk crate and take it to work so I can size, bell and prime on lunch and save the quiet time at home for dropping powder and seating bullets.

March 7, 2008, 03:00 PM
I've got two of them. Over the last thirty years I've used four different progressives and a several conventional single stage presses. I got rid of all that gear and now use the Lee Hand Press exclusively. I only load .38/.357 and .44 handgun ammo. If my cases are clean and deprimed I can load 600 rounds in a day. Lately, I only do 200 rounds at a time because my old arms start to cramp up towards the end of the session. Best of all, my Forster case trimmer, Lil' Dandy powder measure and rotors, 505 scale, two presses, two sets of dies, hand priming tool, brass, bullets, powder and primers, all fit in a standard size gym/duffle bag. I have the case trimmer and the stand for the powder measure screwed to a small wooden cutting board and with a little bubble wrap, everything stacks in very securely. I use this set-up at home, but it also makes the perfect travel loading rig. I can be set up and ready to load in about five minutes in a hotel room or even in a moving car. Another bonus from using one of these presses is the arm and shoulder workout you can get, especially if you run off a few hundred rounds. And when your arms get sore you can even squeeze it between your knees like that exercise rig that Suzanne Sommers used to sell, the ThighMaster. Inexpensive ammunition and a good exercise workout from one machine. It doesn't get any better than that.

March 7, 2008, 03:36 PM
Get started reloading, and I bet you wind up shooting more than that. :)

March 7, 2008, 11:29 PM
Use a dipper to measure powder. Just figure out what volume you need, and go from there. With my benchrest rifles, I don't think I've weighed powder in some time... My Harrell measure has repeatable clicks, so I just use that.

March 8, 2008, 03:15 PM
thanks for all the help i will be getting it from
cabelas if i get the kit what else do i need
other then dies and shell holder

March 8, 2008, 07:15 PM
I've read in several posts how the hand press gives you a real work out for rifle loads. How would it work for the situation where you only neck size rifle loads?

March 8, 2008, 10:31 PM
My experience with the Lee hand press (45 colt) was OK, but it was pretty springy, which would probably make getting rifle dies set up (particularly FL sizing) a little trickier.


March 8, 2008, 10:45 PM
Like it has been said they are good for apartment dwellers and also good for working up loads at the range. I would only use one on straight walled rounds no bottle necks unless its like .223. I also agree with picking up a hand primer and a powder measurer. You can use the dippers but you would have to buy a set or two to get all the weights you wanted unless you were willing to settle with one size charge. I am going to pick a hand press up here afterwhile. I am back in an apartment and don't have the room to get all my stuff set up.

March 9, 2008, 10:45 PM
i have some RCBS dies can i use them i the HP or will i have to get new dies
thanks for all the help

March 10, 2008, 04:37 PM
just ordered the lee from cabelas for 38$ it will be here in 6 days should i get dies or can i use RCBS that i have

March 10, 2008, 09:09 PM
The Lee Hand Press should take all standard threaded dies.

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