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TheAvenger
June 10, 2012, 10:43 PM
I am new to reloading and considering buying the Lee Classic Loader for .308 Winchester, I realize this is considered low tech but is it a good place to start?

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jcwit
June 10, 2012, 10:59 PM
Personnally I would start with a single stage press and dies. But then you initial cost is going to be much more than the $25/30 bucks the Lee Loader costs. It will get you started, it will teach you all the steps. Many claim they are way slow, but I have not found that to be the case, slightly slower than a single stage, but not by much.

You will produce quality ammo at a minimum of cost and your payback will be on the 1st or 2nd box of ammo produced.

Even then if you progress to bench presses you still have a set-up to take to the range and work up loads when needed.

Best to you

bds
June 10, 2012, 11:02 PM
Not sure how full-length resizing thicker military .308 cases is like with the Lee Classic Reloader and a hammer (perhaps someone with experience can post) but I would highly recommend any "O" ring type single stage press for reloading rifle cartridges.

Have you considered used? I usually see used single stage presses for $20-$40 in classified/Craigslist/gun shows.

Lee breech lock press is $59 - https://fsreloading.com/lee-breech-lock-challenger-90588.html

And the kit is $106 - https://fsreloading.com/lee-breech-lock-challenger-kit-90030.html

Mike 27
June 10, 2012, 11:17 PM
I have to second a single stage. Lee's sells the kits for about 125 or so add dies and components, a caliper and bullet puller your pretty much set. I started with a lee anniversary kit and got going for under 300 bucks....I still use it 4 years later, and have a progressive. I still go back to the single stage for all of my rifle and near max pistol rounds and use it for the collet bullet puller.

splithoof
June 10, 2012, 11:47 PM
Go ahead and buy it. If you learn to like reloading, you will very likely move up to a progressive machine of some sorts later. The Lee can be kept as a field expedient measure for your car or hunting cabin.

ArchAngelCD
June 10, 2012, 11:52 PM
Lee sells a very inexpensive single stage press and the dies are not expensive either. Like said above, that will do a much better job than a Lee Loader.

Josh45
June 11, 2012, 12:02 AM
I have to suggest using a Single Stage. It is pretty good for rifles.
The Lee Single Stage is a good press and is inexpensive. Plus, You won't be much in if you can get it used. Look around at Gun Shows or on forums.

GT1
June 11, 2012, 12:33 AM
If you aren't interested in a bolt down/bench option look at the Lee hand press, it is a real press and will do the job.

Reloading rifle is a little more than just having a press, however.

You should really pick up a reloading manual and spend time reading up before buying anything, it might help you decide what you want to do.

gamestalker
June 11, 2012, 12:41 AM
Look around for a used "O" single stage press. I've seen used RCBS single stages in the $25 range. Learning on the hammer style set up is going to be more likely to drive you away from the hobby. If you think about it, your still going to have to go all in for the other tools of the trade, calipers, dies, trimming set up, scale, loading blocks, tumbler, and books.

My Son decided to look around for single stage a couple years back, and within the first few days he found an RCBS RC for $25. And if it's an rCBS it's 100% covered by them for life, regardless of how old it is, or who you purchased it from.

GS

Lost Sheep
June 11, 2012, 01:02 AM
Thanks for asking our advice, TheAvenger.

Not sure how full-length resizing thicker military .308 cases is like with the Lee Classic Reloader and a hammer (perhaps someone with experience can post) but I would highly recommend any "O" ring type single stage press for reloading rifle cartridges.

Have you considered used? I usually see used single stage presses for $20-$40 in classified/Craigslist/gun shows.

Lee breech lock press is $59 - https://fsreloading.com/lee-breech-lock-challenger-90588.html

And the kit is $106 - https://fsreloading.com/lee-breech-lock-challenger-kit-90030.html
The Lee Loader does not full length size. It only neck sizes.

Never use a hammer. Steel on steel is not a good combination. Wooden mallet, rawhide mallet, hard rubber, plastic, even brass, but not a steel hammer.

Yes, it is a good place to start. Yes there are better ways to start.

The Lee Loader is used by a lot of shooters, it is inexpensive, portable and wielded with skill produces ammunition used even by match shooters.

Most people find a Press much more convenient to use.

Do get a scale. The dipper that comes with the Lee Loader limits your flexibility.

Do get calipers. Checking the dimensions of your components and your loaded rounds is good to be able to do.

Do wear eye protection when loading, especially with the "whack-a-round" loader, but also with any press. Do use ear protection when using the Lee Loader. Whacking the thing produces a lot of noise. The noise is not good for your ears (even though it is not that load, it is repetitive and cumulative) and the noise unnerves everyone around you, too.


Lost Sheep

greyling22
June 11, 2012, 01:15 AM
if you're reloading for a semi auto you'll need to full length size and the lee loader is out.

for a bolt action, well I echo lost sheep, it'll get the job done, but there are better options. However, for small quantities and a minimal investment of money and space, go for it. get the $20 lee safety scale. calipers, not so much needed as a starting out tool, but they are nice to have. Useful for more than just reloading too.

FROGO207
June 12, 2012, 07:17 AM
Yes the Lee Loader is inexpensive.
Yes it will load excellent quality ammo.
No it does not play well with semi auto firearms.
There a number of great options that are a lot better, some not that much more expensive.
With the Lee Loader you load one caliber and that's it.
With any other method you buy a "press" and by changing dies you can load just about anything once you spend the initial cash for the press.
Dies are relatively inexpensive considering.
I have several sets of Lee Loaders that I will show those that will ask how to do it on the cheap.
I tell them think of the cowboy sitting by the fire and loading up his revolver rounds that were used that day with black powder and bullets.
Then we load a batch on the single stage press.
Enough said:)

kingmt
June 12, 2012, 11:07 AM
You can start there but for me to answer your question: it isn't a good place to start unless it is all you can afford. For a few bucks more you can get a hand press or C press with dies. I'm not sure how good ether is for rifle. About $75 you could get a O press with dies that could take care of anything. For around $100 you could get a kit that could handle about any aspect of your reloading.

If you get a hand or C press then you still need a way to prime.

Legion489
June 13, 2012, 05:44 PM
I have used all the Lee pot metal presses, and I do not recommend them for any thing other than depriming and repriming. I have not used the Lee CAST CLASSIC presses (single stage or turret) but after the usual slug of "Oh Lee is so great" hokum, the reports that are coming out now are less than favorable. I am sure that some people have them and like them, but I do not recommend any low quality equipment, of any type, for any use.

What I DO recommend, before you do ANYTHING, is to have you read the LYMAN #49 or #48 manual, Lee MODERN RELOADING 2nd ed (ignore all the hokum about the "two year warranty" and "love it or your money back", in my experience they do not stand behind either), and DBI METALLIC CARTRIDGE RELOADING 3ed ed, which tell you what is good and what is junk as they don't sell anything. If your library doesn't have them, ask for them through the interlibrary loan system.

After that I recommend you buy a good quality single stage steel press, such as the RCBS ROCKCHUCKER. There is a reason RCBS, Dillon, Redding, Forster, etc, offer LIFETIME warranties for their equipment and low quality trash has a two year warranty, which the company doesn't stand behind anyway in my experience. A GOOD single stage will be useful to you no matter what you reload or what else you get down the line.

The reason I recommend ONLY high quality equipment, of any type, for any reason, is the low quality junk will not do what you want, wears out quickly, even if it does do it's job "well enough", which it might not, and is generally a source of aggrevation. Then if you want to continue do what ever, such as reloading, you now need to spend even MORE money buying the high quality stuff you will need, while the low quality stuff is worthless if you try to sell it.

If you are referring to the Lee LOADER KIT, which needs a hammer and uses a single die body to deprime, reprime, load, and seat the bullet, yes, it can load excellent ammo. It is S-L-O-W, needs a hammer to resize the case, does not full length resize rifle cases (neck sizes only for the most part) so you normally can NOT use them in a lever, pump or auto, and will drive you nutz after awhile. If you absolutely MUST have the absolute minimum of cost and size, then yes, go for it. They do cost the same as the Lee die sets, which I recommend by the way, and you will need a different kit for each cartridge, but they can get the job done.

If you buy the Lee Loader KIT, it will, as I said, cost as much as the Lee reloading dies, and you will need a different kit for each cartridge, and yes, a different set of dies for each cartridge, so that is a wash as far as cost, but the ease and ability to use the cartridges in different firearms (the kits often do not size the case enough to use in different chambers, and I have several sets of them so I know) is also a factor, as is the ability to expand the number of cartridges reloaded beyond what the Loader Kits are made for. Used quality presses are often found reasonably at sales and are life time tool, while the Lee Loader Kits are generally a "sometime" tool which most people quickly out grow.

kingmt
June 13, 2012, 06:10 PM
I'm starting to think they kicked your dog.

How much you want for that junk press?

jcwit
June 13, 2012, 08:07 PM
If you are referring to the Lee LOADER KIT, which needs a hammer and uses a single die body to deprime, reprime, load, and seat the bullet, yes, it can load excellent ammo. It is S-L-O-W, needs a hammer to resize the case, does not full length resize rifle cases (neck sizes only for the most part) so you normally can NOT use them in a lever, pump or auto, and will drive you nutz after awhile. If you absolutely MUST have the absolute minimum of cost and size, then yes, go for it. They do cost the same as the Lee die sets, which I recommend by the way, and you will need a different kit for each cartridge, but they can get the job done.

Not true that one must use a hammer. I have a Lee Loader in .223 and use a Sinclair arbor press with complete satisfaction.

BTW this is used in the same way as using L.E. Wilson dies.

I may not load quite as fast as using a single stage but its far from s-l-o-w.

greyling22
June 16, 2012, 01:44 AM
Everybody can have a bad experience with something, and they're welcome to their opinions, but my personal experience just doesn't match up with paragraph/soapbox 1,2 & part of 3 of Legion's post. The library was a good suggestion.

RustyFN
June 26, 2012, 06:12 PM
Everybody can have a bad experience with something, and they're welcome to their opinions, but my personal experience just doesn't match up with paragraph/soapbox 1,2 & part of 3 of Legion's post. The library was a good suggestion.

Mine either. The best part is he doesn't have any experience but knows everything about it and calls it junk. Makes one wonder how much value there is in his other advice that he probably doesn't have experience with either.

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