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Lee Classic Loader 22-250/243 questions

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by BoilerUP, Feb 20, 2008.

  1. BoilerUP

    BoilerUP Well-Known Member

    Hello all - another newbie here with some questions. I have done multiple searches, as well as read the "newbie equipment list" threads.

    I have a Ruger #1-V in 22-250 and a Remington 700BDL in .243 Win that I thoroughly enjoy shooting, now that I'm back in the midwest with access to land after a stint in the DC Metro area. For now I'll be shooting pretty low-volume, maybe 20 rounds of .243 and no more than 40 rounds of 22-250 every 4-6 weeks. I also shoot 9mm and .40SW, but that is a secondary concern at this point.

    I know I'd be better served long-term going with something like the Lee 4-Hole Turret Press to meet all my needs, but considering the lack of space I currently have living in an apartment (hopefully will be buying a house in 4-6 months) I'm interested in what you experienced folks think about Lee Classic Loaders. I've read many online articles about them, as well as watched YouTube videos and read the Beartooth Bullets Tech Notes on the Classic Loaders. I've considered a Lee Hand Press, and also a single-stage mounted on a small, portable bench or sawhorse for apartment use, but I keep coming back to the Lee Loaders for sheer simplicity and storage considerations.

    I'm not looking to win any shooting matches, only to make serviceable plinking and varmint/deer ammunition that is at least as accurate as bulk Winchester/Remington factory rounds in the immediate future.

    Is this reasonable approach, given my current situation? What would I need in addition to the Lee Loaders and components to produce quality ammunition (case cutter, primer pocket cleaner, case lube, reloading manuals, etc)? I'm definitely interested in those who previously or currently use Lee Classic Loaders for rifle ammunition.

    I thank everyone for their insight and advice....
  2. dagger dog

    dagger dog Well-Known Member

    you go to the bench rest shoots and you see guys there loading and seating bullets with the same type dies as the old Lee Loaders. the ones they use are Wilsons they cost more and probably are a little more accurate. but not by much.they load mucho more accurate ammo than most factory, and you can choose the bullets!

    heck with the Lee loader you even get the powder measure load data and all.
    if that doesn't cut the mustard you can up grade to their Aniversary Kit get the single stage press powder measure scale load book for less than 80$

    check out Midway U.S.A.'s web site for pricing and contents some times you can beat their price but you can't beat their service
  3. bullseye308

    bullseye308 Well-Known Member

    This may or may not help, but when I started I got the Lee anniversary kit and bolted it to a 2x6 then C clamped it to the coffee table. Wen you don't need it just stand it up in the closet. Everything else fits in a shoe box.
  4. BoilerUP

    BoilerUP Well-Known Member

    Thanks guys....anybody actually used the Lee Classic Loader for reloading rifle cartridges, albeit slowly? Observations/opinions are appreciated!
  5. dagger dog

    dagger dog Well-Known Member

    i haven't loaded rifle with the Lee Classic Loader but i have revolver ammo,
    .357 38 special. yeah it's slow compared to some one that does high volume reloading on a progressive system. but i found nothing more relaxing, than coming home from work on Thur. or Fri. eve and setting down to an old coffee table, that i called my reloading bench and pounding out 50 rnds of revolver ammo to take to the range on Sat.

    yes it'stime consuming but i got where i could do 50 rnds in about an hour.
    there are several steps extra in loading revolver,pistol ammo that you dont have to do with rifle like belling the case mouth and crimping etc. so the rifle ammo will be a little quicker after you get the hang of it.
    i used the batch system in this sequence: deprimed, lubed, sized , primed charged, seated, you did all 50 rnds each step instead of building 1 round at a time.
    with the rifle ammo you listed and out of the rifles you spoke of ,when you size you're only neck sizing the cases, this takes less time also. by neck sizing only you are coustom fitting the cases to that specific rifle that fireformed the case in the chamber. this gives an accuracy edge because the case doesn't have to go through the expansion sequence the second time it's fired in the rifle, also the neck of the case is aligned with the chamber.
    you can probably reload on your first try more accurate ammo than you could ever buy!

    the other plus how many times do you get to beat on a loaded bullet with a Hammer!
  6. tmccray45

    tmccray45 Well-Known Member

    I have the Classic Loader for my .243, 25-06, 270, 308, 30-06, 30-30, 7.62x39 and 7.62x54r and can tell you that they will do as nice a job as some of the "high priced spreads". And what do they run? Something like $20 a kit?

    Lots of times, when all I need to do is neck size a bunch of rounds, I'll run them through the Classic Loader instead of getting out the dies and setting up the press. In the end, the loads shoot as accurately as the ones that have been run through the press.

    Simplicity? Yup! Cost effective? You bet! Accurate ammo? You got it!

    What's not to like?
  7. BoilerUP

    BoilerUP Well-Known Member

    Well I picked up an old Lee Loader in 22-250 from a gun show last weekend for $10. After buying lube, a pound of powder, 200 primers, 100 50gr SPs and the Lee Reloading Book I was out a grand total of $66.

    I took about 20-30 minutes to carefully load my first round, using the instructions included in the old kit along with the Beartooth Bullets Tech Note. It went very smoothly, though the old kit's powder dipper wasn't calibrated in CCs. In short order I picked up a used scale (thanks dagger dog!) and found out that a red dipper marked "141" throws about 34 grains of W760. I've since gotten a reloading block and a powder funnel, with a lee case trimmer/length gauge, primer pocket cleaner, and bullet puller on the short list.

    So far I've reloaded 14 rounds because that's all the used brass I had. After doing the first reload I worked in a batch method to prep the cases which I think is more efficient. I loaded four with a full dipper charge, the rest using 37 grains of W760 as that checks as a safe load with the Hodgden website and the Lee manual. If I were really trying to crank reloads out out, I could probably do 40 per hour quite easily, perhaps more once I load a couple boxes and get a good routine down.

    Its not the fastest or easiest way to start into reloading, but thus far I've been pleased with the process and my investment and the fact everything packs away into a cheap dry box. I can't wait to get to the farm to throw them downrange!

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