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Lee Classic Loaders users: 8oz, 12oz, or 16oz hammer?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by luvit, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. luvit

    luvit Well-Known Member

    I know some calibers require more force than other calibers to get a case into the die.
    I have an injured arm and prefer to not to have too much of a hammer.
    • 9mm is an easy case per die, would the 8oz hammer be good?

    • What caliber do you reload and what is your hammer weight?
    • Is your hammer just right? or a tad too heavy?

    i know it should be a plastic/nylon hammer.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2013
  2. DonP

    DonP Well-Known Member

    I do several calibers with Lee Loaders, just for the fun and feeling of accomplishment I get from doing it all by hand.

    I have a Lee Turret and dies, but the hands on feel of the loader is just a nice way to spend time at the kitchen table on a rainy, snowy day. I use an old wooden bar stool for the hammering part of the process.

    I have a Vaughan 8 ounce hammer with yellow plastic on one side and hard rubber on the other. That manages to do 9 mm, 38 special, .357 Mag and even 45 Colt as well as 30-06 and .223. On the 45 Colt I lube the case a little to make it a tad easier to hammer into the die body.

    Just watch how you hold the die while you're pounding the brass in to size it. I have had more than a few blood blisters where I hit the web of my hand trying a little too hard to get that last of the brass into the die body.
  3. luvit

    luvit Well-Known Member

    8oz is good to know for all those calibers. i've see people using 12-16oz hammers, and they still tap several times vs. a few firm hits.. (one the easier calibers).
  4. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Well-Known Member

    No no no!

    Do not use a hammer.

    Steel on steel gives a very sharp blow, which could set off a primer and which peens the die, too. Neither of these is good.

    Use a mallet. Wood, rawhide, hard rubber, plastic. Maybe even brass. NOT STEEL.

    Weight? Up to you.

    Some people use a series of gentle taps until the primer is seated, holding the opinion that slow and gentle (much like seating in a press) is the way to go. This can be done with a 6 oz brass (hammer) as easily as a 4 lb sledge (dropped gently from an inch and a half high).

    Some people use one, carefully regulated smack (e.g. the 4 lb sledge dropped gently from 4 inches or so). Once you figure out the velocity it takes to seat your primers in your brass, you just give it that same smack each time.

    Some people just get a $20 hand primer and do it twice as fast with a tenth the noise.

    If you MUST use a steel hammer, put a piece of hard board between the die and the hammer.

    Any weight will do. Try different ones and see which is easiest for you to manipulate. ("Tap, tap, tap" with a small one or "Thump, thump, thump" with a heavy one or one big "THUNK" with a heavy one or quietly squeeze with a hand tool.)

    Good luck.
  5. luvit

    luvit Well-Known Member

    i'm aware of it should be a soft face hammer, preferably plastic or nylon.
    sorry for any confusion.
    but if it's working with an 8oz hammer for someone, that's what i'll start with.
    I hope to only have to buy one hammer and not multiple hammers to figure it out.
  6. 243winxb

    243winxb Well-Known Member

    On wifes Weight Watchers scale, it comes in at 7 1/4 oz. Plastic head, wood handle. Has not been used in about 30+ years on a "hammer loader" If buying a hammer now, i would go a little heavier . Using some lube on the brass might not be a bad idea?? Loaded 38,357, 45acp, 30-30, 30-06, 243.
  7. shiftyer1

    shiftyer1 Well-Known Member

    I have no clue of the weight but my mallet/hammer is a little on the heavy side, I also lube the brass with a swipe of candle wax. It seems to make it a little easier. I load 38/357, I started with the tap tap technique but after a couple hundred rounds I started to hit them a little harder.

    Do u have pawn shops in your area, or a harbor freight? Cheapest place I know to get a hammer or two:)
  8. jcwit

    jcwit Well-Known Member

  9. dagger dog

    dagger dog Well-Known Member

    I used a hard rubber mallet the automotive type for installing hub caps without damage and it worked real well with my Lee Classic loader.

    Try your local Harbor Freight for a plastic deadblow hammer, if you can't find one of those go with a hardwood mallet used for wood carving chisels.

    Go with the largest weight that is comfortable for you, trying to swing a small hammer harder only results in inaccurate blows.

    You can do small work with a large hammer but it's almost impossible to do large work with a small hammer.
  10. luvit

    luvit Well-Known Member

    alright, dog. I actually own rubber mallets with various weights.. i was afraid of tearing them up.
    if I find a good weight, but desire plastic face then i'm in the right direction.
    jcwit... you have a 24oz hammer.. lol. -- wouldn't it be something if i find comfort with using that weight?
  11. dagger dog

    dagger dog Well-Known Member

    Yeah you can probably size a lubed case with one stroke!

    Don't know if I would use that kind of force on seating the primers though.
  12. jcwit

    jcwit Well-Known Member

    Ever try to size a lubed carbine case with a Lee Loader guys? Even Lee states in their catalog this caliber requires extra effort.

    Furthermore that is not a 16 oz hammer, it is a 24 oz soft face mallet and the faces can be replaced, please click on the link and read all about it.

    I've used Lee Loaders since the 1960's, I believe I know whereof I speak regarding them.

    For priming I use either the old priming tools made by Lee with the screw in shell holders or the priming tool made by K & M or Sinclair.

    Ta Ta

    Last edited: Feb 14, 2013
  13. Float Pilot

    Float Pilot Well-Known Member

    If you were in Europe you would have to use a metric weighted hammer...

    Would the dies understand what was hitting them ????

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