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Lee Hand Press - Any good?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by berettashotgun, Mar 7, 2010.

  1. berettashotgun

    berettashotgun Well-Known Member

    I think I NEED a Lee Hand Press.
    Seems like a very useful to to have at the range for some quick accuracy adjustments.
    Question - anyone here uses or owns one?
    What should I get - the cast iron or aluminum model?
    This is going to be used on short cases and SAUM with Redding dies.
  2. jmortimer

    jmortimer Well-Known Member

  3. Chicken-Farmer

    Chicken-Farmer Well-Known Member

    I have reloaded thousands of rounds...

    The Lee hand press is just one of those really handy items to have. I own several full size presses, but the little Lee hand press is really nice to have. I can re-size brass while i watch TV or like you said reload ammo right on the range to test different loads in real time. I found that placing the press against my thigh and then squeezing helps for long reloading sessions. The little press really shines with pistol reloading but is fully capable for reloading rifle cases as well. I found that reloading in stages ie: resizing/de-priming all my brass at the same time and then changing dies to expand and finally seating the bullet works best for me. I still find that the priming off press is still faster in the long run, but the ram prime system does work, only it's slower.

  4. sonick808

    sonick808 Well-Known Member

    i LOVE mine.

    just started back in, but i had one when i was 16 also, and loved it then also.

    i have a turret, but still use my hand press more. The sizing can actually give you a decent upper body workout if you do 200 rounds :)

    The tactile feedback from the hand press is outstanding. You can really load the exact round you desire with it. For 20 some bucks, you also get a funnel, case lube and universal priming die with the press, might as well get one to have around.

    Great upper body workout if you use it for sizing as well

    If your body has problems with repetitive motion or that would exacerbate any injuries or conditions, that would be the only excluding factor. I say go for it. For the price, you can't lose. You can always upgrade and then you'll still have a hand press for exacting loads or even loading at the range!
  5. 7.62 Nato

    7.62 Nato Well-Known Member

    I haven't used mine much but it has worked just great. It will be making range trips with me when it warms up. I got rid of my Lee Loaders, couldn't stand all the pounding.
  6. berettashotgun

    berettashotgun Well-Known Member

    Cast iron or aluminum?
    My cc is ready as we type
  7. cdet69

    cdet69 Well-Known Member

    I have a Lee handpress and like it for certain chores. It works out great for decapping and neck sizing. Full length resizing of cartidges can be a little tough though. I found the largest one that could be easily resized full length was the 223 Remington. larger than that I stick to kneck sizing. Great for prepping cases wile watching tv. Definitely worth the investment.
  8. Rxmig7

    Rxmig7 Member

    I'm thinking of buying the Lee Hand Press but I have a question. Does this press also load 30-06? I have a lot of spent Greek 30-06 HXP that I would like to reload in the near future but im not sure it will fit the press. My primary use is for 9mm. I do not own any reloading presses. Any help is appreciated.

    Thank you,

    Miguel V.
  9. sonick808

    sonick808 Well-Known Member

    Hmm, i didn't know there was a choice between iron or aluminum.

    I just ordered the hand press kit from midwayusa and whatever came is what i have. Magnet won't pull at all on the frame so it must be aluminum. Works great for me. Might save you some weight to get aluminum, and I would that assume is the modern design ? The piston is steel. I'd do some quick research to see if you can discern the diff. Otherwise, I personally would probably order aluminum based on my exp. YMMV!

    rxmig; i'm not sure if there is enough clearance. I know that the dies will fit fine, but the only question would be clearance. I've only loaded straight wall pistol cartridges with it. Anyone else know ?

    My GUT says yes, you'll be fine. You might have to angle the bullet in to seat it, but that'd be it. I just fit a factory 7.62x54R in mine just fine, but the bullet is already seated. Distance to the bottom of the frame from bullet tip on brown bear 7.62x54r was about an inch. I think you'd be fine. I THINK ! Not certain ! :) The dies will fit, that much i know. Won't hurt to try. Everyone should have a hand press anyway IMO
  10. sonick808

    sonick808 Well-Known Member

    rxmig: make sure you check those primer pockets for a crimp before trying to prime them.... I've seen crimps on non mil and mil both... especially in rifle cartridges
  11. hydraulicman

    hydraulicman Well-Known Member

    i'd bet it could easily load 30-06

    If you can't mount a press I would try it .:D
  12. BigJakeJ1s

    BigJakeJ1s Well-Known Member

    The LHP is of aluminum except for the ram, the linkage arms and the pivot pins. Mine is not well aligned between the ram and the die hole, and it has a lot of springiness to it, so it can be hard to do things that need feel to tell you something is not quite right. It does have a hollow ram that catches the spent primers, so that is definitely a plus.

    I replaced it with a Huntington Compac hand press, which is a much better designed and built hand press (also more $$). It has dual opposing handles for more leverage in a smaller package. It uses twin guide rods to accurately align the business end of the ram (the shell holder) with the die hole, and there's almost no flex or spring to it. It also has a built in primer punch, but it does not even attempt to catch spent primers. I suppose you could cobble up a fitting and attach a flexible tube to the bottom of the sliding ram block, though I never tried. I added a small circular wooden plate to the bottom of it so it would stand upright on its own without me holding on to it. It can also be bolted to a larger board that is bolted or clamped to a bench, counter top or table. I used mine regularly for all of my reloading for a few years until I got a Forster Co-Ax (there are similarities between them), but I have not used it since then more than once or twice. If I ever need that kind of portability, it will certainly get the nod.

  13. gdcpony

    gdcpony Well-Known Member

    I use it exclusively. All the reasons above. I have little space (shared with archery tools too), and I can size brass while watching a show too.
  14. sonick808

    sonick808 Well-Known Member

    BigJake1s: knowing that you've found an alternative that suits you, have you contacted Lee to ask them for a replacement or fix for your hand press ? Mine lines up perfect. I have noticed in all of their instruction manuals, Lee will either replace, fix or even customize your tools for free or for a few dollars (literally, like 8-12$ for custom carbide rings, custom-fitted bullet seating inserts, etc.)

    Just curious if Lee helped you out
  15. 918v

    918v Well-Known Member

    Yes, the opening is large enough to accept 30-06.
  16. Palehorseman

    Palehorseman Well-Known Member

    Wife uses HP for all her reloading. I find it handy when just want to run off a few rounds for R&D etc without setting up the Dillon.
  17. Doug b

    Doug b Well-Known Member

    Berretashotgun I loaded a couple of years between bench set-ups with that hand press ,it served me well, 30-06 included.A few things I can think of right off hand to be aware of are:
    1.With bottle neck cases it will give you a good sense of what case mouth
    prep is all about.Not a bad thing to learn IMHO.
    2.Don't use a wet lube on the press it's self,dry lube only.All that mobility
    tends to sling a lot of carbon around and mix with oil and will bind the press
    up in short order.
    3.Don't over fill the ram with primers when resize/decapping as this will make
    removing the shell holder a real bear.
    I have one Lee HP left and still use it pretty much as others have stated.
  18. chris in va

    chris in va Well-Known Member

    Had mine for half a year now, put at least 3000 9mm through it. Getting a bit wobbly but still very serviceable. As mentioned you can just sit and watch American Pickers while you deprime and flare.
  19. jd70

    jd70 Well-Known Member

    :)I've had mine for more than 12 years. Reloaded everything from 9mm to 45-70, 30.06. It's a great press for those who don't have much space or want to reload at the range. I can't say I've had any problems with mine and I just gave my spare to a friend so he can get in reloading. Only been a month and I think I've already can say he's HOOKED!:D
  20. thunder173

    thunder173 Well-Known Member

    Was all I had for a lot of years. Still have it. Still use it on occassion. Danged thing never seems to wear out. Have loaded a whole lot of handgun ammo with it in various calibers over the years,....and a boat load of 30/30 and .308's with it as well. Not real fast,...but I don't load real fast anyways.

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