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"Poor boy" reloading...

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Corner Pocket, Jan 25, 2008.

  1. Corner Pocket

    Corner Pocket Well-Known Member

    I've enjoyed reading lots of helpful stuff here in this forum, and I'm still pondering on what equipment I'll ultimately purchase. The sticky at the top of this forum is a great help in sorting out what equipment to get. Thanks for the tip to read that info.

    For some odd reason, dropping back to a rudimentary form of reloading really appeals to me. I can afford to get some good equipment, but "just for kicks" I feel like I'd like to start at "the bottom" and advance from there as my knowledge and skills increase. I don't mind spending the time to craft each and every round in what may appear to some to be a cumbersome process...:eek:

    I see how you'd use a hand primer to prime, and a hand press to accomplish other necessary steps. But short of measuring and weighing out each charge and funneling it into the cartridges, is there also a "hand powder mechanism" that can be utilized in this low-level form of reloading that I'm envisioning? Thanks for your thoughts...

  2. Doug b

    Doug b Well-Known Member

    Lee hand case trimmers comes to mind but only because they are a real pita.
  3. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Lee scoops, along with data for them. I am sure folks could come up with a lot of that. I know I have some Lee sheets laying around somewhere from purchasing Lee dies.

    That is the bare minimum for powder measuring, but it will work. You WILL want a scale eventually. AC
  4. Sgt.Dusk

    Sgt.Dusk Well-Known Member

    Hand powder mechanism...hmmmm.....
    buy a set of lee dippers....theyre easy and fast
  5. lee n. field

    lee n. field Well-Known Member

    A set of Lee scoops. What do they call that....the Lee Powder Measure Kit. Up from that, something like the RCBS Little Dandy measure.
  6. Chawbaccer

    Chawbaccer Well-Known Member

    Go even ore basic than the Lee xcoops. Cut down cartridges for specific loads and solder a piece of wire on for a handle.
  7. Sunray

    Sunray Well-Known Member

    "...Lee scoops..." Pitch 'em. They're not accurate enough and, for who knows why, are calibrated in cc's. CC's are not a standard unit of measure for reloading. They can vary the charge plus or minus a full grain too. Use a scale.
    The lowest end is a Lee Loader. All hand powered. They're slow, but they do work. The downside is they neck size only. That's ok if you're loading for a bolt action. No good for a semi-auto or lever action. And you use brass fired out of the same rifle.
    "...measuring and weighing out each charge..." That's how match grade ammo is loaded. However, I've been using a hand powered powder thrower for eons. Made by Kinetics. I'm not sure if they're made any more though. It's not quick, but it's accurate enough for handgun loading.
  8. luckylogger6

    luckylogger6 Active Member

    Check out this link.

    Most of the powder measures here will work for what it sounds like you are interested in.

    If you are really interested in trying the hand press that’s great but will probably find them impractical and graduated to a single stage press rather quickly…and since they can often be had for around $30 bucks used it’s not a large expense for a much better press. Good luck and have fun.
  9. Texastbird

    Texastbird Well-Known Member

    Go with the Lee Anniversary Kit. Its pretty basic, but the potential for very accurate loads makes it worthwhile. I wouldn't try it without a scale because I've tried the dippers and weighed the charges and they are all over the place. The scale that comes with the anniversary kit is very basic but amazingly accurate.
  10. mike_in_md

    mike_in_md Active Member

    The lee hand press kit sounds like what you're after, and it's right in your poorboy price range...$45.98
  11. fireflyfather

    fireflyfather Well-Known Member

    Um, to do that safely, you would already have to have a scale, which is more expensive than the dipper set. Personally, I only use the dippers with a scale to check them.
  12. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    Yes, Lee makes a whole array of scoops just for this purpose. You weigh enough just to verify your loads, then use the scoop to load additional cartridges. The system isn't 100% perfect but it's pretty good esp. for dense rifle powder. It works less well with flaky light powders such as Unique, esp. since one grain up or down can make such a difference with the fast burners. For rifle rounds I actually find it BETTER than the more high-tech methods. Between my eye and the scoop I can get it within half a grain.

    I could afford a fancier setup but I really love using a hand primer, hand press and the scoops. It's a way of keeping in direct contact with the loads and the hand press allows me to have total control of applied pressure. I don't tweak too many necks that way, even with the weird things I load.
  13. jenrob

    jenrob Well-Known Member

    For just a few dollars more you could get one of the cheaper Lee presses over the hand press. Or for $20 more you could get the Lee breech lock. This would give you better leverage and later if you decided to upgrade you still wouldn't be out a lot. The dippers are good for doing work ups. Dip pour into scale then trickle up to what you want. A powder dispenser could be used as a hand operated but will give more consistant measurements when mounted to a bench.
  14. moooose102

    moooose102 Well-Known Member

    i would not try to load a max load with the lee dippers, but for fast, load a lot of target ammo(for plinking) i think they are great! i use them quite freaquently just for that purpose. when working up a max load, they can be used to get close, then use the powder trickler to get exact. an actual powder measure such as the rcbs uni-flow is the way to go if you want fast accurate loads, for like big time target practice for say competitive shooting.
  15. Quoheleth

    Quoheleth Well-Known Member


    How on earth can you call dippers "fast"? I've tried, and I feel like I spend most of my time swapping things in my hands: , pick up tuna-fish can of powser, insert scoop into powder, allowing powder to flow in over the scoop, pull dipper upward, set down can, pick up business card, level off scoop, set business card down, pick up primed cartridge, caaaaaaaaaarefully dump powder into cartridge, set cartridge into loading block, pick up can...

    Of course, there's the "full-length" drama too: after caaaaaaaaaaaarefully dump powder into cartridge, spill some powder, swear softly under breath, dump powder back into can, and start over.

    I've loaded a couple hundred .38 SPecials and maybe 50 or so .357 Magnums this way with my Classic Loader and Lee Hand Press. Those couple hundred rounds took hours...and that was starting out with my brass de-primed! Unless you have WAY more time than money, I can't recommend the Classic loader for pistols or any kind of volume rifle work. It is kinda fun...until you notice the clock's speed vs. your speed. Widners has the Classic Loaders for under $15. I bought it...then I bought the hand press and dies...and finally I got the Lee turret press. Woulda been money & time ahead had I just gotten it the first time.

    Live and learn...

  16. Goose5

    Goose5 Member

    I have loaded many .44 magnum rounds with a lee hand loader. Powder was measured using the Lee dippers and leveled off with my drivers license.
  17. Corner Pocket

    Corner Pocket Well-Known Member

    Many thanks for each of these responses, folks. After pondering over this thread some more, I see that I may be trying to make this whole thing a bit too "rudimentary" in my approach to it. I hadn't thought about the leverage factor in what a hand press gives me versus a bench press. The stability of a press mounted to the table would indeed be much superior, I would think...

    I went yesterday to Sportsman's Warehouse to look at their reloading equipment. There were several Single Stage presses on display there. I fiddled around with each of them. I think the action of the ram when moving the handle up and down was smoothest on the RCBS Single Stage press. However, I do like the "breech lock" version of the new Lee press. Looks like I need to give more thought to this aspect of my quest... Thanks again for your help. :)

    Corner Pocket

    FLORIDA KEVIN Well-Known Member

    i started reloading in about June of last year ! i bought the lee aniversart kit ! it included the scale and ,"perfect powder measure ", then 2 sets of dies for the calibers i reload , an inertial bullet puller , and dont forget the loading tray ! other than that stuff all you need is powder ,primer and bullets ! Kevin
  19. evan price

    evan price Well-Known Member

    I would use a manual Lee safety-disk powder measure before I would use a dipper set. The safety disk is basically an auto-disk but without the mechanism, and with a little handle instead to move the disk manually. Then you can at least still mount it on your powder-through expander and charge in one step. Pretty inexpensive, too.
  20. lee n. field

    lee n. field Well-Known Member

    Avoiding that is what a powder funnel is for.

    Hornady Lock 'n Load inserts will work on the RCBS Rock Chuck press, and Lee's Classic Cast, so I hear.

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