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Classic Lee Loader-45ACP-More Trouble Than Worth?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by tackleberi, Sep 9, 2008.

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  1. tackleberi

    tackleberi Member

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    I'm looking into a Classic Lee Loader as an intro to reloading. If all goes well, I'll probably work my way into the more expensive equipment that undoubtedly will make the job easier.

    That said, the Lee website says that "considerable force is required for sizing" in the .45ACP kit. While I understand there are considerable limitations to the Classic Loader Kit in any circumstance, is the .45ACP kit especially miserable/frustrating/impossible to use?
     
  2. rondog

    rondog Member

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    Personally, I'd just go with a Lee Classic Turret Press kit from Cabela's (in fact, I did). The Classic you're talking about is single-stage, right? I understand wanting to start out as inexpensively as possible, but within a week or two you'll be wanting to upgrade anyway. A single-stage is nice to have around for various uses, but it's too slow to do a bunch of loading with, in MY opinion. FWIW.

    I don't think the .45acp requires any more force than anything else, but you DEFINITELY want to use carbide dies, not steel.
     
  3. DEDON45

    DEDON45 Member

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    I wouldn't bother with the Lee Loader ... I started with one, that lasted about 2 days (too much noise to suit the other humans in the house, and the occasional primer going off was nerve-wracking)... get a turret or single stage press to start with. I like Hornady stuff, but RCBS, Redding, and Lyman make top notch single stage and turret presses. Lee presses are OK if you're on a budget, too.

    Oh, and like Rondog said, get Carbide dies for the .45ACP ... it's worth the extra $$.
     
  4. scrat

    scrat Member

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    agree with the other guys. i have about 9 lee loaders. I occasionaly use them when im bored or something. In fact just the other day i was depriming and sizing with one. Thats what its really good for. depriming. i put the decapper on the die so its one long tube. then start de priming. then i sized them all. I was doing 9mm. Well my son sees me. Starts to laugh ask why am i messing with that thing. I said just to get some practice and well its so easy. So a few minutes later he comes back and hands me a box of primers. So i say to myself what the heck. I deprimed them sized them. Might as well prime them. Well i was doing box of 50. So when i got to around 45 kaaaaboooom. That was enough i picked up the stuff and put the lee loader away. Got out my hand prime and finished the remaining 5. A few minutes later my son comes walking in. Said the cat was lying in the window when the primer went off she fell to the floor. He was laughing his head off. So ya lee loader is a good tool i have always found that its very easy to set off pistol primers with it though. i must have done around 30 or so now. Rifle i have never had one go off. Shotgun neither just pistol. Any how they do work but like the other guys said. For 45 acp you best getting a press
     
  5. Quoheleth

    Quoheleth Member

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    If by classic loader, you mean the do all the work with a mallet kind, I wouldn't suggest it.

    I have one in .357/.38Special that I bought for that same reason - an intro to reloading. Cost me about $20 plus another $7 or so to ship. It's slow (but fun, in a "playing with firecrackers" sort of way while priming). Very slow if doing pistol ammo - which is what you are planning to do.

    If budget is key, get either a Lee Hand press or their simple, C-type press. Usually you can find it for about the same price - in fact, a few places have the C-press with a Lee manual for about $30-35. Yeah, you'll invest another $25 in dies, but for $50 or so, you'll have a solid tool that will not aggrevate the hound out of you and still allow you a decent rate of speed.

    I'll keep my Lee Classic Loader - if for no other reason, if I ever have to or want to take it with me, it fits in a little kit with a box of bullets and a bottle of powder. But if I had to do it again, I would skip the LCL and go straight to the single-stage press.

    Q
     
  6. ants

    ants Member

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    If you only do a half dozen rounds at a time, it's OK.

    I've used the Lee Loader on and off for 40 years. If you're only doing 5 or 10 rounds at a time, there is nothing wrong with it. While growing up I reloaded shotshells sitting with the family while they watched TV. There's nothing wrong with a simple hand kit if your volume is very low.

    Priming:
    In 40 years (maybe a thousand metallic cartridges and a few thousand 16ga shotshells) I've never set a primer off. Then again, I'm a competent reloader, and practiced care and safety from Day One forty years ago.

    But if you want to reload larger volumes and be consistent and precise, there are inexpensive single stage presses that work great! Others will advise you to get more expensive equipment (only the best) but they are probably spending money you don't have. Let them buy it for you.
     
  7. tackleberi

    tackleberi Member

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    Thanks, gents. I think I'll give another look at the basic Lee presses, based on your advice.
     
  8. Katana8869

    Katana8869 Member

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    I have one in .357 and in .45. The .357 kit was a gift from my Dad back in '92 and the .45 kit was bought a couple of years ago. The .357 kit is very easy and smooth to use but the .45 kit is another story. I found that it is extremely difficult to get the case in and out of the sizing die on the .45 kit to the point of becoming some serious work for very little result.

    I load everything on a Lee 3 stage press now, but I still use the .357 kit on occasion if I just want to throw a few rounds together without changing out my dies and resetting my powder measure on my press when I am in the middle of loading another caliber. It is also nice to have a reloading setup that I can just throw in a dufflebag and take on a camping or hunting trip if I feel like it.

    As to setting a primer off when using one of these kits, I have never done so and honestly I don't see how it could be done unless the person was either doing something wrong or using WAY more force than is needed to seat the primer. That said, I don't set primers with my face hanging over the rod either! (And no, I ain't gonna lol ;) )
     
  9. rondog

    rondog Member

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    Oh man, are you talking about one of these?

    leeloader.gif

    There ain't NFW I'd waste the time or money on something like that. This is what I was talking about, start with one of these kits from Cabelas or elsewhere and never look back........

    ClassicTP.gif
     
  10. Vacek

    Vacek Member

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    Tackleberi,

    If you want to try out reloading, get to really understand and know the basics and you are content with an output of 30-60 rounds per hour, you can't really beat the Lee Loader. At least when you look at the price, the step by step ability for quality control, and generally getting into a fun hobby... go for it.

    I started with Lee Loaders, still use them for some rifle calibers and revolvers even though I have the Lee Breechlock and a Dillon Square Deal.

    Sometimes, I just want to relax back, make a few really good bullets with my Lee. The force needed for pistol...not that bad.

    By the way I have a Lee Loader for every common rifle and pistol caliber. Also have the original 60's vintage for 12 and 20 guage.
     
  11. RustyFN

    RustyFN Member

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    +1 on what rondog said. I have been using a Lee classic turret for two years and couldn't be happier.
    Rusty
    ry%3D320.jpg
     
  12. Evenflo76

    Evenflo76 Member

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    I just acquired one for .45. Started with .223 a couple of months ago. I have not used the .45 yet.

    It is slow going, and noisy. However, I enjoy the portability and practicality of the Lee Loader. I have no room for a bench or press at this time, so I usually load outside in the shade.

    Having loaded about 200 rounds so far, I'll say that it works well and the savings add up quick. If I had the space I would step up to a Lee Anniversary Kit. It has everything but the dies for $80. and the dies are only $20.

    Though I would definitely keep the Lee Loaders, and make use...
     
  13. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Member

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    I used the Lee Loaders many moons ago when I was a teenager.

    Mom and Dad would run me out of the house due to the "whack, whack, whack" sound of driving the cases into the die. Those were the days when I was pinching pennies to buy components.

    I wouldn't start that way today, knowing what I do.
     
  14. lgbloader

    lgbloader Member

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    Tackleberi,

    I have a few of these lee loaders in some of my main calibers: 38spcl, 357 mag, 30-30 win, 7.62 Russian, 308, and 30-06 and I think a couple of others. I think they are great.
     
  15. Quoheleth

    Quoheleth Member

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  16. lgbloader

    lgbloader Member

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    You can still find Lee challenger press kits for around $35 bucks. I did just last weekend. Kit includes: Challanger "O" Frame press, lube, ram prime tool, and a powder funnel. All you need is a couple of reloading manuels, a scale, calipers and dies and you can start loading. You can add trimmers, champfer/de-burr tool, case brushes for neck and primer pocket, and a tumbler later. We are talking way ultra econo style and you won't win no awards for the best reloading bench on the block but you will be able to load good ammo.

    Me personally, I would hold out and save a bit more cash for the LEE Classic Turret and build that way. The main reason I bought this Challanger press is to have a press right next to my recliner on my mini bench. I have 3 Dillons, 1 T7, and a good sturdy Lee Classic Cast in The Cave 50 paces away.

    Cheers...
     
  17. Vacek

    Vacek Member

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    The boy wants to load up some 45ACP.

    He can do it with $25 for a Lee Loader, $20 for some powder, $4 for 100 primers, another $20 for some bullets. Cost is around $70 bucks and he can have some good reloads.

    Cheapest Lee press is going to set him back $35 plus another $35 for the dies, now add the $44 for the materials and he is at $104 give or take. Not to mention finding a table or something to bolt the press to.

    Takleberri....give it a try. If you like it, keep doing it. If you really like it...you might want to upgrade sometime...sell the Lee Loader on Ebay and get most of your initial investment back. If you don't like it....sell it on Ebay and get most of your initial investment back.

    This kind of decision ain't rocket science.
     
  18. Uncle Chan

    Uncle Chan Member

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    I've about 20 Lee Loaders. I use several weekly. They ain't quick, but they are effective and will give you good quality loads.

    At home, I have a classic turret, a dillon, and a single stage.
     
  19. lgbloader

    lgbloader Member

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    Cheers, Uncle Chan.
     
  20. ants

    ants Member

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    Chan's the man.

    I have an entire room in the house dedicated to reloading. Presses for pistol, rifle and shotshell.

    But when my son wants to learn, I'll give him the Lee Loaders and a plastic mallet. Soon he will have a deep inner feel for what he's doing. Just like I did at 14 years of age.

    [By the way, when I started we couldn't find components, case lube or bullet lube locally, and there was no Internet. We cast our own bullets, mixed our own lube, cut our own shotshell wads, and reloaded everything with Lee Loaders. My first four Loaders were 16 gauge, .30-06, .30-30 and 44 Mag. No wimpies here.]
     
  21. Almond27

    Almond27 Member

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    thanks for the great info posted here im a young guy who has no one in my family who even owns a gun besides a 2nd cousin and am on a tight budget but i want to try to cut ammo costs i spent 50 bucks which is quite a bit of money for me and am going to try to pick the hobby of reloading would reloading a .40 be cheaper than buying ammo every other week which is how much i tend to shoot about a 100 rounds a trip
     
  22. tackleberi

    tackleberi Member

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    All comments have been helpful and appreciated. My take from all of them is:

    -The Classic Loader kit works as advertised
    -The Classic Loader kit is compact (very important)
    -The Classic Loader kit is SLOW (which I can live with)

    That said, I'll be picking up a .45 ACP Classic Loader kit this weekend, and I'll stop back to say how it went. I know the difference between the Classic Loader and the next step up in presses is not that much dollar-wise, but it's more than I have at the moment. However, all the comments about the "next step up" presses have also been helpful, and I will certainly reference them when I don't have winter heating season to pay for.
     
  23. Vacek

    Vacek Member

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    tackleberi.... Good decision. Have fun, be careful.
     
  24. RustyFN

    RustyFN Member

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    If that's going to get you started then good for you. The most important thing is to start reloading. Good luck and let us know how you like it.
    Rusty
     
  25. Evenflo76

    Evenflo76 Member

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    You won't regret it. Enjoy!
     
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