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Lee Hand Press

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by MP-44, Apr 20, 2019.

  1. MP-44

    MP-44 Member

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    for reloading a few hundred rds a year of 22 Savage Hi-Power and probably the same amount of .357?

    On the surface, it looks perfect for the amount of use it will see but I know very little about reloading much less of how much force it takes to form .22HP brass from 25-35 Winchester brass.


    I do not have a workbench so If I go with a low cost traditional press I will have to mount it to a sturdy board, purchase C-clamps and mount ( and un-mount ) it to the dining room table. While nothing difficult to do, it is still more effort than the hand press considering the amount of use it will see.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2019
  2. forty_caliber
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    forty_caliber Contributing Member

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    I started reloading way back in the day with a Lee Hand Press that I got second hand. I was using it to make 30-06 rounds for my M1 Garand. It can be done. It does take some effort and upper body strength to use especially during the sizing operation. It is also comparatively slower than a bench mounted tool. It's kind of a PITA to use, but I was able to load rounds sitting on the couch or in the field. I still have that press and it remains the only Lee gear I have in the shop.

    That said, you would be much better off and have better quality control with a proper bench and a solidly mounted press.

    .40
     
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  3. waldens

    waldens Member

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    I have one of the Lee hand presses. Only thing I’ve used it for is depriming, which is just okay, but I still prefer a bench-mounted press even for that. The hand press, for me, is just too awkward. Maybe if I clamped it to a vertical post...

    The Lee Reloader single stage is a buck cheaper at Midway. I’d go with that, however you had to mount it.
     
  4. Legionnaire
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    Legionnaire Member

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    I agree with forty_caliber. And a Black & Decker Workmate makes a handy, portable work surface.

    I think a lot of guys start off with the expectation they will be low volume reloaders ... until they discover how much fun reloading can be as a hobby in and of itself. A good press, even if only a single stage, makes that transition easier.
     
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  5. Hokie_PhD

    Hokie_PhD Member

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    I bought one of the Lee hand presses because I wanted to learn reloading but didn’t want to spend much.

    I started with it but quickly decided to get a LCT (Lee Classic Turret)

    That said, the hand press is a useful tool.

    I use it to deprime while watching TV, and it’s nice to have in a bag in case you want to work a load at the range.

    I also did the Workmate and press bolted to a board and it works well for a portable setup.

    I’d say get the handpress then if you need/want a bench press get the LCT as you may find you’ll be loading more than expected.

    Way back I also worked up a budget setup with quality stuff. I’m going to update it but if you want check my old posts.
     
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  6. mdi

    mdi Member

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    I don't do any reloading process when watching TV. :scrutiny:

    I also have a Lee Hand Press and I have used it to reload mostly revolver cartridges, in my shop/reloading room. It can be clumsy at first, but once you get used to it it works fine. For me it's slower than a bench mounted press and a bit slower than my Lee Loaders, but I have done almost everything with it that I do with a single stage bench mounted press and a lot of people mount one in a vise and size bullets. It uses standard 7/8-14 dies that will work on your bench mounted press later when you find room.

    Most of us find a way around a lack of space; DSCN0285.JPG
     
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  7. enine

    enine Member

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    so far I've only loaded .357 with my hand press. My turret has only done a couple hundred rounds of 9mm.
    I do batches of each step.
     
  8. thomas15

    thomas15 Member

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    For most of us handloading ammo is a hobby. In my opinion and if it is going to be a hobby, it should be enjoyable or, it loses its fun aspect.

    For some reason quite unknown to me, handloaders seem to get nostalgic enjoyment out of recounting their low budget no frills introduction to the hobby. It usually, but not always involves something made by LEE Engineering, like a LEE loader or a LEE handpress. To those people that find enjoyment in that low budget low overhead environment I truly couldn't be happier for them.

    But given the low price of factory ammo for most popular calibers and the added benefit of having decent mounted reloading hardware I would give the matter much thought before getting a hand anything. There are numerous creative ways to set up a press in a very small or temporary setting.
     
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  9. Hokie_PhD

    Hokie_PhD Member

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    Depriming isn’t a critical function as I check my brass several more times before doing actual reloaded processes.

    I also have primed with a hand primer while relaxing. This process is a little more “dangerous” but if you swage your brass before that risk is minimal.

    Other than those tasks I agree I can’t think of anything else I’d do in front of the TV as the other processes require attention to detail. Plus are just fun and relaxing.
     
  10. enine

    enine Member

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    my issue is i have kids and one with special needs so i only get a few minutes to myself when he showers. so by the time i setup a portable bench and press he would be done showering and I wouldn't get any loading done. So the hand press makes it possible to do a few here and there.
     
  11. HankC

    HankC Member

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    It is handy, goes where you go, watching TV, wait on laundry, etc. I use it to deprime, sizing straight wall brass.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2019
  12. Fine Figure of a Man

    Fine Figure of a Man Member

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    If you do much reloading you will soon want a bench mounted press but for +/- $50 you won't regret getting the Lee Hand Press to get started.
     
  13. MP-44

    MP-44 Member

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    I love firearms and some will say almost obsessed but I do not shoot a lot. I shoot my 9s more ( still not a lot ) and have no desire to reload them when I can get 50 Nato spec for $9 ( my back starts hurting when I think about moving all the ammo cans ). My main concern was to be able to reload the 22 Hi Power due to the lack of factory loadings which I stated in my OP but that seemed to be overlooked by some responders who do a lot of shooting and assume every gun owner does.

    I am guilty of the same thing when someone asks what airgun they should get for <$300 I suggest a $2000 Daystate.
     
  14. Old Stumpy

    Old Stumpy Member

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    People either love or hate the Lee hand press. My view is that if you live out of a suitcase then it's a good press because nothing else really works (A Lee Loader may be too noisy).
    Some favor it because they can use it on the couch and watch TV.
    I find that it's an awkward device compared to a conventional press, and that there are better solutions.
    A Lee Challenger bolted to a 1 1/4"" plywood base (glue up a 3/4" and 1/2" piece) is inexpensive and compact to store, quick to set up, and clamps to a counter top or table for use. And C-clamps are cheap.
    A small box to store your supplies and small tools and this press can be stuffed in a closet or under a bed when not in use.
     
  15. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I would prefer the board/C clamp over any hand press.
     
  16. enine

    enine Member

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    That works if you don't have kids. my dining room table is currently a fort and the kitchen table is covered in math homework.
     
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  17. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Where do you shoot? Take it with you?

    7CDCCAAC-A696-4E84-B68B-D7A3D16EF47F.jpeg 8036668E-12AF-4140-BFD8-7068F0F274EF.jpeg 6149AA5A-B452-4154-BEF6-5C1F16DC543D.jpeg

    If it’s a mad house, you’d be better off doing that anyway, just so you don’t have all the distractions.

    The Lee ones are cheap though, so if you buy one and don’t like it, you’ll only be out $40, for that matter you could likely get $20 back out of it selling it used.

    Just understand some of us give advice based on roads we have already been down.
     
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  18. Keyfer 55

    Keyfer 55 Member

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    I've got a lee hand press 2 yrs ago. Love it!!
    I use it for 2506 rem. You may also want
    an lee auto primer it will make it a lot easier .
    I break it up into 3 to 4 days.
     
  19. mdi

    mdi Member

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    In your situation I would say batch loading is your best bet. After 35+ years of reloading I still use this method. After I clean some brass and inspect, I'll size and decap, 50-100 cases. If necessary I'll put my equipment away and wait for another opportunity. Then I might flare all the cases. Next time prime. then next time charge and seat bullets (but only when I have time to do both steps without interruptions). I mostly crimp right after seating but have put that off for another time.

    In my reloading stuff cabinet I have mebbe 400 cases primed of different ca
    libers, and ready for a charge and bullet, so finishing a bunch of reloads seems/feels fast...
     
  20. Wreck-n-Crew
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    Wreck-n-Crew Member

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    I recommend a single stage mounted press. Makes life much easier.
     
  21. splattergun

    splattergun Member

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    I started with a single stage bench press. Then I bought a Lee hand press for its mobility. I take it camping with me to work loads out on the range, Y'know, home, home on the range. When I'm miles from the nearest road to town, it can be handy. The whole kit; loader, dies, scale, funnel, loading tray, brass, bullets, powder and primers all fit in a padded tool bag repurposed from work.

    A few years ago I took my hand loader and components to hunting camp with me because I wanted to show my buddy's kid basic reloading. It was fortunate I did, because in the rush to get packed I had forgotten my loaded ammunition. :what: No problem! I just loaded up a dozen with the Lee hand loader while the kid watched. I killed a nice buck with my 'emergency' loads the next afternoon.:thumbup:
     
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  22. dgod
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    dgod Contributing Member

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    I started with a Hand Loader, progressed to a Square Deal, then a Rock Chucker II, then a Lyman progressive Press. I still have both of my Hand Loaders, as well as 2 RC;s, 1 Partner Press, and the Lyman. Very Happy with All. The Hand loaders have been officially retired but are still where I can see them.

    My recommendation... Start slow, maybe a Hand Loader, Maybe a Single Stage RC or Lee, or Hornady it doesn't matter. If you like it you will end up with the Single Stage that will last a long time. You have to have a Special Press for 50BMG if that is on your list.

    Good Luck, Reloading is a Blast (No Pun Intended), for me it is relaxing

    dg
     
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  23. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    Another vote for a Black & Decker Workmate. I used the bench prictured below for several years while I was moving around for different jobs and living the single life in smaller apartments. I’d turn the bench to offer me 8ft of linear bench, wrapped around a 2ft x 2ft top.

    I do have a Lee hand press, and it does work just fine for the job, but I will say readily, it’s mostly an opportunity for contamination and for spilling. Depriming on the hand press means primer debris ends up in your lap, and all over whatever area you might be sitting. Then vacuuming that area as one might can scatter and aspirate the dust to the Four Winds. Recognizing here, depriming debris is some spent powder, but largely contains priming compound residuals, which can contain lead and mercury - not stuff I want floating around on the living room floor where my kid plays (grandkids in the scope of some other folks).

    Beyond contamination, you’ll be apt to slip and bobble the hand press, so you’ll drop out primers and dump powder far more often than you’d really like. Just the nature of the beast.

    It works, and I have used one for years to seat bullets at the range for load development, but I would not recommend one as a reloader’s only press.

    35801454155_45a2702390_z.jpg
     
  24. Keyfer 55

    Keyfer 55 Member

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    I started reloading 30.06 with the Lee classic loader.
     
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  25. PWC

    PWC Member

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    Yup, started out 35 yrs ago with a Pacific C press and that's all I have / use today. Never saw a need to "upgrade". Suits my need, is fun and relaxing to do the steps in batches. I don't shoot competition, except with myself, so there is no need to crank out 100s or 1000s of rounds. Loading room is a closet shared with a wayer heater.
     
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