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Lee handpress ?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by ArkansasFatboy, Nov 7, 2009.

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  1. ArkansasFatboy

    ArkansasFatboy Member

    Aug 23, 2006
    Jonesboro Arkansas
    How many of you guys use a lee handpress ? And how does work on bottleneck rifle cartridges like .308 or .22-250 ?
  2. Uncle Chan

    Uncle Chan Member

    Nov 3, 2007
    I can't speak for the 308 or 22-250, but I use one for 223 and it works fine. It is part of my portable reload bag.
  3. ranger335v

    ranger335v Member

    Dec 3, 2006
    I have one; it has ONE use for me. After finding the powder charge that shoots best with bullets near the lands I load a box or two of cartridges with the good charge (at home) and seated long. At the range I change seating depths with the hand press until I find the right OAL. That's it!

    The press itself is fine, being hand held is less than ideal but it works. As with all of Lee's presses, it's MUCH stronger tban Lee's detractors presume. I've FL sized GI 30-06 with relitive ease on mine BUT, as should be expected with any two-hand tool, it's awkward to do much reloading on it. (I sure wouldn't bother to take it on a hunting trip to reload anything in the field!)

    IMHO, a much better actual reloading tool for anyone cramped for space or funds, and at the same price, is Lee's little "Reloader" press. Mounted on a short length of 2x4 and C clamped to any table makes it a much easier tool to use.

    Neither of those presses do repriming so the owner will also need a Lee hand priming tool.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2009
  4. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm member

    Apr 20, 2008
    I learned to handload using the Lee hand press. I started with 10mm. Haven't used rifle with it. I just keep it in my backpack for emergency. Sometimes when I do workups at the range I'll bring it along.
  5. jfdavis58

    jfdavis58 Member

    Jul 19, 2007
    Albuquerque (NE heights), NM
    I've used the Lee HandPress on both short (223,22-250,308) and long (270,30-30,300) rifle cartridges; all successfully. I've worked-up loads, adjusted loads and worked it for small production runs (100-200 cartridges). It takes some greater amount of physical effort than a mounted traditional style press but can still produce dependable quality ammunition. It can be hard on the hands as it lacks any sort of comfortable grip.
  6. Noveldoc

    Noveldoc Member

    Jul 13, 2009
    I use mine mainly for decapping. I have loaded a fair amount of 45 ACP and some 44 mag on it. It gives great feel for bullet seating and crimping.

    You can load 30 06 but the sizing takes a lot of effort. Do that very much and you will end up with arms like Ahh-nold.


  7. Roccobro

    Roccobro Member

    Apr 6, 2006
    San Berdoo, CA
    I decapped and sized 1k pieces of .380 in less time it took to watch a CSI Miami the other night with mine. :D

    Love it. So cheap and protable, who NOT have one?

  8. Mark whiz

    Mark whiz Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Wabash, IN
    I started off with the Handpress too - it's a pretty decent piece of equipment. It's GREAT for pistol cases and smaller rifle cases. I used mine for .308 cases for awhile too...............until the press sheared apart in my hands while resizing a .308 case (leaving the case stuck in the die I might add :( ). Like Noveldoc said - working rifle cases with the handpress WILL build up the arms as it takes quite a tug to make it work on them.

    So yes, you can use it for rifle cases..........and no it's not in your best interest to do so for any bulk reloading. You can get a cheap Lee Challenger or similiar press for resizing rifle cases and still use the handpress for pistol work and depriming and bullet seating for larger rifle cases. That's what I did before I upgraded to the heavy Lee Cast press.
  9. qajaq59

    qajaq59 Member

    Dec 7, 2005
    S. C. Florida
    It may be harder to do, and it is definitely slower. But I have a friend that used one for years while he was young, and often broke, and he loaded some real good ammo with it. It will certainly be better then buying commercial ammo!
  10. ojibweindian

    ojibweindian Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    Union Grove, Alabama
    I've got one; had it for several years. Use it for .30-06, 7mm Rem Mag, 45 ACP, and .30-30.
  11. SteelyNirvana

    SteelyNirvana Member

    Dec 24, 2006
    Not sure about the Reloader press but the hand press comes with the ram prime. The ram prime works great and you can actually 'feel' when the primer has set.
  12. sniper5

    sniper5 Member

    Jan 16, 2007
    Have one, use it, and love it. I reload for about 10 military calibers and .38 and .357 mag. All my reloading gear fits in a 3 drawer portable tool box, so I can reload in the garage, den, living room, range, or kitchen table. Works fine, and does what I need it to do, and is reasonably fast for what I need. Reloaded about 200 rounds yesterday, 100 7.5 x 54 MAS, and 100 .38 special +P. Just turn off the football game and spend your time constructively and things get done before you know it. (sorry, don't like football, basketball, baseball, or anything else where I have to sit and watch other people have fun)
  13. SomeSmuck

    SomeSmuck Member

    Oct 29, 2009
    Central PA
    I'm also new to the reloading community. I've started out with the Lee handpress and like it just fine. In the long term, I'll get a bench press, but to start out and learn on, this has worked just fine. If you do more than a hundred or so at a time, you will likely want to get a bench press, but for smaller batches, again, it works just fine.

    Have used for 30-30 and .444 Marlin. Just important to try to keep it reasonably level while using it, and have a reasonably snug case holder (had to get a Hornady case holder for the .444 as the Lee was just too loose).

    Good luck!
  14. BigJakeJ1s

    BigJakeJ1s Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    Arlington TX
    I started out on a Lee hand press. It will work, but it is slow. If you can buy one in person, do so. Mine was poorly aligned, with the ram almost 0.1" off center to the die hole at top of stroke. It is nice for depriming, since its hollow ram holds all the spent primer and debris for you. Just remember to empty it before it gets full, since it can jam the shell holder in place, making it much harder to empty. I think 20 large primers was where I would stop and empty it.

    I later purchased a Huntington Compac hand press, and liked it a lot better (for everything but depriming.) It can be fixed to a small block of wood such that it will stand up on its own if you need both hands for something else for a bit. However, it is more expensive than some bench mount presses. I has more leverage and is much more accurate than the Lee hand press.

    For less than the price of the Compac, you can purchase a Lee Classic Cast single stage press and mount it to a 2x6 which can then be clamped to a table or counter top for use. The LCC is a tremendous press in any right, but especially when you consider its very reasonable price.

    I used my Compac until my wife bought be a co-ax press one Christmas. Now that is a nice press, but it is expensive too.

  15. MovedWest

    MovedWest Member

    Feb 8, 2009
    Silicon Valley
    Pity me - this is my only press. I've reloaded about 3000 rounds of 44mag and 44spl with this device and it's still going strong. I live in a dinky apartment that doesn't grant me space to mount a turret press, so this is the best I can do. It's veeeeery sloooooooow... but it serves it's purpose.

  16. chris in va

    chris in va Member

    Mar 4, 2005
    Louisville KY
    Reloaded 1500 9mm so far with mine. I can sit in my Lay-z-Boy and watch TV while doing menial case prep stuff. Lee really needs to upgrade the design though, not the most ergonomic piece of equipment.
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