Taurus Firearm Forum banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
91 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
What kind of quantity can a lee hand press put out? I am intriqued by hand loading as most of my life has been hearing about how my grand father and father reloaded for a gun range.

At most it would be something to de when i cant get to sleep or cabin fever hits and nothing comes up on tv.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Bezoar:

Man, it's been a longtime since I used a borrowed Lee Hand Press (back in the early 80's while I was in college). As far as quality goes, I don't think the cartridge cares whether you reloaded it using a hand press or bench-mounted press. I had zero issues with the .38 Special wadcutters I reloaded back then.

What I do recall about the hand press is that it is slow and somewhat clumsy, especially if you want to reload a bunch of rounds, since you don't have a bench to help you out with leverage. That's why I never purchased one, moving straight to a single-stage bench press.

However, if you are tight on usable space in your dwelling, such as in a small apartment, or you want the added convenience of a compact size so that you can take it with you to the range, the hand press may be the way to go. I have enough room in my house, and in the rare instances when I want to reload at the range, I just take a bench press mounted to a 2" x 6" board, and c-clamp it to the range table.

There are some very inexpensive bench presses, mostly by Lee, that can get you started. Some come with a starter reloading kit. But, either by bench or by hand, you can reload quality ammunition.

dogfood

P.S. - I really enjoy reloading. I find it much more pleasing than 99% of whatever shows up on TV ... and, yes, I have cable.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
35,009 Posts
The hand press will load a round as well as any high dollar bench press, but it's a pain with rifle ammo sizing/decapping. With straight wall pistol ammo and carbide dies, not so tough. Of the Lee bench mounted presses, the O press is much stronger than that little cheapy C press. I'd definitely go with the 0 press offered in the "anniversary kit" over the C press. I have a C press I only bought to use my "auto prime 2" with. I don't use it for loading operations. I've heard of guys trying to use that C press to neck cases down or some other tougher operation and the thing snapped in half, LOL. The O press has more strength. For pistol calibers, eventually you'll get into the progressives or the auto turret, anyway, but of course you have to have a bench to mount it on. I have my tools mounted on 2x10s and clamp them with a C clamp on the back side into a work bench copy of the "Black and Decker Work Mate" I got for 11 bucks on sale at Harbor Freight. It has worked very well and when I'm done, it folds flat against the wall on the back porch. I can load anywhere with this set up and don't have to use a hand tool.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
91 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the information guys. Im something of a masochist at times and for some reason ive been liking the things i have read about the "classic" Lee Loader, yeah the nice little dead blow hammer operated device for the loading of metalic cartridges.

As i still have no clue on what caliber, will i be abel to load, 32, 38, 357, 44, and 45 with them in all the various member of each cartridge family?
Say use the 38/35 to reload 38 long colt for a cartridge conversion, or the 44 spl/mag to reload 44 russian, or the 45 colt to reload 45 schofield?

I think im becoming a degenerative patient with firearms, as time progressive they become better and better. Its a good feeling.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
785 Posts
About the only folks I've seen using the hand press have been guys working up custom loads at the shooting bench. Obviously this is all a bit of a hassle since you have powder measure issues, etc... but at least you can load 2-3 for testing and a few more... especially if you are trying to find the maximum load for a gun (pistol or rifle).

Basically I've used the Lee Challenger bench press for 30 years... I keep waiting for it to wear out to justify getting a multi-stage something, but it does it's thing (like Timex... takes a licking, but keeps on ticking). And besides, if I want hot loads, I'll buy them across the counter where I know the equipment and loads are more consistent than I want to maintain. My reloads all tend to be on the "target" side of the loading scale.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
17,667 Posts
I used to use Lee hand presses, two of them, before I went Progressive (Dillon XL650), and still have them. I used them for sizing/depriming and case mouth flaring operations, before final loading with a bench mounted Powder Measure and Press (Lyman T-Mag). Used to process 200 shells at a time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
So how much do these handpresses run? Would be nice to sit at work and load ammo :)

Company bans guns, but doesn't say anything about ammo :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
91 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Nickel cases are abusive of reloading equipment, most reloaders claimthat anyway.

Well how does the old Lee loader (hammer operated one) and the nutcracker styled hand loader work with nickel plated cases?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
35,009 Posts
Only problem I have with nickel cases is they are more brittle and will crack with fewer uses. I have a couple of classic Lee hand tools I haven't used in years. The .357 tool is in the old style cardboard box! That'll give Lee guys an idea how old it is, bought it in the early 70s and used it in my dorm room. LOL You can only load ONE cartridge with the tool. If you buy a .357 tool, you can't use it for .38, you have to have a .38 tool. I have a .357 and .38 tool. The .38 tool I bought later, came in the plastic case.

If you have LOTS of time on your hands, don't shoot much, and only load light loads, the hand tool with be all you need. It comes with everything, but a mallet to make a round. It's gawd awful slow, but it gets the job done. It's also a little noisy what with all the banging on the kitchen table, can upset the wife if she's in a raw mood. LOL
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
110 Posts
Yeah, I remember that when working up my reloads, I would take the Lee hand press to the range with me and work up some loadings that varied just a little here and there, until I found a loading my gun really seemed to like. But then I would just make them at the house using my regular bench mounted press. That handpress was a bi*ch on .44 magnums though. ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
275 Posts
Hello, Bezoar.

May I recomend the Lee Classic press as a very good investment as far as Lee presses go. I would only recomend two of their models, the Classic and the Turret Classic...as they are the only ones I really know anything about...well, the single stage Classic is what I've got.



The unusal metal fixture strapped on the Lee Classic single stage press is my own invention; an automatic cast bullet ejector. I do a lot of bullet swaging and it comes in handy.

The Lee Classic is one tough press, and doing bullet swaging ain't for a weak sister press.

For bullet swaging the shellholder on the press would have to be modified (shortend) and anyone interested contact me and I'll give them the particulars.

Jim
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
96 Posts
bezoar,the lee classic turret is a popular press and to date i have yet to hear any reallly bad comments.check out the costs of the turret as opposed to a single stage.

i started off with a lee loader,then a a hand press then a rcbs junior,
then a rockchucker and the lee classic. the hand press did the the trick,
but what a challenge to do 270s.

with the turret,it has automatic indexing ,plus onc the turrets are set up it's just a matter of minutes to switch calibers.keep in mind most lee dies come with a shell holder.

take a look at midway ,mid south,graf's or wideners for costs.
dan
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
35 Posts
I use a Lee hand press and...well...it does what it is supposed to do. It's OK for pistol, but I wouldn't recommend it for bigger stuff. I say it's OK, meaning it's not terribly difficult to do, but it sure isn't high speed. It's - in theory - a portable single stage press, so it's only practical to run a bunch of cartridges at a time...say a box at a whack...or you waste all of your time changing dies. I sat out on the driveway this morning and decapped (punched out the empty primers & full-length resized) about 200 .38 Specials. It didn't take long. I was outside watching the kids ride bikes.

The operation isn't much more difficult than a bench-mounted, single stage press. The hardest part, really, is swapping out dies & re-checking them for depth, etc.

FWIW, although it is portable, I do NOT recommend hauling it in front of the TV and watching the game while reloading. It's portablility does not make up for inaccuracy on the user's part. :eek: You still gotta pay attention. I do not recommend doing anything else while reloading - 100% concentration on the task in your hands. Except for the decapping, perhaps. That's a no-brainer, as long as you check the brass later before priming, etc.

WRT the "Classic Loader," one correction - the tools that load the sister rounds (such as .38 Special and .357 Magnum, or .44 Special and .44 Magnum) have the same metal parts in the kit - punch, decapping base, etc - because the caliber of bullet is the same. The ONLY part that is different in the .38 loader from the .357 loader is the powder scoop. I know this because I called and asked Lee himself. All I do is adjust the bullet seating tool to allow for the taller case. Same tool - I promise. I have one and it works OK. In fact, I used it this morning to show my kids how to "make bullets" start to finish. You can start-to-finish one round in...oh, I don't know...certainly under a minute once you get used to it. Now, that is slow, but it is kinda cool to have hands-on control of the whole thing. I paid under $10 at Wideners for it, and I'll certainly keep it around.

FWIW, a hand press is OK. YOu can find them on ebay and elsewhere for around $20. You can also find a good 4-die turret press for about $60. I wish I had spent the $60. But, I got into this on a shoestring budget, and I got my hand press with 4-carbide dies for about $35.

Last thing...you can nickle and dime yourself to death trying to buy single components at a time (i.e. press, dies, scale, powder measure, etc...). You might find great deals, but when you add in S&H, you eat the savings real fast. If you're going to do reloading, do one of two plans - AND STICK TO IT. One, strictly garage sale stuff with minimal new ordering (maybe order a new scale, or a new powder measure for example), or two, order a kit, get it all at one time, and go for it. I've spent so much S&H'ing individual pieces that I could have bought a good kit and been done with it. Lee's kits are a good way to start - reasonable prices, and fairly easy to use. Check graf and sons out - they include shipping in their prices, so you know exactly how much it'll be (whoops...they add insurance as an extra item, so that will add a few bucks at the end of the order).

Long post...sorry...but hope it helps.
From one noobie to another,

Preacher man
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
846 Posts
Nothing wrong with Lee's at all. I got one for my st prees years ago then went to RCBS did no better. I just got back to reloading and just set mine up today and loaded some. I bought the Lee Aniversary (Cabelas had on sale) set up and their carbide dies, I loaded earlier some .40's and it worked as good as any others I used to own. This as in our Taurus guns you don't have to spend allot to get good quality. If you do live in an apart. as said above Midway has a nice takedown loading table at a good price, I know a guy that got one and like it. It never hurts to save a buck and get the same results, doesn't count for beer though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
I have been using a Lee 3 die turret press for about 10 years. It faster than a single stage press. I can reload about 150 to 200 rounds in an hour if I hurry. If you decide to get the turret press go with the auto index, the disk powder measure and the primer attachment. The primer attachment looks like a plastic piece of crap but it really works and saves time. One thing nice about the turret press is you can change calibers fast and easy. It takes less than a minute to change calibers with no adjustments other than the powder measure. Here's a good place for Lee reloading stuff: http://www.fmreloading.com/ You will also need a caliper to measure your overall length of your rounds, a tumbler and some medium. I also mix a little liquid turtle wax in my tumbler medium when its 1st used. It helps clean the brass. Mark
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
846 Posts
No matter what press I used I always used the powder charge to dump the basic charge then I trickled to the final load. I know this is not as fast but I never got in a hurry loading becuse I love it and it relaxes me so. I did some yesterday for the first time in years and even slept better last nite, man I was stupid :bang: for gettin out of all this.
I got to use my digital scale for 1st time, which wasn't around years ago and I really recomend this as a must have.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
I was going to get a Dillon Square B. I ended up getting a Lee Load-master.

I got it set up for .44M, .357M, and .45ACP, each with its own turret and factory crimp dies for a total of four dies each.

The initial set up is kinda long and there are a few minor mods you have to do on the press.

Lee's instructions are worthless. Fortunately there are several very excellent videos on youtube, watch 'em all before assembling the press.

I'm very, very happy with this press.

If you are mechanically inclined the load-master is a great press. If you need a press that does not need much set up then Dillion has an edge.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
35,009 Posts
nick, the square deal is a total PITA and expensive to switch calibers on. Mine is set up for 9mm and that's all I load on it. I was shooting IDPA for a while and shot a LOT of 9mm. That's why I got a progressive. I didn't research the caliber swap thing. I wound up buying a Lee Pro 1000 off Ebay before they went all antigun. Set me back 40 bucks ready for .38-.357. I later got set up for .45 ACP pretty cheap and I use all my Lee dies with it. The Lee has a few little quirks and customer support isn't as good from Lee and the press isn't as well built, but it sure is one HECK of a lot easier to do a caliber swap.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top