Lee hand press

Discussion in 'Ammo & Reloading' started by oldbrass, Dec 22, 2011.

  1. oldbrass

    oldbrass Well-Known Member

    I`ve just started reloading for my 30-30 using the classic lee loader (you know the one you hit with a hammer) doesn`t seem to crimp real well or I`m doing it wrong, I want to stay portable and not be restricted to a bench, anyone use the Lee hand press ?? how do you like it?
  2. axxe55

    axxe55 Well-Known Member

    i have never used one, but have seen some in the past. i heard they worked pretty good but were more for a bolt action rifle as they only could neck size the case based on the amount of leverage produced by it's design. hopefully someone who has one or has used one will offer more input.

  3. oldbrass

    oldbrass Well-Known Member

    Thanx axe, I thought about it and got a lee single stage press. I got to reading and you can mount it to a 2x6 and clamp it to any flat surface, Cabellas has them on sale..
  4. 1895gunner

    1895gunner Well-Known Member

    I started reloading this time around with the Lee hand press for my 45/70 and the 444. It worked fine for the 45/70 but was too much effort for me on the 444 case sizing. I switched over to the $24 Lee small press and now load all my calibers on it. I don't care about speed so it works great. As you can see in th epic I mounted it to a 1.00" X 6.00" board and clamped it to the table........


  5. Shooter

    Shooter Administrator Staff Member Administrator

    How many rounds do you load in a sitting?
  6. oldbrass

    oldbrass Well-Known Member

    I`m doing 20 per sitting, once you get your quick change dies set up it goes quick. I probley take a little longer cause I weigh every load.
  7. Big bore

    Big bore Active Member

    I'm running into the same problem. I haven't given up yet, but I'm debating it. :confused:

    My father in-law gave me his press, so I just need a set of dies. I will try a bit more, I'm too stubborn to give up at times!

  8. Rooster59

    Rooster59 Well-Known Member

    I used the Lee Loader on 30-30 at first. Still like it but wasn't satisfied with crimps on jacketed bullets. It crimps great on cast with a crimp groove though. I am uncomfortable with the crimp on jacketed cause it is harder to see how much you crimped by eyesight. The jacketed bullets have such a deep groove it's easier. I use the FCD for jacketed and cast if I'm using a press.
  9. Fomdiddle

    Fomdiddle Well-Known Member

    I love my hand press when I am away from home and have time to kill. You would be surprised how many 357s you can load with a Lee dipper and carbide dies using the hand press. No lubing, no weighing, just making rounds. Fom
  10. cynergyzed

    cynergyzed New Member

    I've been tossing around the idea of making my own loads..I saw the hand press and after reading this, I would like to ask : instead of the hand press, what exactly do I need to keep it simple with a bench type press, how much does each item cost and what's the best press to use on 35 remington's for my 336 35 rem? thank you for the info..
  11. greyhawk50

    greyhawk50 Well-Known Member

    I'll try to answer your question. I've loaded for over 40 years and my current set-up is pretty simple. If you want to see the most simple set-up, visit a Bench Rest Shoot Competition if one comes to your area. They keep it simple. They can load off of their pick-up tail gate.
    Almost any single stage press will work. I have an old Lyman C that works fine.
    I would recommend 2-3 Loading Manuals + On-Line Load Data. Used to compare loads.
    A set of Dies. Carbide is best but hardened steel works OK if you lube your cases.
    1 - Size & De-Prime.
    Press + Dies + Lube Pad + Water Base Lube. (lube not required with Carbide Dies)
    2 - Case Prep;;
    You can spend $75 - $100 for a Lathe Type Trimmer.
    I prefer using an Odd Lots Battery Drill and the Lee Case Trimmer System.
    I'll give more details about the process if you ask. I have a RCBS Lathe Trimmer that I never use.
    Oops, forgot; Case Neck De-burring Tool.
    3 - Prime the Case;
    I have a Lee Auto Primer but I normally use the Primer Arm on my press.
    I do not use a Primer Pocket Reamer. I feel that it deforms the Pocket. I have a set (3 pc.) Pocket Uniforming Cutters. These cutters clean the pocket and cut it to factory specs. I also use a Flash Hole De-Burring Tool but that is optional.
    4 - Powder Charge;
    I prefer the Balance Scales. I use an Ohaus but most any will work. (I have a Lee Powder Scales but I don't use it and I'm not sold on the design.)( also have a spare RCBS Balance Scales that I don't use.)
    I bought a used Ideal #55 Powder Measure but I seldom use it.
    I use the Lee Powder Scoops along with the Balance Scales and a Powder Trickler & a funnel. I also use a Reloading Tray.
    5 - Seating the Bullet;
    I use a set of Dial Calipers to check Case Length and Over-All Length.
    Using the Seating Die, set the bullet, seat to desired depth. I prefer to crimp as a separate and final step.
    I believe that Lever Guns require a Full Length Size & Case Trim every time, but that's just me.
    This is all from memory so if I missed anything, maybe someone will jump in and help.

    Last edited: Feb 29, 2012
  12. greyhawk50

    greyhawk50 Well-Known Member

    As I mentioned above ^^. I prefer the Lee Case Trimmers over the Lathe Style.
    They are less expensive and very accurate. ( first time, every time)
    I use an El-Cheap-O Battery Drill that I bought at Odd Lots.
    Chuck the Adapter in the drill.
    Lock the shell case in the Shell Holder.
    Running the drill, Insert the Pilot/Cutter into the case until it stops.
    Using the De-Burr Cutter, De-bur the case neck, outside first, inside last.
    Using some fine steel wool, polish the case.
    I find this to be faster, cheaper and more accurate that using a manual lathe style trimmer. Exact case length is very critical when you get to the crimp stage of the loading process.

    JMHO. Grey
  13. Rooster59

    Rooster59 Well-Known Member

    Good advice greyhawk.

    As long as the user properly lubes their rifle brass the hand press should be fine. Use carbide pistol dies and the pistol resizing is a breeze with any press. I have used Lee's "C" press for pistols and not had a problem. It may not be super durable for heavy work like rifle full resizing but carbide die pistol work it is fine.

    My wife bought me for Christmas a few years ago a cheap electric screwdriver with a pistol grip. It has a hex socket nose so the Lee arbor for brass trimming fits it great. I can trim, chamfer, and debur all in one step without taking the brass out of the adapter.
  14. greyhawk50

    greyhawk50 Well-Known Member

    I can agree with your thoughts.
    I have used the Lyman "C" press for years. Loaded everything up to and including 30-06. Even converted a few 30-06 into 7.7X58.
    However, anything heavier that an 30-06 would put a lot of stress on the ole girl. Magnum rifle cases would be out of the question. A RCBS Rock Crusher or the equivalent would be my choice for heavy work.
  15. myg30

    myg30 Member

    You tube has lots of videos showing the use of almost any of the reloading equipment out there. Lee, midway and others also have instructional videos on the use of presses.
    Some of the you tube vid's the guys will even stress the need for a cam- levered press for the big bore and magnum cases.

    Just FYI and my .02 worth. Reloading is lots of fun and there is always a way to do it at home or on the road.

  16. seasidehunter

    seasidehunter Member

    I am glad I found this thread, newbie here but want to start reloading for 45/70 & .44mag
  17. hunter5567

    hunter5567 Well-Known Member

    You might get an electronic scale that also weighs in grains.
    I find it a lot faster than a balance beam especially when weighing every charge.
    Harbor Freight has some inexpensive ones and I use the MTM version that I got from Basspro. I don't polish my brass and leave it a dull look that won't shine in the woods.