A Lee Loader (assuming you mean the one-at-a-time set in the cardboard box) is a real good way to get discouraged in a hurry with handloading. They are a good way to load a box or two a year for hunting if that is all you want to do.
If you really want to start loading on a budget, then the RCBS Partner press, the Lee hand press, along with a regular set of dies, is a real good way to start. Lee makes a single station light duty press like the Partner also. If you watch at the gun shows you may be able to pick up a used press of the same type as those for ŭ-15 and a set of dies in the same range.
This way, if you decide you really like handloading you can up-grade and already have the dies. If you decide against handloading, then you don't have a large investment in equipment.
I've been loading for as many as 70 different calibers for over 40 years and still use a Lee hand press at times. This way I can sit in the living room with my wife and watch TV while doing most of the operations required. This is the same as you could do with the Lyman 310 Tool, but with a lot less effort.
That little Lee C-press is the "Reloader". Which is bench mounted.
I have a few of them, If you like, I'll send you one free of charge to get you started.
Even if you do eventually upgrade to better/more expensive equipment, this little press is handy for depriming, priming and such.
I'd also suggest to you that you pick up one or more loading manuals such as the Lyman which outlines step by step processes. There is also a book by the NRA that is an actual Reloading Course in a text book. I believe Midway sells it.
Take your time and read up a bit on the subject first and see if you feel comfortable and grasp the subject matter. Then decide if it is something you want to try. Also if there is an experienced handloader in your area, see if he is willing to show you the ropes.
Thanks..you have show real interest in your answers..I appreciate it. I am a 51 year old, that has been hunting since childhood..Now I should have time to learn somethin new sooooooo..thanks for the help..I just got a 4570 and thought about reloading..Thanks
Luke, I have both a Lee Target Model loader (.22-250) which is the complete loading kit in a cardboard box, and a "C"-shaped Lee press which picked up for บ and use to deprime cases.
While the target model loader works great it is very, very slow, and more of a tool for the advanced reloader.
If you really want to get started and make sure you have the proper equipment, I would recommend a complete kit from one of the major manufacturers which includes an "O" frame press, dies, scale, manual, powder measure, trimmer, etc., etc.
Nothing is more discouraging (to me) than having to make a hundred trips to the store because you didn't know all the little gadgets you needed. The nicer kits "appear" to cost a little more but in reality you'll need all the equipment anyway and it will be cheaper and less frustrating to get it all at once.
And should you decide that reloading isn't for you, a complete kit would be a whole lot easier to sell to the next guy. That's how I got my equipment to start with.
I bought a Lee single stage press on Ebay for ฤ.00 and I have been useing it for some time now.I really like it.You can get one on Ebay for about ฤ plus shipping.So there really isn`t much risk when you can get one for ฤ.
I know I'm probably scraping the bottom of the barrel here but,
Lee also sells "factory seconds" in most of their higher production quantity items.
The Lee Reloader press for example goes for about ฟ and is perfectly mechanically sound with the only defect being the paint job. Yes, they can't sell it as new that way. So they touch it up and sell it as a "second".
Anybody looking for a spare press for modest chores can't do any worse.
I've even lined them up on the bench and made my own "progressive" setup with each one mounted with a separate die for pistol loading.
Ok, now everybody stop laughing!
(Edited by Contender at 11:20 pm on Jan. 17, 2002)
Whew...so far no Lee bashers... Some people won't have anything to do with economy equipment but I'm not one of them.
I started handloading 15 years ago with the purchase of a Lee Challenger 2001 O frame press. The warranty ran out on this press with the passing of 12/31/2001. With dies, funnel, lube, and primer tool I think it ran me around 贄! Today you can get the same setup for a lot less. I still use this press today although I'm thinking of picking up a higher volume press for pistol...and that one will most likely be a Lee turret press. Last spring while relocating, and my O press was in storage, I bought a Lee hand press so I could load while in the appt. That is one handy little piece of equipment. Yet another Lee win. I've seen people use the Lee Loader (ie cardboard box set) and it looks like a lot of work unless you don't need to load many.
If you can afford it by all means pick up a kit with measure, scales, and trimmer. These are all things you'll end up needing. A caliper will prove invaluable too. With experience you'll be slathering over the pages of Midway catalogs like the rest of us. If you have a wife I hope she isn't taking names...I've already alienated enough wives in my day for getting their husbands hooked on this hobby.
hello all, this x - mas, i bought a lee 35th anniversary kit. with .44 mag carbide dies and a few other tools, all for less than 125.00. so far i've only loaded about 400 rounds. i am quite happy with this purchase, to say the least. i will only upgrade when i get my 375. later halfbreed
Luke, I am 51 too and have hunted all of my life. The first rifle reloader I got was in the mid sixties and owas a lee which we used in Mexico. It was great for loading hunting ammo but like others say, a pain if you shoot much. The Lee anniversary kit is a great start and cheap! For less than 100 bucks you are up and running. If you do not have space or a bench get one of midways reloading stand, theye are fine for regular reloading and I have even used them for case forming.
When I was in Nicvaragua where I could shoot and hunt, the only press I had was a lee C press (all of my heavy equip is home in N Mex because of weight). Over three years I formed and loaded aorund 3,000 8 mm rounds with it. The gardener finally broke it when I had him disassemply 5000 nasty rounds of Russiann ammo. he would not have broken an RCBS but you will never breat thye LEE.
Well, whenever I get a new caliber I buy a Lee hand load setup (the one you basically use a hammer with) just to have a portable/backpack reloader deal. Otherwise I use an old single stage RCBS press for everything. The RCBS press is circa 1970 or so. Loads things just dandy I load 500 rds a week through that single stage - everything from blaster 9mm/40/44/45 through precision 300 Win Mag loads - it's a great tool. I may just follow that other gentleman's idea and get a second press to do 'progressive' work
If I may, I'd also recommend to you the Lee Hand Press.
I've found it to be an excellent portable press with the added bonus of using standard dies for reloading virtually any cartridge. It's also faster than the Lee Loader. If you just wanted to neck size like the Lee Loader does, simply aquire a Neck Sizing die in any brand it is available in for your particular cartridge.
Pistol loading is also much easier to accomplish over the Lee Loader with the use of a carbide sizer equipped pistol die set in the Lee Hand Press. Use a Ram prime to prime cases or as I like to do, bring RTG empty, primed cases with me to the range for load development for pistol. There is a multitude of options you can try.
A Lee Speed Die would also be a good die to use for the Hand Press if space was a factor as you mentioned back packing.
I began my reloading career using a Lee Loader. The Lee Loader is the tool where you use a mallet to provide the power normally provided by a press. I think it is a wonderful way to get started and it also provides a very practical method of reloading for anyone. At the time I lived at home with my parents and was working part time for minimum wage. With the Lee Loader, I was able to buy a complete reloading set up in one box for around $10; and it was easy for me to understand what was going on. I owned a S&W Model 14 and 100 .38 Special brass. Every evening, if it wasn't raining or snowing, I would shoot 100 rounds and then sit in the basement after dinner and reload them. I see the Lee Loader as a great way to get in to reloading. First of all the financial comitment is small. If you decide that reloading is not for you, you are out less than $20 in tools. If you decide you want to continue with the reloading hobby, this provides a foundation. Buy the Lee Loader and next payday, buy a Lee Auto Prime. Then the next payday buy a powder measure, scale, case trimmer............... A little at a time. Each investment improves your speed and your precision. Once you get all the basics, you can then buy yourself a press if you want to. This to me is much more attractive than being told that I have to buy a dozen items for hundreds of dollars to get started. The Lee Loader contains everything you need to load for one cartridge; everything else is just icing on the cake. Secondly the tool is easy to understand. And for a beginner, this is important; not speed. Thirdly, for rifle cartridges, the Lee Loader is faster than a single stage press for me. Not long ago I got onto a craze for military surplus bolt action rifles. Dispite my fairly extensive reloading bench I didn't have the dies for calibers like 7.62x54R, 8mm Mauser, and 6.5 Sweede. I thought about the fact that I wouldn't be shooting these rifles all the time, and even when I did shoot them I would only be firing maybe 20 rounds, so for nostalgia I decided to buy the Lee Loaders for those calibers. Once again, the Lee Loaders do a terrific job. I currently have three presses bolted to my benches and also own the Lee Hand Press. I still feel that the Lee Loader is fun, and I consider it a worthwhile addition to the rest of my gear. Another good use for the Lee Loader is when working up a load at the range. You can size/deprime, reprime some cases at home. When you get to the range, you can charge the cases and seat a bullet at the range as you work up a load. Lastly, dispensing powder with a scoop can be a very accurate method. I once dipped 50 charges all of which I weighed on a digital scale and all but two of them were right on the money.
I am glad that I read this thread all the way through. I thought that perhaps I was the only person who actually LIKED the Lee Loader. While I admit that my old RCBS C press gets alot of use, there is something kind of theraputic about using the old Lee Loader. Perhaps it was/is the nostalgia since it was the tool I started with as a teenager. Part of the reason is that I can reload with the little Lee tool without having to designate a whole block of time to reloading. With my family, there are days that interuptions happen alot and the Lee Loader is almost foolproof in that each bullet has the whole reloading process done to it when it leaves the tool. I can stop the process at any point and not "get mixed up".
Ialso have had a long standing habit of having a Lee Loader for each of my favorite rifles and handguns. Perhaps it is that deep down I am not a very trusting person and consider it a bare bones addition to a long term survival kit.
As a side note...with the Lee Loader for the 45/70 you have to order the little expander tool as an "extra" if you are going to load cast bullets with it.
I just picked up a new Lee Loader yesterday in .455 Webley. Factory ammo in that caliber is almost impossible to find and I will probably hardly ever shoot it. So I could buy a set of RCBS dies for who knows how much or I could pay $18.50 for a Lee Loader. I think it will be adequate unless I start using my Webley MK. V as an IPSC race gun.
I used a Lee Loader for 44 mag when I first started handloading. I value the experience to this day. It taught me many lesons of the mechanics of loading. I had this board and another as my only mentors and without the Lee Loader to start I could have made some loading and equipment purchase errors. Well come to think of it I still made errors but hopefully not as many.
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