Shooters Forum banner

Which hand press?

5328 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Contender
Looking at getting into handloading on a small scale. (Only one caliber.). I'm thinking of using either a Lee Handpress or Lyman Acculine hand press. Anyone have any advice on which one of these would be best? I may be wrong, but I don't think I will need to full length resize the brass because my gun is a bolt action.
1 - 7 of 7 Posts

Based on experience, I would say the Lee. Of course I have not used the Lyman so I am somewhat biased. In all seriousness, either should do you well. After much use it is now getting a little loose in the ram. If you do want to be able to full-length re-size, the Huntington hand press is worth looking at. Another to consider would be either the RCBS Partner press, or the similar one from Lee, they don't cost much more than the hand tools. The hand presses will full-length size, but the effort is very high. Also, a hand press isn't really good for rifle length cases as the effort to pull over the expander button comes at a point where the mechanical advantage is very low. For small cases, and straight ones like .45-70 or .38-55 which are expanded as a separate operation this isn't a problem.

I have had my Lee for over 25 years and use it mostly for loading in front of the TV. I am not recommending watching TV while loading as it can be a real distraction. Until you have loaded for years and have a set pattern for doing the various steps I would strongly recommend that only non-critical steps, size, expand, prime, be done where such a distraction exists.

A safety hint, since you indicate this is new to you. Powder charging is potentially the most dangerous aspect of re-loading. Buy a loading block, and when you are charging cases do all at the same time. After charging all of your cases, then check the powder level in them before attempting to seat bullets. One of the most problematic ways to load is to charge a case and then immediately seating a bullet. You will be amazed how often a bullet gets seated without powder!!!!
See less See more
I second all of Alk's points.

I load .357 mag, .357 max, .307 Win and .375 Win - all with my Lee handpress.

The key is to do all of the case prep at once (deprime, size, prime, expand mouth) all of which can be done sitting on the couch.

When you are ready to the final assembly, fill up your loading block and WEIGH EACH CHARGE before puting in in the case.

This is tedious I know, but until you get the hang of things - this is the only way to go unless you spend $$s for one of the really good powder measures.

Even then you should wiegh every 10th (5th?) charge depending on how confident you are.

When all of the cases in the block are charged, you can easily spot a missed case or double charge.

Then seat the bullet, crimp.

I like to use two loading blocks, after each bullet is crimped the finished round goes into the Loaded block.

This allows another inspection before boxing.
See less See more
I have both the Lyman and Lee. For a purely dedicated hand press, go with the Lee unit, as recommended above. It's more ergonomically designed for hand operation .

The Lyman Accupress is actually a bench mounted press with the option of operating it as a hand press. You flip around the arm depending on the mode of use.

You may come to a point where you will have to full length resize eventually after a number of firings or at least having to bump shoulders back depending on the tightness of your gun and heaviness of your ultimate loadings.

You are also talking about neck sizing dies to be purchased separately if you are going to necksize only as most sets come with full length sizers.

You could also set up a bench press on a piece of framing lumber so it can be clamped temporarily to a sturdy surface like a table, desk, etc.

Plenty of things to think about ;)

See less See more
Thanks for all the great advice. I guess I do have a lot to think about. I'm going to be reloading for my 7mm-08. Will this be difficult using a hand press if I need to do any full length re-sizing?
Thanks again,
You will need to do some full length resizing. Even the Redding neck size dies instructions acknowledge that some shoulder bump happens when properly adjusted and the cases still need to be lubricated. I have a RCBS partner press I bough a number of years ago to load at the range with, it will handle full length resizing, but not like a larger press. It would be suitable if you have limited space. You are using a mid size rifle case and it doesn't take a tremendous amount of power to neck size or full lenght size them. If you where using a set of small base dies it would be another story.
In my own situation, all I really use the hand press for is handgun ammo. With the carbide sizer, it's relatively easy to use for the pistol cases. You can definately use one for rifle stuff with a neck sizer type sizing die. But you have the added cost of obtaining an extra neck sizing die.

You may be better off getting a moderately priced bench mount press and fastening it to say a section 2X6 framing then using that for temporary clamping to a table. It may be an all round better set up for you. Even the Lee Reloader C-press as a beginning unit would suit you for now.

Assess your situation there and the room that you have for your reloading activity. A temp bench setup may suit you fine. This is the way I operated when I first started out reloading. Then when done I packed it away in a box in the closet.

1 - 7 of 7 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.