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Thread: In praise of the Lee Hand Press

  1. #1
    Boolit Grand Master
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    In praise of the Lee Hand Press

    Through the years I've owned several Lee Hand Press reloading tools. The press is ideal for someone who lives in an apartment, mobile home or lives in a situation where building a reloading bench isn't practical at the moment.

    The little press is a real Titan, as it can easily full length re-size a 30-06 case with no problems at all.

    I've loaned a few and given a few away to start a novice reloader , etc. Bottom line is, ---- I got myself in a position where I didn't have one myself.

    Last week, I placed an order for a new one. This time , I ordered the newly designed model with the Lee Breech
    Lock interrupted threads. This press is simply a stroke of genius ! !

    The dies snap ( very securely , I might add ) in and out allowing the user to swap dies in the press just about as fast as you can use a turret press. BTW.... The Lee
    Hand Press will accept any brand of 7/8 X 14 dies.

    I chose the Lee Lock-Ring Eliminators instead of the conventional Lee Breech Lock Quick Change Bushings that many of you are familiar with. When the press arrived, I removed the Lee Lock rings from the 38 Spec. Lee 3 die set. The dies are then screwed down into the Lock-Ring Eliminators. The Lock-Ring Eliminators serve 2 purposes.......(1) They have a split ring with an allen screw that allow you to get your dies adjusted and lock them with the allen screw. ( you can't do that with conventional Lee Lock rings )
    (2) The Lock - Ring Eliminators have the interrupted threads on the outside and snap in place preventing you from having to take each die and screw it in and out of the press saving TONS OF TIME.

    Once I got the Lee 3 die 38 Special Carbide set clean, I loaded a few rounds. Simply amazing ! ! I couldn't be happier !

    Now if I can keep this one.
    I'll make a nice box out of cabinet grade plywood to keep the press, dies, powder,primers, etc. in. This box will easily slide under the bed and can be taken to the range and load ammo
    there with no problems at all.













    Last edited by Ben; 05-02-2014 at 08:32 AM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy bart55's Avatar
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    I also have a lee hand press and althogh I have progressives and single stage and multiple stage presses I still use the hand press when I want to just play with a load. Or maybe so some of the steps while watching tv . That new setup looks great with the easy in and out for the dies . I may have to break down and buy another

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Lee Hand Press

    This is probably the best one to come along over the years, It is strong, light and handy....does all the necessary operations. I've had two of them for a long time. The only minor pain for me has been that after around 10 decaps the shell holder has to be pulled to empty the spent primers, but it only takes a few seconds to do that. I'll probably get one of the newer ones soon just to have an extra around and make it a threesome. Lee did a good job with this tool. LLS

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
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    It may be blasphemy, but in my opinion this Lee press beats the heck out of the Lyman 310 tool.

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rio Grande View Post
    It may be blasphemy, but in my opinion this Lee press beats the heck out of the Lyman 310 tool.
    It isn't blasphemy, it is fact.

    I considered buying a 310 tool about 2 months ago, I'm really glad that I didn't .

    You won't be F/L re-sizing a 300 Winchester Mag. with a 310 hand tool. It can easily be done with the Lee Hand Press.

    Ben
    Last edited by Ben; 07-18-2011 at 10:05 PM.

  6. #6
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    Now I want one and I have plenty of presses. Nice tool!

    Gary

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master Artful's Avatar
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    Everyone should have a hand tool of some kind. Didn't know Lee offered one with Lee Breech
    Lock bushings - will have to look at gun shows see if I find a used one.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master



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    I bought my first Lee hand press for $13.95, used it, liked it, gave it to my son to spark his interest in reloading. I bought another, this time $19.95 and still use either it or my 310 tool, depending on the task at hand. I see now that the little Lee press is pushing 30 bucks or more and has this new feature. O.K....time to pony up the dough!

    It's a good tool, well designed a amply strong enough for the job. As mentioned, the only drawback (and it's minor) is that you have to remember to empty the primers out of the ram. It's an easy task to learn though.....just forget once and after fumbling with tweezers, etc. you'll always remember after that!

  9. #9
    Boolit Master


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    Ben,

    You write up some interesting posts, I must say.

    So can you tell me what the thread size is on the outside of the breech lock dies?

    Thanks.


    Cat
    Cogito, ergo armatum sum.

    (I think, therefore I'm armed.)

  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Cat,

    Thank you very much for your generous remarks. I'm not much of a machinist. I really don't know what size threads they are. Maybe someone else will chime in here and help us with that question.

    Ben
    Last edited by Ben; 07-20-2011 at 08:39 PM.

  11. #11
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    I just received my first one via the brown truck tonight. Been meaning to buy one for years, not that I need one, but it looked like something I should have. If nothing else I can reload in bed on sick or injured days off, as long as my arms and hands work. It will also fit nicely in a range kit, might start doing workups at the range. Midway has them on sale this month, and if money was more plentiful I would have bought two or three for gifts.

    The Breech Lock is a new thing to me, I've read all about it but didn't buy any extra rings. For someone who has dies dedicated to one caliber, this would be perfect. Most of my dies are adjusted and locked down in turret heads, so for convenience I'd need extras.

    I also thought this would be great for doing on-the-spot hardness testing at junkyards and other places where a portable tester would be nice.

    Gear

  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Gear,

    Money well spent, you're going to enjoy that little press. Most powerful 1.5 lb. press I've ever used. I used one to load 6 mm Rem. BR, for about 2 yrs. Shot some amazing groups with that rifle and my little Lee Hand Press.

    Ben

  13. #13
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    My only complaint so far is the handles could stand to be about an inch longer, and the rib on the inside is a bit harsh on the finger bones when pulling a case back over the neck expander ball, perhaps some of that heavy, stretchy finger tape might help. It needs some padding IMO. Still a fine tool for $25 on sale, if it was the only press I had I don't think I'd suffer too much, especially with a shoebox full of breech-lock bushings.

    Gear

  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Gear :

    Yes, either the breech-lock bushings, or my choice of the 2, the " Lock Ring Eliminator" do add to the price of an inexpensive but very effective little press.

    The additional $$ invested in the system yields some super quick " In - Out " of your dies with no possibility of error once your dies are locked down with the " Lock Ring Eliminator".

    http://leeprecision.com/xcart/Lock-Ring-Eliminator.html

    I'm planning on loading ONLY 38 Specials with my system, so I had to shell out the extra money for the " Lock Ring Eliminators" only one time.

    I bought 4 of them.
    Last edited by Ben; 07-21-2011 at 03:30 PM.

  15. #15
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    Lee press

    I have one of these in my "TRUCK" bag with a set of 44-40 and 357 mag and 45-70 dies. The tools never leave the bag. If I am out shooting BP then I can if I choose to decap my brass. It's intended use is if TSHTFD. Very cheap insurance to have.
    Shooter of the "HOLY BLACK" SASS 81802 AKA FAIRSHAKE; NRA ; BOLD; WARTHOG;Deadwood Marshal;Bayou Bounty Hunter; So That his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat; 44 WCF filled to the top, 210 gr. bullet

  16. #16
    Boolit Master frnkeore's Avatar
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    I bought mine back in about '86. The handle is the weak point. I didn't lube the inside of the neck and the inside of the neck must have been extra dirty. Try as I might, I couldn't get the expander out so................ I put my foot on the handle and in no time, I broke it

    I'm a machinist so, I made one that is still in service after about 25 years. I wish I had the quick change one now.

    My only gripe with them is because they aren't bench mounted, it's hard to juggle the tool, filled case and bullet to do the seating.

    Frank
    Last edited by frnkeore; 07-22-2011 at 10:04 PM.

  17. #17
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    What about making a clamp-on padded arm attached to the back of the main frame "C" that rests on your thigh to support the "open" press during the seating operation?

    Gear

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy perimedik's Avatar
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    I use the Lee hand press when I am reloading on the ambulance during down time.


    great tool. In addition to the hand primer. I have a very inexpensive, portable set up.
    The light at the end of the tunnel is a muzzle flash

  19. #19
    Boolit Master frnkeore's Avatar
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    Regarding the Lee breech lock. Does the Hornady Lock n Load have the same thread?

    Frank

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy FWest's Avatar
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    This thred does make me want one.
    I see an add on google for Gander Mtn 29.99 free shipping. I have not tried them but may for the short money.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check