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Thread: In praise of the Lee Hand Press

  1. #41
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    W.R.Buchanan's Avatar
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    Damn it Ben: Now I've got to get one of these too!

    Been kind of wanting one for a long time, as I don't have Lee loaders for all of my rounds.

    I had thought about making one similar to the Lee Press but with longer handles for some time now, but I couldn't make it for $25. So I guess I won't reinvent this wheel.

    Maybe at the gun show tomarrow?

    Randy
    Last edited by W.R.Buchanan; 09-10-2011 at 12:21 AM.
    "It's not how well you do what you know how to do,,,It's how well you do what you DON'T know how to do!"
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  2. #42
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    Many years ago I was given a Lee Hand Press as a Christmas present. Since I've neck sized only for almost all my handloading I put it away and never got around to buying a set of dies till I ran across a great deal on a set from one of our members.

    So far I haven't completed any loading with this tool, just dug out a bunch of fired cases and practiced the steps.
    I had a couple of cans of once fired .303 cases given me by friends who didn't reload. Since few Lee Enfield rifles have identical chambers and headspace these were not usable till full length resized.
    Same went for cases I'd used in my No.4 before replacing its worn bolt and bolt head to obtain very close headgap.
    Now I can adjust the dies till these odd cases will just chamber and get at least a few reloads from them.
    I'd already sorted these and discarded any with internal annular rings.
    Now I have enough good cases to last for quite some time to come.

    When I used a Lyman 310 many years ago I never had any problems with it. Since it neck sized only I did run into a gun related problem when an old M37 .38 revolver turned out to have two slightly bulged chambers. The M37 was an early pre recall version with the alloy cylinder, not suited to hot loads.
    The same problem can sometimes pop up when .38 S&W/.380 British revolvers have been reamed out to take the .38 Special.
    You have to full length resize these fired cases unless they are to only be used in the chamber they were originaly fired in.
    Otherwise neck sizing only is by far the best way to go so long as cases are segregated to use in the rifle or handgun they were first used in.

    Many years ago I passed up a great deal on a antique loading tool. It was for the .25-20 and had a built in bullet mold. I didn't have a use for it at the time, but now own a cherry Savage 23B in that chambering.
    Old as that loading tool was it may not have been for the same .25-20 cartridge we are most familar with. There was a .25-20 cartridge developed for single shot target rifles long before the cartridge was redesigned for repeating rifles, the two don't interchange.
    Still it would have been worth it for the bullet mold alone.

  3. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by geargnasher View Post
    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
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  4. #44
    Boolit Bub
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    Smile In praise of the Lee Hand Press

    i used the lee hand press mainly for neck sizing, bullet seating at the range. priming was done with the ram prime. powder was scooped by lee powder measure scoopes. this was used to load hard to find metric boxer primer brass back then. norma ammo was and is still a bit pricie today.

  5. #45
    Boolit Buddy zardoz's Avatar
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    Just got one of these myself. Ordered with the Lee universal decapping die, and another Lyman #22 shellholder.

    The main reason was to decap my 50-90 Sharps brass at the range, right after firing to drop into the cleaning solution. Fits very handily into the range bag.

    With that breech lock bushing, well now the possibilities are many it seems. Think I will be ordering some more those bushings with the lock rings per the OP.

  6. #46
    Boolit Grand Master
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    zardoz :

    Money well spent.

    Ben

  7. #47
    In Remembrance

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    I know a guy that does all his reloading with the LEE hand loader and I always thought he would be better off just buying an Challenger press. Well, a couple of years ago my step dad picked me up a Lyman Acculine in the box for 5 bucks at a flea market and said if don't want it chuck it. I loaded a couple thousand .223 rounds that winter and put the LEE crimp die in the Lyman and went to town while watching TV.
    They are very handy items in my opinion.

  8. #48
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    Rafe Covington's Avatar
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    Will standard dies work in the Lee Hand Press or do you have to use Lee dies.

    Rafe
    If there is nothing in your life worth dying for than you are already dead.

  9. #49
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rafe Covington View Post
    Will standard dies work in the Lee Hand Press or do you have to use Lee dies.

    Rafe
    Rafe

    Any standard set of 7/8 X 14 reloading dies from ANY manufacturer works in the Lee Hand Press. RCBS, Lyman, Lee, Redding, etc.

    Thanks,
    Ben
    Last edited by Ben; 09-16-2011 at 08:03 AM.

  10. #50
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    One use for mine is to size the boolits with the lee size kit. Just hold it upide down and drop the boolit in. It ejects into a bin

  11. #51
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    SSGOldfart's Avatar
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    quick question for you guys using the lee hand press can you use it with just one hand,I've only got one hand kinda limits how one does things

  12. #52
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Someone might fabricate a device to secure the hand press to a table for you.
    Last edited by Ben; 09-22-2011 at 06:17 PM.

  13. #53
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    One hand, mmmm. Press the press against your body? One hand would certainly be tougher than two, but it could still work.

    Welcome to the forum SSG, what's your location?


    Cat
    Cogito, ergo armatum sum.

    (I think, therefore I'm armed.)

  14. #54
    Boolit Master Sonnypie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSGOldfart View Post
    quick question for you guys using the lee hand press can you use it with just one hand,I've only got one hand kinda limits how one does things
    I am sorry to hear of that.
    You could consider using your knees or inner thighs. It is surprising how strong leg muscles can be. (Think along the lines of the Thigh Master)
    Add some Velcro straps to hold the press in place? (Or to one leg?)

    I have a very old (25 + years) Lee hand press I attached to a shop made clamp to make it bench mountable/portable. I got it to use for 9mm reloading back in the mid-1980's.
    Right now it is seeing service as my sizing press with Lee push-through sizing dies, beside the other bigger presses.
    And as an aside, I have a Lee bullet feeder on it to hasten the sizing process. It has a small handle I installed on it to do the feeding.

    Thanks Ben for showing how that system works and the detent lock. Until now it was hard to imagine how the dies locked in. But you made it crystal clear.
    God Bless America!

    Sittin here watchin the world go round and round...
    Much like a turd in a flushing toilet.

    Shoot for the eyes.
    If they are crawlin away, shoot for the key hole.

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    Magnificent!
    The basic flaw with Science is man.

  15. #55
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Sonnypie :

    Maybe I use photos too much here on the forum, but I for one can understand something if I can ACTUALLY SEE IT.

    If I read about it...........Ummm, Well.....I may or may not understand the whole concept ? ? ?

  16. #56
    Boolit Master Sonnypie's Avatar
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    Ben, You are absolutely right Sir. It is time I shared back some photos.
    Please allow me to make amends.

    My battle weary old Lee hand press grew a clamp.



    And it grew a Lee Bullet feeder and accessory 100 bullet feeder in 45 caliber. It was an experiment, and I was willing to "force" the issue to yet another press if absolutely necessary.



    (Most unfortunately, I can not use it on my RCBS 4X4, as I had hoped. It would have had a dual purpose then.)

    Just yesterday I received the caliber change kit that is listed for 9mm and up to a .75 long (tall?) bullet. I needed the height for my 120 grain cast boolits, but I needed 30 caliber forks. As it turned out the forks are the same for 30 cal and in the change over kit I ordered. But the 9mm/.365 has the feed die throat needed for my boolits. As soon as the fork issue was resolved I fired in my order for the caliber change kit.

    A 30 cal 120 grain in the forks:


    And the same over the pusher ready to be fed into the sizer die.


    (This is a boolit that is ready to load, but I'm using it for example. Also note how I have modified the sizer die to allow the forks to operate at the top end of the ram stroke.)

    I functioned well over 500 cast 45's through with this before I added a knob to the actuator arm.



    I broke one of the handles along the way and had the welder at work heliarc a repair and reinforcement into it after I had bead blasted and prepped it for him. Richard was an absolute artist with metals. (Decades ago now.)






    So there ya have it, My Friend. Please excuse the kaos in the background. I never did have a "neat" shop. Basically, what is in use is generally on the top of the pile.
    Sorry it took this long to respond. I have to do a ritual to get photos web ready and up on my URL.
    I'm more than happy to share my ideas and triumphs concerning my tinkerings.
    I know I have learned from you, and hopefully I have shared some ideas with you as well.
    I have an interesting quirk. Probably 75% of my interest is in the methods and improvements, and 25% in the end results.
    When my hands are busy, my mind is working on ways to improve what my hands are doing.

    IT'S A MADHOUSE! A MADHOUSE!

    But I have more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

    I love my old Lee hand press. Battle weary as it may be, it's a workin still!
    Last edited by Sonnypie; 09-30-2011 at 12:36 AM. Reason: Because I wanted to.
    God Bless America!

    Sittin here watchin the world go round and round...
    Much like a turd in a flushing toilet.

    Shoot for the eyes.
    If they are crawlin away, shoot for the key hole.

    NRA Life Member
    CRPA Life Member

    Magnificent!
    The basic flaw with Science is man.

  17. #57
    Boolit Master Sonnypie's Avatar
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    PS: Being "low slung" like it is, it's a sit down operation. Kinda nice that way.
    God Bless America!

    Sittin here watchin the world go round and round...
    Much like a turd in a flushing toilet.

    Shoot for the eyes.
    If they are crawlin away, shoot for the key hole.

    NRA Life Member
    CRPA Life Member

    Magnificent!
    The basic flaw with Science is man.

  18. #58
    Boolit Grand Master
    Ben's Avatar
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    Sonnypie :

    That is all new to me, I've NEVER seen anything like that. That's NEAT ! !

    Good Shooting,

    Ben

  19. #59
    Boolit Master Sonnypie's Avatar
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    Glad to share, Ben.
    I'm as eccentric as a 5 sided tire.
    One up side is it helps me count the boolits. (Not that it's important to know)

    A poster from Norway said you could use the Lee Bullet Feeder to size boolits. I was on that like a hound to a trail.
    Figuring stuff out is one of the things I do.
    Since I currently reload only two calibers it keeps me focused. But if the Step-Son decides to reload for his, things will be expanding.

    If SSGOldfart had a Lee hand press, and it had extensions that curved out and down (thinking rams horns) and could lay over each leg, I'm wondering if he could use his legs to do the press work, and his one hand to feed and extract casings?
    Probably be better off with a progressive of some sort, though.

    OK, yesterdays 30 cal's are calling me to go size them.... before it gets hot.
    God Bless America!

    Sittin here watchin the world go round and round...
    Much like a turd in a flushing toilet.

    Shoot for the eyes.
    If they are crawlin away, shoot for the key hole.

    NRA Life Member
    CRPA Life Member

    Magnificent!
    The basic flaw with Science is man.

  20. #60
    Boolit Buddy Mike Kerr's Avatar
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    neat deal

    Now that is neat. I would never have thought of that. Pretty darn clever.

    regards,


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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