Ballisti-CastStainLess Steel MediaLee PrecisionTitan Reloading
RotoMetals2MidSouth Shooters SupplyInline FabricationGraf & Sons
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 25

Thread: Lee Hand Press vs. Classic Loader

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    26

    Lee Hand Press vs. Classic Loader

    I need to start handloading for my 303 Lee Metford rifle.
    I live in an apartment. The space is scarce. I have no bench.

    I was considering either getting a Lee hand press with deluxe 303 dies and a crimper die or just getting a Lee Classic Loader in 303 British. I'm only planning to neck size the cases as this is my only rifle in 303 British.

    I also most probably have to hide this reloading thing from my wife.

    What would you experienced people recommend in my case?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Scrounger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Area 51
    Posts
    5,498
    Get a new wife. Those .303s tend to stretch cases, eventually you're going to need to full length resize them. I have no idea what the problem is with your wife, but if it were me, I'd work that problem out and buy whatever equipment is needed for it's merits, not because of a "complication" that will probably go away anyhow. Lee makes a small press and die set that will set you back less than $50.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    279
    SWMBO, if you don.t know what this means, go ahead and hide something from your wife, once! Go ahead and get a Lee Loader, neck sizing is all I do on my wife's 303. This way the case headspaces on the shouder instead of the rim.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master Ricochet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Bristol, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    5,353

    Smile

    I've tried loading with a Lee loader in an apartment. Wasn't popular with the neighbors, as the operations are driven by a mallet. Go for the hand press and dies. More versatile. If they make them, get a collet neck sizing die.
    "A cheerful heart is good medicine."

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Lincoln, Nebraska
    Posts
    2,978
    Second what Ricochet said.

    The Classic Loader is an interesting gizmo that produces good ammo but whacking the case in and out of the die is noisy.

    The Lee Hand Press is capable of full length sizing. Since the leverage takes some effort, partially due to its portability, I'd recommend Imperial sizing die wax while using it, which seems to ease the effort of full length sizing noticeably. For neck sizing it is a breeze, but like Scrounger said, eventually you are going to need full length sizing capability.

    If you have a lot of cases that need full length sizing the Hand Press is a little tiring, but such are the tradeoffs that must be made.

    I'm also musing Scrounger's point - are you sure you couldn't buy an inexpensive O frame, mount it to a 3' X 3' board and weigh down the other end with something heavy or C clamp it to something? Quick to put away when you need the room. The compound leverage sure makes sizing full length easier.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    292
    A Lee Hand Press is all I use for all my reloading. It does a fine job. If the cases become hard to resize, I have resorted to lubing the ouside of the cases with my fingers dipped in a small container of motor oil, though I usually use the lube spray.

    I have a Classic loader also, in 7.62X54R russain. Its great if you need to carry something light, but is slow, even compared to a hand press. From time to time, I have also poped a primer with one. Not popular for apartment harmony.

    If you get the hand press and dies, I suggest you also buy a RCBS priming tool, that used standard shell holders. It will make things go a lot faster.

    Also,get a single beam scale, AND the Lee dippers. These together will give you a lot of latitude in developing loads, and learning to throw consistant charges with the scoops, making powder charging faster. Once you get the hang of it, you would only need to weigh a scoop thrown charge every 10-15 cartridges, to make sure you are still on track. Best to weigh each max load though.

    Even with the extras, one caliber with this set-up should stow inside a 50 cal ammo can.

    Take care.

    Sean

  7. #7
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Colfax, Iowa
    Posts
    2
    I started loading with a C press mounted on a board with carpet glued to the back. I C-Clamped that to the kitchen table. Not ideal but if there's a will there's a way.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    N. Las Vegas, NV
    Posts
    5,087
    I'm with Scrounger. Work it out with the wife. Eventually she will find out. I had a portable stand that Fanklin Arsenal makes. It was a good stand and was surprizingly strong. Runs about $50. I broke it by over doing things on it(forming brass). It was amazingly simple design so I made one to replace it. Or some people have gotten one of those Black&Decker workmate benches that fold up and made a portable bench out of one of those.
    Aim small, miss small!

  9. #9
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    26
    Gentlemen,
    Thanks for your advice. Seems like the hand press gets the popularity vote here )

  10. #10
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    26
    My wife is great, but she hates guns. Although not as much as when we first got married. I love her.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Scrounger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Area 51
    Posts
    5,498
    Quote Originally Posted by batjka View Post
    My wife is great, but she hates guns. Although not as much as when we first got married. I love her.
    Not criticizing your wife, in the long run she'll be more of a benefit to you than the gun will be. Just saying that trying to hide the guns and reloading will be unsuccessful, better to work it out now.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master and Generous Donator
    floodgate's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    2,521
    batjka:

    Check around and see if there is a muzzle-loader Rendezvous coming up in the area and try to persuade her to go along with you to it. Don't even take a gun with you, if she's that sensitive to them; just tell her that there'll be lots of colorful costumes, interesting non-gun items to shop for at the various traders' tents, lots of other women and kids, an easy pace to the shooting and not very loud compared to modern firearms. Women seem to really take to M/L events, (and can often whup their spouses when it comes to the targets). Someone is sure to offer her a chance to "give it a try" with a lightly loaded percusser (be sure she has glasses!), and odds are, you'll find she's gently "hooked" after a time or two.

    (The downside is that you may be out the price of a lot of costumery and antique kitchenwares; and if it really "takes", you may have to buy two of each rifle or pistol.)

    I'm lucky that my wife likes guns and shooting, but it helped even there; during our "courting years" back around 1950, I remember us sitting at the fireplace in my folks' summer cabin, casting round balls in an old "scissors" mould, pouring from a bent-up tuna can held with a pair of water-pump pliers, over a wood fire.

    floodgate

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

    Junior1942's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tullos, Louisiana
    Posts
    4,314
    You can't hide anything from your wife or your kids.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    N. Las Vegas, NV
    Posts
    5,087
    I've known allot of people, mosty females that didn't like guns and have yet to find one that still didn't like them after shooting one. See if you can talk her into shooting with you some time, as start out small like a 22 or something. The Rendezvous is a good idea. Lot's of stuff going on besides shooting too!
    Aim small, miss small!

  15. #15
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    26
    Ok, gents, I understand the wife issue )
    Getting back to the original question - hand press or classic loader? I'm yet to hear one vote for the classic loader. Are there no advocates of this method here?

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    N. Las Vegas, NV
    Posts
    5,087
    I have never used the classic loader except in shotgun shells years ago. As was mentioned earlier it will be noisy using a mallet to work the dies. If you are in tight space can we assume you are living in an apartment? If it was just a choice between the two I would go with the hand press also. I had one not too long ago and it was all right but I mainly got it to work brass in the summer time inside my house. It's awful hot in my garage in the summer. I swithched to a portable press some time later and was able to do alot more with it. but I have allot of calibers to work and like you said you just have the 303. Another thing is if you have the hand press and you do pick up another caliber or so, you can just get the new dies and keep your setup!
    Aim small, miss small!

  17. #17
    Boolit Master and Generous Donator
    floodgate's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    2,521
    batjka:

    The Lee Classic Loader is just fine, but I would also recommend getting one of the Lee hand priming tools. Once in a while, you'll "pop" a primer when seating it with a mallet in the Lee Loader; THAT would probably give your wife another reason not to support your interests! I've recently gotten one of the Lee Hand Presses and it looks like a good choice; the only problem I've heard of (I haven't used mine yet) is that dead primers are "stored" in the handle, with no exit, and you have to slide out the shell holder to dump them about once every box of cases. Just takes a moment to do, but if you forget, they can jam the tool.

    floodgate

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    899
    I started out with a Lee Classic loader, in 303/25, and was quite dissatisfied. It damaged every primer it installed - that is a delicate process, not suited to crude bludgeoning. It also gave poor neck-to-case concentricity, due to not locating the case below the shoulder. The dipper is poorly suited to load experimentation. Hammering in the projectile was barely workable for J bullets, and IMO quite unsuitable for cast bullets.

    On the positive side, the thing is very compact to store and does get you assembling some kind of ammunition at very little cost. However there are better alternatives. I went from the Lee Classic to a Lyman tong tool, and that was so much better there was just no comparison, while taking up little more space. The modern answer seems to be a Lee hand press: better than the tong tool, and uses standard dies in case you move to a bench press later.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master

    rockrat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    2,436
    I would go with the hand press. I have used and still have three of them. Seldom use them now but when I was single I would sit in front of the TV and reload with them. I used the press for full length sizing and seated primers with a Lee tool. For powder, I used a RCBS little dandy measure and would grind the rotor (I have almost all of them)so that when I threw two or three dumps of powder, I would have the load I wanted. Then seat bullets with the press. You will get good hand and arm strength if you reload alot. All fit in a 50 cal can. I would also take it to the range when I shot IHMSA and sometimes reload when not shooting.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master Razor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Puget Sound, WA
    Posts
    380
    I can't speak to the hand loader as I've never used one..
    I do have several classic loaders though..
    I think they're great...
    For high production almost anything else would have to be faster..
    For loading 5 or 10 rds on load development, they're perfect..
    I reprime with a Lee hand primer now, after popping a few with the mallet..
    As for noise, I hold the die in my hand for neck sizing..
    but have to use the bench for depriming and seating.
    I have 2 RCBS single stage presses but only use 1 for belling the case mouth..
    The other just sits..

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
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