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Thread: .30-06 With a Lee Loader? Info on milder loadings

  1. #21
    Boolit Grand Master
    Shiloh's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Upper Midwest
    They work.
    I have 1 or 2 still. Slow, but produce good ammo.

    Je suis Charlie

    "A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves."
    Bertrand de Jouvenel

    “Any government that does not trust its citizens with firearms is either a tyranny, or planning to become one.” – Joseph P. Martino

    “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert , in five years there would be a shortage of sand.” – Milton Friedman

    "Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns; why should we let them have ideas?" - J. Stalin

  2. #22
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Always fun to read!

  3. #23
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Quote Originally Posted by mdi View Post
    ….Lee Loaders are fun and simple and can load some quality ammo….
    Darn right. I remembered reading an article in the 70’s about a competition rifle shooter that won a national match shooting ammo he had loaded with a Lee Loader. He actually reloaded his brass from each session at the event, and used it in the next session.
    If you get right down to it, some shooters are more accurate than others, some firearms are more accurate than others and some firearms are more accurate with a specific brand / loading of ammo. Developing super accurate ammo for a particular firearm boils down to experimenting with various components, weights and dimensions. Once the right recipe and technique is found there’s no reason to think a Lee Loader can’t produce a winner.

  4. #24
    Boolit Buddy hwilliam01's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    The Great White North (Maine)
    This will solve the flaring problem for cast bullets. It is common for any 30 caliber. 30-30, .308, 30-06..all the same caliber. Great tool and worth the money!


  5. #25
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Here is a video I watched last night of a demonstration on the Lee loader. At some point he talks about belling the case for the bullet and after seating the bullet, he then crimps it into place with the die.

    [B][SIZE=3][FONT=Century Gothic]These men and their hypnotized followers call this a new order. It is not new. It is not order.[/FONT][/SIZE][/B]

  6. #26
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Dec 2021
    A lot of folks started out thinking OP was a new reloader, but OP has over 500 posts and latterly, he mentioned he loads 38 Spc. For the original concern about shaving lead, three guys already mentioned the needle-nose plier trick I was thinking of. I did that with good success on a range of calibers until I bought a Lee universal case mouth flaring tool (it's not as good as an M die because it doesn't make a straight flare, so it's harder on both brass and the soft lead--but it works). Lee's instructions provided with the Lee Loader say to consult the included parts list for a "Flaring tool" for use with cast bullets, but said tool isn't in the parts list. Maybe an old offering. The only thing I could think to add, short of buying new equipment, is that sometimes a quick chamfer of the case mouth has allowed me to slip a bullet in when I'm shaving lead, and a good flaring tool isn't on hand. Not a guaranteed method but it can work.

    Quote Originally Posted by John in WI View Post
    Has anyone else had good success with a Lee Loader in .30-06, or something similar?
    I use a Lee Loader in 45-70 Govt. It is about the most relaxing thing. Plus, having the LL gives me the ability to leave my dies set for whatever my "normal" boolit is at the time, and quickly bang out any old cartridge if I just want to make five or ten plinkers to shoot out back. I don't find it particularly slow. Compared to my turret press, sure, but I have to imagine it competes with the time taken on a single stage, including swapping out dies.

  7. #27
    Boolit Grand Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Central VA
    If you are going to start loading from scratch, buying all components at current prices and buying a new Lee Loader, it will take a couple of decades of sighting in and hunting to break even.

    OTOH, if you have LRPs and powder, you can probably find a used LL set in 30-06 at a reasonable price. Add a light wood or plastic mallet, a loading manual and a box of jacketed bullets or a mould for the desired bullet configuration, and you should be good to go. You will have spent about the current cost of two boxes of factory ammo and have the wherewithal to load about five boxes.

    As an example of flexibility, I didn’t own a 30-06 or a suitable varmint gun when invited on a groundhog hunt some 45 years ago. I simply loaded up a box of ammo for my 30-40 Krag, using 110 gr half jacketed bullets and the groundhog never knew the difference (or if he did, he didn’t complain to me!)

    "It aint easy being green!"

  8. #28
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Regarding lead shavings off the bullet? I believe a Lee Loader only sizes and can't flare the mouth.

    Most reloaders using a press will flare the case mouth with an expander die when loading up cast bullets.

    You can't properly do this without a press, because if you hammer an expander plug into the case, it won't come back out without a fight. I suggest you use an inside chamfer tool to lightly taper the inside of your case mouths. Just a quick twist or two should help.

  9. #29
    Boolit Master

    Dieselhorses's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Southeast Louisiana
    As most have mentioned, yes, use an "M" die of some sort. I just use the charging die to flare necks. Also for light and subsonic loads, large cases like the 06 don't favor an over abundance of space between the powder and bullet base. I use a pinch of Dacron (just enough to keep powder positioned close to flash hole). I've gotten great results in my .308's and 06's.
    The unexamined life is not worth living....Socrates
    Pain, is just weakness leaving the body....USMC
    Fast is fine, but accuracy is FINAL!....Wyatt Earp

  10. #30
    Boolit Master

    Land Owner's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Mims, FL
    Rifle rounds, especially for hunting, are the work of Master Craftsmen, which you become through your experimentation, your rifle, and your practiced confidence to put the bullet where you intend it go. Every game animal is a trophy. There is no good reason not to anchor them in their own tracks EVERY time, if you do what is necessary to perform at that level.

    My Lee Loader rounds were accurate and cheap. I made, tested, and shot 1,000's of them in 30-30 and 270 rifle calibers. A beam scale, plastic funnel, calipers, and chamfer/deburring tool were logical add-ons. It was slow and exacting.

    Across those early years I pounded too hard and blew up a few while seating primers. It was a SURPRISE the first time. No harm no foul, eyes on the boat, pay more attention, and just as much a SURPRISE the 2nd.

    I have good memories and had FUN using Lee Loaders! I recommend them for shooters thinking about reloading as a way to approach this hobby without going "all in". I recommend them - period.
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  11. #31
    Boolit Grand Master

    Larry Gibson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Lake Havasu City, Arizona
    This has been posted before to new users of Lee Loaders.

    Excellent way to start reloading, I started that way myself in the early ‘60s.

    A couple tips;

    One of the larger MTM storage boxes, one with an internal tray, as it will hold all your reloading stuff.

    A plastic headed mallet. These are available at most hardware/lumber yards.

    Some 0000 steel wool to clean the outside of the neck. A small tuft wrapped around the neck and twisted does a quick job. May also be used with discretion to clean the outside of the cases.

    A clean bore brush one size larger than the caliber you are loading for on a small pistol rod to clean the inside of the necks. Push it straight in and slightly twist pulling it out. Usually one pass cleans the carbon and debris out pretty well.

    A small screw driver to clean the primer pocket but the Lee primer pocket cleaner is inexpensive and works well.

    The Lee chamfer tool to chamfering the inside of the case mouth and the outside if necessary. A small knife blade will do also for the inside.

    The Lee hand priming tool is almost a must unless you want the be-jesus scared out of you when a primer pops tapping them in.

    A Lee powder funnel, works much better than pouring through the sizer.

    A tapered punch or needle nosed pliers can be used to flair the case mouth if you are loading cast bullets in a cartridge that doesn’t come with a case mouth expander. Most of the pistol Lee Loaders come with one. Lee offers them for other calibers also. I got a couple 30 cal expanders from Lee.

    A loading block to hold the cases that you’ve primed and put powder into.

    Nice, or next to have;

    Lee’s powder dippers.
    A good powder scale.
    A powder trickler.
    At least one good reloading manual, Lyman’s is recommended.
    A dial caliper.

    All the above will fit into the MTM box.

    Most of the above will also be required or useful when you advance to a single or progressive press.
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  12. #32
    Boolit Master
    TNsailorman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Northeast Tennessee Hills
    Nice job Larry. O use a wooden mallet myself (I have 3) that I bought back in the early 60's. I also have a Lee Loader for each caliber of rifle or pistol that I load. I put each complete kit in a small labeled by caliber tool box that I bought at Wallyworld. I also bought a bunch of punches for .25$ each at a thrift store and use them to flair the mouth of pistol/revolver cases. I don't load rifles with lead bullets anymore(exceptions being my .43 Spanish RB). I would recommend also very lightly lubing the ouside of rifle and pistol cases with some sizing wax(Imperial or Royal), makes it much easier to drive the case into the die. I really enjoy loading with the little lee's but they are definitely not for the spray and pray crowd. Just of .02 anyway, james

  13. #33
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    SE Kentucky
    Ask yourself how much will I shoot, my experience (and a lot of others I'm sure) is that when you start reloading (and particularly casting) you'll start shooting more, sometimes a lot more. Not sure of your financial situation so take this for what it's worth, get a decent bench mounted single stage preferably compound leverage press, dies, scale (the Lee scoop kit will work til you do) and the other items needed. Once you get into this you will end up doing it anyway. Watch the S&S section for equipment, dies, etc, look at Titan (a sponsor) for new, check E-bay, local flea markets and garage sales. Add to that Lee molds and sizer kits and don't look back. I also started with the Lee whack a mole but it didn't take long to realize it wasn't going to cut it to shoot as much as I wanted to.

  14. #34
    Boolit Buddy kaiser's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Fly Over country in America
    A lot of good information and advice regarding this post. Reloading can be a hobby that surpasses hunting or shooting, since it can be done all year. The Lee "Whack-a-moles" got me into casting; and later "reduced" loading. After 5+ decades of loading, I can't say it has saved me much money, but I sure got to do a lot of shooting I'd missed out on by just settling for "factory".
    I would add to the above advice/info - to put 1/2 grain of "Kapok" (pillow stuffing) over the powder charge if using shotgun or pistol power (eg. Red Dot, Unique, etc.), which will keep a smaller charge of power from shifting in the case.. This extra step will aid in the consistent burning of the charge of powder in a 30/06 case by keeping the charge over the primer. I've found even large pistol cases can vary in velocity when shooting a "string" of fire starting with the barrel from the up or down position. (A chronograph has recorded the velocity variations of "case position" to my satisfaction regarding this anomaly!)

  15. #35
    Boolit Master
    CastingFool's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Climax, Michigan
    I started reloading metallic cartridges with a Lee loader in 308 W. After a while, I was getting 1-3/8" groups at 100 yds, with a 130 gr spirepoints.

  16. #36
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    State of Denial
    Dad and I started reloading .30-06 and .45ACP on Lee Loaders probably sometime around 1984-85. As a way to get your feet wet in the reloading pool for absolute minimal cost, it ain't bad - the LL, a stack of store-bought components and bullets, a mallet, and a set of calipers; done.

    But at the point you're far enough down this rabbit hole to be casting bullets for a bottlenecked centerfire rifle round, you're already invested in not only the pot and molds, but also a lube sizer and dies to apply gas checks; will probably want more precise control over your powder than the single volumetric dipper provided with the LL (which means at the very least the full Lee dipper set, but more likely a scale and an adjustable measure). If you're shooting cast, you may also want to work in M-dies for a little more neck expansion, so the LL probably isn't ideal anyway.

    Given that all of that stuff is coming home regardless, a basic single stage press and a set of dies is a minor investment when looked at next to the time you'll spend banging on the LL with a hammer. I once dusted off the old .45 LL after over 20 years of inactivity for nostalgia's sake. Got about 20 rounds in before saying "screw this!" It is reloading distilled down to the most basic level and I respect the hell out of that, but you really won't want to be kept down on the farm after you've seen Paris (Chargemasters, Dillon presses, etc...).

    Is the mightiness of the pen still relevant after we roll the writing paper into cartridges for a Sharps?

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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