I started out reloading with The Classic Lee Loader in .30 Carbine. It has been in production for over 50 years and still costs a modest 30 dollars (less if you can find a good used one at a gun show), and it works just fine. As the reader who recommended this link said: "Your group will need at least one." Here's the owner's manual.
I've got the Lee "Modern Reloading" book, and I keep meaning to get one of the little Lee hand loaders like you show.
Almost makes me thing I should have gone with Lee instead of RCBS!
I used to have a Dillion progressive reloader -- had dies from all over the place. Gave it to my son when I was crippled a few years back and thought I'd never walk or shoot again.
Kept working until I can shuffle along now and mud crawl with the best of them. And, more importantly, I'm once again shooting. Bought a little Lee Challenger kit and started reloading again -- experimenting with loads, etc. Do about 100 - 120 per hour which isn't bad for a little single press. Probably done around 25K rounds assorted calibers and the equipment still seems brand new.
Bought one of the stand alone Lee Loaders to use right out at the range after watching some damn good shooters playing with loads right on their shooting bench. Fell in love with it and now have Lee Loaders for 5 calibers, a small tackle box type back pack with annealed brass, bullets, primers and powder.
We're constantly swapping recipes and experimenting at the range very successfully. Highly recommend every serious shooter get one -- especially in the event you are stuck away from regular ammo supplies sometime in the future.
I used one of those sets about 15 years back helping a friend out, by reloading about 300 rounds of .25 ACP for him (I know, .25 ACP sucks but it was his pocket concealed gun). I found the reloading kit to be relatively straightforward, anyone can afford a set in about every caliber they own, and it was so easy to use I was able to load the 300 rounds up in a couple hours of sitting in front of the TV. As long as you aren't in need of precision reloading (where a press, powder scale and precision powder charger, etc. would be required), nothing beats the Lee Loader for simplicity.
Great post, Mike!
I've spent many wonderful hours reloading with the Lee loader prior to splurging for a press. The press is a wonderful tool, greatly speeding up the process and making ammunition superior to the Lee loader. A good cross between the two that I also greatly enjoy, is the Lee Hand Press. Highly portable as the Lee loader, utilizing the same dies as the press, and much more speedy than the hand loader. May wanna give it a try one day.
The Lee hand loader with carbide dies also is a good option if the OAL of the round is not to great. Problem is now, if just starting, primers are no where to be found. Some houses have them at the end of January.
Interesting. I visited the Lee site and read this, "Please note: the Classic Lee Loader neck sizes only. This is not recommended for semi, pump and lever action guns."
What does this mean and why are bolt action guns "exempt"?
A high school friend of mine had a Lee Loader. It reminded me of what we used to say about Jr. Stockers in NHRA drag racing: "It may be ugly but it sure is slow!" The Lee Loader works. If it's all you have you will still be able to make safe reloads. But having used one extensively in the late 60's it's best attribute IMHO is that it really makes you appreciate an RCBS Rock Chucker.
"What does this mean and why are bolt action guns "exempt"?"
Under normal use a brass case swells under pressure to seal the propellant gasses in the chamber. When the bullet exits the muzzle & the pressure drops the case goes back to the original size, but not quite all the way. One of the first steps in reloading the case is to squeeze it back down to something approximating the original diameter. Full length resizing is done for the full length of the case while neck resizing just resizes the part that grips the bullet. Neck resizing tends to give you more case life as the brass is work hardened less. With a bolt action you may need to apply more oomph to persuade the bolt to close on a case that is only neck resized. That same case in a semi-auto will very likely cause a failure to feed. Semi-auto's almost always require full length resizing for reliable functioning, especially with a dirty chamber.
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