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Lee breech lock hand pres

05 Jul 2019
@ 06:44 pm (GMT)

Nick Dawson

Hi guys, looking to get back into reloading after a bit of a break away from it. I’m looking to load for my Model 7 .223 bush rifle, and the .308 5R long ranger. The .308 gets used in 600yd competition (for practice) but is primarily a hunting machine.

I like the idea of the Lee hand press, from the minimalist perspective and the fact I can do development at the range. I’m happy that it’s more awkward and slower than the o frame press I used to have. The key question is, will the press be sufficient to load accurate ammo? Is it likely to create run-out issues assuming good loading technique and dies?

Anyone use/used one?

Replies

07 Jul 2019
@ 08:26 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Lee breech lock hand pres
Hi Nick, its fine for neck sizing which you will be doing. Concentricty can be controlled by trying to keep it vertical when starting bullets in. The Lyman tool is more difficult when it comes to concentricity. A hand press can be a lot of fun for bolt action neck sized ammo. It can of course tackle full length sizing with a bit more effort, however this is a moot point within the context of your needs.

The one thing you need to understand is that its hard to keep your scales perfectly zeroed at the range. You need to be set up inside a vehicle. If the wind is strong, the vehicle will rock on its shocks so you have to be careful of this too.

During my most heavy period of research for the KB, I did a lot of reloading from my Nissan truck. Time was of the essence and trips back to the house (even though just a few hundred yards away) was a waste of time. I had a pile of rifles and cartridges to get through, several years worth of work ahead of me. The truck system was great for obtaining general data. But when it came to accurate reloading for long range, I really needed to be in my reloading room where the conditions could be more closely controlled. You will soon find out what works for you under the conditions presented.

If you want to start with a hand press, go for it. I would rather see you do this than put it off altogether. Later, you can add the big press if you want to. This will not effect other aspects of your kit but would instead simply be an addition.
07 Jul 2019
@ 04:50 pm (GMT)

Nick Dawson

Re: Lee breech lock hand pres
Thanks for the confirmation Nathan. You have probably seen that I have the reloading book on order (to make my set complete) and Im looking forward to getting back into reloading with new knowledge and direction.
I know that there isn’t much cash difference between the hand press vs an o frame, but I get a greater feeling of ease and freedom having less permanent/non movable infrastructure around me. And being able to load inside the house where it’s warm would be nice too!
08 Jul 2019
@ 06:14 am (GMT)

Joshua Mayfield

Re: Lee breech lock hand pres
Nick, I have made extensive use of the Lee hand press. I love it. I also have a fixed press in the shop but I have loaded more rounds with the hand press. I load for hunting and suspect that if I got into competition the hand press would get less use. I get sub MOA and sometimes sub half MOA groups, but have reached a point where I suspect the shooter for fliers far more than the ammo. I have found that Nathan's processes as spelled out in the Reloading book can be utilized and adapted to the hand press. I use the Lee Ultimate Die Set (have also used RCBS) and my overall kit is modest. But whether I am loading rounds in the shop or at the kitchen table while it's below freezing in the shop, I feel fully confident that what I'm able to produce is worth the effort. Plus, I enjoy it. I'm a big fan of the hand press and will keep one regardless of what other equipment I acquire.
08 Jul 2019
@ 10:45 pm (GMT)

Nick Dawson

Re: Lee breech lock hand pres
Thanks for the input Joshua, I appreciate it. Sounds like a no brainer really, I’ll digest the book, get the press and get in with the job!
11 Jul 2019
@ 04:34 pm (GMT)

Luke Lahdenranta

Re: Lee breech lock hand pres
Yes you can definitely use a Lee hand press to load up some good ammo. I have been using mine this week to start loading for my new 340 Weatherby. Since you are loading for 223 and 308 you can also consider the Lee Classic loader 'whack a mole' kits. Those are my normal go to for hand loading. I've been using them for years and they really do load good ammo. I have them in 22-250, 243, 30-30, 308, 30-06 and 7mm Rem Mag and 44 Mag. I only broke out the hand press that I've had for years because of course there is no Lee loader option for the Weatherby cartridges. But I think I will have them make me up a custom neck sizing die for my 340 B using their custom service. I only have the basic RCBS die set that I got with the rifle. I like the Lee dies and Lee stuff for reloading it's generally affordable and works.
15 Jul 2019
@ 08:35 pm (GMT)

Nick Dawson

Re: Lee breech lock hand pres
Thanks Luke, I might even look at a Lee Loader for the .223 just for the process and the fun of it! I’ve wondered about those kits for a while. For the price, I guess there’s no loss really.
29 Jul 2019
@ 12:21 pm (GMT)

Nick Dawson

Re: Lee breech lock hand pres
I ended up getting a Lee Loader set for the .223 to try out, and also a Lee auto prime to make priming a nicer process. So far so good. The reloads on the Lee loader have come out with 0.002” run-out (bullets seated) The factory ammo I was using (Hornady 75gr BTHP Match) average about 0.004” with extremes up to 0.007”.
I’ve got a simplex FL vice die on order for when it comes time to FL size.

When I get out to test the reloads, I’ll be sure to post the results!
 

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