Lee Hand Press Portable reloading setup.(Review)

Discussion in 'Reloading Room' started by Sakdog, Dec 21, 2007.

  1. Sakdog

    Sakdog Member

    Well I thought I would toss together a small hooptie on what I think so far of the Lee Reloading press and the 2 companies I have been purchasing my reloading equipment from

    Firstly, Midwayusa.com, Excellent customer service and very nice tracking/shipping setup. and GREAT prices (I think) At the first time I ordered on 12/10/07 they were out of stock of the Lee anniversary breech lock kit so I ordered it from www.ammodepot.com

    Ammodepot.com: Alright these folks appear to be pretty decent. I got my tumbler from there I paid $51 including media and shipping. So when I heard that Midway was out of stock of the breech lock kits..I placed an order with this company. The customer service sucks, You can send an email and their system will automatically send a response saying "We cant answer emails in a timely manner so this may take forever to hear from us" Well I waited about a week and I kind of figured surely its in the mail on its way to my happy arms.. But I emailed them to find out... that they had not sent it because they were "awaiting my response on whether or not I wanted a die set for $5 more." An email which I never received neither in my inbox or junk mail folder... So I was pissed that they held up my order awaiting a response on whether I wanted to buy something else that I didn't want to buy from them earlier? To me that is just illogical.. Its a good deal on the dies.. but give me a break why hold a mans order up all week for something like this? So for their customer service a definite thumbs down they have no phone number only an Email and Fax.

    Now the goods!
    (My only reloading experience is been these past few days).. and lots of reading for a week or so

    Lee hand press,
    Lee carbide 4 die set 9mm
    Frankfort arsenal bullet puller

    I was very apprehensive about buying the lee hand press some people said they are a PITA to use for anything. Im starting out just loading 9mm and will work my way up to other calibers, I read that the hand press can handle the job of small straight wall pistol applications and even full case sizing of rifle rounds with a little more effort. So basically without my breech lock kit I cant completely reload... (I dont have the prime on the press kit, and powder scales or measures) But I can do everything except charge and prime..

    Decapping/sizing:(I have thus far performed this operation on 1,650 cases)

    E-Z money.. not hard at all I read that since I have carbide dies I need not lube cases However I tried 2 different lubing methods

    1. Diluting a whole 2oz tube of lee lube with 16oz of rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle and shake shake shake.
    2.Hornady One shot

    For both lubes I put 100 cases into a baggie and gave a quick spray and shook it up & allowed to dry... Both seem to work equally as well... The Lee stuff dries to a white film.. and the Hornady seems not to leave any residue behind. Both methods reduce the already minimal effort needed to deprime/size the small 9mm cases.
    --Remember at the moment I have to skip Priming and Charging--

    Belling the case mouth
    What a straightforward process I must say that the instructions that come with the lee die set and with the hand press are more than adequate.
    (Performed on 400 cases)

    Seating the bullet
    Easy again.. I Marked the knob on mine to easily identify my turns on the depth adjustment and the die itself.. I am using Winchester 115 gr. FMJ bullets so I am seating the bullets to about 1.155" (The same as WWB 115Gr. ammo)

    Factory crimp post size die..
    Its another follow-the-instructions quick setup deal

    So Ive loaded (Dry) 100 rounds..and pulled them back apart again with the impact bullet puller. I checked all my rounds' overall length and they are all well within the max Oal specified and I guess by immersion the whole process has proven to be quite simple..Granted My only training thus far has been the lee instructions and countless hours of reading various how to tutorials on the internet.

    I can honestly say for anyone "thinking" about getting into reloading.. Go do it.. It is really something that adds immense depth to the shooting experience.. Plus it is cheaper than factory ammo,

    For me I am going to be able to load my first 1000 rounds for about 10.8 Cents per round.. (Excluding cost of reloading equipment)

    What a great new hobby
  2. Ari

    Ari Guest

    Very good report... On 9mm if you are using the carbide die set you should not have to lube anything. I find reloading a fun hobby all by it's self. It sounds like you might have found that out.. Wait tell you work up your first loads, and then get a chance to shoot them at the range. I worked up some 125gr .380 last week and got a chance to try them yesterday. What a kick.

  3. Sakdog,

    I have two presses, main one if a Lee 4 hole Turret press and the second is a Lee Hand Press. Right now I use the Turret press to do all my loading on and really like it a lot. The Hand Press is used with a Universal De-Capping die and thats what I decap all my spent cases with.

    The only time you will have an issue with the Hand Press is when doing full length sizing on large rifle cases, then it can be a handfull. For handgun cases its a breeze to use. For someone who does not need to loads hundreds-thousands of rounds at a time and do not have room for a full bench setup the Hand Press is the way to go.

    Once I get a set of dies for 7.62x39 I intend to use the Hand Press with that caliber exclusively and keep the Turret press set up for my handgun loading.

    As far as MidwayUSA... I do all my online reloading business with them and have been very pleased with their service and super fast shipping. Prices are within a $1 of other online shops but the real savings comes in on their shipping. They offer many different shipping choices and always select the cheapest to start with, other sites just offer one method and max their charges to make up for lower prices.

  4. nice review.

    I really like my lee hand press for doing some quick loads at the range and for depriming. I use it mostly for the latter, sit down in front of the tube and just go at it.
  5. Sakdog

    Sakdog Member

    Well I got the remainder of my reloading supplies in the mail from Midway. (Lee anniversary Breech lock Challenger kit) Ill say that I have put my breech lock press into the cupboard. (I am an apartment dweller) So my hand press is on the front burner and suits my needs thus far. (Most all of my reloading kit fits into a small tupperware tub.. Today I loaded my first 100 rounds and I will say that the lee products are quite a breeze to use. The only part of the kit that I had a hard time getting used to the safety scale.. That thing was a touchy little bugger to get zeroed and acclimated to using (Big part of the problem was that I needed to turn the ceiling fan off!) But after getting it figured out my "Lee Perfect powder measure" seemed to throw a very consistent load +or- .1 grains. Well I guess on monday We will see if I will retain all my appendages :) .. Im sure all is ok... I checked 10 powder throws before charging cases and after all 100 were charged 25 were pulled and checked.. All is good.. What great facet to the shooting hobby.
  6. those powder measures generally work better with time. One thing that will help you throw even better is the proper technique. Go from full drop position to the top of the stroke, then back down about halfway, then back up to the top again for a split second, then drop. It will help top it off consistently for a better throw.
  7. Sakdog

    Sakdog Member

    Well the first 100 rounds were a Success.. Shot them off on Monday. They seemed quite accurate and the recoil was a bit milder than factory WWB ammo. I really recommend getting into reloading.. Everybody has always told me to get into it.. they were right! Im only ankle deep and loving it. Really adds depth to the shooting experience.
  8. Ari

    Ari Guest

  9. Congrats on the success Sakdog! Looks like you are having better results than I am right now.. Way to go!
  10. yup that little hand press is a good unit I have one and still use it even though I have bench mount presses. makes a great at the range press .
  11. Sakdog

    Sakdog Member

    Ive only loaded 350 rounds so far with this set up but so far its been a snap and a pleasure.. (Only 9mm so far) .. I find the set up of my bullet seating die takes a minute but overall switching dies is pretty quick.. I love this little set up.. I guess when I start doing rifle rounds ill break out the breech lock and rig up a portable clamp on type mounting system.