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Old August 5, 2012, 04:22 PM   #27
Lost Sheep
Senior Member
Join Date: January 24, 2009
Location: Anchorage Alaska
Posts: 2,964
Welcome to the forum and thanks for asking our advice.

Originally Posted by Whitetail99
Ok just to clarify. What do I need to go with the lee classic?
Thanks for baring with me! I've prob. Really got on y'alls nerves asking some really stupid questions.
A notebook so you can keep track of your loads' performances.

A mallet. Not a hammer. Brass is the hardest metal you want to be hitting the steel dies with and rawhide, wood, plastic or hard rubber is better. Really hard rubber.

A scale. The one powder dipper that comes with the kit severely limits your power and powder options. Besides, consistency of powder charge is important to accuracy. If your technique is good, you can dip accurately with a dipper, but how can you really tell how consistent your performance with the dipper is? You can count the granules or you can weigh the results. 0.1 grain minimum resolution. Some electronic scales only tell you to 0.2 grains. (Grain is a unit of weight, not granule count - 7000 grains equals 1 pound) If my post seem simplistic, remember, I have no idea of your experience level and others of all experience levels will be reading this thread.

Calipers. Measuring the length of your loaded cartridge is important, The length of the case, too and the diameter of the bullet. Also, one of the important "tells" for brass wearing out or pressures being too high is casehead expansion and other things. You have to be able to measure to 0.001"

A block of wood so you don't dent your work surface, especially if you are using household furniture.

A loading block or two. If you load 50 cases at a time, put one loading block (the receiving block) on one side of your work area and the other (the supplying block) on the other side. As you process each case through the step you are performing, place it the receiving block. I put primed cases with the primers up so I can give them a mass inspection (I also feel the primer with my finger immediately after seating to ensure it is seated just below flush) for a last verification. Cases charged with powder started out primer-side up (to ensure they are empty) and end up in the receiving block case-mouth up and get a mass inspection by with a strong light to ensure all are charged with the same depth of powder.

All this shuffling around (the loading "algorithm") is designed to minimize the chance of a botched or missed step and to maximize efficiency. Some handloaders copy an algorithm (or method/procedure/whatever) from their mentor or design their own their own personal style. I have given you the center of mine.

A dropcloth (cloth, not plastic, which is noisy, doesn't drape well, lets primers roll around too easily and collects static electricity which may cause powder spills to scatter) makes cleanup and finding dropped stuff much easier. Get one twice as large as you want, spread it completely out, under your worktable and chair and 5 feet further, at least. A dropped primer can hit the edge of your chair and bounce quite far. (And don't EVER say "I will pick it up later".)

Every experienced handloader has not one, but a library of handloading manuals available to him/her. At least all that will volunteer a book count. That is, no one with more than 5 years experience has ever publicly admitted to owning only one. The early chapters of almost all manuals have their early chapters devoted to the "how tos" and the "whys" of handloading. Written by different authors with different writing styles some will tread aspects of loading with different emphasis than others. Multiple coverage of subjects ensures you get a variety of viewpoints and what one may cover thinly, others will cover thoroughly. The "ABCs of Handloading" contains no load recipes, but is a good introduction to the activity, as its sole purpose is to teach the subject. I am told that recent editions are scarier than 20 year old issues. "ABCs" is compiled by editors of many different authors and re-published anew every few years. Check for older editions at your local library or used book store.

Your shooting glasses will do for eye protection, but I keep a dedicated pair for reloading. Bigger lenses. If I used the Lee Classic Loader all the time, I would probably spring for a full face shield. I have never set off a primer while loading (with the Lee Loader or with any press), but have testimony that some have. I would wear a strong leather glove, too. Safety first.

About setting off primers. While it is extremely unlikely for you to light one up while loading it would be educational to load up an empty case with a primer, chamber it and fire it. You will get an idea of how powerful and noisy it is (out of a barrel it will be quieter). Fold a paper towel in quarters and hang it over your muzzle. Have a look at the embedded products of combustion and feel the amount of grit. Imagine that in your eye, the skin of your cheek or even just your hand.

Reloading isn't rocket science or even bomb disposal, but it does involve smoke and flame and things that go very fast. Know what can go wrong, take appropriate precautions and go forth. Millions have done so before.

A chronograph would be nice (can be had for under $100) but probably is not in your budget. But eventually you will want one, trust me.

That's all I can think of right now. I will repeat the list.

Eye protection
Piece of wood to take the inevitable dents
Loading Blocks

Good luck.

Lost Sheep

p.s. You did not ask for this advice, but I will offer it anyway. Add up the cost of 15 boxes of ammunition at retail over-the-counter price. Add up the cost of the Lee Classic Loader (and the accessories I have listed) plus powder, bullets, primers and 50 brass cases (enough to make those same 300 rounds). Add up the cost of a Press and accessories plus the powder, bullets, primers and cases). Compare the three figures. Not so far apart, are they? Then consider the convenience of a press vs the small size of the Lee Classic Loader (again, with the accessories).

Having said that, I have a Classic Loader for every caliber I load for. I never use them any more. The press is so much faster and more convenient for me. But when I add a caliber (and loading dies for my press), I always add a Classic Loader. I don't really know why.

Lost Sheep

Last edited by Lost Sheep; August 5, 2012 at 04:29 PM.
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