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Old July 24, 2000, 06:46 PM   #1
Don Gwinn
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I want to get a start of some sort in reloading and handloading. I love my .45 but ammo is expensive, and my wife hates the recoil of typical factory loads.

Unfortunately I don't have a fortune laying around nor a room for a bench and such. I found a hand-held press on Lee's website that intrigued me. It's dirt cheap and small, but I don't know the first thing about handloading.

1. Is this a quality piece? If not, is there a quality piece of comparable design available?

2. Is it stupid for a complete beginner to start out with a handheld press? Seems to me it would be very simple and also very slow, which should be good for a beginner, right?

3. Will this press handle every job that the larger turret and progressive loaders do? I don't want to buy it and find that I still have to have one of the bigger, expensive models to make it work.


BTW, I don't particularly care if it's hard on my hands as long as it doesn't cause mistakes that result in dangerous ammo. I already spend a lot of time on grip strength and this might even help.
Thanks for your patience and answers.
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Old July 24, 2000, 07:35 PM   #2
johnwill
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IMO, it would be a serious mistake to try to learn to reload with the Lee Hand Press. It's a PITA to use, and it's very slow. If money and size are an issue, I'd start with something like the RCBS Rock Chucker, it's a quality press that you can use a lifetime. You can setup a press on something like the Black & Decker folding WorkMate bench and knock it down when you're not using it.
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Old July 24, 2000, 09:18 PM   #3
pack_rat
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Hey Gwinny,
If you really want to go with a Lee, the Challenger Press Kit is hard to beat.
You can mount it permanent, or on a piece of
2x6 then C clamp it anywhere you wish.
Also, if you ever want to load for a rifle, you will have plenty of press to do the job.
One last thing, the carbide Speed Dies are the very thing. Just clean your brass, set up, and start cranking 'em out.

Cheers,
armus_rattus
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Old July 24, 2000, 11:37 PM   #4
beemerb
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Go to the following site.I have allready ran the search and this will put you the RCBS auction pages.you can get some very good deals here if you are careful. http://www.auctionarms.com/search/StringSearch.cfm

Allso look at prices at this midway site. www.midwayusa.com

They have some good prices on starter sets.I would recomend going with rcbs.In the long run they will stand up better then lee.
BOb

------------------
Age and deceit will overcome youth and speed.
I'm old and deceitful.
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Old July 25, 2000, 06:07 AM   #5
TMoney
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Don, there are times when the hand press is perfect. Sitting in your recliner to resize and de-cap. It is not really any slower than at a table, but just more comfortable. That's my preference, since I have both.
To prime, spend the 25 bucks and get the hand primer. WOW!
When you load the powder and seat the bullet is when I think the table press is best. Moving the bullets around in one hand and holding the press with the other may be a spill waiting to happen. Perhaps it's not a major catastrophe, but it is a PITA.

The worst part about the hand press is, it is the basis of graduation. No matter how you start, you'll have to upgrade.
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Old July 25, 2000, 08:53 AM   #6
Dave P
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Don G - my vote is to go for it! As a newbie also, I just bought one: the hand press does the job. Very basic and slow, but precise and cheap.
Can always be used even when you upgrade later. I agree with tmoney that the seperate hand primer would be a nice addition.
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Old July 25, 2000, 09:17 AM   #7
RobCon
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HDS (Huntingdon Die Specialties) in Oroville, CA makes a great hand press called the Compact. Uses standard dies, comes with priming tools and is built to last several lifetimes. I have used mine at the range with a C clamp for blackpowder and smokeless cartridge reloading. it is more money than the brand you mention but your grandchildren will still be using it long after you are gone.
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Old July 25, 2000, 11:25 PM   #8
Kernel
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My first Lee Hand Press lasted for only about 10,000 rounds. Then it died and I got a new one. Oh well, twelve bucks down the drain. I've got a conventional O-style press, but it's the Hand Press I always use... sitting on the couch, glass of ice tea, feet on the coffee table, TV on the History Cannel, kids running wild. Personally, I think it's faster. -- Kernel
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Old July 26, 2000, 09:18 AM   #9
Don Gwinn
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That's two votes for...hmmm....well, keep the opinions coming. I've got lots of time to decide what I want. Thanks.
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Old July 26, 2000, 10:12 AM   #10
jetrecbn1
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I would vote for the wood block with c clamp. Get an inexpensive single stage for around $15 plus dies($20). I would get a SCALE.
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Old July 26, 2000, 10:18 AM   #11
Steve Smith
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Just to let you know, a trip to the local Salvation Army, ARC, or Goodwill thrift stores reveal lots of healthy desks at roughly $10. That's where I got my first reloading bench.
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Old July 26, 2000, 10:21 AM   #12
jetrecbn1
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I was in High School when I bought my Lee Pro1000. I always wanted the Dillon but could not shell out the money. I have reloaded close to 20,000rnds(45) over 7 years on my press. It is finicky but the whole set up cost less than $150. With all the money I have saved over factory ammo I have practiced a lot more than I would have. You never actually save money, you just shoot a lot more away. Save $200 to buy the Pro 1000 plust powder, primers, and bullets. If you reload 2000 rounds, you will have recouped your startup $$. You could save $50 by going with the auto index turret press but it will be slower than the 1000.
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Old July 26, 2000, 11:15 PM   #13
TMoney
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One other note, Don, you not only start shooting more as you save money on factory ammo, but you'll likely start buying the premium bullets and brass that give you just a little more accuracy.

The whole thing really escalates on you, but what the heck, right?
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Old July 26, 2000, 11:19 PM   #14
hagar
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Don't buy one, buy two! I load 340 Weatherby and 375H&H with mine, as well as 223, 9mm, 10mm, 22/250, 30/06, 7mm mag, and will seriously challenge anybody with a bench mounted non progressive to keep up with me. I size with one, and seat with the other. Mine is over 10 years old and going strong.

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Old July 27, 2000, 04:52 PM   #15
Joey
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Since we've joined Cowboy Action Shooting and are shooting 45 Colt buying ammo was out of the question. We were going through 300-400 rds a week between the two of us, and this was just 45 colt not the other "toys"

I've been looking at all kinds of presses for the last few years and always go back to Dillon. Since getting involved in CAS my search for a "cheep" appartment press was vigorously renewed.

After much research the better half let me get a Dillon 550B. While this broke the bank and then some it has been well worth it.

What I did was to get the strong mounts and mount the press on a old sturdy end table. The table sits in a unoccupied corner next to the computer covered with a hefty garbage bag when not in use.



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Old August 5, 2000, 04:08 PM   #16
Kaliburz
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Have a Lee hand press, got it from a friend for .....free......birthday gift...same with the RCBS Rock Chucker. Any how, I use the hand press to do test loads at the range. I usually bring some primed brass, a bag o bullets, scale and powder. Range owner is a buddy. Or I use it to deprime while watching tv......
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Old August 7, 2000, 12:04 AM   #17
lowepg
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Kernel:
but it's the Hand Press I always use... sitting on the couch, glass of ice tea, feet on the coffee table, TV on the History Cannel, kids running wild. Personally, I think it's faster. -- Kernel[/quote]

I would strongy recommend any newbie reloader (hmmm, and some non-newbies too) to NOT try to reload while watching TV. I know it sounds overly cautious, but one double charge or squib load can ruin your whole day... And what on TV is worth that?
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Old August 7, 2000, 11:58 AM   #18
Robert Foote
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I have used one off and on for over 10 yrs. I like it quite a lot as it liberates me from the bench and press. Broke a handle eventually but that was after resizing a lot of '06 and probably after too many underlubed cases. Replaced the handle and am still using it.

Got another for my college student daughter as she shoots 9mm and will eventually be moving out on me. It will get the job done with good standard dies but take up minimal space.

Have been loading for almost 40 yrs and have never been able to justify progressive loaders. I have two quality C presses and can control every step of the process. If pressed for time I would probably get a Dillon, but am quite content without one. The Hand Press is a nifty little item.

BTW, the question was a valid one. We have enough know-it-alls already.

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Old August 7, 2000, 08:04 PM   #19
johnwill
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Robert Foote:
BTW, the question was a valid one. We have enough know-it-alls already. [/quote]

Do you count yourself in that number?


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Old August 7, 2000, 09:11 PM   #20
yorec
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Another Happy Lee hand press owner here. I also use mine to tailor loads at the range and decap/size in preparation for case trimming while watching TV. If it ever breaks (20 years and unknown number of reloaded rounds) I'll have to buy another. FWIW my "other" press is a dillon 550B and I love that one too.
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