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Old December 13, 2000, 12:20 PM   #1
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I'm totally new to reloading and need some info..

Looking at Lee products in specific…

With some dies and kits, it is advertised that you don’t have to clean the shells, is this true? Do you just have to clean the primer pocket, and size/chamfer the shell?
Do you always have to size and chamfer the shells?

If using Carbide dies, do you have to lube anything?

When do you need to use a “factory crimp die” vs a regular bullet seating die?

How is the ‘hand auto-primer’?

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Old December 13, 2000, 01:53 PM   #2
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I'll try to answer some of your questions. I'm sure some folks more knowledgeable than me will jump in as well. I use Lee carbide dies for straight wall pistol reloading. I always tumble my brass first to clean it of range grit, dirt, etc. I don't use any kind of lubrication on the cases, and since Im lazy, I don't clean primer pockets on my practice ammo.

I haven't used the Lee hand primer, so can't comment. I do use the Lee Factory crimp die for all my pistol reloading, and would recommend it highly. This die post sizes the case as well as crimping it. This insures it will chamber in pretty much anything, and works well for me, since I like to separate the bullet seating from crimping operation anyway. Hope this helps you some.
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Old December 13, 2000, 02:25 PM   #3
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jb26, don't believe everything you read. I, too, bought into the idea that I didn't need to clean my cases because my Lee carbide dies were so tough. I no longer labor under that illusion after ruining a .357 resize/decap die. Invest in a tumbler and clean your cases first. You'll be happy you did.
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Old December 13, 2000, 02:44 PM   #4
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Lee Precision

It's not absolutely necessary to clean/polish your brass in a tumbler. Just wipe it off with a clean rag, make sure it's free of dirt, grit, and powder residue. I use to soak my brass overnight in vinegar, rinse with tap water, and dry it on a cookie sheet in an oven set on low. Save the vinegar and reuse it (it'll turn blue from the copper tarnish). Get a tumbler at some point but it's not required.

You don't have to chamfer case mouths every time you load, chamfer only after trimming. Lee makes a real good case trimming system, it's inexpensive and works well. You buy one cutter and then add pilots for each cartridge you load for.

Cleaning primer pockets IMO is not all that critical, especially if your loading handgun ammo.

If you use carbide dies you don't have to use any lube when sizing the cases. Carbide dies are only made for straight walled pistol cases like .38 Spl and .44 Mag, etc.

Factory Crimp dies are great for bottlenecked cartridges used in semiautomatic rifles. It lets you get a strong crimp without danger of buckling the case. Strong crimps are essential for semiauto rifles because of the way they feed. I like to use Factory Crimp dies on Magnum pistols as well, it keeps the bullet from jumping forward on recoil due to heavy loads. Either way I always crimp as a separate step, instead of crimping when seating the bullet. This causes less damage and deformation to the bullet, otherwise you're crimping while the bullet is still moving.

The Lee auto hand primer is an excellent tool. It's the standard all others are judged by. In the last few years some other companies have come out with their own versions of the Lee tool, they may or may not be better but the Lee tool is still very good and affordable. I bet I've primed 15,000 cases with mine.

If you haven't bought you dies yet I'd recommend Lee Speed Dies if you're loading for handguns. I really like mine. I use them with a Lee Hand Press and it's a real convenient set-up, since it doesn't require a bench, I do most of my loading off a coffee table sitting on the couch watching TV. -- Kernel
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Old December 13, 2000, 04:43 PM   #5
Calif Hunter
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Lee stuff

I use mostly Lee equipment now. I tumble my brass most of the time, but not always. I use Lee carbide dies for my handgun ammo, all being straight-walled. I use factory crimp dies for .357, .41 and .44 mag, especially with powders like H110 or W296. I also use the Lee hand priming tool. In fact, I bought two so I don't have to switch tools between large and small primers. I only clean primer pockets when they look like they need it. I even use the Lee collet dies on most of my rifle ammo. Good Luck!
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