New to reloading and the Lee Loader . . .

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New to reloading and the Lee Loader . . .

Postby Lufbery » 25 Nov 2019 22

Hello all,

I just got started in reloading, and decided to begin with .38 special using a Lee Loader. So far, so good!

It took a little while for me to figure out how much force I needed with the hammer, especially during priming, but everything worked as advertised. It made sense to me to prepare all the brass first, so I wiped my brass down with a disinfectant kitchen wipe (because it was available) followed by a wet paper towel. Then I de-primed 50 cases. After that I tried to resize, prime, and flare a couple of cases. It was harder than I thought -- especially knocking the cases out of the die during priming.

At that point, I took a break and bought some Lee case lube. The case lube really helped. I put a wee little bit on my finger and that amount would cover 3 to 4 cases.

So then I sized, primed, and flared the rest of the 50 cases.

I also purchased a Lee Perfect Powder Measure and a Lee Safety Scale. The prices for everything were really good, and I know I'll use the scale and powder measure with any other loaders or presses I get in the future, so it seemed like a good investment.

I bought 158 gr. cast LSWC bullets, 125 gr. cast RNFP bullets, Trail Boss powder, and Winchester primers.

Last night I finally loaded 30 rounds with the 158 grain bullets: ten each of just above the minimum load, a middle load, and just below the maximum load.

I plan to load three different loadings of the 125 grain bullets too, with a similar spread of loads. I plan to go to the range Friday or Saturday and test each load for accuracy.
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Re: New to reloading and the Lee Loader . . .

Postby mr surveyor » 25 Nov 2019 23

I'm glad you learned to use the case lube early on, before you had a real problem.

Just a lube tip you may try .....

Get a plain, cheap kitchen spray type bottle (same type bottle you can put a mix of water and vinegar in to spray as a glass cleaner) .... then mix one part Lee Case Lube and 3 to 4 parts alcohol in the spray bottle. Put a handful of brass into a quart (or bigger) Zip Lock bag and give that first batch 3 to four squirts - fold over the open end and roll the brass around in the bag to evenly coat the surface. It may take a whole minute, or two, to do the whole process. Then take all the slightly "wet" brass out of the bag and stand them up on foil, wax paper, parchment paper or whatever you have handy. The alcohol will evaporate really fast and you're good to go.

Keep that Zip Lock bag handy for the purpose and it will get "seasoned" to the point you'll only need a couple of squirts of the lube mix at a time. Been using the same bag for about 7 years now for the few cases I absolutely have to lube (mainly 30-30 win and about every 5th round of 9mm).

just a suggestion

jd

edit to add: for the record, I started with the Lee Loader kits in 9mm and 38/357 and forced myself to use them for the entire first year (2011) before moving on to the hand press and standard (carbide) dies. The original "Loader" dies, if I remember correctly, are steel dies and do need that bit of case lube most of the time. The carbide style "standard dies" rarely require case lube although it does occasionally help. That's just my experience.
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Re: New to reloading and the Lee Loader . . .

Postby mikld » 26 Nov 2019 12

Welcome to the wonderful, oft frustrating and confusing world of reloading!

Sounds like you are on the right track. I started in '69 with a Lee Loader in 38 Special, 1 lb of Bullseye, 100 CCI primers, 158 gr generic SWC , and a log. After a few POPS during priming I found that if I chamfered the primer pockets a bit, the need to change my underwear was reduced considerably. My next purchase, after a few weeks was a Lyman reloading manual and a Lee scale.

Hint; I use an ingot of lead as an anvil. The blow isn't softened enough to matter and much, much quieter. (I cast most of my bullets). Mr Lee uses a padded base in this video (looks like a solid piece of wood with a pad underneath), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeEl9wZyabc

FWIW, I would stay away from near max loads for now so you can get the "hang" of loading with a bit more safety margin (I had my first and only squib with a Lee Loader, my fault not the loader's)...

Go slow. Double check everything. Most important, have fun...
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Re: New to reloading and the Lee Loader . . .

Postby Fyodor » 26 Nov 2019 15

Herzlich Willkommen from Germany, too!
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Re: New to reloading and the Lee Loader . . .

Postby larryw » 26 Nov 2019 16

Howdy & welcome from Arizona.
Been doing this for 50+ years, started with a 38 spec Lee Loader.
Pounded out literally thousands of of 38.
I still have the expander from my original kit, wish I had the whole thing?
+1 on the case lube. Best of luck, keep us informed.
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Re: New to reloading and the Lee Loader . . .

Postby Ranch Dog » 26 Nov 2019 17

Welcome to the forum! Glad to see a Lee Loader in use.

I'm another Lee Lube user. I empty a tube of the lube into a quart bottle of rubbing alcohol (70%). I place a steel nut in the bottle to help mix it. I use it as my source and then pour it into a small spray bottle to lube the brass. I use a nut in that bottle as well as it will settle in the bottom. I set the brass on wax paper and use a hairdryer on it if I'm in a hurry. When I'm working with a couple cartridges, fiddling with something, I use a light application of petroleum jelly. Just enough on my fingers to tell it is there.
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Re: New to reloading and the Lee Loader . . .

Postby Lufbery » 27 Nov 2019 07

Thanks, everyone, for the advice and encouragement. I also cast my own bullets (for conical bullets for cap and ball paper cartridges), so I will try using a lead ingot as a base.

Mostly, I'm just thrilled at all the equipment works exactly as advertised.
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Re: New to reloading and the Lee Loader . . .

Postby mikld » 27 Nov 2019 12

The two main complaints I hear about Lee Loaders is they are slow and cannot produce accurate ammo. But I call baloney! A 1,000 yard record was held by a shooter that reloaded with a Lee Loader and in the video I posted above, Mr. Lee pounds out a round in less than one minute. I have 7 Lee Loaders as I usually get one for every cartridge I reload (I'm behind at least three now, but I'll catch up!). Whenever I feel "retro" or just want to assemble a few rounds, I'll get out my Lee Loader and pound out a few rounds...
Last edited by mikld on 28 Nov 2019 12, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New to reloading and the Lee Loader . . .

Postby larryw » 27 Nov 2019 13

I call BS on that one also Mikld. If I did my part, more jack rabbits than I care to remember
fell to a very old Colt 38spec 6" & a young skinny kids Lee Loader rounds.
That was when I still had eyes that worked past the end of my nose??
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Re: New to reloading and the Lee Loader . . .

Postby Guinearun » 27 Nov 2019 23

Welcome to the lee life , from Mississippi lufbery!
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