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Just bought a Lee Hand Press kit. What else do I need to start reloading?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by SurvivalistSong, Apr 3, 2012.

  1. SurvivalistSong

    SurvivalistSong Seattle, WA Member

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    I want to get into the art & science of reloading.

    I didn't like the idea of making a big investment in a turret press, bench, etc.

    So I just bought the Lee Hand Press kit:

    Breech Lock Hand Press Kit - Lee Precision

    seeing what the kit comes with, what else do I need to purchase to start reloading?

    i'm guessing a powder scale, primers, etc?

    Please list everything I should go out and buy.

    I don't need any fancy gear that is not required for a beginner reloader. I'm on a budget.

  2. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg WA Well-Known Member

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    They break easily
  3. Crispy

    Crispy WA Member

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    I would suggest Aleve or Tylenol for the hand cramps. Switch hands from time to time to :bluelaugh:
    evltwn and (deleted member) like this.
  4. CaliberGeek

    CaliberGeek Seattle, WA Member

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    I'm guessing primers, cases, bullets, proper powder, powder scale, and ofcourse die kits.

    The hand press looks handy. Every site that sells them seem to have 5 star rating from buyers. I don't think they break easily.
  5. sneakboxer

    sneakboxer NW OR Active Member

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    That's what i started with too. Its slow but worked great. Here would be my MUST have list: manual (preferably two separate souses), a manual scale, calipers, and die set (one per caliber loaded). and of course bullets, powder, brass and primers.

    I would also recommend you read the loading book prior to buying your stuff. You will have a better idea what is important and why. For example calipers are important because long cases and short cartridges cause excess pressure.
    Welcome to the addiction, stay safe and keep asking questions!
  6. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    On a budget, and going to start reloading, is kind of an oxymoron. Looks to me like your going to spend a lot of time loading little ammo too, you may have a lot of time?

    There's used single stage kits on the classified here all the time, put up by people switching to progressive I imagine. If not, the RCBS Supreme kit can be had for $250.00 if you look around. I've found loading with a single stage set-up very rewarding. Used dies also are available on this and other sites, and shipping dies is cheap. Lee dies can be had for under $30.00 at Cabelas, and they come with the shell holder. A beam scale isn't something I'd want to buy used. My calipers are a some I'd had for years, from Harbor Freight under $10.00 most likely, look and act just like the more expesive ones.

    After you get the durable goods, move on to powder. If doing hangun, Titegroup costs the least I believe, and will work in a lot of ammo. Get small(er) quantities of bullets through the classifieds untill you get a feel for what you like, then go for a larger on-line purchase. Split an order with someone on the board to save $$? Primers are relatively cheap, $3.00-$4.00/100. THE BOOK is a big one, or two books. Couple that with info from the internet on loads and you'll have a good cross reference to work within.

    I still think reloading on a budget is an oxymoron!

    Have fun man.

  7. toolfan

    toolfan North Portland Member

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    At a miminum you need:

    A scale ($24-a lot)
    Something to dispense powder (try these for $10: Improved Powder Measure Kit)
    dies for your particular caliber ($20-40)
    components (primers, powder and bullets - buy on sale at bi-mart for good prices)

    I'd recommend seeing if your local library has "The ABCs of Reloading" by Rodney James. You can buy it from Amazon for less than $20.

    For specific reloading recipes, the powder manufacturers (particularly Hodgdon/IMR) have pretty goodly amounts of data on their websites.

    There is no reason you can't start reloading quality ammo for not a lot of money.
  8. Throckmorton

    Throckmorton Florence,Ore ah gone Well-Known Member

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    get a tub of hornady case lube,or a tin of Imperial sziing wax.rifle brass MUST be lubed,and a smidge on yor fingertips when doing pistol brass will make the sizing operation almost effortless.for rifle,the whole body of the case.not the neck..needs a light film of lube.
    sure,there are spray ons,but they cost a ton more,over the long run,than tubs or tins.
    I"ll be REALLLY surprised if u break that press..ain't gonna happen.It'll get you going.

    a MUST I don't see listed yet is loading blocks to stand the cases in that have the powder in them.

    FWIW,out of my 5 manuals,my Lyman's is my go-to book for loads and info
  9. speedtriple

    speedtriple Vancouver, Washington, United States Member

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    Seems like people have given you a good list to get started.
    From my experience, I would use Imperial Sizing Wax. Using it seems to result in the lowest force when sizing on both my single stage and progressive presses, so that should help in the hand operation. It does not take much at all. But try to spread a VERY thin coat all the way around and up and down. More is bad with lube.

    You are going to want to clean the brass before you lube and size it. Most use a tumbler system with ground walnut shells or corn cob to speed production. Others use a wet system in a ultrasonic cleaner. You might try getting some polish made to mix with the walnut shells, and just wipe it on and buff it off with a soft cloth. You don't want to push dirty brass through your dies, it wears the dies.

    Best of luck! If you get hooked on reloading, you may have to adjust your budget. Reloading is fun, and new tools are awesome.
  10. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    Besides the obvious of bullets, cases and primers you'll need a means to measure powder. And some basic load information.

    I have two friends who have the Lee hand loaders and for powder measuring they use a Lee Powder Measure Kit. The kit comes with a series of dippers and through the instructions it will tell you what dipper to use to obtain what volume of a specific powder. They've tested it and it's surprisingly accurate.

    For cheap loading you can get the basic minimum and maximum information from the powder's site, here is a link to Hodgdon, IMR and Winchester Powders. Or, since you're just reloading a single caliber at this point, get a book from Loadbooks USA. For 6-8 bucks they complied information from all the other big books into one, with just the specific caliber.

    Good luck
  11. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    These are great for working up loads at the range.

    Definitely get a scale. If you want to save some money just get the Lee Dipper Set and a powder trickler. Dump most of the load from the dipper and then trickle the remaining amount.

    You'll need a set of dies for your specific caliber and Lee's are fine for someone on a budget.

    One thing that's important is a block to put all your cases in during the process. Buy one or just do like I did. Take a piece of hardwood and with a forstner drill bit (it drills a flat bottomed hole) on a drill press just put the desired number of holes in it. I have 4 blocks I made from some Brazilian Cherry Wood (Jatoba) that cost me a total of $16. Some clear wood finish and they look great for half the price of most plastic ones.

    Whatever you do, don't try loading without a scale. If you decide to shop at the local "Head Shop" for a cheap electronic scale, make sure it reads in .1 grain increments. Some of those cheapies tend to round off and only show even numbers of grains. Not good for reloading.
  12. toolfan

    toolfan North Portland Member

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    You can "trickle" from a lee dipper about as easy as you can from a trickler, just use a smaller dipper partially filled, angle it over the pan and tap the side with your finger. A few granules at a time will come out.

    Also - I'd argue that you don't NEED a loading tray, so long as you charge one case at a time then seat the bullet. It takes slightly longer than charging 50 then seating 50, but it also has the advantage of being less likely to double charge or no charge a case.

    The plastic inserts that come in factory ammo boxes work pretty well too.