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Lee Hand Press for 357

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by smurf hunter, May 10, 2010.

  1. smurf hunter

    smurf hunter Auburn, WA Active Member

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    I recently got a 6" GP100. The best thing about it, I can shoot this thing all day at the range. Unfortunately that's also the worst thing, given the cost of ammo. Even with cheapo 38spl, some days I still end up shooting enough to dent my wallet.

    I've done a fair amount of reading, talking and watching (youtube) and feel a hand press might be a good solution for me.

    Pros:

    * inexpensive
    * portable - I recently joined a very nice out door range
    * social - can reload in the living room while wife is watching TV etc.

    Cons:

    * slow production rate
    * maybe not premium quality/consistency?

    Seems like a nice set of dies, misc. tools and this press would get my going for ~$100. Of course I'd need to buy powder and bullets.

    Also, with a revolver it would seem cleaning brass is less important, as I don't let it hit the ground after firing.

    Thoughts?
    Thanks
     
  2. toolfan

    toolfan North Portland Member

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    I'm not sure multitasking while reloading is such a great idea,

    but other than that, I don't see why the lee hand press wouldn't work well for you. I don't have one, but would like to get one some day.

    Also - brass gets dirty more from combustion than from hitting the deck. It's sure easier to find your brass when shooting a wheel gun, but it's not significantly cleaner.
     
  3. smurf hunter

    smurf hunter Auburn, WA Active Member

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    When cleaning brass (tumbler, etc.) does it matter if you deprime before or after?
     
  4. ogre

    ogre Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    Many people do both; an initial tumble to prevent crud from scratching the dies during sizing and a final cleaning, after the case has been resized and trimmed, to remove any lube and to make it look pretty.
     
  5. 2506

    2506 Seattle Well-Known Member

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    I leave them in--I don't like picking corncob media out of my flash-hole. And the same goes for when I'm reloading:laugh:.
     
  6. Throckmorton

    Throckmorton Florence,Ore ah gone Well-Known Member

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    I"ve never deprimed before cleaning and never will. why jam the hole with medai? it sure isn't going to get the pockets cleaned..maybe a little,but not clean.
    IMho, any bench press beats a hand press,but they will get the job done.Not likely you'll be taking it to the range.
    another way to save money is shoot cast lead bullets. jacketed are cleaner and just nicer to work with,but lead is cheaper by a bunch usually.especially by the thousand.
    It will add a step,but seperate seating and crimping dies makes die adjustements A TON easier. most pistol sets use a combo die,....change the depth,it also changes the crimp a smidge. I just like the 2 die way.but,for 500 rounds that is 500 extra presses.
    You'll get by fine with hand wiping the cases,most .38's and .357 load seal the chamber farly tight upon iginiton. try it and see.


    might end up being over 100.00 unless u save money by buying used online here..dies can save,scales are plentiful used,etc.
     
  7. smurf hunter

    smurf hunter Auburn, WA Active Member

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    Good tips - thanks all
     
  8. taylor

    taylor Willamette Valley Well-Known Member

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    Think about a lee loader in .357, for about $20 you can learn the basics and crank out a box in an hour of Custom rounds that equal any match grade ammo.
    You can load .38 special loads into .357 cases and eliminate the crud ring in your cylinder.
     
  9. BSG 75

    BSG 75 Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Same can be said for my Lee Turret Press mounted on this portable stand

    15ycajl.jpg

    A turret press is not that expensive

    http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/?productNumber=622290
    http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/?productNumber=814175

    While some reloading steps are critical and need your undivided attention, others are not. Depriming and resizing for example. Lube the case (if necessary), put it in the press' shellholder, pull down on handle, spent primer pops out and case is resized, remove resized case, repeat. Depriming and resizing is about as simple and repetitious as playing a slot machine. With my press and stand I do all of my reloading in the house.
     
  10. smurf hunter

    smurf hunter Auburn, WA Active Member

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    I think I'd stick with some sort of press. While my primary desire is to reload 38/357, is any method ill suited for rifle rounds?

    I'm thinking a hand press would only be a $30 investment, and if I get bench mounted progressive or single stage press later, I'll already have my dies, and various other tools.

    Assuming I don't have a progressive setup, I envision my production process to process a full batch one stage at a time. Example: deprime/resize 50 times. Change dies, and onto next step 50 times.
     
  11. warnerwh

    warnerwh Portland, OR Member

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    I'd start with a press. It will be so much easier to use. A used Lee Challenger will work fine and costs little more than the hand tool. I would think it would be quite a bit faster using a press also.
     
  12. gixxer1974

    gixxer1974 Portlad Oregon Member

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    I have a hand press that I use all the time. I sit on the couch after a day at work and deprime and resize 3 or 4 hundred cases then a couple days later I bell the mouth of the cases. later I will sit at my bench and do the powder and bullet seating on my other press. I really think the hand press was a great investment, but I don't know if I would want it to be my only press
     
  13. smurf hunter

    smurf hunter Auburn, WA Active Member

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    Any tips for powder measure? If I'm experimenting with a broad range of recipes between mild 38spl and 357 bear stopping loads, are those little yellow scoops ok if I just get enough different sizes?

    Also, how and when do you add powder to the case? I've seen dies and presses that allow this to be poured through the top of the die.

    Couldn't I manually pour powder into my primed and sized cases upright in a tray prior to seating the bullet?
     
  14. toolfan

    toolfan North Portland Member

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    Pour through dies are more for use with a progressive press.

    With a single stage you'll deprime/resize, then you'll bell the mouth, then prime, then add powder, then seat the bullet and crimp the case (you can do the last two together or as seperate steps).

    I use lee dippers, but the set only offers a certain number (.3, .5, .7 and 1 cc are the only ones you'll use for .38/.357) of dippers. You can modify them as needed, but then it's modified. You'll want a scale as well. I just weigh each charge if I'm loading something on the heavy side. Say through a lighter charge with a dipper then add a little to get to the charge weight you want.
     
  15. 2506

    2506 Seattle Well-Known Member

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    That's how I do it. You'll want to get two trays, however. Once you pour the powder into a ready case, move it to the other tray one at a time. I usually set up one tray on each side of my press in order to make the moving from one side to the other deliberate and unavoidable. It's just too easy to double-charge a pistol case and not know it using a single-stage without some precautions in place.
     
  16. smurf hunter

    smurf hunter Auburn, WA Active Member

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    Good tip on the 2 tray system.

    I have a "full framed" GP100 with 6" barrel. I'm told it can handle most any load - but out of morbid curiosity, would could potentially happen in a "double load" of powder scenario?
     
  17. toolfan

    toolfan North Portland Member

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    explodedrevolver4.jpg

    "Any load" doesn't mean "any load" - you'll need to follow data, regardless of the robust ruger you've got.

    You can get a lot of data from the hodgdon site, but you should get at least one reloading manual for reference.
     
  18. BSG 75

    BSG 75 Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I put my resized, primed, ready-for-powder-and-bullet cases upside down in one of my trays.

    I use a yellow Lee scoop that will throw a slightly low charge of powder into my Lyman scale's pan. I use a RCBS powder trickler to bring the charge up to the correct weight (I weigh every powder charge). I grab one of my empty upside down cases, turn it right side up, stick a Lee funnel into the case, and dump the powder charge in. I then immediately take a bullet and seat it into the case, put the round into my press and seat the bullet fully. I put the finished round into the empty hole in the tray where it came from. Repeat.

    By keeping my cases upside down, I know they are empty. By putting powder only into a case that was previously upside down, and then immediately putting in the bullet and seating it, I prevent a double charge.
     
  19. smurf hunter

    smurf hunter Auburn, WA Active Member

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    Assuming I'm following an economical 38 spl wad cutter recipe for target - is there any issue reloading that into a 357mag case?

    I've been saving my spent brass and have a mix of 38 and 357. For safety reasons I would avoid putting a 357 recipe into a 38spl, but maybe the opposite is ok?
     
  20. 2506

    2506 Seattle Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't. What does your loading manual say? Change in case length is going to give you a change in pressure that could be dangerous in either direction. Better to be safe.

    But, if a manual indicates the same powder charge for 38 spcl as for 357 mag, then go for it.