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How To Reload On A Shoestring Budget

- - - - - lee loader reloading

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#1
TacticalTed.com

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If you wanted to try reloading, but don't want to spend a lot of money, then this article is for you! - http://TacticalTed.com/blog-page-4
(Article at page bottom.)

#2
Flash

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at one time ammunition
loaded with a Lee Loader held a world record listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for more than seven years.”

That's true, but what they were too modest to say is that it was a 1,000 yard record.

At one point in my mid teens, my Dad had sold his reloading gear and was pursuing other interests. I'd discovered cars and girls and so I didn't have much money. I bought a Lee Loader and spent many a happy hour reloading on it. One memorable camping trip I was using a piece of 10 x 12 and a hammer next to a campfire.

Oh, and I paid $10.00 for that Lee Loader, new in box. Unfortunately, it was stolen by a "friend" a few years later and I never saw it again. I made it a point to never see the "friend" again either, and I haven't to this day.

Nowadays, I've got 2 progressive shotshell loaders, 1 single stage shotshell loader in a quick change mount, 1 progressive metallic loader in a quick change mount and 1 single stage metallic loader permanently mounted. There are 2 more single stage shotgun presses on quick change mounts and 2 metallic loaders on quick change mounts in a bin under my loading bench.

It's much easier and faster these days. :wave:

Oh, and I just checked Amazon and find that Lee Loaders are now still under $30.00/caliber.

Not a bad deal at all.

#3
TacticalTed.com

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Man, you really are into reloading! But, yes, for around $30.00 for everything you need to get started they can't be beat.

#4
Flash

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If I shoot it, I reload it, except for .22s and I shoot quite a bit. I shoot shotgun once a week, handgun once a week and rifle once or twice a month. Most of my guns have never seen factory ammunition.

I went to progressive reloaders around 20 years ago when I started my business. I was working around 70 hours a week and didn't have time to reload, so the progressives made sense to me. I kept the single stage loaders just in case.

Today all I reload on single stage is .410 Bore shotgun and precision rifle, all others get loaded on progressive presses. I've thought about getting a progressive for the .410 but so far haven't been able to justify it in my mind in spite of the fact I shoot .410 weekly.

#5
anm2_man

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This is one area where Flash & I agree on. If I shoot it, I reload for it. (and no I will never try .22's). But reloading is a habit almost as bad as MJ. The more you do the more you want. Even though it saves you money (in the long run), you end up shooting more. But that is not all bad. Good luck in your reloading future.

#6
TacticalTed.com

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I don't know how it is done, but know it is possible to reload rimfire 22s.

#7
Flash

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It is, but you need fulminate of mercury or something similar.

Around the time I got out of the Army, I met a guy at the local range who reloaded .22s. He was retired and had been for over 20 years, and he showed me some that he had reloaded.

It's way too dangerous for me, though.

#8
TacticalTed.com

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Questions:

1) Did he use some sort of device inserted into the case to remove the depression left by the firing pin?

2) How did he obtain the bullets for loading these, cast his own?

#9
Flash

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1. No, he didn't remove the depression. He was firing revolvers and just lined them up so the firing pin hit in a different place. Mrs. Flash occasionally has .22LR that don't go off in her G26 Advantage Arms conversion, and I just insert them in the magazine with the depression down, as the firing pin hits the upper edge. They usually go off on the second strike.

2. He cast his own bullets in a mold he made. He was a retired machinist. I've often wished I had a background as a tool and die maker or something similar as it could prove useful.

#10
Kilroy

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Why does the Amazon page say:

This is not recommended for semi, pump and lever action guns

People own guns that aren't semi-auto?!? Why?

#11
Flash

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There are a ton of reasons for owning guns other than semi autos and there are undoubtedly tens of thousands more that aren't semi auto then those who are.

If what you really want to know is why the Lee Loader isn't recommended for semi, pump and lever action guns, it's because the Lee Loader is a neck only sizer. It doesn't resize the body of the case, so essentially after a loading or 2, it won't allow the gun to go into battery because the case has grown too large. With a bolt action, you have enough leverage that you can cam it into the chamber.

You could also have a problem using range brass shot in other peoples' guns which may or may not chamber in your gun.

#12
TacticalTed.com

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That is referring to long guns, not pistol cartridges as in the example I wrote of. I have updated my article to cover this aspect. http://tacticalted.com/blog-page-4 Thanks for the question, I should have thought to add that caution, but was thinking in terms of pistol cartridges which are full length resized with the loader.

#13
Flash

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Nobody thinks of everything, but the pumps and lever actions pointed it out for me.

Of course, there have been lever action handguns, but the memory banks can't come up with any pumps.

#14
binne

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decades ago, G and A mag had an article about a pump .22 that somebody paid the money to legally convert into a pistol. It was "purty". :-)


as a kid, i used to cast with a single cavity Lyman mold, melting the lead on the kitchen stove (when I knew mom would be gone for hours) I"d use the hard, graphite lube, by hand, going around the lube groove, drive the bullets by hand thru a tong tool die. I loaded with a lee loader. the first year I had a .45, I only had steel cases, and I reloaded them. I finally had one burst. I'd hunt for them in the grass with a magnet, and I literally cried every time that I lost one.

I also converted, by hand, with a grinder, hacksaw and files, a bunch of .45 L Colt cases to .45 ACP. Each one took 1/2 hour of hard work. I had blisters for months. :-)

#15
hill60

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Hey Flash - which of the Lee progressives do you have and or recommend? I've been reloading on an old Herters single stage - and as much as I enjoy the process - I think I'd like it a bit more, if I could increase the output.

#16
Flash

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I use the Lee LoadMaster. I reload .380ACP, 9MM and .45ACP on it weekly and .223 around once a month. Mrs. Flash and I shoot quite a bit.

You'll hear all sorts of things about these being junk, but I know a number of people who have no problems with them.

You'll see people posting about how you have to tweak the adjustments all the time but guess what? There are only 2 adjustments on the press, ram alignment and primer seating depth and both are set and forget as they never require adjustment. The problem these people have is that they never read the manual and they set up 1 or more dies incorrectly, something that's covered in the troubleshooting section of the manual.

Set up your dies properly, keep the press cleaned and lubed and you shouldn't have any problems. The LoadMaster is the most bang for the buck in the metallic reloading area.

#17
hill60

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Those are the same calibers that I'd be likely to reload too - so I'm glad to see that it can accommodate them. A few questions: Is changing between calibers pretty quick? Does this press require a bunch of add ons, in order for it to reach its potential - or is it ready to go (after proper set-up) out of the box? I wouldn't expect it to come with a case feeder, or bullet feeder, but does it come with the priming tool and powder measure? Do you have a dedicated powder measure for each of your set-ups? I appreciate your input!

Edited by hill60, 30 January 2015 - 08:33 AM.


#18
Flash

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Mrs. Flash once timed me changing between 9MM and .45 ACP, so I had to change the primer feeder also and that's a worst case change as you have to change everything. I didn't know she was timing me so I wasn't going as fast as I could and it took 4-1/2 minutes. It's faster when you don't have to switch from large to small primer feeders or vice versa.

There are no add ons required. Buy the press deal where it's set for 1 caliber and you'll get a set of carbide dies with it for the best deal. This also gives you a powder thru/expander die that only Lee makes and you need and also a powder measure. A case feeder is included but I've never used it as I like to lube every 10th case or so to make operation easier.

To change calibers you need 1 five hole turret for the dies, a shellplate for the caliber and large or small primer feeder depending on the caliber. Be advised that the shellholder for .223 is the same one used for .380 ACP. Try Lee Factory Sales or Amazon for the best prices and be sure to buy Lee dies to get the powder thru/expander the powder measure works with.

#19
hill60

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Excellent information, thanks Larry. So military brass gets processed before you run it thru the system - and previously fired, non-military is checked for proper OAL before being introduced into the system?

#20
Flash

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Military brass, i.e. crimped brass gets decapped and the primer pocket reamed before I even attempt to reload it. Non military is only checked for OAL if it's rifle brass, not pistol.

Mrs. Flash and I shoot around 10,000 rounds of handgun ammo between us each year and we've been doing that for around 7 years, reloading only range brass we've picked up off the ground. In all that time I've only had 2 9MM cases that had an AOL beyond the SAAMI spec and none in any of the other calibers we shoot. Therefore, I quit measuring/gauging handgun cases years ago as I felt it wasn't worth the effort. If they're too long, the handgun won't go into battery, so you know when you've got a case that's too long.





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