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Initial setup for handloading

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  #8  
Unread 01-10-2005, 12:51 PM
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Re: Initial setup for handloading

Well, I am one of those guys that does put Lee and precision in the same sentence. I started my reloading career with a Lee Anniversary set and still use most of it for my LR loads. My rifles, hunting not BR, shoot consistenly 1/4MOA so making accurate ammo on this gear is not a problem.

In the Lee set, I would keep the Auto prime and shellholders (pretty much the standard anyways), press, scale (I have found some RCBS scales to stick), powder measure (no better or worse then other brands, great with ball powders). In fact, I use the dippers more often then the powder measure. I use extruded powders most of the time and weigh my charges. The dipper and a spoon to trickle work great.

I would pitch the lube (I use Hornady one Step or spray from Midway, no lube needed for the collet die - YEAH), deburring tool (the Lee will work to start but the RCBS is better), primer pocket cleaner (again ok to start but will wear out quickly, Dewey gator for me).

I would get the Lee Deluxe Collet neck die set. The lee collet neck die will help you produce ammo with very little runout. equal to the BR bushing dies from Redding when used in SAAMI chambers. I have not found the seating die to cause any issues.

I have never used the Lee case trimmer so will not comment. I use the Forster set up for trimming, and neck turning. A later toy as neck trimming is not going to be an issue with the collet die and normal pressures.

Loading block, reloading manuals or at least data of the internet and you can start making ammo. For well under $200, you will have the gear to make some very good ammo.

I might 'upgrade' to the new classic cast press. But then I also have way too much money going to a 50BMG.

Jerry
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  •   #9  
    Unread 01-10-2005, 10:41 PM
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    Re: Initial setup for handloading

    Jerry,
    You must be joking. Lee equal or better than Redding? To each his own I guess, but I think you usually get what you pay for. Beginners need to be aware of this and plan accordingly.
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      #10  
    Unread 01-11-2005, 12:37 PM
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    Re: Initial setup for handloading

    My suggestion is to try the stuff. The Lee collet die produces some of the lowest runout brass, and that is comparing with any commercially available sizing die.

    Things change as does technology. Price used to be an indicator of quality but nowadays, quality manufacturing doesn't cost a mint.

    If you look at the many posts and stuff that I have written, you will quickly see that I have the resources and interest in trying damn near everything in the marketplace. The suggestions aren't from the hip or following a 'trend'. I test my stuff by burning powder.

    If something needs to cost a bunch to work, I pay for it. If not, I save my money.

    Rangefinder: Leica, not even a debate. Bullets: Hornady SST 2/3 the price and way more consistent then most green box bullets. Binos: Nikon Monarch 1/3 the cost of the Euro brands and for most, 95% of their performance. And so it goes.

    Many in the 'precision' world poo-poo Lee. For me, I just try the stuff. Surprisingly, a lot of it works very well.

    So yes, this info should be given to novice and established shooters alike. Not everyone has the time or resources to play with new gear, I do. This is the place to get real world experiences to choose the best gear for ones application. Not what someone writes about as part of an infomercial.

    You may remember that Honda, Mazada and Toyota used to be a joke in the Auto world. Now who owns that industry?

    Jerry
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      #11  
    Unread 01-11-2005, 03:19 PM
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    Re: Initial setup for handloading

    I really donít have a problem recommending some Lee equipment either. I really like their new cast press, and it leaves you with another $50-100 for other equipment.

    I have four sets of Lee Collet dies and use two of them quite a bit. A fairly accurate estimate for my 22-250 would be 7000 rounds so far and I havenít had any problems. (My .223 is not far behind). The bottom of the Ď250 collet die is getting bell shaped from forming the neck, releasing, turning the case 180 degrees, and then forming again (that is roughly 14,000 neck forming operations). I guess it really doesnít bother me that this is happening. Not too many other dies I have tried have gone this long and not needed something replaced. When it finally crashes and burns I will send it in and I know Lee will replace it free of charge. I would probably pay more than the $30 for the set. I have not seen any difference in accuracy in my sporting and benchrest (not competition) rifles compared to other dies.

    My opinion is, if your .308 is stock, go with the Lee Collet dies.


    Jim
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      #12  
    Unread 01-13-2005, 12:25 AM
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    Join Date: Dec 2004
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    Re: Initial setup for handloading

    Thanks by the concern about the theme, and I'm very happy that my question created a good discussion.
    Regards
    Niet.
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      #13  
    Unread 01-13-2005, 10:14 AM
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    Re: Initial setup for handloading

    Does Lee make bushing sizing dies like Redding's or Wilson's?
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      #14  
    Unread 01-13-2005, 01:59 PM
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    Re: Initial setup for handloading

    No they don't but you can play around with the collet die and get pretty close.

    By changing the diameter of the sizing mandrel, you effectively change the neck tension of a sized case. Since you can buy the mandrel in a variety of cals, just turn it to whatever you want.

    They offer a very reasonable custom die service (they made by 338 Mystic dies) but will only stick to standard mandrel sizing, at least that is what they did for me.

    Because the necks are squeezed onto this mandrel by the collet, there is little chance of creating runout during sizing. That is why it works so well. For most chambers, the standard mandrel size used for the different cals, gives excellent neck tension.

    Jerry
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