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These are Great Times for Gun Owners!
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife ordered me one of these in .30-06 for an early Christmas gift:

https://www.brownells.com/reloading/reloading-dies/rifle-dies/loaders-rifle-prod54664.aspx

I really like the idea of something I can bring to deer camp and make rounds on the spot. This looks like a good way to learn reloading, .30-06 is a good round for a kit like this, and no major space or cost commitment. Right now I don’t have the space for a proper press as it is (I did see those Lee portable hand presses but that feels like overkill for me right now). The kits are highly rated online, and I know a few people who have used them and liked them. I also ordered a case prep kit with a chamfer and a few other tools, and already have a smithing hammer and a funnel. I have some ok ones, but I’ll be getting some better calipers in the near future.

I really want to keep the whole package very basic and small, but is there anything else I should consider? Anyone have any experience with these kits? Any other advice would also be appreciated.
 

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My wife ordered me one of these in .30-06 for an early Christmas gift:

https://www.brownells.com/reloading/reloading-dies/rifle-dies/loaders-rifle-prod54664.aspx

I really like the idea of something I can bring to deer camp and make rounds on the spot. This looks like a good way to learn reloading, .30-06 is a good round for a kit like this, and no major space or cost commitment. Right now I don’t have the space for a proper press as it is (I did see those Lee portable hand presses but that feels like overkill for me right now). The kits are highly rated online, and I know a few people who have used them and liked them. I also ordered a case prep kit with a chamfer and a few other tools, and already have a smithing hammer and a funnel. I have some ok ones, but I’ll be getting some better calipers in the near future.

I really want to keep the whole package very basic and small, but is there anything else I should consider? Anyone have any experience with these kits? Any other advice would also be appreciated.
I have a few and like them. I load for my bench guns at the range and have tested them back to back against my Wilson Hand Dies using an arbor press and as long as the cases were of proper thickness for the sizing of the Lee Die and I indexed them the same, I got almost identical results from my "precision bushing Wilson hand die"

They only neck size, so the case has to be pre-body sized or been shot from the same gun it is being loaded for to assure it will chamber. Otherwise, good choice, have fun.
 

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Using the measuring cups are not accurate enough for my use and limits you with loads. I would at least get a decent beam scale and weight each charge more accurately.
 

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Using the measuring cups are not accurate enough for my use and limits you with loads. I would at least get a decent beam scale and weight each charge more accurately.
Actually, a scoop can work fine for field use. It just has to be the right capacity to get you close to the middle of a wide node.

I do prefer to pre-measure. I use simple 1 dram vials, and drop and trickle the charge. They fit well in a 12ga spent hull for packing.
 

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Using the measuring cups are not accurate enough for my use and limits you with loads. I would at least get a decent beam scale and weight each charge more accurately.
You can get pretty good results with a powder scoop. Are you trying for the tightest group you can get? if so what type of shooting are you doing? For the OP I would recommend this so you can try different loads.
https://leeprecision.com/powder-measure-kit.html
 

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To each there own, those kits scare the living Jesus out of me. Especially after my boss almost by inches taking off his face loading shotgun shell with one.
For me I would not want to be loading rounds at a deer camp. I would want loaded ammo at home that all were tested to chamber in the gun or case gauged. Maybe to take to the range for texting. And then I would not use one of them. Just more stuff you would need to pack or forget to pack.
 
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Wow. Thirty bucks. I remember when they wer about ten bucks but gas was thirty cents a gallon back then, too.

I've loaded many rounds with lee loaders but consider the lee hand Press to be far superior and the cost for both the hand press and dies is a little more than the $30 lee loader but still well under a hundred bucks.

And yes a scale is preferable to dippers but the scale does not have to be part of your portable "Kit".

The Lee expanded powder dipper set can be used with a scale to figure out your preferred load and the larger dippers can be filed down to fine-tune volume.

https://leeprecision.com/powder-measure-kit.html

Pre-measuring charges and containing them in 1 dram vials actually sounds like it might be a workable solution. The hand press and dies, bullets, Primers, and powder charges could all fit into a small tackle box.
 

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These are Great Times for Gun Owners!
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Using the measuring cups are not accurate enough for my use and limits you with loads. I would at least get a decent beam scale and weight each charge more accurately.
You can get pretty good results with a powder scoop. Are you trying for the tightest group you can get? if so what type of shooting are you doing? For the OP I would recommend this so you can try different loads.
https://leeprecision.com/powder-measure-kit.html
I anticipate I’ll be upgrading the measuring devices at some point, but for now I’ll try it with the single scoop. For now I only intend to make usable practice ammo, but once I get it down I’d like to make hunting rounds. I’ll probably have to get the scale or the measuring scoop kit then.
 

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These are Great Times for Gun Owners!
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
For me I would not want to be loading rounds at a deer camp. I would want loaded ammo at home that all were tested to chamber in the gun or case gauged.
Where I’m from, we go to Camp (our cabin in da woods) year round. It’s just that a lot of people think we’re camping, like in a tent, when I say I’m going to camp. So I say deer camp, but unfortunately that’s also confusing.
I do most of my Gun stuff at camp, cuz we have a range, gun vise, and work space.
 

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Where you reload was not my point. It’s just more stuff that you possibly could forget.I know people that traveled to a match and forgot either the ammo or even their guns. My Brother-in-law dad forgot to bring the ammo for his rifle on a deer hunt. Luckily all of us were shooting the same caliber rifle.
 

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I anticipate I’ll be upgrading the measuring devices at some point, but for now I’ll try it with the single scoop. For now I only intend to make usable practice ammo, but once I get it down I’d like to make hunting rounds. I’ll probably have to get the scale or the measuring scoop kit then.
My concern would be exactly how much of your selected rifle powder (by weight) will one scoop measure. It isn't like measuring one cup of all purpose flour in a cookie recipe. Different powders have vastly different volumetric densities and burn speeds. So a scoop of 4350 will yield different results than one scoop of H335. A fixed volume scoop may be ok, but I would first weigh that scoop of powder on a reputable scale to ensure that one scoop is an appropriate amount of your chosen powder. That is the single most critical part of assembling ammunition.

I'd suggest reading a good loading manual like the Speer #14. The Lee gear will make decent ammo, and there is no problem with the hunting camp idea.
 

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Wow. Thirty bucks. I remember when they wer about ten bucks but gas was thirty cents a gallon back then, too.

I've loaded many rounds with lee loaders but consider the lee hand Press to be far superior and the cost for both the hand press and dies is a little more than the $30 lee loader but still well under a hundred bucks.
This Lee hand press has been my only press for 35 years. It has accounted for unknown 1000's of rounds, mostly handgun cartridges but among them 45-70 too. I acknowledge that it won't be fast enough or modern enough for most reloaders.
 

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My concern would be exactly how much of your selected rifle powder (by weight) will one scoop measure. It isn't like measuring one cup of all purpose flour in a cookie recipe. Different powders have vastly different volumetric densities and burn speeds. So a scoop of 4350 will yield different results than one scoop of H335. A fixed volume scoop may be ok, but I would first weigh that scoop of powder on a reputable scale to ensure that one scoop is an appropriate amount of your chosen powder. That is the single most critical part of assembling ammunition.

I'd suggest reading a good loading manual like the Speer #14. The Lee gear will make decent ammo, and there is no problem with the hunting camp idea.
As it turns out, Lee offers this information on a powder by powder basis as long as you are using their dippers, or know how many CC's your scoop. In the Lee loading book, each load listed has the CC's next to it, so if you have their dippers or their disks for an Auto Disk drop, they get you pretty close. Most listing are conservative, a few right on W231 comes to mind, a few ridiculously off on the low side, Unique comes to mind.

Like any powder drop, it is subject to the granularity of the powder, for instance IMR 4064 isn't going to be super close scoop to scoop (just like drop to drop from a measure), BLC2, pretty close as long as you are using a nice sharp straight edge to grade the top off, I think most of that is factored in somewhat.
 

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This Lee hand press has been my only press for 35 years. It has accounted for unknown 1000's of rounds, mostly handgun cartridges but among them 45-70 too. I acknowledge that it won't be fast enough or modern enough for most reloaders.
The hand press is not that much slower than any other single stage press. Theoretically you can operate a single stage press with one hand on the lever while using the other hand to feed shells into the press but most people put the cases in the shell holder and then pull the handle down using the same hand.

The only thing that's slower about the hand press is when sizing and de-priming, you have to dump out the spent primers after about 15 rounds.

Other than that, with the hand press and a powder measure you can move along a LOT faster than with the original Lee Loader where you have to tap cases in and out of the dies with a rawhide mallet or some such thing.

I've done a lot of reloading with both the Lee hand press and RCBS rock crusher and the hand press is just not that much slower. Also with the hand press you can sit in your comfortable living room chair in front of your TV set and size an de-prime all your case and then prime them with a hand priming tool.

After that, it's time to get serious and charge the cases with your powder measure and put them in a loading block and then VISUALLY INSPECT using a flashlight if necessary, all cases for powder levels before using the hand press to seat the bullets. This will ensure no accidental double charges And is very important.

And as I mentioned before, the hand press and a set of dies and a bunch of pre-measured charges along with projectiles and primers can all go into a tackle box for a portable set-up for out in the field or at the range.
 

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The hand press is not that much slower than any other single stage press. Theoretically you can operate a single stage press with one hand on the lever while using the other hand to feed shells into the press but most people put the cases in the shell holder and then pull the handle down using the same hand.

The only thing that's slower about the hand press is when sizing and de-priming, you have to dump out the spent primers after about 15 rounds.

Other than that, with the hand press and a powder measure you can move along a LOT faster than with the original Lee Loader where you have to tap cases in and out of the dies with a rawhide mallet or some such thing.

I've done a lot of reloading with both the Lee hand press and RCBS rock crusher and the hand press is just not that much slower. Also with the hand press you can sit in your comfortable living room chair in front of your TV set and size an de-prime all your case and then prime them with a hand priming tool.

After that, it's time to get serious and charge the cases with your powder measure and put them in a loading block and then VISUALLY INSPECT using a flashlight if necessary, all cases for powder levels before using the hand press to seat the bullets. This will ensure no accidental double charges And is very important.

And as I mentioned before, the hand press and a set of dies and a bunch of pre-measured charges along with projectiles and primers can all go into a tackle box for a portable set-up for out in the field or at the range.
The OP will not have to worry about double charges with his Lee Loader. The powders that are listed and the dipper that is included will be a sort of binary thing. It will be full of powder or empty, kind of a binary thing, one at a time. As long as you follow each step as shown in the instructions, not much can go wrong.
 

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As it turns out, Lee offers this information on a powder by powder basis as long as you are using their dippers, or know how many CC's your scoop. In the Lee loading book, each load listed has the CC's next to it, so if you have their dippers or their disks for an Auto Disk drop, they get you pretty close. Most listing are conservative, a few right on W231 comes to mind, a few ridiculously off on the low side, Unique comes to mind.

Like any powder drop, it is subject to the granularity of the powder, for instance IMR 4064 isn't going to be super close scoop to scoop (just like drop to drop from a measure), BLC2, pretty close as long as you are using a nice sharp straight edge to grade the top off, I think most of that is factored in somewhat.
Yes. Understood. There is a conversion of powder-volume-weight for each dipper. But don't the Classic Loaders come with a single dipper? That might or might not coincide with the desired charge of powder. Kind of limited.

Further, I couldn't in good conscience recommend relying solely on a conversion chart for an injection molded scoop without verifying the weights on a scale. "Trust but verify." There are greater tolerances for powder dispensing errors in a rifle case, obviously.
 

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Yes. Understood. There is a conversion of powder-volume-weight for each dipper. But don't the Classic Loaders come with a single dipper? That might or might not coincide with the desired charge of powder. Kind of limited.

Further, I couldn't in good conscience recommend relying solely on a conversion chart for an injection molded scoop without verifying the weights on a scale. "Trust but verify." There are greater tolerances for powder dispensing errors in a rifle case, obviously.
The scoop and the powder's listed on the sheet that comes with the loader and harmonized, so as long as you follow directions for the bullet weight you are loading (there will only be a few powders to choose from), you are well within guidelines. It is limited?, no doubt, but the powders listed in the volumes that work with the dipper, work remarkably well. Are you going to use it to win a 1000yd bench competition, likely not. Will it work fine for a White Tail or Mule deer, in 30-06 at reasonable ranges, not a problem at all.

Give one a try, you might be surprised.
 
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