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Thread: Lee Kit

  1. #1

    Lee Kit

    Having been reading various reviews and books I have decided to plump for Lee kit to start reloading. In part my decision is based on budget but most of the kit seems to get good reviews.

    I wont be reloading huge amounts of ammo so spending 400 to 500 on more expensive kit does not make it economically viable. Results from Lee equipment also seems to be more than adequate and certainly I can expect better results than premium factory ammo.

    So, having been perusing the various catalogues I have build up a shopping list:

    Lee Aniversary Kit
    Case Length Gauge and Shellholder
    Collet Die in .243

    I already have a few bits and bobs, digital callipers, electronic scale, Ultrasound cleaner.

    Will look at the local shops to see what bullet, powders and primers are available, looking to load a flat shooting varmint bullet, something like a 70gr ballistic tip. Any recommended loads to look at to begin with?

    Am I missing anything on the equipment front??

    Thanks

    Jerry

  2. #2
    You have a better idea of what you need than I did when I got mine.
    They sold me a full length die & a factory crimp die,because I didn't know what I was talking about.
    It took me a while to get case length gauges sorted out,but these have been very important for two of my calibres as I've trimmed a lot of brass.
    Consider buying the pack with the Lee Handbook included. Enjoy it, Danny

  3. #3
    I already have the Lee Handbook 2nd Edition, been reading that for the last week or so.

    I did wonder about a crimp die, in the book Lee goes on about it being needed for hunting ammo, is that the case?

    Thanks

    Jerry

  4. #4
    SD Regular willie_gunn's Avatar
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    Jerry

    The Lee reloading kit works fine. It's what I started with and it's served me well.

    I still use the Lee hand-primer, but other than that I now mostly use RCBS, Wilson and Forster kit. I'd be hard pushed to say if the loads were that much more accurate, but the RCBS kit is a bit more polished! If I was going to start again I'd probably start with RCBS kit - once you've got it, you've got it. That said, I probably now have enough kit to run three reloading presses simultaneously....and I've still just got the one same rifle!

    In the 5 or 6 years that I've been reloading I have never bothered with a crimping die, so I can't say if it results in more accuracy - maybe someone else can advise? What I can say is that my reloads seem to do the job.

    What I have found useful is a neck sizing die, rather than a full-length sizing die. However, I only have one rifle - a .308 - so I use the neck-sizer as it means all my cases stay fire-formed, even after reloading. With a full-length sizer it puts your cases back to SAAMI standards - which is fine - but if you're only using one rifle in that caliber it makes sense to leave them fire-formed to that rifle's chamber, reducing the stress on the brass. Whether it makes a real difference to accuracy I couldn't say, but I doubt I can shoot up to my rifle's capabilities anyway.

    Enjoy the reloading - it's a fascinating and consuming hobby to get into!

    Regards

    willie_gunn

  5. #5
    Be warey of using the Lee factory crimp die, many bullet manufacturers are dead against it. Lee are far less enthusiastic in their promotion of this die than of previous, and now seem to agree that it should only be used on bullets with a canulare (crimping groove), which differs with their original claims.
    I have used the factory crimp die in the past with .308 but honestly couldn't see any improvement in accuracy or chambering. I wouldn't be so bold as to say it doesn't work but personally I don't think I will ever use one again.

  6. #6
    OK, I dont think I will bother with the crimper but will add a decapping die as been told the collet die does not remove the spent primers.

    Thanks for all the input so far.

    Jerry

  7. #7
    Jerry,buy the deluxe die set,it costs the same as the factory crimp set & you wouldn't have to mess about buying a separate collet set to have a neck sizing set leaving you with 2 decapping dies like I will have when I've bought a collet set. If I'd just bought the deluxe set from the start it would have saved me messing about like this.
    I made about 50 .223 with a powder I wont be using any more,that I cant take apart with the hammer because I crimped them so hard I made an impression in the bullet!
    Don't bother with too much crimp,go easy on winding in the collet die.
    All you need is for the bullet to be tightly enough seated that it doesn't come apart when you extract an unfired round from the rifles chamber. D

    (I meant seating dies,but I'm sure you guys know that)

  8. #8
    SD Regular willie_gunn's Avatar
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    Jerry - assuming you've only got one rifle in each caliber, then I'd suggest adding the neck-sizing die with a decapper built in. You can always remove the decapping pin if you have a batch of brass that needs neck sizing but not decapping. I believe RCBS make a neck-sizing/decapping die, but I use a Lyman die myself. With this and the regular die set you should be good to go.

    Good news that you have the digital calipers already. I used the analogue ones for many years, but the ability to re-set the zero on the digital ones once you have correctly sized your cases/rounds is a god-send, particularly if you are using a comparator for measuring bullet seating depth and OAL. The price of digital calipers has really dropped - you can get a set for under a tenner on eBay.

    Talking of eBay, I've picked up a couple of useful reloading tools there - mostly sourced from the US (things like the Wilson case trimmer and case guage) so worth keeping an eye on it occasionally.

    For the right loads, I've always relied upon a combination of those provided by (a) the bullet manufacturer - in my case Nosler, and (b) the powder manufacturer - in my case VihtaVouri. Take their suggestions, bracket the loads, try them out on the range and find out which ones suit your rifle best. Then stick with it.

    willie_gunn

  9. #9
    Hi Jerry
    The Lee neck-sizing collet die does remove primers.
    Well mine does any way.
    HTH
    MARK

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by 8x57
    Be warey of using the Lee factory crimp die, many bullet manufacturers are dead against it. Lee are far less enthusiastic in their promotion of this die than of previous, and now seem to agree that it should only be used on bullets with a canulare (crimping groove), which differs with their original claims.
    I have used the factory crimp die in the past with .308 but honestly couldn't see any improvement in accuracy or chambering. I wouldn't be so bold as to say it doesn't work but personally I don't think I will ever use one again.
    Not so. Lee still stands behind their claim to increased accuracy with bullets lacking a chanelure. See this link:

    http://www.leeprecision.com/cgi/cata...ies-crimp.html

    There are a few factors that govern accuracy with crimping. A good and proper load for starters and if you have a very accurate load to begin with, you may indeed see no detectable difference. The theory is correct though: A crimp adds a uniformity of "pull weight", or, the amount of pressure needed to release the bullet from the hold of the case mouth. In brass of varying uniformity, or in a load using a less then optimal powder, the pressures tend to become more uniform.

    I have used the Lee Factory Crimp die in .22 Hornet, 243, 6.5x55, 257 Roberts, 30-30, 308, 30-06, .303 British, and 45-70 to name a few. I don't know if the crimp aides accuracy in most of these cartridges but I can tell you emphatically that it doesn't hurt! In the .22 Hornet I saw a huge improvement in accuracy and my results there moved me to the .308 and others.

    I do not generally shoot channelured bullets. I have had no problems even with the lightest skinned varmint bullets. It is important to realize however, that the degree of crimp must be experimented with. Another variable, another thing that needs adjusting. ~Muir

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