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Thread: Lee Hand Press

  1. #1
    SD Regular Greener Jim's Avatar
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    Lee Hand Press

    I'll be reloading shortly (factory ammunition is extortionate). Due to space snags it'll be a Lee hand press that'll be used.
    Can they handle magnum length cartridges ok?
    As in do they open wide enough. The site says it'll handle magnums but obviously a WSSM is a magnum and is very short. I'd be loading .458win or lott so 3.34" and 3.6" OAL respectively

    Cheers in advance,
    Jim

  2. #2
    There sould be no problem with a 30-06 seating die in mine it still has 3.76 inches between the end of the die and the base of the shell holder and then you can tuck the bullet inside the die to slot the head of the case into the shell holder.
    AT THE AGE OF 50 I DECIDED I WAS GOING TO GROW OLD F***ING DISGRACEFULLY

  3. #3
    I could be wrong but I think you will struggle sizing cases etc with the hand press. They are great but I only use mine for seating bullets. Works with 30-06 with plenty of room.

  4. #4
    Yes, I use mine to load .375 HH.

    I have a little kit made up to take to the range and tweak loads right there using the Lee Hand Press.

  5. #5
    There is no problem sizing cases as long as you use lubricate correctly.
    AT THE AGE OF 50 I DECIDED I WAS GOING TO GROW OLD F***ING DISGRACEFULLY

  6. #6
    SD Regular Greener Jim's Avatar
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    Cheers lads. I won't be shooting that much so a bit if effort is fine.
    Thank again

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by sikadog View Post
    There sould be no problem with a 30-06 seating die in mine it still has 3.76 inches between the end of the die and the base of the shell holder and then you can tuck the bullet inside the die to slot the head of the case into the shell holder.
    Are you sure ? Mine has a maximum ram travel of 81mm = 3.19". It is the original (non-breechlock) version.

    If you set your dies up so the shellholder just touches the base of the die then 3.19" is the maximum opening available.

    I am not familiar with these cartridges, but a quick look shows the brass is well under this length so it will be possible to re-size it.

    And you should also be able to seat the bullet, even at 3.6"

    You would almost certainly have to tuck the bullet up in to the die first, before fitting the case to the shellholder. A bit of a fiddle.

    I'm not familiar with how deeply these bullets are seated, but if its around bore dimensions you are looking at over 4" long for the longer case, with bullet fitted but not yet seated. I doubt that it would be possible to get it into the opening, particularly given the straight walled cases, with less wiggle room than a bottleneck design.

    However even if you do seat the bullet this way I expect you to have difficulty removing the completed 3.6" cartridge from a 3.19" opening

    You might just be able to wiggle it out, perhaps by removing the shellholder to do so.

    However the cases are pretty straight-walled, so this might not work the way it does for bottlenecked cartridges.

    If you get the breechlock version of the press then you could take off the die and bushing to release the cartridge.

    But if you don't need to fit the seating die nearly touching the shellholder, i.e. you are not using a dead length die, or crimping, then there is about another 10mm to play with (including shellholder thickness), enlarging the opening to about 3.58 at maximum, which would be enough, provided the seater plug has enough adjustment to take up the slack, or you are prepared to have a longer one made, or maybe grind down the bottom of the die. I would not suggest this for a bottleneck case, as the bullet would probably not be well guided into the neck, but you might get away with it with your straighter cases.

    I have had no difficulty FL sizing cases up to .308. Not tried anything larger.

    However a friend who tried it on .308 couldn't manage it at all. He just couldn't find the knack.

    The main leverage only occurs in the last 10mm or so of the stroke. If you had a case that took significant force to resize prior to the last 10mm or so, then I think you might struggle.

    If you got a slightly stuck case then it could be a problem, there isn't any spare leverage or easy way to "lean on" it to open it up. I'd worry about the strength of the castings too. Good case lubrication is essential.

    Have you considered instead using an ordinary press mounted on a short piece of e.g. 3/4" ply. Just clamp it to e.g. kitchen table, workmate etc. when necessary.

    I have a Lee Breechlock Challenger set up this way. Doesn't take up much room, particularly with the handle removed (loosen one bolt). Not too heavy (aluminium construction). Ram travel is 92mm 3.62". Far more leverage than the hand press, and you can also use body weight rather than just muscle power.

  8. #8
    I use one to load .338 lap mag, so 30-06 should be a doddle. I find it easier to size the .338 than .308 if I'm honest. Works the abs well if you do enough
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  9. #9
    SD Regular Greener Jim's Avatar
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    Sharpie I'm saving all that for later. Great help cheers. I think that the bench mounted one may work nicely done as you suggest.
    Southern uses his for .375 so the shorter 458 wm should work and the 458 lott is the same length as the 375 so again should work. That been said, your explanation and numbers make a lot of sense.

    The hand press is more convenient for me but the breechblock challenger wouldn't be too much of a snag.
    Thanks everyone. Good for thought.

    Now just t call Firearms Licensing and see what's happening with my variation

  10. #10
    Have you thought about looking out for a Wamadet press Jim?
    It's the calibre of the shooter that counts not the calibre of the rifle.

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