Lee Hand Press

Ben

Moderator
Staff member
In praise of the Lee Hand Press
Through the years I've owned several Lee Hand Press reloading tools. The press is ideal for someone who lives in an apartment, mobile home or lives in a situation where building a reloading bench isn't practical at the moment.​
The little press is a real Titan, it can easily full length re-size a 30-06 case with no problems at all.​
I've loaned a few and given a few away to start a novice reloader , etc. Bottom line is, ---- I got myself in a position where I didn't have one myself.​
Last week, I placed an order for a new one. This time , I ordered the newly designed model with the Lee Breech Lock interrupted threads. This press is simply a stroke of genius ! !
The dies snap ( very securely , I might add ) in and out allowing the user to swap dies in the press just about as fast as you can use a turret press. BTW.... The Lee Hand Press will accept any brand of 7/8 X 14 dies.​
I chose the Lee Lock-Ring Eliminators instead of the conventional Lee Breech Lock Quick Change Bushings that many of you are familiar with. When the press arrived, I removed the Lee Lock rings from the 38 Spec. Lee 3 die set. The dies are then screwed down into the Lock-Ring Eliminators. The Lock-Ring Eliminators serve 2 purposes.......(1) They have a split ring with an allen screw that allow you to get your dies adjusted and lock them with the allen screw. ( you can't do that with conventional Lee Lock rings )​
(2) The Lock - Ring Eliminators have the interrupted threads on the outside and snap in place preventing you from having to take each die and screw it in and out of the press saving TONS OF TIME.​
Once I got the Lee 3 die 38 Special Carbide set clean, I loaded a few rounds. Simply amazing ! ! I couldn't be happier !​
I plan to give this complete 38 Special loading kit to my grandson Trevor.​
 
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Wasalmonslayer

Active Member
Nice write up Ben!

Love the photos worth way more than a 1000 words :)

I have never used one but the wheels are turning now....
 

Ian

Well-Known Member
I bought one of those on sale about 7-8 years ago, maybe longer. I think it was $15. The bushings are expensive, but quite handy. The main thing I use the press for (or used to) was building loads right at the shooting bench. I put together a kit that fit in a small tackle box including powder and a hand priming tool. Best portable kit there is, IMO, Lee really did hit this one out of the park.
 

Ben

Moderator
Staff member
I could not have said it better Ian.
The nostalgia of the 310 Lyman Tong Tool ( nut cracker ) hand system is nice.
In daily use however, The Lee Hand press is miles ahead of the old Lyman nut cracker system.
 
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RBHarter

West Central AR
I just can't warm up to adding parts that can move ....... Just me of course .
As a foot note ......
I for a long time would seat the 0 rings in the Lee nuts then turn them over . As long as both the ring and die move together both in and out there's no change and a solid contact point . Those dies in service that don't have other lock nuts yet are mostly double nutted 0 ring to 0 ring .

I do like the idea behind the press just no the adapters .
 

Ian

Well-Known Member
The adapters are actually quite precise and don't cause any alignment problems that I can detect.

I may be the odd man out here, but I actually prefer the Lee lock rings over all others, installed as intended. They don't loosen up like so many others do (ever get halfway through sizing a bucket of brass only to find that somewhere between case 2 and case 250 the damned sizing die worked loose half a turn????) :angry: Not with the Lees. Also, the Lee system allows the die to sort of float in the threads and not be forced crooked or into a bind by a lock ring that isn't cut as square as the die body or press head. I put Lee lock ring/o-rings on everything I possibly can.
 

fiver

Well-Known Member
so the lock ring eliminator uses a lock ring to eliminate the non locking lock ring.
 

Ian

Well-Known Member
I still use the lock ring, just run the pinch bolt down to take up excess slack. That way no fiddling with an Allen wrench at the range.
 

Spindrift

Active Member
My Lee hand press is frequently used. I have 4 single stage presses in use. The hand press is my preferred press for collet neck sizing, which is effortless. I also have the breech lock version, with lock ring eliminator. The dies are perfectly adjusted, just click them in, and start sizing necks. New cartridge? Click- click- ready to go. The primer catcher in the ram can hold 25 LR primers.

My favourite aspect of this press, is the fact that I can prep my brass anywhere. I spend quite a lot of time in my reloading room or casting area as it is. Nice to be able to prep brass in the living room, kitchen or wherever- while talking to the kids at supper, or whatever.

I have no worries as to alignment/concentricity. The best way to get concentricity would be a self-aligning system, which this, to some degree is. I actually saw a concentricity test in a Norwegian magazine, comparing different dies and presses. The combination of Lee hand press, and Lee collet dies produced straighter cartridges than almost all other combinations (including high- end competition bushing dies in high- end single stage presses).

I do get a little sore hands after 100 cartridges or so. A little cushing, and gloves, helps.A0F4D058-7EEF-4AA4-A747-3052E19A7503.jpeg
 

Ben

Moderator
Staff member
They are a dandy little press.
You have to use one to be able to fully appreciate the press.

Ben
 

L Ross

Active Member
I like my old Lee hand press for all the reasons in the preceding posts. I was not aware of all of the improvements. Thanks Ben, for the review.
 

Ben

Moderator
Staff member
Don't know what happened ?
I worked on it again a few minutes ago.
Works for me now.

Ben
 
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Jeff H

NW Ohio
All the pix in the first post show as red X's for me.

Bill

Me too. I'm pretty sure they were visible when first posted.

I've been gonna get one myself for a long time. I disliked the adapter idea and don't like removing my dies from my 3-hole turrets. I guess the overly obvious solution would be to get an extra set of dies to use with this press. This press with one set of dies would cover a lot of ground for me because my one "do (almost) everything rifle" is a 357 Mag carbine. I have a 357 Max barrel (yet unfired) for it too, and carry a little 38 Spl. This should be a 2019 project which I start, carry through and finish in one year, instead of ten, like a lot of my own personal gun-related projects.

If I'm going to buy another set of dies, I want to find a set that doesn't squeeze my brass down excessively like all the other carbine 357 dies I've ever had. Suggestions welcome.

Thanks, Ben.

Nice setup there, Spindrift.
 

Pistolero

Well-Known Member
Sounds like I need to work up a trade with Ian. Lee o-ring nuts for Hornady pinch rings.
Straight across, as many as you have.

Bill