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Old 03-15-2017, 05:48 PM
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Default .45 Colt Lee Loader

Several months ago I found an old, but apparently unused, Lee Loader in .45 Colt at a gun show, and bought it for $10. Sort of for sentimental reasons, as I started my reloading career with a Lee Loader in .44 Mag back in the late 1960s. I don't know where that one went to, maybe I sold it.

Anyway, I loaded 20 rounds of .45 Colt with the Lee this afternoon. It's somewhat slow (took me about 30 minutes), but it works. Would be faster with two people. It's pretty good for use by any occasional shooter who doesn't need to do any high-volume reloading.

Last edited by DWalt; 03-15-2017 at 05:50 PM.
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Old 03-15-2017, 06:34 PM
Wyatt Burp Wyatt Burp is online now
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I started out on a Lee Loader, too, but in .44 special. I liked it. I could reload in camp and even in the lunch room at work. Couldn't do that now! I think it's a great leisurely way to load good ammo. My only concern was possible, or PROBABLE, inconsistent crimping from one round to the next. My 1983 4" Model 24-3 gobbled up lots of ammo whipped up with that Lee Loader.
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Old 03-15-2017, 06:55 PM
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My first Lee Loader was for .45 Auto Rim. (I had a M1917)
Those cases had the tightest primer pockets I have ever run across.
Priming was quite an adventure with the "hammer" method.
( I had to run down the seating rod across the room quite a few times....)
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Old 03-15-2017, 07:02 PM
Ivan the Butcher Ivan the Butcher is offline
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I started with a 303 British in my basement in 1978. I managed to hold it when that first primer detonated!

I have about 17 Lee Loaders. I have only sold one, 2 1/2"-410! The loader, 400 hulls about 600 wads for $15 to a friends son. I him got started for a lifetime of savings!

Ivan
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Old 03-15-2017, 07:07 PM
Muley Gil Muley Gil is online now
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I started with a Lee Loader in .45 Colt back in 1973. It fed my Old Model Ruger Blackhawk. The LL sits on my bench with my dies. I haven't used it for over 40 years.
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Old 03-15-2017, 07:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyatt Burp View Post
My only concern was possible, or PROBABLE, inconsistent crimping from one round to the next.
I've only used one in .38 Spl. but I found a washer in my junk box that was just the right thickness and size. I put it over the cartridge before mounting the crimp die and it provided a "stop" for the die and a much more consistent crimp.

Sometimes I find them a refreshing break from all the more complicated equipment. Production speeds up after you load a box or two. Then you set off a primer and take a break....

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Old 03-15-2017, 07:19 PM
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I started with a Lee Loader in 44 mag for loading target wadcutters in my S&W 29.
I made a point of buying a Lee AutoPrime the same day!

That gave me good output and some peace of mind!

Jim
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Old 03-15-2017, 07:20 PM
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Got started in reloading with the lee loaders in 357 and 380acp, in about '75. Still have both, though I wish I still had the Llama IIIa. Only ever set off 1 primer, that I recall. Scared the wife more then me. Still have most of a box of Winchester 380 brass and Sierra 9mm 90gr JHC. Paid 3.18 for the brass and 4.93 for the Sierra's
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Old 03-15-2017, 08:00 PM
Wyatt Burp Wyatt Burp is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deadin View Post
My first Lee Loader was for .45 Auto Rim. (I had a M1917)
Those cases had the tightest primer pockets I have ever run across.
Priming was quite an adventure with the "hammer" method.
( I had to run down the seating rod across the room quite a few times....)
I popped a primer once on my LL and it's a little unnerving. Then you just continue on being careful though I can't remember now what I did wrong. I load .44 special now on an ancient Pacific Press that I like. There's no shell holder interchanging. You have to change the whole shaft. But I only load .44 on it anyway.
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Old 03-15-2017, 10:07 PM
cowboy4evr cowboy4evr is offline
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I started with the Lee Loader for 38/357 , when I got my first 44 I bought the Lee Loader for it . Then I got my first 45 colt , another Lee loader kit . I still have them , and a few more .
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Old 03-16-2017, 12:07 AM
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I never had any metallic cartridge Lee Loaders, but had shotgun ones for 410 and 20 Gauge. I used to reload the old paper shells in my youth with them. The 410 actually did make some nice looking roll crimps with those old paper hulls. With shotgun shells, it was easy to seat the primers without popping one off since the primers were so much bigger.
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Old 03-16-2017, 12:22 AM
Mike, SC Hunter Mike, SC Hunter is offline
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Started out with a 9mm Lee loader in 1972.....Added 38/357.......Had a box full of stuff..Molds/cookie cutter/pan lube/1 primer priming tool etc...Worked for several years...Didn't full length size the hulls so made shooting the ammo sometimes difficult to chamber in different guns.....Was/is a cheap way to get into reloading...........
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Old 03-16-2017, 04:26 AM
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I forgot to mention in my previous post, in addition to my Lee Loader in 44 mag, and the Lee AutoPrime tool, the other thing I got was the Lee Powder Measure Kit.
Basically, a big box of all their plastic powder scoops and a neat slide rule type chart showing the charge weight for each scoop and all the common powders of the day. It was only a couple bucks extra. You can still get them for about $10 today!
An amazing deal, and still a very useful tool to have!

Jim

PS: I got my brother-in-law a Lee Loader in 38/357 for his birthday one year. Yeah, he set off a primer... Not too happy! So, I made it up to him with a Lee press, dies & scale!
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Old 03-16-2017, 05:32 AM
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I also got started with a Lee Loader in 38 Special about 1980. Once you set off a primer, you never forget it! That was when I bought my Lee Auto Prime. Still have and use the Auto Prime and still use my LL kits occasionally. I have a kit for every caliber I shoot, and a few for calibers I don't have-yet :-)
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Old 03-16-2017, 06:41 AM
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My brother gave me a Lee Loader in 30-06 for Christmas 1974 after I got out of the Air Force. That is the most expensive "gift" I have ever received. It started me down the slippery slope of reloading and bullet casting.
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Old 03-16-2017, 07:53 AM
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I also bought the Lee Powder Measure Kit with all the yellow scoops . Then decided I wanted the older set that was calibrated different , different size scoops . They came either black or red . I still have them and still use them some .
I only set off one small pistol primer in all the time I reloaded with it . I did set off more large pistol primers when reloading the larger cases . I still consider the Lee Loader Kits a good way to start reloading . It teaches you all the steps to reloading , slowly and carefully . It also allows you to see if reloading is really what you want to get into w/o spending a lot of money .
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Old 03-16-2017, 08:18 AM
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Back in my early trap shooting days I also had a 12 Gauge Lee Loader, I loaded untold thousands of shells with it. It didn't work too well for plastic shells, but at that time (1960s) I had no difficulty in getting all of the paper cases I wanted at the range, and they loaded a lot more easily. But they didn't last much beyond 4 or 5 loadings before burn-through began around the juncture of the brass/steel base and the tube and the crimp started to get ratty.

Does anyone in the USA still load paper case shotshells? I know Federal continued to make them long after everyone else went completely to plastic as some competitive trap and skeet shooters preferred to use paper case shells.
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Old 03-16-2017, 10:30 AM
Mike, SC Hunter Mike, SC Hunter is offline
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[QUOTE=6string;139511831]I forgot to mention in my previous post, in addition to my Lee Loader in 44 mag, and the Lee AutoPrime tool, the other thing I got was the Lee Powder Measure Kit.
Basically, a big box of all their plastic powder scoops and a neat slide rule type chart showing the charge weight for each scoop and all the common powders of the day. It was only a couple bucks extra. You can still get them for about $10 today!
An amazing deal, and still a very useful tool to have!

Jim

PS: I got my brother-in-law a Lee Loader in 38/357 for his birthday one year. Yeah, he set off a primer... Not too happy! So, I made it up to him with a Lee press, dies & scale![/QUOTE

I have the scoop set too..........If you check ANY scoop against a scale you'll find they are all wrong.........Usually on the light side......
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Old 03-16-2017, 02:12 PM
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Hi Mike,

You're correct about that!
I always thought that was a safety feature, to have the charge weight a bit under spec. About the only way they come closer is to tap down the powder in the scoop instead of leveling it off.... BUT, that's exactly what the instructions tell you not to do! Ha!

These days, I still use the scoops when doing weighed charges. I scoop out a charge that's close to what I want, then use a trickler to add what I need to get up to weight.

Jim
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Old 03-16-2017, 02:27 PM
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Quote:
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Hi Mike,

These days, I still use the scoops when doing weighed charges. I scoop out a charge that's close to what I want, then use a trickler to add what I need to get up to weight.

Jim
That's exactly what I so. I have a Lyman electronic balance and trickler. I use a Lee measure close to the charge I want to put powder in the balance pan, then let the trickler bring it up to full weight. Far faster than any other way and less wear and tear on the Lyman unit.
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