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Thread: Lee Classic Loader .38 Special: Plated wadcutter loads?

  1. #11
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    Jul 2017
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    Texas
    The dipper will work nicely. Dip it the same way each time. You can't overfill one. Of course buy a scale. Unless you are banging with the base resting on a solid surface, bounce back will become annoying and will slow down progress. Look around for short section of a limb. Like 8 inches in diameter and 6 or so inches tall. Such are found where trees are cut and trimmed. The folks doing the work will happily cut off a section for you. Put this more substantial base on a non carpeted floor. Sit and whack. Using a non wadcutter bullet like round nose or semi wadcutter might be easier. Seating depth will be much less. Thus there is less likely risk of of damaging the bullet when seating. The Classic Loader will not expand the case sufficiently to seat a wadcutter. You can do so but without precision.

  2. #12
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    Jul 2017
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    Texas
    I wanted to add to my comment. I have an idea for you to try. It's not new. Few know it though. You wish to use wadcutters. Buy .358 diameter. You can choose depending on vendor. My suggestion, if it works in your revolver, will do two things. One is cut down on hammer time. The other is produce super accurate ammo.

    Take 3 cases fired in your revolver only. This a test. No primer or powder. Without hammering to size case, push a bullet down to seating depth. Hopefully it is snug. Then enter case into sizing chamber. Whack it. The idea is to reduce diameter enough so that the case will enter chamber. Try. If not hit it again. When it does, then use the crimp section to put a slight crimp onto the bullet. This too will reduce flare and diameter to produce ammo that will enter chambers.

    Try your dummy rounds. If they fit, you are in great shape. I know this method works in many instances. Super accurate ammo results because bullet is not damaged or reduced in diameter by the case when seated. Also the partially sized rounds fired in your revolver are entering chambers with snugness. This tight fit centers rounds in chamber. Hence they should be in line with bore.

    If you like using the Lee tool, buy a tool to prime by hand. Lee, RCBS, and Hornsby make them. They save time and eliminate the bang when you set off a primer by banging.
    Last edited by willie; 08-24-2019 at 07:16 AM.

  3. #13
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    Nov 2013
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    Illinois
    Also, the Lee hand press is pretty cheap and honestly I can use it about as effectively as a table mounted single stage press for a straight walled case like a .38 or .45 but a 9mm is harder.

    It is especially useful because I have space constraints living in an apartment. I do work in batches, put a podcast on and do 2-300 cases at a time. Case prep, re-size, prime, bell, charge, and seat/crimp all on separate days.

    But consider buying a powder measure and scale. It will make life easier and your loading process faster.



    Sent from my moto g(6) using Tapatalk

  4. #14
    Fornicates with shovels Hambo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MandoWookie View Post
    Hammer. While its simplicity in concept appeals to my inner caveman, I am somewhat apprehensive about loading a projectile into a charged and primed case by forcing it down a metal cylinder through repeatedly wailing on it with a hammer.
    You're not going to set one off loading that way, but that's got to get old. How many of these whack-a-mole rounds do you shoot in a year? You could buy a used O frame single stage for under $100, maybe under $50.
    I am Jack's complete lack of outrage.

  5. #15
    I grew up using one when I was a kid back in the late 60ís, early 70ís. I started out loading 20 gauge shotgun then graduated to loading 44 mag with one after I moved out of my parents house and was newly married and broke! They work just fine and you can load decent ammo if you pay attention. Good way to learn the basics of reloading.

  6. #16
    This brings back memories. I bought one while in college to use in my apartment. I did have a primer pop once, scared the crap out of me. I think I loaded wad cutters in 357 brass for my 6" Security Six.
    Next move up was to the Lee Hand Press, then to a Lee Turret.
    Now I have a 550, a Redding Turret, and my grandpas CH Tool and Die Pistol Champ.

  7. #17
    Site Supporter KevH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Contra Costa County, CA
    Pretty decent little video on how to use one of these.


  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by MandoWookie View Post
    Thank you! This is the kind of response I was hoping for. I am aware I do not know what I don't know, so I welcome any information ( even the seemingly obvious ), so that I can better avoid any assumptions born of misconceptions.

    1: Is the provided case mouth tool in the kit adequate to achieve this, or should I look into a separate tool, and if so what recommendations are there?

    2: I plan on getting one of the smaller Lyman digital scales( both for cost and space reasons, also why this kit appealed to me).
    Could I maybe suggest you look into the Lee Hand Press Kit. That, plus a Lee die set of choice, would get you much more flexibility, and you can use any of it as you get other equipment later. It's the minimum $$$ for getting into handloading, above the Lee Loader.

    Also for minimal expenditure (if you're not going to get a better powder measure at th is point) possibly the Lee kit with all the powder dippers. You only get one with a Lee Loader or Lee die set, and that limits your flexibility.



    4: Hornady loading manuals, I have generally assumed that those would be mainly focused on Hornady products, do they also cover non Hornady projectiles and load data?
    The more manuals and data sources, the better.
    Last edited by lee n. field; 08-25-2019 at 12:31 PM.

  9. #19
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    Nov 2013
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    Illinois
    My setup goes in the closet when I'm done. I make sure the measure is throwing accurate charge weights with the scale and then use that setting until I change powder or load changes. The beam scale was cheap, so was the powder measure. All of it is Lee equipment except the RCBS 38 special dies which I inherited from a salty old farmer.

    Sent from my moto g(6) using Tapatalk

  10. #20
    I'm a big fan of the Lee classic loaders. They have their limitations, but otherwise do a great job. You can reload a box of .38 spl for ~$5, saving about $10. In my tests, I can load a box of 50 rounds in about 30 minutes, working diligently but not fast. A similar product, the Lyman 310, is more expensive but faster, at 20 min per box of 50.

    A couple of points, in no particularly order:

    -the dippers work okay, once you get the hang of it. Bulkier powders work better, because the inherent variation in powder throws means less variation in weight. Also, ball powders work much better than flake. These two statements are in conflict, because the bulkier powders are generally flake powders. For .38, I recommend Trail Boss or Red Dot. 3.0 gr of Red Dot is a long time, established WC target load, similar to 2.7 gr Bullseye. Alternately, Win 231/HP 38 works well, too, and is basically ball powder.

    -As others have mentioned, the priming system is basic. Once you figure out if you want to keep reloading, pick up a cheap hand primer from eBay. This will dramatically speed up the process.

    -Going even further, a powder measure, properly set, will also speed things up. Luckily, both the powder measure and hand primer will work great with better equipment.

    -As you get experience, you'll figure out just how much force you'll need to put into the mallet to do the job (seating, priming, depriming). This will speed things up when it only takes one whack to do the job, rather than tapping a bunch of times.

    -As long as your cases don't hit dirt or sand (ie, eject them into your hand, onto a bench, or on a clean indoor range floor) and you won't have to clean them. If you do need to clean them, you can use cheap diet soda from Walmart. Drink have the 2 liter bottle, then put your cases in. The phosphoric acid will shine the cases. The water washes off the dirt and debris. Rinse once after draining the diet soda, and then dry the cases in the sun.

    -I used Lee classic loaders to load semi-precision rifle rounds. I use an arbor press instead of a hammer, along with a hand primer and powder measure/scale, but it's much easier to set up than conventional dies for rifle. Plus you're on neck sizing, and the concentricity is usually better than regular (not premium) dies. If you have an arbor press, use that instead of a hammer.

    -If you're at the range and reloading your revolver, and some of the rounds don't fit in a chamber or two, just try loading them into different chambers. The cases fire form to the chamber they're fired in, and chamber dimension will likely vary in the same cylinder. The Lee loader does not fully resize the cases, so this can happen.

    -When the time comes to upgrade, skip the Lee hand press and get a Dillon Square Deal B. Maybe consider a Lee Classic Cast Turret press.

    Good luck! Take it slow, follow the instructions, and use the equipment. It works. Upgrade as you go along.

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