Letter Re: Ammunition Handloading Basics

Sid mentioned the Lee Loader package in a recent letter. While I think the Lee Loader is an ideal addition to any survival reloading kit, it does have some caveats that were not mentioned in Sid’s letter.
While the Lee Loader is a great system due to it’s simplicity, one of it’s great problems is its simplicity. Most die sets are two dies for bottle-neck and three for straight wall. The Lee Loader combines
steps into one. What I believe the biggest shortcoming of the Lee Loader is, there is no good way to measure gunpowder reliably. While it comes with a little scoop [ladle]to fill your bullets with powder, this method for powder dispensing should never be trusted. Always verify your charges with a scale. I learned this the hard way, it cost me a rifle, but spared my face,

The other problem with the lee loader is that for bottle neck rifle it will only provide for case neck sizing, leaving the bulk of the case unsized. While for bolt action shooters this is less of an issue, for anyone with an autoloader full-length sizing is required for accurate feeding.
The solution I would recommend for anyone who shoots light calibers (all pistols, .223, .30 Carbine) is the Lee Hand Press. It offers portability similar to the Lee Loader, but with significantly more
Again, the most important thing is to always use a powder scale. Always use the scale to verify the amount of powder, especially from the Lee powder ladles, automatic powder throwers are very good about their consistency, the powder ladles leave much to chance! Safe reloading out there guys! – AVL

JWR Replies: Thanks for those tips. One thing that I can add as an important safety measure: Always select powders that fill more than half of the cartridge case volume. This way it will be obvious if you accidentally double charge a case.