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Hi All,
Recently acquired a Mosin-Nagant m91/30 like lots of other folks. Have been in a financial downturn for sometime as mentioned elsewhere, but a job opportunity may take me back to California... so probably few opportunities to shoot where I'll be.

In any event, I generally don't shoot without being a reloader. Years gone by, had the luxury of using excellent single stage equipment owned by family. These days, no such. So was considering a Lee Loader vrs. Lee Hand Press for 7.62x54r.

Clearly the Hand Press is the high class way to go, but is it neccessary? What if I intend to purchase new, unfired brass? (Never have done that in the past, only have reloaded fired factory or once fired brass.) Will I need to full length resize new, unfired?

The Lee Loader has a minimalist appeal to be sure, but for some additional $$$ seems the Hand Press gives you everything a single stage bench mounted rig could.

Thoughts?

One thing I'm worried about is that the bore sizes vary in these rifles, or so folks write. To be honest, I'm not certain how that plays out with either traditional dies nor Lee Loaders. Anyone have some experience with this? In the past I've always owned fairly standard guns in fairly standard calibers and really didn't have any issues. (Think 30-06, .223, .44 mag. You now, middle of the road stuff.)

P.S. Anyone tried using a c-clamp with the Lee Loader for some additional precision and less noise? Or perhaps to lessen chance of popping a cap when priming?

As an aside, would be interested in anyone's findings on working up accurate reloads in these old guns.

Anyone have any experience with cast bullets in these? Recommend any economical molds?
 

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I did the Lee loaders for about 3 months straight of development. It is an ok system for a back-up, but yes it's noisy, and more irritating for me was the occasional primer going off during seating. Secondly, if you're shooting a bottle neck, I'd highly recommend going with a collet die if one's available. Lot less brass stress and I've been loading my 7.5x55 swiss this way with great success. ;) I tried c-clamps, those newer wood style clamps, towels under the pounding board and several other things to quiet down the old classic. I keep them around for bullet starting on my .45-70 gov and .45 colt & acp's. They are handy if you are going somewhere and might want to throw a load or two together. ;) I currently use the Lee handpress to load .45 acp, .45 colt, .45-70 gov., .40-60 Marlin, 7.5x55 swiss, 30-40 Krag, .357 m/.38 spc, .30 M1 Carbine, and .32 Special. Got a set of .223 dies incoming also, so soon will be doing those. The only operations I have issues with using the hand press is re-forming brass more than a couple thousandths. I tried to make 40-60 Marlin brass from some .45-70 Starline brass and nearly ripped out every muscle in my chest and arms doing one. It took me 3 hours to make one and I was soaked in sweat, then when I went to seat the first bullet, I crushed the case!! Talk about one pissed off dude. I was so mad I just went and sat on the front porch and smoked like 5 cigarettes in a row. lol :'(
 

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Once, when I was between homes and renting a small apartment, most of my reloading stuff was in storage. I got a Lee hand press, and was able to reload for all of the firearms that I hadn't stored away. Full-length sizing and all. All I had to do was have the right dies for my guns with me. If you are looking for loading on the cheap, and mobility, the hand press would be something to consider. Lee, and someone else, also make an under-$30 press that can be bench mounted. I've got one of those Lee ones mounted on my bench. I use it for those one-time operations that I don't want to take dies out of my regular single stage press for--like priming one case, etc. You may want to look at one of these.
 

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My start in centerfire shooting and reloading was a milsurp rifle and a Lee Loader. The loader worked great except for a few primer detonations, so I bought a Lee Autoprime-I strongly recommend the autoprime with the loader. My next step was the Lee hand press which was my only press for about 15 years. So the Lee hand press is certainly capable. I am about to embark on a relocation of about 100 miles and I hate the thought of being without my Classic Turret press in the interim but I know I am spoiled and the hand press would serve quite well.
I would reccomend purchasing a good powder scale and an autoprime and then the choice of Loader or handpress and dies is your decision. The loader will certainly get you started with minimal expense and works great with a bolt action. The hand press allows you to do anything you can with a bench mounted press(not including bullet swaging).
Let us know what happens.
Good luck and good shooting.
 

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Lots of things to think about with the Mosin. I think first of all you should do a cost analysis to see if it's even worth your while to reload. I've priced surplus ammo at $.022 a round and I don't know if it can be reloaded for much less than that.
Bore size is something to consider as well if you plan on shooting cast rounds. It's generally accepted that most Mosins are sized to .311" and you may have a hard time finding a .30 caliber bullet sized to that dimension. However, I've heard of folks using .32 caliber bullets for them, as they tend to run .312" -.314".
If you do decide to load cast bullets you'll need a neck expander along with your loading dies. Seeing how you don't a press right now, it might be hard to justify the initial expense if all you load for is the Mosin. Of course if you plan on loading for other calibers then the initial expense is less of a concern.
Don't misunderstand, I'm not trying to talk you out of anything, I think the Mosin is a great gun and plan on buying one myself before too long. I just wanted to bring up a few points you may not have considered.
GH1 :)
 

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My 2 cents worth is to forget the Lee hammer job. GET A PRESS and RCBS dies because they have two expander buttons and one is the proper size for .311 to .312 bullets. I have never see a MN that would shoot .308 bullets accurately. Slug your bore to see what diameter bullet you will need. If the slug comes out .310 to .3105 use .311 diameter bullets if it comes out between ,3105 and .312 use .312 diameter. Best load I have ever found that shoot great in every model rifle I have ever tried is this. 50 grs Accurate Arms 4350, CCI 200 primer, .311 174 Sierra MK or 180 SP OAL 3.000 or .312 diameter Hornady 174 RNSP OAL 2.790 and use a Lee Factory Crimp Die on all loads.
 

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Plus 1 for the hand press. I loaded with a Lee loader for a couple years until I bought a used RCBS press. A few years later I was living in an apartment and didn't have a place to set up the RCBS press and I bought a Lee hand press. I used it for years until I once again had a place to set up my RCBS press.

I still use the hand press for a few things. For what it's costs, it's more than worth it. One thing I did to mine was to mold some handles out of epoxy. It makes it way easier to use but I did this mod this year and I've had the hand press for almost 20 years.

Tony
 

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When I used (use) a Lee Loader, noise wasn't/isn't a concern, but I have a 1"x4"x12" slab of lead that deadens the noise of hammering. As much as I like Lee Loaders (I have 5 in addition to 3 presses) I'd suggest the Hand Loader because you'll be able to full length size the brass and the Lee Loaders only neck size. The Hand Loader uses standard 7/8x14 dies and you'll need to full length size your brass at some time or the other (brass will stretch and soon you'll not be able to chamber neck sized only brass).
 

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Flmason glad to here about the job opportunity, Hope it works out for you. You should drop a line on the survival thread. I think a lot of guys there are worried about you.


I was going to suggest the mosin for you. Most of the guys I work with are getting one. I see you beat me to it.


Target ammo seems cheap and easy to find. I think I will by a can for target practice and not bother reloading target ammo. Good hunting rounds seem harder to find. I am thinking of ordering some brass and getting a lee loader for hunting ammo only. The lee loader is cheaper than a set of loading dies. I got a hand lee hand press because I bought a barrel that came with loading dies. I like it but never used it.


I think it will be a fun gun. The guys at work really like them and say they are very accurate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Lost said:
Flmason glad to here about the job opportunity, Hope it works out for you. You should drop a line on the survival thread. I think a lot of guys there are worried about you.


I was going to suggest the mosin for you. Most of the guys I work with are getting one. I see you beat me to it.


Target ammo seems cheap and easy to find. I think I will by a can for target practice and not bother reloading target ammo. Good hunting rounds seem harder to find. I am thinking of ordering some brass and getting a lee loader for hunting ammo only. The lee loader is cheaper than a set of loading dies. I got a hand lee hand press because I bought a barrel that came with loading dies. I like it but never used it.


I think it will be a fun gun. The guys at work really like them and say they are very accurate.
Hi Lost Farmboy,
I went ahead and updated the survival thread. :)

Purchased the Classic Lee Loaders in .44 Mag and 7.62x54R today while at Cabalas. They were out of the Hand Press, got the Classic just to try it out and see what I can learn. Guess I was spoiled with this stuff when I was younger. My father had quite a bit of high quality stuff along with several good single stage presses, bullet sizer/lube press, scale, measures, etc.

So pretty much, handloading is the family tradition I guess. My mindset is pretty much that I buy factory ammo expecting to reload. I know some guys who basically don't bother as well. It's factory or nothing. Heck some are "it's jacketed or nothing".

I'm on the other side, "Can I cast for it? Can I turn out good ammo with minimal but quality equipment?" I enjoy the handloading as much as the shooting, really.

Just having an unsettled life, I'm at odds with the desire to just get the needed equipment but have to move it every so often. :( Otherwise I'd have a machine shot to boot, LOL!

I'm with the consensus here. Lee Hand Press is kind of the minimal tool to do it all and do it right. Lee Classic, while a real tool, is somewhat limited and limiting. Primer detonations worries me. Can't have that in a townhouse or appartment. Been 15 years since I owned a home on acreage. :(

Yeah, the Mosin's an interesting design. Would've liked an M38, but ended up with a numbers matching 1938 Izhevsk so can't complain.

If things go better, hoping maybe next year to visit a bud in Colorado who has access to about 700 acres of private land. Maybe go for the hunt and take the Mosin if I have it reasonably tuned by then. Though silly as it sound for a gun buff, don't really care to kill anything if I don't have to, LOL! Pretty much grew up in the, "You don't shoot what you won't eat." philosophy. Manage the herd and all that. :)
 

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[ Though silly as it sound for a gun buff, don't really care to kill anything if I don't have to, LOL! Pretty much grew up in the, "You don't shoot what you won't eat." philosophy. Manage the herd and all that. :)


I don't think that's silly at all, I feel the same way. I realize others do not feel this way and that's fine, but for me personally I have no desire to kill anything that won't end up on a dinner plate.
Anyway, congratulations on your purchase, I hope to be joining the ranks of Mosin owners before the year is over with.
GH1 :)
 
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