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Old 04-21-2008, 20:28   #1
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Lee Loader for 223 and Mini-14

The thread on the SHTF loader setup for a pack has me thinking about a Lee Loader. I know the instructions say the Lee Loader might not be the most effective reloader for autoloaders, but the mini-14 has such sloppy tolerances, I'm wondering if it might just work.

Have any of you used a Lee Loader for an autoloader?

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Old 04-23-2008, 21:24   #2
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The "sloppy tolerances" won't save you. The brass will take the shape of the chamber and will need to be "full length" sized. I have never used the "Lee loader" but the way I understand it, you can't full length size on it, only neck size (I could be wrong).

If you are seriously considering getting into reloading, I would (since you have an autoloader) consider the Lee turret press, at least. I have one and love it. Not TOO much coin, and with .223 prices today, it will pay for itself in short order.

Best thing you can get is a good book. First thing to get, too. It will give you a much better idea of what will fit you, or if reloading is for you. I think the Lee Modern Reloading is the way to go. It was a great book for me to get started and still the first on I pick up.
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Old 04-24-2008, 05:35   #3
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Originally Posted by totalloser View Post
The "sloppy tolerances" won't save you. The brass will take the shape of the chamber and will need to be "full length" sized. I have never used the "Lee loader" but the way I understand it, you can't full length size on it, only neck size (I could be wrong).

If you are seriously considering getting into reloading, I would (since you have an autoloader) consider the Lee turret press, at least. I have one and love it. Not TOO much coin, and with .223 prices today, it will pay for itself in short order.

Best thing you can get is a good book. First thing to get, too. It will give you a much better idea of what will fit you, or if reloading is for you. I think the Lee Modern Reloading is the way to go. It was a great book for me to get started and still the first on I pick up.
Hi Totalloser,

Thanks for the reply. I've been reloading for about 20 years and currently have a Dillon for my pistols, a Lee Classic Turret for my rifle, a single stage for various odds and ends and a Lee Hand Press for camping and the RV. I've been wanting a Lee Loader to "try" and was thinking the 223 in SHTF might be the perfect solution. I know I can use it for neck sizing if I use the brass fired from my Mini, but in a true SHTF, scrounging brass would be the reality of the situation and so I wouldn't be able to chamber them.

Since I also shoot 45LC and 45-70, and they can shoot black powder (which I can make), a Lee Loader in one of those calibers or my 30-06 might be better. I'll probably just cache 223 rounds instead.

No, I'm not paranoid. But I'm not happy with the way the country is going right now.

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Old 04-24-2008, 17:42   #4
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Yea, the Lee loaders do only neck size. This is fine for the bolt and breech loaders, but not going to make any auto happy.
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Old 06-02-2008, 13:18   #5
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I can verify the Lee loader for .223 in a mini-14.
I had just bought a new mini ranch and was interested in trying re-loading just enough to see if I even wanted to do it at all.
The Lee loader looked like a cheap way to get my foot wet.
Long story short, the Lee loaders do only size the case neck, and I did have stuck cases more often than I cared for.
I eventualy got a turret press with a full length sizer.
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Old 06-07-2008, 14:02   #6
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Since you've already got the Lee Hand Press, why not just add a set of .223 Lee dies? Granted, the hand press isn't really comfy to do a lot of FL sizing on big rifle cases, but it should be OK for the .223. It's not as compact as the Lee Loader, but it's whole lot faster and works better. The flat die boxes don't take up any more space than a Lee Loader box would, so it's only the extra size/weight of the Hand Press itself, which is pretty small on both counts.
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