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Lee Loader Kit .303 British

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ZeeRo_7 View Drop Down
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    Posted: July 06 2014 at 5:48am
he!!o everyone, I recently got the chance to finally shoot my no4 mk1(F). It was great. And its a solid shooter. Hitting 8" steel plates at 100 yards. Im very pleased with that accuracy. Now to my question...I will soon start reloading the great .303 using the lee loader kit for .303 british. I want to start with that because it will allow me to take my time and maintain a high level of focus and not rush things. I like that it has all the main components to reload, even though its a slow process I dont mind it. My question is in regards to the powder charge, using the dipper provided with the kit. Do I just fill the dipper to the top with any of the powders recommended? Or do I need to put less powder pending on which powder I choose to use? From my research, ive gathered that the dipper is set to an appropriate charge. This will be my intro to reloading, so all info and tips will be greatly appreciated.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 07 2014 at 4:00am
I'm not familiar with the Lee Loader, but I do reload. You need to be very careful with regard to how much powder and what powder you use! This is your safety and the safety of people around you when you shoot.
You need accurate weighing scales and accurate information on recommended load. 
Start at a safe margin below published maximum and use a chronometer to check the speed of your loads; it is the best indication of what's going on and which way you should be adjusting the load.
If you do not have any experience reloading you really need someone experienced to advise and check what you are doing to prevent dangerous errors.

Example: I use Vectan Tubal 3000 powder. 
The company info states 41 grains as a maximum load. In my No4 rifle using a 174 grain Sierra orgive I am getting 2440 feet per second (which is standard velocity for the military round) with 39.4 grains of powder. I feel it would be dangerous to go to the proposed maximum as it would increase the speed and chamber pressure to well above the recommended. 

Every powder company has it's own recommendation's, each powder has it's own burn rate, different pressures, different volumes in the she!! case depending on the type of grains.
Be very very careful.

Reloading is fun, but it's also serious. Don't practice anything you can only do wrong once!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ZeeRo_7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 07 2014 at 4:11am
Thanks a lot. I have met a few people that are experienced reloaders. I definitely will work with them to get things done the right way. I did Iinitialy think about loading less than the recommended amount of powder to stay safe. Im excited to start reloading, but im in no rush to start. I want to get everything in order before I start. Thanks for replying.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SW28fan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 07 2014 at 5:05am
I started with the lee loader and you fill the dipper to the top. 
I am not sure what powders are recommended with the kit
But IMR  4895, 3031 and 4064 usually work well in 303  loads as does Hogdon H-414 and Varget
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ZeeRo_7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 07 2014 at 5:16am
Ok great. Yeah ive seen people just fill it to the top. I was just curious to know if its different with any given powder or fill straight to the top with any powder I choose
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SW28fan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 07 2014 at 5:27am
The Powder charges are all calculated to what it is filled level with the top of the dipper
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 07 2014 at 5:32am
Zed has given you great advice. So has SW28 Fan.

Its a simpler system you're using but capable of excellent accuracy when used well. It measures using pre-calculated VOLUMES, not weights. Because of this my "How To" will differ from ZED's in detail as he is using a weight based system.

When you open the kit there is a table of different powder types & charges to use. That is in several "sections" as you also use different volumes of specific powders for different bullet weights. Don't extrapolate anything, follow the tables EXACTLY as "monkey see, monkey do".

What is done is they work out a volume-based safe charge & then use a dipper of the best all round capacity to let you use several powders with it. ONLY USE POWDERS ON THE LIST, don't go getting clever & using something "close".

Also don't do this: "I did Initially think about loading less than the recommended amount of powder to stay safe." There is a minimum as well as a maximum, just use the scoop filled with the powder listed. Powders burn "progressively" the burn rate is changed by pressure, which is in turn created by burning a specific volume. If you go too low it fakes a bore obstruction, & can actually be worse than too much as it fizzles then detonates.Confused

You don't quite "just fill the dipper" there is a bit of a technique. You can practice with something harmless at first like "Cream of Wheat", or even sand, till you get your technique to the point you're comfortable with it.

1: Pour some powder into an open top wide mouth container. (It should be wide enough to take the dipper's "scoop" at least twice across & about 1" minimum depth.)

2: Scoop down, with the opening facing down, through & back up, while slowly rotating the scoop 180 degrees. (The idea is a 1/2 circle submerged in the powder, with the open end always being facing the direction of travel) till it surfaces with a heaped scoop of powder with the open end facing vertically UP.

3: Tap the over-filled scoop gently on the rim of the container, while keeping the open end vertical till all the excess falls off back into the container, leaving you with a full, level scoop.

What this does is settle a consistent volume for loading with for more accuracy.

The Lee scoops & charge tables tend to be slightly mild, so you probably wouldn't over-charge anyway, but the goal is accurate ammunition & consistent measuring of powder is a key step!Wink

You'll find the Lee "Whack a Mole" is surprisingly fast without rushing. I taught a total newbie & within 30 minutes he was loading 3 rounds every 2 minutes without rushing on a picnic bench in a forest.Big smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jon287 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 07 2014 at 5:50am
Several good you tube videos of .303 lee loader in action.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ZeeRo_7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 07 2014 at 6:58am
Thanks a lot. Gives me a fair amount of confidence. It is fairly simple but just wanted some good feedback from those who are more experienced than I am.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ZeeRo_7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 07 2014 at 7:37am
Ive seen a few. Good videos. Just wanted to clarify the dipper question
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 07 2014 at 9:21pm
Like most reloading it is simple.
Just remember to always exercise caution & you'll be fine & have some good ammo as well.
There's something even more satisfying about a god group shot with ammo you made over factory.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DairyFarmer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 29 2014 at 9:36pm
The Lee scoop should have a number on it. i.e 2cc
This means the scoop is 0.5 cubic centimetres in volume. Most powders will give you a VMD value. This is the Volume Measure Density of the powder or how cubic centimetres = one grain of powder.

The figures are used for example only. They do not relate to any actual powder or load!!
So if you wanted 30 grains of powder and the VMD is 0.0667 then you would need 2cc of powder.

To be honest, just invest in a scale and you will be much happier.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ZeeRo_7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 30 2014 at 4:33am
I spoke to a friend of mine and he suggested I get one of the Hornady lock n load hoppers and a scale. The hornady powder measure really allows you to make fine adjustments to how much powder to dump. Along with a scale to be 100% sure. I feel much more confident with that then the lee dipper alone.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DairyFarmer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 30 2014 at 2:08pm
A hopper will allow you to get close to the charge. A powder trickle will allow you to add very small amounts and help you keep your sanity when trying to get the last 0.1 of a grain.

A good practice is to have a small dowel rod or similar. Once you have charged all your cases, put the dowel into each case neck. You will be able to see that the charges are filling the cases to the same level. You can pick up double or half charges very quickly. I find this quicker and easier than weighing the cases after charging.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 31 2014 at 3:41am
"I spoke to a friend of mine and he suggested I get one of the Hornady lock n load hoppers and a scale."

I'll reiterate this:
"Don't extrapolate anything, follow the tables EXACTLY as "monkey see, monkey do".

No disrespect to your friend, under normal circumstances that is good advice. However you are using a volume-based system & if you stick with the Lee "whack a mole" loader you will have started "Improving" the system by extrapolating. This is not a good idea while you are right at the bottom of the learning curve.

I'd have no problem with the scale, its always a good idea to verify charge weights, but please don't start mix 'n matching till you're more experienced.

If you use the technique I outlined earlier you'll find you are probably within 1/10 grain with the dipper, by all means use the scale to verify your volume to weight conversion & accuracy & repeatability but please don't mix 'n match volume & weight not all powders are the same density.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ZeeRo_7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 31 2014 at 5:07am
Alright I see what youre saying. The loader scoop and scale are different in terms of weight vs volume. So I shouldnt do that as to confuse myself? I was thinking about using the scale as a way of double checking the load to get as consistent as possible. From the info you guys have given me I now understand that the dipper is fairly mild and will get the job done right and not over-charge.
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