Can I use a Lee Loader in a mini-14?
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Can I use a Lee Loader in a mini-14?

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Old 12-08-2013, 08:27 PM   #1
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Default Can I use a Lee Loader in a mini-14?

I want to shoot my Ruger Mini-14, model 180..."made in the year 1976, the 200th year of the USA"...I am retired and work part time for $7.25 an hour to make ends meet so money is tight.
I have used a Lee Loader for years to shoot my Springfield 30.06. It works. However, after I received a Lee Loader in 223 cal from Midway...the instructions say,,..." for auto loaders you need to full length swage the brass...this die does neck re sizing only". Also the instructions say to crimp the case mouth, only on bullets with a cannelure. I bought some bullets, cheap, from Midway and they DON"T have a cannelure....
QUESTIONS:1) Does any one have experience using a Lee Loader for a mini-14? Will it work?...with out the full length re sizing...2) Should I crimp the bullets I have...( no cannelure) any way? I don;t want the bullets to get loose going up the feed ramp of the mini-14. I have added reduced sized gas reduce the slamming of the bolt via the recoil spring. I am aware that the original gas port slammed the bolt and some users have claimed the model 180 could have the roller shear off. I also have place recoil buffers on the recoil spring rod...ANY HELP WILL BE APPRECIATED...IF I CAN'T USE THE LEE LOADER AND NON CANNELURED BULLETS WILL RETURN THEM TO
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Old 12-08-2013, 09:45 PM   #2
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Best to full length size semi auto ammo. Otherwise you'll have chambering and feed issues.
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Old 12-08-2013, 10:48 PM   #3
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I have used several different types of BTHP Match bullets in Mini's and AR's and have had no problems with bullet set back, but prefer a cannelured bullet that I can put a slight crimp into when I can get them. All of the 55 gr. and 62 gr. FMJ's have a cannelure, and for expanding ( violently expanding varmint bullet) those that can be had with cannelures are the Hornady 55 gr. and 60 gr. V-MAX, and the Nosler 60 grain Ballistic Tip Varmint. As rjd said, you should full length resize for a semi auto. Years ago people would tell you that you needed a special small base sizing die, but this was not found to be necessary and seldom is even mentioned anymore. One thing I do for any semi auto ammo, whether it be a 1911 pistol, AR or Mini is buy a case gauge ( some competition shooters call them a cartridge checker). They are a cylinder of steel with a SAAMI spec chamber cut into them for the specific caliber. I drop all the rounds I load into them, and if they don't go in and fall back out easily, I put them aside to use for fouling rounds. If they are really tight in the case gauge, they probably had missed the resizing stage, and get the bullet pulled and the case resized ( happened once in 35 years of reloading) My gauges are a mix of L.E. Wilson and Lyman. For hunting or self defense, I would run factory loads through the gauge also, I have found some that were oversized or had other problems( primers put in upside down) etc.
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Old 12-08-2013, 11:08 PM   #4
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You can get set up pretty cheap to do real reloading. Lee makes a hand press that you don't even need a bench to use.

And a set of dies.

Once you buy the press you can buy additional dies for other calibers. I own both of the items I have listed here. They are what I started out with. The dies are $18.79. The press is $32.99. If you have already been reloading you probably already have something to measure powder. If not, the Lee dies come with a powder dipper in them.
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Old 12-09-2013, 12:41 AM   #5
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using a Lee loader might work but you would have to use brass that you previously shot in that exact gun. some auto loading guns are very fussy about ammo. so no one can say with any certainty whether your mini will work with lee loader reloads or not. just try them. those bullets are pretty light and you might not need a hard crimp to hold them. again I would just try a box and see how it works for you.
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Old 12-12-2013, 04:33 PM   #6
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I use a Lee turret press for my mini 14 reloading with no problems. Some guys only neck size and have no problems. I use full length dies for my set up.
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Old 12-12-2013, 07:13 PM   #7
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I have never used a lee loader but I would think if the brass was fired in that exact same gun it would probably work. You would just have to try and see if your gun is picky or if it will gobble up anything.

If your bullets don't have a cannelure then don't crimp them. Just kinda squeeze the mouth enough to straighten out any bell and let it go. Trying to crimp it will either deform the case or the bullet or both.
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Old 12-12-2013, 08:06 PM   #8
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I can appreciate limited budgets. I used a lee loader years ago for 38 special. I was cautioned to only use brass shot out of my gun for reloading because the Lee loader does not resize the entire case. All that being said, Lee has a single stage press that is less that $30 and a set of dies for $35 or so. You'll have to get a shell holder for a couple of dollars, but you'll be good to go. To save money you can still seat your primers with the Lee loader tool. Check out Titan Reloading and good luck.
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Old 12-12-2013, 08:22 PM   #9
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Search for a used Lee (or any) single Stage Press the Lees tends to be very cheap. Even a used turret press will do you wonders.

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