March 31st, 2019

Pioneers of Precision Shooting — Legendary L.E. “Sam” Wilson

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Sam (L.E.) Wilson actively competed in benchrest matches until he passed. He’s shown here with an Unlimited benchrest rifle of his own design.

If you’ve used hand dies with an arbor press, chances are you’ve seen the L.E. Wilson company name. You may not know that the founder of L.E. Wilson Inc. was an avid benchrest competitor who pioneered many of the precision reloading methods we used today. Known as “Sam” to his friends, L.E. Wilson was one of the great accuracy pioneers who collected many trophies for match victories during his long shooting career.

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The photo above shows Sam (foreground) with all of his children at a shoot. Behind Sam are Jim, Jack and Mary, shooting in the Unlimited Class. What do they say — “the family that plays together stays together”? Note the long, externally-adjusted scopes being used. Learn more about Sam (L.E.) Wilson and his company on the L.E. Wilson Inc. Facebook Page.

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Unlimited Class was Sam’s favorite discipline, because in the “good old days” top competitors normally would craft both the rifle and the front/rear rests. This rewarded Sam’s ingenuity and machining/fabrication skills. In the “build-it-yourself” era, one couldn’t just order up an unlimited rail gun on the internet. How times have changed…

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April 29th, 2018

Buchanan Hand Press Review by UltimateReloader.com

Buchanan Hand Press reloading level-action portable sizing die lee

Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com recently tested the nicely-crafted Buchanan Hand Press. This symmetrical, twin-lever tool can handle pretty much any sizing and/or seating task as it offers plenty of leverage — even for full-length case resizing. Crafted by Buchanan Precision Machine, this Hand Press has a central mount for the die on top with a conventional shell-holder at the bottom. There is a handy spent primer catcher, plus an optional Lock-N-Load die insert adapter. This press is well-built, but the $245.00 price is steep. You can buy FIVE Lee Hand Presses for the cost of this Buchanan.

You can see how this press works in this recent UltimateReloader video. Gavin demonstrates all the key functions, including decapping, sizing, and bullet seating. You can see that Gavin was impressed with this hand press, which is well-suited for loading at the range:

Gavin explains that the modern Buchanan Hand Press is based on a previous design: “This press is an evolution of an old press that has been out of production for years: the Huntington Industries Decker Hand Press. While it shares some of the basic design features, the Buchanan Precision Machine Hand Reloading Press takes quality and functionality to the next level. This press accepts standard shell holders, uses standard 7/8×14 dies (or dies with Hornady Lock-N-Load bushings as I showed in the above video), and has a COL capacity of 3 3/4″. Need to load 30-06 away from the bench? No problem, this press can handle it. Unlike other hand presses, this one stands by itself on a flat/level surface, and can be clamped to a bench in order to stay in one spot.”

Buchanan Hand Press reloading level-action portable sizing die lee

For more details, check out the full Buchanan Precision Hand Press Review on UltimateReloader.com.

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May 27th, 2014

New Micrometer Top Bullet Seating Dies from Sinclair.

Sinclair International has a very impressive new series of stainless bullet seating dies for use with arbor presses. We first saw this product at SHOT Show in January. Now these click-adjustable seaters are in stock for 15 popular cartridge types. Beautifully made by L.E. Wilson, these stainless dies have precise half-thousandth adjustments with clicks you can feel as rotate the top to increase or decrease seating depth. But quality isn’t cheap — these new dies cost $199.00 each.

Sinclair International L.E. Wilson micro-adjust micrometer hand die arbor press click adjust

The folks at Sinclair told us: “We gathered our customers ideas and reloading experience with hand dies, and partnered with the hand die experts, L.E. Wilson.” Thes new dies allow precise control over seating depth with a simple turn of the indexed top section. Sinclair/L.E. Wilson Micro-Adjust Bullet Seaters are detent-bearing driven with positive click increments of .0005”:

  • Each seater stem is custom fitted to the seater body ensuring close tolerance fit.
  • Precision-cut threads allow bullet seating depth adjustment in .0005″ increments
  • Wide range of adjustment for use with a variety of bullets and seating depths.
  • Micro-Adjust “clicks” via stainless springs and stainless ball bearings.
  • Constructed of 416 Stainless Steel with precise, laser-etched adjustment scale.
  • Made in the USA by L.E. Wilson (85 years of inline die experience).

Sinclair International L.E. Wilson micro-adjust micrometer hand die arbor press click adjust

Sinclair/L.E. Wilson Die Cartridge Types

.222 Rem

.223 Rem

.22-250 Rem

6mm PPC

6mmBR Norma

6mm Dasher

.243 Winchester

6.5×47 Lapua

.260 Rem

6.5-284

.30 BR

.308 Winchester

.30-06 Springfield

.300 Win Magnum

.338 Lapua Magnum

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February 26th, 2012

Gear Review: Compact Combo Press from the Harrell Brothers

If you’re looking for a solid, beautifully fabricated loading press that can do double-duty at home AND at the range, consider the Combo Press from Harrell’s Precision, run by brothers Lynwood and Walter Harrell. Though it is very compact, it has plenty of leverage to full-length-size cases. The Harrell’s Combo Press works BOTH as an arbor press and as a standard press that functions with shell-holder and conventional screw-in dies. The arbor section on the left is tall enough to hold a Wilson micrometer-top seater. The threaded die section on the right has enough clearance for .308-sized cases.

One of the best features of the Combo Press from Harrell’s Precision is its sturdy clamp. This mounts solidly to a wood loading bench or table top. It also has enough vertical clearance between the jaws to work with most range benches. Forum member Boyd Allen has written a detailed review of the Harrell’s press, with additional photos by Paal Erik Jensen of Norway. The Harrell’s Precision Combo press retails for $295.00. That’s pretty pricey, but consider that it can replace BOTH an arbor press and a standard press. CLICK HERE to read full COMBO PRESS REVIEW

Combo Press Has Plenty of Power to Bump Shoulders
This Editor has loaded ammo with this press and I can say it performed well. It actually bumped shoulders on fired 6BR brass more easily than a larger cast-iron press we have in our loading area. I attribute that to the fact that the threads for the die are very precise and the shell-holder seats firmly on the ram, with no slip. Seating with a hand die (on the left side of the press) yields repeatable results, although I have to say I get better “feel” with a good Arbor press, such as those made by 21st Century, K&M, or Sinclair Int’l. I also like the availability of the seating Force Gauge on the K&M Arbor.

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