Lee presses: your experience

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by .356luger, Jul 9, 2019.

  1. .356luger

    .356luger Scout

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    I took a break from reloading after my kids were born and my career took off. I run a rock chucker and will continue to do so for full house loads and rifle loads because i feel the attention to detail is much greater in a single stage press. IE when loading full house a half powder measure is paramount with saftey in mind. Like wise with rifle bullets its easier to make batches between this OAL case and powder vs another etc.

    However with the addition of a few toys namely a scorpion that likes to eat. ive thought about picking up one of the lee 1000 presses to load 147 grain freedom seeds at a higher rate someplace in the middle of the road at a higher volume. have you guys used these with success? pros and cons are welcome since the loader set up with 9mm dies is about 220$ id like to pick up a few plates and some dies for 357 mag aswell as 45 acp.
     
  2. central joe

    central joe Wait For Me!! Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I have been using a Lee turret press for years, thousands of rounds through it with no problems. It is the old 3 hole model, have bout 7 die carriers so I don't have to set up for each caliber. That's just my experience. joe
     
  3. Pastor Chris

    Pastor Chris Keeper of the T.Darrah Tenkara Pass-Around Supporter Hardwoodsman Bushclass II

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    I had a load master for awhile and used it for pistol cartridges. A little finicky like most things but very manageable once I got used to the feel of it.
     
  4. MAD Punty

    MAD Punty Supporter Supporter

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    I have been building a reloading set using all Lee presses and dies, but haven't put them to use yet. I did a LOT of research, and the reviews of Lee products are pretty much universally positive. In fact, the Lee die sets are considered superior.

    The only two caveats that I have seen are the following;

    1. The Lee balance scale is fidgety and kind of sux. This I agree with. Don't get it unless it comes with a set. It works just fine...it's just a pain to operate.

    2. The Lee hand press has broken when used for resizing rifle brass in a few cases. I don't think that it was ever designed for that. I think it can handle it in most cases, but there is absolutely no reason to when a bench mount is just as cheap.
     
  5. FreeMe

    FreeMe Guide

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    I have and like using the Lee Turret press. The powder measure that comes with it as a kit is not ideal, IMO, but there is an upgrade available and I recommend getting that. The turret is not as fast as a progressive, but significantly faster than a single stage. It is versatile, in that you can also use it as a single stage. If you load moderate amounts for several calibers, having dies set up in their own turret plates is really handy.

    It is not the best for high precision. It is not the best (or even close) for high volume. Things must be kept clean, and the primer feed can be glitchy if not set up perfectly. But for a "one and only", I think it's hard to beat.

    For high volume, I;d go straight to Dillon.
     
  6. .356luger

    .356luger Scout

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    my plan was to go lee progressive for moderate volume. My SOP in the past was to load say a thousand rounds per caliber as stock then load maybe another 4-500 as floating and when i dipped to maybe 800 in stock id reload a big batch again over the course of a couple weeks to keep boredom away and peak attention.
     
  7. Cwlongshot

    Cwlongshot Supporter Supporter

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    I think that the LEE Classic Cast is a good solid press.
    You couldn't give me a LEE “Progressive”.

    CW
     
  8. Emt1231

    Emt1231 Tracker

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    I had the Lee 1000 and got rid of it relatively fast. The primer feed gave me a lot of problems by having primers flip in the feeding tube or just not feed in general. It was easy to miss primers not feeding and seating which would end up just making a mess of powder. Now I could had lived with the primer issue but what I wouldn't live with the powder disk system. You would need to tap it every time to make sure the little disk filled with the proper amount of powder. I ended getting a squib load and then I got rid of the press.
     
  9. 45jack

    45jack Supporter Supporter

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    I have a Lee turret press that I've been using for years
     
  10. FreeMe

    FreeMe Guide

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    As you might gather from other comments, the Lee progressive doesn't have the rep for reliability and ease of use that the Dillon does. Not even close. The Lee turret is good for about 100-120 rounds per hour, depending on how much coffee I've had. The Dillon progressive......considerably more.
     
  11. Todd1hd

    Todd1hd Supporter Supporter

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    I use the Lee turret press but use it manually. Yes I am weird. I prime by hand, then size, drop powder, and seat the bullet. But I move to each station manually. I find it faster that way. Excellent equipment for the money.

    By doing it the way I do it, I can prime a 100 or so rounds while watching TV or whatever then load when its convenient.
     
  12. MJDavis

    MJDavis Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    I have a lee 4 hole turret press and I’ve reloaded thousands of rounds on it. 38, 357, 9mm, 45 lc, and 40 cal. Been using it for about 10 years or so and never a problem. I’ve replaced a couple of parts on it over the years but not a big deal. If I were to do it over, I’d get the lee classic cast turret press, but don’t think it was available at the time.
     
  13. jackpine

    jackpine Fire? I don't see any fire!? Supporter Bushclass I

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    I like the turret press and use that often but my progressive Lee experience hasn’t been as good. With the errors that creep in from adjustments coming loose I’m faster with the turret press.

    Old C&H progressives or Dillion are better IMO
     
  14. greg_r

    greg_r Tracker

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    I loaded pistol rounds on the old Lee 3 hole manual advance turret for years. I really liked the press. I modified it with a fence to help corral the spent primers and a chute to direct the spent primes to a collection jug. The only issue I had with the press was the primer seating arm was not captured and if had a way of falling out once or twice very loading session. I replaced it with a 4 hole Lee Classic Cast turret press. I like it even better, still, wish I had not sold the 3 hole press. I have found the Lee Turret presses to load very coincentric ammunition. My theory is the tool head has just enough “slop”, for lack of a better word, to self center the cartridge much like the “slop” is Co-Ax press does.

    As to the LeePro 1000, I do not own one, but have friends that do. One has several presses, one dedicated to 223, another to 9mm. His presses run well. The other has only one and it runs well once he gets it set up. When he changes calibers there is always another bout of tweaking, then it runs well again. Personally, based on my friends experience, I would only really be interested in one if I could set it up as a dedicated single caliber press.

    My opinion is, get the Lee Auto Breech Lock Pro. They have been out over a year now and seem to get lots of good reviews and only a few bad ones. I am going to pick one up I think, mostly to load pistol rounds with. I’ll keep the turrret set up for rifle rounds.
     
  15. tomme boy

    tomme boy Guide

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    The 1000 can be used successfully if you prime off press. I have 2 tool heads for the one I use for 9mm. One is set up to size only. I run all the brass through this then hand prime the cases while watching TV. I then use the other tool head to expand charge then seat.

    I took the priming system completely out of the press.

    I also have the Auto breech lock pro set up for 9mm. This uses the same primer seater as the classic cast turret presses.

    My classic cast turret is set for 223. This is set for blasting ammo only. Seating depth is all over the place. My RCBS rock chucker is what I load my precision loads. Don't have to worry about the tool head indexing the spot every time and no up and down slop either.
     
    .356luger and victoratsea like this.
  16. Dave_Markowitz

    Dave_Markowitz Supporter Supporter

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    I use a Lee 4-hole turret press for 9mm, .38 Special, .44-40, and .308. No complaints.

    I wish the Lee dies used more than an O-ring for the lock rings. I'm going to retrofit mine with Hornady lock rings that use a screw.

    The Lee "Safety" scale (balance beam) is anything but, IMNSHO. It is far too light and if you look at it wrong you can knock it out of calibration. I had one and threw it in the trash. I went the other direction and bought a Redding balance beam scale. I also have a Frankford Arsenal digital scale and it is shockingly good for the price. I've checked it against the Redding and it's spot on.
     
  17. FreeMe

    FreeMe Guide

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    +1 all of that.
     
  18. Polecat

    Polecat Polecat in a Poke Supporter

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    I have the Lee Classic Cast single stage, and an old red RCBS single stage. Aside from the Lee being very slightly smaller, I like them both about the same. I don't know anything about their turret presses. I load for accuracy, not for quantity (that's what cheap blasting ammo is for, lol).

    Now the Lee powder measure on the other hand, the uh... Precision measure, I think. Not the auto-disk. The adjustable one. I like it WAY better than my RCBS measure. The RCBS measure cuts grains with some powders, whereas the Lee does not. Probably due to having more plastic parts, but hey whatever works.
     
  19. Elgatodeacero

    Elgatodeacero Scout

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    I started with RCBS and moved to Lee.

    I think the Classic Cast single stage and the Classic Cast Turret are the best presses available in the normal price range. Lee single stage for rifle, turret for handgun.

    I would also skip a Lee progressive, except for the newest Auto Pro one which seems to be getting good reviews.

    Lee has crazy names for their stuff, hard to keep straight sometimes.
     

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