LEEEE Reloading equipment. Thoughts? Recommendations?

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LEEEE Reloading equipment. Thoughts? Recommendations?

Post by BigAgitator on Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:52 pm

I'm getting into reloading....

I've determined that I need a turret style press. I'm a handgun guy so I will be reloading large batches of ammo. I can't afford a progressive press.

After reading a lot about different presses, the Lee Classic cast iron turret press looks like a good deal @ ~$100
I can't justify spending much more than that. I know RCBS and Lyman are pretty great. I just don't want to spend the money.

I already have a nice set of carbide dies, so that's all set.

Any thoughts about this press or other similar presses?

Thanks!

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Re: LEEEE Reloading equipment. Thoughts? Recommendations?

Post by Daywalker on Mon Nov 15, 2010 5:24 pm

That is the great thing about Lee Precision. I myself could not afford to get into reloading as money was tight starting out. If it weren't for the prices Lee Precision had to offer, I would not be as far along as I am today. I do have a couple of RCBS, however, I kinda keep telling myself, the money I saved up by using Lee items, allowed me to purchase some of the others. One of the RCBS Press that I use more than any right now is an RS3, Hawcer remembers that press heheheh..

Anyhow, seems you have done some researching. I have not touched anything besides a single stage press. I have heard good things about the Lee Turret press's tho.

Someone should be along that is more versed in Turret Press's than I tho.... Keep up the good research.... Your on the right track...

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Re: LEEEE Reloading equipment. Thoughts? Recommendations?

Post by hawcer on Mon Nov 15, 2010 5:26 pm

Great choice for the $$ . That's a good press to get started with and you'll prolly never replace it.

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Re: LEEEE Reloading equipment. Thoughts? Recommendations?

Post by XbonesX on Mon Nov 15, 2010 5:32 pm

its a good idea to stay away from a progressive press until you really learn the ropes. a turret press is a great intermediate. remember to just take your time and develop a rhythm.

I have some Midway coupons posted on the topic i'll post below that are good until Nov. 21, might help save you some money.
http://www.atgreloading.com/component-talk-f8/midwayusa-coupons-t55.htm

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Re: LEEEE Reloading equipment. Thoughts? Recommendations?

Post by BigAgitator on Mon Nov 15, 2010 11:19 pm

Thanks for the prompt replies! I like what I'm hearing. Sounds like my plan might not be that bad. I'll definitely make accurate measuring or powder paramount.

I had heard about some issues with the lee turret but I think that was the non-classic which utilizes cheap aluminum or pot metal for a lot of the components.
The ram on the Classic is also a larger diameter. That can't hurt. Then again, some say that it's not the size; it's how you use it.

Thanks for the coupons, XbonesX. Unfortunately I won't have my hands on the moneys for a while scratch

What are you guys' thoughts on the lee powder measure/metering device that can be fitted to the classic turret?

Thanks!

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Re: LEEEE Reloading equipment. Thoughts? Recommendations?

Post by CMAsailor on Mon Nov 15, 2010 11:29 pm

Or... get one of the regular single style presses with the breechlock ??? cause the turret heads are a bitch to store, something to consider
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Re: LEEEE Reloading equipment. Thoughts? Recommendations?

Post by RemMan700 on Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:02 am

An alternative might be the new redesigned Lee Classic Cast Breechlock. It is the same old classic cast press but now has the quick change breechlock bushings. So you can change out your dies quickly and not have to readjust them.
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Re: LEEEE Reloading equipment. Thoughts? Recommendations?

Post by BigAgitator on Tue Nov 16, 2010 1:24 pm

I saw those presses. The issue I have with that is that you end up handling your brass a lot more and you risk spilling powder as well (?)

Am I wrong?
I wonder why people like single stage so much. It's not that i disagree; I just don't have enough experience to understand.
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Re: LEEEE Reloading equipment. Thoughts? Recommendations?

Post by hawcer on Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:00 pm

with single stage presses...it is slower. But with less moving parts and the time to pay attention to every little detail...every cartridge becomes an individual creation...artwork if you will. (brush vs. spray can)

That being said turret presses have advantages too. I love my T-mag for the fact that I can have all my dies set up in one head ...switching from stage to stage takes only moments...but I still only work on assembling one cartridge at a time( after they are resized and primed). Also, a turret press can be used as a single stage press....

I think you'll be happy with the Lee classic turret press.


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Re: LEEEE Reloading equipment. Thoughts? Recommendations?

Post by Mohunter on Tue Nov 16, 2010 3:22 pm

+1 on the Lyman TMag II press, that's what I've got and when I'm reloading for pistol the rotating head is a dream come true. All my dies are set and I don't have to take one out, replace it with another, then another for each operation........simply rotate the head and bam.....good to go.

You also can't go wrong with the prices that Lee has to offer. Even though I have never owned one of their presses, I think they are a great value for the beginning reloader, and since your mainly loading for pistol and not swaging or doing cartridge conversions the construction of the press won't really be an issue. I doubt that you could break it while reloading a pistol round, but I have been wrong before?

Start small and get to making some ammo, get your feet wet and learn all you can. Then upgrade to larger, fancier equipment as you get better.
You may decide that the value press is all you will ever need and never buy anything more expensive.......so look at all the money you saved by starting with the value priced items.
As far as their other equipment.....dies, powder measures, hand priming tools, ect. I use Lee products almost exclusively and have no issues with their products. My Perfect Powder measure saves me lots of time while at the reloading bench and with most powders it is fairly accurate. While loading for pistol I drop straight from the spout of the dispenser and go. I may weigh the first couple of charges, then I'm in full production until I get all I need.
I do however, take a flashlight and peer down into all the charged cases for a visual inspection to make sure they are all charged and appear to have the same amount in each one. That's just a safety feature to make sure I didn't forget to charge a case, especially if you are loading for an auto like a Glock, or 1911 where you could forget to charge then Q ball a bullet in the barrel and put another one right behind it causing disasterous situations.

Take your time, be safe, and have fun!
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Re: LEEEE Reloading equipment. Thoughts? Recommendations?

Post by wiederladertv on Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:22 pm

I've owned the Lee Classic Turret Press for Years.. it's well spend money.
Works all the time. I have make thousends of rounds on this little wondern with no problems. I could make up to 250 rounds an hour.
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Re: LEEEE Reloading equipment. Thoughts? Recommendations?

Post by RemMan700 on Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:30 pm

The one thing that made me stay away from the Lee classic turret was that there is some kind of auto indexing nut that is made from polymer and I heard that there was a problem with them wearing out fast. ??? I think they include an extra in the box with the press. If that is the case I wonder if someone could machine a replacement made of steel that would be a fix for it.
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Re: LEEEE Reloading equipment. Thoughts? Recommendations?

Post by wiederladertv on Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:32 pm

I purchase 15 pieces when I bought this press. Every 4000-5000 rounds I need a new one but hey these thing don't cost much.
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Re: LEEEE Reloading equipment. Thoughts? Recommendations?

Post by CMAsailor on Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:45 pm

shit ... in that case i think im sold on it and i don't like em LOL
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Re: LEEEE Reloading equipment. Thoughts? Recommendations?

Post by wiederladertv on Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:10 am

lol!
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Re: LEEEE Reloading equipment. Thoughts? Recommendations?

Post by BigAgitator on Wed Nov 17, 2010 1:07 am

Yeah- I see the potential to do 200+ rounds per hour as a definite advantage. I have ~400 cases that are ready to be loaded as of right now. That would take quite a bit longer when doing single stage.

It's great to know that some of you like the lee measures and tools. Thanks, mohunter.

The powder measure would definitely speed things up. I'm going to take it slow as i learn but it'll still expedite things to have some of this gadgetry imo.

I may end up making a variable rpm tumbler that is driven by my lathe. That'd save me some money.
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Re: LEEEE Reloading equipment. Thoughts? Recommendations?

Post by badjeep02 on Wed Nov 17, 2010 2:41 pm

I use the Lyman TMag II press as well and would give it 5 stars. It handles rifle just fine, but I don’t size my cast bullets on it. I got the whole kit for about $315 on sale. I believe its well worth the investment if you are interested in reloading, even though it’s twice the price of a good Lee kit. My buddy got a Lee classic press, the one with 4 holes, and loves it. I some mostly Lee dies for pistol and I think they’re adequate. The hollow expanding dies are just a gimmick in my opinion. I do love the Lee safety powder scale. I use it to check my electronic one.
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Re: LEEEE Reloading equipment. Thoughts? Recommendations?

Post by Reload3006 on Sat Nov 27, 2010 4:53 pm

if you are really looking to get into it with the least amount of money as possible then I would go to Ebay and watch the loading presses. either turrent if thats what you want or just single stage presses. Make sure you look at the shipping costs as I have noticed that sometimes great prices on the item are followed up by EXTREMELY excessive shipping costs. If you wait till the last 30 seconds then bid you usually can get it for a decent price then it dosent matter what brand it is. You dont need a powder measure but you mush have an accurate scale. you can get a set of powder dippers and weigh each charge. Time consuming but cheap. I like other stuff better than lee but Lee makes a great product for a low cost.
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Re: LEEEE Reloading equipment. Thoughts? Recommendations?

Post by scorge30 on Sat Nov 27, 2010 6:07 pm

I have and use a lot of Lee products, as well as just about every other maker too.

As others have said, you can't beat the prices of Lee items and they make ammo just as good as anything off the other stuff.

I have a Lee Classic O press that I have been using for more than 20 years to do rough stuff like full length resize wildcat cartridges, swage bullets, swage belts on brass (IE 240 Weatherby from 25-06), etc.

I have a T Mag as well and do almost all of my loading on it. Before my financial difficulties I had a lot of Dillon products.

If I ever get back into high volume pistol shooting again, a progressive Dillon would get my nod. The prices are high, but 100% American made and you can not beat the no BS warranty on Dillon.

One thing about the Dillon I really liked was the case trimmer. For resizing 55 gallon drums of NATO 7.62 and 5.56 you could not beat the speed and accuracy. Of course very pricey and required a lot more space, as well as a shop vac, but made quick work of that military brass.

I have had and still use a few of the Lee powder measures. The newer style with elastomer wiper does not leak powders like TAC, H325, H110 etc near as bad as the old square box measure.

The original square hopper measure leaked fine powder everywhere. It also lacked the powder cut off of the new round measure which made it a pain to empty to change disks.

I love the double disk setup and the micro disk for tossing small charges of Bullseye. Only problem I have with the double disk is they are not big enough for some of the crazy super magnums.

When I need to drop 95 grains of Retumbo for my .338 Rem Ultra Mag, I have to divide the charge in thirds to get the Lee powder measure to toss it. Then trickle in the remainder. Even some of the electronic dispensers have trouble with large charge weights.

The powder through expanders are nice for volume pistol loading. For rifles, especially something I expect some measure of accuracy, I find myself still charging into a pan and weighing each charge. For plinking loads, the powder through expanders are nice and quick.

Main complaint of mine against the Lee dies is the stem slipping the collet. When I am trying to expand 303 Brit to 35 caliber to shoot in a .35 Rem T/C that damn stem popped up from the collet no matter how hard I cranked the damn thing down. Same problem with NATO 7.62 and 5.56 when trying to remove crimped-in military primers.

Mike Bellm in Grants Pass OR has a solution to solve the stem slipping the collet.

http://www.bellmtcs.com/store/index.php?cid=547

Should not be too hard for the average shade tree, or Mike will do each die for a $20 fee when he gets around to it. Mike does awsome work, but he is very heavily booked, and I have had barrels come back almost a year later, still waiting on my RCBS .444 Marlin dies to be shortened to .44x356.
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Re: LEEEE Reloading equipment. Thoughts? Recommendations?

Post by BigAgitator on Sun Nov 28, 2010 2:40 am

Thanks for all the awesome info! Based on research and your input, I've decided to go ahead with the Lee classic turret press.

I'll wait on a powder measure and stick to the balance-beam grain scale for the time being. As for the super magnum charges, no worries. That shouldn't be a problem with me. The biggest load I see myself doing is the 300 win mag.

I'd love to keep this as a continuing dialogue, perhaps further discussing different powder measures. I saw a nice RCBS rig at the store today~ about $100

I've got a set of lee carbide dies with the powder through expander...

Thanks for that link Steve.

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Re: LEEEE Reloading equipment. Thoughts? Recommendations?

Post by Daywalker on Sun Nov 28, 2010 2:50 am

I use the Lee Perfect Powder measure, they are 20 bucks and my powder drop accuracy has never let me down so far... I do have to say, it does not like to meter IMR 4350 all that well tho...

Just my 2 cents...I still weigh on a beam scale every 5th case...

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Re: LEEEE Reloading equipment. Thoughts? Recommendations?

Post by BigAgitator on Sun Nov 28, 2010 3:26 am

Yeah, I've heard a lot of good about those lee measures. They seem to get pretty good reviews (like yours).

Most of my work is just target practice anyway. I mean... I want to be accurate but it's not like I'm rolling match grade ammo here. If I get into making some custom hunting loads (very likely), they will be in very small batches so I'll weigh every couple of charges (like you mentioned). I love these balance scales! If they weren't so god awful slow, I'd skip the measures completely and trickle each charge onto the scale.
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Re: LEEEE Reloading equipment. Thoughts? Recommendations?

Post by scorge30 on Sun Nov 28, 2010 3:22 pm

I use three of the Lee Pro Auto Disk measures. I have one set for pistol and one for medium rifle and one for mega rifle loads.

I started with the old Lee Auto Disk measure but it leaks fine powders like TAC, H110, H325, etc badly. They are cheap and if all you load is large course powder, they work great.

BTW I have an extra red square Lee Auto Disk powder resivor and an extra lid if anyone wants them. They are brand new, and just lying around here. I keep meaning to put them on Evilbay, but I would rather give them to someone than support anti-gun Evilbay.

I used to have an RCBS Little Dandy powder measure that went AWOL during our move from Ft Useless in VA back to Ft Lost in the Woods MO. Little pricey and you have to buy all the little damn drums but worked like a champ and did not leak powder too badly.

I am not too worried about super careful powder weight except for when loading my hunting ammo, and that is in small lots. When tossing 95 grains of Retumbo a 1 lb canister goes quick.

I really like Lee dies other than that damn collet. I have found them just as good, and the ammo no worse than the other guys.

For certain jobs like expanding 303 Brit (or 30-40 Krag or reduce 375 Win) to 35 that damn Lee collet slips until I get them pinned. I did not know about the pinning trick until a few weeks ago after I had already ordered a new Redding-style TiN expander from CH4D. So maybe I can save someone else some money.
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Re: LEEEE Reloading equipment. Thoughts? Recommendations?

Post by Mohunter on Sun Nov 28, 2010 4:49 pm

I use a Hornady digital scale and a beam scale. The Lee Perfect Powder measure really sped up the process for me as I drop to within .3 gr. of powder and trickle the rest in on my digital scale, then set every other charge on the beam scale and let it rest while I charge another case directly off the digital scale. I don't think I would need to weigh every other charge because my Hornady digital scale is pretty dang accurate, but I guess I'm just kinda anal meticulous about charging cases?
I try to get all my charges withing .1 tenth of a grain from case to case for best accuracy, and Lord knows they don't have to be that exact. It's just my OCD that won't allow me to take anything for granted. LOL Suspect
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Re: LEEEE Reloading equipment. Thoughts? Recommendations?

Post by scorge30 on Sun Nov 28, 2010 7:42 pm

When I shot F class rifle we were really anal about the powder charges.

I am not so powder anal now except with the crazy super magnums. For plinking I just trust the decent accuracy of the Lee Auto Disk and call it gravy.

For my 338 Rem Ultra Mag I weigh a charge within +/- 3 grains and trickle in the rest so all are within +/- .3 gr of powder as well.
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