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Thread: Is this a good press?

  1. #1
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    Is this a good press?

    Sort-of on thread.
    I'm new to reloading. I'm looking at the Lee 50th Annev kit. Is this a good choice?
    Why a single over a turret over a progressive?
    Also, can you seat e.g. RCBS dies in a Lee?
    Bert

  2. #2
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    RCBS dies work fine in a Lee press, but if you are using lubricated Lead bullets, give some thought to using Dillon seating dies, as they can be disassembled for cleaning without losing adjustment.

    Single stage lets you look things over closely between steps. Turret presses lets you leave the case on the press, and speeds things up a good bit. Progressives speed things up a lot more, but are much more sensitive.

    I like to size brass during bad weather times of the year. I like to prime brass off the machine using a hand primer, as priming on a progressive is where you get the most grey hair. If you go progressive, use lots of task lighting, use a powder which you use enough of to differentiate a less than normal charge from a normal charge, and a normal charge from a double charge.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by bert-tpsrr View Post
    Sort-of on thread.
    I'm new to reloading. I'm looking at the Lee 50th Annev kit. Is this a good choice?
    What press is in the 50th Anniversary kit, and what else does the kit include?
    Hawkmoon
    On a good day, can hit the broad side of a barn ... from the inside

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by bert-tpsrr View Post
    Sort-of on thread.
    I'm new to reloading. I'm looking at the Lee 50th Annev kit. Is this a good choice?
    Why a single over a turret over a progressive?
    Also, can you seat e.g. RCBS dies in a Lee?
    Bert
    This post was entered in an existing thread to which it has no relationship, so we have split it off and given it a thread of its own.
    For the M1911.ORG Team,
    The Rule Keeper

  5. #5
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    I found the 50th Anniversary kit on Lee's web site. Comments:

    • It's a single stage press. For loading handgun, I think you'll find that much too slow. I started with a Lee single stage press (before they had the breech-lock feature) and I gave up within a month and moved up to a turret press.
    • The 50th anniversary kit includes on-the-press priming. Lee's on-the-press priming is often the source of problems. The "Breech Lock Challenger Kit" is the same price and same press, but includes the Lee Safety Prime hand primer. This gives you much better control of your priming (IMHO).
    • MSRP for the 50th Anniversary Lit or the Challenger Kit is $186. For $199 MSRP you can buy the Value Turret Press kit. IMHO this is a much better long-term investment for anyone looking to load handgun calibers. Not sure if it includes provision for priming -- I would add to it the hand priming tool.
    Hawkmoon
    On a good day, can hit the broad side of a barn ... from the inside

  6. #6
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    Hello bert- tpsrr; Just throwing in my 2 cents, hopefully it is constructive. I am relatively new to reloading, I started about 5 years ago. I started off with an RCBS single stage press. As I gained a little experience, I decided to go with an RCBS turret press. After using both, this is the method I settled on: the RCBS turret press holds six dies. I reload three different pistol calibers. So I decided to use the turret press for the re-sizing and expanding dies and the single stage press for the seating dies. This helps speed things up since I only have to change the seating dies when changing to another caliber. I think NuJudge makes a good point when he stated that single stage presses give you time to look things over closely, speaking for myself, speed is not an issue. For me, it has the additional advantage that my single stage press is still in use and not gathering dust on a shelf since buying the turret press.

  7. #7
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    My single stage press is also not wasted.

    The Lee turret presses are self-indexing -- they come set up so that with each pull of the handle it advances the turret to the next "station" (die). In reality, you could probably think of it as being a sort of "semi-progressive" press. The glitch with that, for me, was the priming. Normally, the first die resizes the cases and punches out the old primer. Since the brass I bring to the turret press is already primed, that's not going to work. Since I had the single stage press, what I did was to buy a universal decapping (de-priming) die and install that in the single stage press. This die doesn't resize cases, it only removes the old primers and it fits all calibers. So my modus operandi is to tumble bunches of brass and store it up on the bench by the single stage. Periodically I decap a bunch, after which I move that brass over to the other bench. Again, as I have time I pull out the hand priming tool and prime 50 or 100 cases, which I then stack up in plastic ammo trays I pull out of the trash cans at the range.

    When I'm ready to actually load a batch of ammo, I'm working with pre-primed brass. The Lee turret presses have four stations, and their pistol dies come in sets of four. #1 is the resizer (from which I have removed the decapping pin; #2 is the flaring die, and that one is also set up with the powder feeder so as the case mouth gets flared the case is also charged; #3 is the bullet seater die; and #4 is what Lee calls the "factory crimp die," which gives each round the final crimp.

    Lee claims you can do 260 rounds per hour on the turret press. I don't believe that. I just ran a batch of 50, at a comfortable pace, and it took me 20 minutes. So that would be a throughput of 150 rounds per hour -- if I didn't stop to stretch, replenish powder, put another tray of primed cases within reach, or anything other than just stand there and pull the handle. Overall, I consider that I can comfortably run about 100 rounds per hour on the turret press. But, that doesn't include the prep time I've already expended in decapping and priming the brass. It's a system that has worked well for me, but as I'm thinking of re-entering competition as well as enrolling in a couple of defensive pistol courses with heavy ammo requirements (one wants 600 rounds, the other wants 800 rounds), I'm considering making the move to a full progressive press. If you don't need such high volumes, the turret press has been serving my needs very comfortably for a number of years.

    It can also be used just like a single stage press, by disabling the auto-indexing feature. Used that way, you can run a batch of cases through die #1, then manually advance the turret to #2 and run the batch through that, and so on.

    I did a video on the way I use the turret press for the Lee Loadmaster Forum some time ago. It's still available: http://loadmastervideos.com/Lee_Turret_001.wmv

    It's not a Youtube video, so you'll have to download it and use Media Player to view it.

    Here's another from the same site: http://loadmastervideos.com/LCTP.wmv
    Hawkmoon
    On a good day, can hit the broad side of a barn ... from the inside
    Likes (1) :
    PolyKahr (15th August 2017)

    Last edited by Hawkmoon; 23rd March 2017 at 00:45.


  8. #8
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    Personally if your a new reloader I'd suggest the Lee classic turret press as a starter. You can remove the index rod and use it like a single stage, or leave it in and with the powder hopper set up use it like a semi progressive press. Still slower than a true progressive, but lots faster than a single stage, but has all the advantages of a single stage. Also can load rifle length cartridges on it. The priming system looks wonky, but works surprisingly well.

    I use a Lee Loadmaster press for pistol rounds, used to use a Pro-1000 but wanted a 4th station for a factory crimp die, but did load thousands on the Pro-1000. My method for reloading rifle or pistol is to hand deprime while watching TV and wet tumble with stainless steel media. The primer pockets come out clean as new, including some rather old and blackened rounds left in the gravel for who knows how long. This also keeps crud out of the works on the LM's priming system when loading. I will spray a little OneShot on the brass even though using carbide dies, not necessary, but smooths things up considerably. I also cast and lube my own bullets, and taking my time, wiping bullet base's off and every 130 rounds or so wiping the cartridges off and putting in plastic boxes I can load around 3-400 rounds an hour on the LM. Could load more, but then I start forgetting to put primers in the tray and it stops being as much fun.

    Long winded way of saying that you most likely will want a progressive in the future, but you'll always have a use for a single stage or turret press, and they are good to learn on. I've loaded quite a few 45acp's on my turret press, but I much prefer the progressive. Thing is, it takes four pulls to load one round, vs. the progressive one pull equals one loaded round after the shell plate is full. But the progressive has more to watch and more to tinker with to keep running correctly. Not a big deal, especially if your mechanically inclined, but I don't recommend them for novices.
    Likes (1) :
    PolyKahr (15th August 2017)


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