Tell me about progressive presses...


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heypete
April 18, 2007, 02:45 AM
I'm considering getting a progressive press for reloading, and have a few questions for this august community.

First off, a brief summary of what I'll be using it for and my desired qualities in a press:
- I will be loading 9mm, .45 ACP, .223 Remington, and .30-06 Springfield. I would prefer to be able to load all those cartridges on the same press, though obviously with different dies and whatnot.
- I can deprime/resize on my Lee Challenger press if needed.
- I can hand-prime if needed.
- I would very much prefer to have a case and bullet feeder so I don't have to individually insert every case into the press, and place each bullet for seating.
- I would very much like the press to have a means of ejecting completed cartridges so I don't need to manually remove them -- it'd be much easier to collect them in a box or bucket.
- In regards to the previous two points, I'd really like to automate the loading process to the greatest degree possible, as I find it incredibly tedious to feed each case, insert a bullet, and remove each case a few hundred times per session.
- The press must be able to accept standard-threaded dies.
- I've had excellent experience with Lee presses and dies, and would prefer the use of their products where possible.
- I am looking to spend no more than $300 on a press, and that's stretching it.
- The press and other parts must easily break down into a moderately sized box no larger than about 3'x3'x1.5' for storage, as I live in a small apartment and having a massive reloading press in the corner would look quite odd.

One of the presses that seems to be common, affordable, and well-regarded by reviewers at Midway is the Lee Progressive 1000 press. For the cost of a Dillon 550, I can get a Lee Pro 1000, dies for all the calibers listed, tumbler, media, as well as a bunch of bullets for the different calibers.

However, Midway uses the same stock picture for their pistol and rifle caliber kits, and the descriptions are not really all that detailed. Lee's site says that their rifle kits include a "case inserter" rather than a "case feeder", but don't explain the difference. I'm also not clear on the difference between the Pro 1000 and the Load Master.

The thought has also occurred to me to consider getting multiple Lee presses, one for each caliber. With the low cost of Lee presses, this may be a viable option, as I could then tune each press for each cartridge. If the Lee ones don't auto-index or feed rifle cases/bullets, then I may consider the Lee for pistol calibers only, and something else for rifle (I shoot a lot more pistol than rifle).

I see a good deal of recommendations for Dillon presses, but I'm unsure if they require Dillon dies or can take standard ones. Similarly, does the Dillon 550 automate the feeding of cases and bullets, and the ejection of the completed cartridges? Even for rifle calibers?

Progressive presses offer a definite increase in productivity and organization (I have a limited amount of desk space, so having one device handle all the loading, rather than switching dies, having to hand-prime cases, and have different areas for "unprocessed cases", "deprimed and sized cases", "primed cases", "primed and charged cases", and "completed cartridges" would save me a lot of time and effort.), but I'd like to be sure I'm getting something that actually suits my needs, and would be open to progressive or turret presses -- I'm not looking to get some vast number of rounds per minute, but rather a more efficient, automated means of loading compared to doing so on a single-stage. Any advice or recommendations would be very helpful indeed.

Cheers!

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Sunray
April 18, 2007, 03:07 AM
"...I can deprime/resize on my Lee Challenger press if needed...I can hand-prime if needed..." Sure, but it defeats the purpose of a progressive press. Progressives do all the steps in order and kick out a loaded round at the end. If you resize, deprime and prime out of the press, it'll get confused.
You'll need a different set of dies for each cartridge as well as a different shell plate(it's the shell holder) for the 9mm and .223. The .45 and .30-06 use the same shell plate. That's about $60 in shell plates alone.
The Lee Pro 1000 doesn't do .30-06. The Lee Load Master does though. However, it doesn't automatically feed rifle cases.
"...would look quite odd..." No it doesn't.

Idano
April 18, 2007, 03:27 AM
heypete's,

Based upon your budget constraint only the Lee would fit the bill, well almost, it would be over $300 for all calibers. When you talk progressive expect it to be expensive. I had about $300 in my Lee and I am closer to $800 in my Hornady for three calibers. A Dillon 650 would be about the same, maybe $900

Sunray,

The Lee LoadMaster will feed .223, but I don't know about 30-06, I use to have one.

mike240se
April 18, 2007, 03:59 AM
Have you looked at a turret press? I am thinking of getting the lee turret press, i like how you can load the dies in there own turret and not have to change them every time or adjust them, etc. Its not as automated but alot less money and will still save time.

P0832177
April 18, 2007, 05:03 AM
Reloading rifle rounds progressively is not straight forward.

There is much more case prep to loading the rounds. Even though carbide dies exist for rifle sounds they still need lube inside the case neck and on the case body. Then there is dealing with primer pocket crimp. Then there is case trimming, case mouth chamfering and deburring etc.... removing case lube etc...... So it is better process the brass a head of time and then only have to prime the brass, instill a powder charge, and seat a bullet.

Not like loading 45ACP, once a load is worked up you can made a large production run........pretty easy

Your first step is buying the best reference book or what I call Reloading for Dummies or The ABC's of Reloading from Krause Publications.

There are several great reloading manuals of the real kind not the freebee ones! Freebee manuals are good for cross referencing data, at times. For meaty manuals a person can not go wrong with the Lyman48th, Hornady, and Sierra. One must always look up loads when you compare/cross-reference data. Especially in larger calibers as some data might be using different brass from yours. Case in point before the Hodgdon website upgrade they Hodgdon used WW brass to work up loads with, whereas Sierra used Fed cases in their 308 Winchester loading information. Now, Hodgdon does not list what brass the loads were worked up in.

Press - Single Stage or Turret presses are the best way to learn before advancing to any kind of progressive press. You will always have need for a single stage press. Redding and RCBS are good sources of all kinds of presses of the single stage, turret, and progressive varieties. Dillon is the best at progressive presses. The RCBS Rockchucker Supreme is the gold standard for a single stage and Redding T7 for a turret press.

Dies - I like Redding Dies, and I would get the carbide expander ball upgrade for bottle neck rifle cases. Dillon makes carbide rifle sizer dies, but you still need to use case lube and make sure you lube the inside of the case neck, too. I would just stick with regular dies for rifle cartridges. Dillon makes die sets specifically for their press so to speak, meaning that it does not come with a case mouth belling die; Redding makes a set of dies for progressive presses, too. I like Forster competition seaters, and they can be had as an individual item. Dies are pretty much threaded universally, except for Lyman 310 dies, and Dillon dies for the Square Deal B. Accuracy nuts will use hand dies, and they require an arbor press be used.

Shell holders (if the die set doesn't have them like Lee) or the appropriate shell plate for the progressive press. Remember that many shell holders work for more then one cartridge. I would do some home work, especially if you get a Dillon. Some cartridge conversions might only require you to get powder funnel for the new cartridge.

A tumbler will be a good investment, as clean cases will not harm you dies. There are vibratory and rotary tumblers out there. I like corn cob media treated with some Iosso case polish. You can get walnut in bulk at Petco or Pet Smart. Bulk corn cob grit is a great way to reduce the cost of commercially supplied media, because you pay through the nose for the treated media from other vendors.

MTM makes great loading block tray that handles most cartridges.

Case Lube is great for both conventional dies, and to treat your brass used in a progressive press even with carbide dies. That extra lubricity makes the cycling of the press a tad slicker! Dillon spray lube works well for shake and bake application. I like Imperial Die Wax for rifle cartridges when FL sizing.

Case Neck Brush to clean bottleneck rifle cases

Dial Calipers

Case Trimmer (Lee works, but Possum Hollow is better, Wilson makes the best hand powered Lathe trimmer, and Giraud is the best powered Trimmer)

Deburring/Chamfering Tool

Primer Pocket Cleaner and uniformer

Primer Flip Tray is needed for loading pick up tubes for some primer systems like the Dillon.

Priming Tool (I like the RCBS (now even better with universal shell holder, but Sinclair makes the best)

Powder Scale - remember that is always better to have a mechanical scale as a back up to any electronic scale.

Powder Funnel kit with drop tubes especially if you intend to use powders like Varget.

Powder Trickler (used to tweak powder charges)

Powder Measure (nice for faster powder charges it does require a bit of learning curve to get consistent powder charges sort of rhythm thing) standard with progressive presses, but the RCBS Uniflow is nice! Redding makes a better one, and Harrell is the gold standard!

Hammer Type Bullet Puller (for taking down the boo boo's)

Ammo boxes and labels

A notebook for recording your results! Saves covering the same ground twice!

A chronograph is great when working up loads, but is more a luxury in the beginning.

redneck2
April 18, 2007, 06:41 AM
The Dillon factory is right up in Phoenix on the N.E. side of town right off the 202 Outer belt. It'd be worth the drive just to get an idea of how things work.

Depends you your volume, but...

I'd personally advise against the Lee progressive. I have friend that has 4 of them. Don't remember the model number, but there was always a lot of piddling and fiddling when loading. IMO, the one area that gets you into trouble or gives problems is when you start, stop, and mess around. Lee turrets and single stage seem fine.

I use Lee dies and really like them. They use standard threads.

Even though I have a Dillon, I load rifle one at a time. You probably won't shoot enough rifle to need to load progressive. Pistol is a different program, and a single stage would be WAY slow IMO.

If I couldn't swing the money for a good progressive (Hornady or Dillon) right now, I'd get a Lee turret to get by, then get the progressive later. You can always leave the turret set up with the rifle dies and use it later.

As for break-down, with the Dillon you can pull two pins and easily slide the tool head with dies and powder measure out. With the turret, you can pop off the turret and knock it down. Don't know about the Hornady.

check e-bay. Bottom line is that a decent progressive is going to run about $500 with all the stuff you should have. There is no such thing as a good progressive for cheap that I've seen.

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
April 18, 2007, 08:32 AM
Pete,


"- I will be loading 9mm, .45 ACP, .223 Remington, and .30-06 Springfield. I would prefer to be able to load all those cartridges on the same press, though obviously with different dies and whatnot."

First, you are reloading rifle and pistol, but you don't say in what quantities. For the rifle cartridges, you may want to consider runout, as this affects accuracy.

"- I can deprime/resize on my Lee Challenger press if needed.
- I can hand-prime if needed."

This shows me you're not a new reloader, but are tired of the speed you're not getting with the single stage. So you know how to set up dies and make cartridges.

"- I would very much prefer to have a case and bullet feeder so I don't have to individually insert every case into the press, and place each bullet for seating."

Case feeders are nice things, but I've read of many folks, including a good buddy of mine, that have found the bullet feeder doesn't gain them anything in production time, so they manually feed the bullets.

"- I would very much like the press to have a means of ejecting completed cartridges so I don't need to manually remove them -- it'd be much easier to collect them in a box or bucket."

Most all progressives offer this feature and some progressives have a place to attach an Akro style bin to catch the loaded rounds.

"- In regards to the previous two points, I'd really like to automate the loading process to the greatest degree possible, as I find it incredibly tedious to feed each case, insert a bullet, and remove each case a few hundred times per session."

I think you would find this significantly less tedious with either an automated turret or a progressive, due to the fact you're not doing it nearly so often and bullets pile up pretty quickly.

"- The press must be able to accept standard-threaded dies."

All progressives except the Dillon SBD do this.

"- I've had excellent experience with Lee presses and dies, and would prefer the use of their products where possible."

All progressives accept Lee dies.

"- I am looking to spend no more than $300 on a press, and that's stretching it."

I'll assume here you're talking about just the press itself, without the dies and parts needed to change calibers. Because if you're talking about the whole kit and kaboodle, you can't buy a progressive


"- The press and other parts must easily break down into a moderately sized box no larger than about 3'x3'x1.5' for storage, as I live in a small apartment and having a massive reloading press in the corner would look quite odd."

You might also want to consider a setup on a steel cart that you could roll away into a closet/laundry room. That's what I had when I lived in an apartment. Was a good solution for me.

"One of the presses that seems to be common, affordable, and well-regarded by reviewers at Midway is the Lee Progressive 1000 press. For the cost of a Dillon 550, I can get a Lee Pro 1000, dies for all the calibers listed, tumbler, media, as well as a bunch of bullets for the different calibers."

This press would probably do well for you related to the pistol calibers, but would be slightly strained with .223 and I don't think it will handle the 30-06. It also has some known problem issues with the primer feed according to a buddy of mine, who never could get his primer feed to work. He's since gotten rid of it and gotten a Loadmaster and a Classic turret press. He's much happier with them. You also limit yourself to only three dies, so no separate seat and crimp for pistol rounds.

"However, Midway uses the same stock picture for their pistol and rifle caliber kits, and the descriptions are not really all that detailed. Lee's site says that their rifle kits include a "case inserter" rather than a "case feeder", but don't explain the difference. I'm also not clear on the difference between the Pro 1000 and the Load Master."

I've seen both up close. The Loadmaster is a much more substantial press and is capable of loading 30-06. It does require some tinkering and proper setup to keep it running right. But so does the Pro 1000. Were I you, based, on needing to reload 30-06, I would pay the difference and get the Loadmaster instead if your budget limits you to Lee progressives.

"The thought has also occurred to me to consider getting multiple Lee presses, one for each caliber. With the low cost of Lee presses, this may be a viable option, as I could then tune each press for each cartridge. If the Lee ones don't auto-index or feed rifle cases/bullets, then I may consider the Lee for pistol calibers only, and something else for rifle (I shoot a lot more pistol than rifle)."

This is going to put you significantly out of the budget you mentioned earlier. You would be better off looking at a more expensive progressive in this case.

"I see a good deal of recommendations for Dillon presses, but I'm unsure if they require Dillon dies or can take standard ones. Similarly, does the Dillon 550 automate the feeding of cases and bullets, and the ejection of the completed cartridges? Even for rifle calibers?"

Except for the SBD, they take standard dies, but if you're reloading rifle, the Hornady Lock N Load is a better press than the 550, matches the 650 with better features and costs less than both when you add in caliber changes. Here's a comparision between the Lee Loadmsater, the Dillon 650 and the Hornady Lock and Load AP:

http://www.comrace.ca/cmfiles/dillonLeeHornadyComparison.pdf

"Progressive presses offer a definite increase in productivity and organization (I have a limited amount of desk space, so having one device handle all the loading, rather than switching dies, having to hand-prime cases, and have different areas for "unprocessed cases", "deprimed and sized cases", "primed cases", "primed and charged cases", and "completed cartridges" would save me a lot of time and effort.), but I'd like to be sure I'm getting something that actually suits my needs, and would be open to progressive or turret presses -- I'm not looking to get some vast number of rounds per minute, but rather a more efficient, automated means of loading compared to doing so on a single-stage. Any advice or recommendations would be very helpful indeed."

After all of the above and based on your budget, I think unless you compete or have very limited amounts of time, you may be better off looking at a Lee Classic Turret press. This turret has automatic advance of the dies, has a four hole turret so you can separate the seat and crimp functions of the dies, is very clean thanks to the spent primer drain and tube through the middle of the ram that routes the spent primes away from the press, has an excellent leverage system, is very smooth, made of cast iron and steel.

Combine this with a Safety Prime kit in lg/sm primers and a Pro Auto Disk powder measure (for pistol) and you're easily loading 200 rounds an hour. This is a heckuva lot more than your single stage can do. In realistic terms, this means four hours a month for 800 rounds with zero drama.

If you want to load rifle, you can add an RCBS Uniflow powder measure and a case activated powder drop, either RCBS or Hornady and have an excellent rifle reloading setup. You can get setup for about $250.00, including Lee Deluxe four die sets, for a single pistol caliber. If you have dies for your rifle calibers, a caliber change is a $10.00 turret, though they're on sale right now for $8.50 from Midwayusa. So basically a caliber change is a ten buck turret and a die set. Hard to beat that.

A final thought for you. I own a Hornady Lock N Load progressive. I also own a Lee Classic Cast Turret press with turrets setup as I suggested to load my small to medium volume military surplus rifle cases using lead bullets. I also have a Lee Classic Cast single stage. I've owned a Dillon 550, a Lyman T-mag Turret press, a RCBS Rock Chucker and started reloading with an RCBS Partner press single stage, very similar setup to what you're reloading with now. I shot high power for several years. What's all that have to do with anything?

If the Lee Classic Turret and Classic Cast single stage had been available to when I first bought my Hornady, I would have bought them and they would have been all I ever needed for most any endeavor and the speed of the Classic turret has been enough faster than loading single stage I would never have missed reloading on a progressive. Only if you need to reload for pistol competition or have no little time to reload do you absolutely need a progressive. Now if you have lots of money and don't want to spend much time reloading, then a progressive is a good option.

Just some thoughts.

Regards,

Dave

jmorris
April 18, 2007, 09:28 AM
With a 650 setup with case and bullet feeders it takes 3.5 minutes to load 100 rounds. Itís a smooth operation of ďone one thousand up and two one thousand downĒ It is however, relatively expensive so you have to decide if how much you shoot is worth the investment. .223 is the only rifle round I shoot enough of to progressively reload, you will wish you had purchased a 1050 when you come across crimped primers.

benedict1
April 18, 2007, 10:06 AM
After all of the above and based on your budget, I think unless you compete or have very limited amounts of time, you may be better off looking at a Lee Classic Turret press. This turret has automatic advance of the dies, has a four hole turret so you can separate the seat and crimp functions of the dies, is very clean thanks to the spent primer drain and tube through the middle of the ram that routes the spent primes away from the press, has an excellent leverage system, is very smooth, made of cast iron and steel.

Combine this with a Safety Prime kit in lg/sm primers and a Pro Auto Disk powder measure (for pistol) and you're easily loading 200 rounds an hour. This is a heckuva lot more than your single stage can do. In realistic terms, this means four hours a month for 800 rounds with zero drama.

Dave has given you the best analysis. Sure, if you had $6-700 to spend a Dillon setup for a couple of calibers would be nice. But you don't seem to be into high volume shooting and you have to stretch your dollars.

You can get a complete Lee Classic Turret Press, with upgrade to Pro Auto Disk Powder measure plus a scale for about $175, complete for one caliber, at Kempf's Gun Shop right now--oh, for $8 more you can get the large and small priming features of the Safety Prime.

http://www.kempfgunshop.com/products/reloading/leeprecision/kits/KempfKit.html

For $39 you can another caliber-dies and turret. For 300 bucks you can have one pile of reloading stuff!

And this is an outstanding turret press! Cast iron and steel, auto-indexing, and to my mind, the Lee Safety Prime System which is just the best priming system available today--no sideways, tipped, crushed primers, no missed primers. Works every time as it should.

This press will do a dandy job on rifles too. There are a bunch of guys on this and other forums who've commented on its usefulness on .223 and .30-06.

I don't know of any other way to get going with all the calibers you want and have a great press to boot except with the Classic Turret Press.

heypete
April 18, 2007, 11:24 AM
Thank you all for your excellent advice. It seems as though my current situation is more suited for the Lee Classic Turret Press rather than a full-blown progressive.

I will look through the wealth of information here and elsewhere, but that one looks quite appealing indeed.

Cheers!

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
April 18, 2007, 01:37 PM
"With a 650 setup with case and bullet feeders it takes 3.5 minutes to load 100 rounds. "

This lovely sounding figure of 1740 rounds per hour excludes all setup, press cleaning and preparation, loading primers, powder, brasses cases and bullets, adjustments, lubrication and cleanup time. One would be well advised to factor those things in when they're translating into rounds per hour.

When you add in those factors, the 650 without a bullet feeder will provide between 400-1000 rounds per hour, depending on accessories and the skill of the operator. Of course, like anything else, the more accessories and skill, the more RPH.

Practical realities are much lower when getting ready and clean up times are factored in. The 200 rounds per hour I stated above includes setup, prep and take down time.

Regards,

Dave

Idano
April 18, 2007, 03:15 PM
I second Dave's comments. Realistically with a casefeeder I can barely load more then 400 rounds in a single hour. That time includes eight powder checks, four primer powder refills emptying the bullet bin and boxing or stripper clipping the finished rounds. That time does not account for the tumbling, trimming, depriming and pocket cleaning I always do in advance.

robctwo
April 18, 2007, 04:14 PM
I took the case feeder off of my Hornady LnL. Also removed the ejection wire. I load about 200 per hour pistol, and do not feel rushed. That time includes recharging the primer tubes, refilling the powder drop and boxing the bullets. Really flying with the case feeder and ejection wire I got 350-400 per hour and felt like I was running behind on a production schedule at the local mill. I don't want that feeling at home with a hobby. I generally load for an hour or so after dinner three or four times per week.

I've been very happy with my Hornady. Over 54,000 loaded and still going strong.

racerrck
April 18, 2007, 04:37 PM
I 've got The Dillon 550b it started life as an AT500 I too am married therefore broke when I get a little extra cash I add to it maybe a case feeder is next I can do about 400 pistol rounds 9mm 40 s&w and 45 acp 223 usually a little less After about 10 years I broke a part in the primer install part of the machine I had a spare to install and finished my task at hand then called Dillon and a replacement was on its way No questions asked It wasn't a expensive part thats noy the point Dillons no BS warranty is forever and thats worth the intial cost in my book

benedict1
April 18, 2007, 04:50 PM
I think a lot of you have missed a point or two--the thread starter says he can only afford $300 and whatever he gets has to be portable enough to easily store in a box 3'x3'x1.5'

The Dillon warranty is great--for $300 he can't really play though, can he? I might add the Lee warranty is 2 years, unconditional warranty; after that time it is conditional in that if a major part breaks through normal wear, they are going to replace it. Many guys have experienced this type of service from them.

Second, taking down any progressive press and sticking it in a box is not all that easy--the Lee Classic Turret is simple--remove the turret/dies, take off the handle and unbolt from bench; into box and into storage.

hornadylnl
April 18, 2007, 06:05 PM
My philosophy on buying stuff is this. Either go dirt cheap or buy the best. I learned that when I was young and into car stereos. Many of my friends would buy $300 cd players when they really wanted $500+ cd players and later, they would buy the $500 cd player and nobody wanted to give them more than $50 for that $300 cd player. My point is that sometimes you need to fork out the money up front to save money in the future.

I started off with a Lee Anniversary kit and then bought a Lee Pro 1000. It became apparent quickly that the pro 1000 wasn't going to suit my long term wants and needs for a progressive press. I wanted to be able to load more than the 1 caliber it was set up for and began pricing caliber conversions for it. It became clear that I was going to a lot of money tied up in caliber conversions for a press that wasn't going to be my last press. I saved up and bought my Hornady LNL AP. The only step up from that is the Dillon 1050 and for the price of that, I can afford to shell out a few extra dollars for non crimped brass.

One option that hasn't been mentioned is the Hornayd LNL Classic press. It's a single stage with the lock and load bushing system. Once you get your dies set up, in 2 seconds you can switch dies. I have an LNL Classic press as well for non progressive work. It is essentially the same thing as a turret press. If you buy it, you get 500 free bullets from Hornady as well. If you buy the press only and not the kit, the press is almost free after you factor in the cost of the bullets.

If you want a Dillon or a Hornady progressive in the long run, spend your money on an LNL Classic or a turret because you will still be able to use that in the future. Once I got my LNL AP, my Pro 1000 went on ebay.

MarshallDodge
April 18, 2007, 06:49 PM
I went from the Lee Challenger Anniversary kit to the Dillon RL550B. The only thing I bought was the press and the video and it was up and running in about 30 minutes after watching the video. I used the Lee dies that I had from the Challenger.

I reload all of the calibers you listed on a RL550B. I do not have a case feeder or bullet feeder and do not see a need for one unless I was in business cranking out thousands of rounds per day. If that were the case then I would own a 1050. The biggest pain is changing between large and small primers which takes about 20 minutes but I found a used 550 and so I have one setup for each.

On the rifle cases I prep them thoroughly (deprime, size, trim, polish, etc.) before running them through the press.

RustyFN
April 18, 2007, 07:10 PM
One option that hasn't been mentioned is the Hornayd LNL Classic press. It's a single stage with the lock and load bushing system. Once you get your dies set up, in 2 seconds you can switch dies. I have an LNL Classic press as well for non progressive work. It is essentially the same thing as a turret press.
I am confused how the single stage is the same thing as a turret. In a SS you can only install one die at a time. My turret press holds four dies. On the SS you have to load in steps. On the turret you can pull the handle four times and have a finished round. With the SS you will load between 50 and 75 per hour. On the Lee classic turret you will load 200 per hour. With the SS you will prime with a hand primer. On the Lee turret you prime on the press. The Hornady is $300. The Lee classic turret is only $150 and IMO a lot more press. Here is a turret press
Rusty
PS, sorry it won't come with the three ball.
http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid225/p8a7e3c7684394e0b006604459db95891/ea02aa04.jpg

http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid225/p38c835659c58f1d509d09c0877404f41/ea362a02.jpg

hornadylnl
April 18, 2007, 07:19 PM
The Hornady LNL classic is around $120. It is the same as a non indexing turret in that after you put your die bushings on and get them adjusted, you simply twist out one die and twist in the new one. The LNL bushing systme is the greatest innovation in reloading since probably the first progressive press.

Even with an indexing turret, it still takes 3 or 4 cranks of the handle for one loaded round. With my LNL AP, it only takes one.:D

ETA A set of 4 LNL bushings costs slightly more than a spare lee turret but with the LNL bushings, I can swap out a full length sizer with a neck sizer instantly or I can swap out two different seater dies for different bullet seating depths on the same caliber instantly. To do that with a turret, you'd have to maintain two different turrets with 2 complete sets of dies. If I want an instant change from 230gr fmj on 45 at 1.230" to 200gr swc at 1.190, all I need is a second seater die and another bushing.

RustyFN
April 18, 2007, 07:32 PM
Sorry I still don't see changing the die every handle pull being the same thing as a turret. If you are going to use the Hornady that way I am thinking less than 50 per hour, and you still don't have a priming system. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying there is anything wrong with Hornady. The OP was looking for something more like a progressive and a SS is the farthest thing from one.
The Hornady LNL classic is around $120
That is only for the press. If you want the kit which is how the turret press comes ( with everything you need ) then the Hornady will cost you $297.
Rusty

Edit:
Even with an indexing turret, it still takes 3 or 4 cranks of the handle for one loaded round. With my LNL AP, it only takes one.
But that is also out of the price range.

hornadylnl
April 18, 2007, 08:42 PM
When I load single stage, I use a case block and do 50 of each process at a time. Size 50, prime 50, charge 50 and seat 50. I wasn't implying pulling each die for one case.

http://www.wideners.com/itemdetail.cfm?item_id=2072&dir=210|214|225|415
Wideners has the Hornady LNL Classic kit for $240. It comes with alot better stuff than the Lee. The Lee is a great option but I just want to throw another option on the table. Don't forget that the $240 is more like $150 when you factor in the 500 free bullets. Even if you only buy the press itself, you still get 500 free bullets and you can buy whatever dies, measure, etc you want.

RustyFN
April 18, 2007, 09:08 PM
When I load single stage, I use a case block and do 50 of each process at a time. Size 50, prime 50, charge 50 and seat 50. I wasn't implying pulling each die for one case
I understand all that, that's what I meant by loading in stages. The OP already has a SS press and is looking to load faster for under $300. That is when the classic turret came into the picture. I wish you could have a chance to use one, I think you would be impressed.
Rusty

hornadylnl
April 18, 2007, 10:15 PM
I'm sure the lee turret is a good press. But with what I have now, I have no need for one. The only other press that I think I will ever own would be this one. http://www.natchezss.com/product.cfm?contentID=productDetail&prodID=LEE90859&CFID=1221820&CFTOKEN=36344902

I don't have anything to shoot the 50 yet but I hope to someday. I'd rather have this one but couldn't justify the cost for no more than I'd shoot the 50.

http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=436679

Here is the setup I have now.http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p201/djpullen/IMG_2501.jpg

CZ57
April 18, 2007, 11:21 PM
heypete! If your not in too big of a hurry, I'd wait a bit. I'm kinda locked into REDDING, because up till now, they're the only company that seemed to understand the importance of Top-Dead-Center on a reloading press. I'm not much of a LEE fan, but the LEE Classic Turret has changed my mind a bit. It and the Classic both have TDC and the Classic Turret is as good as any out there as far as how it's designed and constructed.

So, why wait? Because I think its only a matter of time before LEE introduces a new Progressive that will be based on the LEE Classic Turret! Or, buy the LEE Classic Turret and set it up for progressive with whatever add-ons you like best. There are enough add-ons right now to qualify it as at least semi-progressive.;)

heypete
April 18, 2007, 11:29 PM
Again, thanks to all for your replies.

As mentioned, I am fairly limited in my budget for the next year or two (saving up for a trip to Europe with the girlfriend).

There certainly seems to be a wide variety of excellent presses out there, and I understand the logic of "buy quality first so you only cry once". As much as I'd love to have a Dillon 550/650 or similar progressive, the size and cost are simply too much for me right now (limited budget, limited space in apartment). I wish I could have a dedicated reloading room or a garage, but it's simply not possible.

The Lee Classic Turret is looking very tempting indeed, and seems to fit my foreseeable needs for speed, size, and cost. I may have to consider progressives more closely once my current financial and living situation change.

Cheers!

crowbuster77
April 19, 2007, 12:10 AM
while not progressive the lyman t-mag will hold 6 dies and i have loaded thousands of rounds on mine. not sure what the expert kit goes for these days however.

RustyFN
April 19, 2007, 06:54 AM
Looks good hornadylnl. I have heard a lot of good things about the LNL AP press. I wish I had a reason to need a 50 BMG press.:D
Rusty

jmorris
April 19, 2007, 10:34 AM
Dave,
I didnít post a rounds per hour, as I rarely load that long, I only need 400 rounds for the matches sat and sun. Yes there are many additional factors one has to address when reloading. If I were to count the time it takes to harvest brass, run it through my brass sorter, tumble it, get out the bullet casting machine and run it, change the reloading machine to a different caliber (if needed), put a drop or two of oil here and there, fill up a Dillon rf 100 primer filler, dump 500 cases in the case feeder (squirt case lube on them) and 500 bullets in the bullet feeder and crank the handle X times, flip on the vacuum, then case gauge and box every round. The rounds per hour figure will go up a lot. I was merely stating how fast it is once set up and ready to go. If I could only load 200rph Iíd pay someone to do it.

Idano
April 19, 2007, 11:05 AM
jmorris,

What I think Dave is saying is that your actual loading time is much greater then 3.5 minutes per hundred when you factor in all your prep time. Many people don't understand that time doesn't include using pre-prepped cases and does not account for packaging, refilling primers and powder, and get frustrated when they can't achieve those numbers.

However, I am interested in the bullet feeder you have. Now I am assuming when you quoted a run time of 3.5 minutes per 100 that didn't include any powder checks, is that correct? If it did include powder checks how many and if not can you tell me what your runtime is with four powder checks, one every 25th round? My typical run time per 100 rounds on my Hornady AP is 10 minutes, but that includes four powder checks one every 25th round. If the bullet feeder would half my time I might be interested, let me know what you have - thanks.

ilbob
April 19, 2007, 12:58 PM
Personally, unless you are going to go into production mode on .223, I might stick with a single stage press.

With a little practice, I bet you can perform 500 of the following operations on a single stage press per hour.

- size and deprime
- prime using a hand tool

Two hours of work would give you 500 cases ready for powder, a bullet, and crimping.

I used to do it this way, and always had a bag of primed brass ready to go. If you have a separate power measure, you just take the primed case, put it under the powder measure, and operate the measure. Then put the case into the press, add bullet, seat and crimp. You can probably do this operation about 150-200 times an hour. Its important to layout your equipment to eliminate unnecessary movement if you do this.

On a net basis, you can do 100 reloads an hour this way on a single stage press, forgetting the prep steps that you would need to do with a progressive press anyway (like tumbling and lubing).

jmorris
April 19, 2007, 03:12 PM
Idano,

One of the best features of the 650 is that it has 5 stations and station 3 is for Dillon’s powder check die. So every round is checked (or 100 out of 100) for over/under charge.

video of one in action (the blue box above #3 is the powder check)

http://www.commencefiring.com/files/Special%20Videos/GSIBulletFeeder.avi

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
April 19, 2007, 04:19 PM
"I didnít post a rounds per hour, as I rarely load that long, I only need 400 rounds for the matches sat and sun. Yes there are many additional factors one has to address when reloading. If I were to count the time it takes to harvest brass, run it through my brass sorter, tumble it, get out the bullet casting machine and run it, change the reloading machine to a different caliber (if needed), put a drop or two of oil here and there, fill up a Dillon rf 100 primer filler, dump 500 cases in the case feeder (squirt case lube on them) and 500 bullets in the bullet feeder and crank the handle X times, flip on the vacuum, then case gauge and box every round. The rounds per hour figure will go up a lot. I was merely stating how fast it is once set up and ready to go. If I could only load 200rph Iíd pay someone to do it."

Idano has it right, in that I was pointing out the reality of theoretical rds per hour vs. all the other stuff one has to do to prep and to wrap up, so that new reloaders have realistic expectations. I'm sure with other factors counted in, your round per hour count isn't 1740. Is it faster than the Lee Classic Turret? Sure, but it better be, because your setup likely cost ten times the price of the Lee. You're posting that is kinda like a guy with a $250,000.00 Ferrari showing up at a gathering of guys with Mustangs and claiming he can outrun any of them. Of course he can or he better.

My question for you would be if you can afford that setup, why aren't you running a 1050 with the bullet feed or, for that matter, just pay a professional handloader to custom load for you? If I had that little interest in handloading, but liked to shoot that much, that's what I would do.

The 200 rph figure I posted included all the other factors. The Lee Classic Turret press is extremely quick to change calibers, add primers and powder for the amount of money spent, so a significant amount of the hour is actually spent reloading, not doing caliber changes. It's more manual labor, but the trade off is always cost vs. round count. Your setup is fast, but I'm absolutely positive it takes a good while to change calibers and it's quite costly, definately over $1000.00 and probably over $2000.00. The Lee, on the other hand, costs less than 200 bucks setup for a single caliber. Probably the best value for a low to middle volume reloader out there who's just getting started. Allows them to learn how to reload while "seeing it" as one would on a single stage, but allows a "decent" amount of production. The amount of investment is low, but the equipment is pretty high quality and will last someone a lifetime. If Lee brings out a progressive based on the linkage and various other setups of the Classic turret, ALL the other manufacturers will be facing a SERIOUS challenge in the cost vs. performance race.

"One of the best features of the 650 is that it has 5 stations and station 3 is for Dillonís powder check die. So every round is checked (or 100 out of 100) for over/under charge."

I don't know if you realize it or not, but the Hornady Lock N Load AP has five stations. So there's a station for the powder check die or an electronic powder check as well. I use an RCBS lockout die on mine, though some have adapted Dillon's electronic powder system to the Hornady. One of the reasons the Hornady LnL is comparable to the Dillon 650, not the 550.

In addition, Hornady's Lock N Load bushings instead of a toolhead allows changing out a single die, such as a neck sizing die for a FL resizer when you're loading 30-06. The bushings also provide for less runout than a toolhead does, a very nice thing allowing me to load my 600 yard line ammo on my Hornady instead of a single stage.

The powder measure also offers powder through case expansion with an expander insert similar in function to Dillon's powder funnel. The powder measure is excellent, with extremely easy adjustment. I've owned my Hornady for 7 years and never had to buy a second powder measure, since I can leave the powder measure and case activated powder drop on the press when I change die sets. In addtion, I bought and use the micrometer insert, which allows me to set the measure very accurately and quickly.

The rotating style measure, similar to a Redding BR30 or a RCBS Uniflow (with micrometer insert) handles extruded powders extremely well and with great accuracy, an advantage over the Dillon, where the adjustment is tedious and the measure often needs modification to handle extruded powders well.

Regards,

Dave

Hook686
April 19, 2007, 08:49 PM
I saw midwayusa selling the Lee Pro 1000, for $129. Hard, for me, to pass up. I had been reloading with the Lee Hand Press, for a number of years. With the hand press, after cleaning the cases, I 1) full case resized and de-primed, 2) expanded the neck, 3) primed, 4) added powder and seated the bullet, 5) roll crimped, with the Lee Factory Crimp. Bottom line was that I counted on 50-60 rounds per hour produced ... this included the times to check weights, check O.A.L., setup, cleanup and deal with a scewup, or two. Any particular hand press operation took maybe 8-10 cases per minute ... say 500 cases per hour. However with 5 steps to the operation and delays along the way, the bottom line was a more realistic 50 completed rounds per hour.

I kept reading folks saying they yielded a couple hundred rounds per hour, with a progressive. So, at $129, I thought I'd give the Lee a try. This is day two. I am reloading .357 magnum, 158 grain SJSP, using Unique and Winchester SP magnum primers.

The 1st day I set up the press, loaded primers and powder and tried to reload a few cases. Primers were not fully seating, then not feeding ... powder was not getting into the cases. A mess ... not very impressive.

Today I started over ... no powder, in the reservoir, plenty of light and a more deliberate speed. I discovered a primer jammed at the bottom of the primer trough ... it had tipped on its side (something to watch for when seating the primer feed case). I corrected this, and then loaded 30 empty, fired cases. These feed fine, de-primed fine and, when I concentrated on the up stroke after the de-priming/sizing operation, seated a new primer just fine. If I lost my concentration and 'limp wristed' the primer seating operation, I ended up with not fully seated primer and a definite PITA.

I then looked at the powder feed operation. I had the cavity disk back-wards, as well as the powder reservoir. I got things turned around. I found that the .82 VMD cavity produced 6.9 grains of Unique, rather than the 7.5 grains the Lee Table indicated .. the .88 VMD cavity produced 7.3 grains of Unique, rather than the 8.1 grains indicated, and ... the .95 VMD cavity yielded 7.7 grains of Unique, rather than the 8.7 grains shown on the table. This bothers me, in that the Alliant web page indicates 8.3 grains maximum, with Federal magnum primers. (Although the limited manual included indicates that the longer screws for using paired cavity disks were included, they were not, so until I stop and get (2) 6-32, 1-5/8" machine screws, I am at the mercy of one disk).

I went through and 1) de-primed and resized, 2) primed, charged, neck expanded (30) cases, weighing each charged case. These were consistent (for Unique anyway). I then repeated the operation, adding a bullet seating. I completed (20) rounds in about a minute. This will yield at least twice what I was getting from the Hand Press.

Was this a good buy ? The price made it seem so. However, as when I first began reloading, my nerves are on edge. I cannot see, as each charge in weighed (because the charges are not weighed) and each bullet seated, as I could with the single-stage Hand Press. I suspect I will be 'on edge' until I get comfortable, with the new process.

I ordered the bullet feed, which is indicated to double the speed. We shall see.

Gnarkill
April 20, 2007, 07:39 PM
Here's my thoughts, I started a few years back w/ a RCBS rock chucker supreme kit and some other stuff. I recently got a piggyback kit to make it 5 station progressive and invested in a digial scale. I LOOOVEEE the piggyback. It works flawlessly, the only advise I have is that you should use locktite or threadlocker on the screwing parts that are never switched.
I like the piggyback for these reasons:
-It has 1 holder and 2 neat trays, a metal holder for bullets, a plastic for unprimed brass, and a plastic for "done" bullets.
-You can take a bullet out at any time any weigh powder, examine, do what you do.
-the powder measure can be anchored to the press, I don't need my uni-flow stand anymore.
-The shell plates are changeable with an allen screwdriver and nothing else.
-The die plates can be bought for about $15 and slide in/out with two pins. This keeps everything exactly where you want it without unscrewing/repositioning.
-The APS strips for primers are easy to use and quick. You even get the strip loader with the piggyback system/kit.
-Last but definitely not least, there is a PRIMER KICKOUT TUBE!!!! This takes those damn things and puts them into a container. I use an emtpy water bottle. No more stupid little primer hoppers to catch those filthy things. The dirt & primers go into an enclosed vessel.

I tweaked my piggyback a little bit and put the posts under the "tricks" sticky here.

If I was to buy a whole press again (pretending I didn't have one now) I would get the pro-2000

mike240se
April 23, 2007, 08:18 PM
Well partly in thanks to this thread i purchased the Lee Classic Turret press, extra turret, Lee Pro Auto Disk Dispenser, and Lever Safety Prime. Watching the amazing video the guy made loading 45acp rounds, where he shows how to use the primer tool, put me over the edge. Its amazing how fast and easy you can make a round using the auto-index and autodisk and lever prime. It takes me sooooo long to make 50 rounds with my lee challenger anniversary kit. The worst/longest part is charging the cases, the fastest way i do it is i expand the case, throw a charge into the scale pan, and dump it into the powder through expander die with a funnel in the top and then move it to a tray waiting to be seated. The process of throwing the charge and dumping it in the funnel is a pain and hurts my back for some reason (the positioning of the dispenser on my desk). Plus the charges are consistently off, like i will set it for 4.5gn, and sometimes will get 4.2 and sometimes will get 4.8, a huge difference! And i did all the procedures of running 1 pound through the device before using, etc. The auto disk i like better cause its a fixed cavity. Then changing the dies 4 times is a pain too, especially since i usually re tweak them to make sure they werent slightly changed when i screwed them in/out.

So the turret looks like the answer to my prayers. I considered the load master 1500 and other progressives but i really dont need that much automation/speed. I cant shoot enough to make it worth it, but the turret speed is just right. Especially since you can put each set of dies in it's own turret and never have to adjust them again! I love that idea. I am a little worried about the primer system but it seems people have got it to work sucessfully.

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
April 23, 2007, 10:00 PM
Mike,

You made a good choice. You'll get it setup, figure out how everything works and if you need help, there'll be others who own it that can help you get it running right. Once you do, it'll stay running right and provide you a great deal of joy.

Regards,

Dave

Phil A
April 24, 2007, 12:50 AM
>> Well partly in thanks to this thread i purchased the Lee Classic Turret press, extra turret, Lee Pro Auto Disk Dispenser, and Lever Safety Prime..... I am a little worried about the primer system but it seems people have got it to work sucessfully.<<

The problem with my safety prime was that it was contacting the priming area low and to the left. So I filed on the left side of the bracket hole in order to shift the bracket more to the right. Now the trigger is perfectly aligned with the lever arm just like it is shown in the instruction picture. However it still contacts the lever arm and that pushes the primer cup a bit back towards the ram slot. That's when it can drop a primer. I added a washer on top on the spacer so that the bracket sits a bit higher. Now it works great and no more dropped primers.

I am getting into the habit of priming with my left hand in order to keep the right hand on the main lever. Now if I can only get this amount of productivity improvement over on the casting and brass prep side. :) - Phil

Idano
April 24, 2007, 01:31 AM
Phil A,

Send either DaveInFloweryBranchGA or benedict1 a PM they can help you setup the safety prime your Lee Classic Turret press. In fact here is a post from benedict1 about the Lee Classic Turret press:

Don't be tentative with the Safety Prime. Give the trigger a good push and work it in and let it move down to deposit the primer. Here is a video I made to help people learn how to use it--

http://members.cox.net/wbruning/Lee%20Safety%20Prime%20Trigger%20Demo%208-31-06.wmv

Do you have it installed correctly? If the washer is not in the right place you can get erratic behavior. Check this article and look at the pix of how to set it up--

http://www.surplusrifle.com/reviews2006/leeturretpress/index.asp

It should deliver a primer to the lever arm everytime, no exceptions, if it's set up right.

Don't go to batch priming--you defeat the very reason you have the Safety Prime.
Let me know how it works after you look at the things I've suggested.
__________________
Ut In Omnibus Glorificetur Deus.

mike240se
April 24, 2007, 01:51 AM
crap reading that article it says you need the lee auto disk riser, i didnt know you need that since it says its for using non-lee dies, does that mean i wont be able to use this lee turret setup right until i order it? the autodisk pro doesnt come with it right?

Phil A
April 24, 2007, 02:46 AM
Thanks Idano. I still needed a washer plus the normal thick washer (or spacer) under the bracket to get mine to work consistently because the bottom of the trigger was contacting the lever arm and rocking the primer cup back before the primer is dropped. No big deal, just needed more clearance. It works just fine now, just like the video. I'm happy. :D

Mike, you need a riser for the autodisk when used with the safety prime. Another article here talks about this along with some good pictures. - Phil http://www.realguns.com/archives/123.htm

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
April 24, 2007, 06:24 AM
Mike,

That's why we throw those articles out there, so people can gather that kinda information. Those nice pictures help a lot. Unfortunately, you're going to need the riser so your powder measure will clear the safety prime. I think if you call the outfit back this morning, you'll be able to get them to squeeze it into your order.

Phil,

Good solution on getting the Safety prime to line up. Those things work really well when lined up, but not so well if they aren't. The good thing is once they're lined up, they stay that way, no glitches. Of course, that's the way with most machinery.

Regards,

Dave

benedict1
April 24, 2007, 08:43 AM
Thanks Idano. I still needed a washer plus the normal thick washer (or spacer) under the bracket to get mine to work consistently because the bottom of the trigger was contacting the lever arm and rocking the primer cup back before the primer is dropped. No big deal, just needed more clearance. It works just fine now, just like the video. I'm happy.

I am curious--what happened to the washer that comes with the unit? There is a oddly shaped metal washer that MUST be in place on top of he bracket--It is sort of semi-circular on one side and has rounded squarish edges on the other. If it's not installed then exactly what happened to you happens. It is described in detail in the article I referenced in surplusrifle.com

Where is your washer like that? In place on the press? If not, then no wonder you needed another washer to replace the one that should have been there.

When properly installed and operated briskly, the Safety Prime is dead on target with primers everytime in my experience.

Phil A
April 25, 2007, 02:23 AM
>>I am curious--what happened to the washer that comes with the unit? There is a oddly shaped metal washer that MUST be in place on top of he bracket--It is sort of semi-circular on one side and has rounded squarish edges on the other. If it's not installed then exactly what happened to you happens. It is described in detail in the article I referenced in surplusrifle.com

Where is your washer like that? In place on the press? If not, then no wonder you needed another washer to replace the one that should have been there.

When properly installed and operated briskly, the Safety Prime is dead on target with primers everytime in my experience.>>

The goofy shaped washer is still on top of the bracket. The bracket just needed to be raised up .05 inches more than the spacer that Lee provided. Right now it's about as dead on as a piece of plastic hanging from another piece of plastic can be. I'm not knocking it because it works very well but it's not hard to see what happens when the bottom of trigger contacts the lever arm too low. Polishing the top of the lever arm probably would not hurt either. - Phil

mike240se
April 25, 2007, 04:00 AM
Well i wasnt able to add it to my order but i was able to get another order in that will be here the day after with my extender. that article mentions cleaning out the dies when they are new but nothing i have read nor the lee instructions mentioned it and i did not do it without any bad results except some minor grease on the casings that i wiped off the first couple times... this is not a big deal with lee dies i assume?

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
April 25, 2007, 06:23 AM
Mike,

CLEAN your dies. There's all kindsa nasty manufacturing crud in there you don't want making contact with your brass. Pull the die completely apart and use denatured alcohol with a few q-tips and a wrag. When you're done using the dies, wipe the Outside down with a wrag that's soaked in 3 in 1 oil or some other light machine oil to keep them from rusting where your hands have deposited salts and moisture. You'll also want to wipe down the black shafts on the press with an oily wrag, as those are blued steel. They'll rust if you do not for the same reasons the dies will.

Also, put drops of oil on each hinge and on the worm gear iin the middle that rotates the turret head.

Regards,

Dave

Idano
April 25, 2007, 10:41 AM
Mike,

Dave is correct about cleaning your new dies. The manufacture coats the dies in grease so that they won't rust while sitting on the shelf. However, that grease is thick and can dent your casings or plug the vent holes in the die that lets the air escape as you compress the case into the die. If the vent holes gets plugged normal case lube will have no place to escape and dent your cases.

Here is one of those instances where you should do as I say and not as I do: Dies really should be clean periodically unfortunately I don't do this as often as I probably should. Cleaning the dies extends their life and the life of your cases.

mike240se
April 25, 2007, 02:44 PM
I have run like 300 rounds through them, they are pretty clean now, lol. They no longer crud the brass, but i guess i will clean them, denatured alcohol is some strong crap, clean them entirely in it? carbide inserts too? Can i use gun oil to protect them, or perhaps like clp? I dont have 3 in 1 oil but could get it.

Its crazy lee doesnt mention this stuff in their book or their instructions.

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
April 25, 2007, 05:02 PM
Don't get fooled, denatured alcohol isn't that strong. It just smells strong. Just dip/soak a Q-tip and use that as a "mop." Should work fine. Use an old wrag with a bit of alcohol soaked on the corner to wipe the big areas with and a dry Q-tip to mop up the leftovers.

You can use your expensive gun oil to protect them if you wish, but the 3in1 is a lot cheaper to buy.

BTW, they mention it, but not in detail and that's pretty common with all of the manufacturers. That's what you talk to old Fudds like me on the internet for, to find out stuff like this. (grin)

Regards,

Dave

mike240se
April 25, 2007, 10:50 PM
Lol thanks dave, my turret should be here tomorrow, i will be sure to take extra care of it.... Now I just have to pick up some denatured alcohol...

So any tips or recommendations before I setup the new classic turret tomorrow? like little things not included in the manual or the articles? I am very excited to stop using this damn challenger press for pistol ammo.

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
April 25, 2007, 11:01 PM
Sure, here's a tip or two:

!. Take the worm gear out and polish the sharp corners smooth and remove the tiny machining nub on the bottom end, then reassemble it into the press. Be careful not to destroy the plastic indexing parts.

2. Lube it with some CLP/Breakfree on all hinge points and the worm gear.

3. Carefully align the safety prime head with the Lever prime. Drill the mounting hole out one size larger if necessary to do so. Use an extra washer underneath if necessary. Make sure the washer with the cut off portions is on top of the safety prime bracket.

4. Take care setting up your dies and you'll only have to do it once. Make sure the powder through expansion die's lock ring is good and tight on the press. The others can be finger tight.

5. Use a electrical zip tie to attach the plastic tube to the bottom of the ram so it won't come off at an inconvenient time.

6. 2 lb. Coffee cans make good primer catchers.

7. Lube the ring the turret rides in when you change turrets.

8. If you have to adjust the timing, adjust it so the turret rotates and just makes it into lock position when you're going slow. This allows you to go the maximum speed possible when operating the press because the turret will have more momentum and lock solidly when going faster without going past the lock position.. Follow the adjustment procedures provided on the Lee website.


Regards,

Dave

mike240se
April 28, 2007, 03:06 AM
I got this little black square plastic thing in my turret parts. do you know what its for? its a little too small too fit on the square nut on the auto index.

Also regarding oiling this thing, where exactly do i oil it? wipe down the ram and everything with oil? how do i get the oil in the joints of the linkage? do i wipe down the surface of the linkage (gold parts) compltely? put oil insidw where the turret goes? on the inner diameter of the turret circle? should die threads be oiled? oil the complete auto indexer bar even though its plastic on metal?

also can i use regular 90% isopropyl alcohol to clean the inside of my dies rather than denatured?

EDIT: also, is the handle supposed to be facing with the handle bowing out or bowing towards? either way keeps the handle away from the primer. it kinda looks like on the link of the review that theres is actually going straight up and then bowing out rather than bowing out more as it goes up the way i have it.

subierex
April 28, 2007, 07:55 AM
Mike,

I'm just getting ready to set up my Classic Turret this morning for the first time and, hopefully, run my first batch of .45LC. I have some of the same questions that you do, especially what the little black square thing is for. I'm kind of assuming that it's a replacement bushing for the turret follower bracket.

As for oiling, I plan on oiling just the parts that move in relation to each other for now. I was wondering if anyone has used something like white lithium for the turret or ram? Otherwise I might just use Mobil 1 so I don't have to go get anything special.

As for the alcohol, I don't know why isopropyl wouldn't be equivalent to denatured. Denatured is ethyl/methyl alcohol mix. I could be wrong, but I don't think either will effect the steel in the dies and both should disolve grime similarly.

The handle can not only be turned however you like, it can also be "shortened" by pushing it further through the clamp. This will come in handy for shorter casings that don't require much force (shortens your overall arm movement). Just have to watch that the tail end of the handle doesn't hit your bench.

Time to get busy. :)

Uncle Don
April 28, 2007, 08:03 AM
The black plastic ratchet is a replacement for the one that is already in the black plastic housing that is affixed to the bottom of the ram. It works in conjuction with a cutout that fits it therefore allowing the turret to turn as the ram goes down, but does not on the way up. It's good for thousands and thousands of rounds before it needs replaced - easy to do.

The bow goes outward so that the knob doesn't interfere with the safety prime on the upstroke. I agree with Dave in putting a bit of oil on the turret ring when changing calibers - I just use a little 10-30wt, but Mobil one would be great. I coat the outside of the turrets now and then as well. Other than that, I don't really oil it unless I feel like a dab on the ram each time the moon aligns with the stars in just such a way.

I don't really clean the inside of my dies, but on the rare occasion, I've never used anything but a brass (not steel) brush and Hoppes #9, then a bore mop and let them dry. My oldest die set is one I bought with my original kit in 1985 and they still work like I got them yesterday.

benedict1
April 28, 2007, 08:30 AM
Put a little 30W motor oil on the ram occasionally and on the linkage. DO NOT oil the lever arm for the primer that is inside the ram. Keep it dry and clean. I actually degrease it once in awhile with Gun Scrubber or Hoppes.

A drop or two of 30W on the turret edges where they contact the press is okay too.

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
April 28, 2007, 09:17 AM
mike240se,

I got this little black square plastic thing in my turret parts. do you know what its for? its a little too small too fit on the square nut on the auto index.

It's a spare, so hang onto it aka store it somewhere you can find it, preferrably in a lablled box. There is one just like it inside the black plastic bracket that connects your ram to the work gear.

Also regarding oiling this thing, where exactly do i oil it?

Oil the linkage joints, the Ram and the worm gear. I first hosed everything down with Gun Scrubber or brake cleaner to flush out any machinig goodies, then applied Break Free/CLP on everything except the Ram. The ram I used Tetra Gun grease. Other greases and oils will work, I just had those on hand.

wipe down the ram and everything with oil?

The ram is easier to grease. I would use a greasy rag to wipe down the blued steel bars and handle.

how do i get the oil in the joints of the linkage?

Operate the linkage to open the joints, then use an applicator that can apply drops. Be a bit on the generous side and operate the handle up and down. Wipe off any potential drips with a rag. Use that rag to wipe down the handle and vertical blued steel bars.


do i wipe down the surface of the linkage (gold parts) compltely?

It's a coating, so not necessary. Just the joints.


put oil insidw where the turret goes?

Yes or you can use a little grease. I used grease because it's a vertical surface. You can also just put a little oil on the sides of the turret just before you insert it, but to me this is a messy solution.

Remember, the turret is aluminum, the turret ring is steel. If you don't lube it, the aluminum will become galled due to frictional wear. The lube prevents this occuring.

on the inner diameter of the turret circle?

Yes, that's a good place. Though I think grease is better on a vertical surface. Stays put and doesn't run down and drip.

should die threads be oiled? oil the complete auto indexer bar even though its plastic on metal?

also can i use regular 90% isopropyl alcohol to clean the inside of my dies rather than denatured?

You can, but I wouldn't because it contains a much higher volume of water than denatured and doesn't dry nearly as well, leaving the possibility of rust due to the introduction of H20, not something desireable.

EDIT: also, is the handle supposed to be facing with the handle bowing out or bowing towards?

That's up to you to choose. You can adjust it to what's most ergonomically correct for you.

either way keeps the handle away from the primer. it kinda looks like on the link of the review that theres is actually going straight up and then bowing out rather than bowing out more as it goes up the way i have it.

Adjust it to what's comfortable for you.

subierex,

"I have some of the same questions that you do, especially what the little black square thing is for. I'm kind of assuming that it's a replacement bushing for the turret follower bracket.

Yup, that's about what it is. It relates and provdes reduced friction movement between the ram and the turret worm gear.

"As for oiling, I plan on oiling just the parts that move in relation to each other for now. I was wondering if anyone has used something like white lithium for the turret or ram?"

Thats a good solution for vertical locations. It tends to stay there. Just be aware a little goes a long way, as grease tends to 'pile up."

" Otherwise I might just use Mobil 1 so I don't have to go get anything special."

That works too, but you may need something to help it drip into the hinge areas.

As for the alcohol, I don't know why isopropyl wouldn't be equivalent to denatured. Denatured is ethyl/methyl alcohol mix. I could be wrong, but I don't think either will effect the steel in the dies and both should disolve grime similarly.

If the isopropyl was laboratory grade, you would be absolutely correct. The problem is, it's 90%, with the other 10% having a substantial amount of water. The water content prevents 90% isopropyl from drying off quickly and can also cause rust. Hence the requirement for the denatured alcohol. It dries quickly, so you don't have to wait for it to dry before lubricating and it doesn't leave a water residue that can rust your equipment.

Regards,

Dave

subierex
April 28, 2007, 11:21 AM
Thanks Dave. Your's and other's posts here have been a big help not only in deciding which press to get, but tricks on setting up.

I didn't know that about isopropyl. I've got denatured so I'll just use that.

Taking my time today getting the thing set up. It's not my first time reloading, but I haven't done it in over 10 years. And then it was with a friend's Lee single stage stuff. The turret seems 25th century compared to the single stage stuff. :)


BTW... I got the Classic Turret package from Kempf's. I'd recommend them to anyone.

mike240se
April 28, 2007, 03:28 PM
Thanks so much dave and everyone else! I went a little overboard and put gun oil on a rag and wiped down everything except the wooden ball. I will probably switch to grease on the turret, makes sense, the oil doesnt seem to do much.

It took me a little while to get it setup, that review/setup info link you posted with the video was amazingly helpful, i followed it step by step.

My safety prime wont line up exactly with the lever prime but i dont want to drill it out just yet, in that video he says it should be slightly to the left, so maybe its normal.

EDIT: OT, but i just ordered a bushmaster predator, its .223. I just ordered all the turret stuff i need. what is a good powder for reloading .223 for the bushmaster? I was thinking of trying "Varget" since my local place has it....

BBQJOE
April 28, 2007, 05:22 PM
I purchased the lee loadmaster. All in all, once you get separate turrets and dies it will cost a bit more than you have figured for your budget.
But to tell you the truth, I enjoy my load master alot.
The only thing I would trade it for would be a totally automated system.
Which of course would be financially impossible.

benedict1
April 28, 2007, 06:07 PM
My safety prime wont line up exactly with the lever prime but i dont want to drill it out just yet, in that video he says it should be slightly to the left, so maybe its normal.

That's not normal and you shouldn't have to drill it out. The most common error is the funny looking washer is on backwards--the two flat edges go toward the press, the circular side to the back. I recall the guy in the surplusrifle.com article actually put it on backwards and then corrected himself later on.

I find that the Safety Prime works a little better if it is just slightly off-line. The trigger then hits the lever prime cup/arm and twists a little as you push forward and down on it. Just seems easier. It will work straight on too--just my preference. Here's a video I did on operation of the Safety Prime--

http://tinyurl.com/lxapv


Before you go drilling holes let's here about how you've set it up.

mike240se
April 29, 2007, 04:33 PM
Everything is set right including the washer, i followed the article to a T. It just wont line up right, it lines up but never both at the exact same angle.

benedict1
April 29, 2007, 05:14 PM
Mike--even if it's at a slight angle it should work just fine. Try it and see. Just be positive with it. Push the trigger in firmly and let it move down so it can eject the primer into the cup.

Let us know how it goes.

subierex
April 29, 2007, 06:58 PM
After getting my dies set right today, I went thru 200 rounds of 45 Colt in no time on my Classic Turret press. The safety prime, while not lined up quite perfectly, worked well once I found a good way to do it.

Some use just one finger to push it to the lever. I personally found that lightly gripping both sides, one with my thumb, the other with my middle finger, and then using index finger to gently guide it to the lever worked quite well. I could get in a good rythym and crank out the rounds pretty fast this way.

Got the reloading bug real bad now.... :D

benedict1
April 29, 2007, 07:41 PM
Outstanding! As you learn to use the Safety Prime you will realize that it is the best, safest and most certain priming assembly available.

You will find yourself, now, going to the range to shoot so you can get some brass to reload. You are now a full-fledged reloading addict.--:what:

mike240se
April 30, 2007, 12:47 AM
I got mine setup and am almost ready to start loading. I have a couple questions, one is how do you work the action of the dispenser to remove all remaing powder before removing it, or changing disks or changing powder? On the perfect powder measure you need to work the lever several times, with this one you can work it manually.

Also, i just bought some new powder, Win 231, i am having trouble finding good loads for the following:

9mm Rainier Leadsafe Copper Plated 115gn HP for win231

and

38spl rainier leadsafe copper plated 125gn flat nose for win231

anyone have any safe, reliable, accurate loads for these? i have conflicting data and my lee manual doesnt have any win231 data for 38spl.


Also, how do you guys store the turrets with the dies in them? It sucks the round case doesnt have 4 die holes so you cant use it to store the turret and dies without cutting it and the plastic seems like the type that will crack.

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
April 30, 2007, 07:27 AM
I got mine setup and am almost ready to start loading. I have a couple questions, one is how do you work the action of the dispenser to remove all remaing powder before removing it, or changing disks or changing powder?

It's case activated. Remove turret, dump most of the powder. Reinstall turret, use an old but clean case the old primer hasn't been removed from yet, operate the mechanism a couple times and you're done.

On the perfect powder measure you need to work the lever several times, with this one you can work it manually.

I think there's a typo here. But if you're referring to the Pro Auto Disk, you can work it with a case, as it's "case activated."

Also, i just bought some new powder, Win 231, i am having trouble finding good loads for the following:

9mm Rainier Leadsafe Copper Plated 115gn HP for win231

and

38spl rainier leadsafe copper plated 125gn flat nose for win231


anyone have any safe, reliable, accurate loads for these? i have conflicting data and my lee manual doesnt have any win231 data for 38spl.

I'd recommend using load data for lead in the same weights. After that, I'd shoot these up and use lead. It's cheaper and is generally more accurate.

Also, how do you guys store the turrets with the dies in them? It sucks the round case doesnt have 4 die holes so you cant use it to store the turret and dies without cutting it and the plastic seems like the type that will crack.

If you will flip the bottom (short end) of the die case upside down, I believe you'll find your turret and dies will fit perfectly and you can still put the lid on with no need to cut a hole.

Regards,

Dave

mike240se
May 1, 2007, 01:29 AM
It's case activated. Remove turret, dump most of the powder. Reinstall turret, use an old but clean case the old primer hasn't been removed from yet, operate the mechanism a couple times and you're done.

Ok thats what i was thinking....

On the perfect powder measure you need to work the lever several times, with this one you can work it manually.

I think there's a typo here. But if you're referring to the Pro Auto Disk, you can work it with a case, as it's "case activated."

Yes there is a typo i meant to say this one you CAN'T work manually, but your above answer solves the issue


Also, i just bought some new powder, Win 231, i am having trouble finding good loads for the following:

9mm Rainier Leadsafe Copper Plated 115gn HP for win231

and

38spl rainier leadsafe copper plated 125gn flat nose for win231


anyone have any safe, reliable, accurate loads for these? i have conflicting data and my lee manual doesnt have any win231 data for 38spl.

I'd recommend using load data for lead in the same weights. After that, I'd shoot these up and use lead. It's cheaper and is generally more accurate.

Yeah i have been using lead values, i found the info i needed on their website, there was no data at all for .38spl using win231 in the lee book, not for any weight.

Also, how do you guys store the turrets with the dies in them? It sucks the round case doesnt have 4 die holes so you cant use it to store the turret and dies without cutting it and the plastic seems like the type that will crack.

If you will flip the bottom (short end) of the die case upside down, I believe you'll find your turret and dies will fit perfectly and you can still put the lid on with no need to cut a hole.

Really? I cant believe i didnt realize that, although i havent actually tried to put a turret in one yet, but i read somewhere to cut it so i assumed there was no other way. isnt the top of the base part reduced in size to allow the top to fit?

EDIT: Also how in the world does the lee deburring tool deburr the outside of the case? it only goes inside the case neck, it doesnt touch the outside, and the tool specifically says it does deburr the outside.

EDIT2: Ok, loading 38spl went GREAT! Loved it, best press in the world! But i am having trouble with 9mm. Mainly, the prime isnt working, the shell always has to be moved or adjusted or pressure put on the shell in order for the primer to seat. Second, its sometimes hiting the seating die but not always, the primer problem is always. the other dies work pefectly. I do not have this problem with 38spl and i have tried two 9mm shell holders....

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
May 1, 2007, 08:33 AM
The problem you're having with the primer seating in the 9MM sounds odd to me. I'm assuming you're talking about the Lever Prime mechanism (the metal part with the steel primer cup that seats the primers in the cases) and you're having problems with the primer being pushed into the case due to some time of alignment issue.

I can only speculate on this one that:

1. You may be using some old military brass that has a primer crimp. Some of the overseas stuff does and some military surplus does. So removing the crimp will solve the issue.

2. You have an alignment issue with the case holder vs. the Lever Prime. Since the Lever Prime works great with your .38 Special and the .38 special uses the same lever prime size as your 9MM, I suspect you have a shellholder issue, though I find it suprising two different shellholders are having a problem. Are you using a Lee die set? If so, I would call Lee on this one. I have the Lee 9MM set and have had zero problems with the primer seating on it.

3. You're using CCI primers and some are out of specification, which has been noted on a few forums. Try another brand of primers and see what happens. CCI's have had problems with QC in the past and this may be what you're seeing gong from one box of primers to another. But only speculating here.

Regards,

Dave

benedict1
May 1, 2007, 09:28 AM
EDIT2: Ok, loading 38spl went GREAT! Loved it, best press in the world! But i am having trouble with 9mm. Mainly, the prime isnt working, the shell always has to be moved or adjusted or pressure put on the shell in order for the primer to seat. Second, its sometimes hiting the seating die but not always, the primer problem is always. the other dies work pefectly. I do not have this problem with 38spl and i have tried two 9mm shell holders....

Do you have the correct lever arm in place? The one for small primers?

If this, or what Dave says doesn't do it, call Lee. I have two sets of Lee 9mm dies, one for the Turret Press and one for my Load Master and they work in excellent fashion.

mike240se
May 1, 2007, 02:54 PM
I am using lee dies and the correct lever arm, i am also using CCI small pistol primers. Maybe that is the issue, but i doubt it, they work fine on the hand primer and for the 38spl. it sometimes seems that the case moves in the shell holder when ramming it. 38spl is a tight fit and stays firm to the rear, 9mm moves out of the tight fit to the rear of the holder. i guess i will contact lee, its a very odd problem. like when i go to prime it, the case lifts cause its trying to go in but i usually have to try again while holding the case or try to tilt or rock it, sometimes its very difficult to even get it to go in while messing with it with my hand. it slows me down quite a bit...

mike

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
May 1, 2007, 03:21 PM
Mike,

Don't assume it isn't the primers, read this link and the postings here:

http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?t=14916

The average age of the posters on that forum is 50 and the typical experience level is signifcantly higher than my own by a HUGE number of years, like 20 plus, so they pretty much know most little problems with brands.

I'd take some measurements and try another brand of primers such as Winchester, Remington or Magtech.

Regards,

Dave

benedict1
May 1, 2007, 03:57 PM
Work on the primer brand issue; but, also check the shell plate number? Is it a 19? I am also most interested in the headstamps on the brass--any Amerc in there, or military headstamps?

Just because .38 Spec. works don't assume 9mm are okay--if the .38s have been shot a couple of times those pockets will be quite easy to prime.

mike240se
May 2, 2007, 01:49 AM
The shellplate is a 19, both of them. No military or Amer stuff, just remington, winchester and magtech. all of them doing the same thing. i was still able to get the ammo loaded, just made it alot more difficult and slower than previously with my 38spl when i was really happy.

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
May 2, 2007, 05:56 AM
Magtech makes brass? Sounds like you have a primer problem, not a press problem. Measure the primers and read the link I posted and compare measurements. Kinda tough to fit a primer that's larger than the primer pocket into that primer pocket.

Dave

benedict1
May 2, 2007, 09:52 AM
Have you done what Dave suggested? That could be it. But there is one other thing--take the primer lever arm out of the press and carefully examine the priming cup/pin/spring assembly. Is it bent at all? It should be straight. If it is bent that can cause this problem too. .38 Spec. cases are bigger and as I said above, probably have slightly looser priming pockets, especially after having been shot and reloaded a couple of times.

If it's bent call Lee and get one under your warranty. They'll get it to you pronto.

I'll bet though if you mic a bunch of those CCI primers and compare them to Winchester you're going to find them bigger, and it doesn't take many thousandths of an inch to make life tough.

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
May 2, 2007, 02:31 PM
I think I'm going to bow out, we've hijacked this thread way too much.

Regards,

Dave

mike240se
May 6, 2007, 03:17 PM
I am about to start reloading rifle brass (.223rem) for the first time. Do you guys normally do this on your turret press with auto index? If so, how do you do it cause dont you need to clean the lube off the case after resizing? Also, are the lee deluxe rifle dies carbide? I dont think they are, but just want to make sure. I bought the deluxe set and a factory crimp die, since it oddly didnt come with it. Can the factory crimp die be used to do a roll crimp on a cannelure? I did buy the rifle charging die, do you guys normally use this to charge the cases with the autodisk pro?

thanks for your help, i dont want to blow up my bushmaster.....

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