Lee Challenger vs RCBS Rock Chucker


June 12, 2007, 06:52 PM
I'd like some input on these two presses:

The Lee Challenger http://www.leeprecision.com/graphics/shoppingcart/challngs.jpg

And the Rock Chucker Supreme http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/content/Item/21/49/25/i214925sn01.jpg

Why one over the other?

Fit. finish, reliability, ease of use, overall quality. I don't mind spending a little more if it is actually worth the difference. In better terms, which one is more like a Toyota/Honda?


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June 12, 2007, 07:06 PM
The Rock Chucker is WAY stronger than the Challenger, but who gives a $### because my challenger is strong enough to load everything I can throw in it and I got it for 30 bucks.

Lee is the Kia of reloading, it runs like a champ and it is cheap!

June 12, 2007, 07:27 PM
I broke a press in half.

It was an RCBS Partner press, and I was re-sizing .308 in it. I sent in my Partner press for warranty, and went out and bought a RCBS RockChucker Supreme in the meantime.

About 3 weeks later I received a new RCBS Partner press which sits in a box under my reloading bench.

I don't know how the lee press compares in strength to the Partner series... it may be apples and oranges. But looking at the picture of the lee press, it lacks horizontal surface area to bolt to a work surface such as a workbench. My Partner press failed due to too small of a bolt surface, snapping off the back corner of the frame closest to the workbench.

But I know my RockChucker has done thousands of rounds since then. No signs of any damage.

If you're only loading for handgun or straightwall rifle, you can go with a relatively weaker press, but for modern bottleneck cartridges I feel you are doing yourself a dis-service by going with anything that has any weak points at all.

June 12, 2007, 08:01 PM
If you want automotive analogies, then the lee is like a Nissan hardbody pickup, cheap and will last forever if you don't load anything big or bottleneck, the RCBS would be more along the lines of a mack truck, it will caseform just about anything under 50bmg, and is near indestructible, and has a solid quality feel. I started single stage loading with the challenger anniverary kit, but after the 3rd challenger toggle link snapped (all replaced for free via lee's excelent customer service) I bought the Rock chucker, I load 308, 30-06, 30-30, 45colt and 44mag in this press. Full length sizing 30-06 consisted of pulling fairly hard in the Challenger, but light 2 finger effort in the RCBS, and loading is fairly quick with a lee auto prime 2, IMHO the RCBS is well worth the extra money if you are planning on loading more than a couple boxes a month.

June 12, 2007, 08:11 PM
The Lee press is aluminium (the body, that is - the red part), the RCBS is all steel - only relevant if you're loading large rifle cartridges, though.

June 12, 2007, 08:26 PM
As someone else said, compairing the Lee Challenger (which I do own, but did not vote for, more on that in a minute) and the RCBS Rock Chucker is definitely a case of compairing apples to oranges. Also stated above, the RCBS partner press is the equivilent of the lee challenger. So, if I had to choose between the two, and price was no object, I would pick the Rock Chucker every time (hence, the reason I voted for it).
The Partner would be a honda civic, and the lee would be a toyota corolla. The other way to look at it would be to throw in the Lee Classic Cast press (which will be one of the next two presses I get). That is a better matchup for the Rock Chucker, and I think that would equate to a Peterbuilt vs. Mack.
In any regard, both presses will serve you well.

June 12, 2007, 08:27 PM
A friend of mine was trying to resize .22-250 cases on the Lee press and could not get a full length resize to take. The top of the press was flexing before the shell plate would reach the top of the stroke. After a few tries the linkage broke. Lee did warranty it but he was out of his press for a few days.
My uncle has loaded on the RCBS RockChucker for many, many years now. My vote is for the RCBS, it will do it all.

June 12, 2007, 09:03 PM
Nope, the Lee challenger is not a Toyota Corolla, which is way to good for the Lee Challenger. More like a Chevy Cavalier.

There is no contest here; the RC beats the challenger hands down, but my personal vote for best single stage press would be the Forster Co-Ax.


June 12, 2007, 09:05 PM
It appears that the Rock Chucker is the better choice. My dear father-in-law had a great saying..."It only costs a little more to go first class". Between linkage breaking, steel vs. aluminum, friendlier full length sizing, and the Lee flexing, I think I would be better served with the Rock Chucker. I'll have to hand it to Lee however, they have a much nicer website and it is VERY informative. RCBS and Hornady could take a few lessons from their marketing. I just want to buy one and not feel like I made a poor consumer decision and have to buy something else later. Then it really is MORE expensive.

Thanks for the input!

Matt Dillon
June 12, 2007, 10:27 PM
Folks, I have a Lee Challenger and used it until I purchased a Lee Classic Cast. Every bit as good if not better than the Rockchucker, much less expensive. Forget the Challenger and purchase a Lee Classic Cast.

June 12, 2007, 10:33 PM
As wolf28 says, you have a good question but with the wrong comparisions.

As given, aluminum vs. iron presses, the answer is clear but skewed. Make it the Lee Classic Cast press and the results reverse, and I say that as a long time, mostly satisfied owner of a Rockchucker!

The Classic Cast's frame is steel and iron, at least as strong as the RC. The ram's diameter is even greater, meaning a larger bearing surface for better durability. The lever is adjustable for both length and angle for user comfort and need. The primer catcher actually WORKS, helping keep the floor cleaner! And it has a much nicer price tag too, as if anyone cares about money.

My old RC? Well, it is plenty strong. But otherwise...???

A better RCBS comparision for the Lee Challenger would be the "Partner" press, it's aluminum too.

(Hello Rich, see we were pecking away at the same time again. Jim C.)

Uncle Don
June 12, 2007, 11:53 PM
I'm not sure it's a fair comparison to put a light duty aluminum press against a heavy duty cast iron press. A better comparision would be the RC against the Classic Cast Lee. Both are single stage cast iron and steel, both have roughly the same diameter ram. The truth is that you can't go wrong with either one. Given they are made of the same material, I think you would have look at features and cost to make your decision.

cracked butt
June 13, 2007, 02:50 AM
Skip the challenger and get a Lee Classic Cast- its equal or better than the rockchucker at 1/2 the price + its American made.;)

June 13, 2007, 03:18 AM
Yep, another vote for the Lee Classic Cast here....
I have a RockChucker I've used for almost 30years too, but it's finally been supplanted by the new Lee.... mostly because it'll do .50BMG too and the RockChucker can't!

An excellent value for the price!


Ala Dan
June 13, 2007, 05:34 AM
RCBS Rockchucker

June 13, 2007, 11:51 AM
I voted for the RCBS, but you are missing the better choice. Get the Classic Cast. I replaced my RCBS with the Lee Classic a couple of years ago, and couldn't be happier.


June 13, 2007, 12:03 PM
Bought a used Rock Chucker about 30 years ago, thousands of rounds later it is still great. If I were to buy a new press I would give the Lee try as all the Lee products I have used so far are just fine, at a substantial savings over RCBS. Most of my dies are RCBS bought new before I tried LEE. I usually find used RCBS dies, the last 3 or 4 were, for 10 to 15 dollars.

June 13, 2007, 08:46 PM
The other way to look at it would be to throw in the Lee Classic Cast press That is a better matchup for the Rock Chucker

Yes indeed , after comparing prices the decision was easy for me! I went with the Lee Classic Cast Press and could not be more pleased. It replaced and old Lee aluminum C-press that I had used for a number of years.

I think my Lee cast press was $65 or $70 last year.

June 13, 2007, 09:58 PM
Neither! Get a Lee Classic Cast single stage.

June 13, 2007, 10:39 PM
I owned one of the older RCBS Rock Chuckers. I did a head to head comparison of it against the Lee Classic Cast Single stage. I sold the Rock Chucker and the Lee Classic Cast sits in it's place because it's a better press. You're wasting your time comparing the aluminum Lee to the Rock chucker. Compare it to the Lee Classic Cast single stage. A better press for a lot less money.



Rod B
June 14, 2007, 03:56 PM
I didn't vote in the poll as I don't think this is a valid comparison.

A fair comparison as others have stated is the RockChuckers vs the Classic Cast.

I would opt for the Classic Cast as it has a better used primer disposal system, it's made in the USA & it represents a better value for the $ spent

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