Lee classic turret press binding and over indexing-help!


Buckshot Bill
March 12, 2008, 11:14 PM
I was loading some .357 magnums this afternoon with my Lee classic turret press and after about 30-35 rounds, the stroke- both up and down started binding up and dragging. At the same time, the turret started over-indexing. Not far, but about 1/8 to 1/4 turn past where it should have stopped. The press gets lubed every time it's used, and this time I was using brand new brass that had never been re-loaded before. I understand there's an achilles heel involved in these presses but I'm at a loss as to what is going on here. I hope I've described this situation correctly. Can any of y'all help me out? Thank you, Buckshot Bill:banghead:

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Grandpa Shooter
March 12, 2008, 11:26 PM
lThe indexing rod on the Lee turret press turns by running up and down through a nylon ratchet nut inside the clamp on the press. If that is shot the press will start being erratic in indexing. I don't have my press right handy or I would take a picture to show you. Sounds to me like that is your problem.

How old is your press and how many rounds have you reloaded? I seem to remember that Lee says to change that nylon nut every 3,000 loads.

March 13, 2008, 01:46 AM
It sounds like you don't have the indexing adjusted right. Go to Lee's website to see how it's done or do a search here on that adjustment.


Buckshot Bill
March 13, 2008, 06:10 AM
Thanks G'pa. That was the "Achillees heel " that I was thinking about. I'll bet you're right. That sounds exactly like what is going on. I've only loaded 1200-1500 rounds with the press, so I didn't expect this so soon, but will give that a look. Buckshot Bill

March 13, 2008, 11:33 AM
There's a couple of things going on here, I suspect.

1. If the plastic ratchet is worn, then the indexing gets erratic. Since you're a reasonably-new operator, you may have inadvertently tried to index the turret manually when the ram is at the bottom--and that's a surefire way to damage the ratchet. (Always adjust the turret when the ram is up past the rod twists.)

When I updated my standard turret to a four-die configuration last year, I chewed up a couple of ratchets. Once I got things fine-tuned and developed a good stroke, I haven't had problems for several thousand rounds.

I keep a spare housing and a few extra ratchets on hand.

2. For the index to have changed by that 1/8" or so, you probably have changed your stroke as you've gotten habituated to the press operation. Weight/momentum issues are also in play--a full measure tends to overshoot easier than one only one-third full.

So, check your stroking--I find it typically takes less effort to move the #4 die into place, so that is where I tend to overshoot.

This problem can be fixed by
a. removing the turret,
b. grasping the indexing rod with a padded, parallel-jaw pliers, and using a wrench on the nut on the top to turn the nut a bit clockwise.

Test and adjust again as needed. Note that by turning the nut clockwise, you are "raising" the turret slightly--and that decreases drag and increases smoother operation. (If the nut is really 'low,' try raising the turret by adjusting in 1/4-turn increments--you can easily see if you've gone too high.)

So, persevere--it's part of the learning curve.

Jim H.

March 13, 2008, 12:09 PM
I went through the same thing when I first used mine. Sounds like the square bushing is rounded out. I called Lee about a .308 case trimmer that broke, and mentioned the plastic squares were fried in my press and 4 days later they sent me two new squares free. Also, when taking the plastic holder apart, replace the long screw with a longer one and reverse it to the other side, and put a lock washer and nut on it. it wont scrape your fingers when pressing the bullet. No problems since.They are a great press. 1-262-673-3075

March 14, 2008, 02:19 AM
You can order the Square Nylon Ratchets directly from Lee on their site. I would order 10 or 12 since they are very cheap and the shipping will be the same if you order 1 or 10. The parts page on the Lee site is Here (http://www.leeprecision.com/cgi/catalog/parts.cgi?1205475282.2219=90064). The part # is TF3567. For some reason the Ratchets are actually cheaper from Lee than anywhere else. That's very unusual but Lee charges 50 cents and Midway charges $1.99. I keep a few on hand all the time. They do wear out like mentioned in an above post.

March 14, 2008, 07:57 AM
Great. I've got several thousand rounds on my press, and this has yet to happen. Now I'm worried.

Grandpa Shooter
March 14, 2008, 12:29 PM
I had who knows how many thousands worth of reloading on my Lee before I finally found it to be "skipping". One of the posts above refers to turning it by hand while the turret is in the wrong position. That is the major cause of the stripping out of the ratcheting nut. If you are careful, you may get 10,000 loads before it happens.

Buckshot Bill
March 14, 2008, 10:58 PM
Well, you guys nailed it. Took it apart and the square ratchet is all "hogged out". I'll have to get some extras ordered. I sure appreciate all the help. Thanks a bunch! Buckshot Bill

March 15, 2008, 12:20 AM

A spare should of come with your press. Check your small parts. Also, the issue will repeat itself until you correctly set the timing.


March 15, 2008, 07:26 AM
I had this same problem when i first got mine. I spoke with John Lee about it and he was very helpful. It basically came from mistakes I had made to begin with. Not having it adjusted right and possibly not fully indexing the lever, meaning running it all the way up and down. So I ordered me 10 additional ratchet indexes and haven't had to use any of them after getting everything adjusted right, all these will probably last me 2 life times now. I think the one thing that made the biggest difference was using hoppes gun oil on the turret heads, you talk about smooth. I have loaded 13000 rounds on this ratchet and no issues. Also make sure when changing the turrets make sure to raise the handle half way. This way if you have to turn the turret by hand just a little to remove it and replace it with another caliber you are not putting pressure on the ratchet.

March 15, 2008, 09:12 AM
I think the one thing that made the biggest difference was using hoppes gun oil on the turret heads, you talk about smooth.

revolverguy hit the nail on the head.

Think about what we are asking that ratchet to do. You are turning a relatively large turret with a tiny little square nylon part. There is quite a bit of force associated with this. Think about trying to tighten a nut all the way down with a nut driver vs a wrench, to get the same torque value you need to put a lot more into that nut driver.

Anyway lubrication on the bearing surfaces of the turret head goes a very long way into reducing the force needed by that ratchet to turn the head. This will make it smoother operating and increase the life of the ratchet.

June 13, 2009, 09:16 AM
I looked around my reloading bench when initially setting up my new classic turret which was having over indexing issues out of the box, I spread a thin amount of imperial sizing wax around the edge of the turret and it made a HUGE difference in smoothness of the press. Now to see how long that lasts :)

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