Lee Loadmaster


March 14, 2008, 08:30 PM
There is so much controversy over the Lee Loadmaster one doesn't know what to believe, the primer feed is junk, the powder measure is junk, it takes a lot of dinking around to get it to work, so what is the truth. I have the Lee Classic Turret and like it for my pistol loading, but want a press for rifle and
don't want to spend a fortune.
Thanks for my venting, all info will be appreciated.

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March 14, 2008, 08:40 PM
Why can't you use your turret for rifle?

March 14, 2008, 08:44 PM
i can, I just wanted a press dedicated to my pistol loading, 9mm,
38 spcl. and 357.
I want the loadmaster for my 7.65, 222 Rem. 308, 30-06, 22-250, 220 Swift.

March 14, 2008, 09:02 PM
I would keep the classic turret for the rifle cartridges and use a loadmaster for the pistol. The priming system is fine if you can live with using winchester and cci primers. A small price to pay for not having to load them in tubes like some brands. I do not know of a better powder system for pistol cartridges. I have been using one of the original auto-disks for 20 years. It does take a little tinkering from time to time.

March 14, 2008, 09:23 PM
I bought a Loadmaster in 1997 set up for 9mm, since expanded to cover every straight wall pistol and revolver caliber offered from 32 s&w to 454 casull. Approx. 110,000 rounds loaded. Great machine. The videos on the loadmaster zone websight are a great resource. I didn't have them but I did have John Lee and his superb crew of tech assists. I love it!!!!!!
I still use my 30 year old rockchucker for my rifle cartridges, I custom load 142 different calibers on my class 06 ffl.

March 14, 2008, 10:40 PM
Watch the setup videos at my website. Watch for whole new instructions there with close up color photos and a short video for each step - the basic setup will be written, photographed and videos my yours truly. I have about 95% of he writing done, maybe 80-90% of the videos and about half of the photos. We just need to get it put into the new web site.

Then we'll start on troubleshooting.

I think we'll have a pdf version available eventually, too.

March 14, 2008, 11:32 PM
Ive only had mine for a short time, but after watching all the vids on how to set it up correctly (lee instructions arent the best) I have been doing just fine on it. This is the first press I have owned, the learning curve was a little steep since I had 0 backround with reloading but I dont regret my decision on this machine. Especially with the up front cost savings.

March 15, 2008, 05:11 AM
That's quite a leap, starting with a progressive press! I hope that you are keeping your eyes open and your attention at 100% as you reload. There's a lot to watch.......

It sounds like you are on top of things, though. Congratulations

March 15, 2008, 06:21 AM
The LM is a good press for the money. Caliber changes are easy and don't require lots of expensive parts. Once you have the large, small, and rifle case feeders, you're pretty much ready to load anything that'll fit. The right priming ram and shell-plate are also necessary. All of these things come in at a cost far less than the other manufacturers.

The LM can be a source of frustration, though. If you're on a tight budget, the LM is the way to go. If you have some cash to spend, the LNL or Dillon might be what you're looking for.

March 15, 2008, 08:44 AM
"I would keep the classic turret for the rifle cartridges and use a loadmaster for the pistol....

Good advice.

Even if you are building rifle fodder for a .223 or 7.62x39, you ought to be able to average 120+ rounds an hour on the Turret.

Jim H.

March 15, 2008, 09:17 AM
+1 on the Loadmaster, I find it great for the price. Sure some parts are nylon, but they work great for what they do. Some little pieces are almost sacrificial in case of mistakes, which actually is good so you don't mess up something even worse. The small nylon pieces are very cheap (primer slider, bullet feed fingers, etc) so I keep a couple spares on hand. I've never used another press so I don't know how much extra tinkering the Lee takes, but it's not bad. As a mechanical engineer, I love tinkering anyway!

On the powder throw, go ahead and get the micrometer feed disk, much easier than messing with stacking disks for various loads. Also, don't bother with the bullet feed initially. Get used to the unit first. The auto brass collator is great to have and the auto brass feeder works fine for me. Get a small LED light to shine up the powder throw in the seating die location. Follow the setup videos EXACTLY! On the sizing/priming die location (I use the 5-die approach) I didn't trust the extra turn DOWN into the shellplate and ended up with erratic lengths. The extra push on the shellplate holds it up into the seating and crimping dies on the other side of the turret for consistency. As mentioned, get an extra de-priming die and factory crimp die. This way you will fill every hole in the turret and get more consistent priming, sizing, and crimping.


March 15, 2008, 09:44 AM
Thanks guys for all the response, it is very helpful and all the support is great!!
Thanks again, Floydster

March 15, 2008, 09:56 AM
and use the setup resources there.

here. (http://loadmastervideos.com/)

A couple of general observations:

1. Get the primer subsystem clean, and for now, set it up for the primer size you will load most of, then leave it alone.

2. If you haven't done it, set up one turret with a five-die configuration--Lee's Universal Decapper in #1, the Sizer (with decapper removed) in #2, etc., etc. That will go a long way towards reliable operation when you're learning things.

2. Get the case feeder running right, using Chris's videos, and leave it alone or disable it.

3. Do--and re-do--the die setup.

4. The Lee pro version with the manual return will work great with the adjustable charge bar.

5. Order out spare parts--get spare large and small primer sliders, especially.

Personally, I consider the steep learning curve and tweaking / setup time worth it, and I say that even though I have just been through some hassles with the primer subsystem after I changed it out the other size. I normally load about 400 rounds per hour of my pistol loads.

If you're really tearing your hair out, I might even consider driving out to help you, just to meet another THR reloader-gunny.

Jim H.

March 15, 2008, 04:08 PM
How sucessful have you guys been using your loadmaster for rifle cartridges? I like my loadmaster for pistol.....but I have been having trouble getting it set right for 308.

March 15, 2008, 10:22 PM
I fail to see how a progressive is much benefit for rifle, how do you trim your cases?


March 15, 2008, 11:00 PM
Liberty4Ever has done some videos regarding reloading rifle ammo on a Load Master, mainly about the case prep. You can find them on youtube and my page. It looks like way too much work for me, though.

March 16, 2008, 09:02 AM
With any progressive press that you use for loading bottleneck, modern, high pressure, cartridges, or others which tend to stretch like .357 mag, you need to trim the cases. Period.

There are trimming tools which can be used for this, but most require resized cases before you reload them. This sort of defeats the purpose of the progressive press.

If you can be certain of using only your brass, you can opt for a RCBS X die, which I have found to be quite excellent. If not, I have heard of modifications which can be done to the Giraud trimmer which will enable you to trim unsized cases.

WNC Seabee
September 22, 2008, 10:27 PM
So, I've got my brand new Lee Loadmaster on the way, delivery is tomorrow. I bought this setup after watching the videos on http://loadmastervideos.com.

Now that site is down! :what:

I'd be happy to BUY the videos if they're available, or, better yet, fund some site hosting services for a time so others can access them too. If you know who's behind these AWESOME videos, PM me and let me know how I can get my hands on them!


WNC Seabee
September 22, 2008, 10:40 PM
Videos are on YouTube. :D

September 22, 2008, 10:41 PM
most of the videos are on youtube, just search out Liberty4Ever, DarwinTe, Abenedict1, or shadowdog500. That should get you going till the site comes back.

September 23, 2008, 06:32 AM
I love my Loadmaster. I load 40 S&W and up to 30.06. Yes rifle needs to be trimmed. IMHO, all rifle needs 2 passes anyway. I deprime and necksize fire formed and full length for used, pickup cases. That's first pass. Then full inspection, trimming, pocket cleaning, etc.... Then the loading run. The loadmaster handles 30.06 very easily. I am 15K + on 45acp now, and the press is fine regardless of what some may say about it. It's a good press with proper care and setup.

September 23, 2008, 10:36 PM
The web page is back up. I don't know what went wrong - my hosting service's tech help is a bit ..... cryptic. They got it fixed though.

WNC Seabee
September 24, 2008, 09:37 AM
Darwin_t....those videos are terrific! Thanks again.

In your set up video you mention using stations 1 & 2 for decapping and sizing vs. the single die in station 1. I believe the reason was to be a better/more consistent seating of the new primer in station 2.

Is this "critical"? I'll be setting up my new Loadmaster tonight, but the kit only came with 3 dies.

I've got the universal decapping die and the factory crimp die on order, but wondered if I "need" to wait to start making rounds.



September 24, 2008, 10:59 AM
Many people swear by doing it separately. decapping in Station one and resizing in Station 2. I've tried it both ways and I do both in Station 1. I can certainly see the arguments for doing it the other way and it SHOULD work better.

If things are set up properly either way should work fine. If changing from one way to the other you have to change the primer depth setting though. Without the resizing die there the case can move upwards a bit, with the resizing die it's being pushed down.

WNC Seabee
September 24, 2008, 01:17 PM
Thanks. I'll go ahead and use just station 1 until the other dies are delivered.


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