Best newbie reloading kit? RCBS vs. Lee


November 12, 2008, 02:27 PM
I'm looking for my Christmas present from my girlfriend. I figured a nice reloading kit would finally nudge it's way onto my list this year.

The Lee 50th anniversary kit looks interesting. I need something easy to use and reliable, as well as being accurate enough to be consistent with my loads.

Would a RCBS kit be better for what I need?

I'm looking to reload calibers like 7mm Mag, 300 Win. Mag, .270, .308, and possibly some 45 ACP.

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November 12, 2008, 03:02 PM
Lee (Made in the U.S.A.)

November 12, 2008, 03:05 PM
sold me on that :)


November 12, 2008, 03:29 PM
Is RCBS not made in the USA?

Where is the best place to get a Lee kit?

I have a buddy that wants to load .38spcl and needs everything.

I was going to suggest a RCBS Rockchucker kit, but I'm open to the Lee if its a better kit.

Thanks to the OP for asking the same question I was thinking about!

November 12, 2008, 03:37 PM
Where is RCBS MADE??:confused:

I've used a Rock Chucker for over 25 years without any problems. I;ve saved thousands of dollars reloading with this press.

November 12, 2008, 03:46 PM
As I understand it the castings are made in china now, there also are some rumors that the dies are being machined in India.

November 12, 2008, 05:01 PM
I went thru the same quandary a year ago. Between the suggestions here, several other forums, friends and acquaintances, I went with the Rockchucker Supreme kit. I was told that not only is the press stiffer and better made, but that the powder thrower and the beam scale that came with the RCBS kit was better than the Lee and they both would be all I would ever need. I was also told by those that had them that RCBS will stand behind their products forever and will even send free replacement parts for dies and presses that are many years old. After reloading several thousand rounds, I am happy with my purchase and would recommend it to anyone. Besides being red, I know nothing about the Lee's other than what I've been told.........and I've been told they are a good value for what they cost.

November 12, 2008, 05:24 PM
IMHO, Lee is the biggest bang for your buck.

I have presses in both Lee and RCBS, the Lee's get the most use.

I also have dies from, Lee, RCBS, Lyman, and Redding and for the life of me I can't see what makes one brand worth so much more than the others.

November 12, 2008, 05:36 PM
I wouldn't buy a kit, I would put one together. The Lee classic cast single stage press is hard to beat, I also like Lee dies. I would buy a good scale like the RCBS 505 or Dillon Terminator beam scale. A good powder measure like Uniflow or Hornady measure. Loading blocks, caliper, trimmer, chamfer/debur tool and other odds and ends. If I was going to buy a kit I would buy the Lee kit and then buy a good scale.

November 12, 2008, 05:36 PM
Buck's comments are valid and honest, he has had good service with his equipment BUT he has no experience with Lee, etc. I have. It's all good.

The RCBS beam scales are made by Ohaus, they are perhaps the primer scales of their type but the other brands have good scales too. I don't care for digital scales at all, they are far to finicky and expensive for what you get. I mean, they are just scales, what can they do but weigh things and beams do that quite well!

Many of us have a dislike for anything made of aluminum alloys, perhaps especially presses, and prefer cast iron presses or, better yet, cast steel. The RCBS Partner is alum, so is the Lee Challenger ( the one in the Anniversary kit ) so is the Hornady LnL. We may not care for the alum. alloy but, truth be told, they are each very good presses and each will last a LOONG time!

It is my understanding that RCBS does get it's iron press castings from China now. So far as I know, all of the others are still made in the USA. I wouldn't mind the China castings so much if it was reflected in the price. It isn't.

I have an old Rock Chucker press. It's okay but I'd swap it, even, for a Lee Classic Cast (all steel) to gain a better lever and a primer catcher that works.

Many don't like some of the design features of Lee's dies but I think they just don't understand the excellant mechanical principles involved in them. They are actually quite good dies and make ammo the equal of any other brand.

Overall, I sorta like the quality and value of the Lyman "Orange Crusher" starter kits these days.

November 12, 2008, 05:43 PM
Where should I send my pal for a press or full blown kit?

November 12, 2008, 05:59 PM
Natchez usually has the best prices, Midway USA is also good altho usually a little higher. Really a toss/up. As far as a scale I'd probably go with the New MTM scale for a starter. I bought a inexpensive/cheap scale 3 or 4 years ago. I measures out to 3 decimal points and is off approx .030 grains but repeats right on the button every time. This is not the MTM scale however. What I'm trying to bring out is that as long as the scale repeats the same every time, and if its off a very small amount o big thing, just take it into account. In my case at the time it was to get the inexpensice one or none at all. Difference between $20.00 to $100.00 plus.

THe Dove
November 12, 2008, 06:01 PM
I like RCBS, just my opinion.

The Dove

November 12, 2008, 06:27 PM
I love my RCBS stuff too, grew up with RCBS so it is all I have experience with. I am going to buy a Hornady LNP AP next year to crank out a volume of handgun rounds in a quicker fashion.

November 12, 2008, 06:38 PM
I don't dislike RCBS, just think they're over priced now that they come from china. Also I think its more important than ever with the economy in the shape its in to support U.S. workers. But go ahead and spend your money where you want, at my age it makes no difference, just feel sorry for my grandkids.

November 12, 2008, 06:41 PM
Both make good stuff. I would give RCBS the edge in quality while Lee gives you the most bang for the buck.

I have Redding, RCBS, C&H, Lee, Forster, Hornady, & Lyman reloading stuff. I think I remembered them all. Anyway. It all works. Some looks nicer, some is machined nicer, some works a little better, but it all works.

All the makers stand behind their products well. Pick what you want, or your budget can stand at the moment.

I started with a $99 RCBS kit a long time ago. It had everything almost. I had everything else.

The Lee Turret kit ( is hard to beat to get started as far as cost goes. You will need a scale, a set of dial calipers (, and you will want a tumbler soon.

460 rowland
November 12, 2008, 07:00 PM
im a big lee suporter,a good product for the price.I have nothing against rcbs or any of the other presses out there.lee has a very good warrenty.I have loaded over 100,000 rounds with my singe stage presses and had no problems.Sold them to a friend and she has loaded quite a few with no problems.Now i have a:cool: progressive,pro 1,000 lee press and love it.:D

November 12, 2008, 07:06 PM
The Lee Classic Turret Press Kit from Cabela's. It will work fine as a single-stage if you wish, yet gives you the versatility of a turret. Get the 4-hole model, the Classic, not the 3-hole basic Turret press.;jsessionid=25GBSGTU2JN3LLAQBBISCNVMCAEFEIWE?_DARGS=/cabelas/en/common/catalog/item-link.jsp_A&_DAV=MainCatcat602007-cat20847&id=0044122216337a&navCount=1&podId=0044122&parentId=cat20847&masterpathid=&navAction=push&catalogCode=IJ&rid=&parentType=index&indexId=cat20847&hasJS=true&_requestid=137719

November 12, 2008, 07:14 PM
I bought the lee anniversary kit a little over a year ago. Love it. Still going strong.

cajun 48
November 12, 2008, 07:36 PM
For lee presses take a peek at graf & sons. shipping is included all u pay extra is a $4.50 "handling charge". They also carry rcbs at good prices. ajb

November 12, 2008, 07:37 PM
Just my opinion here, but I like RCBS dies far more than Lee; I have a set of .357Sig Lee dies, and the two things I hate about them are the lock rings aren't lock rings. When you get the die where you want it and then tighten the lock ring, it should stay where it is, until you remove the die from the press, at which time you'll have to re-set the die; RCBS's lock rings are FAR superior (they actually LOCK on the die so you can remove the die and place it back in the press without loosing your setting. This has been fixed on mine as I bought RCBS rings for them. The other thing I hate about the lee dies is the bullet depth knob cannot be locked. If bump it, you can mess up your depth. RCBS's hand primer is also head, neck, shoulders, torso, legs and feet above Lee's "Auto Prime". The build quality is far superior, and you don't have to mess around with shellholders. Sadly, it's made in China, but the quality IS superior IMO. I would also consider Hornady dies; I have a set of Pacific dies (A division of Hornady) that work well. Again, JMO.

November 12, 2008, 07:43 PM
I have both equipment in Lee and RCBS. I think RCBS is probably more durable or at least it used to be. I bought my first RCBS rock chucker press in 1973 when I came back home, still going strong.

The Lee kits for the amount you spend versus what you get are very attractive though. Take your pick, you will not be sorry.

November 12, 2008, 08:00 PM
the two things I hate about them are the lock rings aren't lock ringsThey do suck, but they will work. I replaced all mine with Hornady lock rings.

November 12, 2008, 08:21 PM
and the two things I hate about them are the lock rings aren't lock rings. When you get the die where you want it and then tighten the lock ring, it should stay where it is, until you remove the die from the press,
I would agree if you are loading on a single stage press. If you are loading on a turret or progressive once the dies are set they never get loose. I have all Lee dies on my turrets and have never had a problem with the dies going out of adjustment. To change calibers you just chang the turret.

November 12, 2008, 08:42 PM
I agree I replaced all the lock rings with. a different style. Made my own.

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