Lee Classic Cast vs Redding Big Boss II?


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dmproske
November 15, 2008, 08:32 AM
I have read all the threads and reviews about the Lee Classic Cast single stage being a stout press. My question is regarding precision fit of the parts. How does it compare to the Redding Big Boss II press?
How much slop is in the press ram and linkage? Does it work loose and get sloppy after a while? The Redding cost almost twice as much is the reason I am asking.

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mallc
November 15, 2008, 08:52 AM
The choice is about the same as the choice between McDonalds and Outback.

LEE stuff works, does what its supposed to do, lasts, and is low cost.

Redding has much smoother operation and, to my arm, has better application of thrust forces - less effort to size the same caliber.

Folks defend the Red stuff based on cost. I buy Redding because it IS better equipment. If the cost difference is not an issue for you, buy Redding, but unless you specifically want a single stage, buy the T7 turret.

Scott

paperpuncher49
November 15, 2008, 09:12 AM
"Red vs Pea Green"

Better dead than Red, I always say!

lgbloader
November 15, 2008, 11:44 AM
I have the Lee Classic cast and it is a great press. I absolutely love it. for the price, it's a no brainer. That said, if both were the same price, I would go with the Redding Big Boss II.

LGB

.38 Special
November 15, 2008, 02:50 PM
I have read of and/or seen pictures of perhaps half a dozen broken Lee presses. I have never heard of a broken Redding press, though saying that here will probably result in somebody showing me one.

I am admittedly biased against Lee. I think it is useful stuff for folks who are either dead broke or who just need something for occasional light use. For everyone and everything else, I recommend spending the money for a first quality product and knowing that you'll likely never have to replace or upgrade.

ranger335v
November 15, 2008, 03:26 PM
"I have read of and/or seen pictures of perhaps half a dozen broken Lee presses."

I really doubt you have seen any photos of a broken Lee Classic Cast (steel) press. Even their older alum alloy presses were plenty stout for normal reloading work IF the cases were properly lubed AND the linkage bolts were kept properly tight. And some people can damage an anvil with a spoon!

The ammo it makes is the criteria I use to evaluate anything. The Classic Cast presses are drilled with modern CNC machines, don't think anyone is more precise than that. Cost aside, I think it's perhaps the best single stage press available, other than the much more expensive, and only slightly superior in some respects, Forster Coax and Redding Ultramag presses. And even that slight "superiority" would be hard to demonstate on a test target.

Pay whatever it takes to make yourself feel good, all the current presses do a fine job.

.38 Special
November 15, 2008, 03:56 PM
Never mind.

highlander 5
November 15, 2008, 04:02 PM
Get the Redding. I've not been a big fan of Lee equipment. My reloading equipment consists of Dillon,Redding and RCBS. Not interested in a product with a 2 year warranty and have to pay half retail to fix after that.

RustyFN
November 15, 2008, 05:11 PM
highlander:
5 Get the Redding. I've not been a big fan of Lee equipment. My reloading equipment consists of Dillon,Redding and RCBS. Not interested in a product with a 2 year warranty and have to pay half retail to fix after that.
Don't buy a Dillon 1050 then. I believe it only has a one year warranty.
Rusty

floydster
November 15, 2008, 08:04 PM
It is not to believe the people that post and don't konw what in the hell they are talking about, the Lee Classic Cast single stange will load anything you want to load, it is a strong press, bar none.
I also have the Classic Cast Turret and it is a great press for the money,spend what you want Dorks, its your money.
Talk about stupid people!!!
I have been loading for 54 years, tell me all about it.
Lets tell it like it is!!!

dmproske
November 15, 2008, 08:40 PM
Yes I know the Classic Cast is a strong press. I was asking how it compared to the Redding in terms of slop and looseness in the ram fit to frame, and slop and smoothness in the linkage.

All opinions are valid, but I want to hear from someone who is using the Classic Cast now, versus somebody who had a bad experience with Lee products 20 years ago.

floydster
November 16, 2008, 09:40 AM
I am using the Classic Cast single stage for my long guns, 7.65,30-06, 8mm,
222, 22-250 and 220 Swift and is great for even case forming.
I think it is just as tight as any other press.
My apologies for being a little strong on my earlier post.
Floydster:)

mallc
November 16, 2008, 09:53 AM
1. LEE fanatics ALWAYS add "for the money" after their praise for so-so equipment.

2. LEE fanatics refer those who choose a Vette over an Escort as "Dorks".

Like I said, if you are counting pennies buy LEE. If you appreciate quality look at Green and Blue before you settle for Red...and then decide to replace it with something better.

Scott

RidgwayCO
November 16, 2008, 09:56 AM
My Lee Classic Cast single-stage and turret presses are quality machines, with very good "feel". The ammo they make is indistinguishable from that made on my previous RCBS Rockchucker or Lee Challenger presses.

Plus, I really like how they handle spent primers (decapped primers, and their associated crud, go through the hollow ram into a plastic tube for collection/disposal). Much better than my previous presses.

RustyFN
November 16, 2008, 11:23 AM
1. LEE fanatics ALWAYS add "for the money" after their praise for so-so equipment.

2. LEE fanatics refer those who choose a Vette over an Escort as "Dorks".

Like I said, if you are counting pennies buy LEE. If you appreciate quality look at Green and Blue before you settle for Red...and then decide to replace it with something better.

Scott
I have also noticed that most people that bash Lee have never used one and are just repeating what they heard from somebody else that has never used one.
Rusty

kount_zer0
November 16, 2008, 11:24 AM
All the presses at my LGS that are on display have some "slop" in them, which has kept me from "upgrading" to a more expensive press.

my Lee press allows me to build ammo at a reaonable rate that still provides the consistency I need to shoot accurately.

That said, most of my shooting is short range (100yds). I'm going to get a bolt .243 for longer range work and play, so I may need to change presses then, but I don't know. I've never measured run-out or any of that stuff, because I've been able to find loads that give me 1" groups any day for my 30-06 and <2" for my 45 colt (both at 100yds), so I stopped since that's good enough for hunting large game.

I haven't turned necks or anything fancy, just seat bullets to proper OAL, use WW brass with uniform, de-burred primer pockets, trimmed and de-burred mouths with a neck-sizer. The straight-wall cases just need trimmed and a good crimp.

In short, I think you should buy whater you'll be confident in. I got the Lee 15 years ago since I was an enlisted man on a budget trying to afford my 45 ACP addiction at the time. Then started with the 30-06 two years ago and couldn't argue with the results, even though I wanted to be more confident in my press - I just couldn't "justify" it to myself since my loads shoot way better than I do.

easyrider6042004@yahoo.ca
November 16, 2008, 12:19 PM
How much slop is in the press ram and linkage?

If my Lee Classic Cast were any tighter, it would be welded together.

Does it work loose and get sloppy after a while?

I use it to resize LLA'd .357 cast bullets, so far done about 5 - 6,000. The Classic Cast is designed to handle/reload .50 BMG. Although some of my bullets needed plenty of force to re-size, the press still feels brand new.

FWIW, the LCC press is cast from surplus steel railroad rails, which are made from high tensile strength and highly wear resistant manganese-silicon steel. I don't know what else Lee adds to this material but I'm happy just knowing this. Considering the loads that railroad rails carry, compared to our reloading chores, I think Lee selected higher quality steel than is necessary and that should translate to extremely long service life.

Win52D
November 16, 2008, 01:12 PM
I have an RCBS, Lee Classic and Dillion. I like all three. I will admit that the Lee lacks the refinement that other presses have. Unless you are loading 50BMG the Lee will be fine. (And yes a Redding is on my list to try :) )

mallc
November 16, 2008, 02:00 PM
I have also noticed that most people that bash Lee have never used one and are just repeating what they heard from somebody else that has never used one.
Rusty

Rusty,

I run a small shop. I currently have 2 LEE Challenger presses on the shelf and sold a used LEE cast iron a few weeks back. I also have 2 Rock Chuckers, 2 RCBS Reloader Specials, an old Herters, and an ACME shot shell press. I personally load on a rebuilt Rock Chucker, a Dillion 650, and A Redding T7.

When folks come in to buy equipment I let them load a few rounds to see what they like. I'm pretty much stuck with the Challengers. The LEE cast and RCBS usually end up as second presses. New orders are usually RCBS RC Supreme kits or Redding T7

Please don't misinterpret what I'm saying. LEE does make good equipment "for the money". But...given side by side comparision, most loaders through my shop choose to spend a bit more and get a bit more for their money.

Scott

Uncle Chan
November 16, 2008, 02:27 PM
I prefer my Lees over my Dillons. Don't have a Redding press, but have a couple set of their dies and I'm not impressed with them.

ranger335v
November 16, 2008, 05:02 PM
"Please don't misinterpret what I'm saying. LEE does make good equipment "for the money". But...given side by side comparision, most loaders through my shop choose to spend a bit more and get a bit more for their money."

Okay. Perhaps we should say Lee makes good equipment and their Classic Cast press is an excellant tool at any cost.

Considerations of "for the money" really shouldn't come into play if it's perceived properly. By "properly" I mean for the ammo produced. No one can tell what was used to load the ammo with by looking at targets. Good ammo comes from good practices, and good tools help. But Lee makes tools as good as need be so any more expense is wasted on irrelivants like external finishes. Pay what you will, however much it costs to make you feel good but understand as you walk out the door that it won't improve your accuracy just because you paid more than Lee would have cost you. Fact.

I own and use over thirty five sets of dies from some ten makers, serveral are longer with us, all acquired over more that 43 years of reloading. Using my micrometer, dial caliper and concentricity gage, I find more differnce between dies of the same brand than I do between brands, on average. Purchase any brand you please, spend as much as you please, but no two sets of dies will be identical to others of the same make and cartidge.

The die-to-chamber fit is the real issue anyway and that fit is pot luck, die by die, and purchase of no brand can guarentee anyone a good match to his firearm. Thus, while it may be fun or personally gratifying to do so, it's my studied opinon that only reloading tool neophytes will bother to argue automatic brand superiority, period.

I load with an RCBS Rock Chucker. It's a "good" press but my friend's Classic Cast is better in several ways. His press frame is steel (not Chinese cast iron) and his ram is larger in diameter so it will wear better over the long haul.
His lever is adjustable for either side operation, it's also adjustable for length and angle. His spent primer catcher works but mine misses a lot, a third goes on the floor. I've tried to trade presses with him, even, but he won't do it. Maybe my RC didn't cost enough?

A "tight" press ram really isn't an advantage for us. If a round case is allowed to, it will always enter a round die perfectly centered. If the press is slightly misaligned but has sufficent slop to allow it, the case will still enter perfectly centered. If the ram is tighly fitted AND slightly misaligned, or the die or shell holder is bored off center, there is no way the tightly held case can enter straight. We cannot force a perfect case to die fit but we can sure force a misfit! So some ram slop is good, there is no down side to it at all.

No matter how tight any press' linkage is when it's new, it will wear in and get a bit looser over time. That's no real concern either, it just makes better clearance for a few drops of oil to reduce further wear.

Pay what you wish but don't kid yourself that you get "more for your money" from a shiney external finish and neat knurling.

RustyFN
November 16, 2008, 05:50 PM
Good post Ranger. I just don't understand the Lee bashing. If it is inexpensive and helps somebody start reloading that couldn't otherwise then where is the problem. As Ranger said just because you pay more doesn't make it better, and yes I have loaded on Dillon presses but still own a classic turret.
Rusty

stiles
November 16, 2008, 10:38 PM
The classic cast is a good press and I'm not much of a LEE fanboi. It's about as strong of a press as you could expect with the exception of the POS lever that it ships with, it's a steel pipe with a wooden ball glued to it and it does not live up to the rest of the press. LEE's own literature states that you will might bend it if you resize 50 BMG, go figure. My old ball handle solid steel XL650 lever fits the LEE just fine so if I do bend it up I got a stout replacement on hand.

The linkage is an outstanding design, both cause of how adjustable it is and how stable and strong it is. I know of no conventional O press that has a better linkage design.

The priming system is novel, but I don't like it (not a big surprise I don't like any on press priming system). If you use the primer feeder you had to bring the ram all the way to the top to charge a primer into the primping arm and you can't let the ram go to the bottom after you remove the case cause the priming cup will protrude into the shell holder, in other words you have to manipulate the ram height way too much IMO. Also when resizing/depriming the primers will come out the priming arm window if you don't have a priming arm installed at about a 50% rate, my temporary solution is to keep a priming arm in the window but adjust the lever angle so it keeps the priming cup from protruding into the shell holder, which works pretty well. If I get some government time I'll fabricate a shell holder insert that doesn't have a collet stop and has no priming arm provisions.

The other press I was looking at was a Redding Big Boss II which I never got to see first hand. I'd really like to know how it's priming system works (even though I'll hate it :neener: ).

Ohh and with the money you save by getting the classic cast press you will want to pick up a small triangle deburrer!

dmproske
November 17, 2008, 10:01 AM
Thank You so much for all the replies fellers. I think I will give the Classic Cast a try. Looks to be well made from some close up pictures I have seen. There are not many places around here that carry reloading equipment and the ones that do only have RCBS.

The reason I need a larger press is that I am loading 300 Remington Ultra. I upgraded to a Redding competition seater die. With the long insert on that die things are too close on my Hornady Lock and Load Classic.

The Hornady has been a OUTSTANDING press. Fit and Finish is 1st rate. The linkage and ram slide like they are on bearings. The lock and load system works well, I snug the bushing a little bit with a wrench and there is no play like some other posters before have stated.

Hopefully the Lee will perform as well as the Hornady has. It is a great press, wish Hornady would upgrade it to where it would compete with the Lee. If I am satisfied with the Lee I will post the Hornady for sale here.

The Bushmaster
November 17, 2008, 11:09 AM
kount zerO...For what it's worth. I am getting 1 5/8" group at 200 yards from a Browning A-bolt .30-06 shooting from a lousy (sloppy) rest. All loaded on Lee equipment...If I was to practice a bit more and do some more experimenting with powder and bullets I believe I can close that down some more using Lee equipment.

coyotehitman
November 17, 2008, 11:15 AM
I have the Lee, bought it to save a little on my single stage because I rarely use the ss. It is a good press. Not as good as either green company, but it gets the job done and does a fine job at it IMO. The weak link is the handle/linkage connection and this is where I have seen broken parts come into play.

R00KIE
November 19, 2008, 01:35 PM
This has been a very good thread to read. . . . thanks for the info guys.

BigJakeJ1s
November 19, 2008, 09:56 PM
Coyotehitman,

I trust that you have one of the older, lightweight cast aluminum framed Lee presses? If you can break the steel handle/linkage on the newer, Classic Cast (steel/iron) press (without a cheater bar)... I wouldn't want to get on your wrong side!

Andy

coyotehitman
November 20, 2008, 12:41 AM
BigJake,

I have the Classic Cast--I wouldn't own the lightweight press. The sleeve that the lever (pull arm) slides into is the weak link on the Classic Cast and the only place I have ever heard of it breaking. The hollow pull arm has some flex to it, but it would take some force to break it. Definitely not as robust as my old green press in a couple of areas, but it has a couple advantages and it costs less. I am not sorry I bought it by any means.

dmproske
November 30, 2008, 07:45 PM
I wound up buying the Classic Cast. Figgerd I would try it and sell it if i did not like it. I need not worry.

Fit and finish is great. There is ZERO play in the ram or linkage. Lee used some sort of black lube on the ram. Ram stroke was not as slick as the Hornady. I wiped the black crap off and lubed the ram and linkage with synthetic engine oil. Ram stroke is smooth and slick now. Nice fire engine red finish.

Ram to die allignment is perfect.

Only thing I do not like is the hollow steel handle. I am sure it will work just fine though. If I get carried away and bend it I will make one out of solid bar stock.

Fit and finish are just as good as the more spensive ones. The Classic Cast single stage will get er done fer sure. I do not see how the other presses could load any better ammo, just lighten my wallet more.

Anyone reading this that is deciding on what single stage press to buy, I recomend this one 100 percent.

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