choosing a new reloader press


November 29, 2008, 03:33 AM
Folks, I am trying to decide on a new reloader. I have used a Lee single stage for several years. Back 3 0r 4 years ago I got banged up and wound up with 4 lower back surgeries, 1 neck, and 3 knee surgeries. I got a divorce during this and my stuff went in storage. when I got able this year my press is rusted and can probably be unfrozen and treated but it was so inexpensive I dont know if that is what I want to do. I have been eying the Lee load master progressive press. It is the cheapest on the market complete with brass feeder and auto disk powder primer. All I load is .44 mag pistol rounds and I'm wondering if any of you folks have had any dealings withthis press and ammo. I have 2 .44 mag 8 3/8 BBL S&W pistols and I dear hunt with them. I use hodgdon H4227 powder for short range and H110 for longer shots. Do the powder measures work o.k and can you modify them for best results?

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November 29, 2008, 07:28 AM
There are a lot of YouTube videos regarding the Lee Loadmaster. Watch them before you do anything:

I have a Loadmaster and several single stage presses. I like to use the single stage presses for ammo that is going into some critical use. I do not like to use the powder measures on progressive presses with stick or large flake powders, because they don't cut powder well. I do not like to size or prime on progressive presses, because of bad experiences years ago with an early RCBS progressive.

November 29, 2008, 10:40 AM
Lee is the best bang for the buck, but I never reloaded .44 on it. I'm going out on a limb, but it may be a bit choppy with the large cartridge.

Check out a Hornady projector, I've used a friend's and found it to be a very solid piece of equipment. No flex or ratchety feeling.

November 29, 2008, 11:07 AM
I have both a Lee Turret and the Lee Load-Master, and I use both.

IMO, the question to start with here is "how many rounds per month?"

A Lee turret--which is much more flexible, really--will easily work for a reloader shooting 1000 rounds per month or less. IOW, it will, in a simple "churn 'em out" mode often used for handgun rounds, load about 180-200 rounds per hour.

The Load-Master output is about double that--but its learning curve is steep, and it is tricky to setup. (NuJudge is right--see the videos and the Load-Master forum if you really want to consider this.

But, I think that you need to answer that question first about how many rounds you plan to shoot.

The Classic Cast Turret is probably what I would consider getting, especially if I were reloading only for a couple of calibers. Here ( is a link to a comprehensive review of the press. Were I buying again today, I would get this one. Meanwhile, my updated standard Turret does work fine with the cartridges I currently shoot (.38 / .357, 10mm, .45ACP, .223) and I have no doubt it and the Classic Cast Turret is just fine for .44 Mag.

As for other observations or questions--I think the Lee Auto-Disk measures will work fine, although I haven't used them with those powders. Update or purchase the "deluxe version" and use the Adjustable charge bar, and you should be good to go.

An added observation: You mention the injuries you have had--for me, one other factor in keeping the Load-Master up and running is that I have a "sore shoulder." The Lee Turret (any turret) will take four strokes to produce a finished round; a progressive only takes one. But--and I do consider myself a Lee afficiando--were I to buy a progressive again, I would look at the Hornady LnL, as Walkalong mentions below. However, that setup, apples to apples (so to speak), is about $650.00 or so compared to nominally $250.00 for the Load-Master.

Jim H.

November 29, 2008, 11:09 AM
The Classic Cast Turret is probably what I would consider getting, especially if I were reloading only for a couple of calibers.Ditto, about the best bang for the buck.

Check out a Hornady projectorI have one, and it's great, but it was replaced with the LNL, which is in the middle of another upgrade. A good deal more money, but a very fine press.

Welcome to THR.

November 29, 2008, 07:20 PM
Thanks guys for the info. I won't be shooting but a couple hundred rounds or so a month. and thanks for the sore shoulder info, one reason I shoot pistols is due to neck fusions and damage. big bore rifles and shotguns cause arm pain from the jolt of the recoil on my neck vertabrae. If the progressive causes you to put unnessesary strain, maybe I'll go back with the single stage or the turret. all I've ever used is a single stage and just wanted to speed things up a bit.

November 30, 2008, 12:01 AM
The Classic Cast Turret is probably going to be your best bet for the amount you will be loading. I have a Loadmonster and it will crank them out in a hurry, but I'll bet you have an extra hour or so it will take on the Classic Cast. I use the Loadmonster for 9mm, 38, 357, 223, and soon 45. It can be finicky, no doubt. I resize and de-prime only then hand prime everything after tumbling. Once primed, they go through the Loadmonster and get loaded. Like anything else, watch what you are doing, check each case for powder, and crank them out. I only use the Loadmonster for batches over 100, everything else I do on the cheap Lee Reloader presses nearby. :D If I'm not cranking out 100+, it is probably load development and I'm taking my time with it.

November 30, 2008, 03:01 PM
Bama, welcome. If you are only shooting a couple hundred rounds per month, I don't see the need for a full tilt boogie progressive press. Methinks the Lee Classic Turret Press would suit your needs admirably. And dies and turrets are inexpensive after you have you initial setup smoothed out. With the Classic Turret Press, you will be pulling the handle 4 times per round. Is that something your situation can deal with?

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