Weird Problem With Lee Classic Turret Press


January 8, 2009, 05:51 PM
Hey guys,

Im having a problem with my Lee classic turret press. When I try to reload .308, the primer catches on the bottom of the shellholder. I am using CCI large rifle primers, part no. 0011 and the no. 2 lee shellholder. When the ram comes down and the primer arm tilts over and goes up into the bottom of the shellholder, it tilts over too late, and the primer anvil catches the bottom of the shellholder. It looks like either the space between the two locator bumps is too low, or the primer arms are not in spec, or the primers are too tall. Lee just sent me a brand new in box press, and its still doing this. I just broke off the cupholder from the brand new primer arm. I just spoke to Pat at Lee Precision, the engineer that designed the thing, and he is clueless. I sent the original press back last week, but I dont know what they found. Im not interested in sending this back again at my cost, so when I receive another replacement arm, this new press might be for sale, so I can buy an RCBS instead. Anyone have any ideas?

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January 8, 2009, 06:08 PM
Did you try a different shell holder?

January 8, 2009, 06:15 PM
Mine used to hang up like that sometimes. Not to the point that things would break though. I solved the problem with a Forster Co-Ax.

January 8, 2009, 06:19 PM
Mine did that too. Get a hot glue gun and put a bead of glue on the press where the primer arm hits. Should cause the arm to move a little sooner and prevent any primers from snagging.

January 8, 2009, 06:26 PM
Make sure the slot in the ram that the primer arm rides in is lined up correctly. The ram can move to one side and the primer arm will actually hit on one of two "bumps" of the base before it's ready to tilt in. Just stick a big screwdriver in there and adjust it left or right as needed. Worked for me.

January 8, 2009, 06:41 PM
Thats what i am thinking. Sloppy machine work...

January 8, 2009, 08:10 PM
This may be different. When using Lee shellholders on the CTP, the primer arm would catch in the shellholder hole and not drop back out (so I could insert a new primer). I used a Redding shellholder, which has a larger hole, and it fixed the problem.

January 8, 2009, 08:36 PM
The problem with this press is that the anvil of the primer catches on the bottom edge of the shellholder as the primer arm rocks over. Its rocking over too late in the downward motion of the ram.

January 9, 2009, 01:24 AM
I too have had problems like that but not to the point of breaking something. It seems to come and go. What you need to do is slow down when it happens and maybe even aid the arm into place before you try and seat the primer. Since you know there's a slight misalignment don't force it to the point it breaks.

January 9, 2009, 01:45 AM
Well, it looks to me like poor machine work and/or sloppy specs. Im not going to jury-rig a brand new press to make it work correctly. Lee is going to have to make this right somehow. There is no excuse for this to be doing this. This is supposed to be a first class press.

cracked butt
January 9, 2009, 08:40 AM
I had a problem similar to this when I frist got my press, one of the priming arms would work and the other wouldn't/

Take the priming arm out, and run a jewellers file or fine grit sandpaper over all of the edges of the priming arm to remove any burs. I found that there was a little resisntance in mine that upset the timing and the arm would hang up- deburring it fixed the problem.

If you use Lee suff alot, you need to keep small files, crocus cloth, and other finishing tools handy. Lee makes cheap stuff that works well most of the time, but sometimes it requires the owner to do the last 0.5% of the finishing work on the tool to make it work properly.

January 9, 2009, 08:49 AM
I started using a RCBS hand primer because of issues with my Projector and priming when it was new many moons ago. It drove me nuts priming on it.

Although the newer shell plates pretty much fixed that, I continue to hand prime. I think the hand primer does a better, more consistent job seating primers anyway.

I tumble the cases, then run them all through the Projector sizing and decapping them. Then I hand prime. Then I run them all through again loading them. Without the sizer and priming in the mix it goes faster, more smoothly, and it helps get more consistent O.A.L.'s as well.

This is how I have settled on loading pistol calibers, and it works well for me. :)

January 9, 2009, 09:58 AM

Did you try the other lever prime arm and did it work properly? If it does I would say a problem with the lever priime arm, if not the press has issues. Also, this may sound stupid, but are you sure you had it inserted all the way into the slot on the ram?

Hope you get your problems fixed so you can start reloading.

The Bushmaster
January 9, 2009, 10:03 AM
I was wondering why I prime on a seperate single stage press using a Lee Auto Prime II. Never liked the priming arms. Requires you to handle each primer. Stupid idea. My opinion of course.

January 9, 2009, 12:23 PM
I have the same problem with the primer arm on occasion. I rest my index finger under the primer arm as the ram is coming down. This nudges it forward ahead of the downcoming ram. Works for me. I'm not willing to trash the whole system because of something so trivial. The primer system and the safety prime work great together. I did add a washer under the safety prime bracket to bump it up a tad. Big deal. I have an American made press that works just fine. And I'm not willing to spend a lot more money to purchase a system that builds ammo that is no more accurate. The Loadmaster videos site has a section on Lee Turrets where this has been discussed. I hope you resolve your problem to your satisfaction.

January 9, 2009, 01:14 PM
If the base was steel instead of cast iron, a screw with a small head in between the locator bumps would fix this problem. But since the base is cast iron, im not sure how I am going to fix this yet. Lee should be addressing this problem by now, I would think. This is a good system, and it would be perfect if this adjustment was made. I dont believe that I am the only customer that has noticed this.

January 9, 2009, 01:42 PM
Use a single stage to prep cases and the turret to load the powder and bullet.

January 9, 2009, 01:57 PM
This problem is also my only complaint with my Lee Classic Turret. I love the press otherwise, and it works great for the most part.

But, when I attempt to prime I get the same jam that so many of you have described. I've just grown used to it, but I still think that it needs to be improved by Lee.

The Bushmaster
January 9, 2009, 02:43 PM
They have been tapping screw threads in cast iron ever sense the internal combustion engine was invented. If a screw would solve your problem I see no reason why you can't do the machining. As I said before. Even with the new priming system I will continue to use my Auto prime II on a single stage. Even when I replace my old three hole turret in a couple of months (tax return) with a Lee Classic Cast Turret...

green country shooter
January 11, 2009, 10:51 AM
I also use a hand primer now. The primer set up on the turret press is just not reliable enough for me.

Uncle Chan
January 11, 2009, 10:59 AM
I've never had ANY problems with my LCCT that I didn't cause myself. Sorry to hear you have.

January 11, 2009, 11:42 AM
I'm working with an updated standard / older Turret, so my comments may not be relevant--but, other than the primer capture system, I think the priming arms are the same, aren't they?

Is the problem as simple as a dirty primer arm? E.g., there is crud on the back of the arm--which keeps the arm / cup from lining up properly with the shell holder aperture?

I have really loaded only handgun (and some .223), so I can't speak to the particular variables for (rifle) primer / powder, etc., but I do know that my primer subsystem can get crudded up. Specifically, dreck from de-priming combined with powder particles / graphite can build up on the back of the arm.

The solution is to degrease (std. gun cleaner / brake fluid) the arm and the ram slot completely.

Other than that, I lean towards the deburring issues cracked butt identified--try the crocus cloth / deburring, combined with the cleaning.

Jim H.

January 11, 2009, 11:48 AM
I am surprised to hear about the priming problems. My safety prime has been near flawless with large and small. I agree that you shoulden't have to make any mod's other than normal alignment adjustments. I would make Lee make it right and I'm sure they will.

January 11, 2009, 12:39 PM
A simple bead of hot glue would fix this problem in the amount of time it takes the hot glue gun to heat up... Sure would be alot easier then packaging it up, mailing it off, then waiting for it to get back. But do whatever you like with your time. They might have left that surface just .005" to shallow, but why make an easy fix hard?

January 16, 2009, 06:07 PM
Lee sent me a new primer arm, shellholder and the complete shellholder assembly that screws into the top of the ram. I tried the new primer arm on the original shellholder assembly first, and it works perfectly. When the ram comes down, the primer arm catches between the locator bumps, and tilts over with plenty of clearance between the primer and the shellholder like its supposed too. I cant see where the problem is that caused the others to hang up, but so far, this primer arm is working perfectly. I will keep the other assembly as a spare, just in case. Me thinks Lee has a bit of a quality control problem in their machine shop, but Im not sure exactly where.

January 16, 2009, 06:39 PM
"Anyone have any ideas?"

Yep. Abandon priming on a press, any of them. Well, except maybe a Lee Auto Prime II on a little Lee Reloader press, but that's a whole nother thing.

I've used a Lee Auto Prime tool for many years. Have no problems, nothing has broken. It has GREAT "feel" so, unlike doing it on a press, I know what's happening. If you want prettier machine work, pay more and get the RCBS, Hornady or Sinclair priming tools but they don't work any better.

January 16, 2009, 07:41 PM
What are your reasons for not priming on the press (any of them)? I do it on the CT and get good issues so far.

January 17, 2009, 12:03 AM

Daniel1120 has the answer, as mine does/did the same thing, but not always. At first I thought I needed something at the top of the little ramp, but you need something near the bottom (front) of the ramp. I was just doing some testing and cut a small piece of thin cardboard and taped it to the front of the press then bent it over into place. When it jammed worse with the strip extending all the way up the ramp, I just bent it so it only goes about 1/3 of the way up the ramp. Runs smooth now. The hot glue would be more permanent and less noticeable, look nicer. You can drill and tap cast iron, but it can be brittle, so go slow.

This wasn't the first fix this little press has needed and probably not the last. You get what you pay for.

January 17, 2009, 12:11 AM
Thanks, I will experiment with that. I think the design of the press is great. A little more attention to detail on Lee's part would make it a super press.

February 2, 2009, 11:52 AM
I 'd go with the single stage press and the ram prime 2......

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