Help Me Figure Out the Lee Turret Presses?


September 3, 2011, 12:01 PM
I'm looking at the Lee turret presses, and need some help understanding the differences, pros and cons, etc.. The prices are Midway's.

The Lee 4 Hole Turret Press w/Auto Index sells for $76. It has the Auto Index feature as well as built in primer collection.

The Lee Classic 4 Hole press has neither of the above features, and sells for $105.

I'm not familiar with the Lee program. In the past I've owned RCBS and Dillon, and currently have a Hornady LNL progresssive and Hornady classic single stage. Please don't ask why I "need" another press.;)

Thanks, George

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September 3, 2011, 12:14 PM
1st, you're wrong about the lee classic turret, it has auto advance and the primers are disposed of through the hollow ram, into a plastic tube on the bottom of the ram.

The classic is built like a tank. Cast iron base and the ram is a bigger diameter for more surface area. The lower linkage is all steel, doing away with the aluminum link that often breaks on the deluxe press.

The classic fixed the problems the deluxe had. The primers all over the place except into the hollow base was one of the main complaints. Then, if enough primers DID find their way into the hollow base, the only way to empty them was to unbolt the entire press from the bench to get rid of them. (or bore a hole under the base , in the bench, to collect them in a can or something).

Get the classic, you'll be amazed at the quality. The extra money is well spent!

September 3, 2011, 12:17 PM
Snuffy: thanks.....I think I should have gone straight to the Lee site, rather than depend on the Midway site information......the auto advance and primer info doesn't appear there.


September 3, 2011, 12:19 PM
The "classic" turret press has both auto-index and primer collection. It has a hole drilled through the ram and catches them in a tube attached to the bottom and is very easy to empty. I believe the standard turret press catches spent primers in a recess in the press which you'll have to clean.

Classic press has more clearance between base and turret. If you'll be assembling rifle cases this may be important. not so much for pistol.

do a search - there have been several threads on these in the last few months

September 3, 2011, 12:29 PM
you've got the info you need now to order. Check out ordering from places other than Midway, too--Graf's, or the generally-preferred place, Kempf's. And, when you get the Lee powder measure--if you are getting setup for pistol / .223 reloading, be sure to get the "Pro" version. Google in this forum for more info, like lists for either a handgun or a rifle order list.

Jim H.

September 3, 2011, 02:07 PM
Go with the Classic. You won't be sorry.

I got the Kit from Cabela's for around $200. Has almost everything you need.

Am I the only one that forgets that pushing the primer catch tube UP onto the ram forces the handle DOWN?


September 3, 2011, 03:01 PM
I haven't heard/read of the bases of the standard turret press breaking. I've had one for nearly 6 years and reload everything I shoot on it (.223, 7.62 X 54R., 30-30, 38/.357, .44 Mag/Spec., 45 ACP). I have no quota nor am I in any hurry so most of the time I disable the auto index and "batch load" 100 rounds or so at a time (my .223 is a single shot!). The only thing I can't do is size bullets with a Lee sizer because the plastic top/bullet catcher, won't fit on the turret; the other dies are in the way. Another "problem" with my standard press is used primers go where ever they want to go, but I just put a 5 gallon pail under the press. Of my 4 presses (one hand held, one "c" style, one C-H single stage, and the Lee turret) my Lee Turret gets used the most...

dagger dog
September 3, 2011, 03:24 PM

Go to the Lee Factory Sales site you can pick up the Classic Turret press only for 86 bucks ,comes with one 4 hole turret and the little gizze to mount the on press primer system. If you are going to prime on the press then order the Saftey Primer Feed LG&SM #90997it's an extra $20.98.

Lost Sheep
September 3, 2011, 04:14 PM
The Lee Classic Turret (not to be confused with the Lee Classic Cast, which is a single stage press) and the Lee Deluxe Turret operate in exactly the same manner. (Except for some older, now discontinued models of the Deluxe which have 3 die stations - and, no, the 4-hole turrets do not interchange with the 3-hole turrets.)

Same speed, many of the same parts and same operating mode and technique.

But there are differences.

The Deluxe Turret is the older design of the two.

The Classic Turret's base is cast iron, the Deluxe is cast aluminum. Iron wears better than the softer metal, aluminum.

The Deluxe has a smaller vertical opening than the Classic Turret. Though either is capable of taking long rifle cartridges.

The Deluxe drops primers out of a slot in the ram to fall into a cavity inside the press base. But only about 90% succeed in their intended journey. The Classic drops primers down the center of the hollow ram and into a clear plastic tube which can contain a few hundred primers or be directed into a receptacle of your choice. The difference in the behavior of the debris (products of combustion) from the spent primers is even more striking. With the Deluxe, you wind up with primer detritus all over and have to dismount the press and sweep up the pile of spent primers every several hundred rounds.

The Deluxe ram is smaller than the Classic's ram. This gives a much larger bearing surface for the ram to be guided as if moves up and down.

The Deluxe's linkage is aluminun and stampings. The Classic's linkage is more robust. I believe the leverage on both is the same.

The Deluxe is aluminum, spills spent primers and has a slightly smaller opening (which you may find important when loading long cartridges or long bullets. Unfortunately, Kempf's is the only seller I know of who assembles a kit containing the Classic Turret. All the other kits I found when I was researching turrets last June (2010) were built around the Deluxe.

I think that's about it.
Good luck.

Lost Sheep

September 3, 2011, 05:18 PM
Am I the only one that forgets that pushing the primer catch tube UP onto the ram forces the handle DOWN?

Nope, I've thumped myself in the head something fierce before I learned that lesson. :rolleyes:

September 3, 2011, 10:15 PM
I second that - check out They are right down the street from the factory. Their prices were so much lower than the Lee website I called Lee to confirm they were legit. They are, and they shipped FAST.

September 3, 2011, 10:38 PM

I haven't heard/read of the bases of the standard turret press breaking.

Well hear first hand. The aluminum "TOGGLE" that links the lever to the ram, snapped in half on mine about 10 days ago while reloading 9mm pistol.

This may have been round 25,001 (estimated on empty powder containers), but it snapped into two pieces. It was "cheap" at 3$ plus shipping, but I was down for about 4 days.

The toggle is actually "TWO" separate pieces, one for the right side of the ram and one for the left. The right side snapped. I went ahead and ordered both.
LEE swore that both sides were the same, but they weren't on my press. The bolt attaching the lever to the toggle has a "recessed" nut on the left side toggle--the right side doesn't have a recess. When I sent LEE a picture, they sent me a longer bolt--another 3 days.

Anyway, steel and cast iron would have prevented this little hassle along with the several work-arounds needed for the cast aluminum press..

September 3, 2011, 11:16 PM
Snuffy nailed it. The clasic turret is a much better press. I don't know what equipment you have already if any. If you need more than the press then check out the kit at and it should have everything you need except a scale and caliper. If you buy the kit from kempf you will also want to upgrade to the pro auto disk measure and both safety primes.

September 3, 2011, 11:20 PM
A quick note regarding the VERY nice Pro powder dispenser - you will need a riser for the powder thru die so that the dispenser will clear the safety prime system.

I use and like their adjustable charge bar rather than the disks except for my tiny .380 loads for which I use the micro disk.

September 4, 2011, 01:05 AM
I agree with Snuffy and RustyFN. I bought a classic cast turret last year and absolutely love the whole set up. I got the pro auto disc and safety prime system with mine. The auto disc is amazingly accurate and the safety system works great too. My old Rockchucker hardly gets used at all since the CCT.

357 Terms
September 4, 2011, 07:14 AM
I love my classic! Fishslalyer lol! I don't know how many time I have donked my head in the same way!
Vartarg- check out Natchez; last I looked they had the classic for $91.

September 4, 2011, 07:32 AM
I bought the Deluxe Lee Turret Press. The next day, I put in the box and sent it back and got the Classic. It's a much more heavy duty piece of equipment.

September 4, 2011, 10:41 AM
I'll just add another 2 bits about the Lee presses.
I had/have almost decided to get a new Lee turret.
But, going through the Lee listings is really a pain with all the various kits they list. Yech!
Buy a bare press and then go through the catalog trying to find all the parts you need to get the thing up and running, or try and find one of their super duper deluxe kits in a caliber you can use and then just have to add die sets you need :banghead:

September 4, 2011, 11:02 AM
I do agree with Johnm on the kits.

September 4, 2011, 11:35 AM
JohnM and oldreloader--if you go to the kempf's site for their reloading kits with the (Lee) Classic Turret here (, I think you find it easier to sort out the order needs.

And, although a bit dated on the pricing, here ( is a link to a site thread showing an order list for a Classic Turret. The comments on this list help flesh out a complete order. Googling here in this forum will bring up numerous similar discussions.

Jim H.

September 4, 2011, 11:46 AM
Jim H,
Now that kempf site and their Lee press set ups does take out a lot of the confusion.
When I was looking at the kits in the Lee catalog i kept thinking, wait, I don't need a lot of this stuff.

September 4, 2011, 12:05 PM
I have to give a kudo's to Kemp's as well, when I ordered mine they were very helpful, even figuring out what would be the cheapest way for me to go as I was loading both .223 and .40 and ordering at the same time. Order some of the plastic doohickies that goes on the index rod, I forget what they are called but if you are anything like me you will forget to completely raise the handle and then turn the turret, it wears them out very quickly, fortunately they are cheap, but I'm learning not to do it, I think.

Turns out that little gizmo is called a square ratchet, Lee part TF3567, it cost .50 I think I ordered half a dozen so I didn't have to think about it for years and years. If Mr. Murphy is true to form I will never need another one.

September 4, 2011, 01:28 PM
I would go with the classic......I have the deluxe and I am getting ready to order the classic from what I read it has more room from the turret to bottom of the ram. I would need this for the 308 round I do for my AR.

September 4, 2011, 02:02 PM
jfh, Kemp's "kit" is a well put together option and would be an excellent choice IMO with the pro auto disc upgrade. ALL the equipment in that kit is something one would normally buy fot the LCT anyway. Most kits contain quite a few add ins that are questionable in quality and are usually replaced in a short time. Kemp's kit does not.
September 4, 2011, 02:33 PM
I'm with everyone else, get the classic turret. I had mine for severeal years and the only issue I ever had was the plastic square indexing piece wore out occasionally so get some extras just in case. Last year I got the bug and decided I needed to go progressive so I got the Hornady ap press. I Liked it so much I decided that I didnt need the lee turret press anymore so I sold it. My lnl is still going strong but man I can find projects that the lee turret would be perfect for.

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