Moving into a turret press (for handgun only)...


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Ridgerunner665
October 10, 2011, 09:37 PM
Got a Lee Classic 4 hole turret on the way, along with an auto-disk powder measure and a powder through expander die...

I had to do something, my old RockChuckers and I can't keep up with demand anymore.

I've never been a big fan of Lee stuff...but I like the looks of that press for the $$$. As long as I can get the rest of it to work I'll be happy.

I only plan on using for pistol rounds anyway (45acp, 38 Spl, 357)

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1SOW
October 10, 2011, 11:03 PM
JMO: I think you'll be satisfied if your shooting hasn't already outgrown the Lee press "comfortable" level. I'm shooting around 250 9mm/wk. avg--sometimes more, and have started to yearn for a progressive.

If you shoot all three calibers regularly, you'll need three turrets with dies for convenience.

It's a good press.

Ridgerunner665
October 10, 2011, 11:14 PM
Yeah....I'm gonna get at least one more turret (I'm think I'll just use weak 357 loads, and not fool with the 38 stuff...no need for 2 different kinds of brass that way)

Fishslayer
October 10, 2011, 11:59 PM
I've been very happy with my Lee Classic Turret for those calibers + 9mm.

I bought a turret and riser for each caliber. Changing calibers is a snap.

x2 on reloading .357 brass only. I've built up a stock of .38 Special but only because I had a ton of brass & hated seeing it wasted.
For range use I just load 4gr of Green Dot under a 158gr LSWC in the Magnum case.

16in50calNavalRifle
October 11, 2011, 12:08 AM
1SOW has it right. Good press. Of course your volume of shooting will determine whether it meets your needs.

I am/will be loading the same calibers as you, plus 30 carbine. So far it's worked quite well (as has the Pro Auto Disk and the Safety Prime - they seem flimsy at first, esp. compared to the press and turrets, which remind me of an Iowa-class battleship, but actually work very well).

I plan to do some of that 38 load-in-357 brass thing myself, to reduce the carbon ring in revolver cylinders (esp. a somewhat special snub that I want to shoot but pamper).

Actually I have not yet done high-rate indexed production, just some slow familiarization reloading, single-stage (just yank out the indexing rod) and low-rate indexed. One reads about 100-150 rounds/hour for handgun ammo when you're really in the groove. Seems possible. Set up a good work-flow arrangement and you should be able to crank out plenty.

I bought used (very slightly used). The black plastic index clamp is stripped - emailed Lee about it over the weekend, woke up today to a response saying a replacement was in the mail free of charge. So customer service should not be a problem if you need it.

hAkron
October 11, 2011, 12:48 AM
I started with a Rock Chucker single stage, moved to a Lyman T-Mag II Turret, then to a Hornady progressive. The Lee turret presses with the auto index are supposed to be amazing.

greyling22
October 11, 2011, 12:59 AM
you're going to want their safety prime gizmo too if you don't already have on on order. (probably a spare index ratchet ring as well) Watch the setup videos, smear a little 10w30 around the turret ring and you'll be in business. I think you'll really enjoy the press.

Lost Sheep
October 11, 2011, 02:37 AM
I started with RCBS Jr, but quickly traded to a RockChucker (happened upon a fortunate trade). Then moved up to Lee Pro-1000 progressive, which I never really got comfortable with. So, after 35 years I discovered the Lee Classic Turret. I repopulated almost my entire loading bench with Lee gear and could not be happier.

I have my RockChucker for anything that needs a lot of leverage or absolute rigidity and the Classic Turret for 9mm 357 mag, 44 mag, 45 ACP, 45 Colt 454 Casull and 480 Ruger/485 Linebaugh.

I believe you will be very happy with the two presses you have.

Congratulations.

Lost Sheep

ArchAngelCD
October 11, 2011, 04:19 AM
I have been loading .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .45 Auto, 9mm and 45 Colt ammo on a Lee Classic 4 hole turret press for over 6 years now and I'm very glad I bought that press. I'm sure you will really like that press. I can safely load between 180 and 200 rounds an hour. I even use it for some rifle loading too. I like not having to change out dies and it's especially good for loading .223 ammo.

JDGray
October 11, 2011, 06:13 AM
My Lee turret puts out very consistant HG ammo! I still use my SS press for all sizing and hand prime in batches, so when I need fast ammo production the case prep is done. Can easily put out 400rds per hour using this method.

dickttx
October 11, 2011, 11:34 AM
+1 one the LCT w/Pro Auto Disk and Safety Prime. I have never tried for much speed, but have found that if I am not careful I lose a lot of time fiddling with the bullet at the seating station. I think if I put just a little more flare in the case mouth I could just "set and forget" and the output would increase significantly.

chhodge69
October 11, 2011, 11:56 AM
I have that same setup and only have minor complaints. Overall I'm happy with the press, it's the accessories that give me problems. Save yourself some headaches and 1) stay away from flake powders like Unique; 2) don't waste your money on the adjustable charge bar; and 3) don't depend on the auto-index gizmo, it's designed to break.

RandyP
October 11, 2011, 01:53 PM
I totally disagree - using Win231/HP-38 my adjustable charge bar has been super-consistent. As to the black plastic ratchet? It seems to ONLY break/strip if the user tries to rotate the turret by hand with the handle at full stroke - namely operator error. It is designed to fail if the user goofs up rather than damage the mechanicals.

At a very relaxed pace I'm doing 150-175 rounds per hour.

CraigC
October 11, 2011, 02:05 PM
I like the RCBS turret because it has six stations, enough for at least two sets of dies per turret head.

1KPerDay
October 11, 2011, 02:41 PM
You're going to love the LCT for handgun, IMO. WAY faster than single stage, and super quick and easy caliber/primer changes and refills. I love mine.

Here's a quick vid to whet your appetite while you wait.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iHPmGXyB6g

1SOW
October 12, 2011, 12:48 AM
and 3) don't depend on the auto-index gizmo, it's designed to break.


For new-to-the-press reloaders, you have to start AWARE that the turret can't be moved by hand UNLESS the lever is at least half-way down raising the square index above the spirals on the indexing rod.

When I first started using the press, I blew through two of the plastic square index parts. I now load many thousands of 9mm on one square index.

It is a good idea to have a few spares when you start. They are somewhere around 25/50 cents (?) each + shipping.

oldreloader
October 12, 2011, 01:43 AM
I have a LCT w/Pro Auto Disk and Safety Prime. I load 9MM and 45 ACP. I also bought the adjustable charge bars (several) and once I get one set for a charge I like I don't change it. Just Check them when I change bars. I use HP38, AA#5, AA#7, and Bullseye. They are accurate with all those powders. I'm still using the same plastic rachet that came in the press.

Ridgerunner665
October 12, 2011, 01:55 AM
I changed my order to the Pro auto disk measure last night...

ArchAngelCD
October 12, 2011, 02:22 AM
I changed my order to the Pro auto disk measure last night...
I'm glad you did, it's a MUCH better tool than the standard auto-disk.

Ridgerunner665
October 12, 2011, 02:34 AM
Someone mentioned the RCBS turret...

I've been reloading with green equipment since I first started, hard core dedicated RCBS guy here (and still am)...but I just don't like the design of ANY of those turrets (Redding or RCBS) with a bolt through the center...sure, it makes room for more dies but it gets everything too far off center to suit me...

4 holes is plenty anyway...those Lee turrets are only $12 each...if I need to change calibers, I'll just change the whole turret...no need for more than 4 dies, for me at least.

ArchAngelCD
October 12, 2011, 02:39 AM
I agree, the Lee press is just fine as are the 4 holes in their turrets. I have 8 turrets set up ready to go since they are so cheap. That setup is very convenient. BTW, turrets with dies are very easy to store when you put them in the Lee round die cases. I even bought a bunch of round cases to use for storage when the dies come in the square box. (Lee 4 die pistol sets)

Lost Sheep
October 12, 2011, 02:59 AM
For new-to-the-press reloaders, you have to start AWARE that the turret can't be moved by hand UNLESS the lever is at least half-way down raising the square index above the spirals on the indexing rod.

When I first started using the press, I blew through two of the plastic square index parts. I now load many thousands of 9mm on one square index.

It is a good idea to have a few spares when you start. They are somewhere around 25/50 cents (?) each + shipping.
It does not matter what the position of the ram is. The more important factor is what the direction of the most recent movement of the ram was. If the ram last moved up, you are OK. If the ram's last movement was DOWN, the ratchet is engaged with the notches and will break if the turret is moved in opposition to its normal direction. If moved in it's normal direction, it should still be good.

Even so, I try never to move the turret while the indexing arm is covering the twisted portion of the indexing rod. Camming action might cause the ratchet to engage the notches and that could break the ratchet, too.

The last price I saw quoted from Factory Sales (a popular seller of the Lee goods) was $1.00 for two square ratchets. The indexing arm is $6.00 each. It makes sense to make the 50 cent ratchet sacrifice itself to protect a $6 part.

Lost Sheep

1SOW
October 12, 2011, 03:08 AM
It does not matter what the position of the ram is.

IF THE RAM IS up, the disc can be turned either way. It is disengaged.

LeonCarr
October 12, 2011, 10:34 AM
I really like my Redding T-Mag Turret Press. Built like a tank, very minimal slop or play in the turret, bought it after reading 35 five star reviews on MidwayUSA.

Worth every penny. The Lee products are good and priced right, but the cast iron Redding T-Mag is the best turret press on the market.

Just my .02,
LeonCarr

Jeff H
October 12, 2011, 01:17 PM
It does not matter what the position of the ram is. The more important factor is what the direction of the most recent movement of the ram was. If the ram last moved up, you are OK. If the ram's last movement was DOWN, the ratchet is engaged with the notches and will break

This is a correct statement.

The indexing is a bit of a mystery until you take it apart to replace your 1st plastic thinge. Once you see how it slides up and down to engage/disengage, it is pretty apparent that any up movement disengages the ratchet and any down movement engages it. Once the plastic thinge is disengaged, you can turn the turret without damage. Even if you are right over the twist in the rod. It won't matter.

RandyP
October 12, 2011, 01:45 PM
Ram up or ram down, the reason for my posting was just to 'defend' the wise use by Lee of that very low cost sacrificial part to prevent more substantial operator induced damage to the press. I have the original spare and I think a couple others but in the last 2 years years have not needed them. The black plastic square is not a Lee 'problem' it is a Lee simple solution to ham handed users.

1KPerDay
October 12, 2011, 01:50 PM
I very severely like my Redding T-Mag Turret Press. Built like a tank, very minimal slop or play in the turret, bought it after reading 35 five star reviews on MidwayUSA.

Worth every penny. The Lee products are good and priced right, but the cast iron Redding T-Mag is the best turret press on the market.
Just curious; when you use your redding, do you batch reload, as you do with a single stage? Or do you turn the turret 3 or 4 times to complete a single round before moving on?

The great advantage of the LCT in my opinion is the auto-indexing feature. If the OP's intent is to greatly speed up the process of loading handgun ammo compared to a single stage, the LCT is an excellent choice.

For precision work/accuracy/heavy duty, I have no doubt that the Redding would be preferable. :cool: I'd buy one before I bought another single stage.

MrWesson
October 12, 2011, 02:40 PM
I use a lee turret and have gotten very fast with it(~300-340rds per min).

I have it on my back enclosed porch because I don't have anywhere else to put it and it has stood up well to south FL salt air but I do go through the square ratchets and rams.

Over time I have noticed the rams get rough/sharp edges to them and eat through the ratchets(fixed by light sanding) but eventually replacement is in order.

I have the lee deluxe kit which doesn't come with the primer catch but a few DIY options exist out there but I have resorted to vaccum and sweep. The lee deluxe turret kit comes with just about everything you need minus dies for 109.99.

1KPerDay
October 12, 2011, 02:51 PM
I use a lee turret and have gotten very fast with it(~300-340rds per min).

That is pretty dang fast. :uhoh: :D

RandyP
October 12, 2011, 02:52 PM
WOWSERS! I wanna see that youtube video -LOL

JDGray
October 12, 2011, 05:13 PM
I use a lee turret and have gotten very fast with it(~300-340rds per min).

Had a "6 Million dollar man" fashback:D

LeonCarr
October 12, 2011, 05:52 PM
Mr. 1KPerDay,

I "batch it" during resizing, priming, and powder drop(I have a whole bunch of loading blocks). I then move the turret three times for each round to flare, seat, and crimp. I feel it gives the best combination of quality and quantity. On a good day I can do about 150-200 rounds per hour with the brass already primed and charged.

Just my .02,
LeonCarr

Ridgerunner665
October 12, 2011, 07:43 PM
Just to be clear...I wasn't bashing anybody's RCBS or Redding press...I was just explaining why I bought the Lee.

1kPerDay summed it up pretty well...
The great advantage of the LCT in my opinion is the auto-indexing feature. If the OP's intent is to greatly speed up the process of loading handgun ammo compared to a single stage, the LCT is an excellent choice.

45+9
October 12, 2011, 08:33 PM
I've had the LCT for about a month, loaded a little over 3K rounds with it. If you got the kit from Kempf, call Sue and tell her to throw 6 of the little black plastic square ratchets in the order. They are 2 for a dollar, which is nothing unless you have to pay shipping.

I love the press, had nothing to do today and loaded 550 rounds between the dogs and internet.

Lost Sheep
October 12, 2011, 09:39 PM
I like the RCBS turret because it has six stations, enough for at least two sets of dies per turret head.
How much does the the RCBS 6-hole turret heads cost? Lee's 4-station turrets cost $10 to $15, depending on where you get them.

And the Auto-indexing clinched the deal for me. It is the ONLY turret that does that. Continuous processing saves a lot of time (inserting and removing cartridge cases) over batch processing.

To each their own. The RCBS turret is, by all reports, a good unit. I am keeping my RCBS RockChucker until I die.

Lost Sheep

CHALK22
October 12, 2011, 11:14 PM
I started my reloading career with a Lee 4 hole turret, got another Lee SS, and started shooting USPSA matches, and a lot of .223, and then started to outgrow the turret. I have since upgraded to a Hornady LNL AP. I still use the turret, and I feel I learned a ton from using it. You will enjoy it.

Ridgerunner665
October 12, 2011, 11:35 PM
I wanted a progressive....but I just don't have time these days to shoot enough to justify the cost...maybe after I retire. (a long time to go)

All I need is to be able to produce about 1,000 rounds in 1 day of reloading...I'm usually home for 4-5 days when I get there....so if I'm out of ammo, I'll be able to load enough to shoot for a day or 2 without spending my whole time off at the bench.

I enjoy loading too...but my wife has started shooting more, her Mom has joined her, my Dad is getting pretty hardcore about too. Dad always did enjoy shooting but had gotten out of it due to the cost...but with me loading for him he seems to have found a way to spend his retirement, LOL.

I also have a couple of friends that I load for...but their volume is low, hunting ammo only...and its almost all rifle except for some 45 Colt, so I can do those "deer season runs" on the single stage.

Back to my wife...I've spent 10 years creating a monster that I now have to feed (so to speak)...she LOVES shooting, she carries 24/7/365...just like me. She goes through a lot of ammo while I'm on the road...

This is her...getting ready to go somewhere (I forget where)...I snapped this pic while she wasn't looking last week...it was one of those "What a woman!" moments.

http://i217.photobucket.com/albums/cc137/Ridgerunner665/1009111144.jpg

ArchAngelCD
October 13, 2011, 05:17 AM
Ridgerunner665,
I wish I could get my wife to carry, you're a lucky man. I'm getting a little closer though, she did get her carry permit last week!!!

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
October 13, 2011, 09:33 PM
"Worth every penny. The Lee products are good and priced right, but the cast iron Redding T-Mag is the best turret press on the market.

Just my .02,
LeonCarr"

You obviously haven't ever used a Lee Classic Turret press or you wouldn't be making that statement.

Comparing the older turret designs like yours to the Lee Classic Turret is like comparing a Model T Ford to a current model Cadillac. Lots of iron and steel there, but not much real performance when compared to a modern press.

Just my .02 and I don't even own the Lee press. But I have owned both the Redding and Lee presses. The Lee pushed the Redding and a Lyman turret off my bench. Only reason I sold the Lee was a buddy of mine on a tight budget needed a press.

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
October 13, 2011, 09:39 PM
"On a good day I can do about 150-200 rounds per hour with the brass already primed and charged."

For the Lee, this is going slow. I could do about 300 per hour on the Lee with freshly tumbled brass that needed to be deprimed. And that's without straining and with good quality control.

Were the rounds accurate? Very much so.

Ridgerunner665
October 13, 2011, 11:42 PM
I think Dave is right...and I bet RCBS and Redding will both soon have a similar design on the market.

Whether you like Lee or not (I don't particularly myself...), you have to admit...the concept of that press (the Classic turret) is a step in the right direction.

Fishslayer
October 14, 2011, 02:44 AM
It is a good idea to have a few spares when you start. They are somewhere around 25/50 cents (?) each + shipping.

Yup. I wasn't aware of the turning by hand thing & wore out the first one in 2 years & many thousands of rounds. A spare one comes with the press but naturally I couldn't find it.

After receiving 10 new ones from Lee, of course I found the spare...:banghead:

But I'm set for 22 years... ;)


So... Ridgerunner... That is a REALLY nice.. ummm... GUN! Yeah! Nice GUN! That's the ticket! :D

http://i217.photobucket.com/albums/cc137/Ridgerunner665/1009111144.jpg

LeonCarr
October 14, 2011, 10:41 AM
Don't get me wrong, the Lee Classic Cast is a good design, and I think it is pretty cool that they are made from recycled railroad rails :).

I just like having a press with cast iron linkage connecting the handle to the ram. The Lee's linkage is made from aluminum. My Dillon 550B has broken/shattered/cracked its aluminum linkage twice in the past 16 years. The first time I blame on CCI Primers being hard to seat flush and the second time from just flat out use. Dillon took care of it no questions asked both times. The RCBS Junior I have was made in 1978, the RCBS Rockchucker I have was made in 1986, and the Redding T-Mag previously mentioned was made in 2009 and is used almost everyday. All have cast iron linkage and have had no issues whatsoever.

Just my .02,
LeonCarr

Ridgerunner665
October 15, 2011, 11:39 PM
Everything I have read says the Classic Turret has steel linkage...same as the Classic Cast.

Example...
http://www.midwayusa.com/Product/814175/lee-classic-4-hole-turret-press
Considered one of the most convenient presses to own, the Classic Turret Press features solid cast iron construction, the same steel linkage of the Classic Cast Press. Made from steel and cast iron, the Classic Turret works with small and large primers on the lever prime system. The Auto-Indexing feature can easily be deactivated, leaving the ram with 3-9" of stroke length.

LeonCarr is thinking of the "Deluxe turret"...that is sold in the kits, different press.

My press has arrived at my house (too bad I haven't), but I still need some other odds and ends before I'm ready to roll. I long ago stopped crimping 45acp ammo (no need for it) but I'm thinking since I have 4 holes on the turret to fill...I may get a set of Lee dies (4 die set) since that is what the press and powder measure are designed to work with (it can be made to work with other dies though)...I still gotta get the Pro Auto disk measure too...and a riser.

I did order 10 of the little plastic ratchet things from Lee...Midway wanted $1.99 for 1 of them, Lee has them for 50 cents.

LeonCarr
October 16, 2011, 01:11 AM
Ya got me Ridge...I stand corrected on the linkage material.

The Classic Turret will serve you well.

Just my .02,
LeonCarr

Ridgerunner665
October 28, 2011, 11:45 PM
OOPS!

I let my thread get behind...

I have set up my new press and loaded 320 rounds of 45acp on it...All rounds functioned fine, I am seating and crimping in separate operations just like I always have (seating with my old RCBS seater and crimping to .470" with the Lee seater die with the seating stem removed)...no bullet setback, accurate ammo, reliable function...at about 100 rounds per hour. I now have the Safety Prime, but haven't actually used it yet...I figure that will speed me up to at least 150 rounds per hour.

I have only used Power Pistol powder so far but I'm gonna see how Unique runs through it next round...also Red Dot, WST, and 231.

I was home last weekend and spent all weekend reloading and shooting but most of it was working up 243 loads for two different rifles for some friends, also loaded me 30 rounds of 308 ammo to get me through deer season...

I have 10 spare plastic ratchets, but so far haven't broken any...I lubed the operating rod, the turret, and the turret ring with with CLP and everything functions smoothly.

I really like this press...$$$ well spent!

Don't mind the mess, this bench saw a lot of action in those 2 days ;)...slightly blurry cell phone pic
http://i217.photobucket.com/albums/cc137/Ridgerunner665/1022112209.jpg

Bmac1949
October 29, 2011, 08:15 AM
I started reloading about a year ago with the Lee Challenger SS press and ended up ordering a Redding T-7 turret press. I prep, size and charge my brass in batch. And then flair, seat and crimp as I rotate the head of the press. My method is somewhat faster than loading on a SS, but the convience of having two sets of dies mounted in the head is good to have and the press is extreamly solid. It weighs 30 pounds. Before I got the Redding I looked closely at the Lee (I like his products for the most part) because the auto-indexing is really a great feature and extra turrets are priced right but in the end I thought that the over-built Redding would provide a little more precision.

wingman
October 29, 2011, 11:01 AM
My Lee Classic has loaded thousand of rounds,some learning curve at beginning broke one ratchet in early hours but after that none and I have extra, also use the charge bar with success never used the disc.

Confusion on ratchet in this thread is easily figure out by using lee instructions any doubts call or email a lee tech.

RustyFN
October 29, 2011, 10:53 PM
I have been loading on a classic turret for five years. I have been very happy with it. I like to reload at a comfortable pace. I sit down for three hours and load 500 rounds. I could speed it up to 600 rounds in three hours and still be loading very safe but I am comfortable with the 500.

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