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Converting Lee Pro 1000 from .45ACP to .223

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by arizona_cards_11, May 31, 2010.

  1. arizona_cards_11

    arizona_cards_11 Well-Known Member

    I currently am reloading in .45 ACP and I am going to begin reloading in .223. Just want to make sure that I have everything I need and nothing I don't.

    1) Shell plate and plate carrier #4

    2) Lee PaceSetter Dies

    3) Lee Rifle Powder Charging Die 22 to 30 Cal

    4) Lee Double Disk Auto-Charge kit

    Does this look to be all I need?

    Would you suggest doing the full length resizing/depriming step separately on an initial pass because of the force required?
  2. Tacoma

    Tacoma Well-Known Member

    Not so simple. Your going from one of the easiest to load cartridges to a tapered bottle neck cartridge. Also going from carbide to carbon steel dies. read: PITA. You'll want another turret so as not to loose your settings. Then you'll need some case lube ( to keep the cases from getting stuck) and primer pocket reamer. A vernier caliper for precise measuring is also a must. A case trimmer, and reamer/deburring tool is a near must unless you plan on tossing out of spec cases ( which will be many after their first firing.) You'll also need the large primer conversion for the 1000 unless you intend to prime on another machine.

    p.s. If your reloading for a AR, your particular gun may demand that you use small based dies for proper functioning. Not uncommon in these guns. My two bushmasters would not feed ANY reload made on std .223 dies.
    FWIW, I don't reload for everyday .223 needs as the ammo is cheap enough and the process a PITA (IMHO). I only relaod when I'm looking to get match grade ammo in heavier bullets for long range shooting.
    Last edited: May 31, 2010
  3. arizona_cards_11

    arizona_cards_11 Well-Known Member

    .......I hope I'm not in over my head. Does anyone suggest using the RCBS case prep machine? Is it faster?
    Last edited: May 31, 2010
  4. degunner

    degunner Well-Known Member

    My buddy taught me on a lee p1000, and i did the opposite went rifle to pistol I had no problems with it other than my mistakes. You do not need another turret, changing calibers takes a few minutes but not hard.
    Get a case trimmer I use a lyman universal that covers most calibers, the case lube unless you find carbide dies for .223 (heard of 'em but never seen 'em), a caliper for measuring case and oal (harbour freight digital is suprisingly good), deburring tool and the primer conversion.
  5. ants

    ants Well-Known Member

    Yes, it is simple and easy.

    Just in case you get bum advice from someone on an internet forum, gather advice from many sources before making a decision.

    For what it's worth, I've been using the P1000 on and off for years to reload 223 Remington. I usually use the single-station press. But the P1000 works well. For most users, I would offer the following:
    • Tumble and lubricate the cases. Inspect for splits or other defects (read your manual). Adjust the sizing die to bump the shoulder back until the cases fit the chamber if you shoot an AR15 (do a search on this subforum, we've covered it a million times). This is a trial-and-error task. A bolt rifle may or may not require shoulder bump, you'll have to discover that yourself. For a nice accurate bolt rifle, you'll want the cases to fit the chamber nicely without extra movement.
    • Run the cases through the P1000 with only the sizing die and collect them in a container as they fall out. Back out the other two dies for this step.
    • Using any case trimmer you want (the cheap Lee setup works OK) do your trimming. The equipment is up to you, they all work well. Trim to 0.010" less than maximum SAAMI case length. If you don't already have one, a cheap chamfer/deburr tool should be used after you trim the case neck. Just to get the crap out of the way.
    • With the sizing die removed, run the cases back through the P1000 to prime, charge, seat bullet. No need to crimp unless you discover that you have a setback problem. Back out the sizing die for this run.

    An extra 3-hole turret is handy. Often less than 10 buck on sale. Cheap enough.

    That would be my generic advice to a person using the P1000 to load 223 Rem.

    I don't use the case feeder tubes for 223 Rem, just place a case in front of the slider and it does its job.
    If you get a second shellplate carrier, it comes with both priming setups. You don't have to buy another.
    I don't clean primer pockets in 223 Rem. I only clean pockets for serious match grade efforts in larger calibers.
    As long as you can bump the shoulder back with your standard sizing die, the Small Base series is a waste of your money. Some really picky rifles need them (I own one of them) but the standard sizing die works for the vast majority of semiauto/lever/pump rifles.
    I reload match ammo for half the cost of surplus crap ammo, but it's your wallet, you decide what the effort is worth.
    Sort your brass by primer pocket: Commercial stuff is easy, but milspec crimped pockets may or may not prime easily. If it doesn't, reaming or swaging the pocket may be necessary. Do a search on that, we've covered it a million times.
    I've never reamed the case neck of 223 Rem once-fired brass.
    The vast, vast majority of 223 Rem cases that I throw into the recycle bin have split necks.
  6. arizona_cards_11

    arizona_cards_11 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all the advice and help. I see that doing things in stages is going to be the most beneficial for both accuracy and my sanity.

    As far as the powder charging die, am I going to need to pick up a different one since the die that came with the press also expands the .45 cases? If so, which one exactly?
  7. ants

    ants Well-Known Member

    The Rifle Chargie Die is the right piece. It replaces the powder-through expanding die for pistol.

    With the RCD in place, you can use two different powder measures. You can use your Pro Auto Disk with the double disk kit and use it the same automatic mode to which you are accustomed, OR you can fit the Perfect Powder Measure on top. However, the PPM is not automatic. You have to crank it to charge each case. If you do that, be aware that the biggest error will be you forgetting to crank the powder measure. Promise yourself to look into every case to get visual assurance that you have powder, then proceed to the next stage.

    Not: My RCD came with concentric machine marks on the bottom end of the drop tube (the metal tube inside the die). Although it worked for 270 and larger calibers, it didn't let the small 223 case get centered, so I got spilled powder all the time. I polished it to remove the machine marks, and all is good.
  8. Tacoma

    Tacoma Well-Known Member

    Perhaps I should clarify so as to keep you from panicking ;-) . When I say "PITA", I mean in comparison to a straight walled pistol case that requires no lube, trimming, deburring, measuring, double disk, etc. It's not difficult, just more work and steps than this old ( and admittedly spoiled) pistol shooter cares to deal with on a regular basis.
    Give it a shot. If your saving $ and/or having fun, it's a good investment of your time.

    p.s. x2 on the read as mch as you can in as many different places as you can advice.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2010
  9. arizona_cards_11

    arizona_cards_11 Well-Known Member

    Thanks a ton guys. Fortunately, I've been trained from a very young age to withstand frustrating/time consuming activities that require a lot of patience.......golf.
  10. RVenick

    RVenick Well-Known Member

    I load 223 on my Pro 1000 and concur with everything posted above. I do my loading a little differently though I use the P1000 to deprime resize first then I trim, chamfer, deburr. I tried priming on the P1000 and had mixed results most primers seated good but a few had to be ran through a second time so I decided to use my Breechlock single stage to prime using the Lee Safety Prime that was the way to go for me. I had picked up 1500 once fired 5.56 LC so I primed em all and put em in a sealed container. So now when I need to load I just use the Rifle Charging Die with the DD kit and the seating die. I can do about 200 an hour. I use AA2230 it meters perfectly through the Pro Disk.
  11. Pathfinder1

    Pathfinder1 Member

    Great info.I also have a conversion question. There is someone who has a Lee Pro 1000 for sale for $50 firm set up for .44mag. I need one for 9mm. How much to buy the dies to convert to 9mm. Would it be worth it. I tried to find 9mm replacement dies for the Pro 1000 on the internet, but not only couldn't find any, I also don't know exactly what I need. I'm wondering if it would be less hassle to just get new in my caliber. Any experienced appreciated.Scott
  12. evan price

    evan price Well-Known Member

    Pathfinder, the Pro-1000 uses the same dies any other press would use. They are standard 7/8x14 iirc.
    To change from 44 mag (#11) to 9mm Luger (#19) you would need one of two ways:

    Lee Pro-1000 shellplate carrier assembly for 9mm (#19)
    Lee Pro-1000 shellplate #19, plus a small primer chute and punch to convert your 44 mag carrier to 9mm.

    You would also need the small pistol case feeder & slide & straight "Z"-bar (If you want a case feeder) & a set of 9mm carbide dies.

    For $50 it's a steal but be sure it includes the powder measure and primer tray because these will cost extra if not included.
  13. Pathfinder1

    Pathfinder1 Member

    Thanks for the info evan, it may come in handy for the future. Someone bought the thing..so, so much for that. But I'm going to keep my eye out for one just in case

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