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Load Master journey begins...

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by SSN Vet, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Well-Known Member

    Being a glutton for extra work.... and about as tight with a dollar as they come...
    I've just taken delivery of a brandy new LM.

    I guess I can't just buy something and use it.... I need to tickle it, dissect it and play with it.... and then use it. So I figured the LM was the press for me. This way I develop a "relationship" with my tools and embark on a "journey" with them :p

    The Journey began right out of the gate, because my LM arrived over-packed by FS Reloading.... and the small hole in the outer box, translated to a somewhat larger hole in the inner box... and the manual and the catalog :what:

    Basically, Lee's attempt at custom packaging is (in keeping with their over all philosophy) minimalistic, and the cardboard cutout in the inner box failed to secure the press in place during what was obviously a pretty bumpy ride (the outer box was well weathered). So the press shifted (most likely during the UPS sorting) and the case feed ramp punched through everything.
    Upon inspection, nothing appeared damaged, but when I got into the setup... the carrier turned out to be grossly out of alignment. :(

    Let the fun begin! :neener:
  2. RandyP

    RandyP Well-Known Member

  3. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Well-Known Member

    Oh.... I'm already getting well acquainted with Sir Darwin and Shadowdog and the rest of the crew over there at LM videos. Great resource!

    I've probably watched 85% of the LM videos that are out there.... saving the "how to soup up and improve" videos for later.

    We have to savor each moment and stage of the process :D

    Thanks for the link just the same.

    I've been pulling the handle of a Classic Turre for about 4 years now and love that press. 95% of my loading and casting kit is Lee. I couldn't have afforded to get into the hobby if it wasn't for "brother Richard" ;)
  4. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Well-Known Member

    I did get in touch with Greg at FS, and I've got to say that their web site and customer communication is 1,000% greater than it was 3 years or so ago, when I first purchased from him.

    I figured that in keeping with the LM esprit de' corps, I had to see if I could overcome receiving a whacked press and make it right b4 I whined for a replacement.

    I want to make sure I keep my carbon footprint small and not send the brown truck out here to Boony land unnecessarily.
  5. Ken70

    Ken70 Well-Known Member

    Mount it on a seriously heavy and strong bench. If you try with a card table, you get the "one star" rating you see at Midway. The primer just sits on the punch and if you jerk the machine around it WILL move and then you get the priming problem.

    Other thing is develop a rhythmic motion with the handle. Not too fast, don't bang it off the stops at either end. Short stroking, quick jerky moves, all are bad news. Don't let the primer tray run down to the last couple of primers. It's gravity fed and needs a couple in the chute to feed them. I constantly see people complaining about primer issues when they let the tray run out, morons....I've had mine since '95....
  6. greyling22

    greyling22 Well-Known Member

    keep an eye on the nut that locks the turret into place and the one that holds the shell plate down. They tend to back out a bit and lead to issues. My biggest issue is with priming. I just got the very newest primer assembly (rev a stamped on the bottom and the new taller arm) that has seemed to FINALLY resolve most of the priming issues. It also helps not to slam the arm into fully up position to rotate the shell plate. indexing the plate slower and smoother helps give the primer arm time to fully move and drop a primer in. I think when you go too fast the arm bounces back on you and does not allow a primer to drop down the chute.
  7. JohnsXDM

    JohnsXDM Well-Known Member

    I've had my LM now for a couple of months and have run about 1500 rounds of 9mm thru it. After you go thru all the setups and start it will be a little tight but after 200 rounds or so it smooths out and you will learn what speed works best. There are lots of youtube vids out there to help with your setup. Good luck and happy reloading!
  8. Reefinmike

    Reefinmike Well-Known Member

    I ordered for the first time from fsreloading recently to accommodate my most recent purchase- 45 six banger bullet mold, bullet sizing die, 45 three die set, mold handles and an extra turret. order came out to $105, about $10 cheaper than midway. not a massive order, but there was still a benjamin in that box. package arrived usps priority box, upon picking it up, I was disheartened by how much noise was going on in the package. I first pulled out some random crumpled up newspaper ads, then a few of the large air packs, then some peanuts and got to my products. everything was OK, but my die set was cracked open and pieces and parts everywhere.... and those of you who have bought lee die sets know how difficult it is to open the box and how thick the plastic is...
  9. 777TRUTH

    777TRUTH Well-Known Member

    I would buy a Load Master for the same reason you did. In the mean time I'll enjoy my Hornady.
  10. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Well-Known Member

    After some careful observation and study, I've got the press indexing.

    And the case feed is working slick as butter. It's pretty impressive, just how well the case collator (simple plastic funnel) works.

    I've done some simple tweaks ...

    The threads in the nylon index rod flipper are not cut or molded, but simply press formed by screwing the threaded end of the index rod on by force. My flipper was so tight that I had to put the index rod in a vice b4 I could screw it off. So I cleaned up and cut the flipper hole threads deeper with a 10-28 tap. Now my flipper actually flips like it's supposed to, where it was putting lateral force on the index rod at the wrong time while it was bound up.

    I cleaned up some burrs on the end of the index rod with 400 grit emery paper, and polished up the edge that has the curve machined into it.

    When the lever arm pushes the index rod home to rotate the shell plate, the index rod starts the stroke with the flipper end canted out to the right, so as to make the other end of the rod engage the indexing pin machined into the bottom of the shell plate. But then the back end of the flipper slides across the front surface of the lever, as it is pushed forward, bringing the index rod back into it's "straight in" alignment. Well, the lever arm has a pretty rough texture from the casting process, and the butt end of the flipper drags more than it slides. So I took a fine grit dremmel sanding wheel to the lever at the point of contact and made it nice and smooths.

    These tweaks, along with careful alignment of the carrier and some strategic lubrication, followed by ~200 cycles, has the press indexing very smoothly.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2013
  11. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Well-Known Member

    I must say, there's quite a bit of satisfaction in getting this humming so far. And it's mechanism is both simple and quite ingenious.

    All I need to do now is set up the dies and the auto-disk and I'll be reloading.

    Somehow, I have a spare spring return for the auto-disk, and was wondering if anyone can think of a good reason why I should use the pull chain return over the spring return.
  12. greyling22

    greyling22 Well-Known Member

    it's designed to prevent double charging. it doesn't retract the disk until the ram is lowered all the way, and by that time the shell plate advances. I suppose also that since you're not fighting the spring as the case goes up into the powder die that it might result in a less effortful stroke (and with a tapered 9mm case, especially a thick one, and 5 dies at once the upstroke can get pretty difficult) That said, I use the spring. That way I can take the powder measure off and move it over to the turret press.
  13. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Well-Known Member

    Now that makes sense and gives smart reasons for each option!

    I set up with the chain and loaded with the press for the first time today. Progressive reloading is going to take some getting used to. With each stroke performing 5 tasks, I can't sense the unique feel of each task like I can on the turret press. And the visibility of what is going on at stations 1 & 2 is obscured.

    So I loaded 50 of my own cast 9mm 125 gr RN boolits, and I measured COAL, mouth diameter after crimping and did a 'clunk' test in my BHP barrel for each one. I also weighed several charges and measured the depth of the seated primers and am concluding that the press can deliver very repeatable dimensions.
  14. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Well-Known Member

    I did have two mishaps...

    1.) Despite segregating my 9mm brass by headstamp, I still managed to have a 38 auto case sneak into the colator, and I just couldn't figure out why that case wasn't getting belled properly in the powder though expanded die. After adjusting the die twice... I had the "Duh!" moment.

    2.) What I thought was a hard sizing case (I assumed it must have been bulged from a Glock) turned out to be the depriming pin in the universal de-capping die slipping in its collet on a tight (though not crimped) primer. I passed three cases on to station 2 for sizing and priming, only to mush the new primers like a pancake, and bind them up in the shell plate.

    On the turret press, if something doesn't feel right, you know exactly which operation is causing the problem. Not so with the progressive press.

    What I need to figure out is how to stop the case feeder from feeding cases, when I detect a problem and want to cycle the press empty. I know I can rotate the quad feed tubes 45 deg to block the cases from dropping. But once they've started to drop, there seems to always be a case in the way.
  15. greyling22

    greyling22 Well-Known Member

    I just tend to pick them off the slider and drop them back into the tubes as they drop down when I cycle the press empty.

    I have a lot more trouble with 9 than I do with 357 on the loadmaster. I think a lot has to do with the brass, specifically the occasional crimped primer or (winchester and nato stuff is bad about this) there not really being any bevel around the primer pocket to help guide the primer into the hole.

    After a few hundred rounds you will kind of be able to feel when something goes wrong. It kind of defeats the purpose of a progressive, but I leave the case retainer off station 3 and take every case off and check it to make sure the primer was seated correctly. I don't want to, but I have had enough issues with priming over the past 3 years that I just have to. I seem to get about a 1-3% failure rate with 9mm. 0-1% with 357.

    I keep thinking about building this but never get around to it.
  16. kingmt

    kingmt Well-Known Member

    I just bolted mine down, adjusted the care feed, dies, powder measure. Then I've been losing for a while.
  17. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Well-Known Member

    Update on the "journey"...

    I've just completed loading 1,300 9x19 rounds.

    ZERO misfed primers.

    I have struggled a little with cases tipping over as the case feeder pushes them in from under the column of cases, especially when the feed tube was full, with the weight of 25 cases on top. I've pretty much beat the problem by cycling the press handle up quickly to advance the case more rapidly.

    I'm getting more tuned into the press... I get more meaningful feedback from the sounds than the feel.

    Ready to switch over to .45 acp!
  18. tcanthonyii

    tcanthonyii Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the update. I'm thinking of getting a LM at some point as well. I'm too cheap to spend many times more for something if I can get a something decent for much less. I know the LM will require me to do some extra work but I'm OK with that. I know it doesn't work for some people but I don't mind putting in some time to get something working well. Lee has such good prices I don't see myself walking away from them and their equip any time soon. I do wish they'd come out with a scale that did more than 100 gr though. At least it would be cheap. I can't convince myself to pay for a 100 dollar scale and have never trusted electronic scales.
  19. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Well-Known Member

    The biggest shock of progressive press reloading for me, is realizing how fast you can chew through your materials. It takes what seems like no time at all to crank out 200 rounds.

    And I find myself spending more time prepping brass and boxing up finished ammo. than I do actually sitting at the press craninking.

    In the big scheme of things, I really didn't "need" a progressive press, as I already have a LCT press that keeps up with my present shooting habbits. So setting up the LM was really more about having a fun new toy, learning something new, and hoping to "up my game" by getting into some competetitive shooting next summer.
  20. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Well-Known Member

    another update...

    I've now set up for .45 acp on the new LM, and loaded 350 rounds...

    Still zero misfeeds on the priming system.

    45 cases feed 100% reliably form the case feeder... no tip overs as occasionally happens with the 9mm.

    Biggest issue so far is that the press gobbles up my components so fast :)

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