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Seriously thinking about a single stage press, but....

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by GaryL, May 18, 2010.

  1. GaryL

    GaryL Well-Known Member

    Basically, I'm looking for a single stage for brass prep. Open to anyone's opinions, and I'm sure a quick search would turn up plenty of those...

    BUT, then I got to thinking the Lee turret is only a few bucks more, and it could be set up for 3 different rifle sizes, and a bullet pulling station, w/o having to change dies. Or at least, not very often.

    So, how would that compare to a regular beefy O frame? Does that idea make any sense?
  2. Elmar66

    Elmar66 Member

    Makes perfect sense, Lee makes great products for that!

    I guess another question would be, what calibers are you intending to use this for. If it's rifle you'll also likely want to reload with it too.

    Despite all the "Buy Blue Only" rhetoric, there are thousands of satisfied Lee customers out there.

    You may want to go to www.loadmastervideos.com to find great information on all of Lee's offerings.
  3. kutter

    kutter Well-Known Member

    Actually that is exactly what I went with. Sometimes I use it as a single by removing the index rod and sometimes I use it as a turret.

    Lee precision did some sort of a test where they turned the support arms down to 1/8" diameter and reloaded with it so I think it should be strong enough.
  4. UltimateReloader

    UltimateReloader Well-Known Member

    I would go with the Lee Classic Turret (cast iron) over the other Lee turrets first off since you didn't specify. Sounds like a good plan to me!

    If you are looking at a turret, don't overlook the Redding T-7 - 7 stations, swappable turret heads, and best-in-class priming system (slide bar).

    Also don't rule out the Hornady Lock-N-Load single stage because the dies pop out so easy, it may as well be a turret if you don't need auto-index :)

    I have HD videos of all but the classic turret up here: www.ultimatereloader.com (Lee is on it's way, I have the press already).
  5. GaryL

    GaryL Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the feedback. Since I didn't mention it earlier, I have a 550b which works great for reloading rifle, but I don't like having it tied up for days while I process rifle brass in prep for loading. I was thinking in terms of a classic cast single stage to process the brass at my leisure, but then noticed that for about $10 more a turret would have several dies all set to go, like a 223, 308, and 30-06. Just turn the dial to switch calibers.

    Anyway, I just looking for something solid and reliable and reasonably priced. Don't really care what color it is. Red looks ok with blue, doesn't it? :uhoh:
    Last edited: May 18, 2010
  6. GaryL

    GaryL Well-Known Member

    At first, I was thinking something along the lines of something like a tank, RCBS, Redding, Lee Classic cast, etc, but the Lee is very reasonably priced.

    Original plan, $86 at Midway:

    Intriguing idea, $95 at Midway:

    So for $9 more, 4 calibers, or 3 and a bullet puller.

    Now if the single makes measurably better ammo, I may have to swing that way. I certainly don't want to go backwards. Somewhere around here I have posted what my '06 hunting loads do (would have to search it out). A couple weekends ago I was at the range with one of my brothers, and he was sighting in his hunting rifle with different commercial loads. Handed him some of my handloads, and he was very impressed. Cut his groups by more than half.
  7. BigJakeJ1s

    BigJakeJ1s Well-Known Member

    The LCC will work with Hornady's LNL press conversion kit, which includes the press bushing and three (?) die bushings for quick and easy die swapping.

    The LCT will work fine but you either have to remove the dies from the turret plate for storage, or store the whole plate with dies somewhere.

    If you are only using it for brass prep, die changing time should not be that big of an issue anyway.

    Depending on your budget, you might also consider the Forster Co-Ax (what I use/recommend), or Redding UltraMag press (especially for longer than standard magnum length cartridges).

  8. JimKirk

    JimKirk Well-Known Member

    Forster CoAX

    If you'd like to invest in a press that will be with you until you get too old to pull the handle and your grandkids will enjoy using it too. Good part is that it is ready to use, you don't have to rebuild it and get all the burs off and out. Precision at it best, precision ammo that will stand with the best. Costs a little more, but worth every dime!
  9. mongoose33

    mongoose33 Well-Known Member

    I'd echo BigJake's suggestiong to look at the Lee Classic Cast. You can then use the Hornady LnL bushing system in it (you need a conversion bushing), but then you can quickly change out anything you want in 5 seconds.

    That's what I'm using as a SS. Further benefit is that the Classic Cast press has a nifty primer disposal system which drops the primer through the ram down a tube. Very nice.
  10. Blackrock

    Blackrock Well-Known Member

    I use an old C&H O' press a guy gave me for my utility work. Lots of freebies out there if you ask around.
  11. NotSoFast

    NotSoFast Well-Known Member

    I agree with UltimateReloader. Get the Lee Classic Turret press. I love mine and reload everything from 9mm to .30-06. And I have a turret for each caliber I load so I don't have to remove dies each time I switch. It takes up a little more room, but I figure it's worth it.
  12. mallc

    mallc Well-Known Member

    Plus 1 on used press.

    Always seems to be a used press turn up when a guy's looking for one. For me, they used to turn up right after I bought a new one. Now I just wait.

    Bought a MEC 600 Jr 12 ga with a full bottle of shot for $20 last weekend and passed up rusty cast iron Rock Chucker at the same table for $40. Presses pretty much never wear out.

  13. GaryL

    GaryL Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all the ideas and suggestions.

    Blackrock, mallc - I seem to miss out on the good deals, which have been few. Some of the old farts around here got wind that reloading stuff is suddenly worth some money, but fail to realize their well used and rusty single stage, while a good brand and everything, is priced way too close to a shiny new Classic Cast.

    BigJakeJ1s, mongoose33 - Appreciate the tips and experience. Was at Cabelas today, and noticed Hornady has the bullet deal going. It's really out of my budget, but tempting nonetheless. Actually, the die change really isn't an issue, and the die bushing kit makes a lot of sense.

    JimKirk - out of my budget. Would be nice though. Maybe someday....

    Elmar66 - I have to say, the 550b is a very nice machine. But it's still a machine, like all the rest. Honestly, I'd love to have one or two of every major brand made, and the time to play with each to get to know them and decide what they are best suited for. But time and $$$ are in short supply. Did I mention I'll have 3 kids in college next year? Actually, my son is at the AF Academy and his expenses are paid (deferred really), but there's parents weekend, and flights back home, etc.

    Anyway, leaning back towards the LCC. Rock solid construction, should be quite accurate, and pulling the handle on one at Cabela's - it sure is smooth.
  14. ranger335v

    ranger335v Well-Known Member

    "thinking the Lee turret is only a few bucks more,..

    I agree, if you mean the Classic Turret.

    I'm a low volume, precision hand loader so my choice is a single stage. I use a Rock Chucker II but if I were to get a new press tomorrow it would be the Lee Classic Cast, it's a better press in every respect. That said, the Classic Turret is unique and would likely serve your needs best.

    I have no use for any quick-change die bushings, they are an added cost for virtually no benefit to me. Considering the length of an average loading sesson starting with removing cases from the tumbler and seperating the media, checking each case for defects and clearing the flash holes, lubing/sizing them, priming them, weighing/charging powder and seating bullets, a minute or two "saved" with quick change dies is pointless.

    BUT, the easily and quickly swapped Lee turret heads can be swapped in seconds with no tools and costs about the same as a batch of die inserts. Get a new head for each cartridge you load for and a full set of dies can be set up and ready to go in about the same amount of time takes to swap a single insert mounted die. That seems to obtain the "quick change" goal with finesse.
  15. JimKirk

    JimKirk Well-Known Member

    Hey I started down a different road too, a much leaner one too!!

    Jimmy K

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