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Your experiences reloading rifle cartridges on a LCT

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Nordeste, Oct 2, 2013.

  1. Nordeste

    Nordeste Well-Known Member

    Plain and simple, I've always heard that rifle ammo was best reloaded on a single stage, for a single stage makes for better full length sizing (if required) compared to what progressives or turrets offer. My concern is whether that bit of play the LCT has at the turret area should be a factor to be considered, bearing in mind that this play is non existent in a single stage.

    Technically, the LCT is designed to withstand the extra stress of rifle ammo. Just would like to hear the opinions of those of you who reload your rifle ammo on it.

    Inputs appreciated.
  2. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Well-Known Member

    While I don't load rifle ammunition, I will contribute by noting that the turret rises up the same amount each time and both the near side and the far side of the turret disk raise up (keeping the die's alignment fairly straight) within the confines of the turret ring, unlike turrets that pivot around a center point, which tilt the near edge going up and the far side going down. This is because the turret disk is confined at the rim rather than at the center.

    A truly rigid single stage press (or a self-aligning one like the Forster Co-Ax) is capable of better concentricity and straighter alignment than a turret or progressive, but few shooters or firearms will notice, unless something in the press is truly in need of repair.

    Lost Sheep
  3. heavydluxe

    heavydluxe Well-Known Member

    No expert in reloading, but I'm an ok engineer. I would posit that there are almost certainly slight variations between the LCT and a single-stage press.

    However, the big question is whether or not those differences are significant enough to matter. If you're just reloading for general use at reasonable ranges, I would think the impact is negligible enough that you'll never even notice.

    However, if you're trying to push out to long or extreme ranges the 'slight' variations are magnified.

    So, evaluate your use... I would wager, however, that the LCT - used properly and carefully - would be more than sufficient for almost any reloading task.
  4. DanTheFarmer

    DanTheFarmer Well-Known Member

    I have developed many successful loads for rifles with my LCT. A "sucessful" load for me is within published specs, meets my velocity goal, and a quarter placed on a 3 shot group fired at 100 yards covers or touches each shot. I load for 30TC, 7mm-08, and 257 Roberts. I have not found the play in the system to negatively affect the accuracy of my completed ammo. I don't place more stringent demands on the uniformity of my loads but my gut feeling is that for 99%+ of us the problem is "the Indian, not the arrow".

    When I use my LCT for rifles I remove the indexing rod and use it as a single stage. I load up all the dies but after depriming/sizing 20 rounds I'll twist the turret and load powder into 20 rounds, twist again and seat the bullets.

    For pistol rounds I use the auto-index feature and build 1 round from start to finish and then build the next one. I load 45 ACP, 9mm, and 380 Auto for pistols. Here again the play in the system has not negatively affected my pistol rounds but I'm a much worse pistol shot than rifle shot. Any press induced inaccuracy is masked by shooter induced inaccuracy.

    These two methods work for me.

  5. Grumpa72

    Grumpa72 Active Member

    I have loaded many, many 30.06, .223, and .30 carbine rounds using my Lee Classic Turret. I don't see how a single stage is going to make a difference simply because I prep my cases first and, once the case has been tumbled, full sized and primer pockets prepped, then use the LCT as a relatively simple single stage unit.
  6. RustyFN

    RustyFN Well-Known Member

    The only rifle I load for is 223 for my AR. The powder measure is very consistent. The OAL has never been off more than .003, usually within .001. I have loaded thousands of rounds on my classic turret and if I do my part I can shoot MOA and sometimes sub-MOA
  7. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Extremely accurate ammo can be loaded on a progressive. It all depends on how you do it. Not sure about the LCT.
  8. juk

    juk Well-Known Member

    I use mine to load 308, 223, 30-06, and about to get dies for 30-30. I do not use the indexing rod. I use the press like I would a single stage. I normally start with a bag full of cleaned and prepped brass, and load 1 at a time. I may be over cautious, but I know for sure that each round has the proper amount of propellant and has the bullet seated correctly. The press makes good quality ammo, especially for my purposes. The furthest I shoot is 350 yards, and all of the 30 cal ammo is for hunting.
  9. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    For a long while I loaded 30-06, 45-70, 223 and a few more on my LCT and all the ammo was just as accurate as when loaded on my RCBS single stage. I like the single stage better for rifle ammo but for a good long while I had no room for both so I was using the LCT with no issues.

    If you're looking to buy one and rifle ammo is holding you back, not to worry. It loads rifle ammo very well. I remove the auto-index rod and use it like a single stage except for all the dies being set up already on the turret.
  10. Jeff H

    Jeff H Well-Known Member

    In my exp, it works fine for rifle but the powder measure (with the double disk) isn't big enough for 30-06 so you will need another powder measure.

    I loaded all of my High power ammo this year on a LCT and it was accurate and consistent.
  11. Grumpa72

    Grumpa72 Active Member

    I should add that, for large cases, the Lee disc powder measure doesn't work so well. I use this
    and it works very accurately and reliably. In the end, my Lee Classic Turret is used to full length size the case, punch out the primer and seat a new one (after cleaning the pocket of course), seat the bullet and take out the very minor amount of belling in the case mouth. Each of these operations are done in batches of about 100 before I move on to the next stage.
  12. Nordeste

    Nordeste Well-Known Member

    Thanks for your replies, gents.

    It was my thought that it had to do well at the job. I use my LCT to reload 9 mm only, so far, but plan on looking for and purchasing a rifle next year, and of course that rifle will shoot the ammo I'll make at home.

    Just for you to see, when I reload my 9 mm, I usually sort cases by headstamp, adjust my dies and start reloading. So far I don't sort bullets by weight or dimensions (there are always slight differences, even though I'm using the German made and very consistent HN bullets), but my OAL will stay within very tight tolerances. I'm talking .03 to .05 mm (sorry, can't think in inches with values that low) which is... almost nothing.
  13. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Well-Known Member

    I love my LCT. LOVE it. However, I size .30-06, .308, and .223 on an old Bair single stage. Sizing with my Lee full-length sizing dies puts a LOT of pressure on the press and takes a lot of effort (military brass, full length sizing for semi-autos, and imperial sizing wax for those interested). I supposed it may accelerate wear or "stretching" of the press to a small extent. However...

    The main reason I use the single stage to size is that it "cams over" (AFTER the die hits bottom-out) and I can get the extra shoulder bump that my combination of dies, brass, and chambers needs to size brass to properly fit in my wilson case gauges. The LCT doesnt' cam over so my primitive caveman brain says that the single stage will be more consistent. I don't really know if this is true, and actually I don't get super-consistent sizing in .30-06 with either setup. Whatever I do, about 3/4 of the brass will size to the "low shelf" on the gauge recommended by Garand guys, and about 1/4 wont, and needs another trip through or simply won't size to that tolerance. I cull those for my 1903s, though they apparently have tighter chambers than my garands. I'm still figuring it all out.

    That said, I have sized quite a few on the LCT during my initial trials and it seemed to work fine. I'd have no problem neck sizing on the LCT. I do use it for decapping (universal die) because it's such a slick system to deal with spent primers.

    I use the LCT to prime also, and I've had good success with the safety prime system.

    I use the LCT to charge/seat in .223 and .308 (.308 requires the double-disc kit and use of the 2 largest or largest-and-next-to-largest orifices), and to seat in .30-06.
  14. kennedy

    kennedy Well-Known Member

    I use mine with indexing rod and double disk set for .223, and for .308 I use it with indexing rod and hand measure the powder. my best group with my rem 700 .308 is .4 in, 5 rds at 100 yds, mostly I get .8 to 1.4 in groups
  15. ranger335v

    ranger335v Well-Known Member

    "I've always heard that rifle ammo was best reloaded on a single stage, for a single stage makes for better full length sizing (if required) compared to what progressives or turrets offer."

    I've not used a LCT but I have a turret press and understand the Lee's principles.

    First, you can do anything on any turret if you understand what you're aiming for and use the tool correctly; not everyone does either.

    Then the "lift" you see on the LCT is no problem, the design allows the turret head to lift esily with light pressure until it stops - hard - agsinst the steel retaing ring and posts.

    With any press, most variations in sizing and seating comes from the inconsistancy of the loose nut holding the lever.
  16. rondog

    rondog Well-Known Member

    My LCT does well at making rifle ammo, no problems other than my own mistakes.

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