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allow me to vent about the classic turret...

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by FullEffect1911, May 1, 2008.

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  1. FullEffect1911

    FullEffect1911 Member

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    Well, truth be told I'm not at all angry. I sized a few hundred .223 rem cases and primed them. I figured after I did that I really should check them with a case gage, so I did. As it turned out they were mostly a bit long in the headspace arena. So I ran them through the full length sizer again but without the decapping pin.

    I did clear up some of the troubled cases, but only about half.

    I am figuring this is due to the slop that seems inherent in the turrets themselves. I was concerned about this for a while, and now it seems my concerns have been founded.

    Anyway, I sprung for a classic cast single stage. The auto advance gave up the ghost a while ago for me and I was manual advancing the turret anyway. I'm a bit dissapointed in it, however it has served me well for several thousand handgun rounds.

    The classic turret is a fine press for handgun ammo, but I can't say I like it for rifle. Of course then again I could be wrong. Has anyone else had problems such as this?

    Also I did want to ask a question, are the mounting holes for the Classic Cast the same spacing as the classic turret? It would be great if i didn't have to drill out new holes.
     
  2. loadedround

    loadedround Member

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    Ever consider trimming your cases after resizing? Your presses seem to be O.K. It appears that your reloading procedure needs a little review on loading bottle necked rifle cases.
     
  3. cracked butt

    cracked butt Member

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    There's a little black plastic square that cams the auto-indexing rod inside the plastic housing attached to the ram. Simply open the housing and replace it- call Lee for a replacement or 10. This might be the achilles heel of the press, they damage very easily if you try to adjust the timing of the turrets incorrectly, and there aren't any instructions with the press to tell you to replace it or how to adjust the timing.

    Yep, you have to adjust the die with consideration that there is a little play in the turret and that at the top of the upstroke of the ram where it firmly presses the turret upward against the frame is where you want to be. I prefer dead length seating dies for this reason- the ram pushes on the base of the die to push the turret upwards but doesn't crimp.
     
  4. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I own a Lee Classic Turret press and I reload 30-06 rounds on it without a problem. Sorry to tell you your problems seem to be self induced. sounds like operator error and not a equipment problem to me.

    "cracked butt" has good advice about the "Dead Length Seating Dies", add a Lee Factory Crimp Die and you will produce very accurate and consistent ammo.
     
  5. CU74

    CU74 Member

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    I use a Lee Classic Turret for all of my handgun reloading and for .30 carbine as well. For necked rifle cartridges, I decap, size and insert primers on a single-stage press, then check case length with LE Wilson headspace gauges. If needed, trim cases. After that, I use the turret for powder charge, bullet seating and crimping. Works for me, YMMV.
     
  6. FullEffect1911

    FullEffect1911 Member

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    Heh, I realized this would cause some dissent amongst the ranks.

    Every case was checked before the primers were put in for O.A.L. long cases can cause kabooms, and I wont' have that.

    It is okay, but okay isn't getting me the right head spacing on .223. It's close but according to the case gage and a straight edge... it isn't there yet.... Close isn't good enough. The case gage is fine at the neck... it's the headstamp area that is protruding. Not much mind you... but an out of battery firing on my AR would ruin my day me thinks.

    Oh I know about the square ;) I've had it apart, got it running, timed it right just to have it go out again. It just wasn't working out in the way I wanted it to. Conversely the press works very well as a manual advance. I could get more squares, but I decided on a more solid press.

    Oh, I did try, the ram stopped dead on the bottom of the die. What I am thinking actually happened is that the turret my .223 sizing die is in has a little more then normal play. I got fed up with it and didn't want to play musical turrets to get one with less play. If i had to guess I would say because of the play the turret, the turret would push up and stop, but no longer be perpendicular to the ram. This would cause one side of the should to be somewhat lopsided compared to the other.

    I can appreciate you trying to tell me i'm a bit thick... but I just can't get behind that.

    I have loaded thousands of straight wall cartridges on my classic turret... worked great. And I very much agree with your procedure with bottleneck stuff. It seems I am heading there myself.

    Anyway still any word about the mounting holes locations in comparison to the two presses?

    Mind you guys, i'm not attacking your equipment here, I'm going after mine.

    Anyone who owns a classic turret can't tell me that the play in the turret doesn't matter. That's blindly ignoring a problem.
     
  7. ATAShooter

    ATAShooter Member

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    Post deleted as I mis understood problem. Sorry
     
  8. chbrow10

    chbrow10 Member

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    Have you called Lee and spoken to them about the problem. Folks think that they are very knowledgable and helpful..

    I have one but only load 45 ACP...
     
  9. lgbloader

    lgbloader Member

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    Please let us know the outcome as I am still trying to decide if I will add the LCT to my bench.
     
  10. FullEffect1911

    FullEffect1911 Member

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    Well, no. And I know that I should, but I went ahead and just ordered a Classic Cast Single Stage. The turret system; while clever, has slop in it. Some turrets more then others, it is really kind of a shot in the dark if you get one that will mate up with your Turret press nicely or not.

    Like I said it's good for pistol, especially if the auto advance is working right (and mine would with just some replacement parts and re-timing).

    But there is something about the simplicity and strength about single stage presses that I like. So I made the decision to abandon the Classic Turret in favor of the Single Stage.

    I know the LCT gets a lot of fanfare on here, and I would have been one to give it praise. However it is just not enough of what I am looking for. As with anything YMMV.
     
  11. snuffy

    snuffy Member

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    I will! The slop--play--whatever you want to call it is simply there to allow it to function. If it didn't have any freedom to move, the turret wouldn't be able to turn. Or the press would cost 1K in order to be so precise as to have no play.

    If your case headspace is too long, then you either aren't pushing the shell all-the-way-into-the-die, or your die is too long, or the shell holder is too thick. Just running the shell holder up to contact the bottom of the die, calling it good, is NOT all that's required. Do it WITH a lubed shell in the shell holder, then look to see if there's space between the shell holder and die. I'll bet there is! This takes into account for the "slop" in the turret, and any spring in the press.

    I've had my cast turret for a couple of months. So far it has vastly surpassed the older model 4 hole turret in performance. I'm loading some handgun and some rifle on it. Calibers that I don't want to spend the money it would take to get a caliber conversion for the 650 dillon. I bought the turret for what it would have cost for a caliber conversion for 45-70 for the 650.
     
  12. lgbloader

    lgbloader Member

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    Hey FE1911, You'll like the Classic cast single stage, I replaced my old rock chucker with it some time back when I built my new bench and I really like it. I have a Redding Turret and a couple of "Blue" presses as well but I really like that Classic Cast. The only problem I have had with it is that the ram is thicker than my rock chucker and my RCBS Primer pocket swag combo would not work with it as originally designed. Other than that, Lee hit one out of the park with it. (I just posted my bench pictures on the huge bench picture thread if your interested.)
     
  13. cracked butt

    cracked butt Member

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    The turret 'slop' is a designed-in feature. Without a little 'slop' the turret will not turn and you'll just have a single stage press.

    We reloaders like everything nice and tight, but that works against us sometimes. Having a very rigid press with a very tight ram with a die that is very tightly held in place seems ideal until you start thinking about manufacturing tolerances. Was your die cut perfectly straight? Is the ram on your press perfectly straight? Is the shellholder perfectly square to the ram? Is the die mount perfectly square to the perfectly straight ram which has the perfecly machined and perfectly squared shellholder? Are the thread in the press cut in perfect alignment of everything else?If the answer to any of the above questions is 'No,' you are making crooked ammunition if everything is mounted rigidly on your press.

    Having a bit of 'slop' is a good thing believe it or not. I'd much rather have the tension of the ram pressing against the dies square everything up then to have to rely on a perfectly machined setup (if there is such a thing) to keep things square. The o-ring locking rings that Lee uses also contibute to a little bit of 'give' that allows everything to line up right.

    About the biggest thing that Lee could improve on the press is to get rid of the shellholder retention spring and replace it with an o-ring. (Not my idea, I learned this from reading Glen Zediker's books).


    If you are not convinced about what I said about the 'slop' above, check the bullet runout on cartridges loaded on the turret press (change out that shellholder spring!), its not going to be anymore than ammo loaded on a RCBS or Redding press.
     
  14. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Member

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    So when you resize your .223 cases on the classic cast with the same sizing die, do you get "in spec" head space?

    I reload .223 on a classic turret and set the FL sizing die so that the shell holder presses against the bottom of the die AND pushes the turret up to take up all of the design clearance (a.k.a. "slop").

    I then adjust the die so that while in this condition there is still ~1/8" of rotational travel on the hup of the lever arm, before it hits the stops.

    When I resize, I press the lever untill it hits the stops.....feeling the lever arm linkage flex that last smidgeon of travel.

    This way, I'm certain I sized that little pupply as far as is possible with the given equipment.

    Interestingly, the shoulder doesn't appear to be set back very far.

    I've put 300 rounds though my new 16" middy build this way and haven't had any problems.

    I do not have a fancy case gauge, however, so I can't say whether my rounds are completely in spec. or not.
     
  15. FullEffect1911

    FullEffect1911 Member

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    I will concede that there needs to be clearance, in fact I would be crazy to say otherwise, however the turret does move a considerable margin. The best reason to increase tolerances on a part is so it can be manufactured with less cost. To give the proper clearance for the turret in combination with these tolerances could lead to some pretty hefty gaps depending on what end of your tolerances you are on. I would personally be willing to pay a bit more to have that tightened up a tad. This clearance is put there for it to function, in my opinion it has an opposite effect on the quality of the reloading.

    However with a single stage, you don't have that clearance, you just have a nice solid stop when it needs to stop. IMO that is a great advantage.

    Also it should be noted ( i may have already noted it) that they are very very close to being the right head spacing... but I would rather err on the side of caution and get them right. If I never bought a case gage I would still think this press is the proverbial bee's knees, as it stands I think it is good but not great. I also think that auto advance design could be improved upon, but that's been covered in other posts in detail.

    Am I saying that the LCT isn't a good press? No. Am I saying it doesn't work for anyone? Of course not. However, I am saying it doesn't perform to my satisfaction. It can be improved on (and probably will be in the future). And it is not the end all of presses... there is a strong argument to use a single stage instead of a Classic Turret.

    Lee is a extremely innovative company and I give them all the respect in the world. I like a great deal of their products. But I just can't agree that the classic turret is good for sizing bottle neck cartridges.

    not sure yet... still waiting for it to get shipped.

    Excellent to hear, I have all the confidence in the world this press with be great!!!
     
  16. RustyFN

    RustyFN Member

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    If the shell holder touches the sizing die then it doesn't matter how much play is in the turret, you are getting the max out of the die that you can. If you are still having headspace problems you might want to look into a problem with the die. I load a lot of pistol calibers and have loaded a lot of 223 on my classic wothout any problems.
    Rusty
     
  17. kennedy

    kennedy Member

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    I love my lee turrent and it has a lot of slop, my brother gave it to me after many thousands of rounds reloaded when he went to a dillon. anyway, I use it as a single stage for .308, but use the auto index for .40 and it works great. now am using for .223, following lees directions that came with the die, raise the ram, screw die in untill it touchs, lower ram, turn die in 1/4 to 1/3 turn. when raising the ram it locks the turrent up tight against the frame, taking all the slop out of it. works great in my armilite.
     
  18. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    FullEffect1911,
    Something you said in your last post sparked a memory. A neighbor who also has a Lee Turret press and had a problem with the turret lifting a while back. It seems when he took apart the Auto-Index clamp to replace the nylon square ratchet he installed the replacement ratchet up-side-down. Since it was installed incorrectly it caused the turret to lift more than usual when the ram was fully extended. Since you said in a previous post you had already taken the clamp apart is it possible you put the ratchet back in up-side down? I'm not saying you are dumb and can't put a simple piece of plastic back together, the ratchet looks almost exactly the same on both sides except on one side the inside square extends slightly. You might want to take it apart again and check the square ratchet's orientation. It's easy to flip it, I almost did it too.
     
  19. FullEffect1911

    FullEffect1911 Member

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    I know you aren't and that would be a very valid idea... but the whole ratchet and auto advance assembly is not installed on my press at all.


    I too was thinking it could be the die, and it still could be. I will have to wait and see if the single stage will clear up with problem.

    A few additional points of note. All of my brand new never fired brass sized correctly. The once fired stuff sized close but not quite there.

    I am using an ar15 with a 5.56 chamber... the chamber is probably on the high side of the headspacing arena (fired brass will headspace correctly according to the gage).

    I really think between my ar's chamber (I believe most semi auto service rifle chambers have more clearance) and the play in the turret it's leading me to have slightly out of spec full length sized brass. Due to the ram pressing up towards the periphery of the turret it will cause that side of the turret to rise slightly higher then the other side... which in turn could take the shoulder just out of concentricity. I think these things combined are leading to the problem. That's my theory anyway.

    I also tried to press down on the turret while sizing, which got me just within spec on the one case I tried (guess it didn't need much more). I will know for certain if a single stage will clear the problem up, and at this point i suspect it will. Either that or a bad die...
     
  20. RustyFN

    RustyFN Member

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    Just out of curiousity how much is your turret raising? My raises also but only about 1/16" at the most. Maybe you have a bad turret. I also load 223 for an AR 15 chambered in 5.56. I use the Lee Pacesetter die set and have never had problems with a round not chambering. Hope you get this figured out soon.
    Rusty
     
  21. TEDDY

    TEDDY Member

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    my 2 cents

    do you really have a problem???.does the case go into the gun properly or does it jam up.I load for about 15 rifle cartridges and I dont use a case gage tho I have one and all the measuring tools a machinist would want.I have 4 Lee turrets.I do not use the ratchet.because I load by batch.I size the first case and put it in gun.it works I go from there.I have used the Lee since they first came out.I do have RCBS,Herter,Bonanza,Lyman,Lee.may be I have been lucky no.I have never had a primer go off,I have ruined cases,but I am careful.and if it does not work I sit and think it over.you might need a leetle more experiance.and patience.:uhoh::rolleyes::D
     
  22. stubbicatt

    stubbicatt Member

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    I suspect an issue with your die. My prairie doggin' buddy has a Hornady setup, and had to send his sizing die back to the factory to have it brought into spec. I use RCBS 223 die on my press and raise the ram/shell holder to the top, screw it in all the way, back out the ram, screw the die in 1/4 turn more and lock it down. All my cases fit in a Wilson gage.
     
  23. DaveInFloweryBranchGA

    DaveInFloweryBranchGA Member

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    Sounds like press and die adjustment issues to me. Not the fault of the press. You probably need to turn your FL die into your press a bit more(1/4 to 1/3 turn) to get the shoulder of your brass down more.

    The slop you're describing isn't slop, it's designed in to allow turret rotation. If you have the dies properly adjusted, the turret will top out and the slop will vanish, as it should. If you don't, it won't. It's really that simple.

    The problems with the auto advance also is to improper adjustment and some folks have trouble adjusting things like that without help. If you were nearer, I'd be willing to come over and set it up to operate better for you and show you some tricks. But maybe someone else nearer can do the same. But until you get the adjustments right or get some help over, I wouldn't blame the press.

    If you feel the single stage is better for you, go for it. You'll may be more satisfied. But I have to say I think it's an adjustment issue with the press you have, not a problem with the press.

    Dave
     
  24. FullEffect1911

    FullEffect1911 Member

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    that seems pretty close to the turret lift I have also.

    I am using lee dies.

    Yes.

    I would be willing to bet that the rounds would chamber if I were to reload them... but that would also mean that I would have to ignore what a gage is telling me. This would be a rather unsafe reloading practice. Don't you agree?

    Or maybe a single stage press. As is you are ignoring what I am saying and just chalking it up to me being a noob.

    This is a distinct possibility that I won't rule out yet.

    I once again assure you that the die is turned down as far as necessary to go. Anymore and it just wouldn't do any good. The ram is bottoming out on the die and turning it in anymore just won't do anything else.

    Theoretically if the die and ram were located in the center of the turret I would agree with you... the clearance wouldn't matter. As it is in reality you are pressing on the edge of a turret and that side will go up further then the other side. This means the turret it no longer perpendicular to the ram. If my guess is correct, this could cause the shoulder to be sized more on one side then the other... which could lead to a headspacing issue.

    I appreciate the offer, but I have already timed it correctly 3 times... and it went out of time again. I need new parts.

    Considering what is being asked of the auto advance to do, I am not surprised the parts wear as fast as they do. The amount of torque that is required to turn that turret from the center like that is pretty high. Oil on the turret bearing surfaces helps a lot.

    This post isn't about the auto advance. And fact is the system does work, it just isn't super durable. Wear parts however are a common thing in many machines. I didn't care for it as was so I took it off. No amount of adjusting is going to change that.
     
  25. Redhat

    Redhat Member.

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    When you raise the ram, the amount of movement stops against the lugs on the turret; I don't see how it pivots from the center of the turret.

    I have loaded .223 on mine and they fit in a Wilson Headspace gage a-okay.

    Hope you get it fixed to your satisfaction.
     
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