Am I expecting too much from Lee

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by daniel craig, Nov 24, 2021.

  1. edwardware

    edwardware Member

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    Yes. Lee makes functional reloading gear, not beautiful.

    The marks on the bullets have no measurable effect. For beauty, buy Redding.
     
  2. daniel craig

    daniel craig Member

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    I just feel that if I’m trying to be precise everywhere else with the ammo why throw that away by messing with the bullet aerodynamics?
     
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  3. daniel craig

    daniel craig Member

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    Even if that mark is an actual cut into the bullet?
     
  4. edwardware

    edwardware Member

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    Unless your adding material (like ink), any mark is a cut into the surface.

    Show me a tenth of a minute group (0.1" @ 100 yards), and I'll share your concern that marks on the bullet just might be a matter for concern. Otherwise, I call it beauty for beauty's sake and that's not Lee's value proposition.
     
  5. daniel craig

    daniel craig Member

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    You do have a point there.
     
  6. EMC45

    EMC45 Member

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    I've had to polish out RCBS seating stems too. They were leaving a ring on my bullets - both jacketed and cast.
     
  7. eyeshot

    eyeshot Member

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    I don't have fifty sets of dies to eyeball but the ones, Lyman & RCBS, I do have don't look anything like the Lee pictured.

    I don't mind that there are machining marks on the outside of dies to make them less expensive but not on the innards that touch my components.

    As an aside, my Lee Universal Decapper is perfect in every way.
     
  8. MWC1974

    MWC1974 Member

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    Short answer, yes. Lee makes stuff that will get you by, and that’s about it in my experience.
     
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  9. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    It's all about diminishing returns. Loading 1 MOA ammo for hunting and any die will do the job well. At 1000+ YDS things become more critical and thus you generally pay more for your tools. In-between and you have to balance cost to needs when working to the end result. I think Lee brand tools keep the other brands honest with regards to price.
     
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  10. Waterboy3313

    Waterboy3313 Member

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    I'm pretty new to reloading. I started with all Lee stuff because it was priced well for something I didn't know I wanted to continue doing. My Lee dies and press put out ammo that is more accurate than I am. I have some other brand stuff too. I have to say for function I don't know if Lee can be beat for the money.
     
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  11. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    In many seater stems, the end of the cavity frequently marks the bullet even with expensive die sets. Polishing out the transition and rounding it a bit usually does away with the marking.

    The machining marks up into the seater may not touch the bullet and/or not leave a mark. But, also, polishing them out a little will eliminate the problem. The replacement looks good in that department but it still may have a sharp transition at the entry of the seater stem.

    I think Lee should do better but remember they are a bargain priced supplier.

    For me, Lee is a love/hate relationship. Some products I like, some are trash in my opinion.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2021
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  12. mdi

    mdi Member

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    . Perhaps I missed it but what bullet (weight, style, caliber) and gun are you using?
     
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  13. gonoles_1980

    gonoles_1980 Member

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    Just curious, but will it make a difference in accuracy to someone who isn't a competitive shooter? Or for that matter, for a competitive shooter?
     
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  14. eyeshot

    eyeshot Member

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    Yes, it will. If not physically, for sure mentally. If it didn't make a difference all the real/ Bubba bullet manufacturers would be sending us marred projectiles because it doesn't make a difference.

    Reloading is more than saving a buck, for most. IMO.
     
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  15. daniel craig

    daniel craig Member

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    Probably not
     
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  16. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    The lines on the inside work carving gouges into my bullets. I asked Lee to send me a new one

    Got pictures of the carnage done to the bullets??
     
  17. gonoles_1980

    gonoles_1980 Member

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    I do it more because I get the loads I want, every round I shoot is consistent for that caliber, cost is an added benefit. But I seriously doubt a mar here and there is going to make much difference in accuracy. At least for short range pistol shooting. I could see how it could for longer ranged rifle shots. The manufacturers aren't going to send you marred bullets for the same reason the grocery store doesn't sell dented cans or bruised fruit. Plus it would mean there's an issue with their molds. People like things they pay for to look new and pretty (unless it's antiques). If all my bullets were coming out scratched up from the seating die, I'd want a new die. Basically for the same reason I polish my brass so it'll be nice and shiny, but it doesn't affect my shooting.
     
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  18. Highland Lofts

    Highland Lofts Member

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    Do yourself a favor and give the Lee's Dies away and buy good RCBS OR Hornaday dies.
     
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  19. RockRat64

    RockRat64 Member

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    I'm having the opposite affect. I did buy some RCBS dies to "upgrade". When I use the bullet seater to seat my 9mm cast bullets they dent the nose. The Lee seems to be cut deeper so it's not pushing on the nose but rather the ogive. RCBS has alternative seater plugs, but just seem to have one for 9mm for gold dot hollow points. Does anyone know of any custom/alternative options?

    Am I expecting too much from RCBS?
     
  20. HEAVY METAL 1

    HEAVY METAL 1 Member

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    I have put a small piece of aluminum foil in the tip of the seating plug and that eliminated any rings on cast lead bullets. Did it make a difference in the accuracy of my handgun shooting? No.
     
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  21. RockRat64

    RockRat64 Member

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    I figured I may have to modify one. Maybe drill it deeper with a dremel.
     
  22. greyling22

    greyling22 Member

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    Yes, you're probably expecting too much. And I will echo everybody else's statements that lees products do, for the most part, perform well. And I appreciate their low price.

    That said, I do kind of wish they would spend just a little bit more for a more refined product. I actually prefer their designs to most other companies, but they are kind of cheaply made. What I really wish is that they would start making their dies out of a more rust resistant steel.
     
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  23. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    I still would like to see what "damage" was done to what bullets??
    Never noticed anything with pretty much every handgun and 4 rifle calibers. Maybe I got the "good" ones??
    Guess I need to pull a few dies apart.
     
  24. Swampman

    Swampman Old Fart

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    This is a 7.62x39 RCBS seating stem from @ 2007. It had the same crappy machining on the inside that it has on the exterior. It also SPLIT AFTER LOADING LESS THAN 200 ROUNDS.

    I called RCBS and got another one that also split.
    Split RCBS 7.62x39 seating stem(1).jpg
    I installed a seating stem from a set of 1980's RCBS .308 dies and have loaded over 5000 rounds since with no problems.

    I've never managed to split or otherwise destroy one of the Lee aluminum seating stems.
     
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  25. GW Staar

    GW Staar Member

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    Have to agree.....sometimes I'm pleased sometimes I'm not. My favorite Lee tool has to be the APP processing press, but I have several pistol die sets that work perfectly well for me.

    But one thing I know is that every one of the companies supplying this hobby have good products and not so good products. Have bad runs and good runs. Nobody is perfect.

    Here's a case in point:

    I hear lots of good about Redding dies.....but I've used Lee and RCBS dies, which are both cheaper, my experience with them is flawless. So I stay "cheap" what can I say. But I always wanted to try the vaunted Redding. So a couple of years ago I was building a wildcat rifle....a 22-243 Middlestead that necks down a .243 W. to .22 caliber.......as you can imagine, finding a die set isn't as easy as for factory calibers......but both Redding and RCBS had one for sell. The Redding was quite a bit more expensive, but I decided that was my chance to try one. I ordered it from Grafs.....it came in....gorgeously brand new. So I sized a couple of .243W.......look what I got.....brand new cleaned die, cleaned brass....and....the result....


    IMG-2391.jpg
    cleaned it all again.....second case.....
    IMG-2396.jpg

    Not bad mouthing Redding.....I know they make quality stuff....but even they can forget to polish the inside of their sizers....;)

    My point? Even the priciest companies make mistakes...aside from their target market. Always give the company a chance to fix a problem....

    Now being unlucky like me, I can't help you with. My first and only Redding die....geeeze what's the chance of that. :)
     
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