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Lee Auto Breech Lock Pro Review

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by tightgroup tiger, Mar 24, 2019.

  1. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Member

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    I bought this press last week from Midsouth Shooter's Supply and got it set up and used it for the first time today.
    I'm not comparing this press to my LNL-AP, just giving a quick run down on what my first impressions of it are compared to my 27 year old Pro1000 it replaced. I quit running that press years ago and only de-prime on it now.
    This little ABLP press runs very well. I am surprised. No drama like the old style Pro1000.
    ABLP Press.jpg

    I bought this press for second progressive to load one of my pistol calibers on.

    The first thing I did was to saw 4" off the end of the handle to shorten up the handle stroke. I felt like I was reaching half ways to the floor to top the press out. Slide it down in the assy and the end hit the cabinet.

    I also had to move the screw that attaches the case shuttle actuator spring back one hole to make it clear the case better from the feeder.

    The case feeder and powder measure were off my 27 year old Pro1000. I cleaned out the powder measure and brushed out the tubes on it and it worked great.
    The case feeder off my Pro1000 was the only thing that cause me any issues on this press. I remember it working better on the Pro 1000 so I will have to fill the case feeder with empties with no dies and just cycle them through to do some fine tuning on it.

    Die bushings: Those breech lock bushings are hard to get ahold of while setting up dies.
    It came with 3 normal breech lock bushings and one clamp ring type which has a lot taller knurled collar on it. I can see why other users recommend getting 3 more of the clamp ring type.

    Seating bullets on this thing is a breeze, their was a video I remember seeing on YouTube showing someone struggling to reach behind it to set a bullet in the case. Setting bullets in the cases on this press it no harder than any other press. It is easier than the Pro 1000 to me.

    It is a sweet running little press and made me 50 rounds of perfect looking ammunition.
    It's fun to run and I'm really glad I bought it to take the place of my Pro1000.
    ABLP first rounds.jpg
    These are plated bullets so I only straighten out the flare, no roll crimp.
    Resizing was done with a Redding Dual Ring die I already had. Notice the lack of the hour glass shape. (That die cost as much as this press!) I used it on my Hornady before I got this one.

    I noticed the finished round comes out of the press and into the hopper from the back.
    My Hornady AP side dumps into the bin and will fill it right up but I put a steel plate on the front of my bench years ago and hang that bin on it instead of the press. That rotates the bin 90 deg.

    The ABLP sends it down a water slide from the back, into the back of the bin and right out the front onto the floor on several occasions.
    I'll have to put a front on the bin to keep the finished rounds in there.

    The OAL stayed with in .002" so I was really happy with that. Haven't tried it with lead bullets yet. I was seating and crimping in two different steps. My 3 station pro1000 never allowed me to do that.

    I did not prime on this press, I didn't buy the safety prime for it when I bought the press, I can see that priming system slowing the press down over using pre primed cases. I'll buy it on my next purchase though, along with a .41 mag shell plate.
    I have no idea what the Safety Prime system is like to use on this press but without it the press is so easy to use.

    I only loaded 50 rounds on it so far but what an improvement over my old evil 3 station Pro1000.
    SO FAR!, I'm very happy with this press, especially with 4 stations instead of three.
     
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  2. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    Thank you. I only have used the LCT and Pro1000 so far so I'm in a very similar situation and appreciate your insight. I actually love the safety prime system, to the point that I've given up completely on the Pro1K's gravity feed and I now pre-prime on the LCT in a separate step. The ABLP sounds like it'll probably be my next press.
     
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  3. Galil5.56

    Galil5.56 Member

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    Very nice review, and boy that ammo looks great... That Redding die seems the real deal. I tried a LEE Pro 1000 29 years ago, and it simply was not up to snuff for many reasons. Replaced with a LEE auto-index turret press, then a 550B. Nice to see your thoughts on this press, having used the P1000. Have you done any priming on this new press, to experience its function? Priming on the Pro 1000 was to be kind, very much less than optimal IME.
     
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  4. kmw1954

    kmw1954 Member

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    Tightgroup tiger, so nice to see your review as I know you have been following mine too. I see we have some of the same views and also a few opposing views. I do believe this press is going to find it's own niche and a strong following. It's so easy to set up and easier to use I think it will fill the bill for many Pistol reloaders and anyone reloading 223. It really is a nice step up from a turret press yet not quite as complex as a full blown progressive. I am probably one of the few but I would have liked to have seen the Pro1000 priming system on this press.

    One of the issues I have is with the on press priming as I too came from a Pro1000 that I did prime on and as of yet I cannot get use to the Safety Prime or adding the primer at the top of the stroke as to the bottom of the stroke. I'm finding I'm missing the priming step about 50% of the time and then have to hand place a primer into the cup.
     
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  5. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Member

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    The only problem I've found so far with this press is my old case feeder upsets about as many cases as it delivers. I've been playing with it and the ABLP press has a stiff spring instead of a solid rod, pushing and pulling the case shuttle. With full case feeder tubes there is enough weight to make the spring stretch a little from weight of the cases on top and the it shoots the case out of it. The pro1000 had a solid rod that controlled the push better.

    I will have to call Lee to see if the new case feeders are any different in design than this old thing is. In pictures they look the same and I think the problem is the spring vs solid rod.

    Once the tube is half empty, some of the weight is off the case on the shuttle, then it works fine.
    There is a hole in the top of the die plate to drop a case through one at a time that is pretty full proof, you drop it through with the press topped out and the shuttle feeds the case perfect every time, I am disappointed with their spring approach, the solid rod controlling the shuttle definitely worked better.

    If I can't resolve it I will cut 1/3 of the length of the tubes off to cut down weight and that should take care of it with the feeder I have.

    Just so you all know,
    The Redding Dual Ring sizing die makes beautiful ammo with 158 and 180 gr bullets. The top ring is not adjustable up and down so with 110gr and 125 gr bullets you will still see the base of the bullet in the case anyways.

    The dual ring resizing dies are not cost effective at $100.00 each and not versatile like a normal carbide sizing die is that you can also re-size 38 spls with.

    The finished rounds do fit the chamber of my revolvers better and seem to seal up better when fired. Very little soot on them even with low powered loads.
    But they are still just a luxury, not a necessity by any means.
     
  6. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Member

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    That may be too much for me to. Time will tell.

    I'm spoiled by not having to deal with an extra priming maneuver from using my Hornady AP. I used my old Auto Prime ll on top of my Rockchucker to prime with for my Pro 1000 for a couple decades before I bought my Hornady AP.

    I think I'll be very happy with this little press.
     
  7. CrankyCraig

    CrankyCraig Member

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    The New Safety Prime with the grey molded parts works a heck of a lot better. I got the latest version from Titan reloading. The old one that came on my turret press would drop primers & I’d drop cuss words.

    I also own the Lee Auto breech lock pro I loaded 300 rounds of 9mm on it and I think I got my money’s worth. I bought the case feeder tubes it’s a neat little press. I may have to cut my handle though lol feel like a spider monkey on the down stroke.
     
  8. D Rock

    D Rock Member

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    I got the new version of the Safety Prime a few months ago. Side by side with my old black one.
    pTuuSZI.jpg

    You can see the added guide on the bottom of the new one. Haven't dropped a primer in 4K rounds.
    TQlK8dY.jpg

    It's a lot smoother, with no clicking when loading the primer. I had to keep looking at first to make sure it had loaded a primer. Also, one of the best things, it loads every last primer. My old one always left the last couple of primers and wouldn't load them 'till I added more to the resivoir.

    Dave
     
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  9. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    +1. While my Safety Prime seem to load primers without the loud "click", I find myself hearing very quiet "click" when there is a primer loaded in the cup.

    You must use the newer Safety Prime with Auto Breech Lock Pro. I have the "white" Safety Prime and I believe the "grey" version got replaced with "white" version.

    When I initially set up the Safety Prime, I noticed (Like kmw1954) about 50% of primers were not making into the cup. When troubleshooting the cause, I found slide block and return spring were not resetting enough. My fix was smoothing out the top of slide block using my thumbnail and slightly stretching out the return spring (You do need to disassemble the Safety Prime to do this) and since has been 99.9%. The other 0.1% is when I am rushing and not waiting to hear the "click" of primer going into the cup.

    I have several thousand rounds loaded on my ABLP since the finished round bin/Safety Prime mods, and only thing I needed to do has been to clean with paper towel and oil metal-to-metal contact surfaces. If shell plate index timing gets off, I simply back off on ram lever a bit and press down again - simple.

    More I use the ABLP, I find myself using Dillon 650 and Pro 1000s less and less as reloading on ABLP is smooth, quiet and refilling primers is quick and easy. Running low/out of primers simply results with an empty cup and I simply refill the primer tray. No drama. No fuss.

    I am glad Lee decided to go with Safety Prime for ABLP instead of Pro 1000 primer attachment as switching from SP to LP is done quickly without having to remove the shell plate.

    When I set up my bin, finished rounds bounced off the bin with a loud "plop" and fell to the floor.

    I thought about using tall cardboard in the card slot but my cheap fix was lining the bin with foam packing sheet. Now rounds quietly fall into the bin without bouncing onto the floor.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2019
  10. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Member

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    My Hornady LNL-AP did this when it would start to fill up. I mounted it sideways to the original mount by bolting a plate on the front of the bench instead of hanging it on the original hanger, I get another 100 loaded rounds in the bin with nothing hitting the floor.
    accrobin.jpg
    I'm thinking about doing the same with the ABLP by fabricating a bracket that will be bolt to the front of my bench like Lee bracket does but is twice as long and bent on a right angle in the middle so it runs along side of the press, to hang the bin on, so I can turn the bin and side dump into it also.
    In the picture you can see where the acro-bin on my Hornady was supposed to hang.

    By the way, I knew BDS already had one of these presses so I PM'ed him to get his opinion of the press and his reply is why I decided to buy one.

    It was the right choice for me. My timing for the initial tryout was bad though, I had already loaded about 500 rounds of .357mag on my Hornady right before this press showed up at my door. Now I am wishing I had more to reload.

    On the case feeder issue, I think I will just put the old case feeder back on the old Pro1000 to use for de-priming duties, before I Ultra sonically clean, like I have been doing. I don't load two thousand of .357mag at a time like I do 9mm.
    Feeding the ABLP manually is no different than feeding a Hornady AP by hand and I did that for a couple years before I bought the case feeder for the AP for 9 mm.
    I still fed all my .357mags manually when loading on the Hornady. Just dropped them down the funnel when the ram was up.

    No different on this press.
     
  11. kmw1954

    kmw1954 Member

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    2 notes, from what I understand is that there is a difference between the old case feeder and the new Universal case feeder and I believe part of it is in the case pusher and not the a difference in either the rod or the spring.

    Then just to clarify the priming issue. I am finding I am already cycling the handle down before loading a primer into the cup and then if I try to just raise the ram again I double charge the powder. Though I am still getting a good many that are not making it into the cup and falling out. Mostly I am just forgetting the primer at the top.
     
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  12. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Thanks for the vote of confidence. It's another reason why I kept from commenting on the initial operations/reliability of the ABLP as I wanted to reload several thousand rounds to identify any short-term/long-term issues with definite resolution fixes that stayed fixed.

    So far (after more than 5000 rounds), I can say the foam packing sheet mod for the bin is a confirmed fix and Safety Prime mod is also a confirmed fix with 99.9% success rate. Other than those initial issues, ABLP quietly, smoothly and reliably keeps on reloading round after round with no further "tinkering". :thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:

    Good point - https://leeprecision.com/universal-case-feeder.html

    Note the difference in parts for the Universal case feeder - https://leeprecision.com/cgi-data/instruct/TR3872.pdf

    But here's a video of setting up case feeder successfully (Set up starts at 5:45 minute mark):



    I haven't commented on the case feeder as it is very dependent on minute installation differences.

    Best I can recommend is the same for Pro 1000 case feeder installation for reliable operation. Case feeder body needs to be installed with "penny's thickness" away from the press body and height of bottom of case feeder tube should be just above the case height to not bind with case above.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2019
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  13. PapaG

    PapaG Member

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    I need another press like a hole in the head (RCBS Jr, Rock Chucker, Lyman AA Turret, Lee Turret, Lee Breech lock, two mostly useless Pro1000) but this looks good. I have been using the safety prime on the BL and think I have it down. After sixty years of reloading/handloading starting with a 310 and then a Truline Jr, I still like new stuff. Wish I had gotten the Dillons out of my brother's estate, or the Stars out of dad's. Thanks for the review. You don't get any bullet pull on those uncrimped rounds? Or are they light loads?
    Stan
     
  14. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Member

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    Thanks for pointing that out.

    Sweet, after looking at the instructions and the design of the new one, it addresses what my case feeder is doing wrong.
    I will put a new case feeder on my list for this press. That was one function on my Pro1000 I really liked.

    The new one is different on the bottom from the old one which is just flat, and the extension block for on the shuttle would address what I am seeing on the old style feeder of upsetting the case while pushing it out from under the stack.
    The bevel on the nose of the shuttle extension for tall cases looks like it should lift the cases in the tube back up on it's way forward and take the weight of the stack off the one the shuttle is trying to push.
    I guess I need to start keeping up with the times. LOL.

    Stan
    No, I checked them in my strain gauge and got 65lbs of neck tension before the bullet slipped in the case. Those are just plated bullets even though they have a cannular in them. I'd be afraid to crimp into it very much for cutting the plating.
    tension gauge.jpg
    The load is 7.3 gr of Power Pistol which is just a mid range load. I load 7.8 gr of Power Pistol and 7.3 gr of BE86 the same way with no problems.
    The bullet won't move under recoil with those loads in my GP100 4". The dual ring die I used does really well for getting good tension on the bullet and not over working the brass below it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2019
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  15. AR-Bossman

    AR-Bossman Member

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    I seen a video on youtube of a guy converting that press to use the solid/interchangeable rotating 4 hole top from another Lee press.

     
  16. kmw1954

    kmw1954 Member

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    Thanks for sharing but what a complete moronic exorcise. I see absolutely nothing gained by this effort other than to prove the turret ring can be fitted on the press.. I know I won't be doing this on my press.
     
  17. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    You know, some Lee reloaders just have to "tinker" ... :rofl:

    And no, I won't be doing that either. :thumbdown:
     
  18. Livin_Cincy

    Livin_Cincy Member

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    Seems like an interesting idea for Lee to consider. I wish I had suggested it.... :rofl:
     
  19. kmw1954

    kmw1954 Member

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    Believe it's already been considered. The three hole turret has been around since the original turret press and then the Pro1000 then the four hole has been in production with the Classic Cast Turret and then both the upgraded Value presses and a five hole with the LoadMaster. This is the first turret or progressive that Lee has offered that didn't have a turret.

    Why they decided to go this way with this press they are not saying. Must be what they believe the market wanted or was more economical to produce this way. I just don't see any advantage to bastardizing this press from the way it is. I see it creating more headaches than it cures and doesn't make it any faster.

    But as bds points out some folks just feel the need to re-engineer everything.
     
  20. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Believe me, Lee Precision heard plenty from their customer base and the online reloading community. Let me see if I can list them:
    • Problem: Unreliable Pro 1000 primer attachment. Solution: Safety Prime (Newer version released to improve reliability)
    • Problem: Want 4 stations for separate seat and crimp operations. Solution: 4 stations
    • Problem: Movable turret. Solution: Breech Lock bushings
    • Problem: Spent primer going everywhere on Pro 1000. Solution: Through ram collection like Classic Turret
    • Problem: Shell plate goes out of index. Solution: Fixed index timing with through shell plate rod. Out of index easily fixed by backing ram lever slightly and pressing down again
    • Problem: "Cheap" looking press base of Pro 1000: Solution: Solid steel base
    • Problem: Finished rounds hang on chute. Solution: Every finished round drops into bin
    • Problem: Must remove shell plate to change primer size. Solution: Quick and simple small to large primer change without removing shell plate
    • Problem: Must store press tools away from press. Solution: Built in tool caddy for Small/Large primer arms and Allen wrench
    • Problem: Jerky loose operation. Solution: Smooth tight operation
    • Problem: Insufficient leverage to resize brass, especially overly expanded 9mm Major brass. Solution: Improved leverage ram lever and wooden ergo handle
    • Problem: Case feeder operation not consistent. Solution: New Universal Case Feeder released
    • Problem: Case slider solid Z-bar requires bending/modification to work with all caliber cases. Solution: Spring replacement works with all caliber cases
    • Problem: Press color is red. Solution: Spray can paint comes in many colors, including camo
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2019
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  21. kmw1954

    kmw1954 Member

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    Easy there Chief. Don't forget I have one of each of these presses. The whole point of that video and the point I was trying to make is all related to the die mounting to the press. It is still true that Lee has been using turrets forever on their presses. These Breech Lock Bushings are something new and personally I believe are a mistake. So now instead of one turret to move there are now four removable fittings. Next compare the cost of a turret to the cost of bushings.

    The other points for whatever this is worth, I can understand the reason to go with the SAFETY Prime as many more find it easier to use than the priming on the Pro1000 so that makes perfect sense. The number of stations, well they already have a three hole press with the Pro1000 so they needed a four hole solution seeing as they sell both 3 and 4 die pistol die sets. The case feeder, I have one from my Pro 1000 with both the large and small case parts. Also have the straight Z bar and the Bent Z bar for the 45acp. I use both on the Pro1000 and when I bought the ABLP I migrated the case feeder to it and so far I haven't had a problem. Lastly I find that new Roller Handle uncomfortable and would much rather have the ball.
     
  22. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Member

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    Yours must be a newer model case feeder than mine is. Mine came with my pro1000 back in 1992, I think, and it doesn't work worth a crap with .357mag brass on the ABLP press. May work ok with short cases. From the design of the new universal case feeder I can see why it should work much better for tall cases and I ordered one for it. Should be here later this week.
    I am disappointed that mine didn't work on it when Lee said those components were transferrable. But mine is very old so I guess I should have done a better job keeping up with the times.
    My old one works well with the z bar on my Pro1000 which was a .357 mag machine when I bought it, not well with the spring on my ABLP. With full tubes there is too much weight to over come when using the spring and it stretches it out and then lets go. Mine didn't have large and small base. Might be one of their first models. I think I bought it in 92, may be older, don't really remember. Bought my first .357 mag in 1984 so it may be older than I remember.

    I still really like this new press and think that when I get the new case feeder for it, that it will live up to my expectations. The more I use it the more I like it.
     
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  23. kmw1954

    kmw1954 Member

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    I have no idea how old my parts are as my press was purchased used and set up for 38/357, the case cylinder and plate that holds the tubes is a dark gray color and is for the large pistol cases. I purchased a new small case feeder on ebay and it does have the metal bushing in the bottom.

    I have used both different feeders on the ABLP by just switching out the rotating head. The large one with 45acp and the small one with the 9mm and 380. So again I haven't tried it with the longer cases such as the 357.

    Haven't had a chance to go load more as I really need to get to the range and unload some first. I too think this will be sweet once I get use to the on press priming.
     
  24. thomas15

    thomas15 Member

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    This is all great information but I'm going to hold out for the LEE Classic Pro Auto Breech Lock Pro Master Loader Home Version which is scheduled to be released early in 2020.
     
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  25. kmw1954

    kmw1954 Member

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    Where did you hear about this and what do you know?
     
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