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Lee Loadmaster feedback

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Boho, Mar 1, 2014.

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  1. Boho

    Boho Member

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    Want some feedback from people using loadmaster. Looking to load 9mm.
     
  2. germ

    germ Member

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    Uh oh...heeeeerrre we go.

    I have one - run, get anything else! While there are a few handfuls of people out there in the world who actually like that press, pretty much across the board they admit to love tinkering. If you like tinkering with the press more than you like to reload, by all means get the loadmaster. You'll be in heaven. Sure not a progressive, but Lee's LCT is in another class.
     
  3. tomh2004

    tomh2004 Member

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    I used to have one. Spent more time working on it than time spent reloading.
     
  4. mikeglass1969

    mikeglass1969 Member

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    I have one too... I still use mine. Plan on priming by hand or by other means.

    But other than priming system it works great.
     
  5. Tilos

    Tilos Member

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  6. sexybeast

    sexybeast Member

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    Have loaded well over 100k on mine including .223. The priming system is the weak link. Large primers work better than the small primer setup. Lee has made some improvements to this system though. But I hand prime.
    There are better presses but for much more [at least double] money.
    There is a learning curve with it also but its not much more than say a Lock n Load.
    Plates are $22, turrets are $11. caliber conversions are cheap comparened to others. I load .223, 9mm, 40/10mm, 38/357/ 44mag, and 45auto on mine. Works well and only needs a little lubing now and then.
    I've been happy with it but starting out I wish I had gone Dillon 650. Lots more money but as you go deeper and deeper into reloading you figure out that certain machines have limitations. With the Loadmaster I can crank out 250-300 rds/hr, with the Dillon you can do much more and not hand prime either. Everything I would want with a Dillon would be around $2k. So there you go.
     
  7. dbmjr1

    dbmjr1 Member

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    I use one for .45 acp. As mentioned above, I prep my brass and prime in a single stage, then use the progressive to throw the powder, seat the bullet and crimp. Since I separate the functions of seating and crimping, I get a huge time saving using the progressive. I get amazing consistency in COL and crimp.

    Since I tumble my brass after de-priming it makes sense to do things this way no matter the equipment I use.

    I like mine, for what it is. I knew when I got it that this was the order of operation I wanted to use.
     
  8. savanahsdad

    savanahsdad Member

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    the biggest problem with a Loadmaster is nobody seems to read there directions ... I've been running one for about 8 years , (44mag, 357mag, 38spl, 9mm, 45acp, , and I have a friend that has been running one for over 20 years , all he loads is 9mm , and he has no other press , just that old LoadMaster, and he never use anything before that , I started loading on a single stage ,and used a few before I got my LoadMaster , the only issue I ever had was my fault , you need to keep the prim system clean , I spilled some ball powder (a lot) and just kept going , the powder got down in the primer seating ram and gummed it up , I took it out (15sec) wiped it off , all fixed , again MY FAULT .. I now do all my handgun loads on my Loadmaster and rifle on one of my single stage presses , I hear a lot of guys say the primer system don't work for them :confused: I prime and size at the same time , so maybe that's why I don't have any issues priming ,by sizing at the same time the case is held tight and center and works every time :)


    #1 de-cap only
    #2 prime and size
    #3 flare and powder dump
    #4 seat bullet
    #5 crimp
    done...

    and it is built to last , it has an oiler ball for the ram, grease zerks on the linkage , the linkage is steel not cast that has been known to brake on other brands , and fast change over , no need to buy a second press for large/small primers, I've heard guys say the case feeder sucks , only to find out they didn't know there is one for tall and short cases , Again didn't read the directions :banghead: or that the primesr flip ,most likely they didn't bolt it down on a good solid bench , also in the directions , , and there are the guys that just like to tinker to try to get 1'000 rounds per hr , ya know the Tim Taylor's of the reload world , and even with that I've yet to see one brake , so if your not "That Guy" go for it , , love my LoadMaster
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2014
  9. sexybeast

    sexybeast Member

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    That does sum it up with the priming system. If it works you are good, but just a little powder will cause some parts of the priming system to be destroyed. I just got tired of buying them. [slider]
    I would not say that the priming system does not work, just that it is delicate and sensitive. I load over 300rds a week and some powder does get dribbled here and there.
    For the price its a great press! It is strong with a huge ram. Some places you can get them on sale for the same price as a Classic Turret! And its four times faster.
     
  10. savanahsdad

    savanahsdad Member

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    great video ! press runs just as it should , and the first vid I've seen that has a size die at the prime station , same way I set mine up over 8 years ago , no tinkering need , I'd bet he read the directions !.....
     
  11. savanahsdad

    savanahsdad Member

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    never broke a part or bought a part yet , but I felt mine stick and found the issue right a way , may be I got lucky ? but then again I dumped a full charge of W-296 on the shell plate and tried to keep going , opps.. I was not using the disk measure , didn't trust it at first , I was using my Lyman scale and a funnel and dumped the powder in with the ram down , . yep , my fault ,
     
  12. Boho

    Boho Member

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    Thanks for the valuable feedback guys!
     
  13. 2 Horse

    2 Horse Member

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    Now if someone could tell me were to find a used one cheap, I'd forever be thankful
     
  14. sexybeast

    sexybeast Member

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    I got mine from a friend who upgraded for free. Used ones on gunbroker or ebay, blems from Lee themselves. New ones from Graffs, Natchez, Midsouth, Midway, and many others.
     
  15. shoebox56

    shoebox56 Member

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    Exactly. Been looking at Ebay off and on, lowest I've seen bidded & won is $200. For that price, might as well buy new.

    If Loadmaster is so bad, why the heck do they sell so high on the used market?
     
  16. germ

    germ Member

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    Habeas corpus.
     
  17. sexybeast

    sexybeast Member

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    Not sure. Didn't use to be like that. On ebay I use to see them for $125 with extras thrown in.
    Unlike Dillon's etc, they have been available through the crazyness this past year. I always saw them available at Midway, Graffs, etc. A friend of mine ordered a new Dillon 650 and she had to wait 4 months for it, so the demand has not out stripped supply.
    I guess people are holding on to their stuff more since so many things are hard to get. I don't see deals on Craigslist anymore, people want top dollar for everything.
     
  18. mtrmn

    mtrmn Member

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    I tried the Loadmaster when I first went to a "progressive" press. Spent 2 (or maybe 3) days trying to make it work properly. Read the instructions many times. Watched all the Lee and Youtube videos. Finally boxed it up and lost money (shipping both ways) sending it back. Bought a Dillon 550b and was loading ammo within 3 hours of opening the box.
     
  19. savanahsdad

    savanahsdad Member

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    lee has returns on there site all set up with dies for less than you will find them on E-bay, I think the E-bay stuff is going high because of all the E-bay stores selling new and you have guys that are happy saving $70 buck on used , the 1/2 off used LoadMaster's days are gone :( but at $248 it's still a deal for a press that has fast change over, auto index, built like a tank, and spare tooling is way less that all others $22 for shell plates and $12 for 5 hole turrets , I just checked and MidwayUSA is out of all there LoadMaster's no shortage on E-bay for $287
     
  20. 2 Horse

    2 Horse Member

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    Well you guys have summed it up, I kept hearing all these people say how bad the Loadmaster is and how they stuffed one in the back room. I figured they would dig it out and sell it the way they bad mouth them. Looks like it's a good press after all , just bad operators. Wasted a year looking and hoping I could find one, guess I'll keep looking for a deal as I'm retired and on fixed income. Better to load and shoot the look at new equipment sitting on the bench.

    If anyone stumbles on a good deal, please let me know

    Thanks all
     
  21. Rico567

    Rico567 Member

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    The experiences people relate with the priming system on the Loadmaster seem to parallel those I had with the two Lee Pro 1000s I loaded pistol on for many years. This seems to be Lee's Achilles' heel. Until I figured out the care and feeding of the primer system on those presses, it was a real pain. Once I got a system (which was to keep the priming system clean, clean, clean), then not so much, and I loaded many thousands of rounds of ammo on them as good as can be made on any equipment. But- eventually I sold those two presses (for a surprisingly large amount of money) and bought a Dillon 650. Great press, but total overkill for what I shoot....
     
  22. greyling22

    greyling22 Member

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    I load 9mm and 357 on my loadmaster. priming is the weak link, but it has improved with the newer primer sliders. I still get maybe 1 or 2 crushed or missed primers per 100 when doing 9mm, maybe 1 out of 250 with 357. I think the biggest problem with 9mm and the loadmaster is the primer pockets of the 9mm. they are small and a lot of them are crimped or lack the bevel that the 357's all have. There are a couple things you can do to help priming,
    1: set up the press per loadmastervideos suggestions with decapper in stage 1 and sizing without decapping pin in stage 2.
    2: use the 6s shellplate for the 32-20wcf instead of the 9mm plate. it holds teh 9mm case in tighter. (lee doens't always use the best shell holder or plate for the correct caliber. they tend to be a little sloppy sometimes. ex: their 30 carbine shell holder is a bigger and sloppier size than everybody else's)
    3) check your headstamp and toss everything with crimped or non-beveled primer pocket.
    4) be prepared for the occasional missed primer. If you expect 100% reliability you will be frustrated.
    5) use a little spray lube on the 9mm cases. those little tapered guys take a lot more effort to size than a straight walled case, and when you combine all the other steps in with that it can take a lot of effort to run the ram. A little case lube helps a ton.

    other than that, the loadmaster is great.

    edit: this guy, magic mike over on loadmaster videos has done a lot of tweaking to his loadmaster and is selling some of them (if you are unable to DIY). I don't know if ti's worth it to you, but here is his link to the improved primer system http://www.mikesreloadingbench.com/mikes reloading bench_017.htm
     
  23. savanahsdad

    savanahsdad Member

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    bad news ... there is one on E-bay right now going for $355 !!! it has 11 bids on it , it's listed as having many extras , but a close look and I see it is set up for 2 cals and has a Lyman #49 with it , so there goes another one for over retail , 2hrs left lol.....
     
  24. jrdolall

    jrdolall Member

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    I have been using the Loadmaster since December. I started out with mostly 38 and a few 357's and have just started with 9mm. I am moving extremely slowly and have had zero problems so far. No issues with primers or powder dispensing. Since this is my first foray into reloading I am taking things very slow and probably don't do 50 an hour since I verify EVERYTHING before moving on to the next step. I know a single stage would have worked just as well for what I am currently doing but as I get more confident I plan to start cranking out quite a bit or ammo, especially 9mm and 380.

    I followed the instructions explicitly but replaced the chain with a piece of fishing line. I use an old office desk as a bench and the sucker probably weighs 300 pounds so there is absolutely no give when I charge the handle. I literally verify every primer at this point. I clean and lube cases well before reloading and I clean all parts of the press after each session.

    I did look at the Hornady, Dillon and RCBS but felt that I could "get by" with a Lee and I have been happy with what I have seen so far. I bought the press from Amazon so it was here in two days with free shipping with Amazon Prime. I use the 4 piece dies. Change over is pretty simple and quick once you get the hang of it.

    My luck it will start falling apart this afternoon.
     
  25. Constrictor

    Constrictor Member

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    the 2nd most exciting day in my reloading life was when I bought my Loadmaster. The 1st was when I got rid of it.
     
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