Lee Value 4 Hole Turret Press

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by JohnB-40, Feb 23, 2021.

  1. JohnB-40

    JohnB-40 Member

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    I've been doing my reloading on a RCBS Rocker Chucker Jr. since starting out. I wanted to speed up the process for .357 M & 45 ACP rounds so I bought a Lee Value Turret press. Not my first choice when I started to think about this last year,but like a lot of things in the shooting world,there is not a lot of inventory or choice these days. I'm just glad to have the components on hand. Any input on this press usage and tips would be appreciated. My dies are RCBS carbide and I weigh each charge on a 505. I have all case prep tools and accessories needed using the JR and I don't know if I want to layout any more coin on powder chargers etc until I see more round components available. This is returnable to Midway,but there is nothing to exchange it with.
     
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  2. greyling22

    greyling22 Member

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    the lee presses really shine with lee dies and the lee powder drop. that's what really speeds you up: being able to charge a case just by pulling then handle. I've done a few hundred thousand that way, and it works well. Taking a case off to weigh each charge on a handgun round would drive me batty, and defeat the purpose of a turret. I like being able to grab a tumbled case, pop it in the shell holder, pull the lever 4 times and have a complete round. No loading blocks, no wondering if I already charged the case, no taking the case off to prime or drop a powder charge, just nice and simple.
     
  3. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    I agree that as a system the Lee turret works much faster. I use the batch method with a single stage press and do all the case prep in the winter months then prime charge and seat when I need a bunch. I have a turret and use mine for my most used caliber and a universal decappimg die. No real time savings for me either.
     
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  4. sparkyv

    sparkyv Member

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    Did you really get the Value Turret press, the one with the red cast base, or the more modern 4-Hole Turret Press with a metal plate base? The Lee Value Turret press hasn't been produced in years. I ask because my answer is different, based upon the model. Here's my heavily modded Value 4-Hole Turret Press:
    20200816_140410.jpg
     
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  5. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    Your new press is going to eliminate a lot of "material handling" issues within your process. This press is perfect for low-to-mid level volumes, and will serve you extremely well.

    However, with speedier reloading comes speedier everything else... and 2 issues will quickly show up...

    1. You'll want to start lubricating your brass en-mass. That is to say "bulk case lubrication" using one of the commercial sprays, or by whipping up your own concoction from lanolin and alcohol. Lubrication is going to give you better repeatability in many areas, including OAL.

    2. Individual weighing of powder loads will be gone. You're going to be forced to learn to set up your powder measure to drop very accurate loads so that "powdering" doesn't hold up the entire process. I would suggest an "averaging method" wherein if you desire a load of 3.7gr, then weigh the output of 10 "dumps" and see how close they come to 10 x 3.7gr, or 37.0gr.

    2b. In most areas of the country, your biggest foe to accurate powder drop repeatability is going to be static electricity. Unless your loading area has good humidity control, you're going to need to research anti-static devices, wipes and sprays.

    Hope this helps.
     
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  6. whughett

    whughett Member

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    I bought one for my vacation home in Florida. It was called a Lee “Classic” Came with a roller style handle and I use the Lee auto disk powder measure. The primer is for the pits, my opinion, so I batch prime with a hand tool and remove the sizing die recalling pin. Four pulls one loaded round. For the money a cool press.
    Edit:
    Dang spell check. Make that the “primer punch pin”.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2021
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  7. v8stang289

    v8stang289 Member

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    I would recommend getting a lee auto disk or a lee auto drum setup. Not having to drop and weigh each charge is what really speeds up the process in my opinion.
    I've currently got 2 turret heads set up with an auto disc and one with an auto drum.

    Once set up they are extremely consistent with powders like hp38, bullseye, power pistol, etc.
    I always weigh the first several drops to verify, then start loading.
    I would also recommend some kind of press light so you can see into the cases to visually check the powder charge.
    I really like the Lee Turret, they work well and speed up the process greatly.
    I still use a single stage for rifle loads, but have switched nearly all my handgun ammo to the turret.

    20210209_113524.jpg
     
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  8. stonebuster

    stonebuster Member

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    IMG_1464.JPG I bought a Lee Classic 4 hole Turret press in December to load 38spl & 357 magnum for the first time. It's basically the same as the "Value" press except a cast iron base which I like. After loading @ 1500 rounds, my procedure after case cleaning is to decap and size a few hundred using the press as single stage. I found the auto prime mechanism gets in my way so I place primers in the "primer arm" by hand and operate it single stage and put the primed cases in a loading block for another day. Next time after setting the auto drum powder dispenser and getting 5 consistent drops weighed on the beam scale I use the turret to drop powder, seat and crimp. I visually check the powder in each case before I seat a bullet. I weigh every 10th powder drop. To operate the press single stage I use a half stroke on the ram to keep the turret from advancing instead of removing the indexing rod. I find decapping, sizing and priming single stage and loading another day simplifies the operation and less prone to making a mistake. It may sound slow but it goes fast once the case is primed and start fresh another day. I'm very pleased with the press at this point.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2021
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  9. pairof44sp

    pairof44sp Member

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    I second this.

    The Lee is kind of flimsy, but it’s all I know. I can’t imagine having to put brass in and out of the shell holder more than once... too slow! Plus, no double charges with the Lee.

    Once everything is set up, you can crank out 150 rounds an hour on the Lee.

    OP: When you are cranking with your right hand, keep a left hand on the turret disk thing. It often doesn’t advance to the next detent. Or goes past it. You’ll develop a habit of correcting it with your left and it won’t even slow you down.
     
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  10. kmw1954

    kmw1954 Member

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    Congratulations on even finding a new press these days. That new updated version of the press is much nicer than the old. When using the Auto index and a Lee Powder measure it can cut your time and work effort in half. After Lee came out with this new model press and the Auto Breech Lock Pro I struggled for over a month trying to decide which one to buy as I needed a 4th hole for the FCD on my 45acp loads. I finally went with the ABLP Progressive.

    I am still wanting one of the new Value presses and already have an idea to retro fit it to use the 3 hole turrets that I already have a lot of. This would still allow me to use the Safety Prime system on it which I can't on my old 3 hole.

    I believe once you start using it you will come to appreciate what it can do.
     
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  11. Cemetery21

    Cemetery21 Member

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    When I switched from an RCBS single stage to a 4 hole Lee Turret I still dropped powder off the press. Then the auto drum came out and I tried one. Bingo - never went back (for pistol loading). Now have three heads set up for pistol calibers, each with an auto drum. Quick and easy changeover. Not as fast as a progressive would be, but cranks out all I need in the time I want to spend.
    I also have six heads set up for rifle calibers and I do drop powder off the press for those.
     
  12. pairof44sp

    pairof44sp Member

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    Thanks for the tip re static. I had no idea.
     
  13. pairof44sp

    pairof44sp Member

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    The primer thing is like a Cracker Jack toy, but give it a chance OP.

    I swear when you adjust yourself to its flimsiness, you’re gonna be amazed how well it works and how much using it speeds things up.
     
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  14. pairof44sp

    pairof44sp Member

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    One thing to add:

    The Lee is great on pistol brass. But 44 mag def pushes the press to its limits.

    With rifle brass, dunno, but you might find the Lee is too lite-duty for much of that.
     
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  15. kmw1954

    kmw1954 Member

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    Should do just fine with small rifle like 223, 6.5 Grendel and such.
     
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  16. drband

    drband Member

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    I regularly load .44mag on my Lee Classic turret press and find no disadvantages there. I use Lee dies for what it's worth.

    If the press is mounted on a really solid bench, I think you can load anything that fits in the press with good results, pistol or rifle! If the press moves (even a little) in use, then you'll struggle with the larger cases for sure.
     
  17. JohnB-40

    JohnB-40 Member

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    Thank you for your input guys,I really appreciate it as this is uncharted territory for me. The turret press I ordered is the "value" model with the steel plate base. I guess I need to order a Lee Auto Drum or Auto Disc set-up.....Which do you recommend? I do also have set of Lee 357 dies and can see how the powder drops through the center of the expander die. I will order said die in 45 ACP. Is there any hardware needed to be ordered to connect the powder drop set-up to the top of the die?
     
  18. Analogkid

    Analogkid Member

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    I leave my Dillon xl650 set up for 9mm and reload everything else on my classic cast turret. Everything from 32acp on up to 45 for pistol and 223 for rifle. It's a solid unit. You'll love it. If you have cases prepped and primed beforehand you'll absolutely fly through cartridges.

    I decap on a Lee APP and prime on a bench prime or hand prime . The Lee APP makes short work of decapping and sizing.
     
  19. mdi

    mdi Member

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    FWIW; I have a Lee turret that I used for over 25 years (old design), but I did not use it as a "semi-progressive". I removed the auto indexing parts and batch loaded and hand indexed. I would do a couple steps on a batch of cases (size/decap, hand index and flare. Next run, charge and seat. Next run crimp/deflare). I have no need for 500 rounds right now!, and I enjoy reloading so this worked perfectly for me. The best feature of my method was changeable turrets which allowed me to keep dies mounted and easily switched. I even had a turret for "tools", I mounted a universal decapping die, a flaring die, and a ram prime on a turret. My method was indeed faster than using a single stage, and slower than a full progressive, but worked perfectly for my reloading/shooting style. If I wanted/needed to get another press (I now use a Co-Ax) it would surely be a new Lee turret...
     
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  20. gifbohane

    gifbohane Member

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    Like Frogo I do all my case prep in the winter and finish on the Redding T7. My man "Highboy" discouraged me from adding powder on the Redding turret.
     
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  21. v8stang289

    v8stang289 Member

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    I like both the auto disc and the auto drum. The drum is more adjustable so you can dial in your charge size, the disc may be a hair more consistent, but both work well. The drum is more versatile and has less to keep up with.

    You may or may not need a powder measure riser, theyre about $8 from midway. If I'm not mistaken you only need them to space the measure up to clear the on press priming.
     
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  22. Bolson

    Bolson Member

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    I have both the auto disk and auto drum...both work well. The drum can be dialed in for more precise drops. Still, I find I use the disk more...I've had it longer and it works well for me especially for plinking ammo. More accurate or workup loads get the drum or trickled.

    Lots of good advice above. That press should work well for you.
     
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  23. Dudedog
    • Contributing Member

    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    I have both the drum and the disk, both work well. If I did not have either and was going to buy one I would get the drum.
    Probably a good idea to order the powder riser at the same time. You may not need it but it is nice to have and can be used even if you don't need it.
    With the disk you are limited to the charge each hole in the disk will throw. (without modding the disk) That may or may not be a charge you want, the drum measure is more flexible.
    (the price of the riser is about what you would have to pay to have it shipped if you decide to get it later)
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2021
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  24. berettaprofessor

    berettaprofessor Member

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    Autodisk and risers for me. I have, for established loads that I'm unlikely to change, modified a disk to throw exactly the charge I want....which you do by drilling into an oversized cavity and then tapping a screw to control the decrease in volume. But I've got a half-dozen autodisks and lots of extra disks to modify.
     
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  25. greyling22

    greyling22 Member

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    you don't need a whole lee die set if you already have some dies. You just need the powder through die. And this guy https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1012822029 if you don't have the riser, the powder dispenser whacks your primer feed system. you can see it mounted on top of the powder die in this video

    (not my video, I haven't watched it. all I know is that it shows the dies)

    with fine powders, the auto disk will leak some powder. And it has the advantage/disadvantage of a finite number of charge options, so you don't spend the rest of your life trying to tailor an exact load. It is also easy to move the dispenser from die set to die set, change your powder change, them go back to the exact same size hole for powder amounts.
    The auto drum is hit or miss. I have 3. 1 does great, 1 leaks powder, and one used to leak, but now doesn't. it is supposedly able to change the drum insert around so you can set different drums to different volumes for different calibers and use 1 dispenser for multiple calibers, but in practice, once I get it to not leak, I am NEVER taking the drum out again. BUT you get infinite adjustability, the hopper holds more powder, and when working right, it doesn't leak.

    I find the primer system to feel cheap, and it was a little fiddly to find a rhythm that worked for me, but once I did, it works great.
     
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