New press - Lee

Not open for further replies.


Mar 31, 2011
Heart of Dixie
I've been loading on a single stage RCBS Jr. for the past 6-ish years. While it has served me well, i'm looking to get something to speed up my process a little. I dont have as much time as I did when I first started reloading, I was single no kids etc.

I've heard high praise for the Lee classic turret around here and think I have decided to go with this specific press. From what I understand the "classic" is worth the extra 20-30 dollars for the build quality, iron base vs alum. I have a Lee Pro 1000 that I got second hand that needs to go back to Lee for reconditioning, i'm sure its missing some small parts. Not sure if I want to get into full progressive reloading yet so i've decided to let it sit for now.

My real question is for people that use this Lee turret press: what accessories/extras do you use or which do you consider a good match for this press? And if you were to do it all over again, what would you buy from the start? I'm really torn on the powder delivery system. The Lee drum looks like what I want to go with but I've been reading info on the disk system also. The drum seems more flexible on charge weight range and from reviews i've read leaks less powder between throws. I use a Lee PPM, curious if the drum system is anything like the PPM. I know all about the graphite and wiper tweaks to get it to stop leaking ball powder, so if I had to do that i'd consider it a non-issue.

Also curious if most people prime on the press or hand prime. I've always hand primed and dont mind it, on-press would be new to me.

I would like to mostly reload pistol calibers on this but would like the option of loading 223. I reload common pistol/revolver cartridges (9mm, 38, 45 acp etc.) the most and occasionally cartridges like 32 long, mag and fed mag and some 357/44 mag.

The other rifle cartridges I load for would still be loaded on the single stage, just threw 223 in there for cheap blasting type ammo, not expecting to have the same precision as hand measuring each charge like I do on the single stage.

Sorry for the question-loaded novel i've written here, and thanks in advance for the help.
SlowFuse, I have used Lee products for well over 48 years. I would highly suggest going with the Lee Auto Drum for your powder drop regardless of what press you end up with. The Auto Drum, in my humble opinion is one of the best products Lee has ever came out with. It is easy to setup, adjust and the drops are extremely repeatable. The proof of this to me is shown when I chronograph my rounds and see a noticeable drop in standard deviation.

If you are looking for a press that produces a high volume of quality ammo I would also recommend you look at the Lee Load Master. You will read where people will talk it down. I believe this is for some of the early presses years ago. The new presses work great right out of the box and offer a lot of options. If you care to see, you may want to stop by my Youtube channel where you will find a number of videos of my press in operation. Here is the LINK

Happy Reloading on Whatever You End Up Purchasing.
The drum powder system is better than the disk. I loaded everything from 9mm to 30-06 on my LCT. I prime on the press. If you want to save time, priming on the press is a real time saver. I think the only think I would change on mine is to add the case ejector from inline fabrication. Very good press for the money and production will go up alot from a single stage.
I have been reloading for about two (2) years now and use the Lee Classic Press. For loading pistol calibers I use a turret set-up with the disc powder system. For rifle cartridges (6.5 Creedmoor and .556) I use turrets set-up with the drum powder feed. The turrets can be quickly changed (under a minute) to change calibers. I have turrets for 9mm, 45 ACP, 6.5 Creedmor, and .556. With separate turrets you set up the dies one time and leave them alone. Simply swap turrets to change calibers for loading. I prime on the press and easily/usually load 100 pistol cartridges per hour at a relaxed pace. I slow down further for the rifle cartridges to allow 6-7 seconds during the powder drop to ensure time for complete powder flow through the powder tube. Never timed rifle cartridges but probably 50 cartridges per hour. I purchase Lee loading gear from F&S reloading as they have very good prices. Hope this helps.
I've used the LCT press for about 6-7years and feel it's a great press system as an upgrade from a single stage press. Definitely go with the Classic cast turret, not the aluminum framed one. It will really help you increase your output without sacrificing any reload quality.

Reloading pistol rounds, I was able to easily produce about 150-175rounds per hour without breaking a sweat. For pistol powder charging I used the Pro disk measure and found it to be very consistent and easy to use. No powder leaking with this one, but a lot of that has to do with the powder you're dropping. I did try the micro-adjustable bar but found it lacking if I was trying to drop powder charges around 4gr. or less. It just wasn't predictable at that small level. Finally just went back to the fixed discs and was happy. The Pro disc measure will not handle the typical rifle powder charges, so I had to do that off press.

I did prime on the press without any problems, but the initial setup is important to have it operate smoothly. Switching from small to large primers is a breeze.

Definitely get extra turrets so that you can quickly change from cartridge to cartridge. The new Lee Auto Drum measure is probably what you want, especially if you're going to do much rifle powder charging. I haven't used that measure, but it seems to get good press.
The drum is a definite upgrade.

Honestly, the Pro 1k is what I would (do) use for the pistol stuff. I run through 9mm like water, so the additional speed of the pro 1k is a nice addition. If you post pics on here, there are enough 1k users here to get you going with it. If you are near me, I can get it running for you even faster.

For .223 the LCT is what I generally use. It is a good press, and gives the right balance of attention to every round and speed to make it great for rifle loading.
I have a Lee Classic Turret. IMHO it was money well spent.

I have both the disk powder measure and the drum. Since going to the drum I have not used the disk measure at all. The disk worked fine for me, it's just the drum is so much easier, and once set is very accurate. I use mostly ball powders so maybe that is why I had no issues with the disk. I'm about to order the extra set of drums, and I would advise someone ordering the drum measure to just go ahead and get the extra set of drums. Once set switching between different powders/measurements is quick and easy. Of course always verify with your scale but you'll be close.

I prime on-press, and it's never been an issue. I wouldn't mind hand priming, and may do that someday. It's one less step on the press. Do what you feel comfortable with.

I load some rifle cartridges in batches one at a time single-stage style. Again, the LCT works well this way, and you may prefer it for small batches of rifle.
I also load .223 in larger quantities and the turret with disk powder measure works as well for .223 as is does for my 9mm.

FWIW I load 9mm, .243, 30-06, .223, and .45 Colt and am able to load all of them without incident on the LCT. If I buy another caliber I'll own dies and also load on the LCT.

Have a LCT purchased this summer and a decades old LEE 4 Hole Value Press. Find myself using the old press on pistol cartridges more often due to it's shorter lever throw. Both are set-up with Auto Disc Powder Measures using the LEE #90792 adj charge bar in place of preset discs with satisfactory results.

If I could go back and do it all over, I'd have kept the LEE 3 hole press I sold 15 yrs ago just to flare/charge, seat, and crimp. For me it's more productive and enjoyable to size/deprime on a single stage in batches and prime using my 20 yr old LEE Hand Prime.
Thank you all for the input.

And welcome to the forum ScruffT!

Does the turret come with any sort of priming system or do you purchase something separate??
I load mostly 9mm on mine. While the primer system on the press took some tweaking I did get working fairly well. However I prefer to prime off of the press.
I pre prime brass when I've got a few minutes. For me it just seems to make the process simpler.

I bought several used auto disk measures off eBay and keep one set up just for 9mm ammo.

Although I've never seen much variation using Titegroup with the auto disk I still prefer to check the weight of the powder from time to time.
It has been my experience the powder chart with the powder disk isn't accurate so I wouldn't rely on it l, especially with a hot load.
I've included a short video.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I use a Lee Classic Turret press for loading .44mag and .45 Colt. As others have said, the Lee Auto Drum powder dispenser is a great accessory. I also prime on the press and use the Lee primer dispenser mounted on the press. I tumble the cases with the spent primers still in them and go straight to the press without cleaning primer pockets. If the time comes that I am shooting enough 5.56/.223 to warrent it I will set up a turret on the Lee turret press for that. I currently load my rifle ammo on a Lyman T Mag turret press.

I have been reloading for 40 plus years, most of it on a Pacific "O" type press. Last year I purchased the Lee Classic Turret. I load pistol cartridges on it and rifle on the Pacific.
I deprime and size the hulls, clean the primer pockets, wash the brass in a citric acid, water solution, and prime as a separate off turret operation. I have a deprime turret set up for 4 different calibers, .40, 9 mm, .38/.257, and 44 mag and dedicated turrets for loading each caliber. I don't like the Lee powder measures, they leak badly. I use Pacific and RCBS powder drops mounted on the Lee through the die. I did not buy the kit because I already have powder measures, beam scales etc. The LCT spits spent primers on occasion but I have rigged a shield for that.
I prime(d) on the press when loading volume stuff (past tense because of a Lock-N-Load AP in my room since last Christmas), my youngest is using the LCT for his revolver rounds until he can spring for a shell plate and 3 or 4 LNL quick change bushings.
I'd go for the Lee Powder drum in a heartbeat, when I get around to it, there will be at least one set up for the LNL, so I won't have switch the Hornady measure between rifle and pistol. :)
I decap before cleaning, as wet tumbling cleans the primer pockets, but it's not necessary and it actually adds time/effort.
I started on a my son's old Lee four hole turret press several years ago. Last year I bought a Lee Classic Turret press kit. It comes with almost everything you need to get started. I added the following: digital gem scale, the powder drum and the adjustable charge bar. I use the charge bar for pistol calibers and the drum for rifle. From experience on the old press, I found that the charge bar and powder drum give both flexibility and accuracy. The digital gem scale is also more accurate than the beam type scale and much faster. Look on Amazon and you can usually find one that goes to two decimal places for under $50. The new press also has a primer dispenser that makes on-press priming simple and fast. Since several of my rifles have floating firing pins, I only use the on-press primer for pistols. I hand prime for rifles to make sure the primer is seated below the case.
Thank you all for the input.

And welcome to the forum ScruffT!

Does the turret come with any sort of priming system or do you purchase something separate??

The LCT includes a simple priming system which is an interchangeable for primer size pivoting alloy lever that is manually engaged on the down stroke via a slot in the ram. It's tedious, but effective.

There is also of course the optional plastic tray feed, that IMHO receives poor reviews.
Another vote for the LCT and Auto Drum. Even though the Auto Drum looks like a cheap piece of garbage, it performs extremely well....*extremely* well. Also another vote for priming on press. The Safety Prime system (it's a separate purchase, and easily attached to the LCT) works really well. Priming on press with the LCT and Safety Prime adds maybe 5-6 seconds to round production times vs. using pre-primed brass. When you take into consideration the amount of time it takes to de-prime and then prime off press, using the LCT to do it all is definitely going to be a net savings in time.

Remember to get a Riser for the Auto Drum if you're going to use it with the LCT.

I wet tumble with old primers still in place. Maybe I'm missing something, but for casual shooting, I just don't see a need to clean primer pockets.

My only complaint with the LCT is that there is enough head slop to cause some variation in OAL, but not so much to actually be a problem.
Last edited:
My only complaint with the LCT is that there is enough head slop to cause some variation in OAL, but not so much to actually be a problem.

I don't own an LCT. But since it is a single ram directly under the die, would it be neck tension only that would cause varied OAL? Since no other operations are being performed at the same time, and the slop should be same each time the seating die comes around, I can't think of any other forces that would cause any real OAL variations.
So I do need to buy the safety prime system? The riser info is also appreciated, trying to make it one big order and not waste shipping money on two or three separate orders.
So I do need to buy the safety prime system?
If you plan on priming on-press, the Safety Prime system is wonderful. You *can* prime on press without it, but it wouldn't be fun. The Safety Prime system puts the primer in the seating cup for you. It looks pretty Rube Goldberg, but it works very well.

Stuff I'd suggest you order:

Lee Classic Turret Press
Auto Drum measure
Powder Measure Riser
Safety Prime system
Extra tool heads.

@AR-Bossman, it could be that since I'm using mixed head stamp brass, I'm getting varied neck tension head stamp to head stamp. Haven't really bothered to trouble shoot it too much yet, as it hasn't been enough to really worry about.
Been using the classic turret for a couple years and the only complaint I can come up with is the auto indexing plastic piece. I have replaced it twice now, which isn't a big deal, but I would buy at least one extra when you order the press.

The drum is the way to go over the plastic disks.
I use a Lyman turret press, but functionally it's similar to the Lee.

My biggest time saver is my fancy auto powder measure. It dumps very fast and consistent charges just as fast as I can seat bullets.

I'm about 3X faster using the auto measure, versus using a little spoon and a scale.

BTW, I'll only ever load with a turret press. I feel it's safer and offers more consistency and more opportunities to inspect each cartridge. For instance, each cartridge gets inspected before and after decap/resize, during trimming, before & after powder charge, and after bullet seating.

It's not that I doubt my QC, quite the opposite, I'm OCD about QC.

So for me, the auto measure really sped up my process with the turret press, and I still get to witness each charge for consistency.

Also, it works great with the big flake powders that give mechanical powder dumpers fits. Sometimes those "undesireable" powders are all you can find.
I've used my Lee Classic Turret press for about 7 years now for loading .223. I primed on the the press and never had a problem. I use the disk powder measure. It's pretty consistent but it does spit out a little powder. I am using Ramshot Tac. I wouldn't hesitate to buy one again. I am currently thinking of getting the Loadmaster or the Hornady Lock N Load.
There will always be a place on my bench for the LCT press! It's permanently mounted on my bench along with my 650. I have my old (40+ years) Rock Chucker under the bench that I use on occasion for specific jobs. The turret is used for small batch loads of handgun and rifle cartridges. As others have stated, it's easy enough to knock out 100-150rds an hour on the LCT. By all means, get the Safety Prime. It really speeds things up. For rifle cartridges loaded on the LCT, I use my old RCBS Uniflow powder measure with the rifle charging die and adapter. The Pro Auto Disk works OK for most handgun cartridges and powders. Haven't tried the Lee Drum. Even if you move on to a progressive later, you'll find a lot of uses for the LCT. IMO, that's the best of the Lee press line.
Not open for further replies.