Who uses LEE?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Texaszach, Dec 22, 2013.

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  1. GT1

    GT1 Member

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    I think it is safe to say without Lee there would be thousands and thousands of folks who would have never tried reloading.

    They make fine dies and the classic turret and classic cast single presses are at the top of any list.
     
  2. 4895

    4895 Member

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    I started with all LEE products and over time upgraded almost everything to better quality. That being said, I have shot some of my best groups using LEE dies and a LEE Challenger press. If you plan on loading .223 and .30-06 as well as .243, you might want to look at better gear.

    I think the LEE kit works great for someone who may only load 1 or 2 calibers once or twice a year.

    The LEE perfect powder measure works much better than others with stick powders but tends to leak with fine ball powders. If you get the kit, the manual will have loads in it shown in (cc) cubic centimeters as well as (grains) weight. You can set the powder measure according to the scale at say 3.4 cc's, (there is an adjustable thumb-screw type scale on the LEE powder measure), and verify with the scale or adjust accordingly. That being said, I don't like the LEE scale at all but it works.

    The chamfer tools work fine and the LEE cutter with separately purchased, caliber-specific case length gauges, is probably the most cost-effective reloading tool I have ever seen. It really works well and if you have a drill motor you can speed things along quite nicely.

    I have the older style LEE hand primer and can say it works fine. Just be careful to point the tray away from your face while seating primers and wear safety glasses. They don't have a bad reputation but safety glasses are cheaper than ER bills.

    If I had to do it all over again, I would buy another LEE anniversary kit, set of .243 dies, a dial caliper, and a .243 case length gauge for the LEE cutter.

    Throw in 1 box of 100 grain bullets, 100 primers, and 1 lb. of H-4350, and I would be cooking with gas. Take care and good luck.


    P.S. If you want to check the calibration of your LEE scale, try weighing one of the new bullets on it. It should be close enough in advertised weight to dial-in the scale properly. If it is off by .2 grains or so, that won't hurt a thing. Stay prudent and work you loads up from a safe starting point.

    EXAMPLE ONLY:

    TAKEN FROM HODGDON.COM RELOADING PAGE http://data.hodgdon.com/cartridge_load.asp

    243 Winchester 100 grain Speer BTSP bullet 2.650" OAL H-4350 Powder

    Start load: 37.0 grains 2806 fps
    Max load: 40.0 grains 2973 fps


    I would load the following:

    (3) rounds at 37.0 grains

    (3) rounds at 37.4 grains

    (3) rounds at 38.1 grains

    (3) rounds at 38.5 grains

    (3) rounds at 38.9 grains

    (3) rounds at 39.3 grains

    (3) rounds at 39.7 grains

    (3) rounds at 40.1 grains (OVER MAX)

    I would setup 8 different targets and shoot them all in order. One round from the first load at the first target, then one round from the second load at the second target, then one round from the third load at the third target, etc. I would shoot 8 rounds, one of each load, at 8 separate targets, in the order of powder increase. It is important to pay attention to pressure signs and take a note pad. Label the rounds if you can with a sharpie or something. Once you have shot the first string (8 rounds) you should have one hole in each target. Then start the second string from Load 1, target 1, then shoot Load 2, target 2, etc. Eventually you will have 8 targets with 3 holes each and have a real good idea which load you like. Then it is back to the bench to load up your favorite load.

    You could skip all of this and just load at say 38.0 grains, 39.0 grains, and 40.0 grains, checking for pressure signs and all, but where would all of the fun be?

    These rounds have a 1% increase in powder in each stage. For a larger case, 30-06 +, I would use a 2% increment in powder.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2013
  3. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    And you might not. We had an RCBS Rockchucker Supreme that we learned on. We loaded several thousand rounds with it and it was stolen. We now have an RCBS Reloader Special and a Lee Challenger Breechlock. Is the Lee as well built and sturdy? No. But it wouldn't surprise me if it lasts many, many years. And we shoot a LOT.
     
  4. 45lcshooter

    45lcshooter Member

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    i use Lee dies, lee progressive press, lee single stage press, lee trimmers, lee zip trim, lee manuals. I like everything a lot. I also use RCBS, Lyman, Herters, i just don't have the money to try the Blue stuff.

    You will not be disapointed with Lee or their customer service.
     
  5. gonoles_1980

    gonoles_1980 Member

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  6. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    Oh yeah. 45lcshooter reminded me. I use the Lee trimmers too. I like them. I have a Lyman Universal trimmer but only use it if I'm trimming a lot of brass at once (100+ pieces) which rarely happens.
     
  7. Electricalbill

    Electricalbill Member

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    I started in the early 80's with a Lee "Anniversary" Challenger press... and it came with everything I needed to get started. I had just started a family and could not really afford much else. The "toggle" (which I believe was cast pot-metal) broke after thousands of rounds a couple of years ago- but Lee sold me the new steel linkage for half-price... $4.95. How can you go wrong with that? :)
    BTW - I am still using that very same press today for depriming, swaging and load development.
    I recently bought a Lee Classic Turret press which I use to load several pistol and rifle calibers. It is quick to set up and operate, and still produces excellent rounds. Is it as fast as a progressive? Definitely not... but I paid less than $100.00 for it. Fifteen different die sets (all Lee) and all work flawlessly.
    I hope to pass it on to my boys some day... I definitely have my money back from it! :D

    Bill
     
  8. dickttx

    dickttx Member

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    According to a survey I saw about 52% of the dies used are Lee.
    Of course 52% of the voters voted for Obama too so that may not be a good recommendation.:D
    All of the dies I actually use are Lee, as is my Classic Turret press and Pro Auto Disks powder measures.
     
  9. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    Even if you don't use Lee, I think you benefit from the downward pressure Lee puts on equipment prices.
     
  10. horsemen61

    horsemen61 Member

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    I use lee for everything I have one set of green dies rcbs and I just don't care for them as much as I do my lee stuff if it weren't for lee I wouldn't be able to afford to reload as much as I do :what:
     
  11. Moreno

    Moreno Member

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    I have several sets of Lee dies. They are well polished and work fine.
     
  12. ghfljf

    ghfljf Member

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    I do like the 5 Lee die sets that I use. The only problem I've had was the shellholder for 9mm Lugar. S&B brass would pop right out. I bought a RCBS shellholder that fit tighter. I would still recommend Lee equipment and will be buying one for 7mm Mauser soon.
     
  13. dickttx

    dickttx Member

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    I don't remember right now but if the shellholder with the 9mm dies is #9, you need #19, or vise versa. The other one is closer fitting.
     
  14. Crashbox
    • Contributing Member

    Crashbox Member

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    I posted earlier but there was one thing I forgot that I use regularly: my LEE Universal Decapping Die which has seen thousands of rounds on a single decap pin (if primers begin to stick I just lightly dress the end up with a ceramic stone and she's good to go again!!)...

    It's been probably a year or so ago but my neighbor and I were talking about LEE equipment one day and how a lot of their items seem to be truly incredible bargains. Indeed.
     
  15. leadchucker

    leadchucker Member

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    Everything on my load bench is Lee... except the powder scale. ;)
     
  16. Tolkachi Robotnik

    Tolkachi Robotnik Member

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    Lee products are fine and inexpensive. The cartridge trimmers and autoprime hand held devices are both extremely recommended, work really well. The Lee reloading book is interesting enough but under powered compared to other manuals, no doubt the loads are safe. RCBS is maybe better for dies, and certainly is famous for service, but I have had no Lee dies fail in any way.
     
  17. heavydluxe

    heavydluxe Member

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    Just got into reloading, and I was on a hellatight budget... I have the least expensive Lee press (the $30 Reloader), Lee dies, hand priming tool, and powder dippers/funnel. I had Lee tools for case prep, too, but upgraded to Lyman hand tools.

    Aside from the case prep angle, Lee's products have been absolutely G2G.
     
  18. HisStigness

    HisStigness Member

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    I started with a Lee hand press with Lee dies and recently upgraded to a Lee classic turret press. I have never had a reason to look elsewhere for reloading equipment (except my FA bullet puller and scale). I honestly can't figure out why companies like Rcbs charge 50% more for their dies and their rockchucker costs the same as my classic turret!
     
  19. Texaszach

    Texaszach Member

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    I already have a hanful of manuals and have read a lot on the subject.

    Safety has been first and foremost, and my better half would not allow me to create controlled explosions inches from my face without some education.

    I know of the stickies, I just wanted to engage with people in the present...

    And I think I will definitely be able to load more than 1 or 2 chamberongs more than a few times a year
     
  20. clutch
    • Contributing Member

    clutch Contributing Member

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    I have a lot of Lee stuff. Most of it works pretty good.


    I like their taper crimp and factory crimp dies. The carbide pistol sizers are Great for the price.

    The autodisk measure works fine for pistols on my Loadmaster. For rifles I stick to my Lyman 55.

    I started reloading using a Lee Loader for my 7.7 Jap.

    I've had various models of the autoprime but went to the RCBS universal primer to accommodate thumbs that have arthritis.

    Lee made dies for a lot of milsups that I'm not sure anyone else did.

    Oh yes, I have a bunch of Lee molds, good deal for the price, sometimes they need tweaking but a lot of stuff does.

    You can make a lot of quality ammo with Lee and you can upgrade pieces if a competitor makes something that looks better to you.
     
  21. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    I use a lot of LEE stuff. Their dies are very good, the presses are built well enough to handle years of use. Their powder handling stuff makes sense once you realize it is incremented in cubic centimeters. The scale, of course, is in grains.

    I admit to using a single stage for the vast majority of my reloading. Since much of it is for max. accuracy in rifles, control over every step of the process is something I want, not higher output and less fine control. I drag out the progressive a few times a year now for .45acp.
     
  22. Pete D.

    Pete D. Member

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    Lee

    I started with Lee equipment....the classic Lee Loader. As others..probably 75% of my equipment - dies, presses, scales, powder measure, bullet molds, etc is Lee equipment.
    I also have similar equipment from RCBS, Dillon, Redding, Forster.....The Lee equipment works as well.
    I have a Lee Pro 1000 press that has passed the 60K rounds loaded mark and just keeps on going.
    Pete
     
  23. jsab9191

    jsab9191 Member

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    I have been reloading for over 25 years and have used many brands( Lee, RCBS, Forster, Dillon, and Hornady). I believe Lee make many fine product and provide great value. I see very little, if any difference when I spend 2 or 3 times the price on the premium brands. Lee get bashed mostly because people have to justify there high dollar purchases.
     
  24. Devilfrog

    Devilfrog Member

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    I use all Lee dies, a Lee turret and a Classic single stage. All have worked very well over the years and I have no complaints. Hard to beat the cost for what you get
     
  25. sexybeast

    sexybeast Member

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    Really sums it up. Their beam scale is not very good but the powder disc measure is great for consistency.
    Their dies are great. My 9mm dies alone have 100k rounds loaded through them.
    I don't like their aluminum single stage but they make a very good cast iron single stage. I use a Loadmaster and have loaded 70k+ rounds on it.

    This is a good thread on Lee products.
     
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