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Old April 1, 2006, 06:43 AM   #1
eegnayr@yahoo.com
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Lee Pro 1000

Are the Lee Pro 1000 a good press to buy. If not please suggest another model.
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Old April 1, 2006, 01:14 PM   #2
dogfood
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I actually have two of these. Although a lot of reloaders don't like Lee products, I think the Pro 1000 is ok for a 3-station press. I particularly like the powder drop through the expanding die feature. The major issues are:

1) The turret retention system is somewhat sloppy.
2) Lee lock rings with the rubber o-ring are a complete pain. Extra turrets are a must to avoid having to remove/replace dies.
3) The primer feed is not a good design. Primers feed down a curved ramp, under the force of gravity. When you're down to a dozen primers or so, ther is no longer enough force to push the next primer into the punch area. This can cause a major jam. You really need to watch this.

I also have a Hornady LNL progressive. It has 5 stations and is much beafier. Its primer system uses drop tubes, which works better than Lee's, but it's not perfect. And the Hornday costs a lot more.

I have never tried a Dillon. They aren't cheap, but apparently a lot of reloaders like them.

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Old April 1, 2006, 02:54 PM   #3
Leftoverdj
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I had one, hated it, eventually converted it to a simple turret press.

The priming system is not just bad; it's dangerous. They blow up so frequently and so violently that Lee has limits on how many primers can be put in the primer feed which pretty much defeats the purpose of a progressive press.

Forget the notion of just changing the shellplate. It's a major time consuming operation. You can change the entire assembly without too much effort, but that's much more expensive. Changing the diehead is a snap though so you can change cartridges that use the same shellholder very readily.

Lee has just come out with the much improved Classic Turret Press and what looks to be a much improved priming system. You don't need much of a crystal ball to see that an improved Pro is in the offing. I'd wait for it.
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Old April 1, 2006, 07:55 PM   #4
Rico567
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To address the original question, I used two Lee Pro1000s to reload many thousands of rounds of pistol ammo over two decades. The Pro1000 will turn out reloads every bit as good as any other press, but it's a progressive reloader, and therefore probably not a good "starter" press for a new reloader. You don't say if you are or not, but if you're new to this game, I suggest getting a single-stage press and learning on that.

There are some "must do" things when using a Pro1000, and I mean "must." If you don't do them, you WILL have trouble, and repeatedly. Some may be found in the instructions, some not:

1) You must keep the machine clean. Plan on cleaning everything up every few thousand rounds, or if you put the machine away for an extended period, before you use it again.

2) You must keep it lubricated. This is in the instructions, but it's worth mentioning here, too.

3) As a previous poster alluded to, you must keep the primer trough full of primers. This system is strictly gravity feed, and unless the trough is kept filled with primers, the weight of the remaining primers will be insufficient to push a primer in place atop the primer punch. As the other poster said, you will then have a jam, and these are not fun to clear.

4) Do not attempt to win a race with the Pro1000. Its speed is best kept limited to no more than 300-400 per hour.

In addition, when you get your press set up, I suggest you run a single case around all three stations, loading one round at a time, until you get a feel for the action of the press and an understanding of what is going on at each stage. Then start to feed the cases through continuously. This "getting the feel" is particularly important with a progressive press, and you need to do it with a Dillon or RCBS or Hornady or whatever, not just Lee.

The above is not to imply that there's anything wrong with the Pro1000. It's the best bargain going in a progressive press (as of this writing, you can get it on sale at Natchez and Midway for under $120, and that's complete with powder measure and carbide dies). But you always get what you pay for, to some extent. The speed of the machine is limited, and it's not really suitable for reloading bottleneck rifle cases, although Lee sells it set up for .223. I sold my Pro 1000s and bought a Dillon XL650 because I wanted more production, and I wanted to reload rifle ammo.

Note: There are lots of people on Internet forums who love to jump all over Lee equipment as being "junk." All this rhetoric is relative. Some people must like Lees, because my two well-used Pro1000s sold on eBay for 75% of the cost of new machines today. Also, there are drawbacks to any machine, e.g., my Dillon 650 is a wonderful, speedy press to load on once it's set up and adjusted, but caliber changeovers on the Dillon are far more complex and there are adjustments that don't even exist on the Pro1000, and the last caliber change I bought for my Dillon (less dies!) cost almost as much as a new Pro 1000.
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Old April 1, 2006, 10:40 PM   #5
Leftoverdj
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Rico, what do you do when your Lee Pro 1000 blows up on you?
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Old April 2, 2006, 06:44 AM   #6
Rico567
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Never had that particular event occur- even though I DID jam up a few primers pretty badly back when I was first getting used to operating the press, I never had one go off. (I assume that's what you're referring to when you say "blow up." I've read about a few cases on line where people have blown up primers in progressive machines, but the ones where a series of primers chain-fired were all Dillon 550 and 650, except for one case involving an old Star progressive.
The only time I ever had a primer go was in a single-stage press, and only once.
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Old April 2, 2006, 10:02 AM   #7
dogfood
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I've never had a primer blow on a Pro 1000 either ... although I can certainly see how it could happen. I guess I was lucky in the early stages, where jams were just that ... jams.

I am much more sensitive these days to keeping the priming ramp and punch area clean, and keeping the primer tray loaded. I also stop at the slightest hint of resistance during priming. Again, from my viewpoint, the priming system is the Achille's heal of the Pro 1000.

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Old April 4, 2006, 07:33 AM   #8
texfar
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I had just heard so much about the Dillons that I bought the 550B and so far love it. Just gotta go slow until you have it tuned in and figured out. I can say that customer service with Dillon is fantastic. They back their product. Manual is not that great, but all it takes is a call to them and they help you through any problem.. My experience anyway.
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Old April 4, 2006, 09:46 AM   #9
Leftoverdj
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When I say, "Blow up", I mean exactly that. The whole primer tray goes off at one time with one helluva bang and sharp plastic shrapnel goes everywhere. It happened to me and it's happened to hundreds of other people. That's why Lee has put all those warnings in the instructions about what primers to use and how many. That's also why Lee calls their new primer system the "Safety" priming system.

My blowup happened before the warnings. Fortunately, I wear safety classes every waking moment, but I was a good while picking plastic splinters out of my skin.

My powder hopper did not blow, but I don't have any trouble seeing how that could happen, too. All it would take would be for the lid to be blown off and the powder ignited by the primer explosion. The powder wouldn't blow, but it would sure burn fast.
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Old April 4, 2006, 12:51 PM   #10
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100 Primers...

100 Primers at a time is the limit in the Lee Pro 1000, I really do not see that as a limiting factor. 100 Primers is one box of CCI350 Large Pistol Primers. Run 100, reload, run 100, reload. No biggie there.

They do limit you to a couple brands of primers, again that is not a problem for me. The primers they recommend I believe are ones that take a little more force to set off.

I am sorry you had akaboom Leftoverdj. If you had one and sufferred injuries before Lee put the warnings on them then you should have had a legal case. I know the warnings were in place by 1994 as that is when I got my press and it included the warnings.

The primer system is the weak point. I too keep an eye on how many are in it. Once the tray is empty and only the primers in the ramp are left it is time to refill. That keeps the pressure on to insure proper feeding. I also pay attention to the force applied, as others have stated.

Changing the shell plate is an operation, especially if it has been overtightenned! Still, under normal circumstances it is not to bad. The turret ring for the three dies is a pain if you swap the dies. Better to spend the $11 - $15 for a separate ring for each caliber.

I have used my Lee Pro 1000 for years now and turned out tons of 45 Colt and 10mm on it. It was a great deal at the time and still is. It does not have all the bells and whistles of some other presses but it works for me and I would have no problem buying another.
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