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Old February 13, 2012, 04:51 PM   #1
Martowski
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Torn Between Lee Loadmaster or Classic Turret for $20 Difference

I've been doing a lot of research lately as I want to upgrade from my single stage press to something quicker. However, one consideration is that I want whatever I get to "work." Not saying I'm not willing to spend some time in set-up, but I want to get into a situation where whatever I have is reliable and robust.

I have been strongly leaning toward the Lee Classic Turret press w/ the Pro Auto Disk Powder Measure and the Safety Prime system. This seems to be a big "winner" in most people's minds, and I can put all these components in a shopping basket and have them for around $200 shipped. The Pro 1000 progressive was ruled out due to only having three holes and due to things I've read online.

Well, I've now found that I can get into the Lee Loadmaster setup complete with dies for only about $15 - $20 more than the Classic Turret press w/ accessories. Now I'm torn. The Classic Turret seems like the more fool-proof system, but the Loadmaster allure is very strong since it would put me in a full progressive five-station press for essentially the same cost as a turret.

Since these are essentially the same price to me now, what would you choose and why? I am not a high volume shooter but time savings is important and I also want something I can grow into. I will primarily be reloading handgun (mostly 9mm), but may put some .223 or even .30-06 through this as well.

BTW, one question as well: does the Loadmaster come with Lee's 3 or 4 die sets when purchased as a pistol (i.e. 9mm) package?
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Last edited by Martowski; February 13, 2012 at 05:57 PM.
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Old February 13, 2012, 05:25 PM   #2
oldmansbike
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I went through the same thing a year ago except I was looking at the pro 1000. I ended up buying the Classic Turret. I only shoot a couple thousand rounds a year so volume wasn't as important to me. I just didn't want to have to fiddle with the Pro 1000 every time I wanted to load. I have a friend who has 4 Pro 1000 and he just loves them but he doesn't prime on them so I think that is why he likes them. I have loaded around 3000 rounds on the turret with no problems what so ever.
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Old February 13, 2012, 06:23 PM   #3
GTOne
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There isn't a progressive out there in the home-consumer market that doesn't require fiddling and cleaning at regular intervals, to keep it running smoothly. Lee progressives have a rep of needing more TLC than others, however.

The Lee Classic turret has no such issues like progressives, it requires a couple drops of oil now and then and that you remember to not turn the turret manually while the ram is down and auto-index ratchet system engaged(Though even if you do tear up the little piece in there by doing so it is 50 cents for a new one. Order a few extras if you buy one). The auto-disk pro is as good as any powder measure out there. I really like the optional charge bar. The safety prime works great once aligned(easy to do, like lining up sights).

I have it, and every time I have used it I grin because of how well it works and how versatile it is, for so few dollars.
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Old February 13, 2012, 08:10 PM   #4
dacaur
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Ive got the deluxe turret, and it spits em out more than fast enough for me. Eventually I plan to upgrade to the classic turret for the neater primer collection and the ability to use the auto index with longer cases, but Im in no hurry really.... I cant see myself ever going to a progressive press, since I load more for accuracy than volume, and dont want to add any more variables or things to have to mess with.......

add my vote for the classic turret.

If you want to just load ammo without messing with the press, get the turret,

If you want massive volume, with the understanding that you WILL be messing with it to get it running smoothly, get the loadmaster.

With my deluxe turret, I can crank out about 100 9mm rounds in an hour, without hurrying, since I look inside each case after the powder drops to make sure it looks right... Ive read of people who claim 250 per hour, which seems feasible. With the progressive people claim 900+ an hour.... it all depends on your needs....
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Old February 14, 2012, 12:36 AM   #5
hk33ka1
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I own most of the Lee presses, including the Classic Turret and Loadmaster.

I strongly recommend the Classic turret, on its own or in the Kit.

I will say the Loadmaster can be made to work well, but it is an aquired art.
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Old February 14, 2012, 12:55 AM   #6
Lost Sheep
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Tell us something about your style.

Thanks for asking our advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martowski
Well, I've now found that I can get into the Lee Loadmaster setup complete with dies for only about $15 - $20 more than the Classic Turret press w/ accessories
Help us out here. Where did you get your price quotes?

How often will you swap calibers? It is easy and cheap with the Turret. Not so much with the progressive.

Will you put your gear away after each loading session or leave it set up permanently? My Classic Turret set up very quickly, and I keep all my gear in three smallish toolboxes. Very convenient, and I can go over to a friend's house to reload with but two trips to the car.

I started with a single stage, then got a couple of Lee Pro-1000s. Aside from the fiddling, the main reason I did not keep them is that I never got used to monitoring multiple simultaneous operations. Concentrating on one cartridge start to finish through the loading steps one at a time is much more comfortable to me. Then I do the next cartridge.

On a progressive, I was never able to go very fast because I was watching everything and double checking everything. On my Turret, with the auto-index engaged, I wound up achieving almost the same rounds per hour output and am much more relaxed when done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTOne
remember to not turn the turret manually while the ram is down and auto-index ratchet system engaged
Actually, the position if the ram is irrelevant. The important thing is the postion of the ratchet inside its housing. When the ratchet is up, it is at risk. When the ram moves downward, the ratchet is, indeed, up. However, you can disengage the ratchet easily by grabbing the index rod, lifting it straight up a bit and dropping it back down again.

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Old February 14, 2012, 01:25 AM   #7
GTOne
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Okay, I tried it and see what you mean.

But forgetting one is in auto index mode and turning the turret is what mangles the little piece, and that is usually when one goes to flip to the next station in manual.
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Old February 14, 2012, 01:38 AM   #8
hk33ka1
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FS Reloading (formerly known as Factory Sales) has the Classic Turret for $84
, and in the kit for $200. The Loadmaster sells for $220 there in pistol calibres.
I find the turret handy for medium runs of pistol calibres. I don't recall loading rifle on mine as I do it single stage. Many others claim great success with it. I like to size then trim bottleneck cases first so it kinda takes away from the speed.

Classic Turret usually set up;
1 FL size/prime
2 flaring die/powder charge
3 seating die
4 crimp die if used

I believe the Loadmaster comes with three die sets for pistol (no factory crimp die). I usually only load pistol on the Loadmaster, but once I did do a bunch of .308. I had already sized trimmed a bunch of brass. I primed it all by hand (yes the Loadmaster priming can be finicky). I then ran the cases through with the Perfect powder measure set up on a universal charging die with Win 748 powder and then seated bullets and FCD crimped them in the last station.

Most people set Loadmasters up;
1 Universal decapping die
2 sizing die no decapping rod/ priming station
3 flaring/powder charge die
4 seating die (set not to crimp)
5 taper or factory crimp die

Last edited by hk33ka1; February 14, 2012 at 01:45 AM.
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Old February 14, 2012, 08:47 AM   #9
wingman
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Classic Turret hands down the winner.
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Old February 14, 2012, 09:51 AM   #10
teeroux
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Quote:
one question as well: does the Loadmaster come with Lee's 3 or 4 die sets when purchased as a pistol (i.e. 9mm) package?
3-dies set. You will also need a universal decapper for the first station. It does not come with one.

This
Quote:
Most people set Loadmasters up;
1 Universal decapping die
2 sizing die no decapping rod/ priming station
3 flaring/powder charge die
4 seating die (set not to crimp)
5 taper or factory crimp die
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Old February 14, 2012, 12:15 PM   #11
Buckshot Bill
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GT one- post #3 nails it. You really can't go wrong with the Classic turret. I love mine, and would definitely buy the same set up again. Be sure you get the turrets with 4 holes. Makes the press much more versatile.
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Old February 14, 2012, 06:08 PM   #12
Tex S
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Can you actually use a 3 hole turret on a LCTP?
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Old February 14, 2012, 07:06 PM   #13
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Can you actually use a 3 hole turret on a LCTP?
No.
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Old February 14, 2012, 10:38 PM   #14
Lost Sheep
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Retrofit to a 3-hole?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tex S
Can you actually use a 3 hole turret on a LCTP?
To expand on Peetzakilla's answer.

No.


Last year, I asked Lee Precision if fitting a turret ring from the older 3-hole turret could do what you asked. Their answer was, "No" with this explanation.

Lee makes (and sells) parts to convert the older 3-hole turret to a 4-hole turret, but it involves replacing the vertical posts and the turret ring. Lee does not make the parts to switch the 4-hole turret to a 3-hole.

You could convert a Lee Pro-1000 to a three-hole turret or a four-hole turret though. Then you would have a Deluxe Turret (for about the price of a new one and losing a Pro-1000 in the bargain.)

I have been toying with the idea of a linear turret. You would then be able to have a 2 station turret, 3 station, 4 station, 5 station etc. The problem is that the autoindexing is more difficult and returning to station 1 would have to be manual. I'm working on it.

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Old February 14, 2012, 11:39 PM   #15
Martowski
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I can get the Loadmaster w/ dies for $197.99. Tell me though, why would I need to get a universal decapping die? Why couldn't I just use the standard three dies that come with the Loadmaster? Disappointing they don't provide the 4-die deluxe set since it's a 5-station press. Conversely, I can get the Classic Turret, Pro Auto Disk Measure, Measure Riser, Lg and Sm Safety Prime System, and 9mm Deluxe 4-die set for $175.85.

Haven't totally made up my mind but the Classic Turret does seem like the best option for me since I won't be doing high volumes of stuff very often and do want something that can easily handle larger rifle cartridges if needed. I won't caliber change very often, and it will be permanently mounted to my bench.

As for pricing, I get dealer pricing from some of the online vendors due to having a C&R FFL. I find it amazing that more people don't have this since it's so cheap and you get so much out of it.
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Old February 14, 2012, 11:58 PM   #16
Old 454
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Kempfs

Take a look at Kempfs gun shop in michigan city indiana they have a nice deal on a Lee Classic turret press for 200 bucks with a lot of stuff that comes with it, and seeing that you are from Illinois you might live close enough to drive out there and pick it up there, nothing like instant gratification!

Have Sue there help you, and what ever you do don't mention Cabelas or bass pro to the Old Codger there, it just riles him all up to no end!
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