The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Handloading, Reloading, and Bullet Casting

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old May 4, 2012, 06:50 PM   #1
Djbuttolph
Member
 
Join Date: February 16, 2012
Posts: 15
Lee Challenger vs Classic Help

Hey guys I recently sold off some college textbooks (woohoo!) and planned on buying a single stage press, and am leaning towards a Lee....I can get the Challenger kit for around 110, or the Classic press only for around 150...I'll be reloading 204 Ruger, 243 WSSM, and 25-06, which do you guys think I should go with?

Thanks,

DJ
Djbuttolph is offline  
Old May 4, 2012, 06:56 PM   #2
wncchester
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 1, 2002
Posts: 2,832
I don't know what YOU should go with but I'd take the cast iron Classic Cast, without the silly 'breech lock' die holding system. I haven't looked at prices recently but I think you can get it for less than $150.
wncchester is offline  
Old May 4, 2012, 08:07 PM   #3
Djbuttolph
Member
 
Join Date: February 16, 2012
Posts: 15
You are correct, i'm finding them around 120 bucks...But i can get a whole kit for the challenger for around 110. I'm thinking i'm leaning towards the Classic as of now though

Only bad thing is, I'm having to buy this off Amazon because that's where I sold my books back to...A little more pricey than Midway, etc

Last edited by Djbuttolph; May 4, 2012 at 08:34 PM.
Djbuttolph is offline  
Old May 4, 2012, 08:56 PM   #4
Lost Sheep
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 24, 2009
Location: Anchorage Alaska
Posts: 3,043
Iron vs Aluminum

The Classic Cast is iron. The Challenger is Aluminum.

Iron wears better than the softer (less abrasion resistant) aluminum. But if you keep either clean and lubed (emphasis on clean - no grit) they will both last a lifetime. It's just that the iron will withstand neglect a bit better.

The leverage of the Classic Cast is superior to the Challenger (go the the Lee Site and look at the pictures) Cast parts instead of stamped and the bolts are more robust, too, but they can (and do) get replaced on the Challenger. The Classic starts out with the better bolts, though.

The spent primers on the Challenger drop alongside the ram, into the base of the press and through a hole to a collection tube. Great system. The spent primers on the Classic drop inside the ram into the same collection tube. Think about where the detritus (grit, that I mentioned before) goes. It goes between the ram sides and the hole it slides through.

The Ram on the Classic is larger than on the Challenger, giving more bearing surface and further reducing the wear factor.

For $40, if you have the money, the Classic. (One or two boxes of ammo, or one case of premium beer for a difference you will appreciate for the rest of your life.)

Just my thoughts on the subject. No better than anyone else's.

Lost Sheep

Edit: what are you shooting and in what quantities? I would look at the Lee Classic Turret if it meets your needs. Same linkage as the Classic Cast and three times the speed if you are willing to load in continuous mode instead of batch, as on a single stage.
Lost Sheep is online now  
Old May 4, 2012, 09:16 PM   #5
Djbuttolph
Member
 
Join Date: February 16, 2012
Posts: 15
I'm loading 204 Ruger, 243 WSSM, and 25-06. Not a ton of the 243 WSSM, or 25-06 but quite a few 204 for prairie dogs/coyotes.
Djbuttolph is offline  
Old May 4, 2012, 10:29 PM   #6
SteveHawaii
Member
 
Join Date: October 12, 2010
Posts: 17
I'd recommend the Classic too. It's a very well built. Nothing it can't do. You'll never wear it out. It's a tank. Nice looking too.
__________________
"I have a love interest in every one of my films - a gun." Arnold Schwarzenegger
SteveHawaii is offline  
Old May 5, 2012, 12:00 AM   #7
dacaur
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 16, 2010
Posts: 733
Classic is the way to go for sure if press longevity is the only concern, but there is nothing wrong with the challenger either. Plenty of people use them and they work great. The quality of the ammo will be the same......

I have the deluxe turret, which is cast aluminum, vs the classic turret, which is cast iron. Basically the same as the two you are looking at only in turret form... Do I wish I had the classic turret? Sure, but my deluxe turret works just fine and makes great ammo. Someday I will upgrade to the classic, but for now, I have other things to spend the money on. The biggest peeve is of course the primer handling, I have just consigned my self to sweeping up primers after each decapping session....

Honestly, If I had to do it over, I would get the deluxe kit again and keep wishing for the classic a bit longer.
dacaur is offline  
Old May 5, 2012, 05:22 AM   #8
Sport45
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 25, 1999
Location: Too close to Houston
Posts: 4,076
I'd spend a little more and get the Lee Classic Turret. Buy extra turrets and set one up for each cartridge you reload. For bottleneck rifle reloading a turret will hold two catridges worth for me since I only full length size and then seat/crimp on the press. I took the auto index off my LCT when I took it out of the box so I can't comment on that feature.

For a simple single stage I can't imagine going wrong with the Lee Classic Cast. I don't have one, but the workings are the same as my LCT and I can report the LCT will handle resizing .30-06 (largest I shoot) with no problem.
__________________
Proud member of the NRA and Texas State Rifle Association. Registered and active voter.
Sport45 is offline  
Old May 5, 2012, 12:29 PM   #9
Djbuttolph
Member
 
Join Date: February 16, 2012
Posts: 15
http://www.amazon.com/Lee-Classic-Tu...6238748&sr=8-4

This is the one I'm looking at buying based off your guys' advice...What else will I need to get started with this press?
Djbuttolph is offline  
Old May 5, 2012, 03:07 PM   #10
dacaur
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 16, 2010
Posts: 733
Great choice, but the one you linked is overpriced. Even cabelas, sells them for only $110. Midwayusa has them as well for $110 if you want to buy online, but then you have to pay shipping... if you have a semi-local cabelas, thats the way to go.
dacaur is offline  
Old May 5, 2012, 03:17 PM   #11
trek988
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 5, 2012
Posts: 2
Powder drop, Scale, Dies, Dial Caliper, tumbler, case trimming method, reloading manual, bullet trays. Its a shame they don't have the kit for sale on amazon. I just helped a buddy get set up reloading with a kit I ordered off of midway. If you are new to reloading and are not in a hurry I'd start out with a single stage kit using the batch method. Once you understand and are comfortable with it then upgrade to the turret.
Since you are going to be doing rifle there is not much gain to the turret. You have to lube the cases to resize them. I use a single stage press to resize them measure, then trim as needed, clean the lube off, then hand prime them. After that its off to the turret press which I have set up with my powder drop, bullet seating die and factory crimp. When I have primed brass I've done over a thousand rounds in a day.
trek988 is offline  
Old May 5, 2012, 03:20 PM   #12
overkill0084
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 7, 2010
Location: Northern, UT
Posts: 1,162
I have a Challenger. It'll do the job. But I'd recommend going with the Classic. If for no other reason, the spent primers go out the bottom of the ram. Much better than the Challenger, they tend to go everywhere.
__________________
Cheers,
Greg
“At the core of liberalism is the spoiled child – miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied, demanding, ill-disciplined, despotic and useless. Liberalism is a philosophy of sniveling brats.” — P.J. O’Rourke
overkill0084 is offline  
Old May 5, 2012, 03:30 PM   #13
dacaur
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 16, 2010
Posts: 733
Quote:
If you are new to reloading and are not in a hurry I'd start out with a single stage kit using the batch method. Once you understand and are comfortable with it then upgrade to the turret.
You can do batch reloading with a turret just as easily. Take out the auto index and bam, its a single stage, with future room to grow The weird thing is that a turret press isnt all that much more expensive than a single stage, so it seems silly to to go with a single stage to save $20 or so....
dacaur is offline  
Old May 5, 2012, 03:36 PM   #14
pic1083
Junior Member
 
Join Date: March 26, 2012
Posts: 8
Lee Classic Turret

I dont think you can beat this price and shipping for the press.

http://www.fmreloading.com/Merchant2...essive+Presses

Try here for the turret kit.

https://kempfgunshop.com//index.php?...mart&Itemid=41

Good luck

Last edited by pic1083; May 5, 2012 at 03:53 PM.
pic1083 is offline  
Old May 5, 2012, 04:09 PM   #15
dacaur
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 16, 2010
Posts: 733
you seriously cannot beat that deal from kempf's... I wish that had been avalable when I got my kit.... I dont know how they can do it AND include a set of dies!!!
dacaur is offline  
Old May 5, 2012, 04:30 PM   #16
SteveHawaii
Member
 
Join Date: October 12, 2010
Posts: 17
I noticed they have a challenger kit for about 150 bucks on Amazon. If you're stuck using Amazon, and need the other items included in the kit anyway, that's the way I would go.
__________________
"I have a love interest in every one of my films - a gun." Arnold Schwarzenegger
SteveHawaii is offline  
Old May 5, 2012, 07:52 PM   #17
Djbuttolph
Member
 
Join Date: February 16, 2012
Posts: 15
Yeah unfortunately I am stuck using Amazon, as I got probably twice the money I would from them as selling them to a local store...I think I'll go with the Classic with Auto indexing, and start with the indexing off till I get the hang of it all! Thanks for all the help guys!
Djbuttolph is offline  
Old May 5, 2012, 09:04 PM   #18
lah2420
Member
 
Join Date: August 2, 2009
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 51
I started with a Challenger Breechlock that I still have and now have the Classic turret. I like both presses and use the turret for my bulk pistol ammo and the Challenger for my .270 hunting rounds. A friend who has reloaded for many years and normally buys the most expensive of anything was impressed with how the Challenger worked. Set the dies once and then interchange them as needed. But for running the larger numbers, the Classic Turret is the way to go for me.
lah2420 is offline  
Old May 6, 2012, 01:43 PM   #19
Romeo 33 Delta
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 27, 2009
Posts: 315
I have both, but now use my Challenger for seating/belling only. The Cast Classic is my FL sizing workhorse now (alongside a very old RC). Buy the Classic, it will always be more than enough press for any of your needs ... you'll keep it for al long as you reload ... don't look back!
Romeo 33 Delta is offline  
Old May 6, 2012, 03:36 PM   #20
Lost Sheep
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 24, 2009
Location: Anchorage Alaska
Posts: 3,043
Single stage vs Turret

Quote:
Originally Posted by Djbuttolph
Yeah unfortunately I am stuck using Amazon, as I got probably twice the money I would from them as selling them to a local store...I think I'll go with the Classic with Auto indexing, and start with the indexing off till I get the hang of it all! Thanks for all the help guys!
Let me start by saying I am a HUGE fan of the Lee Classic Turret. (But, again, stay away from the Deluxe Turret, as I think you will be unsatisfied with some of its features and REALLY unhappy with its vertical clearance.)

Looking at your list of cartridges
Quote:
I'm loading 204 Ruger, 243 WSSM, and 25-06. Not a ton of the 243 WSSM, or 25-06 but quite a few 204 for prairie dogs/coyotes.
you seem (to me) to be loading for long-range accuracy and probably not more than a couple hundred cartridges at a sitting. Possibly weighing each charge and doing case prep between loading steps?

The Single Stage Classic Cast will probably do you just as well, for less money, as the Classic Turret if my assumptions are correct.

Here is my reasoning:

The Classic Turret shines when doing continuous processing where you put the cartridge case into the press and do all the steps continuously on that one case and pull out the finished cartridge ready to shoot. It can be two to three times as fast as batch processing because you don't remove and reinsert the case from the press multiple times.

I like to load continuous on my turret press because 1) conceptually, loading each cartridge start-to-finish is how I view the process and 2) it is faster.

If I were loading batch for whatever reason, I would probably prefer my single-stage press to the turret.

On a budget, and if you don't anticipate wanting to do larger quantities (need more than 50-60 per hour output) for the foreseeable future, you might find yourself better served by the single stage Lee Classic Cast with the breechlock system than the Lee Turret Press.

It is a REALLY close call, though. The price of the breechlock bushings is almost as much as the turret disks. The versatility of the Turret is undeniable. The price difference is not that much considered in a lifetime of use and if you expect to add handgun cartridges or semi-auto (think .223) rifles to your inventory of arms.

Frankly, with what I know of your needs, I would go dollars to doughnuts that within three years you will own two presses. A Lee Classic Turret and a Single Stage press (I suggest Forster).

I will go further with my predictions.

If you buy the Lee single stage (either one) first, you will add the Lee Classic Turret and be happy for the rest of your life.

If you buy the Lee Classic Turret first, you will add a single stage press later. Quite possibly a Forster. And be happy for the rest of your life. Maybe a little smug, too.

I started this post intending to urge you to the single stage as your first press and wound up questioning my first impulse. The question is THAT close!

Good luck

Lost Sheep
Lost Sheep is online now  
Old May 6, 2012, 07:50 PM   #21
Sport45
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 25, 1999
Location: Too close to Houston
Posts: 4,076
I have never used the auto index feature of my LCT. I use it as a single stage and the turret just replaces 4 of the breech lock bushings I'd wind up buying for each of my dies if I used the single stage press.
__________________
Proud member of the NRA and Texas State Rifle Association. Registered and active voter.
Sport45 is offline  
Old May 6, 2012, 09:47 PM   #22
dacaur
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 16, 2010
Posts: 733
sport 45, then you dont know what you are missing.... I was loading some 9mm the other day, I was only doing 50 and couldnt remember where I put the auto index rod, so I figured I would just index by hand.... After 5 rounds, I stopped and FOUND the rod.... It makes things SOOOOO much easier try it, you will like it....
dacaur is offline  
Old May 7, 2012, 12:31 AM   #23
Sport45
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 25, 1999
Location: Too close to Houston
Posts: 4,076
That wouldn't work for me since I typically index only after multiple pulls of the handle.

During during load work-up I will have 5 or 6 at a time charged in my loading block. When I've found a load a rifle likes I'll run in batches of 50.

When I'm loading a bunch of pistol ammo I use the 550b. Sometimes I wish it would auto index...
__________________
Proud member of the NRA and Texas State Rifle Association. Registered and active voter.
Sport45 is offline  
Old May 7, 2012, 12:41 AM   #24
timelinex
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 6, 2011
Posts: 231
The classic cast is whats used in their 50BMG kit. I'm really surprised noone mentioned this but a big reason would be to plan for future calibers. The challenger will not load rounds like the 50bmg, and I'm almost positive the 338. On the other hand the classic cast will load everything. I was going to get the challenger until I found out I couldn't load comfortably for my 338lm, so went to the classic cast. Ended up actually getting a rockchucker instead but thats only because I found a good deal on it.
timelinex is offline  
Old May 8, 2012, 01:57 AM   #25
trek988
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 5, 2012
Posts: 2
Part of my suggestion was based on what is available on Amazon. They are selling single stage kits. While they are not selling a turret press kit.
trek988 is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:40 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.12363 seconds with 9 queries