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Old November 14, 2012, 12:26 PM   #1
loademwell
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Lee or RCBS?

Does anyone have these presses side by side? Single or multi stage? What is the difference. I have only reloaded on Lee. But wanting to get back into reloading and trying to restock my bench. I see there is a big price difference. Why?

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Old November 14, 2012, 12:34 PM   #2
JimDandy
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My brother has a Lee turret. I just bought a Hornad LNL Ammo Plant. Some of the price difference is probably the brand name, some will be quality as well, and throw in some warranty. I went with Hornady for a number of reasons, the whimsical International Red vs John Deere Green, to the Lifetime Warranty vs 2 Year limited...

I could have created my own Ammo plant in RCBS, buying their case and bullet feeders, but that would have cost more than the Hornady version for a worse warranty. In the final results though, from what I've heard about other brands of things I use, and whatnot, I get the impression that a setup following the coat of many colors approach may end up being best. I've heard a preponderance of better things about the Pro 2000 and it's priming system over the Hornady Ammo Plant, and I've heard better things about the Hornady powder thrower, than my experience has been with the RCBS one I'm using now...

Read reviews on purchasing sites, watch Youtube videos of the things in action, Youtube reviews if you can find them... If you can find them set up in a store like Cabelas, try "Dry firing them" by indexing an empty press and watching the various stages that are hardwired into the press, like primer seating...

Edit: And I realize turret =/= Progressive and will be its own price increase, just meant that I've used Lee quality, and found it fine in their turret.
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Old November 14, 2012, 07:57 PM   #3
Edward429451
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The big price difference is worth it. RCBS equipment can't be touched by Lee. Many people report no problems using Lee equipment and I don't think they lie. I think they are mechanically inclined and don't mind tweaking and fiddling with the equipment to get it to run right. Others who are not so mechanically inclined are the ones who report problems and frustration with Lee equipment.

So the thought is that if you are the first type, you could be happy with Lee equipment, but if you're the second type, or would rather spend your time reloading with no quirks...you'd be better off paying the piper and getting solid trouble-free equipment, i.e., RCBS.

RCBS also seems to have better customer service than Lee, similar to Dillons no BS warranty. I've read Richard Lee on another board arguing with a guy about a 15 dollar die and why he wouldn't warranty it...?? That blew my mind. A 15 dollar die and a long diatribe over so little. That's been a few years ago, perhaps Mr. Lee has calmed down since then, lol.

I have a 28 yr old Rockchucker, bought new, never ever a single problem with it. I have two Dillon 550B's also, but I only load 223 on one and 45acp on the other, everything else gets loaded on the RC. Nada problem with the Dillons either.

Last edited by Edward429451; November 14, 2012 at 10:34 PM.
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Old November 14, 2012, 09:20 PM   #4
wncchester
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Lee's Classic Cast single stage and Classic Turret is an equal or superiour press to any in their class, at any cost.
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Old November 14, 2012, 10:09 PM   #5
Lost Sheep
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What chamberings are you loading and in what quantities?

I started out with RCBS equipment 37 years ago and still have my old RockChucker, but after owning Lee Pro-1000 progressives, I retired everything but my RCBS 10-10 scale and RCBS trickler and bought a Lee Classic Turret and am much happier now.

I don't load enough to justify a progressive and keeping track of multiple simultaneous operations was unnerving to me. Also, caliber swaps are much easier on a single stage or turret than on a progressive.

So, my presses are RCBS RockChucker single stage and Lee Classic Turret. The RockChucker has not seen any use for two years. The Lee Classic Turret takes care of everything. If I have a task the Lee cannot do, I will pull the RockChucker out, but so far no task has required that.

Here's the story of how I got there:
http://www.rugerforum.net/reloading/...andloader.html

Your situation sounds similar to what mine was.

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Old November 15, 2012, 08:03 AM   #6
droptrd
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I started out with an old rusty rockchucker that was passed through the family. It work flawlessly for years for me. A few years ago I decided I wanted something shiney and new so I passed it on to a relative. I was going to go progressive but at the last minute I picked up a new hornady single. Its been great as well. I actually prefer the hornady design a touch better than the RC. I was looking a lee. The "non-cast" presses felt very hokey to me. However, I personally know alot of people who use the non cast lees with great results. One guy I run into all the time at the range uses one of those $25 lee C frame presses and he knocks out great ammo. Ultimately I think press brand is more of an elite-ist status type thing. If youre fine with lee then I think it will serve you well. The single stage presses from lee will probably work no better or worse than any other brand. When you are talking about progressives, Dillon has definately built the "better mouse trap".
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Old November 15, 2012, 08:31 AM   #7
jaguarxk120
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I have read so many times "send it back to lee and for a few dollars they will fix/tweek it".

If they made it right the first tme there would be no need for tweeking. The lee powder measure leaks powder, thats a fact.

RCBS, Lyman, Hornady, and Redding warrenties their products even if you did not buy them new.

Bought a used set of 8x57 dies, found the expnder ball missing---RCBS sent a new one no questions, it was in the mail three days later (no cost). Lyman and Hornady have done the same for me. Redding I have had no warrenty issues with.
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Old November 15, 2012, 09:13 AM   #8
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Lee, RCBS, Hornady, Dillon, and MEC have all sent me free(as in no money out of my pocket) replacement parts. Unfornuately, it's been my experience that Lyman doesn't do customer service. I've never gotten them to fix, or warranty anything. For this reason, I only buy used Lyman products now. With the others I make it a point to buy something from them every year.

I've gotten more free parts from RCBS than the others, but that's only because I needed more replacement parts from them. I suppose had they built it right in the first place, I wouldn't have needed the parts, but IMHO, I screwed something up by not using my brain to begin with.

If I could own only one press, it would be a Lee Classic Turret. If it was going to be a new single stage, and money was no object, it would be either a Forster Co-Ax, Redding 700 Ultramag, CH-4D Champion, or Lee Classic Cast.
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Old November 15, 2012, 11:14 AM   #9
JimDandy
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The Lee turret my brother has had to be modified for 300 RUM FYI... it wouldn't quite fit, and he had to do some grinding.

If I could own only one, (even though I haven't used it yet) it would be the ammo plant... If I want single stage, I can still use the case feeder and just crank them through empty stages. (And probably will for a while and later on on certain operations. I plan on sticking a LNL classic right next door to the Ammo Plant once its up and running however.

I went Hornady over RCBS for a number of very small reasons. They felt pretty equal to me over and over, but whenever there was a little thing I liked, or wanted, or was surprised by, it always seemed to be in Hornady's favor. Hornady's warranty on presses is just the slightest bit better. Both are lifetime, but RCBS has more hoops- dated proof of purchase, original retail purchaser only... While it sounds like with Hornady they don't care... it's their press, they'll fix t.

It's got the LNL system which I've seen a few bad reviews of, but an overwhelming number of positives...

It's International Red instead of John Deere Green.

I see the point of Single Stage, and I see the point of Progressive. I don't see the point of Turret, beyond cost savings... though to be fair, I don't see a lot of difference between LNL bushing systems and Turrets. If you do enough to use a Turret, I'd rather have a progressive as it should also have the case feeder, and so on.

As a final To-Be-Fair, RCBS does have a rifle bullet feeder, while Hornady currently does not, so if you're looking to progressive some .223, that's an edge for RCBS. (Assuming you want to stay entirely proprietary and not buy a specialty item, or mix and match.) I've heard Hornady is working on either a rifle bullet feeder, or a modification kit to their pistol bullet feeder. I've also seen an "off-brand" company that only makes a bullet feeder that'll work on (Theoretically) anything if you buy all the parts to convert it to what you're shooting.

If I were to buy used, Lee does have an interesting option, you can send your used press in, and for half the price, they'll factory recondition the thing to brand new. Of course, by the time you add up what you paid someone else, and the half-retail recondition price, you could have bought new, but I can see it being worthwhile for freebies, and inheritances/heirlooms.
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Old November 15, 2012, 04:12 PM   #10
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In my mind the perfect combo is to start with a RCBS single stage for rifle and pistol. When it gets to be too slow for pistol, bring on a Lee Classic Turret to do the case flaring and crimping. I like setting my primers by hand (RCBS hand primer) and seeing my powder levels. I am not producing enough ammo to consider a progressive press.
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Old November 15, 2012, 07:08 PM   #11
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"I suppose had (RCBS) built it right in the first place, I wouldn't have needed the parts, but IMHO, I screwed something up by not using my brain to begin with."

Jimkim, that's an uncommon bit of intregrity for how most any brand of reloading tool 'issues' occur; RTFM and use your head effectively applies to anything.

The common hype suggesting RCBS in general and the Rockchucker press in particular are the epitome of 'quality' gets amusing. I've been reloading since '65, have used many presses and dies of various manufactors and find there is no average difference in what can be done with any brand of tools; the limiting factor is the skill of the user, not the color of the tool! If Lee had made the Classic Cast when I bought my RC II my main press would be red.

Last edited by wncchester; November 15, 2012 at 07:16 PM.
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Old November 15, 2012, 07:36 PM   #12
jmortimer
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"Lee's Classic Cast single stage and Classic Turret is an equal or superior press to any in their class, at any cost."

Exactly
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Old November 15, 2012, 08:24 PM   #13
Edward429451
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Quote:
RTFM
What a great acronym, I like that.

To be fair, I will say that I have noticed that I don't think that I have heard anyone complain about the Lee Turret press. Everyone seems to be satisfied with them. Even though some of their other products take a field engineer to use, they seem to have a good thing going with the Turret press.
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Old November 16, 2012, 12:17 AM   #14
jimkim
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Hey!(thanks Si) If something goes wrong, it's gonna be operator error most of the time. The machine will do what you set it to do. Sometimes it will be to the point of breakage. If I can find nothing wrong with my setup, then I'll check for flaws in the machine or components.

Like my buddy Roy says,"human beings are just plain dumb." "We're all human and we're all gonna' do stupid things". One day someone will ask about casting bullets in your boxers and undershirt.
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Old November 16, 2012, 01:02 AM   #15
scsov509
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Quote:
"Lee's Classic Cast single stage and Classic Turret is an equal or superior press to any in their class, at any cost."

Exactly
Yeah, I don't think you'll find many complaints about ANY brand of single stage press. They're just way to simple to have any problems. Lee Precision has problem gotten more people into reloading than any other brand out there, and their products do in fact work well to get the job done.
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Old November 16, 2012, 08:14 PM   #16
rodfac
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Lee makes good dies, and to some extent molds, but my experience with their presses was not good. I'd suggest saving for the RCBS if possible. Rod
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Old November 17, 2012, 01:44 AM   #17
scsov509
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Quote:
Lee makes good dies, and to some extent molds, but my experience with their presses was not good. I'd suggest saving for the RCBS if possible. Rod
I'm curious what troubles you've encountered with Lee single stage presses?
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Old November 17, 2012, 01:48 AM   #18
cheezhed
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I have a lee classic turret,classic cast single stage and a RCBS rockchucker.
I have had nothing but good fortune with all my presses. I consider the classic cast single to be the equal of the rockchucker and it costs less but a good press lasts so long that the difference in price is not that big of a deal. I would advise that you get what you like the most.
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Old November 18, 2012, 08:55 AM   #19
Bart B.
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A friend years ago made some tests with different "O" frame single stage presses. He wanted to know how much "spring" the press had for a given force applied to the die thread location at the top. He had several makes and models including Lyman, Lee, RCBS, Pacific, Hornady, and others I now forget.

The old, big, RCBS A2 sprung the least for a given amount of force on it. And the RCBS Rockchucker sprung the least of all presses of that size. Smaller ones sprung the most. On average, the "C" type presses sprung the most.

He measured them by mounting them upside down and held by the toggle pin at the bottom then hanging a 150 pound weight on a 7/8-14 thread bolt screwed into the die. The dimension change between the pin and bolt was measured with a dial indicator.

What does this mean?

When full length sizing fired bottleneck cases, the press that springs the least will typically end up making the head-to-shoulder distance (case headspace) spread the least. This helps make reloaded ammo more accurate and cases last longer.

One thing I've noticed is the presses made today have a lot more slop in their ram in its guide. My two Rockchuckers bought in 1979 had a .001" play in the ram at its full height when new. Now they've both got about .002" after reloading thousands of rounds of ammo. My RCBS Jr. bought in 1966 had .003" play when new, but now it has about .010" after a few thousand rounds reloaded. In checking the play in several brands and models, including the Rockchucker, they've all got enough to easily be seen; no dial indicator needed. That's several thousandths slop.

I'd try to find a medium duty/size press with no visible slop in the ram at full height. Then completely disassemble it then clean it once in a while and keep it lubricated (STP engine oil treatment's a great high pressure lube) to reduce (eliminate?) wear.
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Old November 18, 2012, 09:43 AM   #20
rodfac
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I had the Loadmaster turret Scsov, specifically, I had parts breakage with the powder dispenser, also leakage...and I couldn't keep enough plastic primer feed parts in stock to keep it running. Son #1 had one of the single stage presses that was less than accurate as far as alignment goes. Don't get me wrong...I do like Lee's tools, but some are built just too flimsy for my tastes. They're auto prime hand tool is the best primer seater on the market....BUT...I've broken 4 handles for it... I also like their case length cutters...accurate, reliable and cheap at that...good products, as are their dies.

Experience wise: I've loaded for over 50 years now...the Loadmaster purchase was not my idea. It came as a well-meaning Xmas present from family. When I finally went to a progressive, I bought a Dillon 550B for handgun work. It worked so well, I bought another to eliminate primer size changes...about the only hassle a 550B has to offer. Caliber changes are 5 minute operations including powder charge changes....truly quality presses and Dillon's customer service is superb.... I load for rifle on a Harrell turret, and an aged Herter's #3....

JMHO, Best Regards, Rod
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Old November 18, 2012, 10:12 AM   #21
myg30
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I think you have heard it all by now. Just like at the drag races, Ford,Chevy,Mopar....
My lee aluminum single stage presses were cheep enough that two of them serve me well, one set up for lead hardness testing in the garage with the lee lead tester and the other for decapping. My main press is a dillon SDB for my pistol loading. I load rifle on the lee's single, never purchased an auto as my rifle shooting is much less except for 223 when time permits.
If my loadings were for big tall .338's,300 win mags I might want all steel heavy duty press, lee,rcbs,lyman etc. which to purchase used here or other forums might be a better way to go, not that the lee light weight cant handle it as im sure many have loaded all cals. on them.
As long as you are having fun,reloading,making good ammo, which ever your choise, im sure over the years you will wind up with a few presses and a lee will be one of them !

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Old November 19, 2012, 12:35 AM   #22
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+1 for Lee Classic turret press. I have loaded many thousands of rounds using the Lee turret and for the money it can not be beat.

I have a Lee single stage, Lee 4 hole turret with the Pro Auto disk powder measure, Lee Load-All and a Honady LNL AP and currently the Lee turret press is the one press I would never part with. It is just that good.

I also have RCBS, Redding and Lyman products.
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Old November 19, 2012, 12:41 AM   #23
JimDandy
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Myg30, if you want to load .223 on your progressive I've seen it... a two stage style process, they used a Hornady LNL AP, an RCBS lube die, then resized the first go around, then tumbled the brass to clean off the lube, then primed, charged, seated, and crimped in a second go round. Seemed like even with a two part system like that, it was highly efficient.
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Old November 20, 2012, 04:54 PM   #24
David Bachelder
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OK guys, careful about saying anything bad about LEE equipment. Those LEE fans are pretty thin skinned.

LEE is the Harbor Freight of reloading equipment. Some of it is good and some of it is not so good. I prefer RCBS. I own a lot of LEE casting equipment and it works well for me. Aluminum bullet molds have a learning curve, but once you get it right they are as good as any.

RCBS makes a good Turret press, I know because I have and use one. I also have a RCBS Rockchucker, that thing will be around forever, they are bulit that well. RCBS customer service is outstanding, they are willing to help in any way possible. I have no experience with LEE customer service.

I have two LEE die sets a 9mm and a .357. I have a had fair luck with the 9mm (bought new) and little luck with the .357 I bought the .357 dies off ebay so maybe the new ones are better, me I don't know. I also have a two sets of RCBS dies I bought from e-bay, although well used they function perfectly. However I think the RCBS dies are superior. I don't care for the LEE locking rings or the fact that the bullet seater plugs do not have a lock ring.

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Old November 20, 2012, 08:26 PM   #25
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"LEE is the Harbor Freight of reloading equipment"
Actually, RCBS would be the Harbor Freight of reloading as many of their products are made in China. The Lee Precision Classic Cast and Classic Turret are the highest rated single stage and turret presses on Midway USA regardless of price. I find the RCBS users to be even more sensitive due to paying too much for over-priced equipment and having so many products made in China.
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