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Old November 10, 2012, 04:46 AM   #26
Sevens
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Quote:
I recently bought a set of LEE dies, they perform well but in reality they are not supported in the fashion I have become used to. If I break a decapping pin I write RCBS and they replace it, no problem. I don't know for sure but I'd guess LEE would tell me to go suck an egg (and I wouldn't blame them). I have never used LEE customer support, so I can only guess.
This is great -- you guess Lee would tell you to go suck and egg, which you agree with, (gotta say, I agree with it as well) yet you've never used their customer service, so you'll simply gush about how happy you are with RCBS service that you appear to be using a lot.

Well, decapping pins in Lee dies rarely break, truthfully, and across TWENTY THREE sets of Lee dies since 1988, I've actually managed to break one on a piece of Berdan primed 9mm brass, and breaking it took a lot of work.

I sent them an e-mail and they mailed me a new one in less than a week.

It's the design of the die that keeps them from breaking.
But since the RCBS service is so phenomenal, you'd likely be better off using them and breaking them and getting parts for them.
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Old November 10, 2012, 08:52 AM   #27
David Bachelder
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"This is great -- you guess Lee would tell you to go suck and egg, which you agree with, (gotta say, I agree with it as well) yet you've never used their customer service, so you'll simply gush about how happy you are with RCBS service that you appear to be using a lot."


A little sensitive aren't we? You are a rude felolow aren't you?

LEE has some good equipment. Thier dies are not an example. I don't like the lock rings and I don't like the fact that you can't lock the bullet seater plug. Once I overcome those two issues I fee like I have a pretty good set of dies.

You want to spew LEE quality and wonderful experience with the customer service .... go ahead, you'll never hear from me.

I use and respect RCBS and share my experience. You turncoat and ridicule me.
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Old November 10, 2012, 07:24 PM   #28
Sevens
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It's simple, read it again. You say that you have never used Lee service, then you slag it in an open forum.

That's obnoxious. Lee doesn't deserve that. Nobody deserves that.
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Old November 10, 2012, 11:09 PM   #29
browninghunter86
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As alot of people say buy once...cry once. Biggest thing I learned. Been reloading 308 and Ar 5.56 for about a year now. Started with cheapest stuff and have since then changed out some items I did not like or knew I would upgrade eventually. And like other mentioned make a very detailed list of what you need and want and try to buy at once to save on shipping. Use online coupon codes when available too.
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Old November 11, 2012, 04:32 AM   #30
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Things I would change.

I'd buy a used(bad experiences with Lyman's customer service lead me to buy only used Lyman products) Lyman 55 instead of my Uniflow and Hornady LNL.

I'd have bought my Lee Classic Turret press sooner. I used the old style one for twenty years before returning it to it's original owner.

I wouldn't have wasted money on RCBS or Hornady New Dimension dies. I personally don't care for either's design. I would buy Lee, Dillon, Redding, Forster, CH(including used rebranded ones), or old Pacific Durachrome/Bair dies instead. The RCBS Cowboy dies might be nice. I haven't tried them. If I do I might change my list.

I would have bought a Redding, Hornady, or Ohaus scale, with RCBS or Dillon written on it, instead of buying an Ohaus Lyman 500. Remember the bad experience with Lyman's customer service.

I wouldn't have wasted money on presses I hardly ever use. There's nothing wrong with my RCBS RS and Lee Classic Cast, I just don't use them enough to justify the cost. I do intend to swage with the classic Cast at some point, so it may pay for itself one day.

I would have bought several current manuals when I started rather than one. One is nice but the more reference material I have the better.

I would have found other handloaders to form a buying group or club so we could always order in bulk. Having someone to swap powder with is good too. Buying a pound and never using it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

I would have started casting sooner. I wouldn't buy the old style(they are supposed to be changing their design) two cavity Lee moulds. I would have bought the Lee six cavity, Ideal/Lyman(used), RCBS/Lachmiller, and SAECO production moulds. The custom mould makers seem to turn out quality moulds. I wouldn't hesitate to buy any of their products.

The only company with which I have had any negative experiences with is Lyman. RCBS, Dillon, Hornady, Lee, and MEC have all been great to deal with.

As far as the decapping pin goes, the lady at Lee has sent me several free ones. She said they have a lifetime warranty.

I saw several really good suggestions. Starting a log, buying case gauges, a chronograph and multipurpose powders are some of my favorites. A good caliper and micrometer is a must too.
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Old November 11, 2012, 05:35 PM   #31
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after 22 years of loading ammo if for some reason I had to buy all new gear I'd get a Lee turret kit and then track down a C&H progressive and call it good.
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Old November 11, 2012, 07:23 PM   #32
Prof Young
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Start with a powder measure and scale not dippers.

Loaders:
I used lee dippers when I started and while it was mostly okay, i had a few squibs and I was limited to the powders that I could find a dipper equivalent for.
Now that I'm using a scale and powder measure I'm learning that some of the dippers actually have fewer grains of powder than the minimum suggested loads in the books.

Now, I usually load somewhere in the middle between the minimum and maximum suggested loads. Can't do that with dippers, unless you custom make your own.
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Old November 11, 2012, 07:36 PM   #33
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If think I did just fine starting out; I bought a used C&H single-stage 3-hole press and matching powder measure, and an ancient Herter's beam balance scale. I still use all of those, although I have a bunch more equipment now.

As an experienced reloader, if I lost all my equipment in a flood or something I would get a Dillon SDB and a Forster CoAx -- and Lee dies for *everything* even though I'd also need Dillon dies for the SDB. And I might want to add a Redding or RCBS specialty die or two for the rifle cartridges.
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Old November 12, 2012, 10:19 AM   #34
JimDandy
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I just picked up a little tidbit of reloading wisdom. If you go to the range to test out your brand spankin new first ever rifle hand loads... remember to pack them along.

Went to a range in Tacoma WA, while my brother was volunteering at the Animal Control horsebarn shoveling stalls of seized horses.. GREAT little range, Tacoma Sportsman's Club. Tiny, only 10 benches, very homemade feel to it. But the folks that run it were super great, and it was 25, 50, 100, 200, and a steel gong at 225 that entertained me most of the morning when I wasn't sighting in an optic.

So I got my varmint scope/carryhandle monstrosity sighted in. (Monstrosity because of the hoops to jump to get around/over/through the front sight tower) then sighted in a Vortex Strikefire with VMX3 magnifier and swing out mount, and additionally sighted in the carry handle rear sight. Then I went to my big box of range fun to be had. And I looked for my handloads. One labeled light for the smallest rec. load. One medium for the medium rec load advertised as most accurate... and found out they weren't in the box, or the range bag. So I had a sad face for a minute, then I saw that steel gong, and got a smile again while I kept ringing that bell over and over with the cheap PMC bronze. So I got to have hours of fun making empty brass to reload once I do actually test out that recipe.
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Old November 12, 2012, 10:34 AM   #35
browninghunter86
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whoever said Lee service sucks without ever using them I have had a couple things happen and called the lady up and told her the problem and in the mail was the replacement part at no cost and got to me very fast.
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Old November 12, 2012, 10:36 AM   #36
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If I had it to do over again I would have gotten more heavily into it sooner.
this
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Old November 12, 2012, 12:05 PM   #37
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Gee, that was a long time ago. 1957. I was a kid in high school. The guy at the local sporting goods store got me interested. He set me up with a bare bones ( I did not have a lot of money) yet good quality rig and I use it still. The process was just as outlined in the Lyman manual of the day. The tools were good. I had no preconceptions.

I would not change a thing.

The store owner steered me right and got a lifetime friend and customer. I still shop the store, though his grandkids run it now.
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Old November 13, 2012, 01:25 AM   #38
Lost Sheep
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A different view

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof Young
Start with a powder measure and scale not dippers.
Loaders:
I used lee dippers when I started and while it was mostly okay, i had a few squibs and I was limited to the powders that I could find a dipper equivalent for.
Now that I'm using a scale and powder measure I'm learning that some of the dippers actually have fewer grains of powder than the minimum suggested loads in the books.

Now, I usually load somewhere in the middle between the minimum and maximum suggested loads. Can't do that with dippers, unless you custom make your own.
Powder measures and dippers are both strictly volumetric measures. Without a scale to verify the amount you are getting neither is sufficient. You need a scale. You can do with dippers or you can do with a measure or you can do without (spooning and trickling the powder into the scale's pan).

You couldn't find a dipper equivalent? Stuffing some wadding, wood glue or chewing gum into the bottom a too-large dipper will adjust the powder quantity easily enough. Customizing your dippers is easy.

I use a scale to verify my Auto-disk powder measure when using my Turret press because it is fast, easy and convenient for continuous processing. If I were doing batch processing, I would use a scale to verify dipper charges (weighing each if I were wanting super-accuracy) and depending on my dipping technique (which is pretty good if I do say so myself) and statistical sampling to give me adequate consistency.

To each their own, but I would say that a scale and dippers is a very good way to start.

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Old November 13, 2012, 01:41 AM   #39
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Quote:
Now, I usually load somewhere in the middle between the minimum and maximum suggested loads. Can't do that with dippers, unless you custom make your own.
I've always used fancy adjustable powder measures, but I'm thinking about making dippers for my favorite loads for when I want to load just one box (or a handful) and the powder measure is set up for something else. Just a piece of wire and a empty cartridge case; file it down until it holds the right amount of powder. 9mm and .40 cases look particularly useful.
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Old November 13, 2012, 02:36 AM   #40
Lost Sheep
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I resisted giving my tools inventory because I go all long-winded explaining why I made each choice. WAY too long a post. So, I decided to leave that out. I just show the list here.

In 2010 I set aside all my reloading gear and replaced everything (except those few pieces which were already the perfect choice). This is what I kept.

Manuals

Eye protection (Dedicated to loading. Never load without it.)

Lee Classic Turret Press and my old RCBS Rockchucker single stage

2x6 board to mount the presses on (one at a time, naturally)

a folding workbench to mount the board on

Lee Dies, carbide, for each chambering I load. Some 4-die set, some 3-die set

Lee Safety Prime. Not perfect, but close and will do for now.

Lee Pro Auto-disk powder measure (working up to one per die set)

Turret disk, one per set of dies

Calipers

Dropcloth

Lee Dippers

RCBS 10-10 Beam Scale.

Powder Trickler

Powder funnel

Bullet puller

Brass Tumbler. Got mine as a gift. I think my clean, but tarnished, brass embarrassed my friend

2 Loading blocks

Powder Trickler

misc accessories & tools, (e.g. chamfer tool, primer pocket uniformer, magnifying glass, etc)

Miscellaneous coffee cans, etc for storing stuff (but powder and primers ALWAYS stay in their factory packaging)

I think that is everything.

For loading the quantities that I shoot, this is ideal for me and my personal style. I also don't like monitoring multiple simultaneous operations and I like the quick and easy caliber changes afforded by the Lee Turret press over the more complicated and expensive caliber swaps of the progressives.

If you shoot more, a progressive might be better. If you shoot small quantities of rifle ammunition with the goal of supreme accuracy, a single stage (RCBS RockChucker, Lyman Orange Crusher, Lee Classic Cast, Forster Co-Ax, etc) might be better.

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Old November 14, 2012, 11:25 AM   #41
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First thing........ don't reload for guns used strictly for hunting. I maybe fire 100 centerfire rounds at game a year and even though I have the reloading equipment now, if I had it to do over I'd of just bought factory stuff.

Next is what I try do today...... Handload don't reload. Quality vs. quantity. Experimentation and learning vs. bulk reloading. Yes, bulk reloading is a necessary evil for somethings but I'm ready to toss the powder measure in the junk box and go strictly with a scale and funnel. I like accuracy, I like developing loads to add versatility to my guns (small game vs. plinkin vs. full power hunting vs. target loads), I like testing, etc etc. I'm buying all sorts of stuff I lived without for decades. Case trimmer, a powder tickler, calipers, a chronograph, heck maybe even a tumbler. I really like the "keep better notes" advice. Can't stress that enough. Really gonna concentrate on loading the best ammo I can not the most.

If the only enjoyment you get out of loading is cheaper ammo to burn you're missin out on any of the fun.
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Old November 14, 2012, 11:55 AM   #42
JimDandy
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I'd say you're missing out on HALF the fun.

And as for
Quote:
I've always used fancy adjustable powder measures, but I'm thinking about making dippers for my favorite loads for when I want to load just one box (or a handful)
I just figured out that at least Hornady, and probably others, will sell extras of the inserts for their powder throwers. I'm full on planning on buying extras when my next reloading spree comes around, one for each recipe I load.
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Old November 14, 2012, 06:45 PM   #43
tkglazie
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Quote:
Lee Pro Auto-disk powder measure (working up to one per die set)
Now that's just showing off
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Old November 17, 2012, 12:17 PM   #44
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Quote:
A little sensitive aren't we? You are a rude felolow aren't you?
I don't think so. I agree with Sevens. Why would you bad mouth a company's costumer service that you have never used?

Quote:
LEE has some good equipment. Thier dies are not an example. I don't like the lock rings and I don't like the fact that you can't lock the bullet seater plug. Once I overcome those two issues I fee like I have a pretty good set of dies.
We all have our likes and dislikes. That doesn't mean that if we dislike something then it's no good for anybody else. The Lee lock rings are fine with me. I have never had a die go out of adjustment. Same with any other Lee die. They have made consistant ammo year after year without ever having to reset them. The only other dies I have used are Dillon and I didn't like them, I like Lee better. But I don't bad mouth Dillon dies.

To the OP.

I wouldn't change anything. I staterd with a Lee classic turret because of the auto indexing and loading only pistol ammo. Also my budget had a lot to do with it. Years later I bought a Dillon 550 to speed up a couple of calibers. Both presses have been great for me and I still use the classic turret as much as the Dillon 550.
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Old November 19, 2012, 04:14 PM   #45
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Compared to you guys I'm a babe not even out of diapers, but here's a few things that I've done right and few I've done wrong.

1. I bought a Lock n Load AP press. I figured I could use it as a single stage to learn slowly and as I got more experienced I could automate additional steps. I was right about this.

2. Wasted time with stick powder. Ball powder is so fluid and easy to dispense accurately on a progressive press that it is by far my first choice. I'm sure there are good reasons to use stick powder, I just don't know any on them yet.

3. Remove the neck expansion ball on the resizing/depriming die. Its a solution looking for a problem, but it causes several problems.

I would not mess around with spray lubes and pads. Got lots of stuck cases and frustration. Since I switched to Imperial Sizing Wax my Redding stuck case kit is getting lonely.

4. I would stay away from the Hornady New Dimension dies. Suffered a lot of frustration with them. A friend turned me on to using Redding Competion Dies and although they are more expensive they are well worth it.

5. Many guys told me that I would save money and get more accurate ammo. They are right about getting more accurate ammo, but I don't save any money, I just shoot more. And that's just fine with me.

6. Bought a Hornady Lock n Load Case Prep station. In my opinion this is the best case prep tool on the market. It has a small footprint on my bench and makes case prep a snap.
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Old November 19, 2012, 05:00 PM   #46
thump_rrr
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I would have gone straight for the RCBS Rockchucker Master Supreme kit which includes the Chargemaster Combo.
The Chargemaster Combo is the best $300 I've ever spent on reloading gear.
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Old November 19, 2012, 05:38 PM   #47
m&p45acp10+1
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I started reloading a little over 3 years ago. I traded brass for a Lee Beech Lock Challenger kit. I upgraded soon after with a digital scale. I started with plated, and cast bullets. Knowing what I know now. I would have skipped buying the cast bullets, and bought molds, and a ladle to start casting then.

As far as the process itself is involved I would have skipped cleaning primer pockets in pistol brass.

If I had it to do all over again I would save, and buy a Classic Turret Kit, with the Pro Auto Disc. I will some day buy one, when the money does not end up buying more components, or a new gun.
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Old November 20, 2012, 07:53 PM   #48
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In the Dark Ages.....

The only things I could rely on in 1970 were Sierra, Speer, and Hornady manuals, and my dealer where I bought my guns, equipment and supplies. Wouldn't do one thing different because I had a good teacher and mentor.
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Old November 21, 2012, 08:19 AM   #49
1stmar
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I would have done more research, I bought a lee pro1000 started reloading and had very limited knowledge of what I was doing. As I got more interested in various calibers I bought another pro1000 to make it quicker to changer calibers. Ultimately the pro1000 was not reliable enough for me and I bought a dillon for high volume and ease of caliber change. I know have 3 presses, including a lee hand press and I use all of them. It's a great hobby, many love it as much as shooting. Like guns you will accumulate as you go, that's part of the enjoyment. If you are not sure what volume you will be reloading, start with a single stage, it will never go to waste, but prepared for the fever and the desire to increase volume which will drive you towards a turret or progressive. This is a great forum, before you buy vet it out here. Back to your question, I would get multiple sources of instructions and learned more before I started. I would like to have been less impetuous. If you can find someone local that reloads that would be a good place to start. I knew nobody and made some poor choices. I'm not bashing lee, some do here. I have many lee products but I don't care for the pro1000, too bad it's a great price point. I would have reservations about the loadmaster. So if the question is what would you avoid, my personal feeling is those 2 presses based on my experience.
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Old November 21, 2012, 10:50 AM   #50
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We should start culling this thread for a sticky...
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