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Old April 2, 2011, 07:33 AM   #1
Ike666
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Is this a retrograde move?

Twenty-five years ago, when I started reloading, I was shooting a lot of IPSC. I wanted to load for volume and was really interested in only two cartridges: 9 mm and .45 ACP. With no one wiser to mentor my choice, I listened to what the others were using as a reloading press and went out and bought my first one. It was a Dillon 550B. Not a mistake, but not the best first press to own.

Over the ensuing years I've crushed more cases, wrecked more bullets, bent more decapping pins, spilt more powder, lost more size buttons, and stuck more cases than the average bear. Never double charged a load though, and I learned from the very expensive school of hard knocks.

My next press was a Rock Chucker that I got to prep bottle neck rifle cases. I'd do all the decapping and sizing with this press, finish the hand prep, and then feed them into an empty stage 1 on the Dillon, prime 'em and run them through the next three stages. I was loading mostly for an M1A and was shooting semi-volume so this worked well.

In the last few years, I reverted completely to the RC for loading the rifle cartridges (except .223 Rem which I still run up in the 550).

This past Christmas my lovely bride gave me a Forster Coax press and I absolutely love it. It is my primary rifle loading press now.

I've been reading the discussions here about turret presses and they have me intrigued. Watched a bunch of youtubes on them and I think I'd like to try one out.

I know I've done things kind of ass-backwards and I have no real "need" for a turret press. I'm not even sure what cartridges I'd reload with it. The cost (I've been looking at the Lee Classic Turret hardest) seems reasonable.

The only real reason to obtain one is to learn and have fun. What lessons can I learn about handloading ammunition with a turret (the fun is a given)?
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Old April 2, 2011, 07:47 AM   #2
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Not sure you will learn any new lessons but the Lee Classic Turret is a very versitile press. You have the advantage of quick caliber change, takes only seconds to swap out turrets, and the dies are all preset. You can also use it as a single stage by removing the auto indexing rod, just lift it out.

I just finished a "portable" rig to haul to the range and used a Lee Classic Turret. All I have to do is remove the die-laden turret from one and move it to the other on the bench. Very handy. This is the portable setup.

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Old April 2, 2011, 07:55 AM   #3
snuffy
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Ike, you're not alone on that. I did the same route over the last couple years. I was fortunate enough to be able to get a dillon 650 with a case feeder for my high volume auto pistols. It replaced an old "deluxe" lee turret press, which I sold to a friend.

I recently bought a new classic turret because I wanted to load 7.62 X 25 for my CZ-52. I could buy the turret for what a caliber change would cost for the 650!

I find myself loading small runs of ammo on the turret that could be run on the 650, but you'd hardly get started before you're finished. I too have a forster co-ax,(for 25 years) but I recently dis mounted it from the bench. It needs to be re-built, I just haven't gotten around to sending it in. With the classic turret, you can load up to 200 rounds/hour, if you get the pro auto disc measure, riser for that measure, and the lee safety prime.
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Old April 2, 2011, 08:23 AM   #4
Ike666
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Flash, is that built up on a Dillon strongmount? That's a great idea!

I don't have anything setup to take to the range (although the Forster is mounted so I could). Maybe I could set up the turret specifically as a range tool.
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Old April 2, 2011, 08:54 AM   #5
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Yes, Dillon Strong Mounts, the regular one that gives 8 1/2" vertical lift. The two steel plates are 5/16" thick. I used the bracket that came with the powder measure and ground off the lip so I could afix it to a small piece of angle iron. I still have to put the Akro Bin bracket on the side and the rubber mat on the bottom. I decided to build a stand for it too but don't have the materials yet.

It was not hard to do. I found the steel on eBay. Pretty cheap.
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Old April 2, 2011, 10:23 AM   #6
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Some folks say that the turret press is like a progressive... It's not.

The genius behind a turret press like the Lee Classic Turret is the ability to quickly do another operation and more so -- to change calibers even more quickly by yanking and replacing a turret.

But as long as there is one ram, one shell holder and one single piece of brass being worked on... I don't care if you have 37 reloading dies attached to your rig and you have a rod that rotates them automatically...

If you have one single piece of brass then you don't have a progressive no matter how you try to argue it.

When you strip away all the details, a progressive press works 3 or 4 or 5 pieces of brass with each and every throw of the lever.

When you have one piece of brass and one lever throw for each operation, you have a single stage press. With a turret, especially the Lee brand turret presses (the cheapest turrets, by far the easiest turrets to swap) then you have major flexibility and you have a very versatile tool that will be a joy to use.

But you still have a single stage press.

Quote:
The only real reason to obtain one is to learn and have fun. What lessons can I learn about handloading ammunition with a turret (the fun is a given)?
I think you will enjoy a Lee Classic Turret, I think you will gain a lot of versatility from one and think it will find a great home on your bench... but no, I don't think you'll learn anything new from it. You won't learn anything new that you haven't already learned with the Rock Chucker.

I think you'll load all your handgun stuff on the Classic Turret (unless you use the RL550) and I think you'll probably stick to your Rock Chucker for rifle stuff.
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Old April 2, 2011, 10:32 AM   #7
Jim243
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Ike, I don't know what to say. You have very good presses now and the Lee Classic Turret I think is one of the best for it's type, but it is not a progressive. That's what I like about it, I am in controll of each stage and not the press.

For rifle I use a RCBS Rock Chucker because of case prep and my RCBS 1500. For pistol I only use my Lee CT and it is great for putting to together 50 or 100 at a time.

I have also used it for putting together 223, 243, 270 and 30-06 but changed to the RCBS except when I need a lot of 223.

It is a great little press and if you need a quick batch of rounds put together it is the way to go. I keep my dies set all the time in the exchangeable turrets, easy in and easy out no problems or hassles.

Just my 5 and 1/2 cents.
Jim

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Old April 2, 2011, 02:14 PM   #8
Civil War Life
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I have been seriously thinking of adding a Lee turret press to my bench. I was reading the comments on them on the Midway site, and a couple were not too complementary claiming that the holes in the turret did not align with the shell holder. Have any of you experienced quality problems with Lee presses? I have several Lee dies and other tools and love them but don't want to buy a press that has problems built into them. Thanks.
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Old April 2, 2011, 03:00 PM   #9
Lost Sheep
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How is a Lee Turret "like" a progressive?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevens
Some folks say that the turret press is like a progressive... It's not.
You are correct on all points.

But the Lee Turret presses have ONE and only one characteristic that IS like a progressive. Note that I say "like". Mode of operation.

Progressive presses' natural mode of operation takes empty cases and processes them to completed rounds without removing them from the press. Straight-through processing.

Single stage presses' natural mode of operation takes batches of empty cases and processes them one step at a time, inserting and removing an entire batch of the cases between swapping dies. Batch processing.

Turret presses can operate in either mode.

The natural mode of every turret press except the Lee turrets is the batch mode. They can operate in the straight-through mode, but somewhat inefficiently, if you are willing to manually re-position the turret every stroke of the ram.

The Lee turrets operate (with the auto-indexing turned on) most naturally in the straight-through mode.

That is how the Lee turrets can be said to be "like" a progressive.

The Lee Turrets can convert to the batch mode by simply deactivating the auto-indexing.


Sevens, it bothers me, too, when people overstate their case, but in this comparison I think the likening is valid.

It does not do multiple operations simultaneously, but it does straight-through loading pretty efficiently.

Respectfully,

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Old April 2, 2011, 03:05 PM   #10
Lost Sheep
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I have read the same things

Quote:
Originally Posted by Civil War Life
I have been seriously thinking of adding a Lee turret press to my bench. I was reading the comments on them on the Midway site, and a couple were not too complementary claiming that the holes in the turret did not align with the shell holder. Have any of you experienced quality problems with Lee presses? I have several Lee dies and other tools and love them but don't want to buy a press that has problems built into them. Thanks.
My advice: Do it.

Nobody is perfect. *99.8% is pretty good, though.

I have read of some alignment problems with the Classic Turret, but Lee Precision has a good warranty, the problems are rare and everything built by Man has a few problems. That's what warranties are for.

Mine operated perfectly, right out of the box.

Lost Sheep

*statistic pulled out of thin air, for illustration purposes only.
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Old April 2, 2011, 03:17 PM   #11
Lost Sheep
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More like an advance to the rear

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ike666
(original post)
Is this a retrograde move?
I started out on a single-stage, then got a pair of progressives with which I was never comfortable.

So, then I "upgraded" to the "lesser" Classic Turret.

I am much happier, now. Caliber changes are quicker and the parts cheaper, too. And my speed of output has not suffered all that much, either. (My progressive presses were not Dillons, for sure.)

Plus, my entire loading bench fits into three toolboxes (plus a folding workbench), the largest of which is 23" x 10" x 10".

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Old April 2, 2011, 05:01 PM   #12
wncchester
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A conventional turret is basically a single stage with extra holes to hold other dies until you need them, the dies must be screwed in/out when you change cartridges so there is no net gain in time. Therefore, all you will learn is a turret isn't anything special and your reloading skills will see zero effect using one.

However, IMHO, the Lee Classic Turret is the only rational turret press available. The very unique Lee turret press has 'auto-indexing' for improved speed and the heads are held entirely differently from all others, it limits head spring very well. The heads are actually swappable by hand in seconds, without tools and only they are sufficently inexpensive to make having heads set up for immediate use a rational thing to do! IF the CT had been available when I got my Lyman turret that's exactly what I would have.

Last edited by wncchester; April 3, 2011 at 09:25 PM.
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