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Old June 16, 2011, 12:17 AM   #1
Rustle in the Bushes
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Lyman Turret vs Lee??

Hey all.

Im a new reloader and Ill be buying my first press soon. I figured id get a turret press because I do want to reload fairly quickly (and safely) and I hear theyre a bit quicker/cheaper than single stage. Ill be reloading mainly 7.55x55 swiss and maybe some other rifle calibres down the line.

So what do you guys think, should I go for the lyman or the lee turret? Opinions/advice are welcome!
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Old June 16, 2011, 01:44 AM   #2
Lost Sheep
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My observations

Not cheaper. Single stage presses are generally stiffer, too, so Die alignment is not a concern with single stage, especially the "O" frame (as opposed to the "C" frame).

However, the question has two sides and a consensus has not been reached.

If you are concerned about stiffness, consider a Lee or Hornady Breech Lock press. Each die is installed in a bushing which changes out quickly and easily. Not as easily as rotating a turret, but almost. Certainly easier than screwing dies in and out and having to verify adjustment when you do.

Now, to answer your question:

My qualifications: I have a Lee Classic Turret, (Newer and superior design made of cast iron, unlike Deluxe) My shooting buddy has a Lyman Turret. Each one of us likes our press (though I have been loading since 1975 and he only started a couple of years ago.) Each press suits our loading style. What will suit your loading style is something you will have to decide for yourself. Though I much prefer the Lee Turret, I suspect you will (because you are loading bottleneck rifle cartridges) be better served by the Lyman.

As you have probably figured out, rotating a turret head is an advantage because changing dies involves time and adjustment. Those things can be avoided by leaving the dies installed in a movable or removable turret (or, as I mentioned for single stage presses, a removable bushing). The fact that the Lee Turret can easily be made to rotate itself gives it a very real advantage over the Lyman if you want to do continuous processing (put the cartridge case in the press, do step one, step two, step 3, etc. and don't remove it until it is a finished cartridge). If you do processing in batch mode (do step one on a batch of cases, then do step two on the batch, then step 3 etc.) Batch processing has you handling the cases more often (which takes time) but does give you the opportunity to do the kind of handling that riflemen do to their cases more often than handgunners do (case length trimming, primer pocket cleaning, etc.). If you do that, the Lee's auto-indexing will be less important to you.

Having discussed the major advantage of the Lee (autoindexing for continuous processing), I have to recognize a drawback of the Lee. It has four die stations and the autoindexing rotates the turret one-quarter turn. That means (in continuous mode) you must do four strokes of the ram per cartridge, even if you have a two-die setup (unless you get two sets of dies). If you use a 3-die set, even that won't work. Four strokes, no excuses, virtually no exceptions. The Lyman press, you can rotate as you wish. Complete freedom. You just always have to do it by hand.

The advantage of all turret presses is that the turret head is removeable. That means you can have dies in a turret head and to switch calibers, all you have to do is swap the turret head. The Lee has 4 die stations and the Lyman has 6 stations. Lee turrets are swappable by hand without tools in seconds, literally. The Lyman requires you unbolt the turret and takes closer to a minute, maybe two. Lee Turrets are cheaper, too.

To summarize:

Lee
Pro
Auto-rotating or auto-indexing more conducive to continuous processing which is faster than batch
Flexible. If you don't want the auto-indexing, you can turn it off at will.
Con
Much of the continuous processing speed is lost to loaders of bottlenecked cartridge shooters who perform more intermediate, off-press operations
Lyman
Pro
Has 6 die stations to the Lee's 4
Con
More expensive turret heads and slightly slower head changes.
If you want auto-indexing, you can't get it. Auto-indexing is useful only for continuous processing, so if you aren't going to do that, this is not a drawback.
Mixed blessing: If you want to do continuous processing with the Lyman, you can, but you have to rotate the head by hand (there are two little holes on the head into which you stick a handle for ease of rotation). If you are using a 2, 3, 5 or 6 station process, this is easier on the Lyman than on the Lee. The Lee forces you to 4. No less and absolutely no more.

Thanks for asking our advice.

Lost Sheep
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Old June 16, 2011, 02:49 AM   #3
Sport45
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The bottleneck cartridges I load on my Lee Classic Turret include .223Rem, .30-06, and 7.7Jap. I have never used the auto-index feature preferring instead to load in batches so I can see the powder level in the whole batch at once as well as gauge after sizing, etc. The Lee press serves me well for this.
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Old June 16, 2011, 05:27 AM   #4
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Many of us start with one system and tend to stick with it through thick or thin. I have two Lee turret presses and set-ups established for the .32, .380, 9mm, .45 ACP, .243, 25-06 and .308. I also disconnect the auto-indexing feature. I got tired of messing with the little plastic square dounuts thingies.

I suspect Lost Sheep has provided you with the best comparrison since I doubt many of us have had the opportunity to compare the two.
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Old June 16, 2011, 07:43 AM   #5
Rifleman1776
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The Lee is a cheaper and lighter duty piece of equipment.
The Lyman costs more, is ruggedly built and very accurate.
It is your budget. Pick yer poison.
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Old June 16, 2011, 08:00 AM   #6
Sport45
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I wouldn't call the Lee Classic Cast or the Lee Classic Turret "light duty". But that's just me....

And no, I'm not a Lee fanboy. I own and use Lee, Dillon, and Lyman presses. They all do what I want them to.
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Old June 16, 2011, 08:00 AM   #7
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Lee. The Lyman turret has no advantages whatsoever over the Lee.
FTR, I reload everything from .45acp to 30-06 on the Lee calssic cast turret (including 7.5 swiss that I resize from .284 brass on the press).

Quote:
The Lee is a cheaper and lighter duty piece of equipment.
The Lyman costs more, is ruggedly built and very accurate.
Unless you are talking about the older Lee Turret (Not the Classic Cast Turret), I doubt the Lyman Turret is any stronger than the Lee- at least in any practical manner.
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Old June 16, 2011, 08:30 AM   #8
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...And when it comes to purchasing extra turrets (so you never have to screw a die in or out more than once, and also so that they stay adjustment-free forever), the Lee blows away the Lyman so badly, it's not even a close race.

The Lee turrets are much cheaper and change in an instant.

The Lyman is a fine tool. The Lee has it smoked in every direction, and it costs less.

(and make NO mistake, I love Lyman tools... great tools)
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Old June 16, 2011, 09:27 AM   #9
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I am a Lee "Fan Boy" and I use my Lee Precision Turret Press in single stage mode. Nice to have option of auto index.
Lee Precision Classic Turret $104.99 with 104 owner reviews/ratings on Midway USA and it is essentially 5/5 stars, the best based on owner reviews/ratings http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct...tNumber=814175
Lyman T-Mag 2 has 23 reviews/ratings and is slightly lower rated but still nearly 5/5 stars at 159.99 on Midway USA http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct...tNumber=169077
I don't think there is huge difference and either way you will have a good press.
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Old June 16, 2011, 09:50 AM   #10
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I'm sure they both load good cartridges but...

While traveling this past weekend, I went by Bass Pro last Saturday and was looking at these two presses side by side, being as I'm in the market for a turret in the next year. I went in mostly to see if they had a Lee Classic Cast, which they did, because I've been reading good reports about the press and wanted to take a look at it. Mounted beside the Lee was the Lyman turret, so I was able to look at, pull and play with both presses.
After all the good press I’d read on the Lee, I was surprised to find the press seemed to have a problem with advancing the turret. The turret would not fully advance when the press handle was raised, unless the handle was snapped upward. The turret moved to within about an eighth of an inch of the next engaged position and stopped. I could twist the turret slightly and it would “pop” into place. After tinkering with the press, I found I could move the handle up rapidly and the get the turret to fully rotate. I don’t know if this is a common problem with this press design or just a problem with the press I was testing. I may ask this question on a different thread, because this failure to advance problem would really bother me.
I did find the Lee Classic Cast had some vertical “slop” in the turret, but I fully expected this since the turret moves. I found it interesting that the Lee had more vertical turret displacement than the Lyman turret. I figured the Lee would have less with its three outer posts supporting the turret versus the Lyman with a single central center post. Logically, the Lyman should have shown more upward deflection, but it actually appeared to be less. I found it was easy to change the positions of the Lyman T-Mag turret and the turret had a positive engagement at the next position. The T-Mag is solid and smooth.
In short, I went into the store feeling fairly sure that a Lee Classic Cast was in my future and came out of the store with the Lyman T-Mag as the favored contender. On my next visit, I may take a dial indicator with me and sort out the sheep from the goats.
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Last edited by serf 'rett; June 16, 2011 at 09:59 AM.
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Old June 16, 2011, 10:52 AM   #11
Sport45
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Quote:
The turret would not fully advance when the press handle was raised, unless the handle was snapped upward.
I'm surprised a floor model would advance at all. With hundreds (or dozens, anyway) of folk playing with it, the plastic bushing had probably been abused.

When you go back with your dial indicator don't measure how much the turret moves. See how it aligns with the ram after it has been pushed up. That's when it counts. I'd like to know that myself but have no way to measure.
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Old June 16, 2011, 10:53 AM   #12
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There's no comparison between the Lyman turret and the lee classic turret. Like comparing apples to oranges!

The Lyman turret is just a fancy "C" frame single stage. The turret can and will rock back to hit the support on the back before the case has anything done to it. You CAN eliminate this rocking motion by tightening the center pivot nut, but then you can't turn the turret! Doing a case by 1-2-3 turns of the turret takes a long time, not much faster than a single stage.

The lee "turret" should have been called something else. It only remotely resembles a normal turret put out by Lyman, Redding, or RCBS. The auto index alone is one main difference. Those that choose to disable that feature miss the advantage in speed that the other turrets can't duplicate.

Ease of changing inexpensive turrets allow you to have all your dies set and stay set. Changing calibers is a less than one minute deal, switch the turret for another, install a different shell holder, and possibly large to small primer arm, you're done!

The classic is a re-design of the older "deluxe" turret. Much sturdier cast iron base, and the spent primers travel down the center of the hollow ram to be collected in a plastic tube.

Then getting the safety prime feeder, and the pro disc measure allows a high rate of loading up to 200/hour. The 4 hole turret plate allows the use of a separate crimp die for auto loading pistols. A much better system to seat and crimp in separate dies.
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Old June 16, 2011, 11:03 AM   #13
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Quote:
When you go back with your dial indicator don't measure how much the turret moves. See how it aligns with the ram after it has been pushed up. That's when it counts. I'd like to know that myself but have no way to measure.
The turrets lock up tight when pressure is placed up on them- there is no play or flex whatsoever. There are lugs that are machined into the turrets that correspond to recesses in the head of the press.
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Old June 16, 2011, 11:06 AM   #14
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Quote:
The turret would not fully advance when the press handle was raised, unless the handle was snapped upward. The turret moved to within about an eighth of an inch of the next engaged position and stopped. I could twist the turret slightly and it would “pop” into place. After tinkering with the press, I found I could move the handle up rapidly and the get the turret to fully rotate. I don’t know if this is a common problem with this press design or just a problem with the press I was testing.
The advance is adjustable and is very easy to adjust.
It can go out of adjustment and will not index correctly if the press is short stroked (the advancing happens when the ram travels the last few inches downward).
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Old June 16, 2011, 11:17 AM   #15
Rustle in the Bushes
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Thank you gents!

Thanks to all, especially sheep. That was bloody informative. Its looking like ill probably be doing the lee after all with primer and powder feeders.

Thanks again
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Old June 16, 2011, 01:55 PM   #16
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I have both presses. IMHO the Lyman is a better quality press. I do all of my rifle loading on it because I measure each powder charge individually and don't auto drop. The Lee is not used much anymore as I recently purchase a Hornady LnL and load all my pistol rounds on it with the exception of 50AE which I load on the Lyman also. There are some things I do not like about the Lyman though. The priming system is a joke so you'll have to look elsewhere to get your priming done. The Lee priming system is the best system out of my three presses. My opinion again. The other thing to consider is the turret costs as has been already mentioned in the thread. The Lyman turrets are 3 times more costly or better.

The Lee is an excellent press also but as I stated, I've moved to my Hornady for my pistol loading.

Either will serve you well.
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Old June 16, 2011, 03:34 PM   #17
serf 'rett
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Dialing in...

The dial indicator idea was not as much to measure vertical movement since vertical displacement in either press should be constant for that press. The dial indicator idea was more to measure the side to side play in the extended ram. One of the presses seemed to have "looser" tolerences and I would be interested if this was fact or fiction.

I have an opinion that either press will work great. The only additional note I would submit is to think carefully about what and how you plan on reloading. It seem a batch re-loader might prefer the Lyman, while a straight-through person would opt for the Lee which I would term a “hybrid progressive.” Your particular process might tilt the scale toward one of these presses.
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Old June 16, 2011, 03:45 PM   #18
Rustle in the Bushes
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So is an all in 1 process going to be that much faster than a batch process?

I would think so because of less handling of the brass.

Last edited by Rustle in the Bushes; June 16, 2011 at 03:58 PM.
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Old June 16, 2011, 04:47 PM   #19
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I have a Lyman T-mag and had the older orange predecessor too. I have a Lee progressive, but never have liked it. Something always didn't work.

The Lyman turret is solid, simple and dependable. I have one turret for rifles and one for handgun. I also have the original turret that I think fits the new one too. I do not use the priming gizmo on either since I got the hand primer from RCBS.

I prefer batch mode as that allows me to deprime, resize, prime, tumble several times, as separate steps, and then, load as many primed cases as I am ready to shoot. I am beginning to keep cleaned, sized and primed cases "in stock".
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Old June 16, 2011, 06:12 PM   #20
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Lost Sheep gave a very good summation on the subject, but in the long run, I have to go with Sevens, the Lee Classic is just a very well designed unit. I find it to be an elegantly simple and efficient engineering solution to the question of how to handload several calibers with the least amount of complexity, while giving accurate and repeatable results.

In addition, I find nothing about it to be "Light Duty" with the possible exception of the plastic shell plate advancer thingy. But that is a cheap fix.

JMHO, and as always, YMMV.

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Old June 18, 2011, 10:52 AM   #21
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Seems to me you are limiting yourself to just the Lee or Lyman. For a Turret Press, I would go with the Redding. I have one and am very happy with it. I have extra turrets for it and load everything from my beloved 45 Colt to my Greyhound bus killer, 458 Lott. lol
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Old June 18, 2011, 01:34 PM   #22
Marco Califo
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Quote:
limiting yourself to just the Lee or Lyman. For a Turret Press, I would go with the Redding.
Redding makes good stuff. I have a Redding Single Stage, and some dies. The problem with their turret press is it costs about DOUBLE what it should (Midway $259, $239 on sale). It does come with a 7 hole turret (also OVER-priced at $58). The 7th hole is handy for mounting a Pez dispenser, or you spare antenna ornament, I guess.

Compare them side-by-side and the Redding looks a lot like the Lyman press, except for the pile of money ($100) you save with the Lyman.

Last edited by Marco Califo; June 18, 2011 at 01:40 PM.
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Old June 18, 2011, 01:46 PM   #23
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I can't speak directly to the quality of the lyman turret, but in my experience with their other products leads me to believe that they tend to make very durable equiptment. I can speak very highly of the Lee Classic Turret though - well over 20 K loaded rounds in 7 months and it has been 100% perfect each and every time.

I would buy a Lee classic turret again in a second if I was looking at a turret press.
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Old June 18, 2011, 01:48 PM   #24
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Except one feature. Lee has 4 die stations. Lyman has 6.

Quote:
The Lyman turret has no advantages whatsoever over the Lee.
Quote:
The Lyman is a fine tool. The Lee has it smoked in every direction, and it costs less.
Except one feature. Lee has 4 die stations. Lyman has 6.


serf 'rett,

Very astute of you to note the vertical play. There was a thread on another forum that discussed that. Sorry, I don't have the location. You need some play (clearance) to allow rotation, but as long as the die is lined up with the shell when you are putting pressure on it. The Lyman turret, being anchored in the center, tilts slightly. The Lee turret floats in the ring. When sizing or crimping, does entire turret lift (equal amount of lift, front and back)? If it does, the alignment is being maintained.

About that demo Lee Classic Turret not rotating all the way. It should rotate all the way to the spring detent and snap into place. Just as a revolver with good timing locks up no matter how slowly you pull back the hammer. That press is badly adjusted, needs lubrication in/on the ring/turret, has a worn out Square Ratchet (cost, 50 cents), or all three.

Lost Sheep

Last edited by Lost Sheep; June 18, 2011 at 02:06 PM.
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Old June 18, 2011, 02:35 PM   #25
Lost Sheep
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Weighing powder charges with the Lee Turret

Quote:
Originally Posted by RB98SS
I have both presses. IMHO the Lyman is a better quality press. I do all of my rifle loading on it because I measure each powder charge individually and don't auto drop.
(truncated for brevity)
About the powder measuring. You CAN weigh each powder charge individually with the Lee turret. Just replace the Auto-Disk Powder Measure with the Lee Funnel (it fits precisely in the Lee powder charging die).

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