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Old March 9, 2012, 10:28 PM   #1
Lost Sheep
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Why I disdain Lee Tools

Or any other maker's tools, for that matter.

There are some members who issue blanket opinions on how bad some makers' equipment is, condemning entire product lines without offering evidence. I challenge these members to share their evidence and reasoning along with something indicating their point of view (e.g. their loading needs and style that might influence their preferences).

On another thread, I promised two such posters I would start this thread for that purpose, so here it is. I named the thread before I considered that it is not only Lee equipment that gets bashed.

I would like anyone who so knocks any maker's gear to explain why they condemn the entire line based on what evidence.

People who dislike only one model out of a maker's line or who have actual, extensive experience with the entire maker's inventory need not post here. I want to hear from those who prejudge a line of products based on the color of its skin.

Members who similarly lionize a maker's entire product line are also invited to post their evidence.

Thanks

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p.s. Moderators, I understand that this thread may become contentions or heated. If you believe it needs to be closed, please let me know so that I may have the opportunity to make the last post in it an apology to the forum.

Last edited by Lost Sheep; March 10, 2012 at 01:59 PM.
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Old March 9, 2012, 10:44 PM   #2
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It would be nice if the other makers would market their gear with hot chicks the way Dillon does.
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Old March 9, 2012, 11:34 PM   #3
William T. Watts
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I want well made durable products that last for years and are well designed and user friendly. I'm now in my 46th year loading, with that said I've tried Lee products and don't like them, the only Lee products left are three crimp dies and that's it. Their dies are soft and easily scratched, their lock nuts are mickey mouse, I don't like the way they look, if their products were a women she wouldn't be hard to pick out because she would be ugly. Any or all of this is enough to not purchase their products, I would rather spend a bit more money for something I like that has a first class warranty if there is a problem. I eventually discarded every thing I had that had the Lee's name on it and never looked back. I like RCBS, Redding, Lyman, L.E. Wilson, Forester, these are listed in no particular order, I like the way their tools function, they are well design and work well. I absolutely couldn't ask for more and that's why I spend my money with them.. William

Last edited by William T. Watts; March 10, 2012 at 06:48 PM.
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Old March 10, 2012, 12:02 AM   #4
Lost Sheep
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Thanks, William

Thank you.

Yep, Lee spends little on cosmetics. Their warranty is very limited compared to most of the others. Lee's virtues are in their economy and the ones that work. (The ones that don't do so well are a bane.) I also am still wondering if I am satisfied (still uneasy, but haven't had one actually FAIL yet) with their lock rings which depend on the friction of an O-ring rather than something positive like the Forster cross-bolt.

Which of their tools have you tried and rejected, please? Maybe with their specific failings, other than the ones you already mentioned.

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Old March 10, 2012, 12:26 AM   #5
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The only thing Lee I have used and don't like is the scale. I think it is just too small for my old eyes and my big mitts. I had no problem setting it or reading it, except it did take too much time. I've since picked up a Lyman Pro 500, and an ancient Lyman M5. They all agreed, but either Lyman is far more pleasant to work with.

I have the breech lock hand press, and the classic turret(With all accessories) and all my necessary dies are Lee. I have dippers, LPPM, XR hand primer. They all work as advertised.

I have a Dillon XL 650 with casefeeder bolted right next to my Lee, the Lee is the one that makes me grin when I am reloading. The Dillon is never fun, too much concentration required. I expect the Lee classic turret will last as long as the 650.

I think Lee lock rings are the best, and easy to use. Personal preference.
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Old March 10, 2012, 02:07 AM   #6
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I'd like to see more Brunettes from Dillon. I like black hair.
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Old March 10, 2012, 02:38 AM   #7
Lost Sheep
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Thanks GTOne

Thanks GTOne,

I didn't want to make this thread a referendum on Lee Precision's gear. I was interested in giving a venue to those who bash ANY makers entire line based on nothing but hot air (or so it seems from their lack of proffered evidence). It seems that Lee gets the bigot vote most often, but I do have to give equal opportunity...

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTOne
The only thing Lee I have used and don't like is the scale. I think it is just too small for my old eyes and my big mitts. I had no problem setting it or reading it, except it did take too much time. I've since picked up a Lyman Pro 500, and an ancient Lyman M5. They all agreed, but either Lyman is far more pleasant to work with.

I have the breech lock hand press, and the classic turret(With all accessories) and all my necessary dies are Lee. I have dippers, LPPM, XR hand primer. They all work as advertised.

I have a Dillon XL 650 with casefeeder bolted right next to my Lee, the Lee is the one that makes me grin when I am reloading. The Dillon is never fun, too much concentration required. I expect the Lee classic turret will last as long as the 650.

I think Lee lock rings are the best, and easy to use. Personal preference.
I agree about the Lee Scale. I hated the first one I got (in a trade in which I had little option). After I downloaded an instruction manual and actually READ it, I liked the scale a bit better. But then, I knew what a vernier is (including the difference between a + vernier and a - vernier) and the manual clued me in to the locking button, which made ALL the difference in my opinion of the scale.

Mounting the scale at eye level (not just near eye level, but fully at eye level) makes a big difference, too and good lighting is essential. The ability to read is helpful, too.

As far as big mitts are concerned, tweezers, hemostats and needlenose pliers are your friends.

I like my RCBS 10-10 much better than the Lee, but the Lee is faster to set up and put away (putting the RCBS away is like a jigsaw puzzle, still, after 37 years. But I am getting better).

The Lee is as accurate as any other scale on the market (that I have found below $400) but the convenience factor is dismal. But the economy factor is over 3x, which amount to about $60.

The one thing I will bash Lee about, across the board without reservation, (though I will listen to objections) is their naming conventions. Lee uses the term "Deluxe" attached to their premium 4-die pistol set. Applying the same term, "Deluxe" to a press that is so inferior to the "Classic" press is confounding.

Lost Sheep

Last edited by Lost Sheep; March 10, 2012 at 02:43 AM.
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Old March 10, 2012, 04:46 AM   #8
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IMO,a person has to make a reasonable assessment of what the use will be,and buy accordingly.
I believe in buying good tools most of the time,and some of my tools are Browne and Sharpe,Snap-On,Starret,Armstrong.My grinder vise is a Hermann Schmidt.

But,As often as I use my cherry picker and 35 in high lift floor jack,they are Harbor Freight.I would never afford a Walker.

I have an unecessarily large collection of quality presses,but sometimes I enjoy using a Lee hand press for some operations.I do not care for the hand auto-prime,but the old,obsolete one primer at a time lee hand priming tool is a good tool.I gave mine,along with my Lee hand press,to a friend who is shooting a 45-70 Sharps.

I'm not a big Lee fan,but in some cases their tool meets my needs and serves well.
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Old March 10, 2012, 07:24 AM   #9
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One of the local gun shops in my area has setup some of their Lee products to allow customers see how they work. I have looked at them and also noticed how much time was spent trying to get things setup when a different item was put on display. The thing that comes to my mind is the Lee products I saw reminded me of Harbor Freight tools. While they probably do the work they are intended to do, there is less spent on looks and some cases durability. The feel of the products didn't have that this will last for ever feeling to me either.

I am loading more volume in pistol ammo these days and the fastest Lee press setup just didn't impress me during the demo I was given. I do have a few gripes on the Dillon 550b that I did buy, but those are not major to me. I also can produce some good rounds in the quantities I want per hour on the Dillon.

It seems all the presses on the market today have their place. They all seem to have some type of advantage and problem to one degree or another. Price and ease of use seem to be the ones talked about the most. Speed is something more related to pistol ammo. Lee products seem to be more of an entry level product compared to Dillon and a few others. There is a place for Lee just as there is a place for Harbor Freight, which I do go to from time to time. If Lee fills your needs, then it just might be the one to go with. If not, as is my case, then go with something that does. I wanted a press that would produce a couple thousand rounds per month and only take an hour or two per week to turn them out. I also wanted to be able to make consistent ammo that would be as accurate or better the the cheap factory rounds I normally would use for punching paper. I think I got what I needed.

If I was loading lower volume, I might have considered a Lee or something other than a Dillon or the Lock N Load which were my first two choices.
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Old March 10, 2012, 08:25 AM   #10
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I love Lee products and the only Lee tool I did not care for is their hand primer, but I still have it as a backup in case my RCBS hand primer breaks or I lose a part but I have only used it for one sleeve of primers just to try it. The Lee collet neck size dies are the absolute best in my opinion, I have tried a couple of other brands and the Lees give as good or better runout numbers than the higher priced models. I bought a high end micrometer bullet seating die and the Lee seating die for the same caliber is just as consistent in seating depth, the micrometer BR model is much easier to adjust though so I kept it instead of Ebaying it. I loaded over 10K rounds on my old Lee turret before selling it on Ebay for 75% of the purchase price and putting a Hornady LnL for pistol and a Lee single stage for rifle in it's place. I have a Lee hand press for loading "at the range" when working up loads. I would not want to try that with a progressive

I get good service and good groups from my Lee gear and can use the money I save for more powder bullets and primers so I can get more range time which is what really improves my groups. Once you are on the line it does not matter what color your loading bench equipment is. Green, blue or red, the target does not care
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Old March 10, 2012, 08:38 AM   #11
dunerjeff
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I've told my experience with a couple Lee peices,a 30-06 die that, i'm thinking by the looks of the bore,they had the cutter chipped and didn't check for size or finish.That one was a failure,Next was the Breechlock press that tha ram bore was out of alignment from the die hole.That one was a failure.The other die set,does work,but was pretty rough machine work(you can say it is purely cosmetic,thats not the way I see things).I did just receive a Lee lead melting pot,I was warned,but,I need a pot NOW and cannot afford a Lyman or RCBS right now.I will see how ot goes.

I used to be solely a green fan,but now I buy any brand,for the features I need. I do not care for the RCBS lockring,both the base rings(I replaced with Hornady ones plus made my own) or the expander/seater ones(they are doing as designed, but the seater nuts are a pain when they lockup so tight and the die will unscrew when just trying to unlock the seater nut even though it was just hand tightened), the o-ring or wave washer method is nicer for me.

The rest I haven't had any failures or real problems with.
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Old March 10, 2012, 09:08 AM   #12
Rifleman1776
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Lee products are designed to reach a low price point market.
I once had one of their progressive presses. It had so many design defects I contacted various consumer protection agencies and after investigations Lee changed some things on the press.
I still use a few, very few, Lee items (moulds, melting pots) but only because of their low cost. I simply cannot afford some of the competitiors products but sorely wish I could.
Lee does make many items which are very low quality, IMHO, and, to me, that reflects a company policy that paints all products they sell with the same broad brush. Cheap in price and cheep in quality.
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Old March 10, 2012, 09:14 AM   #13
Mike Irwin
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I've been using Lee products for nearly 40 years, dies, presses, and other sundry items.

I'm very happy with them.

The only product of theirs that I don't like is their safety scale. I think the design is lacking and it's too easy to knock out of adjustment.
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Old March 10, 2012, 09:25 AM   #14
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Quote:
I've been using Lee products for nearly 40 years, dies, presses, and other sundry items.

I'm very happy with them.


+1
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Old March 10, 2012, 09:51 AM   #15
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another happy Lee customer

I have only been reloading for a few short years and have experience with RCBS, Lee and Dillion. All are quality products IMO, but the Lee Classic Turret and the 4 carbide pistol die sets are an excellent value.
15,000 rounds reloaded in the past year without a single problem. That says enough in my opinion...
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Old March 10, 2012, 11:27 AM   #16
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I have been loading on a classic turret for six years. I bought a Dillon 550 four months ago. My CT makes just as good aamo as my 550. The pro auto disk measure is just as consistant as the Dillon measure. I also like Lee dies better than Dillon dies. I also have the Lee pro 4-20 bottom pour casting pot, I don't see how any other brand could be better unless it holds more lead. The only Lee product I have used that I don't like is the safety scale.
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Old March 10, 2012, 12:27 PM   #17
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No issues with anything Lee I have ever had...
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Old March 10, 2012, 12:46 PM   #18
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I hate Lee for that fact that they will not give me a Classic Turret, and all the accesories for it for free.

Most of my reloading stuff is Lee. Most of thier products are great products for any amount of money. Eventualy I will have drop the coin for a Classic Turret with the necessary accesories to upgrade from my BreachLock Challenger press that has seen two and half years of solid near daily use.

Yes the scale was the first thing I upgraded from.
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Old March 10, 2012, 12:49 PM   #19
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I don't have a Lee safety scale and only have one set of Lee dies but have dozens of other products from Lee. I like them all, even the old Auto Prime. I've repaired and/or worn out several but I like the way they work. The only gripe I have about my Lee 45ACP dies is that they didn't work well in my Dillon. Sometimes the best tool for the job is Lee. I don't buy loading tools often so the cost isn't a big factor considering the cost of components these days. I have an old set of Lyman dies that I don't much care for but I used them to build some pretty amazing .30-06 rounds before upgrading to a green box so I really can't gripe. I love Lyman's casting equipment OTOH and buy their moulds as often as I buy Lee's.
I probably have close to a dozen different brands of reloading tools represented on or near my bench, wouldn't hesitate to purchase any of them again or recommend them to another reloader. I prefer green and blue dies and presses but if I ever buy another press it'll likely be a Lee Classic Turret.
I don't understand any reloader who condemns the entire line of any of the major reloading tool manufacturers and generally don't assign much credibility to his opinions. JMHO, of course.
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Old March 10, 2012, 12:56 PM   #20
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Reputation matters to me. At times, you have very little else to go on, as this thread demonstrates.

Lee has a bad reputation, others have much better reputations.
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Old March 10, 2012, 01:01 PM   #21
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I have to go along with those that dislike the Lee scale. I am starting to think however that I may be the reason I don't like it. Maybe I just didn't take enough time to work with it. No going back to it now..... I shot it.
Another complaint would be with their customer service. My first press was a Lee Challenger press. After several years of use the aluminum links broke. I called Lee and I was informed that they had been upgraded to steel and they would be more than happy to sell me new ones.
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Old March 10, 2012, 01:04 PM   #22
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Quote:
Their warranty is very limited compared to most of the others.
Hope this shows just how "poor" their warranty is. lol

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=648048

Most any manufacturer has their pluses and minuses across their product line, this is true whether we're discussing reloading, autos, tools, or whatever. Those who think otherwise are just foolish.
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Old March 10, 2012, 01:39 PM   #23
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Quote:
There are some members who issue blanket opinions on how bad some makers' equipment is, condemning entire product lines without offering evidence.

Lost Sheep, this is not like you. I have had the same problem with posts here, join me over at THR. Equipment bashing seems to be the rule here or at least that's what it looks like.

Red, green, red or blue, what works for you is OK we each have our own preferences.

All I can say is that Lee's warranty is not great, but their prices are super great, a lot of people would never gotten into reloading without using their equipment.

Good luck to all, and see you at THR.
Jim
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Old March 10, 2012, 01:42 PM   #24
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I started reloading about 6 or 7 years ago with a well used Lee four hole turret I got off the internet. The only part I have had to replace to date is the connecting link that wallowed out last year. Cost of replacement was $5 American. I reload 9mm, .357 mag, 44 mag, 45 auto, .40 S&W and .45 Colt with it. My daughters felt sorry for me using a beat up old press and bought me a new Lee four hole Turret for Christmas. Now I have two. Other than the connecting link ($5) and replacing a plastic bushing for the auto indexer (was included with the used press) I have come to love the Lee turret.

The only complaint I have has been addressed a couple of times on this post series - the scale. Their scale is very sensitive, in fact too sensitive for my likings. I weigh every charge for every round I load and I don't have the patience to wait for the scale to settle out between charges. The scale lacks dampening like the RCBS I repaced it with. Any slight breeze or draft in the reloading room and the Lee scale goes ballistic. However, it is highly accurate if uou can isolate it from drafts and only use it to sample otherwise measured loads.
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Old March 10, 2012, 02:15 PM   #25
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Funny thing about bashing is that one disgruntled poster may find the support of one or two other posters but most folks will disagree. Seems to me the product being bashed generally gets a positive overall result. I'd be willing to bet Richard Lee gains a new customer every time someone decides to bash his products.
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