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Old October 7, 1999, 01:56 AM   #1
Join Date: May 30, 1999
Posts: 33
I've finally got the time & luxury to pursue reloading seriously now after loading black powder cartridges with a Lee Loader. I'm set on purchasing a Lee press as I think their equipment is great for the money. My problem is this: is their turret press @ approx. $90 more of a convenience or should I get their single stage & spend the difference on dies?
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Old October 7, 1999, 06:42 AM   #2
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Join Date: February 20, 1999
Location: home on the range; Vermont (Caspian country)
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STOP! THINK! Do you really want a pot-metal press?

I thought I did (needed a second press to complement my Bonanza Co-Ax) so I got a Lee Reloader press. Broke the handle stop lugs the first time I pushed the handle. Kept it anyway (holds up my powder measure).

So I bought a Lee Challenger. It lasted longer than the Reloader, but I still broke it during the first session.

Love Lee dies, like their chamfer tool, primer pocket cleaner, and case trimmers. But I think their presses are a mistake.

I own and use a Dillon XL650, Lyman Crusher 2, Bonanza Co-Ax, Lee Reloader and Challenger.

Redding, those are turrets......
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Old October 7, 1999, 09:06 AM   #3
Bill Hebert
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Join Date: May 15, 1999
Posts: 180
I agree completely - When I first started to reload, I wanted a simple cheap press to seeif I really was going to stick with reloading. Lee had a special -buy the reloading manual and the press was free. The press worked exactly as advertised, and I still use it for depriming, but my "real press" is a Pacific (Hornady). If you're sure you will stick with reloading, I suggest trying to find a used Dillon or Hornady. Both are excellent products, and the manufacturers have excellent customer service and parts (not that you will need them.) Happy reloading...
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Old October 7, 1999, 10:46 AM   #4
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Join Date: July 1, 1999
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Posts: 2,135

It really depends on how may rounds you anticipate loading.

I've been using an RCBS Reloader Special, single stage for almost 20 years with complete satisfaction. However, I only load 200 rounds per week.

Always buy the best you can afford, you'll never be disappointed.

Good Luck...


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Old October 7, 1999, 01:17 PM   #5
Join Date: April 2, 1999
Posts: 35
The big question is, what will you be loading and how much? If you're going to load more than 100/wk of any one calibre, I'd think about a progressive. If you'll just be loading lots of pistol, and no rifle, something along the lines of a Dillon Square Deal B is the economical way out.
If you shoot a lot you'll end up with a progressive so you may as well start out with one.
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Old October 7, 1999, 10:40 PM   #6
Joe Portale
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Join Date: June 8, 1999
Location: Tucson, Arizona Territory
Posts: 715

I have used several Lee presses and can find some fualt with them all. But all in all, they are okay. I use the O frame challenger single stage for rifle. Ain't much to mess up with a single stage

I have a turret and the Pro 1000. Both can be a sweet as it gets, then on another day give you hair pulling fits. The weak link in the Lee Turret and progressive presses are those blasted plastic indexing gears. But, for what the gears cost, it is just a minor aggrivation. Just be warned that the Pro 1000 is strickly handgun ammo. The Turret will load some large case rifle with the auto index removed.

If you are on a budget, but a Lee. If you got money to spare, buy a Dillon.

BTW, I am selling the Lee Turret with auto index, a set of .45 ACP dies, the Delux powder measure as a set for $75 if you are interested. The Turret press was just rebuilt by the factory. I know, I know this was shameless.

Joe Portale
Sonoran Sidewinder
Tucson, Arizona territory

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Old October 8, 1999, 07:34 PM   #7
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Location: N.E. Ohio
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I have used a Lee Turrent press with the auto index for years and it works great! I load 38,357,9mm,44mag,223,and 45ACP. All I have to do is put in the right powder disc drop in the turrent and start reloading. It takes me about 10 minutes to do 50 rounds. I shoot several hundred rounds per week in the winter, and much more in the summer. I have had no problems with the equipment at all.
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Old October 10, 1999, 07:36 AM   #8
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Have used a Challenger press for years. Only problem so far has been the wooden ball came unglued. I have a pro 1000, 357 and 38spl. Have had a little problem with feeding primers, seem have to resolved that problem with the help of this forum. Board I had the press mounted on wobbled too much. Good for the money.
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Old October 11, 1999, 10:25 PM   #9
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I've been using the Lee turrent press for about two years now, loading 9mm, 357, 41 mag and 30 carbine. I've yet to have a problem with it.
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Old October 13, 1999, 07:05 AM   #10
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The pot metal pistons in my truck have been pounding up and down for over 200,000 miles without a problem, thank you. My pot metal challenger press has cranked out several thousand .45 and 9mm along with quite a few rifle cartidges without a hitch either. Now I'm thinking of upgrading to a Lee Loadmaster. I just can't see spending 4 or 5 times the money for the blue one. I'd rather have the money for powder and bullets.
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Old October 13, 1999, 10:38 AM   #11
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Location: CA
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I have to agree with Sport45 about this one. I know the "Lee versus Dillon" issue will always be like "Ford versus Chevy", and I know the Dillon has a very deserved reputation, but there is life without Dillon.

I bought a Lee Pro 1000 for two reasons. First, I played with a Dillon 550 at a gun store, but the ergonomics weren't good for me. I'm a lefty, and the way I worked, the 550 was awkward for me. Second, the 550 would have cost me me $300+ without dies. I bought a Lee 1000 on sale from Midway for $117, including carbide dies! The rest I spent on powder, bullets, etc., and still spent less than the price of the Dillon press alone.

By now, I've reloaded somewhere in the vicinity of 7 to 8K rounds without any parts breaking, etc. To date, I am satisfied.

Regards - AZFred

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Old October 14, 1999, 06:43 AM   #12
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Location: TN
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In my opinion, the most expensive press to buy is the Lee. Why? Because sooner or later you'll get interested enough in reloading and break down and buy what you should have bought in the first place: a Dillon.

But, then again, I'm biased since I've owned a Dillon since 1988. I can't remember the price I paid, but whatever it was, it was worth it.

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Old October 14, 1999, 10:16 AM   #13
Clint Tickler
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Location: Seattle Area
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I've had a Pro 1000 for about a year and a half now. Probably done around 4000 rounds through it. I've replaced the plastic indexing gears once and find the bullet feeder option more trouble then it's worth.
You've got to keep the primer feed pretty clean and keep primers in the tray. I clamp down my die holder to eliminate up and down play and get consistent seating depth that way. Yes, I fuss with it a bit but I'm not convinced that you don't with any of them.
I would have bought a Dillon if I was only doing one caliber but when you add the cost of Dillon tool heads the Lee fit in my budget better. I do four diferent calibers so like not having to adjust dies all the time. If dollars were no object I'd buy Dillon probably. A freind of mine just bought an RCBS Ammo Master but hasn't used it yet. Just my experience.
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Old October 14, 1999, 09:11 PM   #14
Join Date: July 23, 1999
Posts: 26
I have to agree with Albin. I bought a Pro 1000 and sent it back because it couldn't really load .223 like they said. Got a Loadmaster. Primeer feed is plastic and doesn't work reliably. Primers are fed in a plastic chute from the weight of the primers stacked in the chute and they get cocked sideways or upside down---often! Bullet feeder is plastic and doesn't work. You get what you pay for with Lee. If money is a factor and you like aggravation, buy a Lee. Not long ago I bought a Dillon. After the initial set-up, I have had not one single problem in loading, not one! I wish I had bought it long ago. Oh, the Loadmaster? I use it to deprime/size my rifle brass before I load it on the Dillon!
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Old October 15, 1999, 12:52 AM   #15
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'Bout 15 years ago I bought a Lee turret press without the auto-advance for the convenience of not having to constantly change and adjust dies. Later on the Dillon bug bit me and I bought a SDB press. BTW, they are both pot metal. I had a problem with 1o% high primers with the Dillon. No one could offer a solution so I sold it and went back to the Lee press.
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Old October 17, 1999, 09:58 AM   #16
Join Date: October 13, 1998
Posts: 68
You need to check out the turret press kit(auto index,dies,shell holder,powder funnel,and dipper)$79.99 delivered. The auto index won't work on rifle cartridges longer than 2 5/16".
I have 2-1000's and a Loadmaster that work great and never had to call Lee for any thing.
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