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Old December 29, 2012, 11:16 PM   #1
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Thinking about getting this

I was thinking about getting back into reloading (I used my friend's reloading equip in the past(
Lee 50th Anniversary Breech Lock Challenger Kit|212|237|1009
I don't have a lot of money to spend so I figured this would give me "the most bang for my buck"
(sorry for the pun)

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Old December 29, 2012, 11:19 PM   #2
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It's a lot of useful stuff for really low dollars, so it's tough to argue with it.

I've been doing this gig for a bit and I prefer better items than every single item in that kit. And please don't mistake this for "Lee bashing", as the lion's share of my bench is Lee tools and I use Lee dies almost exclusively.

To get started for low money, I think that kit is money well spent. But if I lost all my stuff and I had the choice between:
--take that kit
--work more hours, eat more ramen noodles and save money and re-populate my bench slowly, piece by piece

...I'd work more hours and buy the things I know, I love, and I need.
Attention Brass rats and other reloaders: I really need .327 Federal Magnum brass, no lot size too small. Tell me what caliber you need and I'll see what I have to swap. PM me and we'll discuss.
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Old December 30, 2012, 06:47 PM   #3
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Tell us more


Thanks for asking our advice.

Tell us more about yourself. What do you shoot? What kind of quantities? What are your goals (long distance accuracy? hunting? casual plinking? Cowboy Action Shooting? Silhouette Shooting? Bowling pin? Bullseye shooting? IDPA?)

The more we know about your hopes for handloading, the better targeted our answers will be.

Lost Sheep
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Old December 30, 2012, 09:03 PM   #4
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Lost Sheep

I'll be mainly loading for a couple of I'll of C&R guns; a .303 and a 8X56r for oblivious reason. It's for casual plinking, nothing serious - so I won't be loading a ton of bullets.
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Old December 30, 2012, 09:20 PM   #5
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I've had the Lee aluminum presses and the cast iron. The Challenger isn't a bad press, but for a little more the classic cast turret is my favorite. I especially like the primer catch tube that runs through the ram.

The 50th anniversary is a solid kit, but for about $100 more the Lee Classic Turret Kit is pretty hard to beat and upgrades just about everything. Too bad it seems to be sold out most places!
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Old December 31, 2012, 04:37 AM   #6
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Thanks for letting us know. I am not sure what "I'll of C&R" means, though. The I'll confuses me. I assume there is a typographical error and you mean Curio and Relic rifles.

The Challenger press seems to me to be just about perfect for your needs. The Classic Cast Single Stage press is better, but a little more expensive, but for light use, the aluminum Challenger will do just fine. The Classic Cast is iron and wears a little better and handles spend primers more neatly.

I am a fan of the Classic Turret press myself, mentioned by Testuser. I recommend you check out Kempf's Gun Shop for their kit. But it is a bit of overkill for C&R rifles, but if you expand your reloading repertoire to include calibers you shoot more often and in greater quantities, the turret would be a good investment in your future.

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Old December 31, 2012, 07:50 AM   #7
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I have two presses, the Lee Turret Press and a Smart Reloader Single Stage Press.
So far, I love the Lee. Quick die changes, can use as single stage or turret and it runs the dies up and down without much effort (something that may be more important with rifle carts?)

Not so much the SR as the stroke is much to short and requires a lot of force. I bought that for de-priming, with a universal deprimer die. To me, that is all it's good for right now. Even resizing a 9mm case is a chore!
Being new to reloading, but I see you are not, having the leverage on a press is an important part of whether it is going to be an enjoyable hobby or more like work. Something to think on (I obviously didn't with the SR ;-)
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Old December 31, 2012, 06:46 PM   #8
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Go to Kempf's and get the Classic Kit. Much better press.
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Old January 1, 2013, 12:28 PM   #9
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Dennis that press should serve you well. Not sure which one your friend had that you used but I believe they make two different kit's. One with the safety prime ( on press primer ) and one with the hand prime. I prefer the safety prime but I am loading on a classic turret.

I see you are located in my old stomping grounds, I grew up in Hayward. Moved out in 1996.
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Old January 1, 2013, 02:04 PM   #10
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I started with the Challenger anniversary kit myself - it will certainly get the job done and the price is right. After 10 years I still use most of the original pieces regularly, although I did buy a Classic Cast press a few years ago when I built a permanent bench in the man cave. I still have the Challenger mounted to a portable top that I would clamp to the kitchen table.

The Lee scale is plenty accurate but I much prefer using the Lyman/RCBS style scale. And the little Lee chamfer/deburring tool leaves a lot to be desired - it works but takes more effort and leaves a ring around rifle cases. It's cheap to replace with something better. The kit didn't come with a powder trickler either - but for the most part Lee's stuff works at least as well as other brands, sometimes better and always cheaper.
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Old January 1, 2013, 02:26 PM   #11
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Get a better scale. It is the weakest link in that kit. It works, and is accurate, at the cost of being more difficult to use, and even at eye level difficult to see the numbers if you have problems with vision of small number, and tiny slots. I upgraded with a $25 digital scale. You can go with the RCBS beam scale for around $50 or so. It is money well spent either way.

I have the kit. I started with mine about 4 years ago. Still use the press, powder measure, trimmer, hand priming tool, and the case trimmer chucked in a drill.

You will need the case length gauge, and lock stud for each caliber for trimming. If you have a drill then you are good to go. If you do not have a drill then the Zip Trim can be had for $20 or so. You are going to have to trim the cases at some point in time.
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