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Old May 24, 2006, 08:43 AM   #1
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Lee Pro 1000- Opinions

What are your impressions of this press? I currently reload all my ammo, .357, .38, .40, 30-06 on a old RCBS Rockchucker. I love the thing. I want to start loading 9mm, as I have a pile of cases, and want accurate ammo. I can only think progressive is the way to go with 9mm. Any mpressions on this loader? All my dies are LEE Carbides, which are great, but their pressesd seem cheap, and are inexpensive.
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Old May 24, 2006, 09:17 AM   #2
Join Date: February 15, 2006
Location: Northern Illinois
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I can't speak directly to the Pro 1000, but my first progressive was the Lee Loadmaster. Had been using a Lee single stage, and most of my dies were Lee carbide, figured I'd try it. Was not impressed with it at all. Thought the priming system was poorly engineered (it tended to crush the little plastic arm that moved the primers). Never got it to work reliably, and I ended up returning it to the shop where I bought it. Employee there told me (quietly) to buy a Dillon, which I did, a 550B.

I try not to sound like a Dillon evangelist, but I've loaded tens of thousands of rounds with it and had very, very few problems. I picked up a used Square Deal B a couple years ago, and I don't like it nearly as much as the 550. For shotgun shells, the MEC 650 works just fine for me, and I still use the Lee single stage for .223s, so my bench isn't totally blue

The 550B has been pretty much ideal. Powder measure is +/- .1 grains, it's easy to change calibers and primer sizes, there's plenty of room to see what's going on at each station, and I found that I actually prefer manual indexing.

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Old May 24, 2006, 09:27 AM   #3
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Wait to hear some reports on the new priming system. Don't even consider a Pro1000 with the old priming system. It's a dangerous POS.

If you can afford it, everyone who has a Dillon loves it. The Hornady progressive is getting good reports.
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Old May 24, 2006, 08:05 PM   #4
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I have not one, but two, Pro 1000 presses.

I won't go as far as Leftoverdj's comments concerning the priming system, but it is certainly the Achille's heal of the set-up. I don't use it - I prime my brass separately on a single stage using a ram prime system.

If you can get by having a poor priming system, along with only 3 stages, then it will do an OK job (that's why I bought the 2nd one used - cheaply - from someone who expected a better product). It's not as tight as a Dillon, RCBS or Hornady. In general, I would not recommend one unless you are a true tinkerer.

I also have a Hornady progressive, and I much prefer it, although it's priming system is not infallible (perhaps none are).

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Old May 24, 2006, 09:29 PM   #5
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I just bought 2 Lee Pro 1000s in 9mm and .45ACP, and in fact turned out my first ammo on the 45 last night. This is my first time reloading, so I really didn't know much and here's a complete beginner's first impression:

(In case you don't finish reading and decides to buy a Pro 1000, I highly recommend you zero your press according to lee's web site's instructions)

Setting Up:

When I unpacked the presses, I was amazed at the small amounts of instructions that came w/ it. It had maybe 6 pages (including the front and back cover). To make matters worse, each component (dies, powder measure) had its own little bit of instruction. I'd much prefer a complete set of instructions w/ my press kit; and the instructions needs to be in more details. Additionally, I found several typos in the instructions. I would not have been able to set it up w/o the Internet FAQ and videos on Lee's web site.

The auto powder disk measures included w/ the press determines the amount of powder it can dispense and comes in certain increments. You cannot pick an arbitrary amount of powder. I think this is very limiting.

The press kit came w/ case feeder, but I didn't attach it since my volume is very low.

After spending something like 3 hours setting up the first press (which included destroying several brass cases), the second one took < 10 minutes. This, again, points to the lack of clear instructions.

Ammo Production:
Well, once the press is setup, I decided to load 1 cartridge. The 1st station was sizing and decapping. I lowered the arm, which raised the shell plate and crushed my brass case.

Turns out, it is very easy to not fully seat the case into its shell holder on the first stage because there's no tension spring to hold the case positively in the holder like the other 2 stations. I followed instructions and let the case feeder push the brass into the shell holder and it did not seat correctly.

I decided to just stick the next (2nd) brass case into the shell hold by hand and bypass the black plastic case feeder (figure I'll come back and examine it later). Once the brass is seated correctly in the shell holder, I was able to decap and size it easily w/ a pull down of the arm.

After that, on the up stroke of the arm, my case moves to station 2. I pull down the arm again and I see powder being dispensed into the case. I'm pretty happy at this point, figuring everything is running smoothly (just you wait).

Next, I bring the arm up and my case goes to station #3, bullet seating stage. I put a bullet on the case and pull down the arm. Everything feels good... Pull up on the arm and see the following problems:

1. bullet is pushed _way_ into the case. Opps, didn't adjust the bullet depth. So, back on Lee's web site and viewed the video on bullet die's depth adjustment...

2. the cartridge didn't automatically eject. I manually pull it out of the shell holder and noticed that it does _not_ have a primer on it! My cartridge is now leaking powder and there's powder on the shell plate and in its mechanisms.

Ok, so I made the bullet depth adjustment. Then I examined the primer feeding area. It turns out the primer flipped to its side and didn't go on the ram. I figured that I probably didn't pull in a smooth enough fashion, so I didn't make any corrections there.

Manually putting the 3rd case into the 1st station, I sized and decapped ok. Then moves to the 2nd station I tried to see that the primer is feed (but it is difficult to tell because I didn't know what to look for _yet_). Everything looks fine, so I pull down the arm and put powder into the case.

Moving right along, I put a bullet on the case and seated it. It looks great! I'm about to get my self-made ammo! Then, this cartridge fails to eject from the shell plate again. I now noticed powder in the press and have a feeling that there's no primer on the cartridge... yeap, there's no primer again.

So, I decided to have a detailed look at the primer feeding subsystem. It's really a simple system, the case (when moving from station 1 to 2) triggers a little lever that pulls the primer ram down below the level of waiting primers. This feeds a primer onto the ram. When the case finally moves to station #2, the ram is moved up (because the lowed shell plate pushes on the ram's rod from the bottom). In slow motion and manually indexing, I'm able to trigger this entire flow by pushing on the level between stations 1 and 2 with my finger. Everything looks fine.

So, in goes brass case #4. I paid a lot of attention to the primer feeding mechanism and noticed that with the case there seems to be a timing problem where the primer doesn't have enough time to slide fully onto the ram. When this happens it gets pushed back onto the feeding ramp.

Well, I thought this is a real problem and I was about to just pack up the press and return it to Lee for servicing. I lowed the arm for some reason and put a bunch of powder into this case. I was so disappointed that, without too much care, spilled the case full of powder on my press when removing it.

If it wasn't so late already, I'd have called Lee up. So, back on the Internet... and on Lee's web site, I found instructions on how to _zero_ my Pro 1000!!!! This instruction wasn't on any of the manuals included!

Long story shorter, after zeroing my press works completely except for the automatic case feeding plastic thing that some times would not push the case all the way into the shell holder of station 1.

This press seems very cheap, everything about it seems like it may break or get out of zero easily. If I can do it all over again, I would not purchase this press. But since I have it already, I'll be gentle with it and keep a sharp eye on its operations.
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Old May 24, 2006, 09:43 PM   #6
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I don't know if this helps much, but I use a Lee turret press(not the classic one)to load 9mm (and many others) on. Lee's do have their quirks, but once you figure them out you can go pretty smoothly. For the 9mm I do the resize/deprime seperate from everything else. Even with my RCBS rockchucker the small cases don't line up right with the die all the time, so it's just easier for me. Then the next day or so I'll use a hand primer.
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Old May 25, 2006, 02:06 AM   #7
Join Date: April 7, 2006
Posts: 41
I bought a 1000 and load .223 on it which by most people is more difficult than pistol ammo. The instructions completely suck but you will learn how to use it. A good site is . The system works well for me so far (300+ rounds). The tricks I learned are: when using the case collater (great add) the tubes can be rotated to feed the next tube of shells. The priming system is the worst feature but can be used well if you keep it clean ( I use my air compressor blower for powder spills), treat the shute with amour-all to make the primers flow easy, and lastly I fashioned a piece of sheet metal along the plastic primer advance piece because it wasn't strong enough to consistantly trigger the primer advance. The primer system won't load another primer unless the shell is present (great) but if it doesn't load one at all you get a powder spill. The next thing I noticed is IF the primer doesn't feel like it seated well you can remove the shell when its on the upstroke and examine the primer seating- if its good, replace the shell and continue on the upstroke to put in the powder, if not-redo the primer seating. You can tighten and adjust the shell plate (allen screw-mine was too loose and a sticky case wouldn't come down) and die adjustments are easy. The powder measure works great- I use a double disk kit that varies about .1 grain increments). And for pistol loads (light) the micro disk or adjustable disk work well with ball powders (if you search this forum you will find support for this). They really should give a video with it as it would help a lot. I'm sure there is no way I could load as fast on a single stage. Once the powder disks are set, I've run 3 cases thru (dumping the powder back into the hopper to get consistantcy) I'm good to go and prolly do about 100/hr. with examing primers, etc., when I get better I think 200/hr will be easy. At this point I'm loading 20+ of one load, then .3 grains more, etc. so that the last run was 8 baggies with 240 rounds. Oh yeah, I'm a mechanic, but this is my first press also.
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