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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  CAS TOPICS  |  The Powder Room - CAS reloading (Moderator: Professor Marvel)  |  Topic: The highs and lows of the Lee reloader 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: The highs and lows of the Lee reloader  (Read 962 times)
Ben Beam
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« on: March 19, 2017, 08:42:55 pm »


I just got my Lee turret press set up and going, and I have a few observations and questions:

First of all, it took me a heck of a long time to get it to dispense any powder. The facts that it wasn't triggering or resetting the safety mechanism was a clue. Turns out I didn't have the die screwed down far enough (even though I followed the directions for Magnum cases). Got that out of the way, and now it's dispensing just fine, and seems to be accurate. I'm starting with the lightest load they listed for CFE Pistol (9.9 grains), which turns out to be the only powder I could find locally that was in the Modern Reloading manual.  Undecided

Colorado is a very dry climate, and as a result I keep getting powder stuck to the scale. I finally just zeroed it out with a little on there, since that's how it always is when I added a case full for measuring. Is there a better way to handle this?

The one thing I can't get working well is priming. I have to push the primer feed trigger sometimes four or five times for a primer to come out. Often it's turned on its side and I have to jiggle it to fix it. One wouldn't seat at all in the brass, and I was worried I was going to bust something so I gave up. Others I had to try a few times to get it fully seated. After ending up with five cartridges, I gave up (and I think I actually have four, since one is rocking slightly, indicating it isn't seated well either). I know a number of people said they prime by hand, but since I have some arthritis-type issues (at 44! Sigh), I'm concerned that it might be rough going. Is there a trick to the turret press, or should I give the hand primer a try?

Last question: everything I read said you don't need lube for Pistol loads with carbide dies. Is it worth trying it anyway? The press came with a tube of Lee Lube, just wasn't sure whether I should try it.

Edit: One last question. The Lesa's book lists a minimum OAL of 1.62, which I understand is for maximum loads (11.7 grains). Mine measure 1.58, which was the same as the factory found I used to set it (per instruction from someone online). Sound within reason, or should I pull the bullets and reseat?

Thanks for your valued help with all of this!



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hp246
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« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2017, 10:41:11 pm »

Can't answer all of your questions as I am not familiar with the press you are using.  I had a Lee 1000, which I got rid of because of the primer feed system.  If the turret press is using the same system, I wish you luck.  I used a hand primer to prime my brass before I invested in a Dillon.  I too have arthritis in my hands.  Those little primer presses aren't bad at all. 

I would suggest you do some online research for Cowboy loads.  The powder manufacturers have load data charts on their web sites.  Some of them have a seperate section for Cowboy loads.

Are you loading .45 Colt?  I use 1.60"  If so, if the rounds function in your rifle it should be OK. 

I use carbide dies, but I like to give my brass a shot of Hornady one shot.  A lot less mess. 
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Ben Beam
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« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2017, 10:52:55 pm »

I'm loading .44 mag for use in a Henry Big Boy. Ain't got no CAS round these parts, so for now I'm just making due with what I have. Smiley
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Coffinmaker
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« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2017, 12:12:18 pm »

OK,  Lets see what I can come up with.  I actually can't help you with specifics about your Lee press as I load on Dillon.  But ......

Colorado is DRY.  Generates static.  Grab a box of Bounce Fabric Softener sheets at the local green grosser.  Wipe down your scale pan to eliminate the static.  Powder will slide right off.

Case Lube and Carbide Dies.  Interesting.  For years and years and years carbide dies were touted for not needing case lube.  And it's TRUE!!  Except ........ takes three men and a boy to run the cases thru compared to a light lube.  Skip the goo that comes in a tube and needs a pad...Old School.  All you need as a can of "One Shot" spray lube.  Little squirt, shake the cases inna box and go.  You WILL immediately notice a difference.

As long as your 1.58s run through your rifle, don't sweat the small stuff.  Biggest favor you can do for yourself is acquire a Lyman's reloading Manual.  Don't just skip to the loads part.  Your a newbie.  Read the book.  ALL OF IT!!

Coffinmaker 

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Ben Beam
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« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2017, 12:35:20 pm »

Thanks, Coffinmaker. Good suggestion on the Bounce. Lee says with carbide dies you can dilute the tube lube 10:1 with water or rubbing alcohol and spray it on. I suppose I'll give that a go before spending extra on the One Shot.

I've read the applicable sections in the Modern Reloading manual, where Lee goes to great length on emphasizing why you shouldn't  generate too much pressure, which was my concern with the OAL.

From everything I'm reading, the RCBS Universal hand primer looks like the one to get, but it's another $50. Boy this little hobby adds up quick! I did contact Lee to see if they had any suggestions, but considering the number of complaints I found online about priming in the press, I'm not too optimistic.
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« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2017, 01:19:13 pm »

I've used a Lee Hand Primer since approx. 78-79. Wore out my first one around 7-8 years ago, on my 2nd. Bought it and several months later Lee came out with the square primer tray, which fits factory primer trays better, wish I'd waited. Have loaded unknown 1000 of rounds using one, give it high fives and a top shelf five star review. Cheaper as you say than RCBS and most of my other gear is RCBS. Got tired of loading primer tubes and the hand primer is more sensitive for seating and faster.
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« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2017, 11:48:47 am »

OK--thought I'd better post this as I guess I'm out of date with Lee's Auto-Hand Primer. Lee recently redesigned their time proven, long made auto primer according to what I read on Midways site about the hand primer, haven't paid any attention to them as I wasn't in the market to buy. The base looks sorta the same, but they've redesigned the trays to a triangular shape vs the square (what used to be round once upon a time). According to the reviews (and their were more negative than positive), Lee cheapened the parts, ie more plastic, and a lot of the reviewers are saying the new Lee is not as good as the former. Several said Lee needs to bring back the old design, some advised they had parts break and had to send the primer back for repair, only to have it break again. Guess I'd say to anyone interested in the Lee Auto Hand Primer is to check out the reviews around the web and other forums before buying. I checked on various sites about the reviews for the primer, a lot of negative ones. *** My former 5 stars was on the old Lee design.****

 Lee also has a new bench mounted auto prime that has a lot of negative reviews of breakage, many reviewers said of that item that they were long time Lee reloading equipment fans and that Lee missed the ball on this product. Buyer beware again I guess. A lot of pot metal and plastic construction on many of Lee's products has always been my main gripe with them, that's why Lee's products are a lot cheaper overall vs Lyman, RCBS, Hornady, and Redding.
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« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2017, 04:29:41 pm »

Crow Choker: Yup, there's 3 different lee hand primer tools. I agree with you, the original is 5 stars. I bought one of the "square tray" ones, it's about .02 stars. Angry Primers get seated sideways, upside down, they fall out while using it. The ONLY improvement was the larger square tray, and that can't be put on the old style. So, I went to E-bay and paid new price for a used original model one.
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Ben Beam
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« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2017, 07:29:59 pm »

That's why I was liking at the RCBS loader. That being said, Lee is sending me a brand new autoprimer and primer arm for no cost to see if t addresses the problem. Let's face it: the Lee is a value brand. Overall, it works very well, and the one issue I'm having they are trying to correct. I don't regret buying Lee, and will continue to recommend it for people who don't want to spend the money on a better system, just with a few caveats. But in terms of customer service, they continue to be excellent.
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« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2017, 07:37:06 am »

Schoolboy--Not putting you or anyone down buying Lee products. A lot of Lee products are good, a good value, esp if a buyer doesn't want to pay two/three times the price for a similar product from one of the other major reloading manufacturers. Was pointing out that the new 'improved' or third generation Lee hand primer according to reviews and reports by many isn't up to the standards of the former. I always assumed that the new square tray '2nd Generation' hand loaders were the same as the 1st with the exception of the round vs square tray. Pony express's post indicates maybe they were 'cheapened up' some then, haven't heard any other reports on them. If and when my old style (original) round tray Lee hand primer wears out, if Lee hasn't improved whatever they are offering at the time, I'll probably have to go with a more pricey RCBS or ?.

  In my last post I was just pointing out that when compared to a lot of Lee's products when comparing say powder scales/measures, the Lee's don't have the all bells and whistles and higher grade of construction of say RCBS. BUT Lee products do work and will produce good quality ammo if the operator does things right to do so. I tend to buy as high of quality of reloading equipment and firearms as possible (or as my available $$$ says I can). Read an interesting review on another forum when checking out recent reviews of Lee's new handloader and bench loader. The reviewer said that Lee in their less than their competitions price on reloading equipment has allowed hundreds of shooters to reload that may have not because of their cheaper (dollar wise) equipment. He further stated that a lot of reloaders he knows that have started out with Lee, have over the years added different brands of various equipment to satisfy what ever reason, but many have stayed with Lee, still producing good quality ammo on their some 20 plus year old reloading equipment.

 Lee's products are cheaper because of the fact Lee use's a lot of plastic and cheaper to produce metal than the higher priced items and in some cases not as sturdy and in some cases not 'all of the bells and whistles' of operation, but Lee stuff does work. Plain and simple, if RCBS and Redding did the same, they'd be cheaper too. I do have a couple of sets of Lee rifle dies I bought for some military WW2 bolt action rifles that I don't shoot a whole lot. Bought the Lee's because I didn't want to invest in the price that I'd have to pay for 'the others'. Both sets produce as good a quality of ammo as I can reload and just as good as far as I can tell from other rifle dies 'from the others'. Kinda like some of the rifles the firearms companies have offered over the years. They had their top of the line rifle, maybe a mid area one, and a lower end one. Most of the difference's was in type of wood, metal finish, checkering, etc, but if say you take the three all of the same basic model and caliber, but with different this and that and all different price, if say a .308 caliber, all three if the shooter does his part in aiming at the big 12 pt buck at 100 yards, all three would and could bring home the venison. I got windy and rambling  I guess, just pointing out that no one, at least I, look down on anyone if they buy and use Lee products. 
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Darksider-1911 Shooter-BOLD Chambers-RATS-SCORRS-STORM-1860 Henry(1866)-Colt Handgun Lover an' Fan-NRA-"RiverRat"-Conservative American Patriot and Former Keeper & Enforcer of the Law an' Proud of Being Both! >oo
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« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2017, 08:49:33 am »

What part of Colorado?  I have a place near Lamar.
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Ben Beam
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« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2017, 10:08:57 am »

I'm in Louisville, just outside of Boulder. Sadly the closest SASS club is about 80 miles away. Sad
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« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2017, 10:26:09 am »

I like my Improved Lyman turrets with Dillon measures on top very much. While I occasionally use a couple of lee auto primes, one for large primers and another for small I don't like lee dies, have never owned a lee press or measure. I'm guessing that the old adage is true, you get what you pay for. Good luck with your Lee machine.
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« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2017, 12:37:01 pm »

I have several different brands of loaders, all of them do a good job of loading ammo. I have Lyman, RCBS, Winchester and Lee dies. I prefer the Lee dies above all the rest.
wM1
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