Lee Classic Turret Press

Help Support Ruger Forum:

modrifle3

Buckeye
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
1,128
Location
NC
As much as I want a progressive, the money isn't there so I am going with a turret press. I have found the lee 4 die for around $130 with 3 tool heads.

Has anyone used this press and eliminated the auto index feature? If so how positive are the stops and does it lock in position with out much play?

I know this isn't a high dollar press but I can't spend more than $150
Please no you should buy this or that, just true experience.
 

nvbirdman

Blackhawk
Joined
Jun 14, 2002
Messages
859
Location
fallon, nv
I use mine with the auto index, but it would work fine without it.
It will lock into position very well, with or without the auto index.
I probably load ten thousand rounds a year, and if my Classic Turret Press broke I would buy another one and not consider anything else.
 

Jim Puke

Hunter
Joined
Jul 9, 2013
Messages
3,088
Location
South Georgia
I have one that i have used both auto and manual as it only takes 15seconds to pull the indexing rod out. It does not index as accurately as I would like it to when using the auto, but it will still load all of the ammo you want by just bumping it into the lock position when it does not.

Most folks like theirs better than I like mine, but for the price I guess that I cannot complain. If I used mine more it would probably get on my nerves more than it does, but I use the Dillon for most of my loading so the use of the turret in the last several years has been limited to small batches of big bore pistol ammo. If I am loading more than 50rds the Dillon gets the nod because of the ease of use. I will say that at some point I will buy another turret and it will not be a Lee...I will spend the money to buy a quality piece.

With all of that said, for a budget reloader, you will be pleased.
 

Twoboxer

Single-Sixer
Joined
Mar 21, 2012
Messages
190
It indexes fine, and the stops are not the issue in index . . . or as you asked . . . in non-index mode.

The only "issue" is there is slop in the tool head, ie, you will see it lift a bit under ram pressure. This is the same type of "slop" . . . maybe a tad more in the Lee Classic Turret than you will find in every turret or progressive press except the Hornady LnL AP.

Check youtube videos for all these presses, and you will see the movement, definitely in the toolhead, sometimes in the shell plate.

The Lee makes good ammo. If you are looking for extreme precision, you could spend your money on a single-stage press. Otherwise, you will be fine.
 

Clovishound

Blackhawk
Joined
Jan 3, 2012
Messages
802
Location
Summerville SC
I have a classic turret. It is a great press for the money IMO. I sometimes run it in single mode. It is very easy to put in this mode. There is a positive stop that you will have no problem feeling when you rotate the head by hand.

Yes, the plate lifts slightly when the shell enters the die. My take on this is that the plate lifts the same amount each time, therefore the adjustment process takes this into account, and you still get consistent ammo.

The only issue I have with the press is the primer arm needs adjustment from time to time to keep the primer from catching on the bottom of the shell holder. It is picky about this adjustment. Not really a big deal, although I would like for Lee to address and fix this. Some people attach a small block on the base to lift the other side of the arm slightly to fix this. That fix seems to work.

This press has beefy linkage, feels very positive in operation, and produces good ammo. You have lots of options to suit your loading style.
 

dennie

Bearcat
Joined
Feb 13, 2007
Messages
89
Location
Hamilton,Ohio USA
I have loaded several thousand rounds on my Classic Turret Press. I like it a lot. I do not get a very positive feel when I seat primers with mine, but that could just be me. Mine indexes fine.

Jim Luke, have you tried adjusting the auto index on your press? Mine needed a slight adjustment when new, to advance the turret all the way. The adjustment is easy and covered in the instructions.

I would recommend this press, and if needed, buy another.
dennie
 

jeffnles1

Blackhawk
Joined
Jan 1, 2012
Messages
776
I long ago lost count of the number of thousands of rounds loaded on my Lee turret Press. I've had it longer than the nomenclature of "classic". I guess mine is a classic. I've had it for over 20 years. To say I've loaded 50,000 rounds on this press is not an exaggeration. I've never used the auto indexing feature. I pulled that rod the first day I had it and never looked back. Advancing the head to the next stage is part of my routine and cadence in loading.

If it broke (which doesn't seem likely) I'd gladly buy another one.

Jeff
 

Jim Puke

Hunter
Joined
Jul 9, 2013
Messages
3,088
Location
South Georgia
dennie said:
I have loaded several thousand rounds on my Classic Turret Press. I like it a lot. I do not get a very positive feel when I seat primers with mine, but that could just be me. Mine indexes fine.

Jim Luke, have you tried adjusting the auto index on your press? Mine needed a slight adjustment when new, to advance the turret all the way. The adjustment is easy and covered in the instructions.

I would recommend this press, and if needed, buy another.
dennie

dennie,

Yeah, I have adjusted the press, but it will not maintain adjustment for more than about two hundred rounds. I have loaded a lot of ammo on mine despite the need for constant tweaking, but this has relegated the turret to minimal use. I know the plastic parts can be replaced, but it is easier to use the Dillon than to order the parts and replace them. I can use it as it is, so I will just contend with it until I upgrade..

Like I said, for a budget reloader, the OP will be satisfied.
 
Joined
Sep 1, 2003
Messages
7,166
Location
Richmond Texas USA
I have a Dillon 650 and a RCBS Rock Chucker along with the Lee Turret.

If I'm going to load a small batch like 200-400 I will use the LEE.
I won this one at a shoot and very happy with it. I use mine in auto index. Don't know why you wouldn't want to. I also bought the Micro adjuster?? for the powder.

Jim
I had to order the plastic part from Lee so mine would index right. Just a phone call away and I ordered 3 of them.
 

Rick Courtright

Hawkeye
Joined
Mar 10, 2002
Messages
7,897
Location
Redlands CA USA
Wyandot Jim said:
I had to order the plastic part from Lee so mine would index right. Just a phone call away and I ordered 3 of them.

Hi,

Dunno what the recommendations from Lee are on that part these days, but once upon a time, they said on the old turret presses this little plastic gizmo had a life expectancy of something like 6-8000 rounds.

Spares are good.

Rick C
 

mikld

Blackhawk
Joined
Apr 22, 2009
Messages
947
Location
Oregon
The black plastic "gizmo" is, I believe, a sacrificial part. It's designed to break before any damage is done to other components of the press. I have the older style Lee turret and about 15 years ago I disabled the auto index feature for a specific task I was doing. I haven't replaced it since. I found I much better prefer to use the press as "hand indexed" rather than a semi-progressive as I prefer to "batch load". Several thousand .44 Mag/Spec., 38/357, 45 ACP, 9mm, .223, 30-30, 30-06 later I still prefer hand indexing...

I have no "excessive slop" in my turret plates and to gauge that, I can keep .003" OAL bullet seating tolerances. I also size bullets with my turret, using Lee push through dies (I have a turret full of dies). Like any precision tool, I keep my press clean and lubricated and expect it to last several thousand rounds more/several years more reloading....
 

williamc

Single-Sixer
Joined
Feb 23, 2010
Messages
214
Location
Atlanta, GA
I have a Lee classic turret press. It is my first and only press.

I started with the auto-index rod out while i was learning to Load. Now I leave it in all the time. I believe it is a safety feature, as it makes it harder to miss a step.

I'm pretty happy with the press. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another one.
 

patcannon

Single-Sixer
Joined
Aug 5, 2006
Messages
110
Location
Minneapolis
williamc said:
I have a Lee classic turret press. It is my first and only press.

I started with the auto-index rod out while i was learning to Load. Now I leave it in all the time. I believe it is a safety feature, as it makes it harder to miss a step.

I'm pretty happy with the press. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another one.
Pretty much exactly what I was gonna say, except I used the auto-index feature from the get-go. And except I have the "Deluxe" turret which is the older, and from what I hear, inferior model -- the "Classic", confusingly, is the newer model.
 

Lost Sheep

Single-Sixer
Joined
Feb 3, 2008
Messages
410
Location
Anchorage Alaska
Jim Luke said:
Yeah, I have adjusted the press, but it will not maintain adjustment for more than about two hundred rounds. I have loaded a lot of ammo on mine despite the need for constant tweaking, but this has relegated the turret to minimal use. I know the plastic parts can be replaced, but it is easier to use the Dillon than to order the parts and replace them. I can use it as it is, so I will just contend with it until I upgrade..

Like I said, for a budget reloader, the OP will be satisfied.
Do you think a little Loc-tite or similar product on the threads would help lock the adjustment?

On the other hand, if you prefer to hand-advance (in continuous processing) or do batch processing, I will not fault your choice.

Lost Sheep
 

Lost Sheep

Single-Sixer
Joined
Feb 3, 2008
Messages
410
Location
Anchorage Alaska
The Lee Classic Turret (not to be confused with the Lee Classic Cast, which is a single stage press) and the Lee Deluxe Turret operate in exactly the same manner. (Except for some older, now discontinued models of the Deluxe which have 3 die stations - and, no, the 4-hole turrets do not interchange with the 3-hole turrets.)

Same speed, many of the same parts and same operating mode and technique.

But there are differences.

Evolution: The Classic Turret is the newer design of the two.

Durability: The Classic Turret's base is cast iron, the Deluxe is cast aluminum. Iron wears better than the softer metal, aluminum.

Ease of use: The Deluxe has a 1" smaller vertical opening than the Classic Turret. Though either is capable of taking rifle cartridges, the Classic Turret will take longer ones and if you have big hands is the clear winner.

Spent Primer Handling: The Deluxe drops primers out of a slot in the ram to fall into a cavity inside the press base. But only about 90% succeed in their intended journey. The Classic drops primers down the center of the hollow ram and into a clear plastic tube which can contain a few hundred primers or be directed into a receptacle of your choice. The difference in the behavior of the debris (products of combustion) from the spent primers is even more striking. With the Deluxe, you wind up with primer detritus all over and have to dismount the press and sweep up the pile of spent primers every several hundred rounds.

More on Durability: The Deluxe ram is smaller in diameter than the Classic's ram. This gives a much different bearing surface for the ram to be guided as it moves up and down. The Classic press will last much longer because of the increased surface area and because iron is tougher than aluminum.

Even more on Durability: The Deluxe's linkage is aluminum and stampings. The Classic's linkage is more robust. I believe the leverage on both is the same.


In summary:

The Deluxe is aluminum, spills spent primers and has a slightly smaller opening (which you may find important when loading long cartridges or long bullets. Kempf's gun shop (online) assembles a kit containing the Classic Turret and does not force someone who already reloads to take other stuff you already have (except a set of dies and some cartridge boxes).

I think that's about it. My opinion is that the Classic is well worth the slightly higher price over the Deluxe.
 

Rick Courtright

Hawkeye
Joined
Mar 10, 2002
Messages
7,897
Location
Redlands CA USA
Lost Sheep said:
I think that's about it. My opinion is that the Classic is well worth the slightly higher price over the Deluxe.

Hi,

Just a quick add-on to Lost Sheep's comment: according to testimonials in Lee's advertising along the way, guys have loaded well over 100,000 rounds w/ the original (three hole) turrets and they were still going strong. So w/ the "mo' biggah, mo' bettah" features of the Classic turret, and a little care, it should last about forever!

Rick C
 

GasGuzzler

Hunter
Joined
Oct 22, 2012
Messages
2,873
Location
Cooke County, Texas
I have one that uses the auto-prime and auto-disc powder measure. Got the entire kit with the book and the scale (promptly sold on eBay because it's worthless). Also came with the powder measure riser adapter and chamfer/primer pocket cleaners. The kit breaks the budget a little (mine was $230 to the door) and you don't need the scale (it's useless). I run the auto-index. No problems at all. Entire turret does lift on each upstroke but as said earlier, it's the same every time. I too see about 0.003" difference in length on .357, usually less. My only grip is the handle knob is pressed on not threaded so I see in the future it not staying put.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Lee-Cla...106?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a84e62f72
 
As an eBay Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Clovishound

Blackhawk
Joined
Jan 3, 2012
Messages
802
Location
Summerville SC
GasGuzzler said:
My only grip is the handle knob is pressed on not threaded so I see in the future it not staying put.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Lee-Cla...106?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a84e62f72

Mine has stayed put. A taper fit between wood and metal IME is normally very secure. A solid rap with a wooden mallet should snug it up nicely. Extreme swings in humidity could result in a loose handle. If you have ongoing issues with the handle becoming loose, a small amount of epoxy should take care of it.
 
As an eBay Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.
Top