Please recommend a reloading press

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bearing01

Bearcat
Joined
Sep 15, 2009
Messages
71
Hi all,

I have no reloading gear. I don't want to mass produce rounds. Just maybe few hundred a week.

Is there any issue with the Lee #90928 reloading kit? It doesn't contain the dies, but seems reasonably priced.

Is there anything negative to be said about this kit - before I go ahead and buy it? Is there something else at comparable price that is better?

909284.jpg
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
11,084
I have no experience with the LEE press you show.

I have used an RCBS Rock Chucker single-stage press for thirty years and am completely satisfied with it.

A "few hundred a week" is more than I'd like to do on a single-stage, though. If you're planning on doing this on a regular basis, perhaps a multi-stage arrangement is what you really need.

JMHO
 

Snake45

Hawkeye
Joined
Mar 14, 2009
Messages
6,064
Lotta people put Lee stuff down, because it's made of aluminum and it's low priced. But its good stuff and works as advertised. Lee might be thought of as "the Ruger of reloading gear"--good stuff at good value.

Actually ALL modern reloading gear I can think of is quality stuff. There are no junk reloading presses or major gear on the market.

If you're just getting started, you're wise to buy one of these "starter kits." If you have someone to guide you through it, you can sometimes pick up some good deals in used equipment at gun shows.
 

96/44

Blackhawk
Joined
Mar 23, 2009
Messages
547
I started out with a Lee kit. It is a pretty good deal if you are just starting out. I really like some of the Lee equipment (pistol dies, hand priming tool)and hate some of it (any type of press mounted priming tools). Overall it is probably the easiest and most cost effective way to get started. I am still using a Lee press for my single stage loading, and after 10 years or so it is still going strong.
 

I_Like_Pie

Blackhawk
Joined
Aug 24, 2006
Messages
659
I would honestly go with the Lee anniversary kit instead. It is Single stage and has the hand priming tool. You will ALWAYS have a need for a single stage if you reload for rifle - so you will never "out grow" it.

A agree with above comments that Lee stuff is way underrated for what it is...good solid product at unbelievable prices.
 

Divernhunter

Single-Sixer
Joined
Mar 4, 2004
Messages
263
I have used lee stuff and in general prefer RCBS or Hornady. It may cost more but it has a better warr(lifetime) and is better quality. I use RCBS/Hornady/Redding/Lyman dies and have a couple sets of lee. I hate their(lee) lack of a secure lock ring and had to buy real lock rings which raised the real cost up to the RCBS level. I also hate the round holder for the dies which cannot be stacked and with over 40 sets that matters. I do like the lee hand primer but be sure to lube it or the pot metal will wear and it will be worthless :oops: Do not ask how I know.
My friend got their press and it broke. It cost him for parts. If he had broke a RCBS(that would probably never happen) it would have been free.
Also Dillon is excellent stuff and has a great progressive line of loaders. I also have several other tools/scale that they make.. Lee is cheap and easy to buy to start with but you find many people who then up-grade later. I prefer to start with better and keep it. I have RCBS presses I got in the 1960's which are still working fine and I use them alot.
I am not slaming lee but I do think there is better and that the better is worth the extra money "myself". You can also find used stuff on ebay and save money. RCBS/Hornady/Redding/Lyman/Dillon do not require that you bought it new and have a reciept like lee does if you have a problem.

My 2 Cents

So now you hear the other side of the coin and my 2 cents.
 

Rick Courtright

Hawkeye
Joined
Mar 10, 2002
Messages
7,749
Divernhunter":3n2ed8cw said:
hate their(lee) lack of a secure lock ring and had to buy real lock rings which raised the real cost up to the RCBS level. I also hate the round holder for the dies which cannot be stacked and with over 40 sets that matters. I do like the lee hand primer but be sure to lube it or the pot metal will wear and it will be worthless...

My friend got their press and it broke. It cost him for parts. If he had broke a RCBS(that would probably never happen) it would have been free.

Hi,

Not trying to start an argument, just offering another point of view on Lee:

I use quite a bit of their stuff. Used to use some RCBS dies, now all mine are Lee's. My brother in law uses strictly RCBS dies, so nothing's wasted!

But there are still, and will always be, several "colors" of stuff on my bench, w/ "green" an important one. There are reasons too numerous to go into here on what was chosen and why...

Now, personal thoughts on some of my Lee stuff:

--Dies: I like the dies because they're easier to adjust than other brands. They produce as accurate a round as any I've used. The lock rings are a "love-hate" thing, w/ very little ambivalence! One thing folks complain about is they don't hold their adjustment. True. IF you don't read the instructions and follow them (a caveat to remember w/ much of Lee's stuff.) However, a Magic Marker is your friend: adjust the die/ring combo, make a check mark, follow the instructions and watch the mark. I've had my doubts, but this visual check removed them: things DON'T move.

Every mfr sells lock rings as a separate/replacement item. They don't really wear out that often, so there must be some other reason. (Hint: I don't like the RCBS--and others'--set screw design, and would replace them... ;) )

--Presses: before the introduction of the "Classic Cast" series, Lee's presses were all lightweight cast alloy. I believe they were built using Lee's original philosophy of "introduce people to the reloading hobby in an economical fashion." As such, no, they won't last as long as an iron press, but properly cared for, and used w/ finesse (if you're the 800 lb gorilla type who breaks everything you touch, they're NOT the right choice!), they'll last "long enough" to pay for themselves many times over. Some loaders WILL want/need to upgrade some time in their careers. Others will find they never do.

The new Classic Cast series are iron, and I expect they'll hold up as well as any other iron presses on the market and do the same jobs just as well, or better. For example, I'm not the only person here w/ a '60s vintage RCBS Jr. press in the "collection." It'll outlast me, but the design is not as easy to use as the newer ones from several mfrs.

So far, all Lee presses are made in the USA! Call RCBS and ask where their latest Rock Chuckers are cast... do you speak Mandarin? I don't, and try not to support the Chinese when I have a choice. Sorry, RCBS!

--Scales: yes, Lee makes and sells one. Buy an RCBS 5-0-5 and keep the Lee scale (if you get one in a kit) for a spare in case you drop your RCBS and need to send it back for repair! The Lee scale IS quite sensitive, and as accurate as others, but it's rather limited (110 gr capacity handles powder, but not a lot of bullets) and few will argue it's "easy" to use.

--Primer tools: their hand primer is a good tool. It MUST be lubed, or it WILL wear/break. Mr. Lee is kind enough, if you read his "Modern Reloading" book, to tell you HOW to break some of his stuff! No lube = broken tool. Kept lubed, it will go on and on. I've got two, one for a spare. The one that gets used has about 14k rounds thru it so far, and is kept well lubed. It's still doing fine. If both tools were used head to head, a buddy figures his RCBS would PROBABLY last longer. I dunno... though I KNOW his will last longer simply because he doesn't load as much! Unfair comparison, eh?

I also have their Ram Prime tool, which works as well as the RCBS I've used.

--Powder measures: I have their Perfect Powder Measure. I also have an RCBS Uniflo sitting next to it. Neither has an edge on accuracy. Lee has an edge on quick and repeatable adjustment. The RCBS is solid as a rock. The Lee has some "flex" that bothers some folks. Again, used head to head, the RCBS would be expected to last longer than the Lee. But at three times the price, I dunno if it would outlast three Lees!

I have no experience or comments on the disc measures.

--Die holder boxes: the latest Lee rifle dies I bought came in a flat box like the pistol dies have for quite some time. No more big round thingie. Supposedly it was designed w/ the turret press in mind. Not getting another one is no great loss to me. Extra die boxes are cheap enough and readily available thru MidwayUSA for anyone who doesn't like their big round ones.

--Warranty: I've never used Lee's warranty/customer service department for problems. I've ordered parts from them, and the experience was quite satisfactory. I have used RCBS customer service department and they may be matched (most likely by the "blue" guys?) but can't be beat!

All in all, I'm a believer that for the beginner, buying Lee equipment is not the waste of money some think it is. especially if one doesn't plan to load tens of thousands of rounds. One thing I've learned about reloading is there's ALWAYS some other piece of equipment singing that siren song to us, and, sooner or later, we generally find ourselves w/ a pretty fair assortment of stuff, usually in several "colors." So, to say "Buy a Lee kit for $100 and you'll HAVE to upgrade" is probably no more accurate a statement than "Buy an RCBS kit for $275 and you'll NEVER need anything else."

Personal opinions may or may not help. Hands on experience is the best teacher, especially if the new loader knows enough folks who load to be able to "try" different equipment before buying.

There's a reason there's so much different equipment made out there, you know? ;)

Rick C
 

Hammer

Single-Sixer
Joined
Oct 1, 2006
Messages
231
.

Think I have one or more of every press made in the past hundred years including three RCBS Rockchuckers, three RCBS AmmoMasters, three Lee turret presses, dozen Dillon Precision 550 and another dozen 650 presses along with 1050s, Hornady, Lyman, Bonanza CO-AX, Redding, etc. Have actually worn out presses and had the manufacturer rebuild them.

Have had good experience with the Lee Turret Press that you asked about. Have 20+ years of experience with the 3-die model. Keep about fifty spare turrets with dies loaded for immediate use in working up loads while shooting. Load one, shoot one, load the same case again, shoot again, repeat until five-shot group is completed with a single case. Trim and deburr/chamfer as necessary.

Make sure to buy at least three more spare turrets than you think you need. Sure as can be, you'll come home from a gun show with another gun to reload for and you will want to start reloading for it the same afternoon. You don't want to mess up the die adjustments from an existing turret head setup so make sure you have the spare turret. I keep a medium size box of spare turrets always handy. (Do the same thing with Dillon die plates for the 550 and 650 presses too.)

The Lee Turret Press is good for wildcat case forming. Keep a set of turrets setup for making 14-221 Walker, 219 Donaldson Wasp, 500 Linebaugh, etc.

Have bought the Lee Turret Press and given it to friends as a present.

I do not use the Lee auto powder measure with disk. May not have given it a fair try. Do like the Lee powder scoops and the Lee Perfect Powder Measure. No thoughts on their powder scale.

Lee reloading dies are good.

The hand operated case trim tool is good for a few rounds per week, but not many. If your interest is handgun ammo, trimming is not much of an issue.

I do not like Lee's progressive press (Lee Pro 1000). Had nothing but problems with it and gave it away. For progressive presses, stick with Dillon Precision.

Have had good experience with most Lee handloading products.

Slightly off topic, Lee bullet casting molds are good too if you like the bullets they offer. I have several of their molds and they cast good bullets. But my taste in bullet configuration is different than Lee's so I mostly end up with other brand custom made molds.

Hope this helps.

.
 

tomiswho

Single-Sixer
Joined
Feb 2, 2008
Messages
323
My local dealer, whom I really trust, suggested a RCBS Rock Crusher Supreme kit. I could have gotten it $30 cheaper at Cabelas - but my dealer virtually held my hand through the process of learning to reload. Best $30 I ever spent. And I love what I got. It was between $200-$300 IIRC in 2006.
 

Landric

Bearcat
Joined
Dec 2, 2008
Messages
90
I use a variety of equipment. My presses come from Dillon, RCBS, and Lee, as do my powder measures. My scale is a RCBS 505. I have dies from Dillon, RCBS, Lyman, Hornady, and Lee. Almost all my bullet casting hardware is Lyman/Ideal, but my pot is a Lee and my dipper is an RCBS (yes, I still dip and pour). The point of all that is to say that I am not married to any particular brand, I use what works for me.

I have a Lee Classic Turret (the cast iron version). Its a fantastic press, and the one I do the huge majority of my handgun loading on. On it I use the Pro Auto Disk powder measure, which I find to accurate with several of the powders I use regularly (its not accurate enough for me with all the powders I use). I do really like it overall though, and I recommend it.

I like Lee equipment overall, but I would suggest the Classic Turret over the one included in the kit above, a scale from a different manufacturer, and the Pro Auto Disk powder measure.
 

Hammer

Single-Sixer
Joined
Oct 1, 2006
Messages
231
yes, I still dip and pour


Landric,

Don't know. This brings credibility issues to the rest of your advice. "Dip and pour" in the 21st Century ?

Next thing you know you will be telling stories about paper patched bullets with nose pour molds and making your own bullet lube.


Hammer


. :wink:
 

Onty

Single-Sixer
Joined
Dec 17, 2000
Messages
381
Ale-8(1)":1ypq94d3 said:
...A "few hundred a week" is more than I'd like to do on a single-stage, though. If you're planning on doing this on a regular basis, perhaps a multi-stage arrangement is what you really need.

JMHO

I agree that to reload few hundreds a week is more than average reloader wants on a single stage press, it takes too much time. If new Dillon machine is bit our of you budget, look for used one. They have lifetime warranty!!!.

However, you should always have a single stage press. Look for RCBS Rock Chucker or Lyman Orange Crusher. You can always find a good deal on a good used one.
 

Hammer

Single-Sixer
Joined
Oct 1, 2006
Messages
231
.

I have single station, turret, and progressive presses.

Frequently read that everyone needs a single station press even if they have a good progressive.

Why ?

While I sometimes use my single station presses, it is mostly for cartridges that most would consider rare and odd that no one makes a progressive shellholder and shellplate for. If I load many of them, I have these parts custom made for a progressive.

.
 

Snake45

Hawkeye
Joined
Mar 14, 2009
Messages
6,064
Onty":2igoyrph said:
Ale-8(1)":2igoyrph said:
...A "few hundred a week" is more than I'd like to do on a single-stage, though. If you're planning on doing this on a regular basis, perhaps a multi-stage arrangement is what you really need.

JMHO

I agree that to reload few hundreds a week is more than average reloader wants on a single stage press, it takes too much time.
Oh, I dunno. I used to do 300 a week on a single stage, before I bought a Lee Prog 1000. I seem to recall that I could do about 100 per hour on the single stage setup.

I think the best way to do "several hundred" a week is to do one stage at a time on all the cases. Resize/decap em all one night, expland and prime em the next night, charge and seat em all another night. Only an hour or two at a time, not too bad.
 

JM

Bearcat
Joined
Mar 23, 2003
Messages
55
I can't add much to previous comments. I started out a few years back with the Lee anniversary Kit, single stage. Bought Lee dies, etc. based on advice from others.. Continue to buy Lee dies, have replaced some other dies with Lee, for better or worse.

Moved up to Lee's Classic cast turret press, not the one in the kit you showed. I believe that there is a bigh difference in life span with the cast iron version. I really like the round plastic boxes for handgun die sets because I can set turrets loaded with dies in them, and the cap over the top for storage, way differenty than storing flat boxes, which I have for dies used infrequently.

My optimum setup wouls involve presses from several manufacturers; I wantr a heavy duty turret press with 8 or 10 stations just to deal with odd lot tasks. That is to go with my four station turret for which I maintain seven different turets with dies, and more to come, and my original single stage Lee challenger, for which I could substitutye any manufacturer's basic or big dog single stage press offering. They are all good for a certain amount of use. I appreciate Rick C's comment tha press "Y" will outlast his Lee press but at three times the cost. If I am a big time heavy duty reloader, it's pretty certain I am investing a lot more money than it takes to buy Lee, and that is the right decision for my needs.

For someone like me that loads maybe 5000 rounds per year in 8 or more chamberings I think the Lee is a solid choice. I'm not a competition shooter and I don't worry about the variables associated with that.

All of the major suppliers make a solid product. Any of them will provide a quality entry into the world of reloading. As you gain experience and understanding you will be able to dtraw your own conclusions and evaluate products as to how they will meet YOUR needs.

You can tell I am a LEE fan. I rely on the LeePro Auto disc powder measure for many powders. For other powders it is not any better than a powder dipper.

I have Lee dies for most chamberings and other dies for about half of them.
I mostly use the Lee dies. Other manufacturers supply some specialty dies that I use where appropriate.

If I had had the opportunity to buy other color dies or presses at the pricing of the Lee product I would likely be singing praises for that instead.

You need to get something started. Any suppliers "kit" I think is the best choice for entry level reloaders. They are all good. I used to believe that my Lee scale was wonderfult because of its "sensitivity". I realize now that scales such as the RCBS 505 will outperform the Lee scale in any performance test. By the way, I said RCBS, but whoever manufactures the scales for RCBS builds the scales for the rest of them also. I don't like my Lee scale, and don't ever expectto. But, a ouple years back i bought a used 505 series scale for $20 and invested in a set of check weights. I'm going to be using that scale for at least another 40 to 50,000 rounds.

Jim
 

eric conrad

Buckeye
Joined
Sep 8, 2003
Messages
1,468
Midway has the anniv. kit on sale. Good deal and great setup to start with.
The more books the better.
Eric
 

maxpress

Buckeye
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
Messages
1,280
i bought a hornady ap press for 419.00 and sent away for the $250 of free bullets so i figure i got a great proggressive press for 170

loads 100rnds every 15-20min with powder weight checks every 25rnds
 

flhr62

Single-Sixer
Joined
Feb 23, 2007
Messages
307
Like most of the other guys, I have most all brands. I am a mechanic and I like different brands of tools for different reasons I like S-k ratchets the best, Cornwell angle wrenches the best, Snap-on combination wrenches the best. My point is, as someone in another post said, I don't think there are any bad ones, some componets of different companys I just like better. I am not sure if you have reloaded before, if you have not, I would start out with a single stage press, and I would go with the RCBS Rockchucker. I have both progressive and single stage, I like them both, but I am glad I did not start out learning to reload on the progressive. Mark.
 

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