primer problems with Lee Pro 1000

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AussieShooter

Bearcat
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Messages
20
Location
Perth, Western Australia
I'm a reloading newbie, and I stupidly allowed myself to be talked into starting with a progressive press. I would now advise other newbies against it, unless they can buy a press that doesn't screw things up like the Lee Pro 1000 does...

(Thinking of ditching it and getting a single-stage press. Would appreciate some advice on what kind of powder measure and other accessories to get with one.)

Anyway, I am trying to load some .38 special rounds for cowboy action shooting. The press was set up for me by an experienced reloader. It seems to work OK, except that every so often it either doesn't prime the cartridge or seats the primer high. It's really getting on my wick. Yes, I am moving the lever through its full range of motion, and usually I can feel the primer getting pushed in (except when it doesn't prime at all, for some reason).

Is there anything I can do about this, or is the Lee Pro 1000 just a piece of junk that I should get rid of?
 
Joined
Jan 18, 2004
Messages
404
I kept my new Lee 1000 for a week then sent it down the road
and ordered my first Dillon. It was the right thing to do.

You can’t go wrong starting with a single stage….I’d suggest one
of the RCBS starter kits, comes with everything you need.

Dennis.
 

45Colt_Man

Blackhawk
Joined
Jun 14, 2003
Messages
570
Location
Greybull, WY USA
I started my reloading on a Lee Pro 1000 also. Did not take long to discovery the priming system is a joke. High primers, no primers, upside down primers, side ways primers. I removed the priming system and went to the Lee hand primers. Sure its an extra step but it allows me to inspect each case before inserting a primer.
The 1000 is now in a box in the garage only because I got a steal on a new Loadmaster with several caliber changes. First thing I did was remove the primer system before I ever used it.

Dana
 

Tenbore

Single-Sixer
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Oregon
I have heard so many bad things about Lee presses that I would never touch one on a bet. My Dillon 550 and RCBS single stage does everything I could ever want.
 

slippingaway

Blackhawk
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Messages
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Location
Strum, WI
If someone already knows a lot and has a lot of experience loading on a progressive, along with a good deal of mechanical aptitude, a Lee 1000 can be made to work right. It's just not nearly as easy as the other presses.

Even with my Dillon Square Deal, I prefer to prime with a Lee hand primer. For one thing, it lets me sit on the couch and watch TV with the fiancee while I do it. Plus, I like to size, deprime, tumble, and prime all of my brass, throw it in some big zip top bags from Grainger's, then I can load it up quick and easy when I need to.
 

Yosemite Sam

Hunter
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Tenbore":3btpyu40 said:
I have heard so many bad things about Lee presses that I would never touch one on a bet. My Dillon 550 and RCBS single stage does everything I could ever want.
I use one of the little Lee Classic Turret presses and it is considerably faster than my RCBS single stage. All that time spent setting up the dies for each step adds up. With mine I just buy an extra turret ring for each caliber I load, and they're ready to be swapped right in.

That said, the priming system on mine is the weak link, too. Cheap plasticy, inconsistent thing. I often use my RCBS hand primer, too. OTOH, I like the Lee Auto Disk powder measure quite a bit.

I just can't get past Dillon's prices. Not just the initial investment, but the cost of dies and other accessories.

-- Sam
 

Tenbore

Single-Sixer
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Oregon
When I bought my Dillon a number of years ago, it was not cheap, but not out of line either. The cost to covert to other calibers was not too bad.

Now though I think the cost of caliber conversion has risen faster than the cost of the basic press.
 

AussieShooter

Bearcat
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Messages
20
Location
Perth, Western Australia
Thanks very much for those comments fellas.

Can you describe how you operate a Lee Pro 1000 without the priming stage? How do you feed the primed cases into the press when the first die they are going to see is the de-priming one? Do you have to remove that die? How do you de-prime the cases?

I can just tell that this is going to be a pain in the behind. I'm not looking forward to explaining to my wife why I need to buy another press and all the stuff that goes with it....
 

sailorb

Single-Sixer
Joined
Apr 2, 2006
Messages
154
Location
Indianapolis, IN USA
The key to using the Lee 1000 is to keep the primer feed full. Once the primer level gets down to one or two below the round reservoir, put more in. It relies on the weight of the primer to make it feed. I have loaded many thousands of round using the Lee 1000. No. it's not the best design or the most reliable. Yes, it has some plastic parts that can wear. But, it costs about 1/5 of a Dillon and I can change calibers at a minimal cost. To me, it is worth it and it has produced a lot of reliable ammo. If I were loading 10000 rounds a year for competition. it might be a different story, but the Lee will load ammo as good as any if the operator takes a bit of time to figure it out and pays attention (important anyway) during the reloading process.
 

slippingaway

Blackhawk
Joined
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Messages
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Strum, WI
AussieShooter":adbl9r4b said:
Thanks very much for those comments fellas.

Can you describe how you operate a Lee Pro 1000 without the priming stage? How do you feed the primed cases into the press when the first die they are going to see is the de-priming one? Do you have to remove that die? How do you de-prime the cases?

I can just tell that this is going to be a pain in the behind. I'm not looking forward to explaining to my wife why I need to buy another press and all the stuff that goes with it....

If you're using Lee dies (which I'm assuming you are) just remove the de-priming pin. It will run it through and size it again, but that's no big deal. Alternatively, you could remove the whole sizing/depriming die, and run it as a two station press. That's how Lee ships them for rifle calibers, I believe.
 

sfhogman

Buckeye
Joined
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The living corpse of San Francisco Ca USA
What sailorbob sez is just exactly right. The weight of the primers drives the feed. Same as on my late, unlamented Loadmaster.

I finally went around the bend and bought a Dillon 550 about five years ago. The thing is a joy to own, the company is superb to deal with, and you can use it as a single stage press if you want.

It was expensive, but I think I got more than what I paid for.

Okay, so maybe I've been drinking a little blue Kool-Aid,

Jeff
 

AussieShooter

Bearcat
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Messages
20
Location
Perth, Western Australia
Now I can't get the useless piece of crap to index properly: when I put a case in and pull the lever it doesn't line up with the de-priming pin. I am going to sell this piece of rubbish.
 

revhigh

Hawkeye
Joined
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PA
Like I've ALWAYS said ... Lee products are junk ... sell it ... give it away ... throw it away ... you'll be better off without it. If you want a progressive press to work properly, but a Dillon or Hornady ... problems solved.

REV
 

Revolver-Time

Single-Sixer
Joined
Apr 10, 2009
Messages
216
Location
Savannah, Georgia
I don't think the Lee Pro 1000 is junk! I have loaded many, many thousands of 38s,357s,44s and 45s with mine. The equipment is the best value in the reloading industry. I'm sure the high dollar spread works smoother or better or something, but why spend the money when what your trying to do is shoot more for less.
 

45 Colt

Bearcat
Joined
Aug 12, 2006
Messages
17
I've had some problems with the Lee 1000.
Yes, they can get quirks.
Have done umpteen thousands of rounds,mostly 44 mag with it.
The instruction manual has all (pretty much all anyway) info.
WHEN IN DOUBT,READ THE INSTRUCTION MANUAL.
They can get out-of-time.There is a screw under the head to re-time it.
With the priming,I don't use that.Same with the powder measure dispenser.
Primarily use it for case prep:44 mag and 45 Colt/454 Casull.
Use the Lee carbide dies.
Feed tubes and case collator are a big help.
Bullet seating and crimping are done with the RCBS "RS" single stage press.
My Dillon "Square Deal B" is in the box.Set up for 45 Colt.
Think I should have bought the Dillon 550.
You have a good week.

[/b]
 

sfhogman

Buckeye
Joined
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The living corpse of San Francisco Ca USA
I don't think Lee progressive presses are junk at all, but they sure can be finicky. If you can learn to deal with its quirks, it's a very good value.

A little experience with Dillon: recently I was changing primer shuttle bars from large to small pistol primers, and I dropped one. It hit the floor just right, breaking off the spring anchor. Couldn't do it again if I tried. I was now dead in the water.I called Dillon, explained what I had done, and ordered another. I was told it would arrive in two days (which it did). When I asked how much the part was, the Dillon rep replied:

"It costs you nothing. That's what we mean by a no BS guarantee."

Jeff
 

Yosemite Sam

Hunter
Joined
Mar 18, 2002
Messages
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Cape Cod, MA, USA
My ex boss managed to break a .223 Dillon die. They charged him nearly $100 for a replacement.

I reload for at least half dozen calibers. I'd go broke buying all those "caliber conversions" from Dillon. In the Lee world, this means a $30 set of dies.

Now if someone gave me a 550 I wouldn't turn it down, but for the amount of loading I do I just don't see the ROI on buying one.

-- Sam
 

AussieShooter

Bearcat
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Messages
20
Location
Perth, Western Australia
Guys, I've tried re-indexing the press using the screw under the case carrier plate assembly. It doesn't work. When I re-index then pull the handle, the first case goes into the de-priming die and DOESN'T GET DE-PRIMED (or de-capped if you like), presumably because the case is not lining up properly with the de-priming pin.

Someone told me that the nylon component in the indexing mechanism wears out - heck, I've only managed to load a couple of hundred rounds, so how is it worn out? The same guy told me that he turns the case carrier by hand (he's disconnected it from the indexing, so it doesn't turn when you pull the lever). And he primes his cases by hand! Gosh, I might just as well throw out this piece of crap and buy a single-stage press.

I haven't even been able to address the problem I was having with new primers not going into the cases, because this indexing issue came up.

I've got immense respect for the guys who can get this stuff to work for them but frankly I don't have the time to mess around with it. I just need something that will work.
 

AussieShooter

Bearcat
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Messages
20
Location
Perth, Western Australia
Doh! Figured out why the de-priming wasn't happening. When I had the press out of index, the de-priming pin hit the shell plate carrier and got driven back up into the die. So I just had to undo the collet at the top and push the pin back out!

I still don't like the Pro 1000, but it might grow on me if I don't smash it to bits with a 20 pound sledge first...
 

revhigh

Hawkeye
Joined
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Messages
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PA
sfhogman":gkcypfzn said:
but they sure can be finicky. If you can learn to deal with its quirks, it's a very good value.

Finicky ... quirky .... touchy ... timing issues .... whatever you want to call it = JUNK. You may be able to live with it, adjust it, guess what it needs, but if you ever experience a quality progressive, you'll change your opinion from 'a very good value' to JUNK.
 

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