Bought some more stuff.

Discussion on reloading the 9x18 and any other cartridge
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juniustaylor
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Bought some more stuff.

Post by juniustaylor » October 20th, 2011, 10:22 pm

I have been using an el-cheapo deluxe press (SmartReloader Omega 800 - $30) for over a year now and I have grown a bit tired of it. There is a lot of slop in the ram as the ram will wobble side to side when it is going up or down the stroke. I blame it for breaking the primer decapper pin deal on my Lee .243 sizing die. It broke that little carbide tip clean off. I think it also broke the tip off one of my Lee universal sizing die pins. That one could have been my own doing. However, I have decided to upgrade a little from the average single stage press. I ended up buying a Lee Classic Turret. It looks a lot nicer than the other turret press that Lee makes and it's a bit more heavy duty as it's made of steel construction. I have read numerous reviews that show it to be an excellent press. Good friend of mine has one and was showing me the operation of it on a video chat. It will be here tomorrow and I am very excited about it. I'll be glad to set it up and set the cheapo single stage to the side. I had considered getting rid of it but then decided to keep it around when forming .30-06 and .270 brass into 8mm Mauser. That brings me to the next item. My wife is "technically" giving it to me for Christmas, but I had to try it out to see how it would work. It's a RCBS 8mm Mauser trim/form die. It works wonderful, I didn't hack any of the cases, just pushed the shoulder back to see how well it would work. I am impressed. I got it for $22 shipped on eBay. Says it was new, but I really think it was very lightly used, and I mean very lightly, but that's still a fantastic deal. Next things to get will be the Lee Pro Disk powder measure, rifle charging die, and the Lee safety prime deal. I'd say they'll be Christmas items.

Another testimony to Lee's fantastic customer service and warranty... when the pin broke on my sizing die, I called Lee the next day which was a Monday. The gal didn't ask any questions other than "how can I help you?", "what's your address and phone number?", which was followed by, "it'll be out in the mail this morning". I got it today (Thursday). Fantastic service. The other time I used their warranty was when the lever on my Auto Prime broke. They had discontinued the Auto Prime and were making the Auto Prime XR, which they sent me at no cost to replace the Auto Prime that I sent back to them. So, I'm back in business on loading .243 Winchester.

I'll report back on this with my opinion of the Lee classic turret. However, if it's like everything else that I own that is Lee, it will work good and I won't have any complaints. I love watching the YouTube videos of fellers using theirs, it looks like a lot of fun. The progressive presses would be so much faster, but I don't load the volume to justify it. The other nice feature of the turret press is that it can be used as a single stage by removing the indexing bar. So that is a plus to me.

Important lesson I have learned in my couple years of reloading... buy nice quality stuff the first time around. Otherwise, if you buy the cheap stuff trying to be "on a budget" you'll just turn around and have to buy all new stuff when you realize it's crap. You will have just wasted your time and money on it as it will hinder your progress and you won't get your money back out of it if you decide to sell the cheapo equipment. I have certainly learned my lesson. If you want the nice equipment but can't afford it and are thinking of getting cheaper stuff, just save your money until you can buy the nice equipment that you want. :roll:
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Re: Bought some more stuff.

Post by normsutton » October 23rd, 2011, 6:00 am

juniustaylor wrote:Important lesson I have learned in my couple years of reloading... buy nice quality stuff the first time around. Otherwise, if you buy the cheap stuff trying to be "on a budget" you'll just turn around and have to buy all new stuff when you realize it's crap. You will have just wasted your time and money on it as it will hinder your progress and you won't get your money back out of it if you decide to sell the cheapo equipment. I have certainly learned my lesson. If you want the nice equipment but can't afford it and are thinking of getting cheaper stuff, just save your money until you can buy the nice equipment that you want. :roll:

JUN
if you bought a LEE press, you haven't learned anything yet ,( IMO )
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Re: Bought some more stuff.

Post by Dwight » October 23rd, 2011, 7:37 am

I think that with Lee products, you generally get what you pay for. I think they provide good value for money, but you have to go into Lee ownership with an understanding of the limitations of the equipment.

I have 3 Pro 1000 presses, and they all work; but, there is inevitably a bit of fiddling around to get things to work smoothly. I view this as the price to be paid for the low cost of the equipment (they generally cost about $160/ea, including a set of dies!).

I recently had a part failure on the 1st Pro 1000 I'd bought (9mm set-up, bought it about 20 months ago). After reloading about 5,000 rounds, the center of the cast aluminum shell carrier broke (the ram tore the center section out of the part on the down stroke). Lee replaced the part without question, but I was pretty unhappy with it breaking after only 5,000 rounds reloaded. When the replacement part arrived, I inspected it closely and saw what appear to be "swirls" in the casting around the same area that broke on the old part.

Makes me think about the wisdom of buying Lee equipment if you want to load a lot of ammo... Lee makes nice dies, though!

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Re: Bought some more stuff.

Post by normsutton » October 23rd, 2011, 8:04 am

Dwight wrote: Lee makes nice dies, though!

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I agree , not to crazy about their lock rings though, I have ether replace all of them or drill a hole in the taped them and put a screw in them, that way they are all set up , and don't have readjusts, when changing dies
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Re: Bought some more stuff.

Post by juniustaylor » October 23rd, 2011, 10:20 am

Norm, you're more than likely correct. From what I had to this Lee, there is a huge difference. I personally think that Lee makes nice items and the items that I have had so far from Lee have always been excellent. I'll see as time goes on what will happen.
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Re: Bought some more stuff.

Post by juniustaylor » October 28th, 2011, 10:08 pm

I have got to run some various loads though the Lee Classic Turret. Overall I am very pleased and am glad that I made the purchase. I think it is a quality press and comes from a company that does stand behind their product. In my dealings with Lee, they have always been fair and the outcome has so far been in my favor.

So far I have loaded 200 rounds of 9mm Luger, 50 rounds of .38 S&W, 50 rounds of .45 ACP, 60 rounds of .243 Win, 40 rounds of .30-30 Win, run about 60 8mm cases through the sizing die, ran some .30-06 cases into the RCBS trim/form die, and I'm sure I'm forgetting stuff. These numbers probably aren't impressive to some reloaders but that's fine with me. I don't do large scale reloading. 200 9mm rounds is about as large as I go. I have saw a decent decline in time compared to single stage but I don't have the fancy attachments that go to this press yet. Hopefully by the end of the year (Christmas) I'll have these other accessories.

I had saw/heard that some folks were wary of the bit of play in the turret. There is a slight amount of gap between the press and turret as the case enters the dies. I measured my .38 S&W loads, a handful of them from various spots on the loading block. Would you believe they all measured 1.171" on the mark? I know it's a random number but that's not the point. The point is that this bit of play doesn't matter as it is accounted for in the die setup process.

So, all in all, I'm happy with it. I was not happy with my cheapo single stage. Rounds would usually vary in OAL when using that press. Not by a lot, a couple thousandths here and there. It was the fore and aft wobble in the ram that I just couldn't get over. I considered keeping it for when I use the 8mm trim/form die but I think the turret press will be okay. I'll just vac the brass shavings every few cases so they don't build up. The moving parts of the press really aren't anything that shavings would affect.

As a side note, I usually like Imperial Sizing Die Wax a lot. However, yesterday when I was loading my .30-30 cast loads, it wasn't doing a good job. The cases were a bit hard to run in and out of the die. I grabbed my tube of Lee lube off the shelf and lubed up the remainder of the cases which by that time was about 8. It works wet or dry, so I just lubed all 8 of them and by the time I was done, the first ones were dry. I ran them in and out of the sizing die with minimal effort. It really is good stuff. I just think it smells like fish and Lee says it's odorless. :lol: I just like that it doesn't leave any oily residue like the Imperial wax does.

Pretty lengthy, but just throwing out my thoughts.
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Re: Bought some more stuff.

Post by normsutton » October 29th, 2011, 5:54 pm

JUN

all I can say is good luck with it

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Re: Bought some more stuff.

Post by juniustaylor » December 23rd, 2011, 1:05 am

I'll have some add-ons on Christmas. I should be getting the remaining accessories to make this press a bit faster. I will have to try it out on some 9mm Luger. I have 700+ cases that are most all range pickups. I'll need to stock up on some bullets. Gun store down the street sells MT Gold 115 grain FMJ's and I think they are nice bullets. And I'll have to acquire some primers.

Sister's boyfriend came by the other evening. I let him use the press to load up some 7.62x54r for my Mosin as he's never reloaded before. It was a treat for him to be able to load some rounds. So, that was awesome. We then took the Mosin out and shot some paper and then some bottles and jugs filled with water. He was all smiles as he blew up the milk jug and grape juice containers. They were awesome reloads with minimal recoil. During reloading I was watching every step so he couldn't mess anything up. I showed him the importance of powder charging and to dispense each charge the same as the previous one and how it can affect the dispensed grain weight.

My dad will be procuring a .257 Roberts eventually and we ordered the dies. So, I'm sure I'll be loading those eventually also. Reloading is a never-ending hobby.
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Re: Bought some more stuff.

Post by juniustaylor » December 30th, 2011, 1:33 am

For Christmas I got the Lee Safety Primer deal and the Lee Auto-Disk Pro. Both of which are awesome. I was able to time myself and was loading at a rate of 12 seconds per round. That is almost half the time as I was doing before. I used the 0.57 cc disk in the Auto-Disk and it was dispensing powder charges very consistent at 6.3 grains (+/- .1 gr). I figure that's pretty good. I loaded 300 rounds of 9mm Luger and it went pretty quick each time. I loaded them 100 at a time over the period of 2 days. I also converted some .30-06 brass as well. I used my RCBS trim die and a hacksaw to cut the cases down. I had the sizing die in another turret hole so all I had to do was cut the case, rotate the turret by hand and run the case into the sizing die, turn the turret back to the trim die and repeat. I converted 20+ cases this way. After sizing them all, I put them all through the Lyman case trimmer to trim them on down and then chambered each one in my Turk Mauser to make sure they'd fit. It has saved my butt a few times as sometimes the shoulder just doesn't get pushed back enough so you have to run it through the sizing die again. I'd hate to have a fully loaded cartridge only to have it not chamber. Talk about being mad if that happened.

In the process of doing this conversion, there was a time when I was going to run a case back into the sizing die. There was pretty much no lube left on the case but I figured it would be okay. Big mistake, it would have been best to have swiped a bit of Imperial on the case but I neglected to. Rim part of the head tore and the case was stuck in the die. Had to get the 3/16" punch and hammer and whack the case out. It was easy enough to get out but it cost me some time. So, never again, if the amount of lube on the case is questionable then I'll put a bit more on.

I have some money left from Christmas. I should buy some more bullets for the Mauser and load these cases up, or at least some of my previously fired converted cases.
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Re: Bought some more stuff.

Post by Dwight » December 30th, 2011, 9:26 pm

I've always had good luck with the Lee Auto-Disc powder measures. It's been my experience that they throw a very consistent charge.

I don't know why Lee chose to move away from the spring-loaded return mechanism and go with the brass-ball-link-chain set-up, though. Setting the tension properly with the brass-ball-link-chain mechanism is a PIA; and I manage to break a chain every few months...

The spring-loaded return powder measure works nicely for me; no muss, no fuss, no broken chains.

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Re: Bought some more stuff.

Post by Byrd » December 31st, 2011, 6:17 pm

I love the Lee auto disk! I only load for pistol calibers and it is easy to switch between the different ones. I keep a notebook of what disks throw what charge of the powders I use, so setup is a breeze. I have a 5 gallon bucket of tumbled .45ACP cases I am going to start working on...that will give me a lot of shooting time come spring.
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Re: Bought some more stuff.

Post by juniustaylor » February 4th, 2012, 11:12 pm

So far I have run 200 rounds of 9x18mm through the Lee Classic Turret and it did real wonderful. I did 50 rounds of Berry Mfg plated bullets and 150 rounds of MO Bullet cast bullets. Had excellent results.

Byrd, I do a similar method when I used my Lee Perfect Powder measure. When I scratched down my reload info in my folder, I would write down the CC setting on the measure and the corresponding weight in grains for the given powder. It worked pretty good too, I could set the measure up with that info and it would throw the correct charge. I have found that when using the disks in the Auto-Disk Pro, I have to usually use the next CC hole up compared to what the chart shows.

Still happy with my Lee press setup.
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Re: Bought some more stuff.

Post by juniustaylor » August 24th, 2014, 6:59 pm

Alright, my last review on this press was about 2 1/2 years ago. I am happy to report this press is still going strong, no surprise as it's a tank. I have acquired several add-ons for it and I have 9mm Luger, .357 Mag, and .45 ACP complete setups always ready to go. Just drop the shellholder on the ram, dump powder in the hopper, and primers in the safety primer. I have ended up loaded thousands of rounds and converting cartridge cases on this press, everything from .30-06/.270 over to 8mm Mauser, 9mm Luger to 9x18mm, and .38 Spl to .38 S&W (for experimentation). The press just runs and I've been very happy with it still. It was a wise investment and the price tag on it was well worth the money. It wasn't anywhere close to a Hornady LNL in price but it is a great press.

I have timed myself on several occasions and I can have a complete, loaded round in 8 to 10 seconds depending on the caliber. That comes out to about 16 1/2 to 17 minutes for 100 rounds. The Horndy LNL, being a progressive press, touts the ability to do 500 rounds per hour with the new EZject system. I think it used to be 400 RPH but I could be mistaken. With my Lee Classic turret I'm not doing too bad (in regards to the old number) and I have to insert and remove each case and insert each bullet by hand. No collators or bullet feed systems. I also feel I have complete control over every process. If something funky happens I can immediately correct it and press on.

Some folks complained about the square ratchet inside of these. I am still on the original one despite running thousands of rounds through my press. I can run at a good production rate and not ram and jam the press or be abusive to it. I also use the micrometer type metering unit in the 9mm setup. I should buy one for my other calibers that are set up but I haven't had a chance to do so yet. I can easily dial in the weight of powder I want. One thing to note is that it is not accurate (in regards to the number scale on it) and takes some getting used to. Even the orifices in the disks aren't accurate and you usually need a larger orifice than is listed in the instruction manual.

I cast some 130gr round nose bullets last night and the night before. I ended up with 500 using my Lee 2 cavity mold (I love the 6 cavity molds better) and my Lee production pot. I lube sized them on a RCBS unit I borrowed from a friend. I just loaded 400 of them and will give the other 100 to a friend of mine to try out. While I was loading them I figured I'd revisit this thread and leave an update, so here it is. (Sorry that it was a novel but I like to be as detailed as possible.)
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Re: Bought some more stuff.

Post by daven » September 10th, 2014, 7:45 pm

I have Lee progressives and single stage presses that are now over 20 years old and used for just about every calibre from 0.25 ACP to 0.455 Webley. As long sa you clean and lubricate them, no problems. have had to replace a few worn ratchets but I have lost count of the 1000s of rounds that I have loaded over the last 20 odd years. DaveN

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Re: Bought some more stuff.

Post by jemsj4 » September 12th, 2014, 5:54 pm

I have a Lee Turret Press as well. It was not called "classic" at the time. It was over 20 years ago. All I ever had to replace was the rachet. I really like mine.

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