» Advanced

Go Back   Shooters Forum > Handloading > Handloading Equipment
Register FAQ Members List Donate Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read



Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Rating: Thread Rating: 6 votes, 5.00 average. Display Modes
  #1  
Old 04-21-2011, 06:15 AM
03mossy's Avatar
Beartooth Regular
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Albertville, MN
Posts: 236
Lee's Breech Lock System?


Registered Users do not see the above ad.


I am more than likely buying a Lee Classic Cast single stage press. It can be had with or without the breech lock system. ($10 difference) Which way do you recomended? There is alot of mixed reviews online, some love it, some say its a "answer insearch of a question".
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 04-21-2011, 07:16 AM
unclenick's Avatar
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Hilliard, Ohio
Posts: 10,846
What it can do is speed up die changing if you buy a separate Breech Lock bushing for each die you use. That way you set the die up in the insert and leave it there, and their new lock ring eliminator Breech Lock bushing is the way to go for that. It looks like it'll be more repeatable than the rubber o-ring lock. Speed increases for two reasons: One is that the inserts go in and out faster than screwing a die thread down. The other is that the inserts find the same location so you don't have to set the die up over again. That second part matters more to Lee dies because their lock nuts don't have set screws to find the same depth each time.

The bottom line is that you will probably appreciate the breech lock system if you do a lot of experimenting where you just make a small number of loads and have to change dies frequently. If you are running 100 or more by batch process, the added time needed to set the dies up doesn't really make any serious difference. You can also buy cross-bolt set screw locking rings like the Forster Co-ax type to use with Lee dies on the non-breech lock version non-breech lock version of that press, and don't want to do the setup every time.

I'd say I prefer the primer disposal system of the old version. Everything stays a little cleaner around the ram with the primers falling down the inside, but they must have found some reason to change it. I don't know what that is? The old system could spill primers if the priming tool wasn't in place, and perhaps the new system addresses that. I also used to hear of folks forgetting to empty the old system and having trouble with a spent primer jam up in the ram. I drop from the tube into a waste basket, so I've never experienced that. I also usually use a separate hand priming tool, so I just put some tape over the cut in the ram to stop spent primers hopping out. The old non-Breech Lock version has a die insert you can unscrew for 50 BMG dies. I don't see that capability mentioned in the Breech Lock version's specs, so perhaps you can't have both.

Whatever you do, don't pay the $144 price Lee lists on their web site. That's full list. I payed $57 for mine when Midway had a sale back five years ago or so. I haven't seen them that cheap for awhile, but factorysales.com has the old style for $73.40 and the Breech Lock for $89.98. A little more difference than you found.
__________________
Nick
__________________________
Orange Hat Family Member
CMP Certified GSM Master Instructor
NRA Certified Instructor
NRA Benefactor Member
"First contemplation of the problems of Interior Ballistics gives the impression that they should yield rather easily to relatively simple methods of analysis. Further study shows the subject to be of almost unbelievable complexity." Homer Powley

Last edited by unclenick; 04-21-2011 at 07:20 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 04-21-2011, 03:17 PM
scott0116's Avatar
Beartooth Regular
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 560
Quote:
Originally Posted by unclenick View Post
I'd say I prefer the primer disposal system of the old version. Everything stays a little cleaner around the ram with the primers falling down the inside, but they must have found some reason to change it. I don't know what that is?
I read somewhere that they changed the design on the breechlock version at customers requests. Some folks thought it would be better if there wasn't a tube attached to the ram. I much prefer the old style also.
__________________
"Let his days be few; and let another take his office."-Psalm 109:8
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 04-21-2011, 08:24 PM
StretchNM's Avatar
Beartooth Regular
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Alamogordo, NM
Posts: 4,554
03Mossy,
I have a Lee Breechlock (NOT the new Classic Cast) and I have a regular Classic Cast single-stage. The quick-change busings are about 8$ for two, plus however many will come with the press (if any). They do make die changing a little quicker, but there's the inevitable check for proper precise adjustment each time, with or without the bushings. I did like using them on my standard Breechlock press.

However! When I got the Classic Cast press, I found I didn;t miss the bushings at all. At first I did, and I wished that I could have a well-made press like the Classic Cast and still have quick-change bushings. Not so, any more. It takes just another 2 or 3 seconds each time there is a die change (which is not often when reloading in batches). I like batch reloading because I think it's more precise and less prone to error. One "step" at a time for all cases before moving on to the next "step" in the process.

Now, here is the problem if you get the Breechlock CC and find that you don;t have enough bushings for each set of dies (you only need 4 bushings, and just switch those for each caliber): They don;t have a bushing that you can screw in so that no quick change bushings are needed! To me, this is a problem. Say you ordered two bushings but you have a three-die process (decap/resize, seater, and factory crimp). You will need to fully unscrew the bushing from one of the other two dies and install it on the third. Yes, the answer is to have enough bushings, and eventually a guy will desire to have a bushing for each and every die he uses. $8 for two bushings. So.....just be aware of that if you get the Breechlock CC.

Now, if Lee were going to do it completely right, they could have used a very large hole to begin with. Then a screw-in bushing to be used for large base dies (like .50 cal). Then remove that screw-in bushing and screw in another that accepts the quick-change bushings. Then remove that one and screw in a bushing that accepts the universal die size (something 14 - it escapes me right now). That way, a guy can use the quick-change bushings.......or not.

Having used both presses? Give me the standard Classic Cast and I'm good. And...I agree with UncleNick: Buy from Midway, or Kempf, or Lee Factory Sales, etc.
__________________
Stretch

"In an age of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act" - Geroge Orwell

"We're right. They're wrong. That's the end of the story" - A. Wilkow

DON'T BE SCARED

Last edited by StretchNM; 04-21-2011 at 08:31 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 04-22-2011, 08:22 AM
Beartooth Regular
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 307
What's the hurry? When starting to reload, one must learn how to adjust dies. You can't trouble-shoot chambering problems if you don't know how to adjust sizing, seating, or crimping dies. Besides, once you get the hang of it, die changes in a single stage shouldn't take more than a couple minutes. For me (I don't have a quota I must meet nor do I need to assemble 500 rounds an hour) adjusting dies is just part of reloading, I get what I want every time I reload, not relying on last session's adjustments. A lot of people have the "breech-lock" systems, but it is of no value to me, and I don't see a need in the future...
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 04-22-2011, 03:41 PM
StretchNM's Avatar
Beartooth Regular
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Alamogordo, NM
Posts: 4,554
Good point, Mikld. The biggest part of reloading is the hobby itself, and the faster dies get changed, the more time you cheat yourself out of the hobby!
__________________
Stretch

"In an age of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act" - Geroge Orwell

"We're right. They're wrong. That's the end of the story" - A. Wilkow

DON'T BE SCARED
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 04-22-2011, 07:07 PM
Beartooth Regular
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Central Ga.
Posts: 1,355
I have four presses very good presses and just bought the Lee because of the Breech Lock to use for loading at the range when developing loads. I can set my dies up and don't have to screw at the range adjusting each time I change. Mine came with either two or three locks and I ordered six from MidwayUSA. I think they were approx $8 for a pack of two.

If you are loading a number of different calibers, those locks can start getting expensive but since I'm only use mine to load at the range, I only needed enough for two sets of pistol dies and one set of rifle dies. That's the most I would be working on at one time.

I've been using it about a month now and like it very much for it's intended purpose. If this is going to be you're only press, I'm not sure how well it would stand up to larger brasses like the belted magnums but for my pistols and 308 based calibers, it's great. All I've ever used it for is 40 S&W, 10mm, 22-250, 243, and 260.

One thing I don't like about it is if you don't use the primer installing attachment, you have to make something to in the channel that guides the primers to the catch tray/tube. I hand prime all my brass and don't use the attachment to insert primers. I used a piece of balsa wood to make me an insert, without it, it throws primers all over the floor.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 04-23-2011, 06:57 AM
StretchNM's Avatar
Beartooth Regular
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Alamogordo, NM
Posts: 4,554
Which press did you get, BKeith? I can;t imagine one of the Classic Cast presses not standing up to any belted magnum....for a lifetime of reloading. However, I can understand some concern with the standard Breechlock press, because it's made of aluminum.

As for the primer issue, I prime with a hand primer too, so what I did was to cut and grind the primer pin off of the top of an extra primer arm. Since I own three Lee presses, and each comes with a large and small primer arm, I have extras. That lever prime arm just stays in the press ram, in its slot, all the time, and doesn;t interfere with any operations.
__________________
Stretch

"In an age of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act" - Geroge Orwell

"We're right. They're wrong. That's the end of the story" - A. Wilkow

DON'T BE SCARED

Last edited by StretchNM; 04-23-2011 at 07:00 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 04-23-2011, 07:34 AM
unclenick's Avatar
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Hilliard, Ohio
Posts: 10,846
I expect BKeith has the Breech Lock Challenger. The lighter weight aluminum frame is better for taking to the range. The Classic Cast is cast iron and the original is designed for the .50 BMG. There isn't anything made it won't handle until you get to 20mm.
__________________
Nick
__________________________
Orange Hat Family Member
CMP Certified GSM Master Instructor
NRA Certified Instructor
NRA Benefactor Member
"First contemplation of the problems of Interior Ballistics gives the impression that they should yield rather easily to relatively simple methods of analysis. Further study shows the subject to be of almost unbelievable complexity." Homer Powley
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 04-23-2011, 10:54 AM
Rocky Raab's Avatar
Beartooth Regular
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Utah
Posts: 3,321
I replace the o-ring lock rings on all my Lee dies with clamping types.

On my RCBS press, I slide a soda straw into the primer slot to direct them into the catch tray. Like this:



I also added a tube to the catch tray leading to a screw-top jar that holds many hundreds of spent primers.



Problems solved.
__________________
To see my books and articles, just Google my name.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 04-23-2011, 12:44 PM
unclenick's Avatar
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Hilliard, Ohio
Posts: 10,846
That's good thinking. Now, if we could just figure out how to get moonshine out of all those tubes and such…
__________________
Nick
__________________________
Orange Hat Family Member
CMP Certified GSM Master Instructor
NRA Certified Instructor
NRA Benefactor Member
"First contemplation of the problems of Interior Ballistics gives the impression that they should yield rather easily to relatively simple methods of analysis. Further study shows the subject to be of almost unbelievable complexity." Homer Powley
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 04-23-2011, 05:27 PM
Beartooth Regular
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Central Ga.
Posts: 1,355
It must be the Challenger. It's a light weight aluminum I bought on sale for $50. The small size and light weight, and Breech Lock was what sold me on getting it for loading at the range. I know some people use those hand presses but I preferred something a little more that that, and this just looked like it was the perfect option.

I've never owned any Lee equipment until now so not up their stuff. I bought this press, a carbide three die and a four die set of 10mm/40 S&W (loading both at the same time, didn't feel like adjusting everytime I changed) and the little kit that pushing the brass through the factor crimp die to make sure the bulge is gone. I've been very pleased with the whole Lee setup and it was a third the price of most others. Never thought I would say that because I"ve always thought of Lee as el cheapo stuff and have never considered it something I would care to mess with, but these pistol dies have be great.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 06-05-2011, 12:15 PM
Beartooth Regular
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 548
There is another solution besides Lee's Breechlock Press & Bushings. You can buy the Lee Classic Cast Press and use the Hornady Lock-N-Load Press and Die Conversion Bushing Kit to convert the Lee Classic Cast Press to accept Hornady Lock-N-Load Die Bushings. Here is a link to a thread on Sniper Central titled Installing Hornady Lock-n-Load bushing on non-Hornady press (Lee Classic Cast Press in this case. Could be done on a RockChucker too). I wouldn't use channel lock pliers like he did but still a nice thread showing you it works on the Classic Cast Press. The LNL bushings can be had in a package of 3 or 10. If you find you don't like the bushing change way of doing things, just put the press back into its original state and you are only out about $15, which you might be able to partially recoup selling the conversion kit used.

Last edited by gringo_loco; 06-05-2011 at 12:18 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 06-06-2011, 04:03 AM
UnCruel's Avatar
Beartooth Regular
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Posts: 861
Quote:
Originally Posted by gringo_loco View Post
You can buy the Lee Classic Cast Press and use the Hornady Lock-N-Load Press and Die Conversion Bushing Kit to convert the Lee Classic Cast Press to accept Hornady Lock-N-Load Die Bushings.
That's what I am using now. I intend to switch out to the Breech Lock system for a couple of reasons. The combined height of the adapter and bushing often makes it difficult to seat many dies down where they are supposed to be and still get the lock nut on. The Lock-n-Load system doesn't resist counterclockwise torque, so my collet bullet puller is difficult to use in the press, but the Breech Lock system has a plunger button to lock it into place. Lee also makes a hand press now with the Breech Lock system, so I can theoretically use the same dies at the range and switch back and forth without adjusting. Also, the Breech Lock bushings cost less

BTW, I ground flats onto my Lock-n-Load adapter to get it in tight.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 06-06-2011, 08:28 AM
Beartooth Regular
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Alabama
Posts: 479
I started reloading with the Lee Challenger 2001. I thought it was a great press and used it for years. I gave it to a friend and bought the Lee Classic Cast when they first came out. The Lee CC can handle any caliber on the civilian market. Unfortunately, I gave all my reloading gear to another friend when I relocated. Now that everthing is settled, I'm looking to get back into reloading. Since on my old Challenger reloaded several handgun calibers and .30-06 with wonderful results, I'm looking at the Challenger Breech Lock. Can you install one bushing and use the Challenger like a standard single stage press? I feel the bushings just get in the way, especially when storing the dies. If people are concerned about speed of reloading, why are they looking at single stage presses and not Turret/progressive presses? I did a lot of looking and agree with other that Factory Sales : https://factorysales.com/ , has the best press prices around.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 06-06-2011, 09:34 AM
scott0116's Avatar
Beartooth Regular
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 560
Quote:
Originally Posted by cowpoke1955 View Post
I'm looking at the Challenger Breech Lock. Can you install one bushing and use the Challenger like a standard single stage press?
Yes you can use it like that if you want or you can buy a used classic cast off the auction sites for about the same price as the aluminum frame breech locks sell for. There is also a breech lock cast iron press available from lee.
__________________
"Let his days be few; and let another take his office."-Psalm 109:8
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 06-06-2011, 01:43 PM
Beartooth Regular
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Alabama
Posts: 479
I have looked at several auction sites. People believe the Lee Classic Cast is made of cast gold, not cast iron. That must be how highly they feel about them, and I agree. Thanks to Scott, I rechecked some auction sites. I found a sporting good store that listed three Lee Challenger 2001's (new, old stock) for $38.00. Since I'll just be reloading for .45 LC and .30-30, the Challenger will serve me well. Thaks again Scott.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 06-06-2011, 02:37 PM
Beartooth Regular
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 5,536
I am conflicted! I agree with Stretch, mikld and Bkeith!
While I don’t need a quick change die it would be helpful when loading at the bench.
I agree I cannot imagine the Lee cast press being intimidated by any cartridge.
Rocky’s tip is a good one.

The Lee Challenger is a good press but it can be broken, at least I broke one.

I don’t have any trouble adjusting dies and do not understand the desire to “lock down” dies. Dies with the lock collars locked in place often “stick” in the press and cause problems when removing them from the press. We shoot quite a bit and load cartridges every week. By prepping brass in advance, the single stage press in not an obstacle to quantity loading.
__________________
slim
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 06-18-2011, 06:13 AM
UnCruel's Avatar
Beartooth Regular
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Posts: 861
Well, I made the switch. I bought a Breech Lock Classic Cast and a Breech Lock Hand Press. It is about what I expected, but there were a few discoveries.

The spring-plunger style lock pin that locks the bushing into position doesn't work as well as I expected it to. The reason is that the lock groove is barely cut into the ring of the bushing. If the ring were a little larger in diameter, the lock groove would be much more pronounced and the lock pin would have hold onto. A couple of times while I was tightening down lock nuts, the bushing would rotate past the lock pin.

The uppermost point of the ram stroke is different between the two presses. This means a die that is adjusted for my Classic Cast is not adjusted for the hand press. This works okay when the shell holder is supposed to contact the bottom of the die: I can adjust the die down enough that it makes this contact in either press. However, dies that require adjustment away from the shell holder must be reset when being moved from one press to the other.

The new Breech Lock Classic Cast has a different primer catching system, and this one seems to catch 100% of the ejected primers.

Oh. Now I have a bunch of Lock-n-Load bushings to get rid of
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 06-18-2011, 05:50 PM
Beartooth Regular
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 636
Quote:
Originally Posted by StretchNM View Post
Now, here is the problem if you get the Breechlock CC and find that you don;t have enough bushings for each set of dies (you only need 4 bushings, and just switch those for each caliber): They don;t have a bushing that you can screw in so that no quick change bushings are needed! To me, this is a problem. Say you ordered two bushings but you have a three-die process (decap/resize, seater, and factory crimp). You will need to fully unscrew the bushing from one of the other two dies and install it on the third. Yes, the answer is to have enough bushings, and eventually a guy will desire to have a bushing for each and every die he uses. $8 for two bushings. So.....just be aware of that if you get the Breechlock CC.
This is an even better reason to just get the Classic Turret press.

4 breech lock bushings = 4 dies = $12.98

http://www.natchezss.com/product.cfm...ange%20Bushing

1 Turret = 4 dies = $7.99

http://www.natchezss.com/product.cfm...0Hole%20Turret

Set the dies, change all four at once.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Need a pistol safe - non electronic lock cajuntec Handguns 13 01-19-2013 12:57 PM
Press Conversion To breech lock quick change die system Curt31 Handloading Equipment 12 11-12-2009 12:46 PM
David Tubb's Final Finish Fire Lapping System The Bolt Man Rifles and Rifle Cartridges 8 09-23-2009 09:52 PM
? about Lee Breech Lock Press flashhole Handloading Equipment 4 05-19-2009 07:37 PM
Will RCBS Dies Fit A Lee Breech Lock Press? .308 HUNTER Handloading Equipment 20 04-23-2009 08:56 PM


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:51 AM.

< Contact Us - Shooters Forum - Archive >

 
 

All Content & Design Copyright © 1999-2002 Beartooth Bullets, All Rights Reserved
View Privacy Policy | Contact Webmaster | Legal Information
Website Design & Development By Exbabylon Internet Solutions
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2