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  #41  
Old 06-26-2013, 04:57 AM
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Lee tools are good tools at a very good price. However, the classic Lee loader is not worth the money. Buy a Lee bench press, Lee dies, etc. but leave the classic handloader alone.
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  #42  
Old 06-26-2013, 03:21 PM
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If you want a kit and Hornady or RCBS is in your budget, you can't go wrong.
Lee makes products that work fine, but I have had to spend a lot of time on their inexpensive aluminum frame presses filing rough edges, polishing some surfaces, etc. If I didn't have the time and inclination, and I had enough money, I would buy the RCBS or Hornady presses instead. Your best bet might be to take a little more time and assemble from different manufacturers based on Forum members' advice.
There are literally thousands of combinations to assemble a reloading kit for your .308.
You may (probably will) want to add a few items to any kit you buy.
Hornady makes a great quick change cam lock brass trimmer. about $90
Lee makes a truly great Factory Crimp Die. I like their $30 perfect powder measure -- works fine for me.
I really like the RCBS primer strip system - strips, loader and hand primer. About $100, very safe, and you can feel the primers going in and tell from the feel how tight the primers are in the pocket and when they touch the bottom of the pocket. I debated long and hard about buying it since I had a primer seater that came with my reloading press kit, but I am glad I got it.
Good luck. And if you want something different than certain parts that come with a kit, you can always buy something different -- ain't America great????
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Last edited by Greenhorn Dave; 06-26-2013 at 03:28 PM.
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  #43  
Old 06-26-2013, 04:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billnpatti View Post
Lee tools are good tools at a very good price. However, the classic Lee loader is not worth the money. Buy a Lee bench press, Lee dies, etc. but leave the classic handloader alone.
For the OP: The kit mentioned by Bill above is the actual "hand" loading system, similar to the old Lyman kit. Some guys say they like the "hand" loading kits because they're just right for reloading at the range when trying to dial in a load and just loading 3 rounds or so at a time. Not to be confused with Lee's Classic series of presses, which consist of:

- the Lee Classic Cast single stage presses (one with normal die mounting and the other with quick-change bushings [I have the normal one and unscrewing dies is fine for me]). Neither is to be confused with the Breechlock Challenger press (also a very good press for the money and also uses quick change bushings).

- the other is the Lee 4-hole Classic Turret press, not to be confused with the Lee 4-hole Turret Press.

It's confusing and a man contemplating Lee equipment can get mixed up and order the wrong press. If this might be you, just be sure that it's a press, and that it has Classic in its model name.
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Last edited by StretchNM; 06-26-2013 at 04:40 PM.
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  #44  
Old 06-26-2013, 04:48 PM
BCB BCB is offline
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What is the advantage of the quick change bushing?...

Doesn't it screw into the press just like a die?...

That's what it seems to me as I have the Challenger at my cabin...

BCB
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  #45  
Old 06-26-2013, 07:25 PM
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Well, ideally you would have a quick change bushing for each and every die. One of the reasons I prefer the regular system is you can accumulate alot of those bushings, and spend alot doing so.

Once a die is screwed into a bushing, the bushing goes down into a female receiving bushing that is fixed in the press. It can easily be removed, but for all intents and purposes, consider it permanently affixed. This female bushing has 1/4 slot threads, and so does the individual bushings the dies are screwed into (I don;t know if I said that right, the 1/4 slot threads). So, once the dies are adjusted and locked into the bushing, you drop it in and turn 1/4 turn, and it's in there. Very fast. Very expensive for a guy with alot of dies. If you reload for only a couple of three calibers, it's a pretty good system.

See here: Single Stage - Lee Precision

And here: Breech Lock Quick Change Bushings - Lee Precision

These work on the Breechlock Challenger and the Clasic Cast Single Stage, but only if you get the Classic Cast that is ready for the bushing system. It may be that that's the only one you can buy now - maybe they don;t sell the regular one anymore. But it doesn;t matter, you can still use the press with "naked" dies just like any other press. There is no need to use the quick change bushings if you don;t want to. Same with the Breechlock. What I did was just buy two or three sets of bushings and put them on the calibers I reloaded most often. With the other calibers, I just screwed the dies in like any other press.

I think it's Hornady that has a similar system. Again, thanks to the Lees (Ok. Maybe that wasn't fair. But in light of the context of this thread, maybe it needs to be said) ((()))
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Last edited by StretchNM; 06-26-2013 at 07:33 PM.
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  #46  
Old 06-26-2013, 10:09 PM
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I tend to side with BCB. My reloading bench is what they used to call "integrated" and is now called "diverse." It's got equipment in every color of the rainbow. The Piggyback II conversion unit sitting on one of my Rock Chuckers has had the original automatic powder dump linkage replaced by a Hornady case-actuated linkage. The sizing die and the bullet seating die are from Dillon because the flared mouths are designed to work well in a progressive machine, the expander die is a Lyman M die because I'm loading hollow-base wadcutters, and the last die station has a Lee factory crimp die because I shoot .38 Sp. in an autoloader that likes factory-dimension ammo with a tight roll crimp. Lee makes some truly good equipment and their dies are probably the best value for the money on the market. On the other hand, their original Auto Prime tool is the only reloading tool that I've ever managed to just plain wear out in normal use. I bought another and still use it, so I obviously like it, but I have trouble getting my mind around reloading equipment being expended. I've broken a few things through my own stupidity, but that's the only thing I've worn out, and my Lyman 55 powder measure, which is still the best I've ever found for throwing precise small charges, was the old favorite of a family friend who had the privilege of driving one of the original Big Boy articulated steam locomotives out of the roundhouse on its maiden trip in front of an audience that included Leland Stanford. In other words, it's WAY old. RCBS equipment defines ****-for-stout the way the B-17 and P-47 did in WWII. I've never had any piece of it, including a scale I've used for more than 40 years, show any detectable signs of wear, let alone wear out. Lyman and Hornady are probably tied for second among brands still out there in that regard, not counting the Bonanza Co-ax press, which is just plain ridiculous. Maybe the best way to put it is that Lee equipment is excellent bang for the buck, but if it's something with moving parts and you use it a lot you may wear it out before you can pass it on to your children. You'll notice that most people who use their progressive presses say horrible things about the auto priming mechanism. That's not an issue with the Classic, of course, but it's something to think about if you get serious enough to start looking for a progressive machine. The only progressive machine I've ever heard of that simply doesn't malfunction under normal conditions is the Star reloader. Those are for pistol only, they've been out of production for decades, and it's a good thing they don't break, because the parts are made of pure Unobtainium and priced accordingly. Get what you can afford, learn to use it and pay attention to what you're doing at all times and you'll be fine.
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  #47  
Old 06-27-2013, 04:56 AM
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If you are loading for .308, I am guessing you will not be shooting lots of ammo at every range session. Probably 50 or less.
If you don't need hundreds of rounds per week, a single stage press is fine, and it gives you a chance to be safer. After you put powder in the prepped and primed case, you get a chance to look into every case and eyeball the amount of powder before inserting the bullet. That prevents any squib (under power) loads in case there is a problem with the powder measure and it doesn't meter enough powder.

The quick-change bushing system, like Lees and Hornady's are the way to go. In fact, with Lee presses I am pretty sure that's all they offer anymore, and you cannot take an older Lee press and convert it to a press that accepts bushings.
I think Hornady invented that for reloading with their Lock n Load system, and their single stage cast iron press comes with 3 bushings at a reasonable price.
BTW, before cleaning my fired cases, I like to remove the spent primers and thoroughly clean the cases and primer pockets before resizing the cases. So I bought a Lee Breech Lock hand press (the one that looks like a big nut cracKer) and a separate Lee decapper die that are joined together just for decapping. When I have a big enough pile of fired brass I watch a movie and deprime while sitting in an easy chair. It's the only reloading chore you can do without concentrating on what you are doing, and you don't need a big press -- there is almost no effort required to shove out the spent primer. Also, since I am not in a hurry, that's the time I inspect each case for wear or cracks.
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Last edited by Greenhorn Dave; 06-27-2013 at 05:10 AM.
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  #48  
Old 06-27-2013, 03:05 PM
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I am a "died in the wool" RCBS fan....on my bench are two RCBS progressive presses and an RCBS Ammomaster 2 50 BMG SS press. I do have a Lee Classic Turret there as well...I use "mostly" RCBS dies, again I do have a few sets of Lee dies..but far and away most every thing I use is RCBS...now, I will tell you the same thing I would tell any one I personally know who wanted to start reloading as far as equipment...buy a Lee "starter" kit, either of the two single stage kits will do anything needed and with "normal" use last you a lifetime.....before this latest debacle in reloading equipment and components they were just a bit over 100 bucks, that is/was a huge bang for your buck...JMHO..
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  #49  
Old 06-28-2013, 02:55 AM
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I agree with Simcoe. In my posts I mentioned additional hardware, but you will do fine with the Lee Challenger Breech Lock Press Kit for $120 from midwayusa.com. I see they are available. I suggest choosing that kit instead of the Anniversary version because it has the hand loader primer tool instead of priming with the press. Even so, you will need a few extra items.
Be sure to order an extra pair of Quick Change Bushings and a Lee .308 case length gage to screw into the cutter, and a Lee #2 shell holder to hold the cases you are cutting (trimming).
AND don't forget to order a set of 308 reloading dies.
Order a $6 Frankford Arsenal #5 loading tray to hold the cases.
Add primers, powder and bullets, empty 308 cases, and you are open for business.

BTW - if you have been saving your once-fired cases for reloading, a simple and inexpensive way to clean and brighten them is to remove the primer and clean the pocket with the Lee tool (part of kit). Then put about a quart of warm water in a plastic container, add a few drops of dish detergent and several tablespoons of generic lemon juice and soak your brass in it for about an hour. Rinse and scatter them on a towel to air dry.
One more: you may want to buy a small can of Hornady One Shot case lube from Midway. It makes the cases really glide in and out of the resizing dies better than the Lee lube.
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Last edited by Greenhorn Dave; 06-28-2013 at 03:14 AM.
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  #50  
Old 06-28-2013, 04:17 PM
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As far as mixing mfg components .... that is a great suggestion. Mixing and matching components that work well will make your reloading much more enjoyable. My Lee press has RCBS dies with Hornady lock rings for instance.

I don't see the reason for the quick change bushings. If the lock ring is secured to the die properly, why all the hoo-ha about quick change? I have removed and installed my dies a zillion times and they have not lost any adjustment, ever. The quick change bushings are like fishing lures, they only catch re-loaders and fishermen. A marketing gimmick imo.

The first thing I did to my Classic Cast is get rid of the quick change bushing and installed a regular bushing into the press. The second thing I did was to throw away the totally junk and useless RCBS die lock rings and put some Hornady lock rings on them. RCBS should be embarrassed to even install those junk lock rings on their dies. The cross lock screw on the split Hornady rings are leaps and bounds more secure, and will not damage the dies.

I use RCBS dies for the guaranty and their customer service. I purchased a new die set from them for my new rifle and had to send the two lock rings, which failed right away, back to them. The cheap Chinese brass set screw is terribly weak. Then, I sent the two replacements back to them. They failed immediately also, and basically told them not to bother, I fixed their problem with a different mfg's lock rings. So, they sent me back 2 more of them anyway. I returned them also, explaining that I don't want them. Then, they sent me 4 more of them, egads. After returning them, just for giggles I guess, they finally got the point. RCBS dies are awesome, and their customer service was overkill in this case, but their lock rings totally suck.

adk59
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  #51  
Old 06-29-2013, 08:53 AM
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Years ago, I discovered powdered white graphite for cases that are to be only neck trimmed. It works as well as lubes, but doesn't have to be wiped off before charging. Cleaned cases, of course.
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  #52  
Old 06-29-2013, 10:25 AM
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lee

Im new to this site but have been ;oading for ocer 25 years and have always used Lee n never ever had a problem with their stuff I load 223/5.56, 38/357, 9mm, fixing to get 250 savage dies next I load for myself and have loaded thousands n thousands of round and never have had to replace a single thing of Lees Ive never used any other brand I like the Lee price and the quailty didnt see a reason to go else where n pay more I use a turret press and I use a reg single press to decao militay brass it works period
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  #53  
Old 06-30-2013, 08:18 PM
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Well stated were those remarks against the "nay-sayers". There are two (not-good) reasons for disliking Lee products: They never tried them and, 2) if they did, they're the type who can't be troubled to read and do a proper set-up. This particularly applies to the Lee progressives, and I admit to my own frustrations in that regard, but I couldn't ignore the well-written positive comments of many loyal Lee users. Another way to evaluate these responses to your question is to judge for yourself the quality of the responses as you read them. Are those negative responses coming from the sort of people you want to believe? I have no vested interest in any manufacturer. I sell them all and I don't believe there are any "bad" guns or reloaders. The industry is competitive AND self-policing.
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  #54  
Old 07-13-2013, 05:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DTBorden View Post
Well stated were those remarks against the "nay-sayers". There are two (not-good) reasons for disliking Lee products: They never tried them and, 2) if they did, they're the type who can't be troubled to read and do a proper set-up. This particularly applies to the Lee progressives, and I admit to my own frustrations in that regard, but I couldn't ignore the well-written positive comments of many loyal Lee users. Another way to evaluate these responses to your question is to judge for yourself the quality of the responses as you read them. Are those negative responses coming from the sort of people you want to believe? I have no vested interest in any manufacturer. I sell them all and I don't believe there are any "bad" guns or reloaders. The industry is competitive AND self-policing.

One (good) reason for disliking a Lee product is having owned/used it and not liking it...and this particularly applies to the Lee progressive presses, especially the Loadmaster....now maybe I'm not the sort of person you want to believe, fine, go over to the Loadmaster Zone (I've been a member for several years) and you'll notice they/we are STILL fighting the SAME ISSUES and looking for different "fixes" for them...maybe you don't want to believe them either..I also have no vested interest in any manufacurer either and sell none of it...by the way I don't particularly like the Lee casting pots either...
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  #55  
Old 07-23-2013, 04:04 PM
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If you look at all the presses, you'll see they're all just a tool. People could just as well be arguing over Stanley vs Craftsman hammers. Neither one is really going to affect the outcome of the final product.
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  #56  
Old 07-23-2013, 06:15 PM
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Yes Patrick, I believe that is correct. A single-stage or turret press is a very simple, uncomplicated tool whose design hasn;t changed much through the years. It's a basic press! In a pinch, you could use it as an arbor to press out a bearing. (My reloading press pops bearings out better than yours!!!) (())

So..... some guys will pay substantially more for the same quality press and be happy with it. Some guys will pay substantially less for the same quality press and be happy with it. Both reloaders are happy so there's no need for the guys to bash one maker over another when a new reloader is trying to settle his mind on equipment. For example, having had Lee equipment troubles "years ago" is not a reason to ignore the current quality of equipment.

If you have green (or maroon, or orange, or light green) and you like it, good, then there is no need to badmouth the red. Eh..... progressive presses excepted (maybe).
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  #57  
Old 09-02-2013, 09:37 AM
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I bought a Lee Classic Press set up, I love it. The scale works great but is a bit slow so I bought a Digital scale as I can place a shell on it and 0 it out to check the load in the shell and not move the powder from the pan to the scale, to the shell. The press works great with just a drop of oil from time to time. The powder dispenser works well with my TiteGroup powder, it does however drop a few grains out of the side, no big deal, it may be off a 1/10 of a grain from time to time but even after 1000 loads its right at where I set it. If I was Match Shooting I would check the powder loads every time. But as I cast my own bullets and they very a grain or 2 up and down, a powder particle more or less is not going to matter to me.
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  #58  
Old 09-02-2013, 07:58 PM
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I got my R.C.B.S. Rock chucker just out of high school in the 70's. I have loaded many tens of thousands of rounds with it and most likely my grandchildren will be using it ( and all my R.C.B.S. dies) to load ammo long after I'm gone.
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  #59  
Old 09-03-2013, 02:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dadnova View Post
I bought a Lee Classic Press set up, I love it. The scale works great but is a bit slow so I bought a Digital scale as I can place a shell on it and 0 it out to check the load in the shell and not move the powder from the pan to the scale, to the shell. The press works great with just a drop of oil from time to time. The powder dispenser works well with my TiteGroup powder, it does however drop a few grains out of the side, no big deal, it may be off a 1/10 of a grain from time to time but even after 1000 loads its right at where I set it. If I was Match Shooting I would check the powder loads every time. But as I cast my own bullets and they very a grain or 2 up and down, a powder particle more or less is not going to matter to me.
Unless you are weighing each case, zeroing the scale each time, what you're doing is potentially very dangerous. You should not zero the scale with a case on it, as there is enough variation in the weight of different cases to cause an unsafe change in powder charge. I strongly advise that you abandon that practice.

The Lee Pro Auto Disk powder measure will meter TiteGroup accurately, with little or no granules coming out of the side of the measure.

While it is perfectly acceptable for your bullets to be a grain or two heavy or light, it is NOT acceptable to have that much variation in your powder charge, particularly if you're using something as fast-burning as TG! Hopefully you're just not explaining your process very well.
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