Disrespecting Lee Reloading Gear

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by budman46, Aug 19, 2010.

  1. budman46

    budman46 New Member

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    one member signs off with the clause "LEE RELOADING EQUIPMENT IS JUNK". as a former lab rat, i prefer digital scales to any beam balance but have ohaus/rcbs balances left over from my old days...they're slicker than lee's product but i doubt they're more accurate.

    i prefer my rcbs uniflow to lee's powder measure but dillon still pays lee a royalty for the design.

    lee reloading dies are inexpensive and first rate, featuring an unbreakable decapper/tapered expander assembly, free shell holder and most include a factory crimp die.

    lee's classic cast presses equal or surpass anything in the industry...my turret version idled my 3 dillons for most chores and rendered an rcbs rockchucker superfluous.

    as a long-time bullet caster i have lots of lyman/rcbs equipment also...what do i buy today? lee. sometimes their equipment needs tweaking, but info is out there on how to do it and for $$$ savings one should start with lee...if you like reloading/casting and want to spend $$$ for the redding/rcbs experience, that's great..they make good stuff, but for many of us lee works really well...well enough to retire the "BETTER STUFF".

    lee got many of us started in the 60's...today's equipment prices make their economical approach to reloading that much more important to new folks.

    chevy's aren't rolls-royces, but they get us there comfortably...sometimes even faster and cheaper.

    budman
     
  2. Txhillbilly

    Txhillbilly Active Member

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    Hell yes Budman,I also have enjoyed my Lee Precision dies and Turret press for many years.
    Are there better reloading tools on the market-Yes.
    Will they make a better bullet-No!
    Now when it comes to a Competition Shooter,there are some very close tolerance dies from Redding,RCBS that would probably be worth the added expense.But for the average shooter,using average bulk bullets,there's no need in the added expense and most wouldn't be able to tell a difference.

    I can't wait for Tango to come in and trash this thread.
    Tango,Your a great guy,but lay off the Lee bashing.LOL THB
     

  3. hunter Joe

    hunter Joe New Member

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    Guys if it weren't for Tango bashing this and that, these threads would be
    blah, blah, blah. I really think you owe him an apology otherwise all we got is "my dogs bigger than yours".

    Don't be so sensitive. This kinda $hit keeps it interesting.
     
  4. Txhillbilly

    Txhillbilly Active Member

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    I'll have Tango's back anytime he needs it,but I have to give him crap on the Lee bashing,just like I do about Muzzlebrakes.

    I'm going to have to bring the muzzlebrakes out to El Paso,and see if I get my butt kicked! Tango looks like a pretty good sized fella,but I ain't scared!
     
  5. opaww

    opaww New Member

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    I use a few Lee products in my re-loading but my press is and RCBS as is my dies and scales. Not because I think they are better it is because it is what I have.
     
  6. John sukey

    John sukey New Member

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    I do use lee dies,for .455 but my turret press is a Lyman All American that I bought new in 1954.
    You just can't break it! The only upgrade to it is an adapter to use the current shell holders instead of the original ones and of course the later primer holders.
    Also have a Dillon 650, and a RCBS BIG MAX as the Martini-Henry and Snider dies are larger than the standard.
    Powder measures? Redding, Hornaday,Lyman, (one for smokeless and one for BP) and of course the ones for the Dillon.
    Still have a beam balance scale, but the digital scale has replaced it in use.
    Dies? several brands,RCBS, CH4D, Lyman, Redding,Lee, Dillon, N.D.F.S. Roughly 51 different at last count.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2010
  7. amoroque

    amoroque New Member

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    Exactly......You just gotta love him......he keeps this place interesting and entertaining. After all.........we all have opinions.

    I think you just coined your own signature:

    "lee works really well...well enough to retire the "BETTER STUFF""
     
  8. Rick1967

    Rick1967 Well-Known Member

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    I have stuff by Lee, RCBS, LYMAN and some other odd ball stuff I can't think of the name right now. My Lee stuff works just fine. I have broken an RCBS decapper. But, really I can't remember breaking anything else. I have no problem with any brand out there. Some are a little better than others. But I just can't justify spending 3 times as much. I have a lot of Lee bullet molds. I have a couple of Lyman molds. I actually prefer the Lee. It's not just 1/3 of the price. The Lee stuff warms up faster. It also cools down faster. I like to pour 4 or 5 different types of bullets at a time. I just rotate the molds doing about 50 rounds at a time. That way I can keep moving.
     
  9. noylj

    noylj Member

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    Compare presses

    If I was into Benchrest, I would use an arbor press and custom dies. Since I am just shooting stock or limited customized handguns where accuracy is measured in inches and not 0.001", I find Lee equipment does the job, but not as "nicely" as others.
    If I had to get an inexpensive press, it would be a Lee.
    If I absolutely had to have a single station press, it would be a Forster Co-Ax (haven't seen anything better since I bought in the late '70s).
    If I had to load a lot of rifle (bottleneck) cartridges, I would get a turret with auto-indexing (I just do not see an AP for bottleneck cases—too many check length of case/case mouth OD and ID/neck uniformity/runout and who knows what else).
    To load a lot of many different cartridges, I would go right back to my Hornady L-N-L.
    To load a LOT of just a few cartridges, I will stay with the 1050.
    For straight-wall dies, my preferences are—
    Seating dies: Lee or Hornady
    Expander dies: Lee, Hornady, or Dillon
    Specialized expander dies: Lyman or RCBS
    Powder check die: RCBS Lock-out or Dillon
    Bullet seating dies: Dillon, Lee, or Hornady
    Specialize seating dies: RCBS or Lee
    Crimp die: Dillon, Lee, or Hornady
    Specialized crimp die: Redding Profile Crimp (for roll crimp) and Lee FCD.
    Buying dies for a new cartridge: Lee
    Buying dies for use with messy lubricated cast bullets: Dillon

    Options I would like to try on my 1050s: Lee's manual case feeder with the "hula" bowl to fill it (too many problems with case feeders and the Lee system is inexpensive and looks like it would do what I want) and the Lee bullet feeder (again, it may be manual, but it would be nice to load a bunch of tubes and just crank out rounds without picking up and placing bullets on the case—the only bullet feeder I would invest in would need to work with Remington's messy 148gn L-HBWC and other cast bullets).
    The first rule with any progressive press (AP) is to never force anything. With the Lee's I have seen, forcing will almost always break an inexpensive plastic part and not lead to detonations or bending some expensive metal part. Someone who works on a Lee press will learn patience and thinking before forcing.
    Despite having 3 1050s, I have this urge (if I had the money to waste) to get a LoadMaster with the case and bullet feeders and see if I could get it to work. It couldn't possibly have the feel of a 1050, but just getting it to work would be interesting.
     
  10. doctherock

    doctherock New Member

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    I personally think my lee loader 100 turret is a piece of Sh!t. Having said that I am stuck with it until I can afford a better one. Dillon has my vote for the next one. The powder measure is crap on the lee, the primer feed is even worse. I got a good deal and the guy I bought it from was probably laughing all the way to the bank.
     
  11. doctherock

    doctherock New Member

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    Oh I cant believe I missed the fact the OP has a whopping post count on here and is already starting in on Tango. Not the best move I'd say. good luck with this.
     
  12. Bigdog57

    Bigdog57 New Member

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    My two presses - a single stage and a three-hole turret - are both Lee, and work well for me. I'm up to 17 different calibers on their own turrets now, so changing to another brand press would be ridiculous.
    I prefer Lee handgun dies on the average, but 90% of my rifle dies are RCBS - I personally do not like the danged Lee "Pop goes the weasel" decapper pins! Yes I have broken a few RCBS pins - but I keep lots of spares, they are cheap.
    My two Lee Perfect Powder Measures work for me too - no need for anything else. For accurate rifle loading, I use the Lee scoops and trickle up on a Lee beam scale. I sometimes use a different company's digital, but generally just to double-check the Lee's reading.
    Lee has by far the better hand primer tool! I have two - one for large primers and one for small. Minimises changes. I do have the RCSB tool - much less 'user friendly' and those plastic feed blocks are just waiting to fail!

    So I remain a staunch Lee guy....... :)
     
  13. spittinfire

    spittinfire New Member Supporter

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    I've got a Lee 4 hole turret press and the only thing I dont like about it is the powder measure. It works and maintains a steady charge but I just don't like it. You have to keep it clean and make sure it doesn't get static cling or your charge will vary. Outside of that I have loaded thousands of rounds in various calibers that have all worked just fine. I'm not a competition shooter, I'm a hunter so minute of game is all I need although I do strive for the tightest groups I can manage.
     
  14. hunter Joe

    hunter Joe New Member

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    Spitty, when I'm was having problems with static cling on my powder funnel, I wipe it with a dryer sheet. Doesn't seem to have adverse effects on the powder and leave my ammo smelling clean and fresh.

    Seriously, works pretty good.
     
  15. spittinfire

    spittinfire New Member Supporter

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    Haven't tried the dryer sheet. I usually just wash them in a little warm soapy water once in a while, let them dry and haven't had a problem. The dryer sheet would be faster though.
     
  16. Fuzzball

    Fuzzball New Member

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    None of this is to disparage any individual but the vast majority of Lee bashing is invalid.

    I own presses and dies, etc, from most all makers. I find some features I prefer in individual items by brand but I don't drink any makers Kool-Aid, if I do my part they all work fine in my shop. I can't help but wonder what drives some people to bash all things red in an appearant knee-jerk reaction to the mention of the name. Snobs? Klutzs? Misinformed or inexperieced? Dunno, but it's there.

    Lee makes things to a different price point than others. The basic effectiveness of compariable items is generally equal to any others but at a much lower cost. In fact, I am convienced that any skilled loader can reload equal quality ammo on virtually any press made if he uses the same dies and components. And no dies are universally of high precision, etc. For the price, Lees external fit and finish of some items can't be expected to match the nice look of Redding but equating a external shiney finish to functional quality is silly.

    I have found Lee's tools usually work well (In some instances they're actually superior to other vastly more expensive brands!), but somethings do sometimes require a bit of some deburring, lubricating and/or tweaking and adjusting for best function. Clearly, those people with a modest amount of mechanical aptitude have a head start with that sort of thing. People with low mechanical aptitude are generally better served by paying more to avoid Lee's occasional bumps but those with the skills to deal with it can certainly benefit, greatly, from Lee's modest price point. I like most of Lee's tools but I wouldn't suggest them for my very smart but very klutzy Federal judge son-in-law who can easily afford anything he wishes!

    Bottom line, everyone will be best served by purchasing tools for the features they need, and the mechanical skill they have, for the tasks they will perform. Lee is a valid lower cost option (not "CHEAP"!) but no brand is any assurance of ammunition quality if the loader has little skill in using his tools.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2010
  17. cpttango30

    cpttango30 New Member

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    I had the following and they were all craptastic.

    Lee hand primer broke after little use (under 50 rounds) bad casting in the body.

    Lee Universal decapping die. Decapping pin broke after about 20 rounds.

    Lee universal shell holders. 60% or more of my brass wouldn't fit in the shell holders. NOT THE BRASS the shell holders were machined WRONG.

    My brother has a lee classic cast press snapped in half while resizing new 222 rem brass.

    Nothing i have ever owned lasted more than about 30 minutes of use. So to me that means they make an inferior product. That is over $50 of stuff with shipping that was worthless and didn't last. I called Lee and they would not make it right so therefor I tell people about my experience.

    Use them if you like. I will not.

    LEE makes CRAPPY Products.
     
  18. Silvertip 44

    Silvertip 44 New Member

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    Well, Tango, I won't go so far as to say all Lee reloading equipment is junk but i have been getting away from it somewhat. All my pistol carbide dies and factory crimping and sizing dies are Lee. I did buy some Lee .300 WM, .223 and .30-06 dies, but also have the same in RCBS. My RCBS do seem to make better ammo, but maybe it's just my imagination.
    What really irritated me was that when I broke a decapping pin in my Lee .223 die, I discovered that it can't be replaced as can RCBS. Therefore, i will not buy anymore of their dies, and I will not collect anymore once fired .223 range brass unless it is commercial or LC.
     
  19. Fuzzball

    Fuzzball New Member

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    Well Tango, I suppose if I had your luck (?) I'd agree.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2010
  20. Fuzzball

    Fuzzball New Member

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    But, I've had two Lee handheld Autoprime tools, one each for large and small caps, with their shell holder set plus an Autoprime II since '87 and have yet to see a single problem. I've had two Lee "Reloader" presses since '90, and a "Handpress" since '95, no problems. Have about a dozen sets of Lee dies, including collet neck sizers and case crimpers, all work well. A Lee "Safety Scale" since '06 I hate for being hard to read but it's both very sensitive and quite accurate. An old set of their powder dippers. Assorted Lee case length trimmers. And all that represents less than 10% of my reloading tools, all of which work great for me so, our opinions differ.

    I have a young friend who owns a Lee Classic Cast press that is stronger and more wear resistant than my Rock Chucker II. And it handles spent primers MUCH better. Since "factory new" cases are smaller in every dimension than sized cases it's hard to imagine how any press could snap in half "sizing" it. That's a puzzle. Sorta. ;)

    Anyone who "thinks" one brand of dies loads better ammo on average, not by a single example, than another is probably wrong. I've actually tested the output of my dies and quite a few others borrowed for experimenatation and found that individual dies of the same brand will vary as much as between brands.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2010