Lee Reload gear any good?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by BunnyWabbit, Apr 24, 2011.

  1. BunnyWabbit

    BunnyWabbit New Member

    I have been shooting my .380 LCP a lot lately and my 9mm Slim. I also have a .327 Magnum. Between the .380 and .327 ammo is getting expensive. I want to start reloading. How difficult is it for a beginner to start? Lee gear seems to be cheap and seems to be popular. I hear a lot of good things about Lee. Is it good or will I out grow it quick? Other than the basic Lee Deluxe Kit and dies what else do I need besides bullets, cases, powder and primers? Is the Lee book any good? I hear a lot of people say Hornady is the best.
  2. doctherock

    doctherock New Member

    All depends on how much you want to spend. I have a lee but dont use the auto powder measure anymore. It was somewhat defective. Dillion makes a sweet little turret press, look into that one.

  3. BunnyWabbit

    BunnyWabbit New Member

    I hear Dillon is the best of the best but also expensive. I'm not sure if I would stick to it so I want to go budget at first. If Lee is crap I'd spend more but if Lee will get my by for a year or two until I decide if reloading is my thing I'd like to save some $$$.
  4. doctherock

    doctherock New Member

    Lee will get it done for you. It has its flaws but for a beginner it will be ok.
  5. Txhillbilly

    Txhillbilly Active Member

    BW,Reloading is a fairly simple and easy thing to do,if you read and understand the do's and dont's.
    For a beginner,I'd suggest getting the book,ABC's of reloading.You can find it online or at your local book store.Then you should get several different loading manuals.I have manuals from every mfg of powder and bullet that I reload with.The Lee reloading manual will come in handy when using cast bullets,as well as the Lyman manual.

    As far as Lee equipment goes,I like it,others don't.
    I have used a Lee 4 hole Turret press for many years.I prefer a turret press over a single stage because you can have all of your dies setup in the turret plate,and still load as a single stage press if desired.
    Lee makes some great dies for everyday shooting ammo,if you want to load competition grade ammo,then there are much better dies on the market.
    I use a variety of mfg's equipment,Lee,RCBS,Redding,Hornady,etc.

    You will also need a good beam and/or digital scale.The Lee scale works,but that's about it.I would suggest a nice RCBS beam scale or something similar.You can get great deals on used equipment on Ebay if you look for them.

    You will also need a good set of calipers,I prefer the digital type.They are used to measure your case length,and OAL of your cartridges,which is a very important step of reloading.

    An electric brass tumbler also comes in very handy,but not absolutely necessary,it just cleans your brass and makes it shiny.

    There are many more things that are nice to have,but not a neccesity for just starting out.

    The initial cost will be reduced with several boxes of reloaded ammo,but the way everything is going up,you don't save that much reloading.You do get to make better shooting and more accurate ammo for you weapons though.

    Good luck,if you choose to start reloading.There are plenty of people around here that will try to answer any questions you have. THB
  6. BunnyWabbit

    BunnyWabbit New Member

    The 3 guns I want to load for are the .380, .327 Mag along with .32's for practice and 9mm. Once I buy all my equipment and books how much would it cost me roughly to load 100 rounds of each caliber?
  7. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

    OK- I am going to pass on the cheap shot on Bunny Wabbit posting on Easter....:D

    You have been given some good advice already, especially on The ABCs of Reloading. Lee equipment is OK- it may not be the Rolls Royce of reloading gear, but it is at least a good solid Chevy. A turret press is a bit more expensive, but much easier to work with over a single stage press.

    The cost of reloads will depend on which powder, how much, which BULLET, free or purchased brass, etc. There are on line calculators you can use- google reloading cost calculator. Obviously, jacketed bullets will cost more than cast, etc. For s straight sided pistol cartridge, you will lose them in the grass before you wear them out.

    I would suggest getting a basic Lee set up, and then do some shopping for USED dies. Unless someone left them where they would rust and get pitted, I don't think a hobbyist CAN wear out modern dies. Yes, all modern standard dies have same thread, and you can use RCBS dies in a Lee press, etc. Just peeked at Ebay- set of Lyman 9mm dies bid at $9.98 right now.

    But get the ABCs before you buy anything else.

    PS- I shoot one rifle that NEW ammo- when I can get it- is $75 for TWENTY rounds. Guess why I reload???
  8. sharpshooter2

    sharpshooter2 New Member

    I use the Lee Loadall progressive and for about 250 bucks I was in business...my cost on .45 ACP is about 6 cents a round for bullits 1/2 to3/4 cents for powder and brass was 30 bucks a hundred,primers are $4.50 a hundred .......i would say around 15 dollars a hundred finished rounds.but it is a lot of fun to do it yourself...just be careful and don't take any short-cuts.
  9. Jake15

    Jake15 New Member

    The Lee deluxe kit is a really nice starter kit for pistol, I mostly load rifle so I have a single stage, but your gunna need dies, and getting the Lee case length gauge and shell holder for each cartridge your loading to go with the trimmer and lock stud that comes with the kit helps a lot with trimming. I've always liked Lee products, and I've always had great accuracy out of my Lee products, and for those who think that Lee is lower class on the accuracy scale, Google "Robert Frey 1000 yard record" he set a record for the smallest group at 1000 yards using a Lee press and Lee dies
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2011
  10. Eric0424

    Eric0424 New Member

    I started reloading about 5 years ago with the Lee Classic Turret Press kit from Cabela's. I've been real happy with nearly all of Lee's products, but didn't like the scale they sell. Mine was never consistent and I finally just bought the RCBS 505 to replace it.

    I highly recommend the Classic Turret Press Kit sold through Kempf and the $12 Pro-Auto Disc upgrade, it includes a set of dies (you choose) and no scales so you can get a dependable, more user friendly set of scales. I've had great service from the Pro-Auto Disc Powder Measure, the Safety Prime System and the press, I think you'll be much happier with the Classic Turret Press.

    The Classic turret press is a much heavier press than the standard turret you get with the Deluxe Kit with cast iron and steel in places the regular turret press is using aluminum. Even loading pistol rounds people have been known to break the linkage on the standard turret press.

    If you want to reload at a reasonable price, Lee is one of very few options and the Classic Turret Press can reload a good volume of ammo in and hour or two.

    Lee Precision
  11. BunnyWabbit

    BunnyWabbit New Member

    The kit I was looking at was the Lee Deluxe 4 hole Turret Press. They say it comes with about everything. Then I was going to get the hand held primer tool, shell plates for the press and primer tool, dies for the 3 calibers and a tumbler. Am I missing anything? I have been told the scale that comes with the Lee Kit isn't very good. I was going to buy a digital scale.

    Will the same dies do 9mm and .380 since they are the same size?
  12. Eric0424

    Eric0424 New Member

    The press in the Deluxe kit is the standard turret press, it's a light duty press, but it's a little cheaper if you're trying to keep your start up cost down and since you're reloading just pistol rounds it should provide adequate service. One of the reason I chose the Classic Turret was I knew I would be reloading rifle rounds too. Plus I prefer cast iron and steel over the aluminum.

    If you're getting Lee die sets you wont need the shell holders for the press, one is included with each set of dies. You will need the shell holder set for the hand primer though, Lee part #90198. You'll need both the 9mm and 380 die sets as they are a little different in size. Looking at the specs in my Hornady manual the 9mm case is .380" at the neck and tapers to .391' just above the rim. The 380 is .373" and is straight wall to just above the rim. If you want to try to reload both with the 9mm dies, I would suggest making some 380 dummy rounds and see if they chamber in your pistol. I really recommend getting both die sets though, it will save a lot of set-up time when switching calibers, you will have to re-adjust everything when switching.

    There's a few thing you'll need that doesn't come with the kit. The hand primer and hand primer shell holders. A set of calipers to measure cases and loaded rounds, I prefer dial, but a lot of people use digital because they're easier to read when starting out. A bullet puller for the mistakes that are made now and them. I have two, the Hornady Cam-Lock and a kinetic bullet puller from Cabela's. Both do the job the kinetic is just cheaper. The lee Case length gauge for each caliber, about $4-5 each.

    The Lee scales that came with my kit never worked right and I've read a lot of complaints on them too. So I replaced them with the RCBS 505. I really don't recommend the digital scales, the good digital are high priced and the cheap scales are cheaply made, I would recommend the RCBS scales instead. You should have a good set of balance beam scales to periodically check the digital scale for accuracy anyway.

    Ive been using the $14 Iosso case cleaner kit for my brass, most prefer the tumbler, media and the hours involved with it. The liquid cleaner takes seconds to clean the brass and is cheaper to start out.

    I'm sure there's a few other items needed, but can't really think of them at the moment.

    Iosso liquid case cleaner.

    Kinetic bullet puller.

    RCBS 505 scale. A little high, but well worth the extra cost.
  13. JTJ

    JTJ Well-Known Member Supporter

    My son in law is looking to sell his Lee progressive. I dont know the particulars but if you pm me an email address I can get it to him.
  14. Theunsb

    Theunsb New Member

    I suggest you visit a reloader in your area and get him or her to help you draw up a list of what you need and tutor you during the initial stages until you are familiar with the basics and you are prepared to go the reloading way. Not many people realise how serious a commitment reloading is and once you are into it addictive.

    1) List of equipment required
    2) Manual on reloading
    3) Then shop according to your budget constraints:D

    Doing it such a long time I sometimes have to force myself to buy loads for self defence and still prefer my own brew.:eek:
  15. cuate

    cuate New Member

    Lee Reloading Gear

    I have been using Lee reloading equipment for about 25 years and I have no complaints. There are other good brands but more expensive and not really all that much better or easier to use.

    Take time to carefully read all instruction manuals, reloading manuals and stay away from loading "Maximum Loads"..

    I reload 9mmLuger ammo all the time, I enjoy reloading asnd shooting them.
  16. Missouribound

    Missouribound Well-Known Member


    I purchased a simple, single Lee press just for de-capping purposes. It's very solid, very smooth operating and it's the bottom of the line in cost ($20). If the bottom of the line equipment is that good I'd bet that the rest of the line is of the same superior quality....just my 2 cents.