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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am thinking about getting another press set up to load 9MM and or 45 ACP. I plan on shooting 200-300 rounds a week. I don't feel like loading these all on a single stage press. Also, I can load better bullets than I can buy at cheap prices. I know the savings on 9MM will be $5-$7 at best on a good day. I looked at the Hornady and Dillon presses but they just seem to expensive. The price of the presses are very close for one caliber.

I had the PRO 1000 in the past. It flooded several years ago and I threw it out with everything else. The progressive tended to be problematic for me. If I paid attention and made sure the primer seated I had zero issues. If I missed a primer the powder would fall through and bind up the shell plate. When it was all working right it spit out bullets like a machine. It took more time to load cases and primers than it did to cycle through them. With this type press it basically needs to be set up to a dedicated caliber.

I have zero experience with the turret press but I have read they work great. Also, it is really easy to change between calibers. The only downside is it takes 4 strokes per cartridge with manual cartridge, primer and bullet feeds.
 

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I have the older 3 hole Lee Turret with auto indexing and powder measure. It works just fine. The single primer feed is the only drawback. Midway still offers them for $61.00,, they are no longer made and parts are getting scarce. The newer 4 hole would offer a separate station for a crimp die, but more money. Compared to a Dillion or RCBS they are a bargain that works. Get a die holder, about $12, for each cartridge and the only thing you have to adjust is the powder measure.
 

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You could increase your rounds per hour production with a Lee turret in "semi-automatic" or self indexing mode. While I don't have and have not used a Lee progressive I can't give an honest opinion, but I've heard very few positive reports on them. If I were to go progressive I'd start with an entry level Dillon (say "progressive" and most reloaders think "Dillon"). Personally, I prefer hand indexing my turret and I don't consider it slow. I batch load and prefer to do one or two steps at a time and usually have a bunch (depending on the cartridge) of primed and ready brass available. Just charge and seat...
 

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I have a 4 hole turret for rifle ammo. But I use a load master for pistol rounds. Keep an eye on the consumables (powder and primers) and I've never had much issue.

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STUMPJMPR - Bite the bullet, man just get the Dillon Square Deal B at $384.95, set up including proprietary dies for 9mm. Believe me, you will be happy with it. Dillon also has a fantastic lifetime warranty. If you look in the reloading classifieds, you might even get lucky, and find one for sale. Even if it's been heavily used, buy it, and send it back to Dillon, they'll get you up and running, at little to no cost. You can reload the 300 - 400 bullets you plan on shooting that week in about an hour.

I originally bought the Dillon 550B, since I was new to progressive reloading, I wanted to hand index my cases. After using the Dillon 550B for about a year, I decided to pickup a Square Deal which has auto indexing. I had the Square Deal set up for 38's since I use to be big into PPC competition, and the 550 was used for 45ACP, and 9mm. I now even use it to reload some rifle calibers. But to be honest when I just want to reload a few boxes of hunting ammo, I still use my RCBS Rockchucker single stage press.
 

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With the Lee Classic Turret press it takes me about 45 minutes to load 100 rounds. Part of that time is spent priming off the press.
That is start to finish of one session.
I might be able to go faster but I don't want to rush it and overlook something.
I would imagine a good progressive would turn out ammo faster than that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Alderman,

Your're loading 133 rounds per hour which is consistent with most claims I have seen.

The only reason I considered the turret is because it is more reliable than the Lee progressive and caliber changes are simple. The price between the two presses are almost identical by the time I buy everything I need to start loading.

I like the Dillon and realize I will have a lot less trouble with it. However, I'm not sure if I want to spend $400 on that press.
 

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My comments don't address your question relative to the Lee, BUT

I guess it all comes down to how much you want to spend. I would recommend you buy once and cry once instead of buying once and crying a lot or buying more than once. ;)

I would recommend either the Dillon or Hornady. The Hornady is 150 to 200 bucks cheaper - $380 for the machine and maybe another 70 to 125 bucks to set it up to what you can get a Dillon XL650 set up for 45ACP at $650.00. Look for Amazon pricing. With either machine you'll turn out 250/300 rounds an hour at a relaxed pace. I have the Hornady and I know several others with the Hornady and we are all happy campers. If I were planning on ever adding a bullet & case feeder I would have went with the Dillon 650, as at the time the Hornady was just getting into that area, whereas Dillon had it down pat and I think their setup is a little quieter and a bit faster. I didn't need that kind of speed, so I went with the Hornady.

Once you get into "speed" reloading, you'll spend a little more money than you initially thought you would. You'll need extra priming tubes, as that is what makes the speed (you don't have to stop and recharge your priming tubes - if you have a loading buddy, I guess they could handle that chore and save you some money). You might want a second powder tube - one for handgun and one for rifle, as that will save you time and makes everything more "enjoyable", as you don't have to re-set anything except maybe the powder insert if you only have one. Once you have purchased "everything" it'll last you a lifetime and the money spent along with adding a little more water to the soup until you recover from spending all that money will be but a distant memory next year and you will be glad you have a great progressive reloader. Then all your worries will turn to stocking up on brass, lead, primers and powder. ;D
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all the comments. I ended up buying a the lee turret. In the end I felt this press was more versatile than the rest. Also, I l can watch every step. Once I got it set up and running right it seems I can do about 3-5 rounds a minute. Although, this is difficult pace to maintain. So far I am happy with it. At first I was concerned about the primer feeder but it works well. I did have one problem with the press. One of the toggle arms cracked. I contacted lee and they said they would send me a new one.
 

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Since the OP has resolved his issue for the moment, I hope it doesn't seem like a hi-jack to ask if anybody has looked at the newest RCBS progressives?


Any opinions or experience with them?








And OP, I'm interested in an update after a few month's experience.


I have a Lyman turret that I use in the "semi" automatic mode. With prepped and primed cases I can rock along pretty well but I keep wondering about something a little faster......
 

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Jes Wonderin'. For the progressive reloaders; when you are in a hurry and produce 300 rounds in an hour, then what do you do? Grab a beer and go watch TV? Go mow the lawn? I ask because I enjoy reloading and have no need to rush through an enjoyable task. Perhaps this is why I "batch load;I do one or two operations at a setting, and have a lot of processed brass waiting for powder and a bullet laying around (actually stored neatly ;D )...
 

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mdi said:
Jes Wonderin'. For the progressive reloaders; when you are in a hurry and produce 300 rounds in an hour, then what do you do? Grab a beer and go watch TV? Go mow the lawn? I ask because I enjoy reloading and have no need to rush through an enjoyable task. Perhaps this is why I "batch load;I do one or two operations at a setting, and have a lot of processed brass waiting for powder and a bullet laying around (actually stored neatly ;D )...
Can't speak for the other progressive owners but cranking out 300 rounds an hour is at a relaxed pace - you could go slower if you want. Just last month I was running low on 45 ACP, so I loaded up 1,200 rounds that should last me through February - then I'll load them up again. 1,200 rounds took me most of the day as I cleaned the primer pockets with my Sinclair primer pocket tool using a battery operated drill, then tumbled them and through the Hornady they went - like a hot knife through butter. That was using all 5-stations with the last station applying a mild taper crimp.

I checked maybe 6 or 8 for powder drop accuracy and all were spot-on at 4.2 grains of VV N-310. You couldn't hand weigh powder charges any more accurate than my LnL drops them. Now if we were talking Varget; that's a whole different story, as that is one sorry powder going through any powder measure for spot-on accuracy.

I sized & de-primed 900 cases of 223 yesterday with the LnL. I didn't time myself but I think it probably took 90 minutes or less - that's not counting time lubing the cases of course. Today I uniformed the primer pockets and flash hole, then trimmed and deburred them and they are now in the tumbler. My granddaughter helped this morning, so that cut my time down considerably. I'll load those tomorrow at about 240 rounds an hour.

I too enjoy reloading - I just don't do it as often as you do with a single stage. ;)
 

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I load everything, rifle pistol and shogun, but I'm mostly a bolt action rifleman and I knew that when I started loading back in '65. My first, and for about 25 years my only, metallic cartridge work was done on a six station iron press, a Lyman Spar-T. It worked fine, still does, but that rotating head flex bothered me in pursuit of optimum accuracy so I finally added a sturdy iron single stage. (Not sure it made much difference but I'm more comfortable with it for rifle loads.)

As a noob, I had thought a turret would 'obviously' be faster than a single stage, right? Wrong. I soon found there is no meaningful difference in the total speed between using a single stage vs. a turret press if I'm equally meticulous with each. And there's still not a lot of difference if I'm just banging them out for volume! with the turret.

Thing is, the demands of making excellent pistol ammo are not nearly as high as rifle. (I KNOW my pistol ammo is no different with either press and the speed difference is negligible when good technique and operating rhythm are used.) Thus, I'm comfortable telling anyone who needs to load more than maybe 200 rounds of handgun ammo in a single reloading session to get a progressive press because turret presses just don't do much for us.
 

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I just hate it when I run out of stuff to reload so the turret press works well for me. Just fast enough to where I think I have accomplished something and simple enough to operate even with my mechanical ineptitude.


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if it makes enough ammo for you in a time frame that's exceptable you did well. Im sure glad you didn't opt for the pro 1000. There nothing but a headache and theres probably as many of them collecting dust as actually being used. Ill give a load master the same rating. Lee makes some good things at reasonable prices but there progressives aren't one of them.
 

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I load all my ammo rifle and pistol on a four hole lee turret press. For rifle I remove the indexing stem and do it by hand, because I weigh every rifle charge. I have loaded many thousand rounds on it and it is still working.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I'm liking the turret press. I only have to handle each piece of brass once. The only station I closely watch is the powder drop. However, it seems to work perfect. It usually varies about .1 grains which is close enough for me. I'm using AA #5. My only complaint is it leaks a little powder thru the disk..
 

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Anyone use Lee's new auto drum powder measure yet?

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I just ordered a Lee Powder Drum last night from FS Reloading along with the Rifle Charging Kit that includes both a short and tall die needed by the powder drum in the absence of a powder through die. When it arrives I plan to use it with my Lee Classic Cast Turret press for 221 Fireball, 223 Rem, 45-70 and 40 S&W pistol.


If it works really well I may pick up one or two more and keep it mounted to the turret as a dedicated station.


OP - you will not be disappointed with the Lee Classic Turret press if that is the model you bought.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I'm really liking the turret press. It operates smoothly without any trouble. The autodisk powder measure throws very consistent. The only complaint was it leaked powder everywhere. I had to sand down the edges of the hopper and lubricate it with the lee case lube. I used this because it is powder safe once dried. It doesn't leak a grain of powder now. I've loaded about 400 rounds on it. I recommend stopping and cleaning the dies every couple hundred rounds. They get real dirty.

I may end up getting the auto drum later as I will have more room for adjustment.
 
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