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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was thinkin of givin reloading a try and was looking at some of the reloading equipment offered by lee precision.
this equipment is by far the cheapest i can find and was wondering if it was any good. I am kinda drawn towards Lee because i am on a small budjet. Does anyone have any experience with Lee equipment and if so what do you think of it?

thanks


Travis
 

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lee equipment

I was in the same boat about a year ago. Buy the Lee stuff. Get one of thier kits with the manual in it and your are right it is inexpensive. I have loaded about 3 or 4 thousnd rounds of 45lc 45acp 30-30 and 30-06 and have had no real problems, just follow the directions.
good luck and welcome to reloading.
 

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I started using Lee Loaders back around 1956 and graduated to other brands. But I learned alot from loading those first shotgun shells, thanks to Lee. I then started carrying my little Lee Loader for the .357 to the In-Laws at Christmas time. Two weeks made for a long visit. They had a fine Country woodlot with a hill for a backstop. The father-in-law and I cooked off a lot of rounds. Cheap rounds!

Now days I use a Lyman press at home but I have a couple sets of Lee dies. I have had no problem with them, and would buy Lee dies again.

Deputy friend who shoots a lot of different handgun rounds cranks good loads out with his Lee press.

Siskiyou
 

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I've never liked Lee products, Their dies are Ok, and their hand primer works well enough. Most of the other products I have owned,( most came out of their starter kit ), I have thrown away after using RCBS,LYMAN, or just about any of the other major brands. Don't get me wrong, Lee stuff will work, but if your wanting it for the long haul you"ll be happier with the RCBS,LYMAN,HORNADY,DILLON, etc. Check out the RCBS kits. There not that expensive and a lot more durable. Just my opinion, KN
 

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lee

I HAVE BEEN RELOADING FOR 12 YEARS LIKE YOU I WAS ON A TIGHT BUDGET AND I BOUGHT ONE OF LEES KITS.STILL HAVE ALL HE SAME ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT,STILL CRANKING OUT GOOD QUALITY AMMO. ,SUGGEST YOU LOOK INTO THE ANNIVERSARY KIT (I THINK MIDWAY HAS IT ) IT COSTS UNDER 70 BUCKS AND HAS EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO GET STARTED,EVEN INCLUDES A RELOADING MANUAL.IT DOESNT MATTER WHAT BRAND YOU CHOOSE,YOU WILL BE SAVING MONEY AND YOU WILL HAVE SOME SENSE OF PRIDE KNOWING YOU MAKE YOUR OWN AMMO.GOOD LUCK AND WELCOME
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for all the info and opinions. i like to ask people who know something about the subject before i go out and buy anything and i figured this was a good a spot to ask as any.

thanks for answering the questions of a beginner.

travis
 

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Lee

I too use a Lee system. I bought it way before they had an Anniversary Kit, but have never worn out a part yet. My buddy was using a -illon system and was happy his gun shot such a small pattern. I used my cheap 'ol Lee system and his group shrunk to nothing. Come to find out, the Lee scale was infinately more sensative and the Powder Measure more accurate than the really expensive system he was using. He then bought those 2 Lee components and has had great success.

It's not the fastest, or the toughest, or even the prettiest...but it's a great place to start.
 

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Lee loaders

I'm probably the only guy around that went from red to green to blue then back to green. I have found the Lee stuff to be O.K. but I did manage to break a lee press, then I went to RCBS and it worked great but I found it was a lot faster if I used the little Reloader special (under $20) with a auto prime set up on it mounted next to the RCBS press.

The thing I found out about when I went to Dillon was that it is real fast and you handle the brass a lot less. This was not good for me. I kept finding loaded rounds with split necks, backwards primers, or other flaws that I would have caught on a single stage press including at least 1 round that got through with no powder. That turned out to be a real disaster.

Yeah Lee is a good place to start but I do urge you to beg borrow or steal a decent dial caliper (the plastic one from RCBS is O.K.) and a bullet puller to recycle mistakes
 

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think lee

I strongly recommend the Lee Aniversary Kit
Mine is about 5 years old and still turns out excellent ammo
Approximately 5500 rounds loaded with it (357, 308, 30-06, 243) with 45ACP and 30-30 on the way
The dies are very easy to set up
The powder scale is magnetically dampened but capacity is limited to 110gr

I would not hesitate on Lee considering you position
 

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I have been ignoring this thread because I have nothing nice to say, but I can no longer keep quiet.

It has been my experience that you buy Lee products if your loading tasks are light duty, short duration, field expedient or the tool is disposable.

In thirty years of reloading I can't tell you how many loading tools I have bought twice. Once Lee, then RCBS, Dillon, Lyman or Redding.

Lee tools are brilliantly designed and poorly executed. I have never had one that lasted. From the simplest to the most complex, Pot metal and plastic, they just don’t last. They just won’t stand up.

I had a Kake cutter for pan lubing bullets. Melt bullet lube in a small pan, set your bullets in the lube and let it cool. Take the bullet diameter Kake cutter tool push it over the bullet; move to the next bullet. After a few bullets are cut the bullets start coming out the top. Quick and easy to use. After a couple hundred bullets however the mouth starts to flare. As you cut the bullets out of the lube the lube starts building up in the throat. Soon it takes a great deal of effort to get the bullet through. You have to stop every 10 to 15 bullets to clean the Kake cutter out, so you can use it. Not very productive and a big pain. I now build my Kake cutters out of a chunk of old gunbarrel and haven’t had a problem

The handy little priming tool with tray. What neat idea, Wow! Pull down on the tray and slide a shell holder in and start priming. Changing from small primers to large primers is a breeze. Seating the primer is great; you can feel the primer reach the bottom of the pocket. No crushed primers, well not at first. After priming for a while the edge of the primer cup scrapes the side of the plastic channel. At first this is no big deal. After a while a small groove forms in the primer channel. Then every once in a while a primer will catch and tip a little. No big deal really. You just automatically apply just a little more pressure to upright the primer. That is until you crush one of those primers and set it and all the rest of the primers in tray off and pieces of plastic and primer fly around the room. One good thing is that the natural angle of working the tool makes it point away from your body. If you are lucky this will happen when you only have a few primers left in the tray. That’s lucky because every primer in the tray will be set off. Lee stands behind their product, because when the exploded tool is sent in they will replace it for free.

(Side note here. A few months after this incident I stopped by the Lee booth at the NRA convention and asked them if they had figured out a cure for the problem. I made sure no one else was around when I asked. They looked me straight in the face and said they didn’t know what I was talking about and they had never heard of such a problem. When I told them it had happened to me and I had sent my priming tool in just a few weeks earlier, with a letter explaining what had happened they glared at me and wouldn’t talk to me any more.)

Then there is the bullet moulds. It’s difficult to find a bullet mould that will cast a more perfect bullet almost from the first pour. I have never had a Lee mould that didn't get out of alignment within 100 pours or so. Try to close the mould and it won’t go. The mould has to be tapped to close. The latest adventure is a Lee Special order mould that I spent $50 for to cast bullets for my Martini. I didn’t know it was a Lee when I ordered it. I got 100 bullets out if before it was out alignment and the sprue plate warped. If I had known it was a Lee I would never have bought it. I bought this mould within the past year.

I could go on and tell you about all the Lee products I saw returned in my Gunshop. But this tirade has gone on long enough.

If you are going to start reloading spend just a little more and get a quality tool. RCBS and Lyman make good start up tools and they will last you a lifetime. Redding makes good stuff also. Never have used much Hornady stuff because it just wasn’t around. The ammunition you use will be a better quality, and you will be better satisfied with the results.

I have an RCBS press that I bought when I started reloading; it is my main reloading press still today. Stamped on the top is the date “68”.

Now in fairness, I will admit that that not every Lee tool I have used has failed me. I use the Lee case trimmer shell holder in my electric screwdriver for annealing brass. There is nothing better for the job.
 

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Thanks Double D, I was begining to think I was the only one out here with that opinion. I am just like you, I have thrown away almost every Lee product I ever bought. Buy the way, I also had a primer go off in my Lee Hand primer. It fliped a small pistol primer side ways and crushed it when seating. Didn't set off the rest of the primers but it sure burnt the crap out of the web of my hand. Now the only thing I use it for is priming my 45/70 cases. Only because my die is an odd size and it won't fit my RCBS tool. Have you ever looked at the little Zip Trim tool they came out with? The first time I saw it in a magazine I thought this thing looks kind of interesting. Then when I actually saw one I couldn't believe it. What a piece of crap. Well I've rambled enough about this. Just my opinion, KN
 

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If you can afford RCBS, go on and get it. If you can't, get the Lee.
I have two of their presses, the "O" press and the "C" press,I've had the turret press and one of their Load -Alls for shotshells. I have a whole family of their dies and molds, as well as a lyman mold and some rcbs dies.I had a scale that served me well, altho I never liked the powder measure, I have a set of their dippers. I have a LOT of lee products that served me well for many years.

Sure, when I got to where I could afford it, I upgraded to a RCBS press, lubrisizer, case trimmer and some dies, but the low cost of the Lee products is what got me started,and I still use some of the things I have.Don't be discouraged by those who have had some bad experiences, as they are bound to happen with any brand. Get what you can afford, or save up for something a bit better..
 

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Primers:

For years I have had primer tubes from both Lyman and RCBS. I thought they were a nice thing that speeded loading up. During this period I met this guy who was delivering re-manufactured pistol ammo to a gunshop that I did business wtih. Nice guy and he provided me with a lot of helpful information.

I had dropped by the Gun Shop a couple of times noticing that the supply of his reloads had dropped, then there was none. I stopped in a few months later and he was there. It was a little shocking. His face was messed-up and he had lost one eye. He explained that a crushed primer had set-off a tube full of primers in his automatic machine. This was back in the early 70's and I have no clue what brand of machine it was. But I took the lesson to heart. A tray or tube full of primers can become a high risk situation. I always wear safety glasses when loading. I only have the primers on the bench that I need for that session. I have no power containers present when I am priming.

I have never crushed a shotgun primer when reloading with the Lee kit, but I messed up some primers reloading handgun ammo with the early hand kit. I must retract what I wrote earlier. I did not like the priming method with the handkit. So when Lee came out with it's first squeeze type hand primer I bought one. It only lasted a few hundred rounds and it gave-up. A few years late I bought the newer design and have had no problem with it.

I must note that in the last 30 years I have messed up a few primers using both Lyman and RCBS tools. Not many but even once is to many. When I take into consideration the volume of ammo I loaded during those Christmas vacations that Lee tool did a great job.

Siskiyou
 

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I agree with Double D. My own approach was to save a bit longer and get RCBS. That equipment will last me the rest of my life. It's very well made.
 

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i started with the lee hand loader, for 38's, it worked great, but slow...then i came upon a lyman spartan press, scales and dies for 25 dollars...much better! you can find them for 20 bucks now.robust, you can't wear it out. then about 8 months ago i got a new dillon 550b...pure magic! everytime i crank out a hundred or so i'm still amazed that i lived with the others for 30 years...then a friend called, wanted me to figure out a lee progressive press he had....no offense to the lee lovers, but it was the most mamby-pamby p.o.s. i ever tried! maybe i better say that i was violently underimpressed...get you a good, solid single stage, even if you get an old used one like my spartan, that i still use,and then if you want to step up later, step over the lee stuff and go further...
 

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Alice Cooper, Me and a buddy went together and bought a Dillon square deal a few years ago, Had it set up at my house. He got tired of coming over all the time so I bought his half out. He bought a Lee progressive, A pro 2000 or some thing, and I don't think he's gotten more than a couple hundred rounds out of it in two years. Always fidgiting with it trying to make it work. I took a look at it once and came to the same conclusion. Total piece of junk. KN
 

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i am still fairly new to reloading...

my pal has a dillion super duper fancy rig that sure is nice and maybe somday.... until then my cheap ugly lee stuff will have to do. btw, when we chrono-ed the ammo i was making with my lee stuff, the variation was only 30 fps. i thought that was o.k., my pal was shocked. he said that i am doing everything right if i could get results like that. i still want a fancy dillion loader :)
 

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lee tools

If anyone has Lee tools, or any other brand for that matter, that they would like to throw away, I would be happy to make sure the equipment is disposed of properly :wink:
 

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I started reloading 8mm Mauser in 1968 with a Lee Hand Loader. In 1975 I started casting bullets. I now load 26 different calibers and gauges, and cast 15 different types of bullets.

100% of my equipment is Lee.

I don't know why, but right from the beginning I logged in every box I loaded or batch of bullets I cast. When I got a PC in 1986, I really went to town with the documentation.

I'm not a real big shooter. I only load about 2000 rounds a year. However:
* Had only one "failure" EVER. This summer I had a 357 mag go off and lodge a bullet. NO POWDER - MY fault.
* Never had a primer go off in the priming tray.
* Never had a priming tool wear like a previous writer stated.
* Only had 1 return - a 45 LC die that got "scratched" after using old nickle plated brass - Lee replaced it free of charge.
* Once I replaced the cast handle on a priming tool because it broke in half. Lee replaced that free of charge too.

My statistics are as follows:
* Over 50,000 rounds loaded over a 33 year span.
* Just cast my 12,000th Lee lead bullet. All my molds are originals and they all cast bullets that are just fine.

Of course, I take care of my stuff, read directions religiously, and am careful in whatever i do.

I just hate it when people bash Lee. (No, I;m not related or an employee) I'd love to own a Cadillac too, but my Chevy has 150,000 miles on it too, and it will continue to do just fine for me.

If you think this is an endorsement of Lee products, you're right.
 
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