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Thread: Is it just me or is Lee underappreciated?

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by JKP View Post
    I purchased a used Pro 1000 over 35 years ago. As long as it's kept clean it has worked for me with 6 different calibers and over 60,000 rounds. By the time I could justify an upgrade press, it was a matter of teaching an old dog new tricks. I always seemed to find another gun I wanted more than a new press (along with all the accessories that go with it).
    Iím absolutely the same with mine. Now that I know it, it works. Just keep it clean and the primer chute filled!

  2. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by TOTS View Post
    Iím absolutely the same with mine. Now that I know it, it works. Just keep it clean and the primer chute filled!
    Quote Originally Posted by JKP View Post
    I purchased a used Pro 1000 over 35 years ago. As long as it's kept clean it has worked for me with 6 different calibers and over 60,000 rounds. By the time I could justify an upgrade press, it was a matter of teaching an old dog new tricks. I always seemed to find another gun I wanted more than a new press (along with all the accessories that go with it).
    The biggest problem with the Pro 1000 (other than having only 3 die stations) is the dwell time between shell plate rotation and primer feeding. The shell plate indexes into position just a fraction before the primer is lifted by the seating punch. Anything that slows the primer down as it slides onto the punch means you get a sideways primer.

    As mentioned, keeping the primer system full certainty helps as does wiping the chute out periodically with a Q-tip.

    Lee reportedly updated the Pro 1000 a couple years ago with a new shell plate carrier. Locating pin(s) were added to help the shell plate index and I believe the timing/indexing was changed a little to give the primer more time to slide fully onto the punch. I haven't used the newest Pro 1000 so don't know just what has changed nor how well the changes work.

    The amazing thing about the Pro 1000 is that it will progressively load ammo for $200 and comes with everything needed to do so. Really the only things Lee could add is the case collator and a cheap digital scale.

    I've posted this before but, before I sold my Pro 1000) I was skipping the primer system and priming off press. An extra step but it simplified press operation and saved me the time of having to refill the primer chute. What I did was put the powder measure over station one. I then put the bullet seater at station 2 and a factory crimp die at station 3.

    While I no longer have a Pro 1000 I still have a 4 hole turret press and use it for loading stuff I don't shoot a ton of. Stuff that I need but don't want to mess with setting up the progressive for. The turret press is simple, quick and reliable. But as with much of Lee stuff, the primer system is an afterthought. The little rocker deal works okay but manually inserting each primer is a pain. And the bolt-on primer feeder probably drops more primers than I do using my fingers.

    Sent from my SM-G970U using Tapatalk

  3. #23
    Another Lee product I use regularly is the Ergo Prime. It is similar to other hand priming tools in that it has a tray to hold primers and a lever to seat them. The whole apparatus works best when held at about a 45į angle so gravity can feed the primers.

    The interesting thing about the Lee system is that it has a sort of lifter piece that moves the primer from the tray onto the priming punch. This is supposedly designed so that the primer being seated is separated from the primer tray. Detonation is still possible but suposedly it won't blow the rest of the primers and/or burn the operator. I haven't detonated a primer while seating so can't comment on the safety. But I do believe it is safer than some other designs on the market.

    I like the Ergo because it uses fingers instead of thumb to operate. Interestingly enough it looks like the Ergo has been dropped by Lee in favor of the Auto Prime. The AP uses the thumb as has been the case with Lee primer tools of old.

    The one complaint I have with the Ergo is that the clear plastic primer adapter pieces are brittle and crack easily. But Lee always sends me a free one whenever I do break one.

    Another complaint although it is more of an inconvenience than a design flaw is the specific shell holders. I have had to learn the hard way to remember to order the correct number when buying a new set of dies. The Lee shell holder kit has the most popular but these don't cover everything.

    Sent from my SM-G970U using Tapatalk

  4. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Greg View Post
    Canít stand the FCD for pistol rounds.
    What are some of the issues? I know some folks do not like the resizing aspect, are there other things you do not like?

  5. #25
    Lowly Production C-Class olstyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmc45414 View Post
    What are some of the issues? I know some folks do not like the resizing aspect, are there other things you do not like?
    No personal experience, but my understanding is that it can result in swaging pistol bullets down to smaller-than-caliber size, in some cases leading to accuracy and/or leading issues.

    The only Lee tool I have is their cheap little beam scale, and I have to say that for the price (IIRC somewhere in the neighborhood of $20-25), I'm well satisfied with it. It's far from fancy, and I wish it had a higher weight capacity (maxes out at 110 grains), but for what it is, it does a good job.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmc45414 View Post
    What are some of the issues? I know some folks do not like the resizing aspect, are there other things you do not like?
    I have one in .45 ACP, and it would literally tear brass when bringing the round out of the die. It required a lot more effort to run my 550. I switched back to a standard Lee taper crimp die and the problem went away. The tightest chamber I have in .45 ACP is the Bar-Sto barrel in my Commander, and cast bullets sized .452 and crimped in the standard TC die using mixed brass work fine. I really think the FCD is an answer in search of a question.

  7. #27
    Soul Brother Number 1 Greg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmc45414 View Post
    What are some of the issues? I know some folks do not like the resizing aspect, are there other things you do not like?
    The resizing and the issues mentioned above.
    Donít blame me. I didnít vote for that dumb bastard.

  8. #28
    I have used the FCD in pistol and rifle calibers and have found it to work as advertised. Depending on the cartridge being loaded and the source of the brass, the carbide sizing ring might not even touch the case. The rifle crimp die does not have the carbide ring. It crimps with a collet and will apply a very aggressive crimp.

    With all that said, there have reportedly been instances where cheap plated bullets have been rendered undersized by the die. I haven't experienced this (at least not to a point of noticing loss of accuracy) and have not read/heard of it happening with jacketed.

    Sent from my SM-G970U using Tapatalk

  9. #29
    Just loaded 155 rounds of 38 Special on a Lee press. RCBS dies because I scored them on sale but everything else Lee. Bullets were some old, cheap, garbage 158 grain semi-conical flat nose from a defunct vendor. Found the last jar and decided to get them gone. My usual load drops a wide flat point out of a Lee mold to powder coat and size in a Lee die.

    Primed on the press as the only human being to getbalong alright with their swing-arm primer cup magazine thingy. Powder charges dropped with a 0.5cc Lee dipper. Sinking it into a custard cup of Unique and tapping to settle level throws a very consistent 4.0 grains with the occasional 3.9 grain charge.

    When I finally get around to setting up the 550 for .38, I'll use these dies. For the following 357 Magnum head, plan to price between Lee and Dilon dies.

    My 16 gauge handloads are also run through a Lee. The Load-All II works. One ounce shot bushing, SG16 wads, 110 powder bushing for a mellow charge of Unique, and Remington hulls has been fine, so far. They even sent me a bunch of small parts for just shipping when I lost the priming station in a move and wanted a full set of powder/shot bushings. As janky as the contraption seems, and in many ways is, can't complain for low volume applications.

    The .38 whack-a-mole kit I gave a homeless friend with some mixed brass kept them practiced enough to survive a shooting. Running a 0.5cc scoop of Unique, the carry gun liked the range fodder enough to keep on a coffee can out to the fifty yard line. Don't know what charge weight it dropped with their technique and know for a fact it was never weighed. That dipper gave me 4.0-4.1 grains on average before gifting, though. Around 3.8 grains if I card scraped rather than tapped to settle.

    Hate Lee's finnicky powder scale, though. It works but is easy to bump and drives me up a wall. Their bullet kolds and dies being so dependable at great price points alone make up for the one poor product.

    I even like their standalone bench mount powder thrower alright. Despite some leakage around the drum, it is very consistent for charging H110 in 30 Carbine brass for the missus.

  10. #30
    Since I have mostly Lee die sets I have all of the powder drop flare dies and have decided to try the Pro Auto-Disk. Will probably setup on a 650 tool head for .38, I have been looking at the drop chart and it looks like I can get anything I really need.

    Am less worried about 357 these days, though I might setup to run all of my brass through the 650 just to get them all at least sized and de-capped, and maybe flared. Then I can experiment with them in small batches. I was thinking about doing this on the Lee APP but I kinda like having the two of them setup for 9mm and 223 and leaving them alone.

    As I mentioned here, one of the things I do not love about the Dillon measure is the funnel. I think an issue might be that it is capable of way more flare than ever would be appropriate, and the Lee looks like it will flare plenty and then bottom out on the flat.

    Anyway, imma gonna try it, and they are in stock at Brownells at an appropriate price:
    https://www.brownells.com/reloading/...11-115375.aspx

    ETA: I like the idea of the volume being measured in a cylinder. No proof, just feels.
    Last edited by mmc45414; 03-01-2021 at 10:38 AM.

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