View Full Version : LEE Classic Cast alignment
I've owned two Lee presses, their small C-press and their larger O-press, the Challenger.
On both of them, the ram was not aligned with the die hole. Worse so on the C-press than on the Challenger. A case would tip slightly as it entered the die.
What's your experience with their new Classic Cast - is the ram perfectly aligned with the die?
(This question could be extended to LEE's "old" Turret and Classic Turret versions, also).
03-01-2006, 08:20 AM
I have both a Lee PRO 1000 and a Lee turret. Both of them have worked well. You have to be a bit of a mechanic to operate the Pro 1000 but if you have "good hands" it is not a problem. In other words it is not as user friendly as my Dillon 550B but still a good press. The Lee turret is a terrific little press. I occasionally have to replace a plastic index ratchet, but it costs little and is easy to replace.
03-01-2006, 02:53 PM
My Lee Classic Cast is dead on. Nice press.
03-01-2006, 07:31 PM
My Lee Reloaders are right on, too, but I only use them with an Autoprime2 and with their push through boolit sizers.
03-01-2006, 08:00 PM
Like Versifier, my C's are right on. I have three and use them to load at the range. Only downside is they spring too much to size the bigger brass-300 mag, .270, '06, etc. Works fine for full length sizing on the smaller cases, like .308 on down.
The Classic Cast I have is dead on also. Handpress also OK.
03-01-2006, 08:13 PM
amen,dale53. i got tired of mechanicing and converted my pro 1000 to a 4 hole AI.more faster,less fiddlin.
03-02-2006, 07:15 AM
I shouldn't say this, but that won't stop me :-). When will you guys quit bying POS equipment that must be made to work correctly.
I have three presses on my bench. A mid-50's RCBS A2, A early 60's Herters, and a 1995 vintage Redding turrent. None of the require tuning, or jacking with to work properly. I just clean them with a tooth brush every now and then and put a little oil on the ram and that is that.
Twenty years ago, I bought one Lee press. It was the old manual three hole turrent. I was shooting Service Rilfe matches ad the time, and though I couldl speed up my production and dedicate that one press to one round.
There was so much slop in the turrent and press that I could not hold critical headspace adjustment on 30-06 Match ammo. I stuck it in a box and after ten years gave it away to some guy. I could not have sold it for money and slept well at night.
I know..I know!! I will hear from the guys who think Lee hung the moon and/or are just plain cheap and/or don't have high standards for their ammo..and they will all tell me to quit bashing Lee presses. Well I won't, because POS is POS and Lee presses are most often POS and the above thread just reinforces this salient truth.
I bought the big Herters press three years ago on Ebay for $15.00 to my door. I sold the Herters shell holders for enough money to buy an RCBS conversion unit to use standard snap in shell holders and the priming arms for $14.00. I have a total of $1.00 into that press and it is heads and shoulders better than anything to roll out of the Lee shop. How is that for doing it on the cheap?
There is just too much good used equipment out there to spend money on Lee ****. Just my not so humble opinion. Your milage may vary.
03-02-2006, 08:04 AM
Charles, it won't be me disagreeing with you. That said, I have two Lee turret presses, a three holer and a three converted to four. I do just about ALL of my pissola stuff on them, and for that they are adequate. However, most of my pissola brass is FLS on a Rock Chucker and hand primed. Onliest thing the Lee turret is used for is final assembly.
ALL of my rifle ammo is manufactured on the RC (got 2 of them, neither bought new), or if I'm at the range, on a RCBS Jr (which also was not bought new), that gets range box duty (only press I had for many years, but it still very functional). I have no problem with single stage as I check powder levels as I load. Safety first, accuracy second, quantity last. I doubt if I would ever buy another Lee press. I'll continue to use the two turrets I have only because I have a small investment in heads with dies already mounted and they still work. I will NOT prime on a turret press. sundog
03-02-2006, 08:25 AM
I have a number of reloading presses: RCBS Rockchucker, Lee Turret (best press going for the economically challenged, Pro 1000 dedicated to the .32 H&R Mag, a Lyman Turret for my BPCR's, and a Dillon 550B for real quantity with precision. I have competed at the highest level with IPSC, Benchrest, BPCR Silhouette, and Schuetzen Bench. I do know how to reload and I do know equipment. A lot of Lee equipment is innovative and ALL of it is more than fairly priced. Their little auto priming tool is worth it's weight in gold. I LOVE the Lee turret press. When I need to load 200 or less of most any caliber (I load a LOT of different calibers) I can have the Lee running in seconds with a caliber change. That is a real asset.
Some Lee stuff does not appeal to me. I just don't buy that. To call all Lee loading stuff **** is hardly accurate. They have put more people into loading than all of the other companies combined. FWIW, I have NO financial interest in ANY reloading company.
Hi guys and thanks for all your replies.
The reason for my asking is because I need an extra press (already have a Forster Bonanza). I wouldn't have considered a LEE press before the Classic Cast but it has been so well received that it got my attention. I'm also considering a Rock Chucker Supreme.
03-02-2006, 03:33 PM
I don't think Lee is tops in quality by any means, but the stuff I use regularly is the stuff that works well. The Lee products that don't work so well I stay away from.
Haven't got too burned yet. The Pro 1000 is not really the tool for a lot of high volume reloading, as it takes a lot of monkeying around to keep it running properly. Generally, the simpler Lee stuff are the products to get. When they get complicated in design then they don't work reliably.
The Classic Cast I have is fine, but then, it should be. No pot metal and it's simple.
Stay away from pot metal and complicated.
03-02-2006, 09:56 PM
Here is an interesting review of the Lee Classic Turret:
03-02-2006, 10:51 PM
The Lee Classic is the same level of quality as the Dillon 550B for sure. I've got both, and think they're lifetime purchases.
03-03-2006, 06:31 AM
I have an old RCBS Jr whose ram to die alignment is off maybe .005" to the west if you consider the front of the press as south and the back as north. The mouth of every case of every caliber catches on the edge of its sizing die unless I push the case eastward with a finger. But the misalignment could also be in the shellholder to ram junction instead of the ram to die alignment.
I've been looking hard at the new Lee Classic Cast and the even newer Classic Turret Cast. But I wonder about the alignment. . . . Is there a way to check it?????
03-03-2006, 07:23 AM
Junior, my Junior, the RCBS Jr, that is, is the same way. I kinda figured out a long time ago it's a shell holder issue. Seems like one way to check would be measuring runout. I roll mine on a flat surface, and if they look straight, good to go. They shoot small groups, so I guess they're okay. But, then again, I don't own any bench guns, so I'm not going to spend a small fortune on measuring equipment until I do (own bench guns, that is). Not even thinking about replacing that press. It's in my range box. sundog
03-03-2006, 10:23 AM
Lee has a ne cast turret? I've been out of the loop for awhile.. :mrgreen:
03-03-2006, 11:24 PM
just a note. i have a lyman orange crusher,a lyman 6-hole turret and a lee C-press. i bought the lee pro-1000 off e-bay used,set-up and ready to load 45acp. thats all i bought it for.i was looking for a little more speed.i use my 1 and 6 holers for rifle and revolver ammo. i couldnt justify spending $4-500 on a dillon to make excellent ammo for a pistol that i dont shoot well.my only problem was the primer system and the cost of a caliber change. it was cheaper for me to convert to a 4-hole AI than to buy all new primer parts and shell plates for a caliber change.
03-04-2006, 05:50 AM
Lee equipment has a market place for a lot of folks wanting to get into reloading ammo and save money. In that they have most offten succeeded, but in their reloading presses its been touch and go as to reliability.
The only Lee press I own is the Lee Classic single stage model. It is one sturdy momma with its massive ram piston. Sturdy enough to swage bullets for me with some slight modifications to the screw-off shellholder being shortend nearly 1/2 inch.
I also like Lee dies, they are very good value for the money.
The powder measures are not to my liking, too much fiddling time trying to keep the measurement precise. And the biggest buggerboo is the non industry standard of measurement...using a conversion chart is not practical or very fast.
Now, this new Lee Classic 4-holer turret is something to get excited about if you are wanting to speed up your reloading process. It is built ruggedly and should last you a life time.
I've got eight reloading presses at the present time, some are really old models but dependable to the ingth degree. Dillon and Lyman, and good old Herters is my main stays. C-H 4-die station is there too.
But my favorite turret is the Lyman All American model for working up new loads before mass production on the Dillons.
Lee has come a long way in the industry, I expect they'll be even more innovative
as time goes by.
03-04-2006, 11:31 AM
I ask the question...
If the new Lee turret is as good as the Classic Single Stage, what would a guy need to buy a Dillon 550B for?
Wouldn't this press do the same thing for a lot less money?
03-04-2006, 12:13 PM
The LEE Classic Turret is just a very good turret press. You can load about 200 an hour. The Dillon 550B, on the other hand, will allow you to load about 500 an hour. That is the difference. If you are a competitive shooter that is a real difference. Over a five year period, I averaged 15,000 45 acp's a year plus a couple of thousand here and there on other cartridges. When you are doing that kind of volume, the difference is truly important (I also had a job, a wife and three kids, etc).
These days, if I had to, I could get by with just one press - the Lee turret. However, I am glad that I don't have to.... I appreciate a progressive press that allows me to crank 500 an hour (not at the rate of, but 500 an hour as long as I want to sit there) if I need to. Keep in mind, I STILL use my Lee Turret for the small runs...
As always, YMMV.
03-04-2006, 04:34 PM
Lee stuff is entry level equipment, cheap and servicable, nothing to be proud of. The best things Lee have done is drive down the price of newbie's getting into reloading, and showing some really outside of the box engineering.
Lee has the worst warranty in the buissness-2 years, EVERYONE else has lifetime warrantys now.
03-04-2006, 04:48 PM
But I don't understand how the Dillon could be twice as fast? Where's the speed step gained?
They both are 4 station. They both index, cept the Lee auto indexes and I think there's maybe a little speed picked up there.
They both can auto charge from a powder measure can't they? They both can auto prime.
The Dillon kicks out a finished round when done.
I know how fast a Dillon works cause I have one, but I guess I would have to see a Lee turret work... :lovebooli
Dillon 550 has a shellplate carrying 4 cases while LEE Turret only has a single shell holder. That means that Dillon works on 4 cases simultaneously for each pull of the handle.
So, when all "stations" of the Dillon once are filled, it produces a finished round with each pull. On the LEE you have to pull 4 times on the handle for a finished round.
03-05-2006, 07:23 PM
Wow! I've watched this thread with interest. I think it's one of only a very, very few I've ever seen mentioning the alignment of the ram with the dies. I once made a post on this some years ago, and was told that I was crazy. All this time and finally, I'm justified! THANKS!
I've had a number of other presses through the years, including at least 2 Rock Chuckers that I remember right now, and have sold them all. My old Reloader Special has, consistently through many years now, produced the best accuracy of any press I've ever had, and I've probably had 8 or 10, minimum. I've always attributed this to the alignment and fit of the ram. Nice to know I'm not the only "crazy" one who's noted this! Thanks AGAIN!
03-05-2006, 08:53 PM
I forgot about the 4 up and 4 down working simultaniously.. :mrgreen:
03-06-2006, 04:57 AM
I repeat my question: Is there a simple way to check ram/die/shellholder alignment?
03-06-2006, 08:20 AM
I have both a Dillion 550 and a Lee Classic. They are both great and accurate pieces of equipment. I use the classic for my rifle and lessor used pistols rounds. I have no problems with alignment or bullet seating. Before these presses, I had a Lyman single stage and I upgraded to a Lee turrent press. It served me well and I lloaded literally thosands of rounds of both pistal and rifle ammo.
I don't understand why someone who is going to load precision rifle ammo would use a turrent press of any kind and then complain as to whther the equipment is good or bad? I also don't understand why people have this thing about Lee products. Iv'e used Lee products for over 30 years. Anytime I've had a problem, I'd call Lee and they took care of it. Every piece of equipment has its use and desired outcome. This Ford beats Chevy thing is really wearing me out.
Thanks for letting me rant,
I use a run out gauge and test the ammo after sizing and after seating the bullet. If everythig is as it should be you have wiggle room in any pres for the base of the case to slid around and self center in the die. Unless the die is really off most presses I have tried are ll about equal. I have tried checking the base of the case for runout, but there is so small an area to work with and it is so hard to center a tapered case that i don't know if i have gotten any valid data. For me the bottom line is how does it shoot? If any press will equal the groups of my Co-ax for the same rifle I consider that the press is in line. For example my bull bbl 223 shooots into 1/2" at 100 yards with ammo loaded on the Co-Ax and with ammo loaded on the Lee so for all intents and purpose the Lee's alignment is certianly no worse than the Co-Ax.
03-07-2006, 05:10 AM
I will NOT prime on a turret press. sundogWhy not?
03-07-2006, 07:35 AM
Count me in as a Lee fan. I want to get a Classic Turret, but I have an investment in 3 hole turrets already, and my current Lee turret does what I need it to do. I may upgrade my current turret press to the new priming setup.
I have several Lee presses, and the only alignment problem I have experienced is 380acp because the shellholder allows a bit too much wiggle, and I sometimes catch the lip of the case on the sizing die. All of my presses do a good job of centering the shells under the dies.
I recently picked up a used Loadmaster, and while assembling it, I'm scratching my head and thinking...is this indexing design really gonna work? And, lo, when all together, it works and works well.
Had the same experience with the Lee Perfect Powder Measure. I have an RCBS Uniflow, which from a build standpoint, makes the Lee measure look ridiculous. But when I tested the Lee with a bunch of different powders, it did a better job of metering the powder accurately. The RCBS binds on extruded grains and cuts them, regularly. The Lee doesn't cut the grains and doesn't bind on them. Go figure. The RCBS costs four or five times as much, is certainly built more robust, but functionally, is weaker.
That, in my opinion, is what Lee is best at: Getting good or even excellent function with far less expensive designs.
"I repeat my question: Is there a simple way to check ram/die/shellholder alignment?"
I'd like to learn this procedure too.
There is the fit of the shell in the shellholder:
the shellholder in the ram:
the alignment of the ram with the threaded die station:
the play of the die in the threaded die station.
How do you set up a dial test indicator to measure these variables.
How does this relate to the floating arrangement of the Co-Ax?
Cheers from Darkest California,
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