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Thread: Lee Challenger Breech Lock vs. Lee Classic Cast

  1. #1
    Boolit Master VHoward's Avatar
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    Lee Challenger Breech Lock vs. Lee Classic Cast

    In another thread, I had mentioned that I had problems with spent primers not going into the collection tube about half the time.

    I recently purchased a Lee Classic Cast single stage to replace the Challenger Breech Lock single stage. A couple of differences I noticed other than the obvious classic cast is a much beefier press. In the Classic Cast, the primer arms can only be installed and removed when the shell holder is removed and the primer arms will not fall out of it during use. In the Challenger, I could install and remove the primer arms while the shell holder was installed and the primer arms would occasionally fall out during use. In the classic cast, I have had absolutely no spent primers make it on the floor. They all went in the collection tube. In the challenger, about half would end up on the floor. They would either somehow bounce off the primer arm and come out that slot, or they will overshoot the collection box the collection tube is hung from.

    Since others have said they have not had this problem, I am thinking mine was defective?

    There was also one poster who has the breech lock classic cast that says he doesn't have the problem.

    In either case, I like the Classic Cast much better and I like that the spent primers drop out the bottom of the ram into the collection tube. I purchased the Hornady Lock-N-Load bushing conversion kit to use with the classic cast. I find the Hornady bushings are easier to install and remove than the Lee breech lock bushings.

    Just my observations so far.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master joec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VHoward View Post
    In another thread, I had mentioned that I had problems with spent primers not going into the collection tube about half the time.

    I recently purchased a Lee Classic Cast single stage to replace the Challenger Breech Lock single stage. A couple of differences I noticed other than the obvious classic cast is a much beefier press. In the Classic Cast, the primer arms can only be installed and removed when the shell holder is removed and the primer arms will not fall out of it during use. In the Challenger, I could install and remove the primer arms while the shell holder was installed and the primer arms would occasionally fall out during use. In the classic cast, I have had absolutely no spent primers make it on the floor. They all went in the collection tube. In the challenger, about half would end up on the floor. They would either somehow bounce off the primer arm and come out that slot, or they will overshoot the collection box the collection tube is hung from.

    Since others have said they have not had this problem, I am thinking mine was defective?

    There was also one poster who has the breech lock classic cast that says he doesn't have the problem.

    In either case, I like the Classic Cast much better and I like that the spent primers drop out the bottom of the ram into the collection tube. I purchased the Hornady Lock-N-Load bushing conversion kit to use with the classic cast. I find the Hornady bushings are easier to install and remove than the Lee breech lock bushings.

    Just my observations so far.
    I have that exact setup the Lee Classic Cast with the Hornady Lock-N-Load bushing kit and still also have the ability of the 1 1/4x12 dies such as the RCBS cowboy shot shell dies that I can use. Now Lee builds supposedly the same press as the Lee Classic Cast in the Classic Cast Breech Lock, however I'm not sure based on pictures if it is the same as per primer drop or not, but do know it doesn't have the 1 1/4x12 die capability.
    Joe

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    i use to have problems with primers on the floor a long time ago, then i realized the primer arm needs to be installed when depriming cases

  4. #4
    Boolit Master VHoward's Avatar
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    Like I keep saying, I have always used the primer arm in the ram when decapping. The primer arm in my Challenger was always also getting stuck in the hole of the shell holder. Used a dremel to open that up so the primer cup wouldn't get stuck in it.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    429421Cowboy's Avatar
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    My best friend has a Breech Lock Challenger and i hate to say it, but i think the Classic Cast is just a way better investment! I don't care for the aluminum construction of the BLC, plus i always wind up pinching my fingers trying to fight the die out, if it worked perfect everytime it'd be a great idea, however I would rather spin the die in and out if i have to fight it each time.
    Raisin' Black Angus cows, outta gas, outta money, outta tags, low on boolits, but full 'a hope on the Rocky Mountain Eastern Slope!
    Why does a man with a 7mag never panic buy? Because a man with a 7mag has no need to panic!

    "If you ain't shootin', you should be reloadin' if you ain't reloadin' you should be movin', if you ain't movin', somebody's gonna come by and cut your head off and put it on a stick!" Words to fight by, from Clint Smith

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by VHoward View Post
    Like I keep saying, I have always used the primer arm in the ram when decapping. The primer arm in my Challenger was always also getting stuck in the hole of the shell holder. Used a dremel to open that up so the primer cup wouldn't get stuck in it.
    Ah yes. Ive have thay happen many a times as well. Everything would just get so gunky and nasty from depriming. I would have to wipe everything down and lube everything including the primer arm. Good idea with the dremel.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I haven't had a breech lock but I really like my classic cast. Very sturdy piece of equipment. I have the lock-n-load conversion kit in it and it keeps me from fiddling with dies very much. In addition, whenever I get a shellplate for something I currently load single stage I won't have to buy more bushings for my progressive press.

    It blows me away how some things Lee makes are on one end of the quality spectrum and some pieces are on the other.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check