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Thread: Broke my Lee Classic Cast

  1. #41
    Boolit Master Traffer's Avatar
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    Some folks are describing a different press here. The Lee Classic Cast is all steel. Lee did re-design the similar part on their smaller "O" style press. I believe it is called a "breech lock" press. My brother had one that he had glued together. I bought the updated parts and rebuilt it for him. It cost about $25. That model had a non steel fulcrum part that they changed to steel. The Classic Cast however is susceptible to OVER TIGHTENING like I stated. It can be crushed by the through bolt. Here are some standard torque specs for bolts. I don't have mine handy but I believe it is a 5/16 grade 8 coarse thread which according to this table would take 25 ft lbs MAX. I believe that 20 would be plenty. (hey that rimes 20 would be plenty) .
    http://www.almabolt.com/pages/catalo...ningtorque.htm
    AKA hans.pcguy

  2. #42
    Boolit Master
    mdi's Avatar
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    Lee Haters get real tiresome. Perhaps some of these "key board engineers" could volunteer their expertise to Lee? First thing I saw was a rusty, corroded press. Perhaps the humidity of HI contributed, but I take care of my tools and in over 30 years of reloading never allowed tool to get to that state of neglect. Perhaps the OP used the press for more than just sizing/reloading? The Lee Haters weren't there when the part broke, so their opinions are just assumptions...
    My Anchor is holding fast!

  3. #43
    Boolit Master
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    Didn't know there was a torque to the bolt.
    Next time I'll have to torque it.
    Press is also used for forming cases.
    Some cases need lots of force.
    Looking at the design, the part that broke is a weak link.
    Two points of force, in different directions.
    Bolt pulling the handle into the slot, and handle trying to pull it apart sideways.
    Old handle design was much stronger. But made of aluminium made it weaker.
    I like Lee stuff. Started out reloading with Lee tools.

  4. #44
    Boolit Master lefty o's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdi View Post
    Lee Haters get real tiresome. Perhaps some of these "key board engineers" could volunteer their expertise to Lee? First thing I saw was a rusty, corroded press. Perhaps the humidity of HI contributed, but I take care of my tools and in over 30 years of reloading never allowed tool to get to that state of neglect. Perhaps the OP used the press for more than just sizing/reloading? The Lee Haters weren't there when the part broke, so their opinions are just assumptions...
    doing a little hating yourself ehh?!!!

  5. #45
    Boolit Master
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    In real life I am an engineer and it gives me a good basis for my opinions.
    Lee first made presses about 20 years after I started reloading with one so I have quite a bit more time using a press than Lee does.
    Any engineer can tell you that die cast aluminum makes a sorry material for reloading presses. Anyone can tell you that using molded plastic for the die seating stem is not a good idea yet Lee did both.
    I have seen many mistakes that Lee has made and many of them have to do with lack of adequate testing before he puts the product on the market. Did you ever notice how he never gets priming tools right the first time?

    Quote Originally Posted by mdi View Post
    Lee Haters get real tiresome. Perhaps some of these "key board engineers" could volunteer their expertise to Lee? First thing I saw was a rusty, corroded press. Perhaps the humidity of HI contributed, but I take care of my tools and in over 30 years of reloading never allowed tool to get to that state of neglect. Perhaps the OP used the press for more than just sizing/reloading? The Lee Haters weren't there when the part broke, so their opinions are just assumptions...
    EDG

  6. #46
    Boolit Man Ozark Howler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EDG View Post
    In real life I am an engineer and it gives me a good basis for my opinions.
    Lee first made presses about 20 years after I started reloading with one so I have quite a bit more time using a press than Lee does.
    Any engineer can tell you that die cast aluminum makes a sorry material for reloading presses. Anyone can tell you that using molded plastic for the die seating stem is not a good idea yet Lee did both.
    I have seen many mistakes that Lee has made and many of them have to do with lack of adequate testing before he puts the product on the market. Did you ever notice how he never gets priming tools right the first time?
    Can't totally agree with your assumption of Lee designs/engineering. Most reloading press designs have issue that should have been caught prior to their introduction. A few examples; RCBS's useless primer catcher on their latest Rockchucker, a good example of a bad idea, Lyman's cam-over issues with their T-mag & Crusher presses, CH's use of "aluminum" for their 4 die platforms, Redding's known ram alignment issues/problems, and last but not least, as for "getting it right", have you ever noticed how many redesigns the Rockchucker has had since introduced...count 'em.

    My life's expertise has been in quality control and engineering design issues, and I found that most products have issues at some level, some worse that others. In my 50+ years of reloading I've seen many problems with various tools used in this industry, Lee's are no different than the others.

  7. #47
    Boolit Bub
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    fixed me lee press with J-B weld and a hose clamp worked for years ordered the upgraded part ,and a large rifle primer c, parts were free ,but 15.00 shipping ,don't see any difference in upgraded part

  8. #48
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by lefty o View Post
    doing a little hating yourself ehh?!!!
    Yeah, I worked with "tool snobs" for many years (25 years as Heavy Equipment Mechanic/Electrician for a major city's Water and Power department) and got really tired of the ignorance, arrogance and badmouthing of every other brand ("If it ain't Snap-On [or MAC or whatever] it's junk).
    My Anchor is holding fast!

  9. #49
    Boolit Master Hannibal's Avatar
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    I broke a similar part on my Breech Lock Challenger when I first started reloading bottleneck cartridges. At the time, I wasn't happy about it. Sent an inquiry to Lee and they sent me the new part, free, and on their dime.

    Since then, I've learned a couple of things. One, Cabela's case lube in the spray bottle is NOT my favorite case lube, and two, brass from a chain gun is NOT worth the trouble to reload.

    Still using that press. Haven't had any more problems.

  10. #50
    Boolit Master opos's Avatar
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    I have never had any issue with a Lee press and I have 3 including a classic cast breech lock...Have no idea how cleanliness can affect strength but I keep all tools clean...might be able to see a flaw becoming a crack if it's clean....I reform several calibers but not some gargantuan forming that would create a torque that it looks like happened there. The scintered metal will have flaws in it..any formed metal "dust" is going to be susceptable...my buddy had a new semi auto .45 from a major manufacturer...saw what looked like a casting flaw or parting line..it was a crack in the frame due to a flaw in the casting.

    Lee catches hell from a lot of folks....not from me..but then I have never had a cup of Starbucks coffee that I knew was Starbucks (maybe someone "slipped me a mickey" now and then but not on purpose)....

  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by dragon813gt View Post
    I bet you can guess which members bash the brand every chance they get. It's been pointed out many times before. If Lee wasn't around there would be a lot less reloaders. They allow people to take up the hobby for little investment. Most end up buying other brand equipment over time. If RCBS and Redding where the only manufacturers there would be a lot less reloaders. It's all personal preference. Use what ever brand equipment you want. You won't convince me that a piece of equipment I have and like is junk just because you say it is. I'm betting most people are the same.
    There is one in particular. He has an abject hatred for Lee reloading equipment and the man who founded the company. He has made his feelings known in virtually every thread that so much as mentions Lee reloading equipment. I wholeheartedly agree with dragon813gt. I have one of the presses that is the subject of this thread. Purchased at probably about the same time. I bought it soon after seeing the first advertisement for it. I have pulled that handle many times. I have done some minor case conversion chores with it. I have reloaded cartridges from .32 acp to .44 spl. and .22 Hornet through .300 WSM with it. It is still as tight and smooth as the day I bought it. The OP has explained his storage and use of the press - both of which are most likely less than ideal. The Lee classic cast single stage press is a fine piece of equipment and a joy to use. It is perfectly capable of reloading a wide range of cartridges. If used as intended and given a little care and lubrication at regular intervals it should last a lifetime.
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  12. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonB_in_Glencoe View Post
    IMHO, Lee is a genius for incorporating a "weak" link into the design. I have more than one Classic press, I keep a few new extra parts on hand, like the broken part shown in OP.

    Lee use to send out parts like that, free of charge, and shipping on their dime...and they may do that here as well. But it seems more recently that they quit doing that, in favor of offering the part for free, but ask you to pay for shipping. If that is the case, I'd ask for a few other spare parts at this time, if you are paying shipping anyway. parts I'd suggest, if you use the Lee saftey prime, get a couple springs for that as well as a spare large primer arm assembly, they get dinged up easily and a tough to straighten out. If you use a Turret press, get a couple index ratchets. If you use the Pro-Auto-Disk measure, get a couple elastimer wipers. If you use their universal deprimer die, get a extra decap pin. There is more, those are just the things right off the top of my head.
    Quote Originally Posted by lefty o View Post
    a genius for making it weak hmmm. a smart guy would have built it to handle the stress of sizing big cases, and built in a little safety margin.
    Never liked the use of shear pins, hmm?

    Anyways, I agree with the first statement, sort of. I don't know if it's an intentional weakness incorporated, but mine broke once too. I am glad it was a $5 part and not a $50 precision ground hardened shaft or something that failed.

    I hate when my $300 TV tube protects my 10 cent fuse by blowing first.

  13. #53
    Boolit Master

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    Having used several Lee presses over the years, They are good tools one thing I would like to see is thicker linkage bars. On the presses as the holes tend to wear egg shaped faster. Other wise they are good tools my little c bench press was under 30.00 and lasted for a lot of years before I retired it. This little press did a lot of full length sizing of .308, .243, .223, 30-06, 38-55, 40-65,45-70, 45-90 and handgun calibers as well. I also did some bullet sizing on it.

  14. #54
    Boolit Master
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    I find it interesting that no matter how hard the Lee bashers try, Lee is still around and probably doing better than ever. Must really bother some people. I've also noticed that people who use Lee products tend to be quite loyal customers, even though they also use other companies products. I have a lot of Lee products, some RCBS, some Lyman, and some Hornady and like them all. I have had a couple of dogs from Lee, but by and far have been more than happy with them and am always impressed by their innovation.

  15. #55
    Boolit Master lefty o's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jetinteriorguy View Post
    I find it interesting that no matter how hard the Lee bashers try, Lee is still around and probably doing better than ever. Must really bother some people. I've also noticed that people who use Lee products tend to be quite loyal customers, even though they also use other companies products. I have a lot of Lee products, some RCBS, some Lyman, and some Hornady and like them all. I have had a couple of dogs from Lee, but by and far have been more than happy with them and am always impressed by their innovation.
    lee will be around as long as Americans buy the cheapest junk they can. just like all the chinese **** that comes into this country, it wont stop because the average American is a cheapskate.
    and as long as lee bashers are around, we'll have those people who feel the need to bash the lee bashers.

  16. #56
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by lefty o View Post
    lee will be around as long as Americans buy the cheapest junk they can. just like all the chinese **** that comes into this country, it wont stop because the average American is a cheapskate.
    and as long as lee bashers are around, we'll have those people who feel the need to bash the lee bashers.
    There will be Lee fans around as long as there are intelligent, open minded, knowledgeable folks reloading. Personally, I don't know anybody that buys any tools based solely on how cheap they are (the tools and the buyer). It's just tiresome to read biased "reports"/complaints from those that can't even use a hammer work correctly...
    My Anchor is holding fast!

  17. #57
    Boolit Master


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    I lube ALL my cases before sizing! Why, it just makes it easier for an old man with arthrits. What do I lube the cases wirh? Just a spritz with silicone in a tub full of cases, it only takes second or two to do it.
    Lets make America GREAT again!
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  18. #58
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by lefty o View Post
    lee will be around as long as Americans buy the cheapest junk they can. just like all the chinese **** that comes into this country, it wont stop because the average American is a cheapskate.
    and as long as lee bashers are around, we'll have those people who feel the need to bash the lee bashers.
    Really? So I'm a cheapskate even though I can afford to buy any brand I please. I could easily took up w/ all Redding products for the twenty two cartridges I reload for one in one swoop. That means buy all the tooling at one time. You can't paint everyone w/ such a broad brush.

    I hate that people feel the need to bash them more than anything. I don't care what brand tools you use. It's the people that insist on bashing a product they don't use that bothers me. I don't comment on Lyman tools I don't have. Same goes for the other brands. Lee isn't going anywhere because they produce products that allow you to load accurate ammo at a good price. I could post my results showing I have less run out w/ Lee dies but the detractors won't believe it anyway.

  19. #59
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by lefty o View Post
    lee will be around as long as Americans buy the cheapest junk they can. just like all the chinese **** that comes into this country, it wont stop because the average American is a cheapskate.
    and as long as lee bashers are around, we'll have those people who feel the need to bash the lee bashers.
    Let us all know just where you buy all this non-Chinese products.
    Lets make America GREAT again!
    Go, Go, Go, Go, Go Donald Trump

    Keep your head on your shoulders
    Sit with your back to the wall
    Be ready to draw on a moments notice

  20. #60
    Boolit Master lefty o's Avatar
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    a few of you need to untwist your panties. i didnt point out anyones name , its up to you to judge what you are, what you use to reload etc. i cant do it for you. all the while you guys bash those that you say bash lee...................... pot, meet kettle!

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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