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Thread: Lee breechlock pro or loadmaster

  1. #1

    Lee breechlock pro or loadmaster

    I am considering a progressive to feed my 9mm habit. I found a thread that compares the breechlock pro to the pro 1000. But I am wondering if the breechlock is better than the loadmaster. I read an article that demonstrated that once you buy all the bells and whistles they both are very close in price. So I think it comes down to which one works best. Does anyone have experience with both?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Moleman-'s Avatar
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    I have had both. Had a loadmaster for several years and liked it. Also recently bought a breech lock pro and challanger presses as a gift for a family member. Set the BLP up in 9mm and loaded probably 500 rounds with it before giving it to him. The breechlock pro was cheaper initially and looked like a decent press for someone that wasn't going to load more than a couple thousand rounds a year. It was easy to set up, worked well, but the primer system it came with was more like a single stage style in that you put a primer in it one at a time. The upgrade for it on the Lee site looked like a primer tray that you had to manually swing over every cycle to drop a primer. Hardly a great setup and seemed more like an afterthought. I didn't like it and just ran the cases through once to deprime and size, then through a hand primer and back through the press to load. The plastic piece around the ram head seams like it will eventually break and the linkage was already loosey goosey from the factory. Doesn't seem like it would hold up as well as a loadmaster.

    The loadmaster does have a hands free auto primer system, die heads and not the twist lock inserts, another station/die position and will let you crank out rounds much faster than the breechlock. If it were me and they were close in price I'd get the loadmaster.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Of your two choices I'd def. get the Co-ax.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    I have a loadmaster, a 4 station turret and a pro1000. I will be purchasing the BLP to replace the pro1000. I would not get one in place of a loadmaster but I think it would be a great press, but then I do prime off press for all my presses due to the issues I've had in the past with on press priming with the lee progressives.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master kmw1954's Avatar
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    For me it all comes down to what exactly do you want to do. How many stations are you going to run? 3? 4? 5? I have a 3 hole turret, Pro1000 and a Breech Lock Pro. They all serve a different purpose and I do use each of them. The 3 hole turret cannot use the Safety Prime system on it to prime so primers need to be placed by hand. I use this for small runs or load work ups. The Pro1000 is about as simple a setup as there is and yes I do prime on the press and use the Lee Carbide 3 die pistol sets in it. It is more than capable of turning out large quantities of quality ammunition. The Breech Lock Pro is new and I am still adjusting to it. At this point I haven't quite gotten use to the Safety Prime system and because of the turret press I am just as fast with placing by hand as I am with the Safety Prime System. Simple press, zero adjustment. Unfortunately I have zero experience with the LoadMaster but I deliberately stayed away because of the complexity of the timing and priming systems.

    I am still completely satisfied with the performance of the Pro1000 and will be keeping it for my 9mm and 380 loading. The Breech Lock Pro I picked up because of a finicky 45acp that needs the 4th FCD in order to function well and if it wasn't for that one pistol I'd be loading 45acp on the Pro1000 also.

    With the Breech lock Pro I am sure one could still use the Lee 3 die sets with a powder measure and then add a powder check die or could even set it up with a bullet feed die like the tube fed RCBS or the Mini Mr. Bullet. I tried the Hornady with plated and jacketed and had no luck.

    From watching online pricing for any of the three Lee presses, Pro1000, Breech Lock Pro or the LoadMaster the Pro1000 is about the least costly while the other two work out to be about the same when all is said and done.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    I've had a loadmaster and my dad has had a pro1000 since the early 80s and in my experience the pro 1000 is a much better press than the loadmaster so if the new press is better then the pro 1000 it would be a no contest with the loadmaster.

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    The newest Pro1000 has an index pin that compensates for the finicky index adjustment.

    Older versions, without the pin, would drift out of proper index and the result was priming issues.
    Many owners never linked the priming problems to the index adjustment, even though there's a vid on the Lee sight, and bad mouthed the Pro1000 all over the net.
    I often adjust the index screw a 1/4 turn out of habit, not need, every couple of 100 rounds loaded, and have not had any primer (index) problems to date.

    I have a Loadmaster setup for 9mm but have not loaded with it as I can't wrap my head around priming "on top" when everything else is going on too.
    My concern is not being able to "feel" the primer being seated and crushing them, with a possible detonation.
    And something not yet mentioned is the Loadmaster is commonly run with an extra die in the priming station to center the case during priming.
    Either way the Loadmaster is affectively a 4 station press because priming uses up a station where nothing else can happen.
    Reading the reviews of presses on any/all major sellers will get you 1st hand information too.
    Good luck on your quest to find a press that fits your needs,
    Last edited by Kenstone; 12-22-2018 at 05:49 PM.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    I have a Loadmaster and a Pro 1000. The Pro 1000 is a 3 station press, I use for revolver cartridges that can have the bullet seated and crimped in one step with a properly adjusted die. I use the Loadmaster for my 9mm, 40, 45 ACP and rifle cartridges (308, 300 Savage...) because the extra stations allow for a taper crimp after bullet seating and/or an neck expander (NOE in a Lee die or Lyman 'M') using the priming station before the powder charging die. The Pro 1000 works well with little fussing, the Loadmaster requires more careful operation. I've looked at the new 4 station breech lock press but do not care for its priming set-up. I also like the press heads for ALL my reloading in the Lee Classic cast turret press. I don't use the 'turret' feature but like all my dies mounted in one toolhead for a caliber. I have 2 Classic cast , the four station and one I converted to use all my 3 station toolheads.

  9. #9
    Thanks guys. I have some more questions:

    I looked up co-ax presses and found two. Frankfort Arsenal and Forster, neither one looks like a progressive press. Am I missing something? Why would I want a co-ax press if they're all single stage?

    I'm familiar with Lee's 4-hole turret press and have loaded with that for years. However, I've never really dealt with a fully progressive press so I'm not sure what the advantages/disadvantages of 3 station vs. 4 station presses are. Is it similar to the 4-hole turret press which allows you to separate the seating and crimping procedure into two separate dies? I really found that to be an advantage with the turret press.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    I don’t have the older 3-4 hole progressives or the pro 1000 but have a good friend that does. Compared to my bought used Loadmaster, i think i’ll stick with the Loadmaster. I do not prime on mine, preferring to decap and cap separately. I don’t want primer issues of any type and just feel better doing them on single stage or hand primer. I load 9mm, 9mm Mak, 45 ACP and 40 S&W on it. I use a mix of dies but they are in this order: sizer, M die expander, case activated powder drop, seating then crimping. I have a Hornady case activated setup on a couple and Lee Autodisk on the others. I’ve spent money getting turret stabilizers and billet turrets from Mikes Reloading Bench for a couple calibers. The press does a fine job. Occasionally I might need to adjust something, typically just when i need to change case feeder for the larger brass. I don’t need to touch indexing very often at all. Keeping it cleaned, lubed and on solid mounting helps a lot. I replaced the rod and slider that pushes cases from case feeder into shellplate recently as mine had gotten pretty slick and was acting up occasionally. Other calibers get done on RCBS turret press or single stage on the rare occasion. Hope that helps.

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Jaque Janaviac View Post
    Thanks guys. I have some more questions:

    I looked up co-ax presses and found two. Frankfort Arsenal and Forster, neither one looks like a progressive press. Am I missing something? Why would I want a co-ax press if they're all single stage?

    I'm familiar with Lee's 4-hole turret press and have loaded with that for years. However, I've never really dealt with a fully progressive press so I'm not sure what the advantages/disadvantages of 3 station vs. 4 station presses are. Is it similar to the 4-hole turret press which allows you to separate the seating and crimping procedure into two separate dies? I really found that to be an advantage with the turret press.
    Having 4 (or 5,7,10) stations allows the use of a bullet feeder die, powder cop, seat/crimp separately, etc.
    My goal in configuring a "progressive" is limiting what my left hand does to one operation during a cycle, placing a bullet or placing a case, and leaving my right hand on the lever.

    Because most Lee presses come with a case feeder or one can be added, loading the bullet is the only operation for your left hand to do, except for the breach lock pro, where you have to operate the priming/pez dispenser
    I have a Pro1000 that works quite well, three stations was all that was ever needed before Lee convinced us we needed a "factory crimp die".
    jmo
    Last edited by Kenstone; 12-28-2018 at 05:11 PM.

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
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    Loadmaster is great as long as you dont prime on it. many problems with that priming system so I just decap and prime on single stage as many Loadmaster owners do. Besides that you cant beat 5 station progressive press for that price. As many other reloaders we have many presses and Loadmaster is great for high volume loading 9mm, 40S&W, 38S, 45acp etc. I load rifle cartridges on a turret though.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    If all I used my loadmaster for was high output of processing handgun brass it would still be worth what I paid for it , ( to me at least ) . That cheap little case feeder has ran through bucket after bucket of brass for me in 9s , 45s , 38 s, 357 s + I load on it as well . I run a lot of 223 brass through it also but without the case feeder just setting the case in one at a time .

  14. #14
    Boolit Master kmw1954's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Jaque Janaviac View Post
    I'm familiar with Lee's 4-hole turret press and have loaded with that for years. However, I've never really dealt with a fully progressive press so I'm not sure what the advantages/disadvantages of 3 station vs. 4 station presses are. Is it similar to the 4-hole turret press which allows you to separate the seating and crimping procedure into two separate dies? I really found that to be an advantage with the turret press.
    As for the Breech Lock Pro compared to the turret look at it this way. Dies are all set up the same way in the same order. Difference comes in that with the turret press there is only one shell in the press at a time whereas with the progressive press there are four shells in the press at the same time. Each pull of the handle drops a finished round. Adding or subtracting station positions adds or subtracts dies or use. Again if you are familiar with the Lee Safety Prime system on the turret press it will be exactly the same on the Breech Lock Pro.

  15. #15
    Boolit Mold
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    I do not or have ever had a breech lock pro.......I have a load master. I only did 9mm on it. I made quite a few rounds on it. I since got a Dillon 650 due to asking friends about problems.........they all said get a Dillon......all your problems go away. .........they didn't. Looking back, I really like the load master. It's a heck of a buy for what you get. I do like the Dillon better, and I doubt the lee will see much use due to low bench space. If I had room.....I will set it up for a caliber and leave it.
    I feel the Dillon is better.......but not 1000 dollars better like it costed.
    I honestly had no trouble with the load master primer system, if I kept it full. Keeping it full is a breeze compared to other systems. I did have a pro 1000, and I sold it........that one gave me primer issues every time.
    I like the load master for it's value. I could sell it for 200 bucks in a heartbeat......but I would rather keep it for a rainy day. The case and bullet feeder for the load master are cheap, simple, and work great for me.

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy
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    Black Jacque:
    I have had them both for about 2 years or so. I prefer the LM, its faster and once you get past the learning curve, it is mo betta! you need to see the Lee training films on this guy on YouTube. It will take a while before you get this guy up and running really smooth. the Breech lock is cheaper, I paid $98 on sale I think on Amazon, not sure. it is cheaper and considerably slower. Priming is slow as hell, I do them individually. I have had the auto prime set up from my turrets and it is just a PIA. The breech lock runs slower but it is solid. Both presses run good enough certainly. Big tip here, for both presses you MUST you the Hornady one shot lube on the cases. Another negatorey on the BL: it really does not have any counter point across the shellplate from the sizer so your OAL's will vary a bit more. Look, they both work. LM takes mucho time to learn, but man, it turns out ammo fast! The BL is easier if you will be involved in caliber changeovers. you wont go wrong! Billy boy

  17. #17
    Boolit Master jmorris's Avatar
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    I put together the fastest Loadmaster I have ever seen, can load 100 rounds in under 4 min. Took about a week to get it sorted out but that was after having loaded on progressives for more than 30 years.


  18. #18
    Boolit Bub

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    From the viewpoint of a reloader that changes his dies often, the Lee Breechlock is the way to go.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
    slim1836's Avatar
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    I could never get my Loadmaster to cooperate with me and I'm sure it was on my end but finally got rid of it.

    Next, I'm going to go with a Redding T-7 turret press next, hopefully, I'll never look back.

    Still going keep my single stage presses to fall back on.

    Slim
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  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy rbstern's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmorris View Post
    I put together the fastest Loadmaster I have ever seen, can load 100 rounds in under 4 min. Took about a week to get it sorted out but that was after having loaded on progressives for more than 30 years.
    Very impressive!

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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