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Thread: Lee Classic Turret vs. ABLP vs. LNL

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Lee Classic Turret vs. ABLP vs. LNL

    Hi folks,
    I have used an RCBS turret and a Lee single stage as my set-up since I started, and lately Iíve wanted to either add another turret or go toward a progressive. I have the opportunity to pick up a used LNL (fully decked out) for a good price, although I have to admit Iím leaning toward the Lee turret. I shoot 4-7000 rds per year and about 20 different calibers. Granted, most of my reloading centers on only 8-10 calibers, with .45, 9mm and .40/10mm being the top 3. The turret seems like the most versatile and with the best price point. Any input welcome.
    -BE


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  2. #2
    Boolit Master jmorris's Avatar
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    A turret requires one pull of the handle per die for each loaded round, add to that however you prime and charge powder.

    A progressive, once full, gives you a loaded round with every pull of the handle and priming and powder charging are part of that process.

    Nothing wrong with using a single stage or a single stage with the dies all setup in a turret, it’s just going to be more work and take longer than a progressive, it will also cost less because the machine is much less complicated and the shell holder is less machine work than a shell plate.

    7000 rounds a year divided by 20 calibers is 350 rounds a year of each or 29 rounds a month, that’s not much reason to own a progressive.

    Even if you said 7000/year of 10 calibers, that’s still less than 60 rounds a month. Hard to justify the extra costs of caliber conversions with such small volume.

    Cut those numbers to 4000/year and the math gets even worse, for a progressive.
    Last edited by jmorris; 05-15-2019 at 09:03 AM.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Lee Classic Turret vs. ABLP vs. LNL

    I probably wasnít that clear. I do load for a lot of calibers, but the vast majority of my shooting is in 3-4 pistols cartridges. I shoot probably (on average) 1-200 rds/wk of combined 9mm, .45 and, to a lesser extent, .40 and 10mm. I agree, Iím probably on the ragged edge of justifying a progressive. Thus, the lee turret, which I can switch out $10 turrets for with ease. I do think it probably makes more sense.
    Last edited by Boolseye; 05-15-2019 at 09:29 AM.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master jmorris's Avatar
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    Not sure about your math...I shoot on average 100-200 rds. per week, much of it in 2-3 calibers.
    The OP is where I got the numbers from. 7000 rounds a year would be 583 rounds a month, divided by 20 different calibers would be 29 rounds of each per month. I wouldn’t want to convert a progressive for 100 rounds even less incentive if there is less than that to load. You’ll be spending more time changing stuff than actually loading. Cut the calibers you use in half, still only makes things 50% better.

    As your numbers shift the math changes though. 200 rounds a week gets us up to 10,400 rounds a year, divide that by 2 calibers and that’s 5200 of each/yr or 433 rounds a month but that’s not the same picture your original post painted.

    Quote Originally Posted by Boolseye View Post
    I shoot 4-7000 rds per year and about 20 different calibers. Granted, most of my reloading centers on only 8-10 calibers...
    Some presses are great for swapping between calibers, just not very good for loading large quantities with little work.



    On a progressive to go from say 9mm to 45 ACP. You will have to change the shell plate, priming system, all of the dies, change or readjust the powder measure, you said “fully decked out” so that would include case and bullet feeders, stuff that once you get them working on an LNL you would really rather not mess with them, lots of folks also at least own two progressives so they don’t have to mess with changing between large and small priming systems.

    Every second you have zero production is a second that a single stage or turret will be catching up to your load rate because they are simpler devices.

    Take the end of that video above and load 20 rounds of each on that co-ax, then try the same thing on any progressive. You will be shooting if you were using the single stage and still fiddling with setup if you were using the progressive.

    You might find that having a progressive for the 1 or 2 things you shoot the most makes sense but you will still want to keep “old faithful” for the calibers you rarely shoot much of.
    Last edited by jmorris; 05-15-2019 at 09:39 AM.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Lee Classic Turret vs. ABLP vs. LNL

    Yes, apologies, and thanks for stepping in to the breech.
    It was my figures that were off, not yours. Also, your conclusion is very likely the right one. What I failed to mention was that I do shoot a pretty fair amount of pistol in 3-4 calibers that MAY justify a progressive. My initial estimates were very much that, off-the-cuff estimates. I shoot quite a bit, as anyone in my family can attest. What I do have it in my shooting is a lot of variety, Iím not a 15,000 round per year, one or two caliber shooter by any means. I like to mix it up, and for that the classic turret seems like it may just fit the bill.


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    Last edited by Boolseye; 05-15-2019 at 09:39 AM.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    I went with a LNL and chose it because of itís flexibility in doing rifle rounds.

    I have not used it much but own it for political insurance as much as anything. It does work and a friend has ran it more than I have. Then he ran out and bought his own but is struggling to have a place for it.

    I will say that the LNL is somewhat fidgety as you get them broken in and you get accustomed to it.

    My best advice is to go run your friendís machine before you buy it to see if it is your cup of tea. Then report back here about your results so we can further explain the ins and outs of it.

    Most of my issues were getting fine machining marks polished down on shell plates and running too bulky a powder in a small pistol case. The powder wants to slurp out and find itís way down under the shell plate and congregate under the priming slide. Also you have to chose your rifle powders wisely as a small stick powder likes to bridge in the drop area of the measure. The LNL I have runs better at a moderate steady speed that trying out for the ďBonneville Salt FlatsĒ but if I ran it more that could change as it gets broken in more.

    The Lee classic turret is a fine machine, I have one but I question since you have an RCBS turret Press, what do you expect the Lee to produce that your current one is not already?

    Best regards

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  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Lee Classic Turret vs. ABLP vs. LNL

    Thank you all.

    Regarding the Lee Turret as well as the RCBS-having two medium-high output stations appeals to me. Also, the extremely inexpensive turret heads (have you seen the price of RCBS extras?) seems very versatile and useful to me.

    Also curious to see more reports on the New Lee Auto Breech Lock Pro (which already has its own acronym, not bad for being out less than a year).
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    Last edited by Boolseye; 05-15-2019 at 09:55 AM.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Are you trying to reduce the time spent producing rounds, and/or do you think you will shoot even more than you do now, if you were able to produce more rounds than you are producing right now with your current setups?

    I am not asking those questions to get an answer, but for you to consider.

    I am going to offer, that not counting the prep work, or any of the other things one might do to prepare for loading rounds, I run approx. 75-100 rounds an hour on a Lee Classic Turret using 4 stages(seating & crimping separate), without any added features to it. (De-priming & priming are usually done on the press for most calibers)That time includes weighing "every" throw of powder on a beam scale, trickling powder when necessary, and checking every round for OAL with a calipers, then checked in a gauge before it goes into the ammo box. ( Some might say I am "anal" with that much QC, but I have my own requirements for quality, and since it is "my" system, who should care anyway. )

    There are others here who say they can run 150+ an hour with their setups with powder throw on the press & other modifications to speed up their system, so I would reckon that if you are looking for output like that, then you might consider a Lee Classic Turret for your needs. ( I have not run a Lee Value turret, so I do not know if it is the same other than the type of handle as compared to the Lee Classic Turret.)

    If you are looking to increase your production output significantly more than what I mentioned above, IMO, you should begin to consider the progressives & their setups & systems.

    For "me", I just don't shoot enough to warrant a progressive right now & importantly for some like me, I also do not see that I would shoot more, if I could produce more. So a progressive is not what I would look for. That is why I asked the rhetorical question(s) in the first part of the post for you to consider that as well. Perhaps you are in the same situation & perhaps not. Those are some things to consider though.


    While I do have more than a few other turrets & single stage presses to use, I do find myself using the LCT more than the others, as I shoot more pistol calibers than rifle calibers & that might be something for you to consider also. Just what you need for the type of calibers you shoot. I see you mention some pistol rounds, so that might be something that you can add into the figuring out what you might want as well.


    Well, that is "my take" on what you might do.


    G'Luck! whatever you decide.
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  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Lee Classic Turret vs. ABLP vs. LNL

    I very much appreciate it-your rhetorical question elicits a prompt reply in me, which is the same answer that you found.

    My loading speed is ahead of my shooting speed as it stands, and I do not see that changing in the near future.


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    Last edited by Boolseye; 05-15-2019 at 10:19 AM.

  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master tazman's Avatar
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    I shoot roughly 250 rounds per week of 38 special, 9mm, 40S&W, or 45ACP. I load on a Lee Classic Cast turret press.
    I use on press priming and on press powder measure(Lee Pro Auto Disk) and have results that satisfies my needs. I get 150 rounds per hour without any hurrying when loading handgun calibers. Two hours work and I have a week's worth of shooting ready to go.
    I just can't justify the expense and extra equipment of a good progressive since I get sufficient output from my Lee press. I simply do not shoot enough.
    I do all my rifle cartridges on the turret(223, 243, 308, 30-06). When loading rifle, I have it set up as a single stage press.
    As you know, changing calibers on the Lee is a matter of a couple of minutes once you have the individual turrets set up. Very easy to do.
    I don't shoot enough of any one cartridge to justify having a progressive set up for a single cartridge plus the changes being more difficult and time consuming.
    I have loaded many thousands of cartridges on my press without any issues in my guns.
    I am retired, so I have the time to spend in the loading room.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Thank you. Another member with a similar output.
    Since we're all CB shooters here, let me get to the expander question.
    Taz, JB, what are you guys doing for your expander set-up when loading for cast?
    We all know that the included expander plugs are often insufficient for our larger-diameter cast slugs.
    My plan is to get another Lyman multi-charge expander die (I already have one), or use my NOE plugs when necessary. I don't use stock Lee expander plugs for anything, since I load almost exclusively cast.
    The Lyman can take a powder measure too, not sure which ones fit beyond the Redding which I use.

  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master tazman's Avatar
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    I am using Lee dies and using the expander that comes with them. I haven't had any issues with getting boolit bases swaged smaller but I water quench my boolits from the mold and get a bit more hardness than some use.
    I use range scrap with one pound of Linotype added to a 20lb pot. I don't have a hardness tester but have had people test some for me. They claim I am getting 15-18 BHN. I can't scratch the boolits with my fingernail so they may be right.
    Since you are going to get a different expander, I doubt my experience will have much value for you.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    I have both the LCT and the ABLP I have not used the Hornady but a couple of my friends have them and they look like a really nice press and the owners are happy. All that said I don’t find progressive presses enjoyable to load on but they do crank out the ammo fast but require paying attention to four or more stations at a time.
    The LCT to me is enjoyable in the process like a single stage without handling the case but once in once out. With turrets set up with your dies a caliber change is seconds with all dies adjusted and running it also uses standard shell holders , it is very clean for spent primer mess and another bonus is with powders like red dot the rotation settles the charge and it meters better than any other system I have used (I still weigh any charges approaching max) and the turrets are cheaper than the bushings for the ABLP or the Hornady . I also like the lee saftey prime it has a learning curve but is as good or better than any other on press priming I have used , and one of the reasons I also have the ABLP , but you need to follow the Lee die adjustment directions . All three presses will load most rifle cases. I have also had a pro1000 and a Loadmaster both are faster but ABLP fits the way I load better but the LCT is my favorite all around press . If I was not so cheap a Dillon 550 would be sweet but would be well over $1000. To set up for the calibers I would want to use it on.
    If this ain’t long enough already , i normally am a slow and steady loading kinda guy but I timed the last 50 rounds of 45 colt in a batch on the LCT took 13 min and change moving along quickly.
    Last edited by onelight; 05-15-2019 at 12:12 PM.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by tazman View Post
    I am using Lee dies and using the expander that comes with them. I haven't had any issues with getting boolit bases swaged smaller but I water quench my boolits from the mold and get a bit more hardness than some use.
    I use range scrap with one pound of Linotype added to a 20lb pot. I don't have a hardness tester but have had people test some for me. They claim I am getting 15-18 BHN. I can't scratch the boolits with my fingernail so they may be right.
    Since you are going to get a different expander, I doubt my experience will have much value for you.
    Thatís definitely valuable, thank you. I think, as you say, in most cases the stock expanders are sufficient.


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  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Lee Classic Turret vs. ABLP vs. LNL

    Thanks onelight, I had noticed your posts on the new ABLP and hoped you would weigh in. It seems as though everyone likes that classic turret. Bottom line, I fall into the category of a serious but laid-back shooter and reloader, and you guys speak my language.


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    Last edited by Boolseye; 05-15-2019 at 12:47 PM.

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy daloper's Avatar
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    I load with the Lee Classic. I load for eight different calibers so I like how easy it is to change form one to the other. Now I am in the process of setting up the different drums for the Lee Auto drum powder measure to speed up the change over a bit more. I also have a Lee Load Master that my uncle gave me to load 38 special, but I find myself always using the turrent. I enjoy the quite down in the loading room.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    One thing I might mention I have dies from Hornady Lyman Rcbs Redding and Lee on the LCT I added the Lee powder through dies for all the pistol sets and like tazman I have not had a problem with boolit fit and leading from that cause (I have a Ruger 45 colt with a restriction at the frame ) but some of my dies are old the newer dies seem to have more chamfer at the mouth and cycle smoother on progressives. All work fine on the LCT

  18. #18
    Boolit Master jmorris's Avatar
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    Yes, apologies, and thanks for stepping in to the breech.
    It was my figures that were off, not yours. Also, your conclusion is very likely the right one. What I failed to mention was that I do shoot a pretty fair amount of pistol in 3-4 calibers that MAY justify a progressive. My initial estimates were very much that, off-the-cuff estimates.
    No problem, sometimes the hardest part isn’t finding the answer to the question but what the problem is, if there is even a problem.

    If your loading 20 calibers but only 3-4 would be a consideration for a progressive, you can just keep your existing processes for most all your other calibers.

    Progressives are not only less work but higher output as well. Even the most basic progressives fed by hand can load 100 rounds in 10 minutes once they are setup and ready to go. With reliable collated bullet and case feeders, you can knock that down to 4 minutes/100 and it’s even less work than the 10 min/100 on the manual feed machine.

    If you are reloading is “relaxing” guy and you already are happy whit what you’ve got, it would be a waste of money to get a progressive. If it’s a “necessary evil” to get what you want, a progressive will either make your load sessions shorter, less work or your going to start shooting more.

    It’s very important to understand there is no right answer. I have more than a half dozen progressives for stuff I load a lot of but still use turrets and single stages when they are the better tool for the job. None are best at everything.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    If you need more speed and not the speedy die changes that the Co-ax offers then you need a Dillon period, end of story, stick a fork in it.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    On the ABLP I have a case feeder at a casual pace Iím probably 3 to 400 per hr I would say it is 50 to 100% faster than the LCT but I do enjoy the simpler function off the LCT I like both.
    On the ABLP it would use the same shell holder for 9 , 40 , 10mm and another for 45 it comes with one set of die bushings (4) so you would need 2 or 3 more sets. It does work well without the case feeder and the feeder sometimes takes a little time to get it running smooth with a case change. It seems to work better for me with 40 & 45 but it is not expensive and can be added at any time.

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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