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Thread: Lee Classic Turret Press vs. Redding T-7 vs Lyman Brass Smith-8

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    Lee Classic Turret Press vs. Redding T-7 vs Lyman Brass Smith-8

    I have been considering these three presses. I currently have an RCBS turret-press, but am looking for something that will speed things up a bit, without going to the headaches, costs, and "fiddling," associated with progressive-presses. I certain progressives are great, but probably not for me. Although the Lee is not the quality of the T-7, or the Lyman, I actually think it would serve me better, due to its versatility, and utility...I'm just not certain about the quality. Additionally, the Lee would be the most cost-effective, assuming its of decent, or of comparable quality to the other two.
    I've been into reloading for 45 yrs, but haven't done any in quite a while. My main-interest is in pistol/revolver. I own mostly RCBS dies, so I don't know how badly those large, knurled lock-rings would crowd the Lee turret.....I don't care for Lee's lock-rings...I had posted last week, similar to this would would, but would appreciate your input, as applies tho these three presses.


    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    Rcmaveric's Avatar
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    You have been reloading for about 9 times longer than me.

    I upgraded to the Lee Classic Turret press two year and I am glad I did. It works very well. No fuss. You can even add a case kick to speed things up and it is very close to using a progressive.

    I also got the Loadmaster last year. There is a bit of tinkering. But once you get it going it's good. So far it hasnt been to much of a hassle and it makes a lot of ammo quickly.

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  3. #3
    Boolit Bub

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    The Lee and the Lyman are a step down from the RCBS. The T-7 is a step up. Changing brands of turret press will not speed up production. I understand sometimes we just want a new toy (press) so go for it if you want. But to increase production speed go to a progressive press. Lee equipment is all about tinkering, Dillion is expensive, but run out of the box.
    Press I currently own Herters #9, Pacific, RCBS RS, RCBS RC, RCBS Turret, Lyman Turret, Redding Turret, Dillion SD, Dillion 550, Star

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    RIHP stated it well. A Dillon 550 sounds like what you're looking for. You can always run it like an inverted turret (one case at a time), until comfortable with the cadence.

    Regarding the old style RCBS lock rings crowding a tool head, RCBS would likely retrofit your dies to the newer style for free if you call them.
    Last edited by Taterhead; 01-20-2020 at 12:20 PM.
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  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master

    mdi's Avatar
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    I used a Lee turret (old style 4 hole) for nearly 20 years, and quality was not a problem. Nothing broke, nothing wore out. I didn't care for the auto index feature so I disconnected it and hand indexed. I batch load so this fit my needs perfectly and I reloaded from 380 Auto to 30-06 and 7.61x54r. I cannot compare these presses because I have only used/seen the Lee, but for quality, it would be a tough call between the Redding and Lyman (but I think I would lean towards the Redding as I like all the Redding products I've used; Boss press, dies and assorted tools).
    My Anchor is holding fast!

  6. #6
    Boolit Master gpidaho's Avatar
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    The Lee Classic Turret is my most used loading press. I for one like the auto advance feature. I own a lot of reloading presses including the Redding T7 and Ponsness-Warren 200. The Lee classic is the balance between single stage and progressive that works for me. After 30 years of reloading, I have to admit that progressive presses still make me nervous I had at one time, a Dillon 550B and when I added up the money I had in it and all the caliber conversions it was sold and the money used for competition dies, neck turning tools and the Noe sizing and expanding tools. I enjoy reloading not manufacturing, a turret fits me best. Gp

  7. #7
    Boolit Mold
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    gpidaho......My thoughts, exactly....With a progressive, one is "out" a fortune, for all the caliber-conversions, if one loads multiple calibers....'With a turret, its a simple matter of switching dies, and shellholder...I have RCBS & Lyman equiment, but the Lee turret holds an interest for me, for the very reasons you've mentioned, especially since my primary focus is handgun.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master gpidaho's Avatar
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    jih. The Lee classic turret is just a great little press especially for handgun rounds. The extra turret heads are only 10 or 12 bucks ( the Redding and Posness-Warren turret heads are 60 or $70) I have several Lee turret heads and can leave the dies set up for a quick change. If you get a classic you won't be disappointed. Well worth the modest price. Gp

  9. #9
    Boolit Mold
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    gphido.....Thanks for your reply.....One last question.....If you have RCBS dies, do those dies, with their round, knurled lock-rings, fit on your turret heads without a problem?.....I'm not fond of Lee lock rings....Most of my dies are RCBS & Lyman, so I need to ensure that they'll all fit, without issue.....Thanks, again.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master gpidaho's Avatar
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    The RCBS rings measure 1.185, the Lee 1.135 the most room is afforded with the Dillon .998. Just checked and all my Lee turret heads have either Lee or Dillon rings. The Rcbs might work but getting the wrench on the last ring installed may be a problem. Maybe someone else will chime in that has a set up using RCBS rings. Gp

  11. #11
    Boolit Master kmw1954's Avatar
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    jlh, trying to compare the Lee Turret to the other two turrets is not a fair comparison. The T-7, RCBS and Brass Smith are completely different concepts. I believe the idea behind the T-7 and similar designs are to set up the turret with the dies and they are left on the press and mostly used as a single stage press and worked in batches. The idea behind the Lee and the Auto Indexing is that a tool head with dies is inserted and then the press is run in a semi progressive action in that a empty shell is inserted and isn't touched again until it comes out a finished round.

    The Auto index pays off on the small Lee with pistol and small bottle neck cases which is what it was intended to do. It was never really meant to load 30/06, 308, 270 or belted Magnums. With the smaller handgun and bottleneck cases there really isn't a great deal of load being put on the press so there is no need to over build it like a tank.

    The Lee Auto Advance turret presses are a design and in a class unto themselves just as the Dillon 550 is in a class unto it's self as no one else builds a press that is similar. It is not a turret press and it is not an automatic progressive.

    Just to confuse things even more another press for you to look at for loading pistol or small bottleneck that is newly on the market would be the Lee Auto Breech Lock Pro which is a small 4 station progressive press. It is faster than the turret but much simpler than the bigger progressives. Works much like the Lee Turret press only it will process 4 shells at a time.

  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master tazman's Avatar
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    The Lee Classic Cast Turret gives a 50% increase in production speed over a single stage press for me. I get 150 rounds per hour of any handgun cartridge I load without hurrying. Up to 200 if I hurry. I used to get 100 rounds per hour with a single stage press.
    Caliber changes are easy and completed in a couple of minutes. I use the Lee Pro auto-disk measure and have one set up on each caliber and leave it there.
    I prime on press using the Lee safety prime. Setting up the first time can be a little tricky. Once set, it never needs adjustment again. Lining it up with the primer arm is the main issue.

    I load rifle cartridges on mine as well in single stage mode(index rod removed). I load 223, 243, 308, 30-06, and have loaded 458 winchester Mag on it quite easily. I get match grade accuracy using this press.

    I use mostly Lee dies with the standard Lee lock rings and have had no issues with them. Tightening them by hand has kept them in place for years.
    I did have an issue with RCBS lock rings not wanting to fit and replaced them with Lee rings.

    I have owned and used my Lee press for many years and loaded untold thousands of round on it. I recommend it without reservation.

    I have no experience with the new Breech Loc Pro. It looks to be a good idea.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master dkf's Avatar
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    There is no auto indexing with the Lyman or RCBS, they are barely a step up in speed compared to a single stage. The turrets on the LCT can be changed out faster and with no tools too. You can use the LCT as a single stage or an auto indexing turret. I usually use Lee rings but have Dillion, Hornady and RCBS too. The RCBS are my least favorite and I usually pull them off, I never had a case where the set screw actually holds the ring in place very long. The rings with the screw to clamp them tight can be used with the LCT turrets but space is really tight, 4 usually can't be used well on one turret. I load pistol to rifle on mine, longest being long action rifle cartridges.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master


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    jlh,
    I have been loading since I was 16 and now I'm 70. I have used all kinds if presses Dillons, RCBS, Pacific and others but I prefer the Lee Classic Cast Turret to all of them. They cost much less and are more flexible to use. They are not as fast as a Dillon but are faster than most of the other turrets presses. My classic cast turret is now about 3 years old and I have not been tempted to change to something else.

    Ken

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    I also like the the Lee if used as designed it is faster than the other turrets out of curiosity I timed the last 50 rounds out of 200 in one of my sessions and they took 18 minutes that was starting with clean deprimed cases and priming on the press.
    The Lee has an excellent system for depriming and about the the fastest caliber changes of any press made if dies are kept setup in turrets .
    People use their presses differently and all the turrets you mention are good presses but they do not have the versatility of the Lee in my opinion .
    I also have loaded many thousand rounds on mine with 0 problems and 0 modifications.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    woops , duplicate post .

  17. #17
    Boolit Bub
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    I think the lee is a great tool for pistol cartridges. I don't think it will speed things up. You would probably need to go to a progressive.

  18. #18
    Boolit Bub GT1's Avatar
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    The Lee is easily double the speed of any single stage press, with the same safety margin.

    You are comparing an auto-indexing turret to a couple single stage presses with extra die storage. Bad designs on top of that, a center post supported rotating die head inherently will develop run-out, unless it is massively overbuilt, which they do try to do, ending up costing a lot and still under performing.
    There is no comparison.
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  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy
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    Currently on my bench is a Redding T-7, a Redding Big Boss, a Lyman All American turret, a Lyman tru-line junior and a cheap Lee single stage and a Forster coaxial press. Also a Lee hand held. I've been using the Redding T-7 and the Big Boss cause they are the most recent acquisitions! The Redding T-7 is the most rugged and the Forster is the most precise!

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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