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Thread: Lee Classic Turret Press Question

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    Lee Classic Turret Press Question

    I've posted before regarding this press, but am still "on-the-fence," regarding same. I've been reloading off, and on, for 45 years...all on RCBS & Lyman single-stage presses. I like the auto-index feature of the Lee Turret. I do not need, nor want a progressive. Most all of my dies are RCBS, which I like, but I also have a few sets of Lee dies, which I've used with equal satisfaction. Ninety-nine percent of my reloading is pistol. I've always primed on my presses....'Now my questions: Does the Lee safety-prime system work well?....Does the relatively, inexpensive price of the Lee Classic Turret equate to sub-par performance, and reduced, equipment life-span....RCBS will last for a lifetime, and then some...What can I expect from the Lee?.....'Lastly, I don't want to have to change all of my die lock-rings to accommodate the Lee turret.....It appears that the spacing between the die positions is relatively "tight," when compared to RCBS, Lyman, Redding, etc....I don't know as I don't have a turret to measure...I would just like to know that all of my dies will work, without having to retrofit with smaller dia. lockrings.


    I appreciate your time and responses.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    mac60's Avatar
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    I have a Lee Classic Turret and load most of my pistol ammo on it. You're gonna get any number of answers on most/all your questions. This is just based on my opinions and experience. The safety prime system I have on the LCT works great until I get to the last 2 primers - not one problem until I get to the last 2 which won't feed through the system. Your next question is where you're gonna get the most varied responses. The LCT works just fine for me. I fully expect it to be loading ammo for many years to come. Some people just don't care for Lee equipment. Others just want everything to be machined from solid steel. Others just like to complain. All my turrets are set up with Lee dies. I took a few of the Lee dies out of one of my turrets and screwed in 2 RCBS dies next to each other and like you suspected they are tight, but I didn't have any problems screwing them in and I don't think you'll have any problems in that regard. This is just one man's opinion, but the LCT is a good press and does a great job loading pistol ammo. IMO it's a big upgrade in speed and convenience compared to a single stage press.
    So many guns, so little time
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Priming on the LCT has a bit of a learning curve I have 2 Lyman single stage presses that use a system similar to the rcbs and I prefer the Lee system but it has a learning curve for operation and you have to have some patience at the beginning I much prefer it over the tubes . It will accept over a hundred primers and can be refilled quickly and works well enough to load a hundred pistol rounds in less than 40 minutes.
    RCBS lock rings will be frustrating to adjust and work with in the tight quarters on the turret so you would probably have to replace some rings. To get the most from the LCT you would need to add a powder through expanding die and a pro auto disk or auto drum measure they both work well for me and I prefer the auto disk (it's kinda like an automated little dandy)over the Lyman , RCBS , and Lee auto drum measures on most of what I load .
    The life span of the press is a question I can't answer it depends on how it is used or abused I don't think I will ever wear mine out but the are 2 plastic parts that people break I have not broken any I think they .50 to a dollar each and I ordered several spare with the press but have not needed them. I don't think for standard reloading you will ever wear it out with just basic maintenance . I find the LCT to be the handiest press I have for small lots of reloads.
    If you are near Oklahoma City you would be welcome to come run mine a bit if you would like.

  4. #4
    I have had a LCT for many years, easily the most versatile press I own. I also heard of the "breaking plastic" piece and bought
    The 5 pack and have never had to use them. Priming takes a little practice but you will get the hang of it. I load my semi auto pistol/rifle with the LCT and have 4 different turret heads
    I prefer the lee auto drum but have good luck with the auto disc also.

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Good source of unbiased Lee info; http://www.lee-loader.com/index.php
    My Anchor is holding fast!

  6. #6
    Boolit Master kmw1954's Avatar
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    I have 4 Lee presses. The First one was a Pro1000 that I got for a bargain price, it was complete and in like new condition. It is still the press I use the most today. Next press was an old model Lee 3 hole turret press that was found on ebay still in an unopen box, I paid a premium price for it because I wanted the 3 hole press and not a 4 hole. Reason being is I could swap turrets back and forth between the two presses. Then last year I added a Lee Auto Breech Lock Pro, now again called the Pro4000 on Lees site, Because I picked up a pistol that was causing me grief with reloads and the 4th die solved that issue.

    Now as to the Turret press, I purchased the Auto Advance turret press to compliment the Pro1000 and to make it much easier to work up new loads and it has filled this niche nicely. Now the old style 3 hole press cannot use the Lee safety Prime so I place primers by hand one at a time. Right now it is being used to run test samples of 45acp with newly cast bullets. Then I also have a turret set up with 3 Lee Push thru bullet sizing dies in .356", .358" and .452" works great.

    The 4th press I have is another Lee 3 hole that was given to me and it was harshly abused. The pivot hole in the linkage was completely egged out and the positive stop for the linkage was snapped off. I keep it for parts.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    I was undecided on the Classic cast turretfor a long time.

    Buy it.
    More "This is what happened when I,,,,," and less "What would happen if I,,,,"

    Last of the original Group Buy Honcho's.

    "Dueling should have never been made illegal in this country. It settled lots of issues between folks."- Char-Gar

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    I have the Lee 3-hole turret and the Lee 4 hole turret. I prefer the 3-hole for pistol as die sets are 3 pieces. I had to change out locking rings of some dies to fit in the 4 hole turret as the holes are so close together. Nothing wrong with the Lee turret presses. I expecially love how quick change-overs are, all you need to so it swap out turrets and shellholder and you are good to go.

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy sparkyv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlh View Post
    Does the Lee safety-prime system work well?....Does the relatively, inexpensive price of the Lee Classic Turret equate to sub-par performance, and reduced, equipment life-span....RCBS will last for a lifetime, and then some...What can I expect from the Lee?.....'Lastly, I don't want to have to change all of my die lock-rings to accommodate the Lee turret.....It appears that the spacing between the die positions is relatively "tight," when compared to RCBS, Lyman, Redding, etc....I don't know as I don't have a turret to measure...I would just like to know that all of my dies will work, without having to retrofit with smaller dia. lockrings.
    The safety prime works well after making proper adjustments. The Lee Turret produces high quality rounds, especially pistol rounds. As with most machinery, if it is well-maintained it will last a very long time. You will likely need to change out some of the lock rings to accommodate them onto a 4-hole turret. Should be OK on a 3-hole turret. The Lee Turret press has served me well.

  10. #10
    Boolit Bub GWS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlh View Post
    ......'Lastly, I don't want to have to change all of my die lock-rings to accommodate the Lee turret.....It appears that the spacing between the die positions is relatively "tight," when compared to RCBS, Lyman, Redding, etc....I don't know as I don't have a turret to measure...I would just like to know that all of my dies will work, without having to retrofit with smaller dia. lockrings.
    Usually when you change presses you have to at least change the location of the lockring anyway.....unless machinist shims can work....but shims aren't exactly convenient.

    I'm interested in the new Lee lock rings and their little handy wrench. They are not only smaller they offer a lot more angles to grab them with the wrench. Once set, I'm thinking those little jewels are going to be capital C convenient. IMO it would be worth a little time to change out all of mine I'm using on my Pro Chucker 7 (those 7 holes are way close together).

    Click image for larger version. 

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    https://leeprecision.com/ultimate-lo...gs-3-pack.html

    At least one famous writer has taught to buy 7/8" "O" rings to place under die sets to allow them some wiggle room to self center. While the old Lee locknuts used such an "O" ring to "lock" their nuts....the new ones have Forster/Hornady like cinch screws to do the locking....with the advantage of the "tighten and forget" feature, yet still have the "O" rings. Maybe that's like having cake and eating it too.
    Last edited by GWS; 02-23-2020 at 05:20 PM.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by GWS View Post
    Usually when you change presses you have to at least change the location of the lockring anyway.....unless machinist shims can work....but shims aren't exactly convenient.

    I'm interested in the new Lee lock rings and their little handy wrench. They are not only smaller they offer a lot more angles to grab them with the wrench. Once set, I'm thinking those little jewels are going to be capital C convenient. IMO it would be worth a little time to change out all of mine I'm using on my Pro Chucker 7 (them 7 holes are close together).

    Click image for larger version. 

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    https://leeprecision.com/ultimate-lo...gs-3-pack.html
    I have an app press on back order with Titan and have some of those rings on the order with it. I am looking forward to trying them , they look like a good idea for turrets and progressives

  12. #12
    Boolit Master

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    I love my LCTP! Simple operation. Lots of leverage, more than a RCBS Jr. I'm still on my first ratchet, which shows no wear after loading 10k+ rounds. I load the primers individually by hand. Only takes a second and seems simpler than using the gizmo and nearly the same speed. I consider it dexterity practice. I'd like another bit of travel for 30-06 length cartidges, but it works well enough. I really have no complaints. I've spent more on turrets than the press, but I regularly load several different calibers and it sure is nice to swap out dies without having to make any adjustments. The auto drum measure works very well for me and meters flake powders such as Promo and Herco to within .1 grain. 2400 meters nearly perfectly. Took me 2 hours to load 100 pistol rounds on a single stage. I can load the same in 30 minutes on the Turret press.

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
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    I have " 2 " Lee's ,, both came over on the Mayflower ,, a Pro-1000 , set up for a 76, 40-60 win. ( Chaparral ) and a turret for pistol & rifle combo's. On the pro- 1000 my powder measure is the "OLD " sq. smokie colored box .. setting on a LEE power thru die ( 44-40 ) , but I opted for the micro- adj. w/ a home made block under ( same size as micro-meter ) , for more volume,, it didn't come w/ either primer arm's ( got it used ) made my own primer arm's ( sm. & lg. ) I have added a bracket to the frnt. post on the right ,, used part of a RCBS primer arm & screwed it to the bracket ,, yup !! tube feed , I load small batches 50-100 ( have diff. length tubes ) pull the primer arm back load a primer ,, ( I prime on the down stroke of resizing) Hey! it works. On the progressive I added a finger to the top back of the head above the primer shoot,, the finger will ride on top of the primers until the last 5-6,, then the finger falls in behind and feed the primer pocket ,, all primers ,,, even the " LAST " one,, it feeds the primers at the TOP of the stroke,, Hey it works so far no missed primers,,, I even mixed CCI-WWLp -Fed Lp. nar'e a miss. So Lee's are very durable , priced fairly,and just old school " COOL ". Now why did I go thru all he trouble to fix the primer problem's ,,,, the Lee press's are just worth it !!!!!But which ever brand you buy I hope you enjoy it, ( whew ! typ'n dries me out )
    coffee's ready ,, Hootmix

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy
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    I have loaded exclusively on a lee 4 hole classic for a while now. I really like the simplicity in switching from single stage to auto indexing, and have had no trouble using lee, RCBS , or Hornady dies . I have loaded rifle and pistol, anywhere from 10 piece test loads to 1000 pieces for storage and competition / general use and have never had a problem with quality of the rounds.

    As to your question on the lee safety prime Yes it does work well If you have the right version. Make sure you have the newest version of the safety prime, where both the small and large primer are white, and they have the 45ish degree angled serrated back, as they have a built in guide on the bottom that lines up with the primer arm, and makes them work 100% better than the previous black and white ones. I had the old set and I would say it was about 75% good, but the new ones have been 100% now after several thousand rounds.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    i like the LCTP. one of my favorite things about it is the removable die disc's... i get everything setup and wanna change cal's and wham... its done... i like the 4 holer's.....
    Any technology not understood, can seem like Magic!!!

    I will love the Lord with all my heart, all my soul, and all my mind.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    cstrickland is absolutely right the newest version of the primer feed is much better than the older versions 25.00 give or take a dollar or two gives you the whole kit .

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy
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    I also use a Lee Classic Turret Press with 4 hole turrets.
    I have 3 or 4 turrets that have the dies for other calibers that I load for. Each have the dies already adjusted and ready for reloading.
    Like mentioned, it's easy to just swap one turret for another to continue loading for a different caliber.

    The only issue I have had with the CTP is the small square plastic part that indexes each stage will eventually wear to te point that when you pull the handle to go to the next stage it will start stopping a little short and you would have to manually nudge it over to continue.
    This happened after....5 years?
    Cheap part from Lee. $.50 seems about right if I recall. I bought a few but only replaced it once.

    You get good value from Lee. I recommend the Lee Classic Turret Press.

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy
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    Adapting the RCBS primer feed units sounds great. Do you have any pictures or better yet a video of that working. If I had that last year I would not even have went to the new version. I do have to say tho I am happy withe new version with the guide, it has worked great so far with little to no work in mounting.

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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