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Thread: Lee APP First Impressions

  1. #1
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Lee APP First Impressions

    I will get this out of the way up front. I am in no way bashing this press. These are my honest opinions after using it over the past few days. I read the instructions before using and referenced them when setting it up. Used it to deprime and swage about 600 LC cases of varying years. I purchased the primer pocket swaging kit and bulge buster kit along w/ the press.

    Overall it feels like what you pay for it. Thatís saying it feels inexpensive. This isnít necessarily a bad thing. I understand using the right materials for the application and not overbuilding. Itís the abundance of plastic parts(Iím using the term generically) that Iím not a fan of. I foresee them breaking over time. I hope Iím wrong but time will tell.

    The stock handle is a complete joke. I donít know who thought it was a good design. I have smaller hands and the web between my index and middle finger was hitting the press arms. Maybe this doesnít happen w/ larger hands. But Iím thinking it would put the web even closer to the arms. I honestly canít believe they point out the grip as being really comfortable in their literature.

    I didnít mind the handle as much until I started swaging and had to put some a pressure on it. Thatís when I decided to add a roller handle. Had an Inline ergo handle for the Classic Cast series that I donít find comfortable. Used a unibit to increase the mounting hole diameter on the APP arms and mounted the roller handle.



    Increasing the hole diameter does leave less metal at the edges. But I donít plan on using this press for any heavy operations. Bought it solely for case processing. And for this purpose it works okay.

    First thing I set it up for was depriming. The riser was easy to install on the case inserter, more on that to come. The tube support was easy to setup. But I found itís location above the riser was quite important. I had cases that were not dropping into the jaws. Tried adjusting the actuator screw to keep the jaws open more. But this didnít work because the jaws close when the assembly is at the end of the stoke. Fixed the tube support alignment, it was dropping cases to late, and all was good.

    I did have some random weirdness. At times it would not kick a case out of the shell holder. Found that some primers werenít being pushed completely out which prevented the cases from being pushed out of the shell holder. The next case would hit the case in the shell holder and put pressure on it. Backing off pressure, pushing the case back slightly would allow the primer to drop. Not faulting the press or dies in any way. It was completely random.

    I had the riser shoot off across the room on two occasions. No clue what caused that to happen. That happened early on and hasnít happened since. Iíd prefer a more robust assembly but this is a case of hitting a price point.

    Everything worked great for depriming. And everything worked well for the most part when it came to swaging the primer pockets. It was quick and easy to setup. Only took a few minutes and Leeís directions were clear for once. But then I processed a batch of LC12 cases. Stoppage on almost every case.



    As you can see the swage rod is not lining up w/ the case mouth. And not just by a little bit. Everything was working perfectly the prior night and I made no adjustments to the press or dies. I simply started to process a specific batch of brass. If I rotated the shell holder so the exit was pointing towards the back of the press the mouth would line up better. But as soon as a case was inserted the shell holder would rotate back and there would be another stoppage. Thereís quite a bit of play between the case and shell holder.

    The case inserter does not have consistent drops when it comes to position as well. The pic is of the same case from the first photo. There were other cases that were off more.



    When it works., it works great. But constant misalignment makes it slow. I had every intention of selling my Dillon 600. Not so much now. It could very well be related to those specific cases. But I donít have any issues w/ the Dillon regardless of cases. I have other batches of segregated cases that Iím going to run though it before I make a final determination.

    It was a big let down when I had constant issues. I expect one every now and then. But every cases is excessive. The only other thing I really have to say is the tube feed is worthless. No collator and a single tube w/ no way to fill it off press doesnít make anything quicker. Single feeding a case each time was faster in all regards. Anytime you have tubes w/out a collator they arenít saving you any time regardless of press.

    Donít want to end on a bad note. So hereís a video of it swaging cases w/ no issues.

    https://www.flickr.com/gp/dragon813gt/309769

  2. #2
    Boolit Master poppy42's Avatar
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    Well, I can’t say Whether I agree or disagree or with your assessment. Mine was just ordered today and should be here next week. I bought mine with the sole intention of processing pistol brass. 9 mm, 9 mm Makarov, and 38 special. And probably 556 and in small lots 30-06. Considering I’ve De-capped roughly 7000 9 mm cases on a single stage press ( that’s not included the 9 Makarov, 38 special and all the Other small Quantities of other brass I’ve de-capped) in the past month I expect I’ll be quite pleased with it. I’ve read several reviews on it some positive some negative. With that being said I have no way of determining whether the negative reviews are caused by design errors with the press itself or if it’s operator error. I’ll withhold judgment till I actually have my grubby little hands on my press sometime next week. With the price of $75 I paid for it from Titan reloading I can’t possibly see how I could go wrong with this investment. I’ll tell ya I am certainly not planning on processing any more brass until it gets here. Anyway I’ll add my review after I get it Set up and try it out for myself.
    Long, Wide, Deep, and Without Hesitation!

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    I use mine for decapping only. I have ran 1000's of casings through it. I ran into the primers not always coming out too. I tweaked the pin depth. It solved that issue. Sometimes it will drop 2 casing at a time when doing 223/556 brass. Usually when there is only 2 OR 3 left in the tube. It took me some time too setting up the drop assembly. I think it's cleaner too for decapping. Im not getting a burnt powder trail no more. On the lee challenger press i was getting the trail.
    One round at a time.
    Member of Valley Gun & Country Club. Elysburg Pa.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I bought mine mainly for pistol brass and bullet sizing.
    Added the 4 tube case feeder and it is a real time saver for me really fast .
    It does have bit of a learning curve but once you learn set up at least with pistol brass if feeds it perfect 99% of the time.
    Hang in there you will get it figured out.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    About the handle, I have very large hands. The APP press handle might be the most comfortable handle I've used. The Rockchucker ball is ok, but I hate roller handles like on my Star sizer.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    I like the handle to , I sit to the side most of the time and prefer a ball over a roller but the app handle works for me.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    Did you use the de-capper that came in the swage kit? And did you set it up right? If it does not get the right amount of flair on the mouth they will hang up.

    And another thing. You need to find the rhythm of the press. I am telling you it matters. Also take a rubber band and insert it into the loop on the head of the press. You want it so it pushes the spring hard up against the press on the left side. This makes a world of difference once the sliders get a little dirty or sticky.

    I will not size any case on the press. Every other cast for 223 and 9mm rips the rim off. And yes I am using lube.

  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by tomme boy View Post
    Did you use the de-capper that came in the swage kit? And did you set it up right? If it does not get the right amount of flair on the mouth they will hang up.
    Yes, like I said in the OP I followed the instructions. I know that most complaints when it comes to equipment is not following the instructions. Iím the type of person that reads through any set of instructions before doing anything else.

    I understand what youíre saying about the rhythm. In the video I posted you can see me pause slightly before I bring the swage die down. This allows the case wobble, and there can be a lot of it, to cease before the backup rod enters the case. I have no issue doing this. Itís severe misalignment thatís the issue.

    Iím heading out to the garage now to finish up what I have left. Will know if itís just that one batch or thereís something else wrong. I should not have to add rubber bands to the press. It should work as described out of the box w/ no modifications. I donít think is asking to much. Having to modify a press to work is why I will never buy a Lee progressive. The competition works out of the box and will continue to do so itís entire life.

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigAlofPa. View Post
    Sometimes it will drop 2 casing at a time when doing 223/556 brass.
    I left this out of my OP intentionally. Iím 99.9% certain I was not causing the double feed. Operating the handle in an incorrect manner will cause it. Since I never caught it in action I left it out. There were a lot of time it dropped two cases. This lead to brass flying across the room a few times. And Iím pretty certain it was the cause of the riser coming off once.

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy GWS's Avatar
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    I found all the same surprises and negatives as you, except that the handle is a personal thing and even with my small hands it didn't bother me as it did you. But the rest was my experience as well. The "missiles", double feeds, bad falls, all of it.......and I found answers to each that wasn't that hard to fix. On an expensive tool one tends to scream bloody murder, but you almost expect stuff like this in one less expensive like this.

    The angled drops, double feeds and missiles I fixed permanently with two mods I just described in another thread here last night. I could repeat it here if you want, but look at my post in the other thread first where I posted videos to demonstrate. With the two mods and one other thing I fixed everything, and now those LC .223s feed fine. The one other thing is this: The case heads are rough as hell because of the letters roughly embossed around the primers. Factory brass bases are smooth and they feed much better. The fix was to tape a 400 grit sandpaper sheet to the bench and slide each case across it to smooth the stupid heads.....hangs around the x-press shell holders went away. Factory, like Winchester or Rem (the factory I tried) had no such problems with Lee's plowed shell holders.

    As you will see from the first video, I also did 7.62 LC brass. That was much easier, the bases slid better too. But I want a quick change between the two calibers using the 4-way feeder and mod-1 made that possible.

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...=1#post4935002 (post 16) Good luck.....I quite like mine now and retired my RCBS bench swager as being 3 times slower.
    Last edited by GWS; 07-03-2020 at 09:27 AM.

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Lee APP First Impressions

    Went through about 300 cases this morning. Same issues right off the bat. The problem is the shell holder. There is to much play in the floating setup. The case is not centered under the backup rod because of it. I installed the o-ring that they tell you not to use w/ the x-press shell holders. It worked a lot better because the shell holder stayed in place. If a rim is broken or out of round I donít want to use that case anymore to begin w/.

    Before I installed the o-ring there was an easy fix. I just had to push on the shell holder to align the case. I marked it in the pic below. Problem was there was a stoppage that had to be addressed.



    I went through a bag that had mixed year cases and for the most part there was no problems. Same thing for the few bags single year cases. Even reran the problem batch w/ the o-ring installed. Night and day difference.

    This happened as well.



    It double fed cases for no apparent reason. It was towards the end of the tube. Since I donít plan on using the tubes Iím not really concerned about it. At some point I may order up long tubes and drill them for cotter pins so my oldest son can fill them off press. He was trying to keep the tube topped off while I was running the press but wasnít able to.

    The last thing Iím not a fan of is the breech lock bushings. I use many brands of presses so they serve no purpose for me. They add unneeded complexity and a potential failure point IMO. If all you use is Lee presses I see how they are convenient. But like the handle itís about personal preference. If the press is tapped for standard dies one doesnít have to worry about losing an adapter. I really prefer the K.I.S.S. principle and the bushings do not follow it.

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy GWS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dragon813gt View Post

    This happened as well..................It double fed cases for no apparent reason. It was towards the end of the tube.
    Yup happened to me as well.....the clear down tubes cured that......haven't made them for the single feeders just the 4-way.....I only use the single feeders for pistol.....but If I did for rifle I'd still make downtubes for it.....prevents the case sliding down before the case below is out of the way....no more double feeds.


    the down tubes made of thin-wall, pressed into the 4-tube Feeder are both about 1-7/8"long... Looks like one is shorter....optical illusion. I made them the same height to be able to set the 4-tube feeder once for both calibers... leaving 1/16" inch between tube and the tallest shuttle.

    The tube for .308 is 9/16" O.D. and friction-fits, as is, into the widest outlet.
    The one for .223 is 7/16" O.D. and had to be wrapped with aluminum HVAC tape, two wraps, to press-fit the other smaller outlet....the one with the notch in it.

    Each is cut out on one side to allow the case to be held vertical closer to the slide, yet allow the case to progress on the slide past it without hindrance.
    Below: See, the drop tube prevents the top case from pushing the bottom case sideways. There's just too much vertical room between the shuttle and Lees's feeder drop allowing the next case in line to drop behind the other before the shuttle can push it out of the way. My drop tube is just 1/16" higher than the shuttle. It works way better.




    If you don't use an electric collator for rifle, then you need the $25 four-way and the simple mods above to make it sing: link below at Midway. (out of stock at Titan)

    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1020023248?pid=868423
    Last edited by GWS; 07-03-2020 at 12:58 PM.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master gpidaho's Avatar
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    I believe the best use of the APP is sizing bullets. It can be set up with the old style Lee size dies, the new APP bushing sizers or with the adapter the Noe bushings. The single tube feed is a joke as it is as easy to feed the press manually as it is to fill the tube. I bought the four tube feeder and collator and this did make depriming 9mm fast but you lose a lot of the feel for loose pockets. Make sure you clean your brass enough to remove any grit before feeding it. Our local range has sand as fine as dust and I scuffed the plastic slide. This caused the spring to buckle or fly off. I waxed the slide and at Tomme's suggestion added a small tube inside the spring. This got things back to operational. Still the feeder double feeds at times and doesn't always line up properly in the shell holder. If I knew then what I know now, I would have just bought the basic press and used it solely as a bottom drop bullet sizing press fed by hand. The only addition I've found handy is the Noe bushing adapter. Gp

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    I have deprimed several thousand pistol and revolver cases with the 4 tube feeder and coallator with The exception of the random upside down case no real problems at least 30 or 40 a minute it is fast when you get the setup down , don't give up to soon mine has 0 mods

  15. #15
    Boolit Master


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    Thanks for posting your review.

    I have a Dillon 600 and looked at getting the APP for swaging primer pockets as I though it would be a bit faster/easier. I will stay with the Dillon.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy GWS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dverna View Post
    Thanks for posting your review.

    I have a Dillon 600 and looked at getting the APP for swaging primer pockets as I though it would be a bit faster/easier. I will stay with the Dillon.
    I have the RCBS bench swager which works almost identical to the Dillon 600. If your not willing to make the simple mods to make feeding rifle fail-safe, you are probably right to do it the slow way.

    However I have retired my bench swager because the APP with modified feeder parts is so stinking fast and efficient that'd feel deprived if I had to go back and feed individual cases to the bench primer again..........plus it's wonderful to deprime with if you like to wet tumble before sizing.......and it's a breeze if you have a Redding GrX and have got lots of .40s&w to debulge. And if you cast boolits and need a sizer....even more worthwhile.

    I would have bought one just for the case feeding/depriming feature, but its worth a lot more than that to me now.

    It's the case feeding of this press that makes all the difference for me, so for me it was way worthwhile to make that case feed system sing.........and if you have a Dillon electric Case Collator all the better!

  17. #17
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Lee APP First Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by dverna View Post
    Thanks for posting your review.

    I have a Dillon 600 and looked at getting the APP for swaging primer pockets as I though it would be a bit faster/easier. I will stay with the Dillon.
    When it works itís a lot faster. Itís the stops that obviously cause the problems. I like the 600 and enjoy flinging the cases for distance into a bin. Once setup it swages the pockets perfectly. But so does the kit for the APP. And setup was quicker and easier w/ the APP.

    A 650 is the best option for case processing. One pass and the case processing is complete and ready to to be loaded. But you have to pay quite a bit. I thought about getting a case feeder for my 550 and an aftermarket swager. But the press is not designed to swage cases. And the cost of those parts was more than the APP.

    For me the APP is worth it for depriming alone. But only for bulk processing. Normally I deprime on press at time of loading. So once initially processed I wouldnít be using the APP anymore. But I can say the same thing for the 600. So Iím not unhappy w/ my purchase.

    I have a large batch of RP cases that are sorted. Along w/ a couple thousand more unsorted LC cases. Iím not giving up yet. And I still havenít tried 7.62 cases. There are thousands of them to process as well. If it works well for bulge busting and body sizing 357 Sig cases itís just icing on the cake. Already have a Star so it will never be used for bullet sizing.

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy Reverend Recoil's Avatar
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    I have re-sized thousands of 45 Auto and 38 Special cases on my Lee APP with no trouble. 9mm Luger cases get stuck in the sizing die. The express sell holder does not engage in enough of the case head to pull them out without stripping. The Lee APP is the best I have used for case de-priming, expanding, and bullet sizing.
    DRB #2276

  19. #19
    Boolit Master 44magLeo's Avatar
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    I have found that most of my feeding issues are adjustment related. As the instructions tell you if the cases feed early or late you need to adjust where the tube holder sets in comparison to the feeder. Once you get it right the cases fall straight down.
    Leo

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by 44magLeo View Post
    I have found that most of my feeding issues are adjustment related. As the instructions tell you if the cases feed early or late you need to adjust where the tube holder sets in comparison to the feeder. Once you get it right the cases fall straight down.
    Leo
    I agree , when new to the app a person might want to use it 5 or 6 sessions to get a good feel for cause and effect of how it is set up before doing mods on it . It will work really well as it comes.
    I have found for decapping handgun cases that I can get by with the 45 colt shell holder for all of them .
    When the case feeder is properly set up for the case the controlled feed sets the case just right to deprime.
    It's no fiddling with the shell holder but this would only work for depriming , my primary use.
    But that said we all use our tools in the way we are comfortable with and the way we like that how it should be.
    Last edited by onelight; 07-03-2020 at 11:18 PM.

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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
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LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check