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Thread: lee processing press questions

  1. #1
    Boolit Grand Master







    Lloyd Smale's Avatar
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    lee processing press questions

    I cast coat and size A LOT Of bullets. Anyone have one? Is it sturdy enough to hold up to the long run set up to size bullets? Will the lee 4 tube case feeder work with cast bullets? Looks like a slick set up. Sure wish someone like rcbs or dillion would make a high quality version. I skeptical of anything lee.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    Dragonheart's Avatar
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    Lloyd, I share your feelings about Lee products, but I will say their prices do allow a lot to get into handloading with a minimal investment. But for those that are truly committed to the hobby Lee just adds unneeded frustration.

    I purchased the Lee Collator just to play with it as I have dillon case feeders on both my 650's.The Lees collator will work if you don't mind a number backward cases. As far as feeding bullets my opinion is it would take more time and effort to make it work for that purpose than what you might gain.

    In 2012 (when the reloading component shelves were bare) I got back into casting because I wanted to powdercoat. I built my first semi-automatic bullet sizer by inverting a Rock Chucker press and powering it with a pneumatic cylinder. Soon after I built another sizer simply just using a cylinder alone. I say my set up is semi-automatic because I have to drop my bullets by hand into a feed tube held in place by a switch activated magnet. Once a bullet is dropped into the tube my other hand activates the cylinder pushing the bullet through a Lee sizing die. With my set up I personally can size about 35 bullets a minute and can keep a run going for several hundred before I need a break, but I am an old man.

    My set up could be made more complicated, but I don't think it would speed up the process enough for me to justify the added time & effort. Pneumatic cylinders are very reasonable in price and being able to weld makes building one not that difficult assuming you have access to some steel.
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Well, for what it is I like Lee stuff. They solve a lot of problems, sometimes in kind of 'off the wall' methods that work well in most cases.

    The new press is one of those. Some interesting solutions to different problems. I do like the bullet feed it uses and I am looking at a way to use something like that on my Loadmaster progressive. If I were to start processing a ton of pistol bullets I'd probably get one of those.

    The only issue I see with it is keeping the bullet tube filled. The only bullet collators I have seen that work reliably are the larger 'bucket' type, and they are not inexpensive.

  4. #4
    Boolit Man
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    I have the APP, it's a neat product for certain tasks. I use the four tube collator with it as well. For sizing or bulge busting gobs of pistol cases, it's top notch and doesn't drop very many at all upside down. Although I did do the screw/washer thing to help with 380 and 9mm cases. I also grooved my shell holders to keep cases from "tripping" on the shell holder as the mechanism pushes a case into it.

    I have used it to do some rifle cases and it does them no prob., but I rarely have very many of those, so it's kind of a waste of time to go thru the setup for a couple dozen cases.

    It can be a bit fiddly to setup. Especially when you first get it.

    For sizing bullets, its good too. However, I have not been able to get the collator to drop my slugs nose down consistently, so I just fill the tubes by hand. If you are sizing one of the Kieth style or wadcutter design slugs, no big deal, just let them go down either way. And for the really tiny slugs, 22's, 6mm's, 25's or pointed, I wouldn't even try to use it.

    And yes, you can use it with the original Lee push thru sizers.

    Bottom line, for me, Use it for pistol cases and pistol slugs, size/de-prime, flair and size bullets.

    My $.02
    Chris


    [/QUOTE]

  5. #5
    Boolit Master poppy42's Avatar
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    Well Iíve had my APP for a little over 2 months. I havenít used it to size Boolets, but Iíve run close to 40,000, yes I mean 40,000, cases through it! Everything from 9mm, 38 special, 357 mag, 45 acp, and 223/5.56. Decapping and sizing. Without any major issues. I donít have the 4 tube case loader(every placed I looked it was on back order) so I made my own set up with a dollar store funnel and some plastic tubes. As far as Iím concerned I have settle any questions about whether or not itís reliable and whether or not it can hold up to heavy use. But like I said I havenít sized any bullets so I canít speak about how well it handles that task.
    Long, Wide, Deep, and Without Hesitation!

  6. #6
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    lee processing press questions

    If the inserter acts up like it does w/ cases you will be frustrated. I like the press but it has its issues. As far as tubes itís just as fast to single feed one at a time unless you have a collator filling the tubes. You have to account for your time filling the tubes.

    This is my personal opinion, I would not using it for sizing bullets. I do not seeing it holding up over time w/ the pressures that this would create. I fully understand this press was built to a price point. And because of this it has its limitations. I agree w/ Lloyd in that a higher quality version would be great.

  7. #7
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    Been using the APP for sizing Hitek coated 44 and 45 bullets.
    I feed it from a Mr. Bullet feeder. eats up bullets really quick.
    Only issue is 9mm pointy bullets will hangup on the indentations in the back track. RN or FP bullets are fine.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dl0OpZc23Dg
    Hooroo.
    Regards, Trevor.
    Australia

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by dragon813gt View Post
    If the inserter acts up like it does w/ cases you will be frustrated. I like the press but it has its issues. As far as tubes it’s just as fast to single feed one at a time unless you have a collator filling the tubes. You have to account for your time filling the tubes.

    This is my personal opinion, I would not using it for sizing bullets. I do not seeing it holding up over time w/ the pressures that this would create. I fully understand this press was built to a price point. And because of this it has its limitations. I agree w/ Lloyd in that a higher quality version would be great.
    Why do you think it would not hold up to a lot more pressure? Just from looks or have you measured flex in the tooling?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonheart View Post
    Lloyd, I share your feelings about Lee products, but I will say their prices do allow a lot to get into handloading with a minimal investment. But for those that are truly committed to the hobby Lee just adds unneeded frustration.

    I purchased the Lee Collator just to play with it as I have dillon case feeders on both my 650's.The Lees collator will work if you don't mind a number backward cases. As far as feeding bullets my opinion is it would take more time and effort to make it work for that purpose than what you might gain.

    In 2012 (when the reloading component shelves were bare) I got back into casting because I wanted to powdercoat. I built my first semi-automatic bullet sizer by inverting a Rock Chucker press and powering it with a pneumatic cylinder. Soon after I built another sizer simply just using a cylinder alone. I say my set up is semi-automatic because I have to drop my bullets by hand into a feed tube held in place by a switch activated magnet. Once a bullet is dropped into the tube my other hand activates the cylinder pushing the bullet through a Lee sizing die. With my set up I personally can size about 35 bullets a minute and can keep a run going for several hundred before I need a break, but I am an old man.

    My set up could be made more complicated, but I don't think it would speed up the process enough for me to justify the added time & effort. Pneumatic cylinders are very reasonable in price and being able to weld makes building one not that difficult assuming you have access to some steel.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    very cool. Wish i was that handy.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master







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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris S View Post
    I have the APP, it's a neat product for certain tasks. I use the four tube collator with it as well. For sizing or bulge busting gobs of pistol cases, it's top notch and doesn't drop very many at all upside down. Although I did do the screw/washer thing to help with 380 and 9mm cases. I also grooved my shell holders to keep cases from "tripping" on the shell holder as the mechanism pushes a case into it.

    I have used it to do some rifle cases and it does them no prob., but I rarely have very many of those, so it's kind of a waste of time to go thru the setup for a couple dozen cases.

    It can be a bit fiddly to setup. Especially when you first get it.

    For sizing bullets, its good too. However, I have not been able to get the collator to drop my slugs nose down consistently, so I just fill the tubes by hand. If you are sizing one of the Kieth style or wadcutter design slugs, no big deal, just let them go down either way. And for the really tiny slugs, 22's, 6mm's, 25's or pointed, I wouldn't even try to use it.

    And yes, you can use it with the original Lee push thru sizers.

    Bottom line, for me, Use it for pistol cases and pistol slugs, size/de-prime, flair and size bullets.

    My $.02
    Chris

    [/QUOTE]

    why are you concerned which way the bullet nose feeds? back in the lyman days before i had a star you sized them all base first. Personaly i never saw any advantage to either way other then nose first is faster to stuff in my die the way i do it now.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ausglock View Post
    Been using the APP for sizing Hitek coated 44 and 45 bullets.
    I feed it from a Mr. Bullet feeder. eats up bullets really quick.
    Only issue is 9mm pointy bullets will hangup on the indentations in the back track. RN or FP bullets are fine.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dl0OpZc23Dg
    cool setup but i just dont have 500 bucks for a bullet feeder for an 80 dollar press. Now if it were a 100 bucks maybe even 200 id consider it. But it sure seems to work slick.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  12. #12
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  13. #13
    Boolit Man
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    "why are you concerned which way the bullet nose feeds? back in the lyman days before i had a star you sized them all base first. Personaly i never saw any advantage to either way other then nose first is faster to stuff in my die the way i do it now."

    I'm not, that's my point! If your sizing a SWC, Keith or wadcutter design, it really matters not. The only problem you would have is with tiny or pointy bullets...well, and gaschecks.

    Chris

  14. #14
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    It is a little finicky but works fine. Yes the 4 tube feeder works fine. I now have mine set up with a Mister bullet feeder clone. It works awesome. Bullet sizing is what it excels at. I have stuck too many 223 and 9mm cases in the dies as the rims are getting ripped out of the special shell holders.

    The swage works well for 9mm cases. But 556 seems like you have to pull down on the handle 2-3x to get the swage right. And yes it is set up like is in the instructions. And you still will run into LC 556 that have the 4 stake punches that will not remove them.

  15. #15
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    why are you concerned which way the bullet nose feeds? back in the lyman days before i had a star you sized them all base first. Personaly i never saw any advantage to either way other then nose first is faster to stuff in my die the way i do it now.[/QUOTE]

    When you size you are moving metal. When a bullet is PC the diameter is increased and PC is hard, so you are moving more metal. The question is where does the metal go? For accuracy the bullet's base is paramount because a bullet is steered from the base, not the nose. If excess metal flows to the base of the bullet leaving a base that is not flat and perpendicular, accuracy will suffer.

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master







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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris S View Post
    "why are you concerned which way the bullet nose feeds? back in the lyman days before i had a star you sized them all base first. Personaly i never saw any advantage to either way other then nose first is faster to stuff in my die the way i do it now."

    I'm not, that's my point! If your sizing a SWC, Keith or wadcutter design, it really matters not. The only problem you would have is with tiny or pointy bullets...well, and gaschecks.

    Chris
    ya i can see that. thanks.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  17. #17
    Boolit Master Gunslinger1911's Avatar
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    Lloyd, I have had mine for going on 6 months, bought it for sizing PC.
    WORKS GREAT !
    9mm, 45, ect; run as fast as you can work the handle.
    Tried the 4 tube feeder, takes a while to load it - arm gets tired by 4th tube - but I'm sizing 2-3 a second.
    I came up with cutting a tube off so it holds maybe 10-12 cast, Midway powder funnel fits on tube, add cast as you size ( I find I don't tend to work the handle at breakneck speed this way)
    Maybe 10 thousand + so far, no issues - well, I tend to run out of cast to size pretty fast !
    Lee 405g 45/70 boolet is a bit over size, so sizing down to 458 is right at the Lee limit - lots stress, I switch to a single stage for the monster boolets.
    The Lee APP is one of my better recent buys !
    Cogno, Ergo, Boom

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  18. #18
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    I only use mine for decapping. A universal decapping die. Solves the issue with brass ripping out of the shell holders. .223 and .556 brass can be a pain at times. When they sling shot and double feed.
    One round at a time.
    Member of Valley Gun & Country Club. Elysburg Pa. And Zerby rod and gun club.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Just started using mine to size 9mm. A couple or three thousand rounds a month is what I need to cast, coat and process, though I usually go in big batches that will last a few months. I figured that preloading the tubes wasn't going to be faster than feeding by hand directly into the die. I do use the slider, hand fed, and the pass through shell holder for brass processing steps I can't do on my SDB, but a little testing showed that I was faster and more reliable dropping the boolit into the die than into the slider's little arms.

    A easy pace of about 20-25 boolits a minute gets 500 done in under a half hour, a short break to put sizing lube on the next batch and a thousand are done in an hour. I'm a little old guy; standing at the right height relative to the press improves the leverage and doesn't tire my arm out.

    I like it. Much easier and faster than the upside down mounted press I used before that sized on the upstroke.

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
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    Think this may be something of interest for speed sizing...

    https://youtu.be/ZeNVsa9VmRk

    This is still in prototype stage, but the addition of a small handle and tightening up tolerances is all that would be really needed. The "magizine" might need some tweaking as well, but i can size as fast as I can drop bullets into it...

    Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk

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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