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Thread: Thoughts on Lee Classic Turret Press?

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy VariableRecall's Avatar
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    Thoughts on Lee Classic Turret Press?

    I'm very much satisfied with my Lee Hand Press. However, I'm looking into the future next couple of years where I may have the opportunity to to mount a press to something solid. Most likely, using one of those free standing Lee Press mounts. Considering the lower volume of cartridges I expect to use on a monthly basis, (hopefully 60-150 rounds a month), Something along the lines of the Lee Classic press looks like the best upgrade to me. I'm not interested in the sheer volume capability of a progressive press, just an upgrade over my current Hand Press.

    I understand that it's not a full fledged progressive press, it's just a Single stage press with the capability to rotate the dies that rest on top of the system. I see it as a step forward in convenience and ease of use.

    I was wondering, can you repeat a step of the Classic Turret press by not pushing the lever completely down, and bringing the lever upward again?

    Also, I'm planning on priming cases that I intend to use in the press using my Lee Ergo-Prime tool, instead of the priming system that comes standard with the press itself.

    Is anyone here willing to talk about their experiences of the Lee Classic Turret Press? It's OK if you recommend a Dillon or something fancy like that but I'm mainly interested in knowing what other people think of the thing.

  2. #2
    Boolit Bub monkey wrangler's Avatar
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    I don't have any experience with the LEE turret press. But I would suggest mounting it to a rolling toolbox that could hold the rest of your reloading supplies. Instead of spending money on a stand that will just hold a press. Not maybe as sturdy as a good bench but as steady as a tripod setup and more handy. Here is a video of something close.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PL_eW3viPk4
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  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master tazman's Avatar
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    I have been using the Lee Classic Cast turret press for years. It is easy to use and reliable. It can be used in "semi progressive" mode or in single stage mode by removing the indexing rod.
    I use mine for handgun and rifle cartridges. I currently load rifle cartridges in 223, 243, 308, and 30-06. I have loaded 458 Win Mag on it as well.
    It is about 50% faster than a single stage press.

    To answer your question about doing the same operation twice, you would have to manually index the turret in order to redo an operation assuming you are using full strokes of the handle. It is possible to short stroke the handle, but then bad things can happen.

    Speaking to the accuracy you can get out of the press, I have four rifles that shoot under 1.5 inches at 200 yards using ammunition loaded on this press. Two of them will do under 1 inch on a calm day.

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy VariableRecall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by monkey wrangler View Post
    I don't have any experience with the LEE turret press. But I would suggest mounting it to a rolling toolbox that could hold the rest of your reloading supplies. Instead of spending money on a stand that will just hold a press. Not maybe as sturdy as a good bench but as steady as a tripod setup and more handy. Here is a video of something close.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PL_eW3viPk4
    That's certainly a good idea, but I'm afraid my old man's not going to like me drilling into his lovely new moving toolbox. that, and I'm looking into the future (five or six years from now) where I can finally have some garage space of my own. Those mounting thingies from Inline Fabrication looks like a good option as well. It would make for a somewhat funny looking desktop setup for a press, but, it would be a lot more portable than Lee's stock press mountings.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    I love the Classic Turret Press. And I love me Lee Stand. You can easily make a top for the press stand.

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  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy VariableRecall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tazman View Post
    I have been using the Lee Classic Cast turret press for years. It is easy to use and reliable. It can be used in "semi progressive" mode or in single stage mode by removing the indexing rod.

    To answer your question about doing the same operation twice, you would have to manually index the turret in order to redo an operation assuming you are using full strokes of the handle. It is possible to short stroke the handle, but then bad things can happen.
    Thank you very much for the info! I was just thinking of a scenario where I would be repeating a step. For example, let's say I've got a lot of brass that I've expanded and sized, but, i just need to prime, seat, and crimp to finish the bullet.

    In this situation, just sticking with the "Single Stage" shaft would be the smartest move? I'd assume whatever bad things that can happen by short stroking the machine would not be worth the effort.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by VariableRecall View Post
    Thank you very much for the info! I was just thinking of a scenario where I would be repeating a step. For example, let's say I've got a lot of brass that I've expanded and sized, but, i just need to prime, seat, and crimp to finish the bullet.

    In this situation, just sticking with the "Single Stage" shaft would be the smartest move? I'd assume whatever bad things that can happen by short stroking the machine would not be worth the effort.
    The Classic Turret is a wonderful press, and will do what you are referring to. Itís a simple matter to manually repeat a step on a single stage, even with the indexing rod engaged. If you wish to use it as a single stage press the indexing rod is easily removed. Itís a very versatile and forgiving design that allows for lots of tinkering, be it with your dies or with your loading sequences. The priming feature is sort of an acquired taste, but I donít mind it. For someone who likes to mix-and-match ordering, caliber and loads, Iím not sure it can be beat.


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  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    It's very convenient to have extra 4 hole turrets holding the dies for the calibers and loads you like. They cost on average about $12. I paired mine with Lee's Auto Disk powder measure and riser and it has been working well. Lee's 4 die carbide die sets that come with a powder through expander die and seperate seating and crimp dies are a good match with the press. Right now many things are out of stock so you may have some difficulty getting everything you need.

  9. #9
    Boolit Man
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    I've been using the hand press since March, except for initial caliber start up I don't load a huge amount at one time so this seems like a great compromise in cost and productivity. Lee states 50% faster than the hand loader and with the ability to swap the turret to change calibers it just seems like all win.

    Currently Midway-USA shows the press and spare turrets in stock.
    Cargo

  10. #10
    Boolit Master Ole Joe Clarke's Avatar
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    I use the classic turret for pistol shells, mostly 9mm. I have loaded several thousand of them and it works as advertised. I did get the indexing kit and auto shell dump after loading. All the errors I had were operator error, I load my rifle shells on a Pacific single stage, just a matter of preference.

    Have a blessed day,

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  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy gnappi's Avatar
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    I started out many years ago with the turret press (ultimately wrong thinking) my volume would be low, and for that purpose it's an excellent press, FAR above any single stage press (IMO) like a rockchucker.
    Regards,

    Gary

  12. #12
    I started on the Lee hand press, then move to the Lee challenger (old style, not breech lock)to do 243 and 30-06. Got in reloading 9 and 40, decided to get the classic turret. Love that press! I have several turrets setup with all my various dies so I simply swap out the turret and go. I'm currently working towards having a lee powder measure on each turret so I don't have to adjust powder setting when switching calibers.

    I got my oldest boy in to reloading last year with a challenger breech lock and that Lee press stand. He loves it, can go in his closet when not needed. It's a lot sturdier than I figured it would be. I also like that it has extra storage for a couple other presses. I'm thinking he may get an APP for Christmas this year.

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I have the Lee Classic Turret press, along with two of the older three hole turret presses. I feel it is the perfect answer for someone that loads smaller amounts of ammo. Personally, I load thousands of rounds per year, and only use any of my presses as single stage tools. I'm never in a hurry, so a progressive has no appeal for me.

    I should also mention that I have an RCBS Rockchucker mounted along side the Lee, but it's now only used for specialty projects. The older Lee turret presses are mounted on 3/8" steel plates that I "C" clamp to the bench top when needed.
    You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy VariableRecall's Avatar
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    Glad to see some experiences with the Lee Classic Turret Press! It will probably be a good couple of years before I get one, but I'm glad to know that people think highly of it.

    I've seen the Lee Classic's priming system in action on video, and it's a little funky looking to actuate. Have any of you had issues with it? Most likely, I'm going to just be using my Ergo prime but it's good to know more about it as an option.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    I have 2 Lee Classic Turret presses. One is the 4 place turret and another I converted to use my older 3 position turrets. I really don't use the 'turret' feature. The die holders are used to mount my dies similar to the 'breech lock' die holders. I do almost all my reloading on these two presses. I have two Lee Pro 1000's and a Lee Loadmaster for high production reloading. I have an older red Pacific press similar to the RCBS Rockchucker but it gathers a lot of dust. The Lee Turret used as a single stage is where I do most of my reloading. Dies are set-up once for a caliber then I just changing the turret for my different calibers.

  16. #16
    Boolit Bub Rightbrained's Avatar
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    I’m another user of the Lee classic cast turret press . Mine has been going sting for years.
    And as mentioned previously, just remove the indexing rod and you can use it in single stage mode.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by VariableRecall View Post

    I've seen the Lee Classic's priming system in action on video, and it's a little funky looking to actuate. Have any of you had issues with it? Most likely, I'm going to just be using my Ergo prime but it's good to know more about it as an option.
    I haven't had issues with the primer. It was a bit different to get used to initially, but once I used it awhile, it was second nature. Never had any issues.

  18. #18
    Boolit Mold
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    Use mine all the time. Primarily for decapping, but also for calibers I don't reload a lot of.

  19. #19
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    repeating a 'stage' or 'die'.

    YES, i do it every time i setup for a run of whatever cartridge.

    HOW/WHY?

    i like to get the expanding/charging die with the attached autodisk measure 'settled'.

    so i put a case in the shellholder with the turret ready to utilize the charging die.
    pull the lever and go back down WITHOUT levering all the way, then pull the lever again.

    drop a triple charge, remove the case, dump in back in the measure.
    repeat a couple times to get the measure settled.
    (drop a single charge and weigh, then off to the races)

    so yes, you can repeat a stage with the auto indexing rod in place by simply not returning the lever to the full upright tray table position.

    good luck!
    WebMonkey
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  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy VariableRecall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WebMonkey View Post
    repeating a 'stage' or 'die'.

    YES, i do it every time i setup for a run of whatever cartridge.

    HOW/WHY?

    i like to get the expanding/charging die with the attached autodisk measure 'settled'.

    so i put a case in the shellholder with the turret ready to utilize the charging die.
    pull the lever and go back down WITHOUT levering all the way, then pull the lever again.

    drop a triple charge, remove the case, dump in back in the measure.
    repeat a couple times to get the measure settled.
    (drop a single charge and weigh, then off to the races)

    so yes, you can repeat a stage with the auto indexing rod in place by simply not returning the lever to the full upright tray table position.

    good luck!
    Thank you for the info! I'll certainly be looking to pick one up in the future. definitely not one right now, but I'll keep my eyes open.

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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