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Thread: Question: RCBS or Lee

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
    bpimwheel's Avatar
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    Question: RCBS or Lee

    Hello,
    I need to get a manual reloading press, but Im not sure which is the best for the money.
    Ive looked at RCBS, and Lee. Are there anyothers that I should look at.
    Which is better for a beginner for reloading.
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy
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    You need to be more specific in what you need from,and expect from a press..There are things to be considered such as material that the press is made from, ram diameter ,and ram stroke,as well as how they catch spent primers. Lyman would be in the mix with RCBS, and Lee.. I bought a Lyman TMag II last year,but considered a Frankford Arsennal MPress coaxial that was on sale for around $150. You will pay more for an iron press,but you will get a much stouter unit.
    Last edited by Elroy; 11-13-2020 at 10:11 PM.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master


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    Ford or Chevy, green tractor or some other color, this manufacturer or another. Try one, it will be a learning curve. I doubt that you will wear it out. If you are annoyed by it's quirks try a different one.
    Both of those mentioned have fans, both will do the job. Only you can decide. Do you take pride in owning the "best"?
    Or do you favor frugality, saving your reloading funds for components or other toys?
    Let us know where you come down.
    Regards,
    Bill
    Micah 6:8
    He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

    "I don't have hobbies - I'm developing a robust post-apocalyptic skill set"
    I may be discharged and retired but I'm sure I did not renounce the oath that I solemnly swore!

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy Cast_outlaw's Avatar
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    Well if you deciding wether you want to reload or not I say lee if you going to do some heavy work rcbs

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    They're both good, and have huge followings.

    I like the Hornady press because it has an offset opening.
    For me its more comfortable to use, I don't feel like I'm reaching around a corner to get cases in & out of it.
    Political Correctness and the cancel culture is only allowed to exist because of the coward culture.


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  6. #6
    Boolit Master Harter66's Avatar
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    Written many times on other pages .

    Lee makes a tool to do a job and it does the job .
    Is this a completely new to you try it out see if it's for you thing ?
    Are you seeking to start as inexpensively as possible and build on a kit ? Are you more of a buy once , cry once type ?
    If you answered yes , yes , no AND you don't mind a little bit of putzing , polish , and cleaning before you use the gear and or to get started then the Lee kit is a great starter .
    If you answered really any other way or you have a strong distaste for fidgeting to get things running step up to at least the RCBS Partner kit or best yet the RockChucker kit .
    The RockChucker is never a mistake .
    In the time of darkest defeat,our victory may be nearest. Wm. McKinley.

    I was young and stupid then I'm older now. Me 1992 .

    Richard Lee Hart 6/29/39-7/25/18


    Without trial we cannot learn and grow . It is through our stuggles that we become stronger .
    Brother I'm going to be Pythagerus , DiVinci , and Atlas all rolled into one soon .

  7. #7
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    "best for the money"
    hands down is the Lee Classic Cast, I don't think anyone can dispute that.

    Also, I think the Lee classic cast is not only the "best for the money", it's better than the RCBS without concern for price. It has the features I like, over the features of the RCBS. That's my opinion.

    Good Luck.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.”
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  8. #8
    Boolit Master poppy42's Avatar
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    I have a lot of Lee equipment. Including a classic turret, a Lee challenger, a Lee hand press, the new App press, and the very basic c press. I also have a Lyman Spartan press. I like, and use them all. Here’s the thing I have a lot of Lee equipment not because I think it’s the best but because it’s inexpensive and it works! I’m poor, and on a fixed income. When Richard Lee started his business he wanted to make equipment that worked and it was available to the average person that didn’t have tons of money to dump in other equipment. In my opinion, for a new reloader that doesn’t have a ton of money for an initial investment, you can’t go wrong with Lee products. Is there better equipment? Definitely. But it’s also considerably more expensive. Lee has a great customer service department (i’ve had stuff break and called Lee, expecting to have to pay for something that was my fault it broke and much to my surprise they sent me a new one). You can always upgrade down the road once you get more reloading experience. If you have a lot of expendable income and you want to go with the top-of-the-line I would recommend buying Dillon! I would love to have a Dillon progressive press. The fact of the matter is I simply can’t afford one. And for what it’s worth that’s my story and I’m sticking with it.
    Oh and if you go with Lee or have any questions about any any of the presses I mentioned or there powder measures feel free to pm me. Not saying I’m an expert but I’ve used enough of their stuff that there’s a good chance I have an idea.
    Anyway hope any of this helps.
    Take care,
    Poppy42
    Long, Wide, Deep, and Without Hesitation!

  9. #9
    Boolit Master trails4u's Avatar
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    I'll second Poppy on this one.... I got into the hobby 10-12 yrs. ago and bought Lee because it was what I could afford, expecting to 'upgrade' once I could afford 'better'. My Lee Classic Turret still gets more use than ANY other piece of equipment I own, and I stay pretty busy with the hobby these days. I can absolutely afford to 'upgrade' now, but choose not to as that little press does everything I need it to do, from .380 to 45-70, and everything in between, including case reforming....so I choose to spend the 'upgrade' money on components, new toys, other improved tools, etc. It's been a workhorse through 10s of thousands of strokes, never broken, and the targets/critters sure don't know the difference.
    "Do not follow where the path might lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail" Ralph Waldo Emerson

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    A huge heavy press is not needed for pistol ammo. The longer stroke of the press handle can be a disadvantage.
    The same goes for the 5.56.
    For larger rifle cases a bigger heavy duty press is nice and the longer stroke of the mechanical linkage is needed to ease full length sizing of bottle neck cases.
    EDG

  11. #11
    Boolit Master


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    RockChucker .
    I use mine every time I get in front of my reloading bench.
    The Lee is under the bench collecting dust.
    I HATE auto-correct


    Happiness is a Warm GUN & more ammo to shoot in it.

    My Experience and My Opinion, are just that, Mine.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master poppy42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winger Ed. View Post
    They're both good, and have huge followings.

    I like the Hornady press because it has an offset opening.
    For me its more comfortable to use, I don't feel like I'm reaching around a corner to get cases in & out of it.
    Ed, I just read your post ( I missed it when I posted earlier). I have no experience with Hornady presses. I did not realize they had that offset opening. My old ( and I mean old for a Lee press) Lee Challenger press has the same option. I love it! For some reason they abandon it long ago never to be offered again! I have no idea why. I’ve looked and can’t even figure out when it when it was made. 70’s or 80’s I suspect. I even called Lee. The response I got from the technician was “huh I never heard of that” lol! Anyway I love it! it’s so much more convenient to be able to slide the casing on the side like that without having to reach around! For the life of me I can’t figure out why the stopped making it. Just figured I’d share that little bit of useless trivia with you.
    Poppy42
    Long, Wide, Deep, and Without Hesitation!

  13. #13
    Boolit Bub
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    Great response and wonderful informative information from everyone here.
    Thanks much. Today a friend of mine gave me his rockchuker supreme as he bought a dillon progressive press. I want to start out on a single stage for rifle reloading only.
    Again thank you all for your input.

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by bpimwheel View Post
    I want to start out on a single stage for rifle reloading only.
    .
    Just for grins, I thought I would reply,,
    To me, a Dillon progressive press produces the most accurate rounds possible,,
    that is why I switched to reloading rifle on my dillon 550B,,

    The Dillon remanufactures the rounds so fast, that they are much more consistent than what I can do on a single stage press.
    In just a few minutes, the Dillon will have 50 rounds of 300 Win Mag reloaded,,
    The Single stage press seems to take hours to make the same 50.

    It just seems that it is difficult to be accurate over a 2 hour period,, where the Dillon makes every round the same.

    I do use a single stage press for load development,, and now that I am trying to learn to cast boolits,, I will use the single stage even more.

    A few years ago, I even bought a second single stage press,, a RCBS Summit press.
    I have not used it , yet, but, I expect that my reloading will cause me to setup the Summit press,, soon.

    If you want to buy a truly unique press, consider the Summit,, many reviewers claim it is the ultimate tailgate press,,

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by bpimwheel View Post
    Great response and wonderful informative information from everyone here.
    Thanks much. Today a friend of mine gave me his rockchuker supreme as he bought a dillon progressive press. I want to start out on a single stage for rifle reloading only.
    Again thank you all for your input.
    I don't think you could find a better deal than that !
    Enjoy your press it will serve you well.

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy Castaway's Avatar
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    I won’t enter the fray about which press, but if you get a single stage press, I highly recommend Lee pistol dies and their powder disk dispenser. Saves a step in the reloading process by belling and charging a case simultaneously. There are enough disk sizes to adjust your loads, allowing you to find what works with your pistol, bullet and particular powder you’re using. I’m all about being time efficient (lazy) when end results are the same. If you’re tweeking a hunting load, you can always do both steps, but for everyday paper punching, I don’t find that necessary.

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy gnappi's Avatar
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    I have yet to personally know a person who loads buy their first press and stay with that one model or brand.

    That said, Lee is a perfect starter setup in the event a shooter decides that reloading isn't their cup of tea. Not being heavily invested in a setup does two things. On one hand if you really like reloading, you're not too heavily invested in it to explore other maker's models, on the other hand if reloading is a chore, you can stow, sell, or give it away.
    Regards,

    Gary

  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by bpimwheel View Post
    Great response and wonderful informative information from everyone here.
    Thanks much. Today a friend of mine gave me his rockchuker supreme as he bought a dillon progressive press. I want to start out on a single stage for rifle reloading only.
    Again thank you all for your input.
    That is a good friend and a great outcome.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by JonB_in_Glencoe View Post
    "best for the money"
    hands down is the Lee Classic Cast, I don't think anyone can dispute that.

    Also, I think the Lee classic cast is not only the "best for the money", it's better than the RCBS without concern for price. It has the features I like, over the features of the RCBS. That's my opinion.

    Good Luck.
    I have both a nearly 50 year RCBS Rockchucker and Co-Ax. Very good presses, but I agree with the above.

    Nearly any single stage press will last a couple of lifetimes of reloading. But if you will be loading mostly pistol ammunition, they are the wrong choice if you shoot more than a couple of boxes a week....unless you are one of those guys who loves to reload at a snail's pace.

    If you will shoot 5000 rounds a year, get your SS press and buy the Dillon 550 after a couple of months.

    BTW, look for used SS if you can. Sometimes presses come on sale here, or post something at the gun club. Lots of old guys like me are downsizing and a used press is almost no risk at all.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    A still perfectly performing 35 year old Rock Chucker is bolted to the middle of my 8' loading bench but I know price and snob appeal are poor guides to performance. If I had to replace the old RC 2 tomorrow I'd get a Lee Classic Cast; it's every bit as strong, precise and durable as my RC and it has some much better user features.

    I often get a chuckle when web experts post as if Lee only makes "pot metal" (aircraft grade aluminum actually) presses; Lee's "Classic Cast" single stage and "Classic Turret" presses are iron and steel.

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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