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Thread: Lee Challenger Breech Lock Press for Pat's tool.

  1. #1
    Boolit Master pistolman44's Avatar
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    Lee Challenger Breech Lock Press for Pat's tool.

    Has anyone here use the new Lee Challenger Breech Lock single stage press with Pat's gas check making tool. It's the cheapest breech lock press made by Lee. I thought I read a thread by someone saying that the opening in the ram was too narrow for the ejecter part of the tool. I know the Lee Classic single stage press will work.
    Last edited by pistolman44; 09-14-2010 at 12:04 AM. Reason: spelling

  2. #2
    Boolit Master 30CAL-TEXAN's Avatar
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    I noticed that no one has posted on this one so I guess I will chime in.

    I have not used the Checkmaker on the Challenger but I use it on the even smaller Lee Reloader press (the little "C" style press). I don't know this for sure but I think the ram is the same diameter for both (just about the same diameter as a shell holder).

    The little aluminum ejector piece that is included for the Lee Classic Cast will not work in my press and I don't think that it will work in the Challenger either but I bet the method that I use would probably work for both.

    I knew that the tool would not work with my press right out of the box and I plan on getting the Classic Cast at some point in the future but for now I have just figured out how to make the Checkmaker work with what I have.

    I'm sure there are more ways to accomplish this task (and probably less complicated ones for the Challenger press) but, hey this is what works for me on my tiny press.

    1. The slot in the ram on my press faces the back so I turned the ram around so that it faces me.

    2. The socket on a 3/4" sweat copper fitting is the perfect size to slip over the ram of my press (and I suspect that the Challenger would be the same) so I cut the socket off of a fitting (if you cut a coupling in half then you have 2 in case you screw one up).

    3. I cut a rectangular notch in the piece of copper .30" wide and half way down the length of the pipe or about .41"

    4. I cut a piece if 1/4" plate about 1" x 1/2" and drilled & tapped (I used a 10-32) the cross section of the plate on the very tip of the 1" side all the way through the 1/2" side. I then cut a very thin notch .55" away from the drilled and tapped end. This slot then notch then slips into the one on the copper part to put the tapped hole in the center of the pipe and in the center of the ram because it protrudes into the ram's slot.

    5. I threaded a 1" long set screw into the end of the center piece and that is what lifts the extractor in the Checkmaker die on the down stroke. If the extractor does not lift the newly formed check far enough out of the bottom die (or too far maybe) then I adjust the set screw in or out accordingly.

    The added pieces (and minor ram re-adjustment) make changing over to the Checkmaker a little more of a hassle but I usually make quite a few at a time so it's not that big of a deal.

    I know this probably makes very little sense without pictures but I have not tried loading pics yet.
    Last edited by 30CAL-TEXAN; 09-19-2010 at 12:03 PM. Reason: Poor English

  3. #3
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    Sorry for just finding this thread. I've been working daily in the shop refining, organizing, getting out orders and working on new calibers, and hadn't done any surfing over here lately.

    Currently, my RCBS style and LEE style ram ejector arms handle most all of the single stage presses on the market with the exception of a few...

    ***Chris - (30CAL-TEXAN) below came up with an excellent fix on the Challenger.

    ****I now have a working ram ejector arm for the LEE Classic Turret*******

    All presses will make good gas checks with the dies, it's the issue of bringing the formed check out of the die automatically. Manual is doable, but another step.

    What I will do is send out at no charge the correct ram ejector arm if you decide to upgrade to a nice single stage press in the future.

    Here's a PDF download of operating instructions with photos so you can get an idea of how the ram ejector arm works:


    http://www.patmarlins.com/CheckMaker...structions.pdf

    ...
    Last edited by PatMarlin; 01-05-2011 at 02:29 PM.
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  4. #4
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    Chris-

    If you have photos of your setup, email them to me and I would be happy to take a look at them. May help jog my brain for a new solution.
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  5. #5
    Boolit Master 30CAL-TEXAN's Avatar
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    I searched for some pictures of the Challenger press and it looks to me like the ram is comlpetely different but I could be wrong because to be honnest I could hardly find any pictures of what I wanted to see so I think I will go to the gun shop today and inspect a new one out of the box.

    Pat-

    I took some pictures of my set up today so I will download them from my camera and send them to you.

    - Chris
    Last edited by 30CAL-TEXAN; 09-19-2010 at 12:05 PM. Reason: Poor English

  6. #6
    Boolit Master 30CAL-TEXAN's Avatar
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    Well what do you know, I was wrong!

    I went to the gun shop and inspected one of the Challengers and I think my contraption for using the CheckMaker will work just fine on it. There is a tall raised rib that butts right up against the ram that I guess is part of the spent primer chute but I think there is enough room between it and the ram for the collar to slide up and down. If not that could easily be fixed by slotting the collar on that side.

    Pat - I am fixing to send you the pictures and if I can ever figure out how to post them on here I will do that too.
    Last edited by 30CAL-TEXAN; 09-19-2010 at 12:07 PM. Reason: Poor English

  7. #7
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    Thumbs up

    ....

    30CAL-TEXAN Chris sent me photos of his setup and it is very impressive to say the least. That looks like it solves the LEE Breechlock Challenger press issue to me.

    Unfortunately, there are so few requests for this press in my die sales that it would not be cost effective for me to make what Chris has done.

    Maybe folks who wish to use a LEE Breechlock could pay Chris make them one?

    What do you think Chris?





















    ....
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  8. #8
    Boolit Master pistolman44's Avatar
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    This is why I like this site, some will try to solve a problem or solve a problem. I have that same Lee C frame press. I am impressed how you made Pat's tool work for it. I'm in a deciding stage, I have 3 Lee presses Loadmaster being one of them. I have an old Challenger press I want to replace maybe with a 2nd Loadmaster or a new Lee Classic press that Pat's tool will work on.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master 30CAL-TEXAN's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=PatMarlin;1002966]....

    30CAL-TEXAN Chris sent me photos of his setup and it is very impressive to say the least. That looks like it solves the LEE Breechlock Challenger press issue to me.

    Unfortunately, there are so few requests for this press in my die sales that it would not be cost effective for me to make what Chris has done.

    Maybe folks who wish to use a LEE Breechlock could pay Chris make them one?

    What do you think Chris?


    I don't mind making a few more of these, as they are really not that difficult to produce. I would however like for someone with a Checkmaker that also has a Challenger press to try this gadget out and make sure that it will indeed work on that press without further modification.

    So are there any proud Checkmaker owners that also happen to have a Lee Challenger?

  10. #10
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    This member has 2 of them Chris:

    asw1911pc@aol.com

    That's his CB handle. Looks like email too.
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  11. #11
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    Chris,
    I am interested, But I don't have a challenger press.
    I have a Lee "Reloader" press, the same as the "C" style press in the photos.

    I would much rather use the "Reloader" press instead of the LEE classic cast
    since I have the Classic cast press setup for swaging. I have the 30 checkmaker
    and am ordering the 35 checkmaker.
    Jon

  12. #12
    Boolit Man Jim Sheldon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatMarlin View Post
    LEE Turrets do not have enough ram travel.
    ...
    I can't speak for the aluminum, original Lee 3 hole/4 hole turret press, but the Classic Cast turret press definitely doesn't have quite enough ram travel. It does work, but with the original ejector piece from Pat it's sometimes just a bit difficult to extract the finished check as the ejector ram doesn't get pushed up far enough to make it easy to grab the check.

    I've come up with a fairly easy solution to the problem that anyone with a drill press, #36 drill and a 6-32 tap can implement.

    Drill and tap a 6-32 hole near the end of the aluminum ejector piece that fits in the slot. Put a 6-32 screw in the hole and use it to adjust the height of the ejector with the press's ram all the way down. Problem solved. Depending on how easy the screw travels, it may be necessary to lock it down with some blue Loc-Tite, or use a slightly longer screw and use a jam nut under the head end of the screw.

    Jim
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    Jim Sheldon

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    US Army, retired, NRA Life Member, Certified Pistol and Reloading Instructor, Certified Range Safety Officer.

  13. #13
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    ****I now have a LEE ejector arm that replaces and takes care of the fix that Jim has done above. Please PM or email if you need one.****
    Last edited by PatMarlin; 01-05-2011 at 02:39 PM.
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  14. #14
    Boolit Man Jim Sheldon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatMarlin View Post
    You guys are amazing!

    Frankly, I put my design brain on a rest for awhile as that's all I've done for 2 years and have been concentrating on production. Say "it can't be done", and CB members will say, "Watch me".

    You have a picture of that mounted in your press Jim?
    Yup, I just went downstairs and took a couple -- I did wind up having to run the screw up from the underside to get enough travel because I cut it too short the first time. Works better this way anyhow.

    Jim
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    Jim Sheldon

    To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.

    US Army, retired, NRA Life Member, Certified Pistol and Reloading Instructor, Certified Range Safety Officer.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master 30CAL-TEXAN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonB_in_Glencoe View Post
    Chris,
    I am interested, But I don't have a challenger press.
    I have a Lee "Reloader" press, the same as the "C" style press in the photos.

    I would much rather use the "Reloader" press instead of the LEE classic cast
    since I have the Classic cast press setup for swaging. I have the 30 checkmaker
    and am ordering the 35 checkmaker.
    Jon
    Not a problem Jon, I scrounged up the material to make several more of these today but it will probably be a couple of days before I get a chance to get them put together. PM me.

    - Chris

  16. #16
    Boolit Master 30CAL-TEXAN's Avatar
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    Thanks for the pictures Jim!

    That actually answers some of my questions as well. I guess you could say I am in a decision making state as well. I plan on buying a nice big press when I have a more permanent place to park one.

    I have been looking around and I have pretty much decided on the Lee Classic Cast but as I get in to pistol reloading I bet that turret will look much more appealing.

  17. #17
    Boolit Man Jim Sheldon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 30CAL-TEXAN View Post
    Thanks for the pictures Jim!

    That actually answers some of my questions as well. I guess you could say I am in a decision making state as well. I plan on buying a nice big press when I have a more permanent place to park one.

    I have been looking around and I have pretty much decided on the Lee Classic Cast but as I get in to pistol reloading I bet that turret will look much more appealing.
    You're welcome Chris,

    and you'll love the single stage cast press too. I actually have replaced my little aluminum Challenger light weight O press with the bigger, much more robust Classic Cast single stage to compliment my turret. I moved the little challenger to the far side of the bench and rigged a chute to catch the primers and funnel them down into an old coffee can so I use it with a universal depriming die strictly to punch primers. It's original primer catcher usually didn't catch them and they just flew all over the place.

    I like the Classic series as they drop the primers right down the center of the ram and into a big vinyl tube that can be routed into a receptacle or just capped off to catch the spent primers. So far it's the best spent primer catcher idea I've seen.

    Jim
    Jim Sheldon

    To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.

    US Army, retired, NRA Life Member, Certified Pistol and Reloading Instructor, Certified Range Safety Officer.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master 30CAL-TEXAN's Avatar
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    Adapters ready

    Ok guys I have made up some more adapter rings as seen in the pictures above for using the Pat Marlin CheckMaker dies in the smaller Lee Reloader press. I still have not tried this on a Challenger yet but I am fairly sure that it can be made to work as well.

    If you are interested PM me. I didn't really come up with a price as JonB was the first taker and we agreed on a small trade. I'm fairly easy to please so I bet we can work something out.

    - Chris

  19. #19
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    lee breech lock challenger press

    i have the lee breech lock challenger press, it's different than the one that 30cal-texan shows in the photo's above. the check ejector arm that came with my 35 cal check maker does not fit my press. i screwed the ram die into a breech lock bushing and locked it in place with a lee nut, really like those bushings makes die changing a snap. after doing this i was trying to figure out how to get the ejector to work, but no way. i took the primer arm that came with the press and saw it would work if the spring and primer cup were not there. instead i traced the outline of the primer arm on a piece of 1/4" alum. and just added 1/2" to height and cut in my band saw. i cut the long arm off so only a 1/4" stuck out. cut the slot 1/4" deeper where the arm hangs on the pin so it wouldn't fall out every time i raised the ram. alittle fileing here and there to adjust fit and works fine now. don't know what the ejector that came with the check maker fit's but it ain't mine.

    skimmerhead
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  20. #20
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    Danny- the ejector arm I sent you was for a LEE classic cast. I have no way of knowing if it would work for a breechlock as I don't have that press here.

    Could you possibly email a photo of your press and you're arm?

    Pat ...
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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