Decisions decisions...

For those who like to roll their own.

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G.A. Heath
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Re: Decisions decisions...


Post by G.A. Heath » Fri Oct 27, 2017 5:05 pm

I'll give you my one stay-away from recommendation and I'll tell you what I have used successfully.
First, stay away from the Lee pro-1000. Don't waste your money, time, and effort on that junk.

The first press I used was a Lee Classic Turret, good press and it is still in use by a friend. I got away from it because it was a jack of all trades and master of none. As a starter press you can do far worse, much much worse. I have no trouble recommending it to someone else.

The second press I got was an RCBS Rock Chucker. It is still on my bench and still loads ammo I want to be a "hand loader" with. That means it is where I load most of my rifle, .45 Colt, and .44 mag loads. These are precision loads in my case and are done with a very time consuming process.

The third press I got was a Hornady LnL AP. This is where I go when I want to simply manufacture ammo relatively quickly. I typically load three to five hundred rounds in a session with complete inspection and clean up between 100 round lots. I limit my lots to 100 rounds because that is what the primer tube handles. I have learned that if I inspect and clean up when I stop for primers I tend to get have fewer issues across the board.

As far as dies go I use more RCBS dies than any other brand, followed by Lee. When I want really accurate ammo I go with Redding dies, but for the most part my die sets tend to be a mixed bag with dies from two or more manufacturers. I tend to hunt dies at gun shows as I can usually find real good deals there and when it comes to RCBS dies I have no fear of buying those dies used as RCBS will repair or replace their dies that are damaged.

Regardless of the press, die, or other tool, I tend to spend more time on maintenance than actually making ammo. While this is not required it is simply my nature, just as I spend more time on maintenance of my firearms than I actually do shooting them.
I am also a Gun guy, Car Guy, and Computer Guy and a currently former podcaster.

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Re: Decisions decisions...


Post by Boxerrider » Sat Oct 28, 2017 10:00 am

SQLGeek wrote:
Boxerrider wrote:
I have Lee's Classic Turret and believe it is a great place to start.
Have you had issues with the auto-indexing? I've been reading about that some lately but I'm not clear for which Lee turret that seems to be happening.
Four stations is as many as I've ever wanted to use - I like seating and crimping revolver rounds in separate steps.
Do you crimp with the Lee factory crimp die? Choosing a press seems to be just the start of the adventure. Die selection will probably have me tied up for a while too. :lol:
Whatever you choose, get at it - you're missing out on the fun!
I am getting there. I just bought an AR and enough ammo to keep me shooting for a while so I'm scraping my pennies together. I just built my workbench in the garage and I will put in some shelving this weekend. It's been fun just planning this all out and seeing it come together. A nice break from pounding away on a keyboard all day for work.

Thanks for the advice. For the money, the Lee Turret does seem to be taking the lead. The Kempf kit seems to be a good way to go to get started: ... -6575.html

Do you use the auto disk or auto drum powder measure?
I have not had any issues with the auto-indexing, although I can see why some people do. The turret is rotated by a square rod with a twist in it. The rod runs through a plastic housing that clamps to the ram, and floating inside of that housing is a square plastic ring (ratchet on Lee's parts list). If you short-stroke the press (change directions while that ratchet is in contact with the twisted part of the rod) the ratchet will bind. If you force it, then the ratchet will strip and the press will not auto-index until you replace it ($0.50).

I use Lee dies, and for some calibers, their factory crimp die. I have been happy with it for handgun rounds, and really like it for rifle rounds. Even though they are both called "factory crimp die", the method is completely different.
In most die sets, the bullet-seating die both seats the bullet and crimps the case mouth. The crimp is adjusted by screwing the die body in or out, and the bullet depth is adjusted by screwing top knob in or out. By using separate dies, I am able to adjust the crimp without changing the bullet depth.

I use the auto-disk powder measure and like it a lot. There are some powders it doesn't play well with, but I think that is universal. For rifles I use a separate measure off of the press to throw low charges, then go to the scale and trickle up to what I want. It's slow, but those are low volume and I don't mind. You've probably read that some folks handload so they can shoot and some folks shoot so they can handload - I'm somewhere between those. :cool: I just got an AR and don't load for it yet. When I do I'll seek a powder that will allow me to do the whole operation on the press.

The Kempf kit looks like a pretty good way to go - not a bunch of stuff you either won't use or will immediately replace. I bought accessories piecemeal, as I could afford and/or found good used deals on them.


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