Author
Message
WabashMX5
Offline
Posts: 243
Feedback: 100% (3)
Posted: 8/13/2009 5:27:39 PM
I've been wanting to get into reloading to save money. I can drool at Dillon 550s and 650s all day long, but they're simply out of my price range.

By contrast, I've found a very good price (less than half of a 550) on a Lee Loadmaster progressive setup, ready to go for .223 (my main reloading concern); and it would reportedly be quick, easy, and cheap to switch over to 9mm.

I know you get what you pay for; I know Dillon's the most reliable and foolproof; I know that if I get serious about reloading, I'll probably eventually end up springing for a Dillon. But my money doesn't grow on trees, and my quick Googling suggests that a Loadmaster is perfectly serviceable as long as you're willing to take some time tweaking it for setup and know its limitations.

Am I right? I've also seen some truly horrible reviews of the Loadmaster –– and ultimately, I'm looking to save money by reloading, not throw money away on insufferable equipment. Any opinions/advice is appreciated....
Sixguns4Fighting
Member
Offline
Posts: 1037
Feedback: 0% (0)
Link To This Post
Posted: 8/13/2009 5:36:49 PM
Newbies should follow the KISS rule.

KISS = Keep It Simple Simon.

Check ebay for a good, used single stage press. You can get a heavy duty single stage press on ebay for the cost of a new Challenger press from LEE. Learn on it and save money for a Dillon.
VFW - Life Member
NRA - Endowment Life Member
NMLRA - Life Member
dneal33
Offline
Posts: 461
Feedback: 100% (17)
Link To This Post
Posted: 8/13/2009 7:00:55 PM
My brother and I went in together in 1993 and bought a Lee Loadmaster to load 380, 9mm, 38 super , 40 cal and 45 acp.
We learned the fast and hard way to load pistol rounds but were always staying on the safe side of things.
As time went by I bought a used 550 Dillion for the 45s.
Got busy at work and sold one press and packed the other away for 15 years.

Now I just use the Loadmaster as a single stage press for 223 by removing the index rod . Im taking a break right now from building 120 rounds of 223 for fridays range session.

We did make some ugly bullets in the early days , but learned the press and what it was capable of doing. After building over 2k of 223 in the last year I have had no problems at all.
I use a rcbs 502 scale and a flash lite to check each case before capping with a bullet and am having fun.
ma96782
Member
Offline
Posts: 5820
Feedback: 100% (2)
Link To This Post
Posted: 8/13/2009 8:46:18 PM
For a beginner, I don't recommend a progressive press.

I recommend a single stage press. BTW you can get them cheap, USED.

Then, for rifle loading (i.e. 223 Rem.) or straight wall pistol cases, a single stage press is entirely usable. Do "batch" loading.

Learn to crawl before you walk. Learn to walk before you run. Learn to run before you drive. Etc.........

Aloha, Mark

"Guns don't kill people......the Government does."

Dale Dribble
ARinKCMO
"The truth is...."
Offline
Posts: 5259
Feedback: 100% (3)
Link To This Post
Posted: 8/13/2009 10:23:57 PM
The Loadmaster, IMO, requires quite a watchful eye, and a good ability at tinkering to keep them running. In other words, probably not the best choice for a new to reloading person. You have to understand all the steps of reloading to be able to work a progressive press well, and then throw in the rather finicky Loadmaster's quirks, and you'll have your hands full. Which isn't an ideal situation when you are manufacturing small explosives that you will be holding in your hands and near your face.

Really, you're best off to pick up a single stage kit to learn on. You will ALWAYS need a single stage on your bench for something anyway, and the kits will give you every thing you need to start reloading. You will have plenty of time to upgrade later, if you need to.
"Dreams only have meaning because we struggle in the waking world."
-- Major Motoko Kusanagi GitS:SAC

Member: National Rifle Association
WabashMX5
Offline
Posts: 244
Feedback: 100% (3)
Link To This Post
Posted: 8/14/2009 8:43:13 AM
Thanks –– this is all helpful. Not what I wanted to hear, but that's the reason rookies ask advice from the experienced.

I appreciate the insights from the "been there, done that" crowd.

On a related note, did I hear correctly that Lee makes such good dies that a lot of handloaders use them on other companies' presses?
garyd
Online
Posts: 358
Feedback: 0% (0)
Link To This Post
Posted: 8/14/2009 9:19:45 AM
I don't know about other people using Lee dies on other presses. Except the Factory crimp die is very popular and does seem to get a lot of mention. I only use a few of the lee die sets.

.380
.38 S&W
9x18Mak
9mm
.38 SP
.357 Mag
.40 S&W
.45 ACP
.44 Mag
.45 Colt

.223
.243
.270
7mm-08
7mm Rem Mag
7.62x39
7.62x54
.308
.30-06
8mm Mauser

But only those calibers listed above.

I use the Turret Press and the Loadmaster. I like them both. But as others have said start off with a single stage press in one caliber. The learning curve is actually quite fast. Then move up from there. You will always have a need for a single stage press. So it is not wasted money
ZekeMenuar
Latent Firearms Fetishist
Online
Posts: 5230
Feedback: 100% (4)
Link To This Post
Posted: 8/14/2009 9:25:16 AM

Originally Posted By WabashMX5:
Thanks –– this is all helpful. Not what I wanted to hear, but that's the reason rookies ask advice from the experienced.

I appreciate the insights from the "been there, done that" crowd.

On a related note, did I hear correctly that Lee makes such good dies that a lot of handloaders use them on other companies' presses?
The Loadmaster is crap. I hate mine. It's been back to Lee twice and it still won't work. I hated it so much I sent the POS back to Lee for a third time and told them to shove it. I should have bought a Dillon.

For starting out take a look at the Lee Anniversary Kit. I still use the Challenger press and some of the tools that came with it. Good set up for a beginner. I run RCBS or Redding dies depending on the round.

I use Dillon 1050 presses at work. Dillons gear is top notch and their warranty(except for the 1050) is excellent.

Save your money, learn the basics of handloading and save up for a Dillon 550 or 650. You'll be far better off in the long run.


"RED DAWN, THE OBAMA YEARS" Coming soon to a neighborhood near you. Bend over, It's here.

Official Guardian of the Arsenal of Paranoia
Doernuth
Offline
Posts: 67
Feedback: 0% (0)
Link To This Post
Posted: 8/14/2009 10:04:58 AM
If your new and want some of the benefits of both the progressive and the single stage go with the Lee turret. The auto index can be easily removed to work as a single stage and then reinstalled to operate similar to a progressive. Also the turret itself is easy to change so caliber changeovers are a snap.

Its also cheaper than the loadmaster.
WabashMX5
Offline
Posts: 245
Feedback: 100% (3)
Link To This Post
Posted: 8/14/2009 10:07:05 AM
I haven't fully grasped all the various models yet. Is the Lee 1000 their turret press?
dryflash3
Global Warming Hoax Skeptic
Offline
Posts: 6891
Feedback: 100% (1)
Link To This Post
Posted: 8/14/2009 10:47:04 AM
Originally Posted By WabashMX5:
I haven't fully grasped all the various models yet. Is the Lee 1000 their turret press?


No it's a progressive.
Selling agent for Algores carbon credit scam.

Shooting and Reloading, one hobby feeds the other.


WabashMX5
Offline
Posts: 247
Feedback: 100% (3)
Link To This Post
Posted: 8/14/2009 11:25:53 AM
The cheaper Lee turret DOES look like a good deal, as long as it can handle .223. Seems like a decent do-it-all –– run it single-stage for learning, then enable indexing to pick up the pace after understanding the concepts?
Dogue
None
Offline
Posts: 548
Feedback: 100% (7)
Link To This Post
Posted: 8/14/2009 11:38:20 AM
Originally Posted By WabashMX5:
I've been wanting to get into reloading to save money.


Come back to this thought in a few months and let us know how this works out for you.

I can't help you with your choice but some good suggestions have already been made. I'm sure over time there are savings to be had (I thought the same thing when I started), but when you add up all the 'must haves, gotta haves, and wanna haves' you could buy a lot of .223.

Don't tell my wife...she still thinks I do it to save $$.

Μολὼν λαβέ
Doernuth
Offline
Posts: 69
Feedback: 0% (0)
Link To This Post
Posted: 8/14/2009 11:56:40 AM
The lee 1000 is a progressive. Look at the lee turret press kit, comes with most of what you will need.

Kempf guns has their own kit that includes the safety prime and a set of dies, good bargain too and usually has in stock. Theiir customer service is top notch.

Yes the turret will do 223, i have done 270 win with it as well but you cant use the auto index with that long of a cartridge, the index will work with 223.

If you buy the kit get a powder funnel the auto disk powder measure is crap IMHO. Also buy extra turrets for each calliber, saves resetting the dies every time. Just lock them in and pull the whole turret.
homeyclaus
Stop the planet, I want to get off.
Offline
Posts: 1025
Feedback: 0% (0)
Link To This Post
Posted: 8/14/2009 12:08:42 PM
I started with a Lee Book and press combo and a Load Master, for 9 and 223.

Basically because those kits included everything I needed to get started. If I had to do it again, I'd buy the LM in 9mm and get 223 dies and a double disc kit. The other way around you're buying the whole disc powder measure assembly and double disc kit. At least 8000 rounds of 9, a few thousand 223, and a few others later, and I am still not convinced that this was a bad way to start. It works for me. On the other hand, all my prior experience was with the little Lee hand-hammer things.

As I keep telling people: Lee is the ultimate test of your ability to follow instructions.

While I don't know the people who diss Lee stuff personally, I am willing to bet that the large majority are unable to suspend the belief that they know better, and so can't stop messing with something. I even confess to falling into that group, especially when adjusting the primer handling system on my Load Master. Take a deep breath, watch the video again, print the FAQ again, and adjust it according to the letter - for me, that has always worked, without fail.

It's probably true that other brands are much more tolerant of being fiddled with. It's probably true that given the same criteria I would not have designed things the same way. And it is true that on the Lee progressives there are lot of things that rely on friction at the right time to work, making the whole contraption somewhat rubenesque. Lube the wrong place (as in, a place not mentioned as requiring lube in the instructions, the FAQs online, etc), and things might not work the way you'd expect.

Would I recommend a Lee progressive to friends known to be impatient gorillas? Nope.

Would I recommend one to someone mechanically inclined and patient? You bet.
Canadians are your friends, unless you have the puck.
WabashMX5
Offline
Posts: 249
Feedback: 100% (3)
Link To This Post
Posted: 8/14/2009 12:33:34 PM
Originally Posted By Dogue:
Originally Posted By WabashMX5:
I've been wanting to get into reloading to save money.




Point taken. How about, "to reduce my cost per round, letting me shoot a little more often for a little less money"?

I know the money-saving rationale. I used it to rationalize a Savage MkII BTV-XP a little while ago — "save money as training rifle for the AR."
MZMan
Offline
Posts: 140
Feedback: 100% (6)
Link To This Post
Posted: 8/14/2009 1:27:50 PM
Originally Posted By WabashMX5:
Originally Posted By Dogue:
Originally Posted By WabashMX5:
I've been wanting to get into reloading to save money.




Point taken. How about, "to reduce my cost per round, letting me shoot a little more often for a little less money"?

I know the money-saving rationale. I used it to rationalize a Savage MkII BTV-XP a little while ago — "save money as training rifle for the AR."


Even if it costs the same I will still reload all my own ammo for the rest of my life. You can get the ammo you want, not what is just available on the shelf.

You do save some money even on popular cartridges like 223 and 9mm, 9mm not so much compared to Wal Mart prices but you still do save.

The more premium the type of bullet you use the more you save as well. Have fun paying $1 per round of defense 45 ACP, I can buy some nice HP bullets and do it for half if that.

The bigger and more rare the cartridge is the more you save as well. I save $0.75-$0.80 PER ROUND of 6.8 SPC. The savings on .30-06 is also huge for me. And now that 454 Casull revolver I want, I don't have to worry about $1 per round to shoot if I buy it.

If you shoot and like doing stuff for yourself them reloading is the only way to do it.
OiRogers
You will have to speak up, I'm naked.
Offline
Posts: 439
Feedback: 100% (8)
Link To This Post
Posted: 8/14/2009 2:00:33 PM
Originally Posted By WabashMX5:
The cheaper Lee turret DOES look like a good deal, as long as it can handle .223. Seems like a decent do-it-all –– run it single-stage for learning, then enable indexing to pick up the pace after understanding the concepts?


I recently went from mooching access to my neighbors Dillons to my own little bench... I ended up with the Lee Turret (4 hole variety) to start with... took the index rod out to begin with and its been great on my .45acp and .223 loads thusfar.

And as to saving money?... I'm about 1k .45acp loads in and just shy of 1.5k .223 loads... I'm about even after all the parts / accessories I've bought . A bit behind if I bought Wolf .223... In the long run, if I keep this press I'll easily be saving money... But I'm guessing it'll get a neighboring Dillon here before next spring.

Great press to learn on I'd say. And thusfar, the Lee dies have been wonderful for me.
dneal33
Offline
Posts: 462
Feedback: 100% (17)
Link To This Post
Posted: 8/14/2009 6:08:04 PM
Originally Posted By WabashMX5:
The cheaper Lee turret DOES look like a good deal, as long as it can handle .223. Seems like a decent do-it-all –– run it single-stage for learning, then enable indexing to pick up the pace after understanding the concepts?


I agree with this, if you are some what mech, inclined and patient with it. I have built many 223 rounds with the loadmaster and only have installed the index rod when doing the case priming . I just move up the dies to the top of the turret that I do not intend to use at that stage of loading .

In the early days of going full progrssive while doing the pistol stuff I would crunch a plastic part once in a while , but never had a kaboom. After getting the feel of the press it only made money sense to use my loadmaster for 223, it deprimes, sizes and seats the bullets in the single stage mode. Now Im not two cheap to upgrade but just dont have the funds.

I found that reloading does not make the hobby that much cheaper, but you will end up shooting a lot more.
Plus you can build a much better round than you can reasonably buy.
WabashMX5
Offline
Posts: 254
Feedback: 100% (3)
Link To This Post
Posted: 8/18/2009 12:15:40 PM
Again, thanks for all the feedback. Seems like it's time to start saving pennies....
angus6
Member
Offline
Posts: 953
Feedback: 100% (268)
Link To This Post
Posted: 8/18/2009 1:01:17 PM
[Last Edit: 8/18/2009 1:02:26 PM by angus6]
Take a look at Lee'sclassic turret there's really no reason to start with a single stage , but it is nice to have at times so I would have it on my to buy list down the line
Gloria: "65 percent of the people murdered in the last 10 years were killed by hand guns"
Archie Bunker: "would it make you feel better, little girl, if they was pushed outta windows?"
zw123
Offline
Posts: 568
Feedback: 100% (23)
Link To This Post
Posted: 8/18/2009 2:12:57 PM
Originally Posted By ARinKCMO:
The Loadmaster, IMO, requires quite a watchful eye, and a good ability at tinkering to keep them running. In other words, probably not the best choice for a new to reloading person. You have to understand all the steps of reloading to be able to work a progressive press well, and then throw in the rather finicky Loadmaster's quirks, and you'll have your hands full. Which isn't an ideal situation when you are manufacturing small explosives that you will be holding in your hands and near your face.

Really, you're best off to pick up a single stage kit to learn on. You will ALWAYS need a single stage on your bench for something anyway, and the kits will give you every thing you need to start reloading. You will have plenty of time to upgrade later, if you need to.


I couldn't agree more with this statement. I have a Loadmaster and have loaded thousands of rounds with it. It like .45acp the best. It is a bit quriky, once you lnow what to look for you can reaaly pump out some ammo. I would siggest watchiong the Loamaster zone videos.

Loadmaster Zone