Marlin Firearms Forum banner

1 - 20 of 42 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I am about to get a M375 and instead of spending something like $45 a box I'll reload for it. Alo give me a kick in the rear to finally start reloading. I am looking at the Lee kits and don't need anything real expensive right now just something reliable and good construction. I'm looking in particular at the Challenger kit with the breech lock and the Classic cast press also with breech lock. I was thinking about the cast press and then just pick and choose things like scale, measure, ect. from other manufactures as I see fit to get things that might work better than some of the Lee accessories. Keep in mind I will be reloading for 38 special, 40 S&W, 243 win, 7mm rem mag, 7.62x54R and at some point I'll get a marlin 45/70. I can use any and all advice on good scales, powder measure, and such but I don't plan on wrapping up alot in it to begin with as I'm sure once I start the spending more money part will happen anyway. Any help would be appreciated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
821 Posts
well IMO the breech lock setup is a joke. on a single stage it really doesn't take long to change dies anyways. but that's besides the point. out of those two i would get the classic cast. it will outlast you. the aluminum may very well be a good press but i would rather have the beefy press. another option would be to get the classic turret (cast) as you would most likely want an upgrade in the future. i currently run the lyman crusher 2 single stage and it is a very nice press. a lil more expensive than the lee though.

i have heard the lee scale is junk and that the powder measures wear out. i would love to give you advice or opinions on these but i have not used them and dont want to give the wrong opinion.

as far as powder measures go though, i use a lyman #55 and an rcbs little dandy. i love the little dandy for pistols as it is very fast but dont plan on getting crazy accurate or specific powder charges. they are generalized charges. it does well though and for plinker rounds it is wonderful. it greatly increased production of my range ammo. the lyman is great as well but it takes a little longer to setup.

for scales i use a lyman digital. i plan to get a back up balance beam in the future. i do however use check weights to verify the calibration before use.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,171 Posts
they are all basicly the same...pick a color and go with it! ;) I use a "LEE" press and a mish-mash of other equipment from all the companies. "LEE" dies are great, and the least expensive out there. Spend your money on a GOOD powder scale, and, get a couple differant manuals!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
583 Posts
I don't use a single stage so will let others with more knowledge/experience give you their recommendations on that one. For powder scale and calipers I would recommend an RCBS 502 or 505 along with a good set of analog calipers (I have a Hornady 050075 caliper). Both the powder scale and caliper recommendations are analog and am recommending these since I've had issues with digital scales and calipers ... accuracy doesn't always seem to be there and is affected by temperature (in the case of the scale), plus batteries go dead at the worst possible time. Just my $.02.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,479 Posts
Either of the presses will suit you, my inclination would be for the Cast press. I'm with Mebe007 about the 'breech-lock' or Hornady's Lock-N-Load, to me it's just fixing a problem that doesn't exist.

The RCBS 5-0-5 balance scale is the industry standard and well worth the money.

Not to discount the kits, either. The kits often include a bunch of little items you will need to pickup anyway (primer flip tray, lube pad, usually a scale of some sort, etc...) and wind up costing you less money in the long run even if you don't use all of it, or replace something like the scale for a better unit later in the future; it will at least get you up and running. Some kits have free stuff or come with die sets, too. (Hornady is still offering 500 free bullets with their kits... 5 boxes of bullets = $125+ depending on the bullets!)

I've used RCBS, Hornday and Redding dies, I like the Hornady dies probably the best. Lee does make some component dies that are very good (the Factory Crimp die and the taper crimp die come to mind.)

I'll be the first to tell you I'm not a big fan of Lee stuff, but that is not to say they don't make useable stuff. I made a few changes in my equipment as I learned more about reloading, and what I needed and what worked. But reloading tools are like any other tools, buy the best you can afford and most likely they will take care of you.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
610 Posts
For 25 years, I used a Lee hand Press and the Lee Dipper set to reload all my hunting rifle and handgun ammunition. If your main goal is to shoot more and save money in the process, this is a good option. If you are interested in wringing the maximum velocity or precision from a given gun, you probably need more precise equipment.

I could resize 30-06 to 35 whelen, although 30 rounds would wear me out. ::) My best loads for any rifle would always be under 2.5" at 100 yds. You don't need expensive equipment to reload, and I could reload 2 boxes of ammo per evening with that setup.

I inherited a nice O press and use it for most chores now, but still use the hand press for priming and if I want to load small batches on the pickup tailgate. I have a powder scale, but still use the Lee dippers for most practice loads.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
821 Posts
oh i also wanted to mention when it comes to priming i love my hornady hand prime, much tougher and feels all around better than the lee primer i had. i also like hornady's collet style seater dye an is what i use for my 25-06 and 30-06. but back to presses, you are getting great info here. when i started i wanted to be brand loyal, but as i gained experience i would pick up brand a this and brand b that. im not color coordinated on my bench, it is red, green, orange, and green haha.

maybe the best thing to do would be to establish an initial budget for yourself. we could possibly help out a little better if we knew what you wanted to spend. i tend to buy for the future, i want the best i can buy while maintaining affordability, so if i have to buy a used piece of quality pver a new piece of less quality i will in a heartbeat.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,170 Posts
A friend of our family introduced me to reloading 36 years ago. He was using an RCBS Rockchuck Press (single-stage), RCBS dies, scale, uni-flow powder throw, RCBS trickler, etc... Nothing but green on his bench. A year later, I was lucky enough to get the same basic set-up. I have used RCBS ever since. The only up-grades I have made are taking the leap to carbide dies for pistol cartridges, an RCBS hand-tool for priming (great advantage over the press mounted primer seater), and including some Lee case trimmers (caliber specific).

There are many good presses out there, and many folks are devotees to a particular brand, others use a mish-mash of brands. Either way will work. When it comes to presses, I still like my 35 year old RCBS rockchucker combo. The only thing that has required replacement over the years are some of the de-capping pins in the dies.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
583 Posts
Also, I would highly recommend Lee Factory Crimp dies for all of your handgun cartridges. They are inexpensive and not only apply a beautiful crimp, but uniform the cartridge so they feed well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
173 Posts
"the Classic cast press also with breech lock. I was thinking about the cast press and then just pick and choose things like scale, measure, ect. from other manufactures as I see fit to get things that might work better than some of the Lee accessories."

Your basic instincts are good. Well, except the various "quick-change" die bushings, they are meaningless except for cost and potential for adding some die misalighment. (Never use pliers or wrenches to install dies in a single stage press, hand tight is plenty and that allows for easy screw-in die swaps in something like 45 seconds.) The Classic Cast press is indeed excellant and I'd agree if you were majoring in rifle loading. But, for larger volumes of mostly handgun stuff, I suspect you will be happier longer with a Lee Classc Turret with it's auto-index feature. The die heads are actually inexpensive enough to make having one set up for each of your cartridges is reasonable, cost is no more than the quick change bushings would be and you can swap out the entire head in seconds without tools!

Lee's dies load ammo as well as any common types and their Pacesetter/Delux sets include shell holders that cost $7-9 more from other brands. Their Pacsetter sets include the excellant Factory Crimp Dies.

Most of us find Lee's Safety Scale very sensitive, very accurate and a near total PITA to use. RCBS and Dillon have moderate price beam scales made by Ohaus that are excellant, pick one.

Lee's little "Perfect" powder measure isn't perfect but it's very good and how well it works - or lasts - depends a whole lot on the user's mechanical apptitude; get it. Even if you don't like it forever you haven't spent much and the experience will help you determine what YOU may like better if you do want to drop more money on a measure later. Iron measures for both rifle and pistol loading really don't get better than Lyman's reliable old #55 - and get a bench stand for whatever you may buy.

(I have five presses of three brands, one is a Rock Chucker. The RC is a good press but it's really no better than most others. Seems most who sware by them for being excellant tools have little experience with others! In fact, IF I had to replace my RC tomorrow it would be with a Classic Cast; price aside, the CC IS the better press! IMHO of course, after some 45 years of reloading.) ;D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
821 Posts
Rainier42 said:
Also, I would highly recommend Lee Factory Crimp dies for all of your handgun cartridges. They are inexpensive and not only apply a beautiful crimp, but uniform the cartridge so they feed well.
except for use with cast lead boolits in handgun cartridges. with them it tends to swage down the boolit. i use lyman taper crimp die with cast boolit loads. it is a different story with rifle cartridges though. however ranch dog is having some custom fcd done that id like to try once available.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
To be honest I'm not set on the breechlock presses. Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't there dies or atleast collars that have a set screw to lock it in place on the die which would accomplish the same thing as the breechlock? I know it doesn't take that long to swap out dies, and as a beginner it'd probably be smarter to get used to just screwing in the dies ie keep from getting in too big of a rush. I have read alot of good things on the RCBS 505, as well as the uniflo. I don't know enough about reloading to be brand specific yet. I really haven't set a budget yet because since I plan on mix and matching what I can and I've just started my research on products it's kind of hard to give a figure right now on what I'll spend.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,670 Posts
+1 on the Lee Classic Turret. I have a turret for each caliber I reload. Sure makes changes a lot easier.

Lee makes some pretty tough stuff. I started out with one of the little C presses and still use it for decapping and bullet sizing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
173 Posts
"... (Lee FCD) .. with cast lead boolits in handgun cartridges. with them it tends to swage down the boolit."

Not really, at least not unless the bullets are much larger than they should be.


Thumper, all dies do have a "lock ring" (nut) that's intended to allow removal-replacement without having to readjust. Lock rings work good too so I can't fathom why some guys love the Lee/Hornady quick change gimmicks because they "don't have to reset the die each time." ??

Lee has a unique (actually more costly to produce) rubber O ring secured nut that is excellant when used by someone who knows what the smell he's doing but it will move if it's handled sloppily. Even so, die adjustment isn't rocket surgery so setting - or resetting - by an accomplished reloader should never require more than a minute, no matter how much any lock nut has moved. (It helps to know enough math to figger out that a full die turn equals a change of .072" so an eight turn changes the die about 9 thou; that's well over the full max to min headspace range of bottle-neck cases so fine adjustments MUST really be fine! I mention that because it common to see posts cautioning others to make 'small die changes of a quarter turn' - which is massive!)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,017 Posts
I read your post only. I started with t Lee Classic loader in 444, I still have it. I bought a 3 hole turret aluminum base press 35 or so years ago. Then a RCBS Rock Chucker. I bought from Cabela"s a Lee cast iron Classic turret kit which I use to load pistol bullets and rifle too. With some practice using the L.C.T. press you can do well loading pistol cartridges. For rifle cartridges I like to do it one operation at a time. I remove the rod that make it turn and use the press as a single stage press. I don't particularly like the lee primer attachment but for pistols it's okay when you get the hang of it. With the rifle I feed the priming arm by hand. By this time my cases or ready to be loaded. So it primed charged and seat the bullet. Can't be any easier. In conclusion The lee cast iron classic turret press is what I recommend. But get a good scale and the lee dies or a good deal too.

T :) NY
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32,306 Posts
Hi Thumper,
I also started with the Lee Hand tools, then about 35 years ago I pick up a CH O frame this served me admirably and I still use it to this day. My last reloading manual came with a free Lee C frame press I use it for sizing my cast bullets. I was given a Lee Classic Turret by my daughter for my birthday. It is the most used press I have. She also gave me with it, a half a dozen turrets and it is fantastic for changing out calibers (about 2 seconds work) My choice would now be the Lee Clasic Cast.
Hope this helps.
 

·
Team 45-70 Big Buck Contest Winner 2012
Joined
·
1,078 Posts
I started with the Lee Breech Lock Anniversary kit a few years ago. I've since purchased the Lee Classic 4 hole Turret press and really like it.
It's about $100 and worth every penny.

-chris
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
463 Posts
I started out on the original Lee Loader (cue Michael Jackson's 'Beat It'), and then bought my first single stage press after consulting with some local gurus. I still use that press (Co-Ax) forty three years later. Do some research, and buy the absolute best your budget will allow. The Co-Ax took a year's earnings for a paperboy back then, but it was worth every hard earned penny. Whatever brand catches your fancy, don't stint. Buy once, cry once.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,106 Posts
I just went through the same thing you are and I decided to go with the Lee classic cast. I got all the same advice you did. I couldn't be happier with the press and dies.I looked around for a while and I found the best place to buy it at is Kittery trading post. If you order online they will give free shipping for anything over $25.00. Not trying to advertise for them just trying to save members some money.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Thanks for all the advice guys.

Fuzz, I know all dies have locking rings, I meant the ones with the set screw in the locking ring that should accomplish the same thing as the breechlock. I probably didn't word it right.

I've looked at the classic cast turret, haven't ruled it out either since I will reload pistol as well I just need to get my hands on one and look it over.
 
1 - 20 of 42 Posts
Top