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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I'm almost done building my reloading bench and Now its time to buy some equipment. I'm leaning towards the Lee breech lock classic cast but thought I would run it by everyone here. I like the idea of a heavy duty press and it looks like the hornady and the lee challenger press are both made of aluminum. I've also heard that some people haven't been happy with the quality of the new RCBS presses lately. The other reasons I like the Lee are the primer catch system really looks good and looks to be alot cleaner that the others. the other reason is that its made in the good ole USA may not be important to some but I still think its good to buy american.

The thing I can't make up my mind about is a powder measure. what is the best powder measure going right now? All the reviews are back and forth with no clear winner. Can some of you guys help.

While I'm at it whats a good scale?

Just getting started so I just want good accurate stuff. I know everybody has there own opinions so tell me why one product is better for you than another. thanks for your help.
 

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I use the Lee Classic Cast and love it. Nice and rugid.
 

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I started reloading a couple of years ago (.270Win, .35Rem, .223, .338ME) with the Lee Classic Turret, which I like a lot. One of the reasons is that I bought a turret for each caliber, and then set the die for each once, and forget about it, you’re done. All my dies are from Lee except for the latest .338 which I got from Hornady. I asked Lee to fabricate me a .338 which I should get in another 3-4 weeks, as I’m not sold on how the Hornady die seats the bullets. As to scale, I have the Lee and the RCBS 10-10. I only used the Lee once or twice and use the RCBS all the time. It is an excellent scale, and I also bought their check weight kit which I use every time I sit down to reload. For trimming the cases, I bought the RCBS Trim Pro Power Case Trimmer which works very well, and once you set it up, it is fast. The motor on the Trimmer die about 6 weeks ago and I sent it to RCBS, and had a brand new delivered within one week, no questions asked. Now, that is service. I also have the RCBS Trim Mate Case Prep Center which I use to clean the primer hole and to chamfer the cases. For powder I use the Lee Perfect Powder Measure and it works well but be aware that for tiny powder granules it will leak some. I also use the Lee Pro Auto-Disk Powder Measure which also works very well. Hope this helps.
 

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Lee's Classic Cast is probably the best single stage press of its general design on the market but the "breech-lock" gimmick is worse than meaningless, IMHO. It takes maybe 45 seconds to properly do a screw-in die swap and those bushings eventually gets expensive as you add calibers over the years. We need to swap dies 2-3 times in most reloading sessions so where's the value in cutting the exchange time by maybe 35 seconds each time - a minute or two of 'time saved' in a full reloading session?
 

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Just to clarify Fuzzball's post.

There are three single stage presses in Lee's inventory that get confused.

The Classic Cast has the primer tube, and can take standard or 50BMG dies.

The Breechlock Classic Cast has the primer tube, breechlock system and standard dies.

The Breechlock Challenger is aluminum, old link system, breechlock system and standard dies.

I use the standard Classic Cast and rate it as good or better than the famous RCBS Rockchucker. Load too many different calibers to rely on the breechlock system. Prefer to spend my money on dies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
yeah I've had some doubts about the breach lock system myself. I guess if I really wanted it I could always add the hornady bushings. I think I might just go with the classic cast with no breech lock.
 

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I use RCBS, only because that was what was in the old used kit I bought from a friend. I continue to use RCBS because that is what I am used to. Find a product you like and use it. I use Lee factory crimp dies, and Redding competition dies for my precision 308.
 

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I'm really happy with my Classic Cast press. I have a turret press, too, a nice old Lyman, but I'm wishing I had just picked up a Classic Cast Turret press, instead (they weren't released yet back then).

Bottom line for rifle loading and learning and various tasks, single stages are great. But if you're reloading for pistols you'll really want a turret press at a minimum, if not a progressive (depends on how much you shoot).

For powder measures it depends a little again. If you shoot pistol you might like the Lee Auto Disk Pro or the RCBS Little Dandy. The RCBS Uniflow is a good one, too, and works great for rifles (more adjustable and will throw a bigger charge than the previously mentioned two), but isn't as repeatable or perhaps as good with the smallest charges as the previous mentioned two measures are. I hear great things about the Redding #3 and Lyman 55, but haven't tried those.
 

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I have a Hornady Pro-Jector progressive press and I bought my brother a Hornady single-stage press some years ago.... and I would buy them again. You are correct, they are aluminum alloy... alloy. Not some cheezy beer cans melted down and poured into a mould. I have been crunching bullets on my ProJector for almost 20 years and see no reason to question it's strength.

For that matter, the dinky Reloader Special 5 (RS5) RCBS press we started loading on in 1986 is aluminum alloy, I still use it to this day to resize .308/.30-06 and .348WCF cases. It's nowhere near as big (or with the leverage as the RockChucker, et al ) as the Lee or RCBS RockChucker, but it gets the job done with nary a problem in 25 years.

Both of the Hornady presses we have are pre-LNL, so I can't talk about that. Fuzzball is correct, the LNL/Breechlock system is nice, but not necessary... it takes me all of 1 minute to set up my press for a different caliber, and that goes for the turret presses and whatnot. If you are in that much of a hurry, you need to be looking at a Dillion or a dedicated press.

This is not to say the Lee isn't a good press, but I would go for the Hornady, myself.

As far as scales... the RCBS 5-0-5 (Ohaus) is a pretty tough act to beat and, I feel, the standard for the industry.
 

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Charlie98 said:
As far as scales... the RCBS 5-0-5 (Ohaus) is a pretty tough act to beat and, I feel, the standard for the industry.
+ 1 on the RCBS 5-0-5. I started out with a Lee Press and Lee Scale. I still have and use the press but the scale was trash, so thats where I put it. The 5-0-5 has been great.

Bob A
 

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I started with the RCBS 5-0-5 scale and have moved up the the chargemaster 1500 scale and dispenser, a perfect load each time..
 

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The only two presses I have are a Lee Turret and a Breech-lock Classic Cast. I only use the Classic Cast for .308 precision loads, all the other rifle and pistol ammo gets loaded on the turret, and both presses crank out ammo that is scary-accurate. I use Lee dies with the Pro Auto-disk setup, which is FAR better than the original. Few people seem to like the Lee scale, I've had a Lyman 505 for thirty years and don't use anything else. The RCBS case-prep gizmo is handy to have, as is the ChargeMaster, but it's somewhat slow. It's always faster to throw charges than weigh them, but for maximum loads or anything close, weighing is always better. For a stand-alone powder measure I hear good things about the RCBS Uniflow, but have never used one.
 

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Redding makes a really nice powder measure I prefer the Master Measure #3 now days I believe they market it as a bench rest measure.

I like the Ohaus scales, if manual magnetic dampened saves a lot of time.

Press I prefer the single stage and heavy compound leverage cast iron. Most any are good.

The O press gives an easier access during it's operation if you have larger hands.
 

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What are you talking about, the chargemaster 1500 being slow? I've had mine for over 4 years and I love it. When I load my competition ammo for my .308, it dumps the load in less than 20 seconds and after I dumped the charge into the case I simply replace the empty pan on the scale and it dispenses then next load as I seat the bullet, do a final inspection of the finished cartridge, put it in the ammo box, pick up the next case and run a brush through the neck. When I am ready for the charge, the Chargemaster has finished dispensing the next load or is in the final throws.

With the chargemaster, I am able to load powder and seat bullets for 100 world-class match cartridges in less than 50 minutes. All of these loads will be at the same weight, smack on the nose of Varget powder, a powder well-known for presenting powder measures with issues.

When I load my .223 match ammo, the Chargemaster is always ahead of me; I cannot seat the bullet and pick up the next case and brush the neck fast enough to beat the scale.

After almost 30 years of loading on a single-stage RCBS press, I moved up to a Redding T-7 turret press last year, and I must say, it's phenomenal and expensive. (Or is that phenomenaly expensive?) I don't think I have anything from Lee Precision except for an old primer seating tool. My dies are Redding or RCBS.
 

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I said it was somewhat slow. That's in comparison to my usual routine of running a case into a Lee Neck Expanding die and having powder dropped automatically. Using the Chargemaster IS slower. It's all relative. 8)
 

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I don't use a neck expander die on my rifle ammo, especially not my match ammo. For the ammo on which I do use a neck expander die, I use an old Forster powder measure because my pistol ammo does not need the level of precision my match rifle ammo requires. :)
 

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papajohn said:
I said it was somewhat slow. That's in comparison to my usual routine of running a case into a Lee Neck Expanding die and having powder dropped automatically. Using the Chargemaster IS slower. It's all relative. 8)
BTW, I was wondering if you could share your experience with the Chargemaster? On Saturday, while working through my honeydo list, I would jump into my reloading "room" every once in a while and I was charging 200 cases of my .308 Match ammo. In light of this little discussion, I actually paid some attention to the procedure. (I have been using the Chargemaster for 4 years and have loaded several thousand rounds of match ammo on it.) When the charge is ready, I pick up the pan and dump the load into the case using a small aluminum funnel. Then I place the pan back on the scale. By the time I turn to my press, the charge is already being dispensed. By the time I pick up a bullet and place the case in the press with the bullet on top, the Chargemaster has already slowded down as it approaches the target weight. Then I push up the ram, twirl the case and finish the upstroke and take it back down while the Chargemaster is within a half-grain of target weight. I pull the case out of the shellholder, loook it over for any defects and I turn back to the Chargemaster as I place the finished case in the box and pick up the next one. By the time I am ready with the funnel and the case, the Chargemaster is showing me the round count and then the target weight. The charge is ready for me.


I used to use a powder measure to throw the target weight short and then trickle the remainder with the pan on the scale. This is faster, does not require my attention and is more accurate. What's not to like? Well, apart from the price, of course.
 

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Pegasus said:
BTW, I was wondering if you could share your experience with the Chargemaster?
It's apparently VASTLY different than yours. My Chargemaster is on the same worksurface as my reloading press, and I can't seat bullets or crimp while the Chargemaster is weighing powder, because if I do it throws inconsistent charges, or stops short of weighing out the proper amount of powder. That means I wait for 20-25 seconds while it does its thing. So yes, in my case, it's pretty slow. Thrown charges are a lot faster.

My solution has been to empty the filled pan, replace it on the scale, and come back after it beeps. I can get the entire house clean while I'm charging fifty rounds. I don't shoot matches, so I can do it at my leisure. What I like best about the Chargemaster is that while you can program a couple dozen loads into its memory, you don't have to. You can just punch in the charge weight you want, hit the "dispense" button, and let it do it's thing. 8)
 

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You are right, our experiences are VASTLY different, light-years apart even. Yes, my Chargemaster is on a completely seperate support that is not attached to the reloading bench. If you look in the user's manual, you will see the following listed as a no-no in the list of precautions on page 2: "Jarring of the scale during operation." This means that pounding on the table while it's dispensing will cause issues. It also comes with a wind shield so that you can use it in a drafty place. I know that when the A/C is blowing hard, it confuses the scale.

Again, this past weekend, I was playing with the sensitivity of the scale with Varget powder. When it reaches its target weight, the scale stops operation and indicates stable. It takes between 3 and 4 kernels of Varget to account for .1 grain. This means that at target weight, you can add up to three kernels before the scale jumps .1 grain, depending on how many kernels your final weight has for that last .1 grain. I could toss in 1 grain, then another and suddenly the display would oscilate between .5 and .6. Toss in another kernel and it becomes .6 solid.

If I put my hand on the table supporting the scale and slowly push down on the table, the scale will register a change; it is that sensitive. and I want it to be sensitive. So my Chargemaster is on a seperate heavy support and it works qukcly, accurately and stays ahead or even with me. It's great not having to mess with a scale and being constantly trickling. It makes everything fast and easy. But it does cost money.

Yeah, I do not store my loads in memory, I just punch them in and go.
 

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I live on the ground floor of a 130-year old building with a basement. You can hear cats walking around from down in the basement. So when it's time to dial up the Chargemaster, everything stops.

I could move my reloading stuff down into the basement and have a rock-solid setup, but I'm pretty comfortable where I am. Sacrifices have to be made. 8)
 
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