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Thread: Newbie - LEE loadmaster

  1. #1

    Newbie - LEE loadmaster

    Hi All,

    new to this forum, so forgive me upfront if I ask what may appear to be silly questions....
    Does anyone on this forum use a LEE loadmaster for reloading 223 rounds?


  2. #2
    No experience of the Lee loadmaster thankfully as I had a Dillon 550. A friend did have a Lee 1000 years ago and was most disappointed with that model but I don't see why your press shouldn't do the job.

    P.S. Tyler welcome to the site. Just a warning before the site staff jump all over you I think you might have missed the heading mentioning that all new site members are required to introduce themselves before posting.
    It's the calibre of the shooter that counts not the calibre of the rifle.

  3. #3
    thanks for the reminder - just posted my intro.

  4. #4
    Let me ask: Why do you want a progressive press?~Muir

  5. #5
    Mass reloading for plinking 100/200 yards at Bisley. Does not need to be for long range accuracy.

  6. #6
    SD Regular NorthDorset's Avatar
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    Newbie - LEE loadmaster

    Personally I would save my money. Firstly, if you are a Newbie please don't be tempted to learn to reload on a progressive press. There is too much going on in order to know when it's going wrong. Learn on a single stage then move on to a progressive. You need to understand what each stage looks like independently and get the basics right.
    2nd I have come to love and hate my Lee 1000. Loadmasters are not really any better and in fact you can buy a 1000 in .223. You will load 90 rounds in your first 50 minutes then spend the next 30 minutes I unjamming it.
    Dillon make a better machine but a 550 in .223 will cost you 550 and that's 3 times the cost of a Lee.

    Lee isn't bad but it's built to a price. Dillon is built to do the job.

    I recommend to everyone starting out to buy a quality second hand unit. Find a friend who reloads and see them do it. Try their kit and see what you like before you take the plunge.

    .223 at 200yards you can use any old kack for. Seriously isn't going to make a hill of beans difference.
    Last edited by NorthDorset; 27-08-2014 at 18:19.
    Yes I should have taken the Blue Pill!

    We were so busy congratulating ourself of dodging Orwells vision we marched right into Huxley's.

  7. #7
    I agree with the above.

    I know someone, who I won't name, who had issues with a progressive press, and as they hadn't learnt to reload on a single stage, didn't realise there was an issue, until the gun blew up that is.
    Nice new browning x bolt scrapped.

    I can knock 100 up with a lee hand press if I'm only throwing the loads, and I know they will all go bang, not pop, boom.
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  8. #8
    SD Regular NorthDorset's Avatar
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    100 rounds on a single stage: 2 hours work.
    Yes I should have taken the Blue Pill!

    We were so busy congratulating ourself of dodging Orwells vision we marched right into Huxley's.

  9. #9
    Most of my time is spent in case prep, making sure they are cleaned, trimmed to length, visual inspection that sort of stuff. Actually loading them using a neck sizer, Lee Autoprime, Lyman 55 powder measure and seating die takes me under an hour to do a box of 100 222 Rem. If the cases are already sized and primed then 20-30 minutes to dump powder and seat bullet in each for a box of 100 - that is stood at the bench with everything to hand and ready to go.

    If you go down the progressive route be prepared to thoroughly check you cases before they go through the press so you know they are all good. Also be prepared to bugger it up quite a lot as you need to 'tune' each stage in the process and when one is sorted then you can identify the next and try to sort that - much time and patience needed initially then constant observation for the next few runs to make sure things are still as they should be - quicker to do the job 'properly' in the end I found.

    If you are just looking for plinking ammo then go and buy Barnaul from HPS at 21/100 - their shop is between the clays and William Evans, a large white building with black detailing. Phone them first to make sure they're open as the TR season is winding down - number is on their website.

    I CANNOT reload my 222 Rem for that as cheapest bullets are about 14/100, primers 4/100 and even using N120 powder works out about 8/100 so total cost is 26/100 plus all my time and effort.

    As for Lee quality... all I can say is look very carefully at each item you buy some is great, like the Auto Prime and the case trimmers and length gauges, other stuff is total carp, presses made from white metal will not stand much use in my experience.

  10. #10
    I have 2 of them, one for .44 Magnum and the other for .300aac Blackout (so very similar to the .223). Not the easiest of presses to set up and get running smoothly, wouldn't trust the auto-prime system on them at all (removed both of mine).

    The 223 cases (if you use the case feeder tubes) have a habit of falling over going into the plate when there are only a few left in the drop tube, my solution was to block off 3 of the tubes and just feed the cases down one topping it up as I go.

    If you want to speed things up (and assuming you know what you're doing) a 4 stage turret press is pretty fast but not that much faster than using pre-primed brass with a powder thrower and a nice solid single stage press when you get into the rhythm of things.
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