Why I chose the Lee Classic Cast over all other single stage presses

Why I chose the Lee Classic Cast over all other single stage presses

This is a discussion on Why I chose the Lee Classic Cast over all other single stage presses within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; Hello everyone. I just wanted to share my recent experience of choosing a single stage press and why I chose the Lee. Hopefully this may ...

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Thread: Why I chose the Lee Classic Cast over all other single stage presses

  1. #1
    New Member Array Buckeye525's Avatar
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    Feb 2012

    Why I chose the Lee Classic Cast over all other single stage presses

    Hello everyone. I just wanted to share my recent experience of choosing a single stage press and why I chose the Lee. Hopefully this may help some others in the same boat and save em a little research. The first conclusion I came to was that a single stage press is mechanically simple, they all perform a simple task and load ammo equally well.

    I already had a Lee Classic Turret that I've been happy with, but its always nice to have a single stage on the bench for various reasons. Well, my wife graduated from college and wanted to get me a present for helping her out along the way. Well I figured that was a great opportunity to get a piece of equipment I didnt really need, but wanted. Money wasn't an issue, and I could have gotten whatever press I wanted. I looked at the Redding just because its a redding. Looked like a typical single stage, high quality and very solid with a primer catch that had great reviews. I also checked out the Forster Co-ax and decided I wanted to stay with a traditional "O" frame press. My father in law has a Hornady Lock n Load single stage, and I've never been too impressed with it. It loads great ammo, but I just prefer the construction of the cast iron presses. I wasn't going to pay $150 for a cast aluminum press that had a bigger footprint.

    I looked very, very closely at the RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme and the Lee Classic Cast and decided it was ultimately down to those 2. Not because of price, but because they were the two I liked best. The RCBS has the over-travel in the handle allowing you to turn the handle completely vertical at the bottom of the stroke. The catch primer tray didn't seem to work as well as the Redding or Lee and the dimensions of the press and ram are smaller than the Lee, but the RCBS has a lifetime warranty (big plus). What took the RCBS out of the running for me was the fact that its cast in China. The Lee Classic series are cast out of recycled railroad tracks from right here in the good ol USA. Sounds dumb, but that was klind of the clincher. I really liked that aspect of it, and the story behind it. I'll gladly pay a little extra to buy American, but in this case it actually saved me $50. I dont know, it just seems fitting that my all-American hobby consists of American tools. I came very close to getting the Redding,but the Lee seemed to be the better press. Not the better press for the money, but the better press overall.

    The it came down to the Breech lock vs the classic. I ultimately decided on the classic because you can't use the breech lock without the bushings. I have the turret press, so no quick change bushings were going to seem too quick to me anyway. Plus, one of the reasons I wanted a single stage was too get more involved in the reloading process. To me, reloading is a hobby first and foremost and I dont really wanna take away from its time. The turret is great for when i need to crank out a couple hundred rounds because I want to do a big range sessions the coming weekend, but the single stage is great for when Im bored on a rainy day and wanna lose myself in the process. Plus, the classic cast can be converted to accept the Hornady bushings for $15 if the need every arose.

    So i hoped this help anyone that might be looking at presses. I wanted to share this experience because it was the first time Ive ever done a lot of research and found that the most economical product was actually superior (in my opinion anyway).
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  2. #2
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    I'm a big fan of Lee products, too. Nothing beats the Lee hand held press for seating bullets on the range in prepped cases for load development. Lee's push through cast bullet sizers and tumble lube system (with the right lube recipe used sparingly...Tumble Lubing--Made Easy & Mess-Free - Cast Boolits) work better than my 450 sizer/lubricator. I use the co-ax and a Lee single stage for precision work. The lee progressive Ammomaster with bullet feeder makes short work out of a thousand rounds. The line I use is "But Honey, the less time I have to spend in the basement gives us more quality time together."
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  3. #3
    VIP Member Array luvmy40's Avatar
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    I have to agree with you.
    My first reloading press was a Lee 3 hole Deluxe indexing turret. I've loaded well over 15k of various calibers(pistol only) with it. I then added a Breech Lock single stage for my precision rifle loads. The anniversary kit was an extreme bargain!

    Next was a 4 hole deluxe turret dedicated for .223 plinking ammo. I added a rubber band to the Perfect powder measure as a return spring and it works well enough for my semi anemic "play" loads. Not the most consistent but +/- .2 gr. works for me. The Perfect Powder Measure is fairly consistent +/- .1 gr when bench mounted.

    My latest Lee acquisition is a Pro 1000 basic press (no auto case or bullet feeder) as an upgrade from the 3 hole turret. I will say that the primer feed system is a bit of a disappointment considering the quality of everything else that I have seen from Lee. It requires constant monitoring but works well enough if you pay attention to the details. Even with out the bells and whistles it doubles(a conservative estimate) my pistol round production rate.

    The real telling point is that all of this equipment cost me less than the base model Dillon or Hornady press.

    My one non Lee reloading item is a MEC Super 600 progressive 12ga. shot reloader. I will be getting a Lee Load All II for my 20ga. shells.
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  5. #4
    Member Array ThePontificator's Avatar
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    Aug 2012
    I just purchased a Lee Classic Cast SS press last week.

  6. #5
    Member Array saigaguy's Avatar
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    Oct 2013
    Pinellas Florida
    I've been reloading 9mm with the LEE BREECH LOCK CHALLENGER 50TH ANNIVERSARY KIT that I bought from Titan Reloading last month for a few weeks now. Works very well. Its addicting! Also bought the 9mm Lee dies separately from Titan Reloading. Great products! I will recommend to anyone starting to reload to buy extra lock rings (I think they're called) for their dies to switch out faster.

    Lee Reloading Supplies | Reloading Equipment Lee Precision | Discount Reloading Supplies by Lee | Titan Reloading
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  7. #6
    VIP Member Array dangerranger's Avatar
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    I have both the lee and RCBS Rock Chucker presses. I still do most of my loading on the lee. It has a shorter throw and its turned a couple of degrees to better allow me to see without moving my head with each pull of the lever. I use the Rock Chucker most for rifle brass sizing and swaging bullets. Its longer throw makes the work easier. I also have a RCBS Reloader jr. Is most like the Lee classic but does not catch its spent primers so I don't use it for that often.
    I think you have chosen wisely Grasshopper! DR

  8. #7
    Member Array Mark_in_wi's Avatar
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    Jul 2012
    It's good to hear the positive reports on the presses I'm looking at. The link was nice as it is surprising the variety of prices one can find online.

    Quote Originally Posted by luvmy40 View Post

    My one non Lee reloading item is a MEC Super 600 progressive 12ga. shot reloader. I will be getting a Lee Load All II for my 20ga. shells.
    I have a 20ga Mec jr. and a 12ga Load All II and while I like the Load All I think the Mec was easier to be more consistent. The Mec also is easier to make changes to the shot or powder. Both produce nice rounds which is what you everyone wants

  9. #8
    Ex Member Array Bullet1234's Avatar
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    Nov 2011
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    Often maligned but seldom bested,,,, Lee is the way to go,,,
    you can spend more & sometimes get less IMO. I have
    heard of Lee defects but I personally have not seen or had
    any problems with any of their equipment from the classic
    hand loaders to the turret presses,,, all have met my needs.

  10. #9
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    I am still an RCBS guy, load all my straight wall on the Dillion 550 but match rifle on the RCBS. I had a Lee but sold if off, just not for me. They are made right in my back yard so I wish they would work out for me. I use some of the other Lee products. Of all the presses out there nothing compares to the Dillion. Well maybe some bench rest presses from Sinclair. The Lee press is great value. If I was a plinker or hunter it would have been fine.
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  11. #10
    VIP Member Array Eric357's Avatar
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    I've only been loading a few years for the 38/357. That Lee Breech lock is what I started with and still use. I just need to get some dies and components for my .40.

  12. #11
    VIP Member Array Easy8's Avatar
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    They do look fine, I opted for the lyman t-mag an like the five hole turret heads. I have a different head for each caliber so
    I keep my dies all set up in each one so it only takes one bolt to change calibers.

  13. #12
    Member Array BobR1's Avatar
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    Jan 2013
    SC Missouri
    I have an old RCBS RockChucker I have been using for 35 or so years.
    My brother has a Lee Classic Cast.

    Advantages of the Lee:
    It will handle longer cases like my 338 Lapua.
    The spent primers go down the ram, through a plastic tube into the 5 gallon brass bucket on the floor. VERY CLEAN
    The Ram stays clean due to the spent primer system.
    The Press also stays clean due to the spent primer system.
    Big Open area to work in.

    I have a great deal of RCBS equipment, probably all built before RCBS sold out on us and went to China.
    I am very hit and miss on liking Lee products. The Cast Iron Classic I like very much. If I were buying a new single stage today that is my first choice.


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  14. #13
    New Member Array thomasj15's Avatar
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    Nov 2015
    Fairfax, VA
    Lee Classic Cast is good but if want my recommendation then RCBS Rock Chucker. Because it's really easy to use and setup.

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