Just ordered Lee Single Stage press... need to know best priming tool and die set.

Just ordered Lee Single Stage press... need to know best priming tool and die set.

This is a discussion on Just ordered Lee Single Stage press... need to know best priming tool and die set. within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; I just ordered a Lee single stage breach lock press. All my reloading thus far has been with the Lee Loader (outstanding pocket size tool! ...

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Thread: Just ordered Lee Single Stage press... need to know best priming tool and die set.

  1. #1
    Member Array likesbigbullets's Avatar
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    Just ordered Lee Single Stage press... need to know best priming tool and die set.

    I just ordered a Lee single stage breach lock press. All my reloading thus far has been with the Lee Loader (outstanding pocket size tool! I've probably pushed 1000 through it). I broke down and spent the money ($67 bucks and a round-up donation to our good friends at the NRA). I figured since it was available, it would probably be wise to go ahead and get it before things get worse with the unpredictable gun-grabbers and I have to spend the rest of my reloading life banging away with a rubber mallet.

    I only have 2 guns .44 mag and .357 mag, but I also load their brother specials. I am just wondering which primer system will be the best to go along with my new set-up. It doesn't seem like there is a system that gets 5 stars!

    Also, I've read up a little on the dies and it would seem that the 4 die system has an additional function that the 3 die sets don't... I'm thinking if it were important to have the FC option in order to have a safe, reliable and consistent round--they wouldn't sell a complete set without the fourth If I'm not mistaking, you shouldn't need the fourth die if you paid attention to each step to begin with... right?
    Maybe I'm lost in the terminology, but it seemed a little odd to me.

    You guys have done a great job sorting out my reloading pains, thank you.


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array sixgun's Avatar
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    I have the lee pro 1000 progresive press. It has the 3 die set and just taper crimps the rounds I have had good luck with it. I like lee products and their products are reasonable cost. I probably would stay with the lee stuff. Imho. Good luck and happy reloading.

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    I had the old style Lee hand primer, and it certainly got the job done until I wore it out. I replaced it with the RCBS model, primarily becuase the newer Lees use different shell holders, and I already had a pile of RCBS shellholders. The RCBS has more feel and leveage to it.

    I have one set of Lee dies (9mm Mak) and I don;t care for teh lockrings. I replaced them with Hornady lockrings and they work fine now. My prefered dies are RCBS. As for 3 or 4 die set, my personal opinion is the 3 die set works fine if you set the up right. The 4 dies set has separate dies for seating and crimping, whereas the 3 die set has a seating/crimping die. I load everything on a SS press and prefer to use one less stroke, so 3 dies is all I ever use, and without problems. The FCD is more of a bandaid. If you need it, you're doing something wrong. Normal die sets should reload acceptable ammo.
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  4. #4
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    I like the RCBS hand primer. It does not require caliber specific shell holders. You simply change between small and larger primers.RCBS Universal Hand Priming Tool - 90201 FREE S&H 90201. RCBS Reloading Tools and Gauges. don't know if this is the best price. I got mine at Cabelas but the inventory has be low there.

    the Lee die sets are fine I like the type of dies sets with a separate crimp die. I don't like the all in one type because they are more trial and error set ups.
    Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.
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  5. #5
    VIP Member Array nedrgr21's Avatar
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    Another vote for the RCBS hand primer. Done by hand, you get a better feel for what's going on and it's more mobile - I'll seat primers while watching a movie. I also like it better than the Lee b/c it takes standard shell holders and you can get a better grip on it (didn't know about the universal RCBS).
    Be careful with Lee stuff b/c you can wind up with 3 sets of shell holders for each cartridge you reload.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Array FLSlim's Avatar
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    I used the older style Lee hand primer for years and it worked fine. Personally, I would compare prices and go with the less expensive. For dies to load 357 and 44, I don't think you gain any benefit from the 4 die set, but you do add time to seat and crimp separately. Personal opinion again, go for the Lee 3 die set.
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    +1 for the hand primer. I have the Lee, but have used hornady and RCBS and liked them all. Buy what you can find a deal on. As far as the die sets, if you are going to load ammo for semi autos you need the taper crimp die to ensure that your loaded rounds will feed correctly. If you are just loading for wheel guns, it isn't necessary. You are going to enjoy the new press immensely.
    likesbigbullets likes this.

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    VIP Member Array Stevew's Avatar
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    For heavy recoil loads, especially with lead bullets I like heavy crimp to prevent bullet jump. With RCBS 3 die sets I still seat and crimp in two steps. I back the die off and seat the bullets, then I back the seated off and adjust the die for a good crimp. For handguns I alway go with carbide dies.
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  9. #9
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    +1 on the carbide. I am a big fan of anything low maint (if that is the case)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevew View Post
    For heavy recoil loads, especially with lead bullets I like heavy crimp to prevent bullet jump. With RCBS 3 die sets I still seat and crimp in two steps. I back the die off and seat the bullets, then I back the seated off and adjust the die for a good crimp. For handguns I alway go with carbide dies.
    Strange. I always managed to seat and crimp my .41 Magnum rounds in one step, with a heavy crimp.
    Retired USAF E-8. Lighten up and enjoy life because:
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  11. #11
    VIP Member Array Stevew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    Strange. I always managed to seat and crimp my .41 Magnum rounds in one step, with a heavy crimp.
    I do that to, unless it is a heavy recoiling load. When crimping while seating you are crimping a moving bullet.
    Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around laws. Plato

  12. #12
    Senior Member Array BamaT's Avatar
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    The Lee dies are fine, but I don't like the new style Lee hand primer as well as the old style. You may have to get whatever hand primer you can find. I hand load 38, 357, 9mm, 44 special, 44 mag, and 45 ACP with the 3 die set. I have never, ever had a problem related to crimping. In fact, the only problem I have had was not paying attention to the OAL on one batch of 45s and seated some bullets too far out. That was easily remedied, and was my fault, not the die. With revolver cartridges, make sure you use a roll crimp, and with semi-auto, crimp just enough to straighten the case. Make sure you get a couple of good loading manuals. I'm partial to Lyman, but also use the Hornady book, and factory load data from Accurate Arms, available on the Internet.

    One more tip - after charging your cases with powder, visually inspect EVERY round to make sure it has powder, and is not double charged. If you try to fire a round with no powder, the primer will have just enough power to move the bullet out of the case and it will lodge in the forcing cone, and the cylinder won't rotate. A double charge of a fast powder can be disastrous.

    You will love your new press!
    Last edited by BamaT; April 25th, 2013 at 12:34 AM.
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    IMG_20130424_202123.jpg
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    One other tool that will save you a huge amount of time is a RCBS uni flow powder measure. You can drop powder directly into a case with a pull of the lever. Another thought if you don't have them is round cases. You can use them instead of a loading block. One last thing , if you can mount a tray where you can drop directly into it from the press. I stole this from looking at a friends progressive setup.
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    Very cool guys. I'm taking in everything you are all saying. I have a good buddy that swears by Lee and RCBS. I'm really surprised how cheap it can be to start reloading. Most people (as myself at once) are under the impression that you gotta spend a thousand bucks just to get started. Another buddy gave me a Lee book just because he had an extra. I spent the 35 buck on the Lee Loader after that and started accruing things as I saw fit... 23 buck powder measure, then 2 buck funnel, 18 buck lee dipper set and next thing I know I've loaded a thousand rounds with less than 100 bucks in tools. Thanks guys, I'm looking forward to the press next week... it's a damn shame the dies aren't available yet.

  15. #15
    Member Array Boudin's Avatar
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    I feel you on that. I waited 2 months for my 9mm dies

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