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  1. #1

    Why doesn't Lee get the the respect it deserves?

    Not trying to pick a fight, but I might be wrong but when ever I'm at other similar reloading forums and opinions of reloading dies or equipment are asked for it seams to me Lee reloading equipment gets rather badly bashed. Now I am by no measure a reloading expert, but over the 30+ years I've been reloading I have acquired reloading equipment from pretty much every one from Foster (co-ax press) RCBS, Hornady, Lyman, Redding, Lee, PACT and several who's names I can not at the moment recall, and I can say in all honesty none of it ever turned out to be junk and I reload for 8 different rifle and 5 different HG calibers.

    In regard to Lee I own allot of their equipment from dies to case trimmers to presses to hand primers and all have served me well. I have used and still use Lee Collet dies to reload my most accurate rifle ammunition in .35 Remington .338wm, .300wm, 7mmstw, 7mm-08, 6.5x55. I have also used Redding dies to achieve the same level of success but not more and Redding dies cost about 2x as much.

    Granted I am not a competition lever shooter or reloader so my results and experiences with not just Lee but all of my reloading equipment is limited to hunting and recreational shooting to distances of 400 yards and less, but for the average shooter and reloader such as I, based on at least 25+ years of using Lee dies and equipment I can find no reason to fault Lee equipment in any way.

    I especially love the Lee Collet and factory crimp dies along with the Lee Quick Trim Deluxe. I will openly admit the Lee lock ring they put on their dies suck and I replace them with ones from Hornady, but other than that, I have always been completely satisfied with Lee reloading equipment.

    One post made regaled a story where a person claimed he received no less than nine consecutive defective die sets from Lee. Now while I am no statistician I would have to think getting nine defective items of the same type of equipment in a row would be if not impossible would be considering all the variables involved when buying reloading dies, bordering on millions if not tens of millions to one in terms of odds.

    Without doubt Lee purposely by design fills a niche by making extremely affordable reloading equipment by maintain the lowest prices in the industry, but in my experience that in no way equates to producing as so many have termed "junk" reloading equipment. I have no experience reloading for long range rifle so to those trying to remain sub moa from 800 yards to beyond 1000 things might be different, but for reloaders such as myself who reload for recreational shooting and hunting I don't see how anyone can term Lee as "junk".

    Just my .2c worth.

  2. #2
    Master 87iroc's Avatar
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    Dec 2012
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    It serves a niche as you said. I own 2 Lee presses. The Classic Turret which I started on and keep around for non-high volume calibers. I also own a Load master. The Load master requires tinkering to make it work right and I fight sporadic flipped primers and no primers. It works great for the 250 bucks I have in it. I have loaded several thousand rounds of 9 mm on it for competition. Have learned its personality. Clean it every so often(every 500-1000 rounds I tear it down and clean debris out of it). Every once in a while, it starts acting up. I have learned the feel for when a primer goes in right. I am seriously considering, if I don't go Dillon, doing the camera trick someone posted about a couple weeks ago.

    The guy that got 8 sets of defective dies. I'd venture to guess he was very picky on the dies and they couldn't make him happy if they gave him the dies.

    Back to the Lee Presses. I have determined that if you don't like to tinker with your stuff and just want it to work....that's why people go to other brands. I don't mind tinkering, but am considering stepping up to Dillon 650 just because I can a) afford it if I want and b) I would like something that I can reload quicker on. Whether I actually do it anytime soon is a question. The Loadmaster is working fine for me...just not as fine as I'd probably like for high volume reloading.

    Lee is gonna set you back 250-275 for a Loadmaster. On the Dillon, for the same setup, it would cost you 900(give or take 50). That's a press and case feeder. Is it worth over 3X the cash...we will see...but I'm sure after I get over the sticker shock I will be happy with it.
    Those that say they make no mistakes....do nothing in the first place.

  3. #3
    Plinker Dentoro's Avatar
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    Nov 2010
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    Fairland
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    289
    I have a Lee press. I load for 1/2 dozen or calibers. About 1/2 my stuff is Lee. I am happy with it. I prefer RCBS dies, but that most likely has to do with being the calibers I reload with are RCBS and it being a comfort thing. I have never had a problem with any of them. I only load a couple thousand or so because I have single stage though.
    Be good, do good, make good things happen.

  4. #4
    I have used a Lee turret for 16 years or so. It does everything I want it to.
    My nuts are the great uniter.

  5. #5
    Grandmaster sloughfoot's Avatar
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    Apr 2008
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    Huntertown, IN
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    6,624
    I have used Lee since 1971 when I bought a 38 special Lee Loader for 38 special because I had a bunch of 38 brass kinda suddenly. My reloading rooms are full of Lee equipment. Progressive, turret, and single stage. I have other dies but, I always go back to the Lee dies.

    I am a competitive shooter, rifle and pistol, and Lee equipment has never held me back from attaining any of my goals. I use Lee dies and a presses for my 1,000 yard match ammo.

  6. #6
    I also have equipment from several manufactures and I agree that the lock ring sucks on the dies but that is no deal breaker for me. I've been reloading for almost 40 years and I don't have a problem with Lee products, especially for the difference in price.

  7. #7
    Master Vigilant's Avatar
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    Jul 2008
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    Plainfield
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    When I reloaded, I started with a Lee Progressive 1000. Didn't take long to break it, and went straight to a Dillon 1050 and never looked back. Now reloading doesn't, or isn't cost effective for me so...

  8. #8
    Expert x10's Avatar
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    Apr 2009
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    Martinsville, IN
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    Not being a debbie downer but my experience with Lee is negative, I had a turret, a c-frame, and a pro 1000,

    the turret had so much slop in it that rounds were very inconsistent and the bearing at the top just kept getting worse. the C-frame press actually broke in 2.

    The pro1000 i used for a couple years and wore it out, loaded maybe 10,000 rounds on it. The back vibration bar for the primer jiggler wore flat and stopped jiggling. Everytime a round jammed it stripped out the ratchet thing in the center of the press. Did you ever wonder why they sell them in 3 packs.

    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/46...t-package-of-3

    I went from Lee to hornady and rcbs then I finally went to dillon, I went to the square deal b first

    and there is no comparison between the Pro1000 and the SDB

    Then when I went to the 550 and then the 650 there's no going back.

    That being said at one time I drove a chevy chevette and it did have 4 wheels and an engine and got me around the state. but I would hate to go back to it.

    If the Lee equipment gets people into reloading then I say it's a win. I think the rancor comes from someone saying their Lee is as good as brand XXX we just need to accept that it's not as good other equipment that doesn't mean you can't use it to good effect.

    Buy what you want, enjoy it.
    Not all Farts are friendly

  9. #9
    Im new to the reloading game so i started cheap. Got the Lee Challanger breech lock press kit and a set of lee dies for 223 along with a Lee case trimmer. I went the cheap route knowing im probably only going to reload, maybe, 50 rounds a week. Just wanted to jump into the scene now that i dont feel i need to keep stockpiling ready to go ammo. So far I've only loaded 300 rounds but am satisfied with the consistency of the rounds ive produced. I use the quick lock bushings so i dont need to readjust, and have been checking every 5th round for the specs im expecting and all have been perfect. Hopefully holds true for 1000's more rounds, but for now as a newb to the reloading scene, I'm very happy with my purchase of Lee products

  10. #10
    Grandmaster Gluemanz28's Avatar
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    Mar 2013
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    Elkhart County
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    6,793
    I run a dillon XL650 but all my dies are LEE. I have had good luck with them except for the set of 45 dies I bought. I contacted LEE and they sent me a replacement part for the dies since they were brand new.

    I did find out that the lifetime warranty isn't as good as I thought though.
    You have to pay for the freight to ship the dies there.
    Then you have to pay for 50% of the retail price plus return shipping.

    Once you pay all the the shipping and 50% retail you can buy new dies cheaper.

    "I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery."
    - Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, January 30, 1787

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