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New Lee Loadmaster for .45 ACP w/ bullet feeder attachment

I just bought my 1st .45 (RI M1911 Match) and decided that the ammo was more than I wanted to spend or available so I though I'd get one of these presses to knock out the ammo. I consider myself a pretty good tinkerer, and pretty patient disposition. However, I'm about at patience's end with this thing. 

I've heard about the quality issues persistent with their products, but have heard that once you get it set it will put out some ammo. I'm pretty good at fixing stuff and figuring out how things work, but this press has definitely tested my patients.

The deprime/resize station die hole isn't concentric to the shell plate hole below and when i place a spent brass in the shell plate and raise it to the die the rim of the brass hits the end of the die instead of going inside it. 

The rod or stud the pushes the primer up isn't pressing them in straight, the get crooked and lock the whole rotation up making me have to take the shell plate off the press to clear the jam.

The powder dispenser isn't cycling the powder plate all the way back and forth causing inconsistent charges. 

The case feeder has nothing in the instructions about setting the length of the stud on the bottom that holds the square guide rod. I watched 5 videos, read the instructions about 6 times trying to find what I missed. I finally looked at the press in a demo video and say his part was about 3/8"-1/2" farther out than mine. It's working somewhat OK, but sometimes it pulls the brass back when it retreats.

I bought an accessory bullet feeder with the press to increase my production. It's a flimsy piece of forked plastic that i broke before i have loaded 1 cartridge. 

I am really impressed at the engineering it took to make the parts of the press move like it does. It's pretty disappointing they would assemble it with such cheap plastic parts. The piece that forces the press to index is a metal rod fitted with a plastic flipper on the end. The plastic piece rubs and turns against the metal frame as part of it's job. Doesn't seem the like the piece will last very long.

I'm at a full stop right now waiting to hear back from LEE on the replacement part that i broke. BUT, I did go out and shoot 400rds through my new gun so that made me feel a lot better, lol.

Comments

  • MIKE WISKEYMIKE WISKEY Member Posts: 9,261 ✭✭✭
    if 'LEE' is the problem...........'DILLION' is the answer
  • bambambambambambam Member Posts: 4,801 ✭✭✭
    if 'LEE' is the problem...........'DILLION' is the answer
    I heard that. I bought 4 guns in the last 2-3 weeks and I was trying to keep the Mrs. happy by saving some money on a press. It's turning into more time to setup than it's worth.
  • charliemeyer007charliemeyer007 Member Posts: 7,348 ✭✭✭
    I'm not a fan of progressive machines, especially cheap ones.  I have several single stage presses and a really good assortment of Lyman 310 stuff.  I can load more than I shoot because I'm not a spray and pray person.
  • nononsensenononsense Member, Moderator Posts: 10,582 ******
    Lee has made some very good basic reloading tool. This progressive though with part plastic, part pot metal parts is built just for a price point not to be worthwhile. Send it back to Lee for a refund and put this money towards a better press.
    Yes, Dillon Blue is probably at the top of the pile but there are others which will serve you well. Do some more searching and resolve that you will need to spend more money. But once you invest in quality equipment it will last for a long time.

    Best.


  • bambambambambambam Member Posts: 4,801 ✭✭✭

    With all the current events going on I just received a phone call from Lee after reporting the issues with my press a while back. We exchanged a few emails up to now. A CS lady talked to me about replacing some parts that came damaged or I damaged. She also got a tech to speak to me about my st1 problem with the shell plate lining up with the turrent hole the die was in. The gentlemen that spoke to me about the technical aspects really pressed the point to manually feed cases through the press before using the automated case and bullet feeders.

    The tech and I determined the turret is not manufactured correctly. The hole was so loose the die rocks in any direction. More than 1/10 times I have to poke my finger in the press to help the case find it's way in the die.

    I'm waiting on a new case feeding tube, bullet feeding fingers, and now a new turret.

  • charliemeyer007charliemeyer007 Member Posts: 7,348 ✭✭✭
    Well I guess its nice they are working with you to fix the issues.  My BIL had about 15 of those presses in various states of worn out.  He would just acquire another one when it started to screw up.
  • Ricci.WrightRicci.Wright Member Posts: 1,501 ✭✭✭✭
    Just sold a like new 550B with a whole bunch of stuff set up ready to go. Press, tumbler, separator, powder measure, all the proper shade of Dillon Blue. 
  • bpostbpost Member Posts: 31,007 ✭✭✭✭
    If you are only loading the 45ACP and maybe one or two others take the Lee back and order a Dillon 450, 550.  I have the 650 with over a dozen tool heads for the calibers I load.  Once set up they run great.  The only issue I have ever had is when loading some 9MM occasionally a primer would get installed sideways.  I caught it pretty quick, cleaned the primer system and it now woks perfect.  Dillon tech support is the best you will find if you ever need them.  I have cautioned people for years against the Lee progressive.  They make great dies, excellent bullet molds and single stage presses but on the progressive side they do come up short.
  • bambambambambambam Member Posts: 4,801 ✭✭✭
    bpost said:
    If you are only loading the 45ACP and maybe one or two others take the Lee back and order a Dillon 450, 550.  I have the 650 with over a dozen tool heads for the calibers I load.  Once set up they run great.  The only issue I have ever had is when loading some 9MM occasionally a primer would get installed sideways.  I caught it pretty quick, cleaned the primer system and it now woks perfect.  Dillon tech support is the best you will find if you ever need them.  I have cautioned people for years against the Lee progressive.  They make great dies, excellent bullet molds and single stage presses but on the progressive side they do come up short.
    Just got my first primer detonation today. Had a small primer pocket brass slip through (didn't know there was any smalls in my lot of 45's). I've never wore safety glasses when I reload. You can bet I will for now on!
  • mike circlemike circle Member Posts: 5

    If you can send the lee back, do so. I have used a RCBS ammo master progressive for 12 years

    and over 2 million rounds from it.  it has broken some parts over the years, but not many.

    Any parts I needed were at my door in side of a week, prepaid shipping.

    Mike Circle







  • Grunt2Grunt2 Member Posts: 1,519 ✭✭✭
    Love my C&H VA progressive...With they still made them! :'(
    Retired LEO
    Combat Vet VN
  • bambambambambambam Member Posts: 4,801 ✭✭✭
    edited May 11
    After getting a 3rd turret not machined correctly I got fed up and asked to return every piece of equipment with the word LEE on it. They sent me a return form.

    I found one of the representatives to be VERY annoying. Lecturing me on running the press and giving me a guilt trip for asking for replacement parts. I also was on the phone with a "technician" about the bullet feeder and the piece of junk turrets for an hour going around and round over the same topic. He was very condescending. I just let him talk in case there was something i missed. After, I politely told him that I knew what I was doing, but made the mistake of buying something that was made out of plastic and poor quality.

    I don't care if there is a guarantee or lifetime support or other perks to go with your product, I don't want to listen to that kind of crap on the phone. It was taking me at least 1 week to get a part and I had to request 3 parts, one which never was replaced with a working piece.

    Looking for another progressive right now. I use my turret press for my 38/357 and my RCBS chucker for my rifle loads. Hope I can find something to load 45 and maybe 40cal.
  • bambambambambambam Member Posts: 4,801 ✭✭✭
    Here is a photo of the turret issue I had. The threads are thread milled or something messed up on them. A tap will follow the hole and not tent to make the flat threads like this.
    The hole is cast smaller, then they make the thread, but half way down there is a line of extra material on all 3 turrets. All 3 have flat threads need the center of the part which would make me think there is a positional error in their CNC program or equipment. Lee representative told me they farm the turrets out, they don't make them. Wonder if they come from China or Mexico?



  • bpostbpost Member Posts: 31,007 ✭✭✭✭
    That looks like bad tooling and very poor QC checks.  I bet you are right about made in China Virus land.  Lee dies and bullet molds seem okay but not much else is worth my time.  I had one mold that was OBVIOUSLY way off center, it cast bullets that you had to pound out of the mold!  They wanted me to send a sample bullet along with the mold back to them.  No way was I going to waste my money on postage that exceeded the cost of the mold.  I just threw it away and make sure to closely inspect every Lee mold before using it.  If it is messed up it goes back to Amazon for them to deal with.
  • bambambambambambam Member Posts: 4,801 ✭✭✭
    Looks like they are going to stick me with this piece of junk. :'(  

    Stephanie W.
    42 minutes ago
    Hi ,
    You may return the products to us for merchandise credit since they were not purchased through Lee Precision directly. If you are looking for a cash refund, I would recommend reaching out to the supplier you purchased these products through.
    Sincerely,

    Stephanie
    Lee Precision, Inc.
    4275 County Road U
    Hartford, WI 53027
    phone (262) 673-3075
  • bpostbpost Member Posts: 31,007 ✭✭✭✭
    I am sorry for you, but not surprised at their response, LEE CS and policy is not the best by a long shot.  See if the vendor will help you out in exchange for a Hornaday or Dillon progressive press that within your budget range.
  • bambambambambambam Member Posts: 4,801 ✭✭✭
    bpost said:
    I am sorry for you, but not surprised at their response, LEE CS and policy is not the best by a long shot.  See if the vendor will help you out in exchange for a Hornaday or Dillon progressive press that within your budget range.
    I'm going to see if that is what i can do. If not, LEE is going to have me sort all their inventory of turrets until I get one that looks AND functions the way it should. If i get a 4th turret with flat threads again I'm not even going to take the time to check it in the press. Back it goes
  • bambambambambambam Member Posts: 4,801 ✭✭✭
    Well, the local dealer I bought the Loadmaster from is helping me send it back. He will get the merchandise credit and he will order me a Hornady LNL AP. It's going to cost me 10% of the Lee press and $20 return shipping. So, around $50 I can get this thing off my hands and get another press. At this point I'll gladly take the $50 out of pocket as a lesson learned and move on. :)
  • bpostbpost Member Posts: 31,007 ✭✭✭✭
    You will be much happier with the Hornaday well engineered functional press.  Your dealer did well by you.  As I stated before Lee molds and dies are okay but the issues with their progressive press are well known.  I want to load ammo, not tinker with presses.  If you have to tinker with the press to get it running right you might as well use a single stage.
  • Smitty500magSmitty500mag Member Posts: 12,894 ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 3
    Since it's a no good piece of junk I'll take the whole thing off your hands for $100 bucks. After all they won't give you the money back and you've already said it's worthless so it wouldn't be honest to try to sell it to someone for more. 

    I've had very few problems with Lee equipment. If it wasn't for Richard Lee there would be a lot of people in this country that could never have afforded to get into reloading in the first place. I was able to start reloading back in 1962 because Lee was the only one out there that made something the ordinary person could afford.

    Lee dies are second to none and the Lee Classic cast iron 4 hole turret press is head and shoulders above any other brand of turret press at less than half the prices of others.

    Anybody that says they just take their blue or green  progressive presses out of the box and start cranking ammo out without any problems is full of BS. You have to tinker with every brand of press to get the feel of it. Try running a dillon press full speed and watch what happens. It'll throw powder out of the cases especially the ones that are near full because the indexing is not smooth enough. You won't hear people talking about that. 

    Just for the heck of it google Dillon Primer Tube Explosions. 
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