Discussion in 'Reloading Forum (All Calibers)' started by rwk, Jul 10, 2012.
Has any one used the Lee cast iron breech Lock press, and how do you like it. Rich
I haven't used the breech lock version, but I have used the standard Classic Cast Iron press. It is an excellent value. The linkage works smoothly with no binding and slippage. With a little polishing and some good grease, the ram goes up and down like butter. Leverage is more than ample and the handle angle is adjustable -- a nice feature. I really like the fact that spent primers eject straight down the middle, via plastic tube.
The only negative is that the each side linkage has an extended flat that works as a "travel stop to prevent 'cam-over'." This may present a problem bumping shoulder with some full-length dies. Lee actually lists this as a beneficial feature (?). The stops can be milled/ground off, but that's a PIA.
I have the model pictured above (no Brrech-Lock), and can see no need for another press. It makes straight ammo, is very heavy, and hasn't worn out yet (been using it for years).
How does the travel stop cause an issue with bumping shoulders? Not disagreeing, just curious why that is?
To give you my 2 cents and prevent you from a bad move,just make sure you get the Lee classic cast,breech lock or standard,don't you go messing with the garbage like copy going by the name of Smart reloader mark XVI,it's a real piece of junk. The Lee should be a very nice tool if I can judge from its little brother the Challenger press that I really like and use,and that you could just as well get as second on your bench if your budget allows(it's quite cheap).They're both very honest presses I believe. Claude
I use this press and very pleased with the results - It's already been said, good straight ammo, heavy solid construction, catches primers well, smooth action, arm adjustable for length and angle, Lee guarantee.
I sometime choose an alternative priming method.
Whatever dies I'm using, I use the Lee locking nut with the "0" ring.
We have experienced that, with some die/shellholder combinations, when you set the die to touch the shell-holder (or a little beyond) with the ram at full height, it will NOT bump the shoulder at full extension of the press. With other presses you can usually screw the die down a wee bit further and that will achieve the desired results. However, this doesn't work with the Lee. The press simply stops
Don't care for the Breech Lock system. It's "Position Sensitive" due to the small "push to release" pin.
Prefer the Hornady LNL as it's just a matter of picking up new die/bushing combo and insert. Doesn't get caught up on the wrong thread either. It's actually possible to secure a die in the Lee and have it 1/8" too high if you are distracted. With the LNL, the bushing won't turn to lock if it's not fully inserted.
I have both systems on my bench (A Lee Hand Press and a Rock Chucker with the LNL conversion) so I've been able to compare.
I'm a total heathen when it comes to presses and have used Lee Challenger and turret presses for years. Never have cared for the design of having spent primers fall down "inside" the press and require removal of the press to clean them out, but that aside the Lee turret system is still the best for me.
I've never understood the "cam over" shoulder bump concept. Mind you, I do not have an engineering degree, but when the shellholder comes firmly against the base of the die you can "cam" whatever you want, there is no physical way to push the case further into the die. Maybe the difference between a "soft touch" and a "hard jam" can pick up a thou or so, but when the ram/shellholder comes into firm contact with the die, where does the extra bump come from? A shaved shellholder (or Redding set) can get extra shoulder bump but no cam over on earth can force the case further into the die. And once the linkage has "cammed over" there is no further ram travel anyways.
The Lee Classic Cast press is a very thoughtful design and a good value. Basically, I have RCBS, Redding, Lee, Lyman, Pacific, Hood, and a custom turret press and have never had a "bad" press. The key is to get one that does what you need, with the features you want, at the price you can pay. Barring some ominous manufacturing shortcoming, straight handloads are the product of straight dies and has very little to do with the press. Many "world-class" benchrest shooters resize their cases in the cheap RCBS Partner press.
could you or could you not mill off the tabs.the pic doesn't really show that much.( function wise )other than you may be able to mill off the tabs.just a thought I would offer ask.
The stop tabs on the Lee seem like a good idea to me. As already mentionned, once the case holder reaches the die it isn't going to go any farther no matter how much pressure is added. Going beyond the already sufficient mechanical advantage built into the press will only put undue stress on the die, holder and press. This is the first time I disagree with the bossman
Having tabs to limit ram travel before TDC should also allow for more 'feel' to the operation of the press.
I have a Lee classic cast and after using it, and after 40 years on my old A2. I don't like the mushy feel of the stop and the effort needed to just size a Dasher i will go back to the A2..........jim
I use a Lee Cast iron. No breech lock and I doubt I would want that feature. Its my only press for standard dies.
I do have a tagsale Redding somethin or other still in the box I carryed it home in. Never set it up.
I've never found a FL die setup that would'nt bump the shoulders.
Reed G and maybe even the bossman?
Bumping shoulders and constricting bodies can require quite a bit of force. Dependent on die/chamber match of course.
Even on the Lee Cast with its positive stop screwing the die in further than (static no load shell holder contact) will result in increased shoulder bump.
It all depends on how much flex and slop there is the linkage.
On my Lee Cast most of my shellholders have been ground down. The shellholder never makes contact.
I use the positive stop and die adjustment to set bump.
The only variable that can change is hardness of brass. Every once in a blue moon I might need to adjust my die down an extra .001" to compensate.
Someday I'll have to set up that Redding press just to see what all this camover stuff is about. Then I'll put it back in the box.
Redding makes shell holders that will fix the problem of the blocks so you can cam over with the press if needed.
Simply lowering the die will bypass the stops if you need more bump.
Once you've bypassed the stops it functions just as any press would. Shellholder contacting the die.
Adjust the die down enough to take out any slop while sizing brass and you'll have full contact between shellholder and die while under tension.
If thats not enough theres no press that can make those two specific pieces work.
The Lee is the only press I've owned, hence the question. (I don't know what it's like on the other side!)
It took me quite a while to figure out what people meant by "cam'ing over" ... no such thing on the Lee.
When shoulders don't bump as much as I like, I use a different shell holder, or stone down one of my old ones to gain a couple thou. Is there an advantage to using the 'cam over' as opposed to using 'modified shell holders?'
The old RCBS A2 has stops, but they positive and solid. When you size it's the same every time. The Redding uses a roll pin for stop, i use it to point bullets. The Lee for under 100.00 is ok if thats all you have but it doesn't size the same due to the stop set up. I used bluing to see that one side hit and the other didn't. That can be fixed and is better but it's less than half the weight of the A2 and is not as rigid. If anybody is needs a Lee classic cast,i will sell it .......jim
Lee makes a die where "cam over" is a major issue. The collet die can be destroyed if one has a press that will cam over and pushes the collet too far into the die.
As for stress on the press, never had that issue with my RCBS Rock Crusher. It cam's over and is well over 30 years old. It's one of the few tools that I abuse regularly and seems to thrive.
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