Author Topic: Lee Load Master  (Read 649 times)

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Offline mrcabinet

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Lee Load Master
« on: December 30, 2017, 12:10:49 PM »
Last week, over a three day period, I loaded 970 rounds on my Classic Turret. That consisted of 9's, .38 spcl., .45 and .223. I've been thinking about a progressive press for a while now and that last marathon cemented the idea. I know, the Dillion's and LnL are the best, but my after Christmas budget simply doesn't allow it. With the year end deals going on I can get a Load Master 9mm set up for $228.59 to my door. Not even a used 550 can come close to that.

Unfortunately, the seven turrets I have for the Classic won't work with the Load Master so I'll have to get the five hole turrets and five shell plates for the calibers I load. The good news is that a coworker has expressed interest in my classic - for a price that will easily cover the extra items I'd need.

Am I making the right choice? Any tips or tricks I should know about?

Offline lewmed

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Re: Lee Load Master
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2017, 01:18:35 PM »
About 10 years ago I sold my Dillon 650 and 1050 after having rotator cuff surgery it took me about a year before I ran out of reloaded ammo. That's when I bought my first Lee Loadmaster I now have three.  I found that if you use all 5 stations and run a univ. decap die in station 1 and your sizing die with the pin removed in station 2 do not crimp the case in station 4 and crimp in station 5 they run great. My last two loadmasters were bought used off ebay from people who were not smart enough to use them for $100 each. One machine came with 5 sets of dies and 5 shell plates. Take your time and check out all the video's on you tube one more thing I've learned is to use a little bit of case lube when you load 9mm on larger cases it's not needed. When loading pistol and revolver rounds I avg. between 450 - 600 per hour. Good luck I hope you find this info useful.

Offline Mike Russell

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Re: Lee Load Master
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2017, 01:43:34 PM »
I use one as well. Once you get it tweaked and set up correctly (as well as understanding it's shortcomings), it can be a good progressive press. I can consistently load 600 rounds/hour (pistol ammo) without really pushing it too hard on mine. Biggest thing is keep that bleep primer alley clean!

Here's some links for more info and parts that will help you out to be more successful with it...

http://manual.loadmastervideos.com/intro.htm
http://forums.loadmastervideos.com/forums/
http://www.mikesreloadingbench.com/mikes%20reloading%20bench_013.htm

https://inlinefabrication.com/collections/lee
https://fsreloading.com/

Offline dave33

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Re: Lee Load Master
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2017, 03:11:13 PM »
Loadmasters are decent presses but can require some careful setup and tinkering to run well.  The biggest issues most people complain about are the primer system and the case feed system.  Both can and do work well, but if they are a little off in the beginning it can take some work to get them right.  I have had up to 4 Loadmasters at one time, down to 3 now, bought them all used and pretty abused except for one, so 3 had to be basically rebuilt from close to scratch, but in the end they all run great.

If I were you I would get a progressive without any more consideration.  If you are even a little handy and don't mind some tinkering a loadmaster can run fantastic and do so way cheaper than anything else.  They will never be the sheer quality of a Dillon, but I will put my pistol reloads up against anyone else's, including commercial loads with confidence.

If you go with one I would be happy to give you the cliff notes version on what you need to do to get it and keep it running well, and a real simple way to have 100% confidence in priming your cases on the press.

Offline mrcabinet

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Re: Lee Load Master
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2017, 03:21:14 PM »
Thank you for all the info. I'm going to order one today. I am a tinkerer at heart, so this doesn't scare me at all.
Has anyone used the bullet feeder with it? It seems like it would be a good addition, along with the case collator.

Offline dave33

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Re: Lee Load Master
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2017, 04:01:58 PM »
Yes on the collator, no on the bullet feeder.  I don't think Ive ever seen anyone ever have anything good to say about Lee's bullet feeder.  The other side of it is it takes a bit to setup and I load several different bullet profiles and it would be more headache than its worth, at least to me.

Offline mrcabinet

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Re: Lee Load Master
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2017, 05:28:57 PM »
That's too bad on the bullet feeder. It looks so good in the videos!
Dave33, I will definitely take you up on that cliff notes offer once I get the press.

Offline Wobbly

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Re: Lee Load Master
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2017, 10:41:09 PM »
If at all possible I advise people to buy a press based on output volume, and NOT price. Even if the next 52 weeks is at 2/3 of that 970 round volume, you'll save enough over store-bought to afford almost any press you want. True... you do have to come up with some cash, but...

You have already discovered the pitfall. Once you are into an automated press of any type, none of the shell holders or turrets can be used on the next better version. Since I always loose money when I "move up", it's better for me to go ahead and get what I need/want from the get go. Especially when I consider the costs of the extra shell holders and turrets.

Just saying.  ;)
In God we trust; On 'starting load' we rely.

Immature reloaders ask: What's wrong with this gun?
Mature reloaders ask: What did I do wrong ?

Offline levellinebrad

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Re: Lee Load Master
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2017, 04:54:30 AM »
I loaded on a loadmaster for years and loved it. I would occasionally have a problem that would cause me to have to tweak something in the middle of a reloading session but for the most part the press ran extremely well. I was averaging 450-500rnds an hour which was fine for my needs. I was loading some rounds for a match one morning and it seemed like everything was going wrong. So instead of being patient and cleaning my press, which was the only thing wrong with it, I ordered a new 1050 with a Mr. Bullet feeder. At times I regret that purchase even though I can load 1600 rounds an hour. I wish I had just cleaned my dang loadmaster and saved myself $2k. Keep that loadmaster clean and lubed and you will really enjoy it. Make sure that the ball on the handle is TIGHT!!!!. I almost threw mine through the wall one night after that slipped off and I raked my forearm down the handle. I would also recommend the autodrum. It is an inexpensive piece of equipment that will save you time while you are developing a load. It is also much cleaner than the disks. Congrats and Happy New Year.
Greed and the struggle for power will rule the day until we the people decide we have had enough.

Offline jeep45238

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Re: Lee Load Master
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2017, 09:39:09 AM »
 Be careful with the priming system.  There is no shielding, and if you pop a primer they will all go off.  They do sell a $5 shield for a reason.  This is compounded by every action happening on the downstroke, meaning you can’t feel if there’s a problem.

Just my two cents after having 100 primers turn into a hand gernade on me on one of those machines.


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Offline mrcabinet

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Re: Lee Load Master
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2017, 11:17:27 AM »
I already have the autodrum, so I would be swapping that over. And just to clarify, that 970 rounds last week was an anomaly. I don't always load every week, but when I do it is usually in the 250 t0 300 range. I didn't have a chance to order it yesterday, but instead took some time to do a little more research.

How easy is it to switch between calibers? I load seven different calibers, so that's a big issue for me. Do you have to tinker and adjust each time you switch, or is it just a matter of swapping turrets and shell holders and you're up and running? I have dedicated turrets for each caliber I run on the classic and I had planned to do the same for the load master. It literally takes me five minutes to fully switch over on the classic. Can I expect the same from the load master?

Offline dave33

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Re: Lee Load Master
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2017, 12:36:36 PM »
If you keep a dedicated too head for each calibur, which I do and highly recommend, calibur changes are fast and easy.  There are 4 parts at most you would change, the tool head, shell plate, primer parts, and case slider, but they only take a minute or two each to do, and if you are loading the same primers size, or similar case size, you wont need to do all at once.  When I switch between 9 and 40, its a simple tool head and case slider swap, can be done in a couple minutes.

I usually do a cleaning job between caliber changes which doesn't take very long either, maybe 15 mins depending on how dirty it is and how in detail I want to be. 

Are you ordering from a Lee dealer or a kit from Amazon or somewhere like that?  If a Lee dealer, I would suggest getting a few other odds and ends while you are at it to save on shipping. 

Offline mrcabinet

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Re: Lee Load Master
« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2017, 12:50:13 PM »
I'm looking at ordering from a Lee dealer. Besides a universal decapping die, what else do you recommend? I'll most likely order a 9mm setup, along with a turret and plate for .45 to get started.

Offline dave33

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Re: Lee Load Master
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2017, 01:27:34 PM »
I'm looking at ordering from a Lee dealer. Besides a universal decapping die, what else do you recommend? I'll most likely order a 9mm setup, along with a turret and plate for .45 to get started.

You will need large primer parts, larger case slider, and large case feed parts to go to .45.  I would also order an extra primer feed for large and small primer as I have some that work perfect and some that dont work worth a crap. Hard to explain, I guess its lee's loose tolerances, but I have some primer sliders that just dont work well, and some that work perfectly. 

I would order the primer blast shield, but not for the safety aspect of it though that is a side benefit.  Let me explain my primer setup and why I like it best.  I dont like the use of a universal die in station one and a resize die in station two.  I like to watch each case get primed while I load my ammo.   I do this by having a blast shield on my press, using a small clamp to hold a flexible inspection mirror over the station two hole, and a small flexible light angled to let me look in every case and watch the primer get inserted.  No more guessing if my case is primed, I watch it happen.  If I have a bad case or some other issue with a case not getting primed I see it, yank that piece of brass off as the shell plate rotates, and keep on going. 


Offline lewmed

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Re: Lee Load Master
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2017, 01:40:22 PM »
If you plan on using all 5 stations you will need a 4 die set or buy a taper crimp or factory crimp die for station #5
There is a indention in the center of the tool head that holds your dies I always drill it out and place a small flashlight there.
The light makes it easy to check your powder at station #4 before seating a bullet. I load while standing and mount the machine at eye level on a solid table where it can't rock or move around. Your fired primers fall into the hollow center of the ram there is a trap door at the bottom of the ram dump it after each use.
Have fun and load a butt load of quality ammo.

 

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