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Lee Pro 1000... Should I get it?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by glockguy, May 22, 2011.

  1. glockguy

    glockguy Albany Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I was at Cabelas today looking at re-loaders and saw the Lee Pro 1000... It was only $160 and looks like it would be a good re-loader to get for a beginner.. does anyone have one of these and know how well they work?
     
  2. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    The LEE Progressives, in my opinion, are NOT for beginners. They take too much TLC to operate properly. Primer feed mechanisms, powder measure, and shell plate advance mechanism are weak. Lots of plastic and too much chance for malfunction. For the more experienced, that understand what's supposed to happen at each stroke, have less problems.

    My advice for a beginner is to look at a single stage Starter Kit. Lee's runs about $125 or so, most places and includes all the essentials that don't come with the LEE Pro 1000. Things like a scale which NO reloader should be without.

    There's a reason it's only $160 and it's because of a copious use of plastic. Cheap plastic.

    I have the earlier model Lee Progressive and I also have 6 stitches in my left hand from when the entire primer feed mechanism blew up. (No , I wasn't using Federal Primers) The press is prone to primer mis-feeds and when this happens the shell plate jambs. When this happens, and it will frequently, the only way to correct the issue is to disassemble the entire mess. Not necessarily what an "old hand" wants to do and not a job for a beginner.

    Some will agree with me and some will not. I'm just offering that a beginner should look to a single stage first, especially before going to a Lee Progressive.

    BTW, Mine has been relegated to a shelf in my shop. I'm considering using it only for mass de-priming of pistol brass. The rest of my loading is done on a Dillon XL-650 or an RCBS Rock Chucker single stage.

    All this said, Lee Dies are on the other side of the spectrum. They are excellent and I use them for my precision hi-power loads. Runout consistently less than .001" which is equal to or better than dies that cost twice as much.
     
  3. MilesTeg

    MilesTeg Troutdale, OR Active Member

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    They aren't a bad press and I use them for pistol calibers but they do require some patience to setup. A single state would be good way to start however. Take a look at a Lee Turret press for that. Check the classifieds or craigslist because single stage presses pop up all the time.
     
  4. FarmerTed1971

    FarmerTed1971 Portland, Oregon, United States Well-Known Member

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    Get the Rockchucker for your first press. Even if you move past it to a progressive you will always keep it as it is an invaluable tool in so many ways.
     
  5. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    I'm firmly +1 on deadshot's post. Start with a single stage, even if you start out with a crappy lee reloader press (the press is about $20-25) you are better off, I would suggest starting out with a super-cheap reloading setup like I've been telling you for almost 2 weeks now :) to decide if you like it before you spend a bunch of money on it. For the calibers you're talking about getting, the lee reloader (that's the name of the press, it's not a generic term for get the pro-1000 which is a pile of garbage IMEO). Start slow, get good at it, and then upgrade to better gear. If you want, I'll keep looking around and see if I can find you a deal on a used rock chucker, which is the gold standard of single stage presses. There's also the RCBS partner press, which might be better for you, but both RCBS presses are much more expensive than the Lee Reloader.

    This is the press I'm recommending:

    Lee Precision: Reloader Press

    Also you will need this stuff:
    Lee Precision: Universal Shell Holder Set
    RCBS 09071 505 Reloading Scale Weighs Up to 511 Grains
    RCBS Uniflow Powder Measure with Standard Cylinder - MidwayUSA
    Lee Ram Prime Priming Unit for Single Stage Press - MidwayUSA

    Buy some reloading dies for the calibers you want to do, and you will also need a set of dial calipers, I suggest going over to autozone or whatever your local equivalent is, don't buy the digital ones as they always run out of batteries when you need them most. Note: the Uniflow measure is optional, but highly recommended. Don't buy the lee powder measure it sucks and will spend most of it's time spilling powder all over your reloading bench.
     
  6. MarkAd

    MarkAd Port Orchard Well-Known Member

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    buy the lee annveristy kit. All you except dies
     
  7. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    glockguy-

    Adding to my earlier post. Hopefully you will listen to the "Reloaders" and not the "Salesmen". There's an old saying, "some people listen and others just have to pee on the fence for themselves". Many of us old Reloaders have had the "Fence Experience" and are merely trying to save you the discomfort.

    Ju
     
  8. OreShooter

    OreShooter Portland Member

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    glockguy,
    I have been using the pro 1000 about 12 years and my experience hasn't been as grim as what deadshots has been, but I cannot in any way recommend it to a beginner, or anyone else for that matter. The best way to jump in and still get some production out would be with the Lee Classic Turret. You can go slow or fast and the price is good. I have one of those too and really like it. My Pro 1000 has been collecting dust except for size/decap because the case feeder for the thing really does work.
     
  9. Kevatc

    Kevatc Oregon Well-Known Member

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    My Lee Pro 1000 was a giant pile of crap. I had so many issues with it that I sent it back to Lee to let them get it running properly. After sending it back it was still so cantakerous and finicky that I tossed it to the local land fill with a giant smile on my face.

    That said, I did like my Lee turret press. Since those days I have moved up to the Hornady LnL which is such a joy to use for pistol reloading. I find it easier to pre-prime 5.56 brass and put them through the LnL than try to prime them as part of the process.
     
  10. Shooter98

    Shooter98 McMinnville, Or. Member

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    Isn't it funny how some people absoluetly hate these presses and some love them? I've used one for 40 cal for quite sometime now and never had a hint of a problem. I personally believe the failures come in inproperly set up machines. Yes, they may take a little tweaking to set up right, but once you get it they are solid. I haven't had to touch anything on my press in over 12000 rounds. I'd buy another one tomorrow but hey that's just me.
     
  11. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    The biggest issue with this press design and manufacture is the use of cheap products. Sometimes the planets align and all the tolerances are in mesh. Only then does one get a good one. Chances are your's was the only one that escaped that year. I'd also wager that you spend a lot more time cleaning and adjusting so it does work properly than those that own a Blue, Red, or Green press.

    I'd also wager that you are not a "beginner". This press is definitely not for a "cherry" in the world of reloading.
     
  12. Shooter98

    Shooter98 McMinnville, Or. Member

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    You must of missed the part of my post that said I haven't touched my press in nearly 12000 rounds. I keep it clean, but I keep all my stuff clean, even my green press :)

    I don't own a Dillon press, but if I had the excess cash to purchase one I would just to say I own one. That's the main reason I bought Lee in the first place was the initial investment cost. I haven't regretted my decision, yet lol...

    You're right, not a "beginner" but not well aged yet either.
     
  13. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to recommend a Lee Classic Turret Press for a beginner. That's a whole different animal than the Pro 1000. It's a lot stronger, and operates on an entirely different principle. There is only one process happening at a time.

    A really nice feature is that it can easily be converted to a single stage which I too recommend for a beginner. You just disable the part which causes the turret to advance. Once the beginner gets really familiar with each step, then it can easily be converted back to the automated turret function so that it will turn by itself and a complete round can be made, one at a time.

    The issue with the Pro 1000 is that it holds multiple shells, and that with each pull of the lever, something different is happening to each case - too "busy" for a beginner. The Turret on the other hand holds only one case in a single center ram (like a single stage) and even in "automated" mode, the dies move over the case one at a time for each advancing function.

    Another really nice feature that single stages often don't have is that once the dies are adjusted in the turret, you're set. You can buy more turrets cheap and use one for each caliber. Then all you have to do is quickly swap turrets and you're all set and adjusted for the different caliber. The turret holds up to 4 dies - a complete set - so you're good to go. With a lot of single stage presses, you have to install and adjust each die every time you change functions, even for the same caliber.

    Unlike the Pro 1000, the Classic Turret Press will also do all normal rifle calibers. The Pro 1000 is limited to .223/5.56 and then only with a couple of extra parts. I'd have a good look at this, and note all of the extras which come with it - almost all you need. Be sure to click on the small picture which shows the extras.

    Cabela's: Lee Classic Turret Press Reloading Kit
     
  14. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    I agree that the turret press makes a good beginner press. A step-up from a single stage yet not as complicated as the progressives.
    Rather than the LEE, I would recommend the Lyman for just a little less money. No auto advance but more stations for dies. This allows for optional dies like a trim die. Up to 6 stations to be used as one sees fit. As for the auto advance system on the Lee Turret, this is the weakest part of any Lee press that has an auto advance feature. That little plastic "ratchet" is designed to fail and sometimes if fails way too soon. Just another annoyance that really isn't necessary in a turret.
     
  15. FarmerTed1971

    FarmerTed1971 Portland, Oregon, United States Well-Known Member

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    My plastic ratchet has failed. I have to click it in by hand. :(
     
  16. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    If you decide to replace it get one several of their replacement "Packs". They won't go to waste.
     
  17. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    Yes, mine shipped with a replacement, and I contacted Lee and they sent me some more. As for number of stations, the more the better I suppose, but I've never needed more than four. I trim all of my cases with a dedicated Forster trimmer before I tumble them.
     
  18. Hook686

    Hook686 Northern California Active Member

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    I have a Pro1000 and had it setup for 9mm. It took some time and effort to get it working well. I experienced a lot of primer, or case feed, glitches. This often ment I had to stop the press, take off the shell plate and reset everything back up. Once setup right, it cranked out 9mm very smoothly and I liked the output. I did not like trying to keep an eye on three different operations happening at once. I also did not like having only three stations. When I switched to .357 magnum, or .44 magnumn I had to use my Hand Press to use the Lee Factory Crimp die as a fourth station for those revolver rounds. Also it took great effort to once again get the Pro1000 tuned to produce without numerous glitches.

    I eventually got frustrated with this process and was simply not enjoying the reloading process. I got a Lee Classic Turret. Today the Pro1000 sits in a box in the garage. Someday I might go out and try to set it up once again for 9mm. However I'm not shooting that much 9mm currently and I am very content, and actually enjoy the time, reloading .357 magnum, .44 magnum, 9mm, and .30 carbine using the Lee Classic Turret. I can personally watch each operation and I have not experienced a squib round since moving to the Classic Turret.
     
  19. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Note to those considering buying a Lee 1000, "Check Garage Sales First". You could probably save up to 75%. Next garage sale I'm putting mine out for $50 with two powder measures.
     
  20. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    I actually got a chance to buy a complete, and I mean very complete reloading outfit on Craigs List and it came with another Classic Turret. It's all NIB, even several common die sets. I haven't used it yet because I have mine set up, and it doesn't take long to swap calibers. I might eventually set it up just for 5.56 since that's what I shoot the most of along with .40 SW, but I'll have to find bench space. It even came with a NIB Forster trimmer which I might dedicate to 5.56 if I can find room.