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Lee Loadmaster. Your Experience and Recommendations

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by 9mmepiphany, Nov 18, 2015.

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  1. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    The thread on the Lee Pro 1000 gave me the idea to ask this question about experience and quirks with the Lee Loadmaster here.

    I have a friend who is contemplation moving up from his single stage to a progressive press. We shoot IDPA together and we go through a lot of ammo in both practice and weekly matches.

    We're only loading 9mm with maybe the addition of .45ACP at a later date. We're loading plated bullets...either RMR or Xtreme.

    This friend was first looking at a Lee Classic Turret and is now looking at maybe going with the Loadmaster...the Pro 1000 was never in the mix due to the limited number of die stations. I'm loading on a Hornady LNL AP and our other buddy is loading on a Dillon 650, so we can help him with the transition to the progressive machine.

    Please don't recommend going with any Dillon, it has already been considered and removed from consideration.

    I'll been looking around a bit for information...I looked at the Loadmaster before going with the LNL...and feel at least somewhat knowledgeable. What I'm looking for is a heads up on.

    1. Setup quirks to be aware of
    2. Modifications that make running it smoother
    3. Aftermarket additions to consider to improve it's performance

    We're already going to mount it on an Inline Fabrication Ultramount...with all the referrals I've sent his way, I should ask for a discount :D
     
  2. savagemann

    savagemann Member

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    I got my first loadmaster back in the 90's. Lee has made some small improvements since then.
    Mostly to the priming system.
    Go to Titan reloading and find the page with the loadmaster. On that page there should be a pdf you can download with setup tips and tricks. Follow it from start to finish.
    I recently picked up a second loadmaster in 9mm from Titan, and it came with a printout of his tips and tricks. I set it up per hos instructions and have not had a single hangup from day 1.
    I have ran about 4000 rounds of 9mm through it, and recently did a couple large batches of .223, minus the case feeder.
    One thing I do though is sort out certain headstamps of brass.
    I only run - Win, federal, speer, pmc, remington, hornady and blazer through it.
    I stay away from any mil crimp cases and others with really tight primer pockets.
     
  3. Schwing

    Schwing Member

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    I was not impressed with mine. here is my old thread comparing the Pro1000 to the loadmaster. In the end, I sent the loadmaster back, kept the Pro1000 and got a Dillon when I decided to move to a 5 stage. It took me almost a year to save up the $ so I understand on that count.

    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=768696
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2015
  4. Mad Chemist

    Mad Chemist Member

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    I've had mine for about 18 months and have loaded at least 8000rds of combined .380 and 9x19mm with it. I really like the press and it has been trouble free after the initial set up.

    Set up:
    The carriage alignment was off with mine when I received it. This is an easy thing to tune, but.... the notoriously poor Lee directions specifically stated that the carriage almost never is out of alignment and should not require adjusting. That led me to waste a lot of time trying to diagnose the problem. After wasting a couple of hours exploring dead ends I decided to align the carriage. 5 min later the problem was solved.

    Shell plate flex--Make sure that most if not all of your dies just barely touch the shell plate. This will help reduce shell plate flex.

    Add-ons:
    I think the RCBS tube style bullet feeder is an excellent add on. I use it for all .355 bullets from 90-147gr. It's an excellent value, I think about $30 from Midway. This significantly increased the throughput on the press. It lives on station 4.

    Good task lighting is a must.

    The pro auto disk is a good powder measure but I'm upgrading it to a pro auto drum. The old PAD will find a home on my turret press.

    I bought the Lee press mounting bracket. It is worth the price. I use the steel plate to mount the loadmaster and the wooden block to mount my turret. With an electric driver/drill swapping the presses on my bench takes less than a minute.
    Mods:
    I drilled the smallest aperture of one of my PAD disks and added the screw mod. I use this for throwing small charges for .380acp.

    Tricks:
    Although you don't need case lube, adding a little bit of spray lube on cases in a bag or box and then shaking them around prior to loading the case feeder really smooths out the operation of a progressive press. Another member on this forum, Goosegestappo, uses furniture spray wax. I haven't tried it yet but I suspect it works just as good as the Hornady one shot that I'm currently using.
     
  5. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    I'm using the Lee Mounting Plate for my Classic Cast single stage and I have the LNL on an Ultramount. I think the increased height appealed to him.

    I'm also leaning toward the Pro Auto drum over the Pro Auto disc

    He was interested in the Bully Adapter for the Lee Bullet Feeder Tubes that I have on my LNL, but the RCBS Feeder die looks like an interesting alternative.

    Has any one tried the Billet Turrets or Custom tuned primer system from Mike's Reloading Bench
     
  6. tcook90

    tcook90 Member

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    I didn't get his turrets, but I did the modification to mine with the JB Weld and set screws.

    http://www.mikesreloadingbench.com/mikes reloading bench_011.htm

    GREATLY reduced the COL variation I was getting (due to the shell plate flex mentioned earlier).
    I don't prime on the press, but everything I've read about his primer system has been positive.
     
  7. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    His explanation of the cause of the primer issues are enlightening, especially how one fix cause another issue to arise.

    I almost wonder if it would be worth the expense to have him just work the whole assembly over
     
  8. BigBore45

    BigBore45 Member

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    They require a mechanical mind to get running really well. Mine is awesome and have not looked at my 550 b for months. Watch the primer system and load away. Only primer issues I have had are I bent the spring on the primer ram and when the primer Holder is full it sometimes hangs up and stops them from falling down the delivery tube. All you do is shake the primer tray and keep on loading. Maybe 20 seconds wasted over 12k plus loaded. Cannot be beat for the money!
     
  9. Caliper_Mi

    Caliper_Mi Member

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    I haven't loaded so much on my Loadmaster yet, but the primer tray is the same as other Lee products... What I did there was to take an X-acto knife and cut the square edge where the tray feeds the primer chute out to a 45 degree chamfer, probably twice the width of the original opening at the top. Especially with large primers it keeps them flowing without an issue.
     
  10. Sudden Impact

    Sudden Impact Member

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    IMO, the Load Master has a poorly designed priming system, COAL is not consistent and generally I regret buying this press. I have spent many hours watching the videos, researching online fixes, doing the modifications and carefully examining every motion of this press and personally cannot recommend it to anyone. BTW, I have a background in mechanical
    maintenance . YMMV
     
  11. Stripesdude

    Stripesdude Member

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    I run a LM for pistol only. Any issues I have had were caused by me being sloppy.

    Magic Mike, whose site was already mentioned, offers mods for those who can't get their press running smoothly. Most complaints are about the priming system, which I haven't had any issues other than running out of primers and not filling it soon enough.

    I can do 400 rds an hour, including stopping to refill brass and primers. I have about $400 into it, including both sizes of primer systems, both sizes of brass feed assemblies, three extra die turrets, and an extra set of powder disks so I can have a set with screws to fine tune the drops.

    My biggest issue goes for all Lee products - their instructions are awful - somewhere between IKEA cardboard furniture directions and a poorly written Manual for Japanese electronics. So there are lots of how-to sites and a forum dedicated to the LM that can help you sort things out.
     
  12. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    Mine is waiting for the next load to the dump. I give up.
     
  13. Bang!

    Bang! Member

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    I'll pay for shipping to me and save you a trip to the dump. Or, start a new thread with your problems and maybe we could help you out.
     
  14. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    Beat me to it, I would have paid shipping to me also ;)
     
  15. Schwing

    Schwing Member

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    Even I would take that deal I didn't like my loadmaster at all! :)
     
  16. Mad Chemist

    Mad Chemist Member

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    Add me to the list. I'll dedicate one to large cases.
     
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