The Lee progressive presses are junk in my opinion. Helped a friend set up his Lee progressive and was not impressed with its construction nor its reliability. Lots of cheap plastic and pot metal parts. Very prone to jamming. My advice to you is to get a Dillon.
Try to see if anyone in your local area is selling off reloading equipment. I've gotten some really good deals that way. If you are in no hurry to get started then this is the route I would recommend. Ebay is another place you can shop at, but bidding can go nuts there (which is why I love to sell stuff there). If you go there, know your max and stick to it. You may end up bidding on quite a few machines till you win one at the price you want.
You'll need a press of course.
Primer flip tray if you get a progressive press
Dies for each caliber you plan on reloading
Of course you'll need brass, bullets, powder, and primers.
From the Dillon catalog:
Dillon AT500 Package Deal $154.95
includes an AT 500 press, which is a stripped down RL550B. It can be upgraded to an RL550B when the budget allows. Also included are a reloading handbook, dial caliper, scale, primer flip tray, bench mount. Not too shabby a deal and not that much more than a Lee progressive, if I recall.
As mentioned above, stay away from Lee progressive presses. A good idea is to start out with a single stage press or turrent press from LEE. This is one of the best ways to learn metallic cartridge loading.
When you want a progressive, buy a Dillon. I have two LEE single stage presses, one LEE turrent press, and a Dillon SDB bolted down to my bench. Also a LEE Load-All II. I use all five presses on a regular basis and each has it's own purpose.
Most importantly - learn the process of reloading before plunging in.
I am not sure about websites, but I am sure that they are out there. Chances are someone on this forum can point you in the right direction. One reloading book that I have gleaned a great deal of information from is the 47th Lyman Edition. I learned to reload from the five page flyer included with my first LEE single stage press. My dad introduced me to reloading as a kid. Yeah, that was many moons ago.
If you are able to find a website, always check the information with a printed source from a credible author or company. Most reloaders, including myself at times, like to think they are "experts". The internet and this forum are great places to get reloading advice. Just keep in mind that no matter how it is presented, it is still only advice from one of us "experts".
This may not be a good starting point for a beginner but after years of sitting at a cramped reloading station I sometimes now use a hand press. Until you get to the powder stage you can sit in front of your TV if you choose. I use a Lee hand press purchased from MidwayUSA.
Note to Bill Go, the AT-500 package for $154 DOES NOT include the press.
The press alone is $193. The package is a bunch of accessories.
The Lee Turret is about $58 depending on whether you get the 3-hole or 4-hole.
The Lyman Turret is about $108, and has six holes for dies. Sort of splits the difference in price an quantity.
But to be honest, I got the Lee single stage, and the dies, tumbler, Auto-primer, scale, powder measure, books, everything, for around $225.
I won't say I'm thrilled with it (the Lee press), but it's not really unsatisfactory either. But, after a years worth of use, I am looking at the Lyman as an upgrade, in the interest of a little more speed, and especially ease of changing calibers.
Not as fast as a Dillon, but I don't shoot all that fast either!
I have a Pro 1000 that I love. It is the best bang for your buck as far as progressive presses for pistol rounds goes. Mine is over 10 years old and has reloaded hundreds of thousands of rounds between me, my 2 brothers and a few buddies.
The press itself is almost exactly like the Lee turret press that everyone recommends. There is a $40 shell plate carrier that contains all of the parts that make the press fully progressive. The shell plate carrier rides the ram and can be totally replaced in a few minutes if you manage to break it or wear it out. There is a plastic indexing part inside the shell plate carrier that we have worn out several times. The first time, we called Lee and they shipped up three of them no charge, I'm down to one left.
If money is no object, based on everyone's recommendations, buy a Dillon. If you simply can't afford a Dillon (as my brothers and I couldn't in high school), a Pro 1000 will serve you well. I can't say if a Dillon is really that much (4 times) better because I don't own one even though I could afford one now....
The only thing I don't like about the Pro 1000 is that it only has 3 stations. I have recently (in the past few years) started to use a taper crimp, which really requires seperate seating and crimping dies... I was given a Lee Load Master but I just don't like it. It is not as smooth as the Pro 1000... it just feels clunky. Plus the priming mechanism killed itself after about 5000 rounds
I might yet get a Dillon, but to meet or exceed the features of the Pro 1000, it looks like you have to get a XL 650 with the casefeeder. I'm having a hard time convincing myself to buy a press instead of another gun....
For now I have to taper crimp my ammo in a single stage press after if comes out of the Pro-1000 or use the Load Master that I dislike.
I've used Lee for years. I used a Lee progressive to load .38 Super several hundred rounds a week while I was shooting IPSC. Bought a Lee Progressive kit, bullets, powder and primers for the price of a Dillon. Only problem I ever had was with the primer feed. If a few grains of powder got in the feed channel it would not feed primers right. Kept a can of canned air around to blow out the primer channel. I don't know which model it is but it is 3 station with a case feeder. Close to 10 years old.
Their turret press is well worth the money. We've got threads all over the place detailing everything about them.
My only other experience with their presses is that cheapo single stage press (not the Challenger). My 2 year old managed to break a chunk off of that press.
No offense to anyone who likes theirs, but I'd stay away from Lee progressive presses. I base that on my experience that anything Lee makes with more than a small handful of parts will screw up regularly.
Also avoid their safety scale and "perfect" powder measure. Both are bad news IMHO.
I will note that while the Lee turret press can perform the same functions of a Lyman or RCBS turret press, RCBS/Lyman presses can't function in the auto-index mode (semi-progressive).
If you plan on semi-progressive reloading with a factory crimp die, get the 4 hole press. If you plan on batch sizing so you can clean the primer pockets, trim, tumble, whatever, then get the 3 hole press. I personally think an open station is a pain.
My brother-in-law has a Lee Pro 1000 and always has trouble with it. I had a Lee Loadmaster and it never worked right. It would break plastic parts. Especially the little plastic finger that would move the primer into position. Plunger would break it off every time! And the indexing flipper would not slide properly. Being made of plastic, I made a metal one which didn't work either. I got so disgusted with it that I sold it and bought a Dillon 550. It's not a progressive, but what a difference! Even my son likes the Dillon!!
I went through the same thing, I looked and asked for month's, it was about a 70/30 leaning to dillon, however i ahve talked to many who said the Lee Loadmaster was a damn fine press, that's what I ordered finally, 250.00 complete for .45acp not a bad deal IMO
Good luck and I'll let ya know how mine does soon
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