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Thanks to all who suggested the Lee Factory crimp die. I was having a lot of trouble getting a proper crimp on my 45 ACP loads. With the addition of this die, all my problems have disappeared. Now my only problem is coming up with enough jing to buy these dies for all the other calibers I load
 

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The Lee Factory Crimp die is really amazing. Almost as amazing as the fact that the Crimp Die is the only decent product they sell.

Billy Ray
 

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Yes, the Lee FC die is amazing, just like Billy Ray said, but I have to disagree with the rest of his comments.

Guess I'm just one of those "oddballs" who has had very good luck with a Lee press, as well as sets of Lee dies for 4 pistol and 3 rifle calibers. Will agree that their little plastic powder scale leaves much to be desired.


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Regards,
AZFred
 

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Originally posted by Fred:
Yes, the Lee FC die is amazing, just like Billy Ray said, but I have to disagree with the rest of his comments.

Yeah, Fred's right Billy Ray. Gotta call you out on this one too. My Lee dies have worked flawlessly for over 2 years. Jeez, that's twice now I've disagreed with you Billy Ray - I'm starting to think that we're not long lost twins separated at birth anymore...
 

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I agree that Lee makes several products that are well worth the money and will give the kind of service we need. Of course they also make pieces of junk that I wouldn't give away to my worst enemy and some other things halfway between the two extremes.

Their dies are OK. The "unbreakable" depriming rods are hardly unbreakable though.

I like the auto-disk measure and think their latest upgrade will make this measure perfect for me (previous versions did not hold up well).

Can't beat the case trimmers (matter of taste).

I like the auto-index press. My all steel version is almost complete and I wish Lee would realize there would be a market if they upgraded the materials in most of their stuff. Keep the pot metal for the budget challenged, and offer quality equipment for those who load a lot.

The Perfect powder measure is garbage IMHO.

Their scale works, but takes so long to settle down that I'd quit reloading if I had to use it.

My 3 year old broke whatever their "C" frame press is called. Can't say I'd give it high marks.

Their hand priming tool is OK for the occasional user, but I wear them out every couple of months. RCBS is the only hand tool for me.

The factory crimp dies for handgun rounds is good since it will resize oversize rounds. The abilty to easily crimp in a separate operation is just as good.

The factory crimp die for rifles is nothing but trouble waiting to happen IMHO. People need to understand about case tension and quit worrying about the crimp. This also goes for handgun loading as well, but there's a large number of people who think a heavy crimp actually holds the bullet better when loading for autos.

I love their set of powder measures, especially when the static is eliminated. These are great for the times when I weigh each charge, since they will let me dump a load of powder in the scale that's close to what I want.

Their manual offers more data than most since I believe it's made up of data borrowed from several different sources. The beginning of the manual doesn't contain that much good information, but is very comical as they proclaim their stuff as good or superior to Dillon. Always good for a laugh.

Their equipment for bullet casting offered me a way to try out this activity for less than half the price of Lyman and RCBS equipment. I wouldn't have given it a try otherwise. Their moulds are well worth the price and would pay for themselves if they wore out every 1000 bullets (they don't). Their melters tend to drip, but get the job done and have at least one advantage over other melters costing 6 times as much. Can't say much for their sizers and lube except that it's a cheap option that's easier than using a lubrisizer and works very well for the .45 auto. I've "outgrown" that method, but it does work.

Anyway that's my 0.02 on the subject based on what I've seen myself.
 

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Interesting comments.

I have broken and bent many an RCBS depriming rod, but never a Lee. All my Lee dies have lasted for years (whenever Lee started making dies -- I don't remember exactly how long ago) without a hitch.

My Lee hand priming tool must be 20 years old, and has never given me a problem. In Warren Page's book, "Accurate Rifles", he says the Lee hand priming tool was a favorite of bench rest shooters who spend truck loads of money on other gear.

I have Lee moulds that are among the first made -- what, 25 years ago? -- that are still in fine shape.

For you precision rifle shooters, try the Lee collet sizing die. In a recent test by Handloader Magazine, it did better in measured bullet runout than the Redding super bench rest dies that cost four times as much. Mine in .308 does great work.

I haven't tried the factory crimp die, since I am perfectly happy with the Lee taper crimp die.

But avoid that progressive reloader!

And the auto-disk powder measure will skip charges. You have to check charges visually.
 

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Good stuff:
Turret press
Collet die
Factory Crimp die (handgun)
Carbide dies
Auto disk powder measure. (Need the pro adapter to upgrade though)
trimming tools (love the drill method)

Bad stuff:
Perfect powder measure
Pot metal on Challenger "C" press
Hand primer tool (will ruin your thumb)
Safety scale (eternity to reload using this thing)

Awaiting review:
Auto index feature on turret press. One has to really work on handle pulling finese to get the stations to line up correctly.

Full length dies. Had consistant .004 and up runout. In addition it was a chore to size the cases. RCBS dies on the way. Will make comparison then.
 

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Any Lee hand priming tool I've ever used would break after no more than 10,000 uses (Not quite 2 months use). The thumb issue is another reason I now use an RCBS tool. No problems after at least a year.

In the other direction, I've worn out 4 auto-disk measures without a single missed charge. Perhaps using it with the auto-index turret press insures it operates correctly.

I would personally advise against any Lee collet and factory crimp dies (rifles only). If Lee sent me free stuff, then I might be as nice to them (and anybody else) as Handloader was. Let's see what they say next time they review Redding dies. I've still yet to meet a benchrest or high power shooter who uses Lee dies. This could certainly change since I don't get out much.

Things like this make me wonder exactly how consistent Lee's production techniques are.
 

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Collet dies are one of the best products Lee produces for rifle reloading.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The Lee FCD for 45-70 also works well. I havn't tried any of the bottleneck rounds, so I'll have to take everyone's word that it doesn't work well.
 
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