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Old 10-14-2010, 08:29   #1
Dan
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Is this a good starter kit?

Got my monthly catalog from Midway and is this Lee Challenger set good for the beginner that going to do light reloading for now?

http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct...tNumber=423081

Or spend the money for a RCBS?

Thanks, Dan
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Old 10-14-2010, 08:41   #2
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What calibers, amount of rounds do you shoot? Have you read the stickies? If for pistol the concencus will be to start with a turret if on a budget 100-150 rounds an hour and you can still use it as a single stage with the index disabled.

This is the best deal around complete with Lee dies for one caliber.
https://kempfgunshop.com//index.php?...mart&Itemid=41
About $225 delivered to your door with both upgrades, add a good beam scale to check charges and calipers for OAL your good to go.
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Old 10-14-2010, 08:46   #3
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100 to 150 rounds an hour is plenty. Primary 223, 243, 30/30, & 308 are the calibers that I want to reload.

Not interested reloading pistol right now.

Last edited by Dan; 10-14-2010 at 08:51..
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Old 10-14-2010, 08:50   #4
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Personally, if i was gonna reload rifle calibers i would go with the rcbs.. Just a solid press, not saying that the Lee wouldnt work
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Old 10-14-2010, 08:53   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan View Post
Got my monthly catalog from Midway and is this Lee Challenger set good for the beginner that going to do light reloading for now?

http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct...tNumber=423081

Or spend the money for a RCBS?

Thanks, Dan
With single stage presses it really doesn't matter a whole lot what you get. They are work about the same.

I have read countless threads on the Lee accessories being sub-par (scale and powder measure). I have read so many bad things that I would never buy them. Until I actually used them. My buddy has that same ann. kit and likes it a lot. I have used it and my opinion has changed.

The stuff does feel cheaper (more plastic) than the RCBS stuff, but it all works. And works well. I don't know if he just got lucky, but his kit works great and cost very little. He'll chime in when he sees this thread.

My new opinion of the Lee Ann. Kit. is how can you go wrong with a complete set-up for $82

For me it would be worth $82 to just see how much I like reloading.
I spend more than that on beer some weekends.

The RCBS kit is better, but you pay more for it.

If you compare cost to quality I think both kits are equal. There will be many that disagree though, and say go for the RCBS.
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Old 10-14-2010, 09:10   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan View Post
100 to 150 rounds an hour is plenty. Primary 223, 243, 30/30, & 308 are the calibers that I want to reload.

Not interested reloading pistol right now.
For rifle at that count, I still stay LCT. Unless budget is a defiante consideration and you see yourself doing some serious loading for accuracy, then go with the RCBS. Either way you have to start with one, learn the ropes then move onto the others.
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Old 10-14-2010, 09:21   #7
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Let not your heart desire..BUY IT.. Starter kit, that is the best value you will ever find. Even though you will upgrade most of the extras down the road. The press will still be hanging out on your bench guaranteed. I load everything you want to load and the L 50 handles it. For under a 100 with shipping to find out if you like reloading, and i know it will last you awhile because you do not need a 1000 rounds a hour from what you say. Buy the shell plate, die, case length gauge, and cutter and load away. PM me if you have any ? about the press or gear.

P.S. That's a little face lift i did with vinyl tiling.. $24 bucks at home depot. SweetReloading
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Old 10-14-2010, 09:22   #8
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Just for rifles go with the RCBS rock chucker. ( Or any quality single stage) I've got a RCBS and a Lyman and I'm very happy with both.
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Old 10-14-2010, 12:55   #9
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Go with the anniv kit. It'll get you started right. If/when you're ready to upgrade, you'll be able to sell it. Lee's simpler gear (single-stage anniversary or classic-cast) are great. The turret is pretty good too. Their dies are the best.

The only piece I'd hesitate on is their Pro 1000, progressive. It works, but not always 100% out of the box. The design just isn't totally foolproof. It's affordable, but don't be surprised if it takes some fiddling and adjustments to get it dead on.

The long and short is, yes, the single-stage that you're looking at is just fine, and will make accurate ammo. (some may recommend upgrading the powder scale eventually)
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Old 10-14-2010, 13:22   #10
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Get it. RCBS is quality stuff, but in the end a Rock Chucker does nothing for you that the Lee won't do and for three times the price. I've loaded tens of thousands of rounds on my Lee press since 1985.
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Old 10-14-2010, 13:56   #11
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Heck yea, get the Lee!

I don't have a whole lot of money in my reloading equipment (I can't afford it) and most of my toys are Lee. I have 3 single stage Lee's (poor mans progressive) and the work great for me. I reload calibers from .380 all the way up to .458Lott with Lee products.

I would look into an electronic scale for precision high power loads and even for checking your powder measure.

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Old 10-14-2010, 14:24   #12
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i agree its a good starter kit and it will let you know/see if you like to reload
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Old 10-14-2010, 14:37   #13
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Just watch your butler load for a few hours to get an idea if you're going to enjoy loading.


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Old 10-14-2010, 16:28   #14
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I am going to disagree (kinda). Not that I don't like the kit in some ways but I would still suggest a different path. I say get at least slightly better gear in some areas.

I really don't like the scale in the kit. I have used it a lot, I don't see spending even $20 to get that scale. Your going to want better so why buy something that is used so often and is so important so you can't afford to get sloppy when you use it. I would get the Dillon Scale for $55. You could piece together a kit using Lee and other parts around that scale. Or just get the Lee kit and the better scale.

In the end I honestly think you will be happier if you just bite the bullet and get the better kits listed below. Or a LCT kit. LCT is probably good enough but for rifle you might consider the single stage kits especially if you are a low volume shooter.

I got a Lee kit once and I no longer use any of the items that came in the kit. Scale is under the bench, primer pocket cleaners are not very good. It seems to be a good value but in the end if you are going to end up replacing all the parts with other items just get the better items now.

BUT, if you really just want to spend $90 and try it then you surely can reload fine ammo with that kit.

Other options

http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct...tNumber=749997
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Old 10-14-2010, 16:37   #15
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The "kit" includes stuff you don't need (or will soon replace). If you're going to go Lee, get one of the "Classic" cast iron presses.

I had a Lee Challenger as a second press for a while. It was next to the RockChucker. When they are side by side, you can see the difference in build quality. My RC is 20+ years old and is still tight and smooth. The challenger was not. It's gone. Buy once, cry once. The RC will last your lifetime, and then the kid you pass it on to. On eBay, you see plenty of old RCs (30-40 yr old) still being sold. You don't see many old Lees of that age being sold. Wonder why.

Yes, the RC will cost more; but over a lifetime of loading it's going to be penny more than the Lee. The RC also seems to hold resale value better than the Challenger. There are old RCs being sold for more than the purchase price; can't say that about Challengers. RC's have a well deserved reputation over many, many years. They are solid presses (heck, they were designed to be used for swaging).

Since you're looking to do rifle rounds, by all means, remove small "C" presses from consideration (same with the thighmasters).

In the end, a good single stage will continue to be of use even if you later move to a progressive. Think of it a a long term investment, rather than a quick cheap buy.
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Old 10-14-2010, 16:40   #16
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My links dont work. HORNADY and RCBS sell a nice kit with a powder measure that cost in the low $300 range. I perfer the RCBS because it has a better scale IMHO.
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Old 10-14-2010, 17:39   #17
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The kit will get you going. It's what I started with. As mentioned, the scale is a major weak point, and you'll probably end up buying a nicer one eventually.

If you plan on loading with ball powders, the powder is hit or miss. Mine like many others leaks horribly with ball powders. I still use the measure though for extruded powders. I find that it works best with those kinds of powder of the other measures that I've tried (Lyman 55 and RCBS Uniflow). I haven't tried extruded powders in the measure on my LNL, but it seems to meter Unique and RedDot without issue.

Another weak point is the toggle linkage that connects the handle to the ram. It's cast and not all that strong. I found that I mine was broke when I sent my press in for service after crushing the shell holder opening in the ram while resizing 1000+ military .308 cases. Then the new linkage broke within a couple days while swaging the crimp out of the primer pockets.

For me the deciding factors on buying it originally were the price and interchangeable bushings. Now that I've going through it, I think I would have been better off waiting/saving up and starting out with the Hornady LNL Classic kit.
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Old 10-14-2010, 17:44   #18
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You can but the LnL bushing on the RC as well.
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Old 10-14-2010, 22:21   #19
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I had the LEE anniversary and RCBS rock crusher when I used to reload 308, when I got back into it I bought the LEE challenger press kit for like $100. I am very happy with it, I like the quick change bushings for changing out dies, I even bought extra bushings for changing calibers. I havent seen any difference in the LEE's and RCBS single stage press's as far as use. Any will work. I have only done about 2k total so far on the lee challenger from 9mm/223/40/357 sig, but it will see alot more.
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Old 10-15-2010, 22:57   #20
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Thats the one I got and I'm happy with it. All you need is another beam scale.
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