Budget Precision .223: LEE Deluxe Challenger Kit Unboxing and Setup

Have you ever taken a “leap” hoping that things would work out, and then they did? That’s how this project (Budget Precision .223) has turned out so far. Would the TC Compass shoot as good as my other one in .308 Winchester? Could this scope live up to the reviews I read on Amazon? Yes. Would the Starline brass I got perform well? Yes.

I can’t wait to see where things will go from here as I transition from fire forming to precision reloading. In this post, I’ll go over the reloading gear we’ll see in this series- the LEE Deluxe Challenger Kit. At less than $200. on sale from online retailers, this is some major “bang for the buck”.

What’s In the Box

OK, so this isn’t a typical unboxing. It’s more like a Russian doll- There’s the Deluxe Challenger Kit box, and many boxes inside that box, and so on and so forth. Opening this “package of packages” would be a great Christmas morning experience- lots to take in as you explore the contents of this kit. Here’s what’s in the [larger] box at a high-level:

Pictured above we have:

  1. LEE Breechlock Challenger Press
  2. LEE Safety Powder Scale
  3. LEE Deluxe Perfect Powder Measure
  4. LEE Quick Trim case trimmer
  5. LEE Shellholder set for the Auto Bench Prime (also works with LEE hand priming tools)
  6. LEE Powder funnel
  7. LEE Case mount chamfer and primer pocket cleaning tools
  8. LEE Case Lubricant
  9. “Modern Reloading” Second edition with reloading instructions and load data
  10. LEE product catalog (2017 shown)
  11. Hodgdon load data booklet
  12. LEE Auto Bench Prime bench priming system (setup for both large and small primer sizes, rifle or pistol)

This is pretty much everything you’ll need to reload ammunition except dies, case cleaning equipment, and components. That’s a lot for how much this kit costs! There’s a lot of details to cover in regards to the contents of this kit, so I’ll cover some highlights here, point to some existing stories I’ve published, and save some of the insights and details for future installments in this series.

Breech Lock Challenger Press

The Challenger Press is a very affordable reloading press- but has all of the features I’d consider mandatory, and some nice to have features as well:

  • Rigid frame
  • Quick change die system
  • Spent primer collection with “straight to garbage can” option
  • Adjustable handle
  • On-press priming for both large and small primers

Once you have the Challenger Breech Lock press mounted, assembly takes only a few minutes- all you need to do is install the primer deflector, adjust and install the handle, and attach the spent primer collection tube. Drop in the quick change bushing, drop in a priming lever and you are off and running.

Deluxe Perfect Powder Measure

The LEE Deluxe Perfect Powder Measure is both low cost and highly flexible. You can charge everything from light pistol loads all the way up to large belted magnum powder loads with this measure with no need for additional parts.

What’s interesting about this powder measure is the fact that you can use the same drums as used with the LEE Auto Drum Powder measure (See my story HERE for more details on the Auto Drum). That’s a nice touch!

Quick Trim

The Quick Trim is a press-mounted case trimmer that you operate by hand. A few rotations and your case is both trimmed *and* chamfered/deburred. Can’t wait to try this tool!

Auto Bench Prime

The LEE Auto Bench Prime is a tool that I have a lot of experience with- and it works great. Perhaps the best priming feel of any tool I’ve used, super-quick setup, and it’s not expensive either! Here’s a picture of my Auto Bench Prime setup: (click on image to read that story)

Summary

I’ve been staring at the LEE Deluxe Challenger Kit box for a couple months now waiting for the opportunity to start this story- and I’m super-excited to have everthing unboxed and setup. Can’t wait to get to business with this setup and crank out some precision ammunition! Here’s everthing out of the box and staged:

Can you believe what you get for about $200.00 (on sale)? I still can’t. Look or more stories coming up on this series shortly! It’s going to be a ton of fun (and already has been). Do you have a LEE Deluxe Challenger Kit? Please drop a comment to share your experiences!

I’m off to fire-form more Starline .223 brass, see you all soon!

Thanks,
Gavin

 

 

 

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5 thoughts on “Budget Precision .223: LEE Deluxe Challenger Kit Unboxing and Setup”

  1. This is awesome, Gavin! I’m really looking forward to this series, as I’m planning to make my first foray into reloading very soon. Thanks very much.

  2. Gavin, which version of the Inline Fabrication Ultramount do you recommend? I notice that there are a couple different versions for Lee reloading kits. Thanks!

    1. I like the Quick Change version, there’s also different heights micro is short and regular is tall depending on how high you like your press and how tall your reloading bench is.

  3. Wow, can’t wait for more in this series. It so refreshing to have someone focused on beginner budget equipment. Seems like the internet is filled with gear snobs that insist the barrier to entry is several thousand dollars and 30 years of experience. Thanks for coming down a notch and helping us new guys out.

    1. Awesome, glad you’re excited for the series – that’s exactly why I’m doing this much-needed Variety in the spectrum of beginner and cheap to Advanced and expensive!

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