I have recently gotten a good quantity of questions related to the Lee Loadmaster press, and it dawned on me that I haven’t blogged about the Loadmaster in a while. So I thought I would open up the floor to let you all talk about what you like and don’t like about the Lee Loadmaster, and to share your own experiences.
Here are some questions for all you Loadmaster users:
- What cartridges do you load with your Loadmaster?
- Do you use the case feeder? If so, with what cartridges?
- What is your die setup of choice?
- Do you prime on the press, or off the press?
I’ll share my answers:
- I load 9mm, 45ACP, .223, and 38/357 on my Loadmaster. I do find that small primers feed a bit better on my Loadmaster compared with large primers.
- I do use the case feeder occasionally, but I also use the press without it due to the non-continuous nature and additional setup
- I like to run dedicated decapper in station 1, sizer without decapper in #2, expand/charge in #3, seat in #4, and crimp in #5 (this is my pistol setup)
- I do prime on the press. (See note on primer feed on answer #1)
OK, the floor is open, please share your answers and other thoughts you have about the Loadmaster! If you want to explore Lee Loadmaster content here on Ultimate Reloader, click on the “Lee” tab at the top.
64 thoughts on “Calling all Lee Loadmaster Owners!”
>>What cartridges do you load with your Loadmaster?
9mm, .40s&w, .45acp and 223 Remington
>>Do you use the case feeder? If so, with what cartridges?
Yes, for all mentioned calibers above. I don’t use the funnel thing provided by Lee because it does not save me all that much time. I instead built a Dillon style case collator to use with the Lee case feeder assembly. I also built a bullet collator to use with the Lee bullet feeder.
Here’s my setup in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9C3ru3FKV0
I also have a video showing how to build the bullet collator.
>>What is your die setup of choice?
Always prime on the press. Always use Lee dies. At first I had better results with large primers than small primers. After filing down the edges on the primer rocker arm I have had success with small primers also. There is the occasional 1 sideways primer every 300 rounds or so for small primers.
Pistol: Decap/Resize in #1, Empty #2 (priming station), Power in #3, Bullet seat #4, Factory Crimp #5
Rifle First round: Decap/Resize in #1 then trim and clean the brass. No more case lube after this step. I have a Dillon case trimmer I plan to install in station #4 that I haven’t setup yet.
Rifle Second Round: Empty #1, Empty #2, Power #3, Bullet Seat #4, Factory Crimp #5.
Jeff- that is some great DIY action you have going on there!
How reliable are the Lee bullet feeder fingers? I’ve heard varying reports as to their function…
Thanks for sharing!
I’ve only tried the Lee 45acp bullet feeder so far. The fingers grip the bullet okay but after 400-500 rounds or so they tend to get tired and spread a little, causing loss of grip on the bullet if you go too fast. The Loadmaster seems to have a speed limitation where if you go too fast things start to go wrong. The Lee bullet feeder seems to keep up with the Loadmaster but after a 500 rounds or so you want to dip the fingers in hot boiling water for a few seconds so they will grip the bullet again at fast speeds. If you wanted to go fast as possible or want to run say a Dillon 1050 then I would recommend sacrificing the factory crimp die for an RCBS or Hornady bullet feeder die.
if you park the Lever just outward of the machine you will keep the fingers from being spread while the Loadmaster is not being used. This will alaviate spreading of the fingers. If you look carefully, the fingers will spread when fully retracted in the bullet feeder.
I have a lee loadmaster what i found under the shell plate will shock you!I took of the shell plate 6 or 7 times having trouble with timing of each shell as it tried to go around.What i found was a large chunk of slag!!I talk to john Lee the owner of lee presses.He had no compassion for me or the safety of the people that might be around me.I hope everyone will check under the shell plate!Better yet buy dillon.Lee does not back their presses like they should!What i have in this press i could have bought a nice dilon.Thanks;Ron H.
1. I load 9mm and 38/357 with my Loadmaster.
2. I use the case feeder for 9mm, but not for 38/357.
3. Dies are all Lee carbide dies, except Station 4.
Station 1 = Universal Decapper
Station 2 = Sizing Die (with no decapper)
Station 3 = Powder-Through Expanding Die (with Auto-Disk Pro powder measure)
Station 4 = RCBS Lock-Out Die
Station 5 = Seating and Crimping Die
4. Yes, I do prime on the press.
I’ve been very happy with my Loadmaster. If you’re willing to tinker a little bit, it’s a great value.
problem with powder dump when loading 9mm.
I’m used .40 dump using 231 on 9mm and noticed that
there has been some powered that appears on top of the
plate after load about 5o rds.
any suggestion on the cause.
If you pause at the top of the stroke, just slow it down a bit when the press is indexing, I’d bet that your powder mess goes away. If you “snap” the index the 231 will splash out of the 9mm cases, doesn’t happen with .45 acp cases.
My answers are pretty much the same as yours for pistol ammo, but the headaches caused by priming for revolver ammo has lead me to prime revolver ammo by hand. And for .38 special I use the same die for seating/crimping, but use the separate crimp die for .45. Powder using the disk system, which works great.
For rifle, I remove the indexer and simply use the press as a single stage press. I de-prime using the lee universal depriming die, resize using a lee die, and seat using a lee die. Powder and priming are done off the press. I tried the dual disk for powder on the press, but was not getting good results with ball powder (H335) and the dual disk system, lots of spilled powder and inconsistent charges. The lee perfect powder measure off press was better, but I’ve since switched to rcbs chargemaster combo. Since already many operations are off press, I figured I may as well hand prime.
Jewish Marksman, there is a pretty simple fix for the leaking pro auto disk.
Take the hopper off and remove the screws and elastomer wiper. You’ll have to remove the powder reservoir to remove the wiper, it’s held on by the single screw underneath.
Take the bottom side of the hopper base and sand it on a flat surface. Go slowly and check your progress as you go. This will remove the two small “rails” on the sides where it sit on the body of the measure. What it does is moves the hopper closer to the surface of the disks and helps the wiper seal better. You’ll have to watch how tight you turn the retention nuts on after you do this so that it doesn’t bind.
I had all kinds of leakage with the double disks kit until I modified mine like this. After the mod I loaded over 1K rounds of 223 on my Classic Turret without a single grain of powder leaked, and that was using WC844 surplus powder.
I’d be very carefully as you remove material. First of all use about a 600 grit paper on a perfectly flat and smooth surface. One way to check is to place a small piece of copy type paper in between the wiper and base. Do a couple strokes and then check to see if there’s more friction when you pull out the paper. Continue until the paper won’t move or is difficult to pull. It doesn’t take very much at all to lessen the space. Check to see if you have any powder leakage and go from there. This procedure solved my problem immediately. There are videos of this procedure on U-tube. Good luck and safe shooting.
I’ve asked this question before but I’ll ask again. Can any other case-activated powder measure be used on the Lee Loadmaster? Can you replace the Lee disc powder measure with the Hornady case-activated powder measure?
Dave: I haven’t tried it myself, but I believe it would work.
Anyone else using a Hornady powder measure on the Loadmaster?
This would make a good Frankenlöder video/post. 🙂
Dave Stiles, I have installed a hornady case activated powder drop with a RCBS powder measure on my loadmaster. Although I haven’t used it since I have installed it, the functionality of it seems to be ok.
What cartridges do you load with your Loadmaster?
9Luger, 357Magnum, 223Rem, 22-250, 243, 270, 308, 30-06, 300WM
Do you use the case feeder? If so, with what cartridges?
Yes for pistol caliber and 223 Rem
What is your die setup of choice?
Most cartridge are decapped on the Load Master before ultra sonic cleaning.
Station 1 Resize, Station 2 Prime (I use a seater die to center the shell on this station, I get less prroblem with the primer this way.), Station 3 Powder feed, Station 4 Bullet Seat, Sation 5 Factory crimp.
9Luger, 357 Magnum and 270 Lee dies,
223 and 308 Redding Competition neck sizing sets with Lee factory crimp,
22-250, 243, 30-06 Redding Type S neck sizer, Forster Competition bullet seater and Lee factory crimp
For pistol caliber I use a Lee Lee Pro Auto-Disk Powder Measure, for 223 and 22-250 a Redding, for 243 and 308 a RCBS and a Lee Perfect for 30-06. The Redding and the RCBS powder measure have been modified to be activated by the shell.
Do you prime on the press, or off the press?
On the press but I have used a lot of slider, this the most delicate part of the press.
I load 45 ACP and 9mm and 9mm Major on the press. Since I have had 2 Ka-Booms, I no longer prime on the press. I consider the prime-on-upstroke to be the fatal flaw of this press.
My die setup is #1 empty #2 powder using Lee Pro Auto Disk Powder Measure ,#3 Hornady Powder Cop #4 Redding Competition Seating die and #5 Lee FCD. I am somewhat dissappointed with the press in terms of Case OAL also, that varies +/- 0.006, in spite of my attempts to correct. This becomes a factor when loading 9×19 for Major Power Factor for USPSA Competition. I use the case feeder with the collator all the time but never the bullet feeder.
I guess I got what I paid for and have the capacity to easily keep up with what I’m shooting (~1k/mo).
Ray- Re: Ka-Booms – are you referring to primer tray explosions? If so, can you tell us a bit more about what happened, and if your hearing was damaged (or equipment)?
Yes, primer detonations. The first time only 1 primer went off , the second time about 5-7 went. Both times the plastic parts were wiped out (not the disk shaped tray). I was not hurt (only my shorts were damaged). Since I was experiencing about 5% missing or chrushed primers (small primers) I was always slowing down to remedy the situation and wasting a lot of powder, bullets and time, I set up my old Lee turret press to resize and prime. I actually think my production rate is about the same and my yield is way better.
I had 2 detonations as well. Both without getting hurt but after having the press since 2010 and getting about 20% tipped primers back then, I just gave up and primed by hand. Hate it, but it was the safest for me.
You need to check Mike’s Reloading. He illustrates and offers a modification to the primer rocker arm which is IMPERATIVE to any Loadmaster. You will no longer flip primers if adjusted properly. His primer feed mods are excellent and worth every penny as well.
Your ka-nooms are not the fault of the press. You’ve got something else going on that you should look at very carefully.
So far I have only loaded 9mm on mine. I do the standard setup for 1-3 and have a hornady bullet feeder die in #4 and seat/crimp in #5. The case feeder is a must. I just don’t understand why they don’t include the funnel with the press. I have recently been processing lots of brass through this and kicking it out in station 3 to clean it a second time. This gives me less problems with primimg. I will admit though I am on my 3rd rocker/lever for priming. They have snapped in half on me. The Hornady die allows me to load up about 9 bullets at one time and seems to make it go a little faster. I also thing they need a little more mechanical advantage on this. The lever shouldn’t be hard to pull. I have worked on a Dillon before and it requires no force at all compared to the Loadmaster.
I reload 9mm and 45ACP.
Use the case feeder.
Dies are all Lee, no die she’ll in the priming station.
Yes I prime on the press. 1 went off so far.
I hope to be rid of this abomination of a progressive press as soon as I can upgrade to a Dillon 650. This thing is junk. It requires constant vigilance. Things go wrong with no warning.
Lots of wasted components.
“1 went off so far.” –> Can you tell us more about this incident?
Glad to. The Loadmaster primer system likes to push primers in sideways and the trough gets jammed.
I’ve been finding homemade remedies for this but you would think Lee would be on the ball.
So a primer went in sideways and got crushed enough to light off. BOOM only foot from my face. My ears are still damaged 6 months later.
I reload 9mm, 45, 40 s&w, .223
I use case feeder on pistol cases
I use collater with a penny in the center of the collator to srink opening size on 9 and 40
I run all my brass through single stage to size and deprime before putting them into my loadmaster
I wash with laundry detergent, dry then vibrate with walnut media till bright
All brass is reamed with Hornady primer pocket reamer, I found even some comm. brass had problems feeding primers on the Loadmaster. Same issue on my L&L Progresive.
Like you all Lee dies, 1 universal decaper in case I missed a primer, 2. Lee sizer die without decapping pin 3. Standard Lee Powder charge. 4. Seating die only 5. Factory crime die.
I found by preprocessing my brass I do not have many issues.
I just tried to reload 9mm using Alcan 7 which is a shotgun powder very fine and the Hornady L&L powder hopper just bound up. I switched over to the Loadmaster and the Lee powder hopper fed the fine powder just fine with no leaking.
I have found with 4-5000 rounds loaded on both press’s they cannot be forced or jambed. Like you said slow and steady always works.
Thanks for the excellent blog and well made videos, have you covered the design of the steel press stand that your presses are mounted to?
Or if not, would it be possible to cover this and its design, along withother mounting solutions that reduce flex well?
Many thanks for such an informative site!
Earl- the pedestal plans are here (require different bolt pattern for Loadmaster, plans are for Lock-N-Load): http://ultimatereloader.com/?p=826
I was seriously looking at buying the Loadmaster, and after doing research I found many, many unhappy customers. (I’m a big Lee fan and I have great results with their powder measures, scales, dies, etc) Then I looked at Dillon, but the huge jump in price is a factor. Now I think I’ve settled on the Hornady Lock N Load AP. Its even more solid than a Dillon and has many features that Dillon doesn’t. It has great reviews and many say it runs smooth while having tight tolerances. I like the 1/2 step on the top and bottom of the stroke that reduces jarring. I like that there are 5 stations, like the spring that retains the cases, the powder measure, etc. I like the fair price and the 500 free bullets is a great bonus. Not a big deal, but I even like the color (red) WAY better than that “baby blue” (sorry if you are a fan) The red even matches my Lee gear. Dillon made a name for themselves for many reasons, and I respect their products, but now their are other options that allow as good or better quality for less money. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to make a decision one! : )
I just found a more appropriate page for my (last) comment comparing the Loadmaster with other progressives and I posted it there. thank you.
1. I load 380 ACP, 357 Sig, 45ACP, and 38/357 on my Loadmaster. I prime off press with the RCBS universal hand primer.
2. I do use the case feeder extensively, a little Redding imperial wax or Hornady one-shot on the moving parts makes for a smooth feeding operation.
3. I run my cases through the press twice. 1st pass I run dedicated decapper in station 1, sizer without decapper in #2, expand only in #3, empty #4, and empty in #5 (this is my pistol setup). Next, I hand prime cases if I do not already have a batch prepared before hand. 2nd pass, I run expander/charge in #3, visual inspection on #4 or Hornady powder cop, seat on #5 (microstem for .45) using mostly Hornady dies.
New modifications setup today actually. I had an old RCBS uniflow II that I attached a Hornady Case activated powder drop mechanism as a lower. I placed this in station #2 since the cases were already primed (removed the priming pin from the loader). Powder cop to #3 or keep open with a mirror angled for visual inspection (I have a high bench and load seated on a stool), add a RCBS bullet feeder die to #4 with a tube feeder from Lee (order set on its way).
The design rationale is to remove the priming issue from loading (seems a major complaint for any brand press), mainly missed primers were the biggest offender. I have a container of bullets that need to be pulled that has powder but no primer. I had as many as 25 rounds in one loading session of 400 with no primer. Also, I have to frequently switch between large and small primers not only for the Sig, 380, and 38, but also for 45 with small primer pockets (reclaimed Blazer brass). To me, the biggest advantage of the Lee press in the case feeding system. initially I spent a lot of time understanding how to quickly change and fix alignment issues between small and large cases, but it was worth it. I can crank through my first pass of brass with several different calibers in no time since no powder or primers are in play. I prime in batches either chucking the brass into the case collator or in a plastic storage bin for loading later. When i do load, I only have powder and bullet to focus on. The amount of force to operate the press is greatly reduced due to lack of deprime, sizing, and case expanding. The last motivation for this operation was loading .357 Sig cartridge that took a significant amount of effort for the bottle neck.
Cautionary note about powder. Before I changed my setup to isolate charge and bullet seating, I have had one squib in .357 Sig (AA#5), and 1 squib in 9mm (Win 231) (no longer load this caliber). In both cases the powder disk had a mound of powder at the top of the disk when disassembled and would not drop through. I usually catch this as it happens during a load session, but two cases made it through. This maybe unique to a lack of a Lee rhythm, but two is more than enough to make me change. The squibs plus not having the ability to measure a charge small enough for the .380 led me to the case activated powder drop.
As it stands now, I have a new Hornady Lock n Load press waiting to be setup next. I am debating on whether the case activated powder drop will fix my Lee powder issues or give up the case collator and add the bullet feeder to the Hornady press as a trade off. In the end, I will only have one progressive press. Minus the dies, I am in almost $400 on the Lee setup. Hornady, I am already at $577 with the press and one shellplate. To duplicate my setup, i am going to need a considerable chunk of change. I just wanted to clarify the person debate between the two presses.
I reload 45acp, 9mm, 40 s&w so far. soon .223 and 10mm.
I use the case feeder for everything i have done so far.
All lee dies, except RCBS bullet feeder. after some modifications, it seems to work ok. had to clean up the crappy plastic slag that is common with injection molding.
had one primer explosion, the cause was due to small primer federal 45acp cases….
so far on this press, i have only used alliant power pistol powder.
used blue dot on the load all 1000 i had before this press.
I have a Loadmaster and hate tinkering on it all of the time. I can’t wait to sell it next year and buy a Dillon xl650.
I really like your site, I have gotten much helpful info and some good ideas from UltimateReloader. I have a Lee LoadMaster and got an idea from you about turning it into a “Fank-en-Loader.
My idea is – I am looking for a Lee Classic turret. I am thinking of using 2 presses to reload.
The first, a Lee Classic Turret, will be used only to 1. Decap and size, then 2. Seat Primer.
Then set my LoadMaster(using the case feeder) to – station 1. Powder Charge &Expand case Mouth, station 2. RCBS Powder Check Die, station 3. RCBS Bullet Feed Die, station 4. Bullet Seating Die, station 5. Lee Factory Crimp Die.
In station 1, I would use either the Lee Pro-Auto Disk or Hornady’s LNL Powder measure with PowderFunnel.com’s case mouth expander, and in station 3. use the RCBS bullet Feeder Die but use a modified Lee Bullet Feeder tubes to feed the RCBS Die.
What do you think? I bet I could really load a bunch of bullets really fast. I got to thinking about doing this because I am not really satisfied with the Lee Powder measures…I was thinking I could get a more accurate and consistent powder measure which would allow me infinite adjustment if I used Hornady’s. And I was also not really satisfied with the Lee bullet Feeder either and I have seen an RCBS Bullet Feeder used on a LoadMaster on your site – ultimatereloader.
I am going to have to have an operation next month to fix a hernia, so I am trying to get everything so I will be able to put it together and try it out while I am recouping from that. I think it will be very inexpensive to set this up. The Hornady powder measure is on sale right now at midwayusa.com and the RCBS bullet feeder Die and the RCBS Powder Check Die are only about $28 each. I just have to find a used Lee Classic Turret press that I can pick up cheap.
What do you think of a set up like that?
Load 9mm, about 2000 rounds so far.
Use case loader (mod w/ washer so cases are all upright now)
Prime on press, winchester primers, none have gone off and many have been in sideways, shoved them in on top of others ones, etc. Have used 100 federal with no issues so far.
decap in 1, size/prime in 2, powder/expand in 3, bullet seat in 4, factory resize/crimp in 5.
I used the bullet feeder and it worked fine, did something and bent the hell out of it. Seems just as fast without it. Stopping to orient and load 25 bullets seems to really slow things down.
Have used titegroup and W231 and the micrometer measure plate not the disk deal. No problems at all. Started using bullseye and get light loads (.2gr short) too often. I know some other that have had this experience with bullseye on dillon presses too. Won’t be using BE after this is gone.
New to reloading so ‘tinkering’ would be on the menu regardless of what press I got. The lee cost me about $250 to get going, a dillon 650 locally is $750. Are they ‘better’? Depends on who you talk to I suppose, but they have their issues too.
first 500 rounds went well then I started getting tipped primers. I’ll get 3 out of 100 at times and 10 out of 100 other times. No clue what the deal is. On the last 150 rounds I had 2 upside down primers (a new thing!) Lee is sending, at no charge, a new and improved primer trough. We’ll see how that works out. I have a couple of ideas to mod it if the new one won’t fix it.
Just got a second turret and dies and plate to load 38. Would have been nice to know i need a different case feeder…Shipping is killing me lately.
My press came labeled for 9mm..but had the dies/plate for 38/357. Lee exchanged them no problem. Odd that the case feeder is for a 9mm and that it wasn’t mentioned during the communications with titan and lee regarding the wrong dies.
Ignorance may be bliss but I”m not happy! LOL
The online vids are great. LUBE the bottom of the shell plate. (just did that yesterday…after 2000 rounds. HUGE difference in effort!) LUBE your cases too, same reason. Dilute lee lube with water and a splash of alcohol and spray, let dry. (loading wet will make no-fires, the only no fires I’ve had were due to this).
What cartridges do you load with your Loadmaster?
38/357 only. (4.4 gr Win231 pushing 125GR JHP) pop-gun loads for practice.
Do you use the case feeder? If so, with what cartridges?
no, only the collator.. Works well enough.
What is your die setup of choice?
standard: 1) deprime/size, 2)prime only, 3)powder/expand 4)seat 5)empty
Do you prime on the press, or off the press?
Yes, lots of sideways primers, and occasional non-primed cases.
I am still new to my Loadmaster. My first range trip had 10 to 12 squib loads.. I am quite careful, and i suspected ‘operator error’ on the first couple, then it just got out of hand… So, I am watching much more closely..
finished loading almost 200 rounds yesterday, i would guess i had something in the nieghborhood of ten sideways primers, and 4 to 5 non-primed cases. At this point, i suspect the sideways primers are possibly from excessive shaking of my setup, as my loader is not on a ‘rigid’ steel (or otherwise firm) base.. As for non-primed cases, I seem to have enough primers at all times to maintain a ‘downward pressure’ in the trough, but I am still working on this.
I really like my loadmaster, and I think I will ‘borrow’ Harry’s setup above with the #4 slot using the RCBS lock-out die. Thanks Harry, I am terrified of a double charge.
For 9mm reloaders and perhaps others as well:
Check Mikes Reloading for mods to the primer system AND primer arm (making it adjustable) this is an absolute MUST.. I am not affliated with him but have incorporated his mods to my machine and what a difference. For issues with the bullet feeder – the #1 must is to file open the slot the crank goes into the feeder in the rear. That slot is tapered and the crank will bind in it when chaning directions. Open the slot so the Crank rod easily drops in from top to bottom before you install the feed finger assy. Just use an emery board or small file to open up the slot. For powder measuring dump the whole disc system and get the adjustable charge bar. Now you can get the exact charge with the powder you want every time. And eleiminate the powder chain and make a bar to do the samething. The bar will never break.
A few tips to help relieve some frustrations
Primer bridging on the feed tray outlet can be eliminated completely by taking a razor knife and triming one corner at a 45 degree angle where the tray meets the outlet spout. From the factory both corners are sharp 90 degrees. Just trim one and no more primer bridging.
The cap that comes with the powder dispenser is way easy to knock off. A spray paint can lid fits perfectly. And you won’t be knocking it off, i guarantee it!
I might just butt in again and say that there are some very good videos (and some not so good) on u-tube that pretty well covers just about all the problems I’ve seen addresses here. Just do a search naming your brand press and situation/problem that you are having. Lee tech people are also friendly and willing to help via telephone and/or email requests. I have loaded ammo since 1965 and up until I bought my Dillon XL650, I used a RCBS Rock Chucker for every thing. When I changed over to the Dillon and recently the Lee Pro, there was a huge learning curve, but I managed to make it. Good luck finding answers to all your issues. Jim
I just purchased the Lee Load-Master 223
Is there any thing I need to start loading 223 casings? I’m new to reloading, when I start I want to have everything I need!
I have a LLM and I load 9mm, 40 s&W, and 45 acp. I have loaded over 2000 rounds with no issues with primers. my set up is about the same as everyone else.
the only thing I wish for is for a more accurate powder drop. still looking for a good solution on that
The adjustable charge bar.
I load 9mm, 40, 45, and 556. I use the case feeder. I have had the load master since 2007. I have 1000’s of rounds thru it. If you take care of it, oil, lub it, it works fine. It is after all a no frills press and like all mechanical things requires maintenance. I have had one primer malfunction with ccI primers. You can only use Remington or cci. Note some say wolf primers work. I have started teaching my son all I have learned as he will get this after I am gone. I am very happy with the press.
My new adventure will be loading 308 as that will round out all my calibers. Again take care of the maintenance and it will take care of you.
I have LLM and I use it probably quite unusually.
I separated reloading into two levels. I´m using case feeder at both. Always.
Pos. 1 – RCBS Universal decap die.
Pos. 2 – RCBS Carbide form die without decap unit – forming and priming.
This allows me to prevent continuing at bad primed case by visual control of primed cases. Unfortunately I have about 95% of Sellier Bellot brass and this is sometimes very problematic for priming.
Pos. 1 – Lyman expanding die
Pos. 2 – Lee expadnding die + Autodisk
(insert in the Lee die is custom made – it doesn´t expand the neck – Lyman die make it much better)
Pos. 3 – Hornady Bullet Feeding die
(Lee bullet feeder is a parody, even RCBS BF doesn´t work so good and reliable as Hornady does)
Pos. 4 – Hornady Bullet Seatin die
(again, probably best seating die for it´s price)
Pos. 5 – Crimp die (I have some RCBS and SIMPLEX)
I am thinking about to swith from the Autodisk to case activated RCBS Uniflow Measure, because of much better work with some kinds of powder, very accurate measuring and with micrometric screw, very fast weight changing.
At this time I am reloading 9mm Luger, .38SP/.357Mag, .45 ACP.
In this assembly I can teoretically make about 500-600 rds of 9mm Lug per hour. I am just limited by the fact I don´t have electrical filler of bullet feeding die tube.
I have 3 loadmasters I bought the first one 3 years ago to load .223 and 300 blackout I size and prime by hand. The second and third machines were bought cheap from people who gave up on them, one is set up for pistol rounds with small primers the other for large primers. I put many coats of graphite spray under the shell plate and on the bottom side of the shell plate and a coat of graphite grease on the indexer and on the flipper thing where it rides the frame up and down. I use the case feeder and run a decapper in station #1 and size and prime in station #2 I run the Lee powder hopper in #3 and seat bullets in #4 and Lee FCD in #5
This set up runs well and I almost never have a primer problem unless I let it run low on primers I load 9mm , 9mm mak , 38 spl , 357 mag , 40 S&W , 45 acp , 44 mag , 45 colt and about to try 357 Sig.
All 3 machines are mounted with the Lee metal plates and bolted to a 2 1/2″ wood table that is bolted to the basement floor and wall.
I might also add that I started reloading in 1975 on a single stage press in 1977 I got my FFL to reload for several local PD’s My first progressive machines were C&H Autochamps with primer systems that blew up all the time. Next I went to Dillon’s 450 , 550 , and 650 the 650 was and still is a great machine but with all the options added $$$$$$
I sold all my Dillon equipment in 2008 for many times what I paid for them and just shot the ammo I had stockpiled until a few years ago I started running low on 38 spl , 9mm and 45 acp. My new Lee equipment has loaded many thousands of rounds for not a lot of money I’m just now running low on primers and powder that I stocked up on in 1992 wow I miss days of $8.99 a thousand for primers and a 8 lb jug of powder for $40
Very nice blog.
I handload 9mm .45ACP and .223
New to a progressive press.
I have just finished setting up my loadmaster a few weeks ago. I have reloaded about 400 rounds all going good with the exception of a few priming issues. Added the full length size in station 2 and the factory crimp in station 5. I was having an index problem and a binding issue on the down stroke of the ram. For the indexing come to find out the shell ejector indexer was bent. I tweaked it so that it indexes. But I’m still having a binding issue. After I pull the handle down to full up stroke than on the down stroke about an inch the ram and handle bind. It only does it with cartridges in the plate. Empty plate it works smooth.
After my last post. I tinkered with my LLM. I removed all dies and started over. Every station working great till I got to station 5. I set the factory crimp die to the shell plate with ram up, tightened it down put a completed round at station 5 with ram up, screwed crimp adj. Down till hit the case, lowered ram, went another half turn, for crimp.
Went through the whole cycle station 1-5 went well till station 5, factory crimp die, it binded again, get to top of throw and on way down the ram has a sight grab to it, like there is a flat spot. I’m confused, any help…
Most likely the shell plate is moving. If you are loading 9mm do not crimp. 9mm does not need it and if crimped too much your bullets will tumble (cuts wide slot on paper target). Most binding on the LLM is the primer set up or your bullet feeder is binding and need to open the crank slot on the bullet feeder fingers. Also with 9mm. USE THE 6S SHELL PLATE AND MODIFY IT SO THE BULLET SITS FLAT ON THE BASE OF THE SHELL PLATE. you will have to grind the top side of the shell plate around the shell plate opening to get it to sit flat. Use diamond dremel bits from Harbor Freight to grind. This plate lines 9mm shells perfectly to the dies and primer pusher.
First…thanks for the site and vids, part of the reason I bought the LLM. I
1st time loading so a LOT of research. What did we do before the internet…encyclopedia brittanica? Library? I’m a tinkerer so the LLM was ideal and the price was agreeable to my finance manager. I ordered the Auto Drum at the same time. Lots of measuring, wasted supplies, and development. Finally went to the local range to try some out. Now let me digress a bit. A local shooter was recommended, he sells loading supplies, and he advised VV310 behind a 147gr round. More research. Hmmm “310 is NOT recommended for noobs”. “Trust me” he says. So, here we are at the range with a hundred small bombs. Hold it as far away as possible, turn head, close eyes, fire. About 1500 rounds later, still having fun, still learning. 147 Bayou’s in front of 2.8 gr shoots like a .22. My process has evolved to backing out the sizer, unhooking the primer arm and opening the case guide on the third position to deprime. It just kicks them out into a pan as fast as I can pull. HF tumbler with SS media. I am going to try sizing at this time, I think, to see if it makes a difference in COL accuracy. I use the collater with the 1/2″ plastic tubing installed and a washer on top. 1-decap 2-size/prime 3 AD and bell 4 insert 5 Lee taper crimp to .377. The new primer works great except a few will get flipped and stuck on the right side of the slide that lets primers thru. I size in 2 because the die happens to line up with the primer pin (3/8ths shorter spring) and it holds the case to give consistent depth. I have MM’s turret stabilizer and ball and a copy of his extra leg. I still check a lot. Still research. Going to pick up some Titegroup tomorrow, another ‘slow’ powder. May try some 105’s for local paper shooting, no PF check! Even with buying a 1000 range brass, I’m still loading at half the price of factory, that’s if I could find 147’s. After I get the initial buy paid down, I’ll look into one of MM’s billet turrets. Keep on Loading!
I’ve loaded about 3-4 k of 9mm, 40mm, and .223. I took a break for about a month. I come back to my passion and the damn thing will NOT index! I’ve tried it all and spent more time on u-tube than should be allowed and before I use it as my boat anchor, it there any good help info or somewhere to get it repaired.
check your adjustment of the carrier. Top of Page 7 in the manual – very very important.
I reload .223 ,45acp, 9mm on Loadmaster for about 4 yrs. now and use case feeder. I was wanting to put auto powder drop in station no.2 & add powder cop die in no.3 and prime off press . trying to figure best way to modify . has anyone tried this ?
I added a stabilizing leg from “Mike’s Reloading Bench” to my press to help keep it from moving. I also added his modification to the primer feeder. These two changes reduced my problem with primer feeding dramatically. I now get one or two primer installation failures per 1000 rounds compared to the several primer installation failures every 100 rounds or so that I was getting. I’ve used some of his other add on’s, but I feel these two made the greatest improvement.
I reload 9mm and 45acp on the Loadmaster but I start with clean primed brass in stage I use a lee auto drum, stage 2 a powder coop, stage 3 Layman bullet feeder, stage 4 seat and crimp, stage 5 factory crimp. I also use the loadmaster to de prime with the case feeder then hand prime the press runs very smooth with no problems on my bullet feeder I have a adapter that uses the lee 4 tube bullet feed so 100 rounds is very fast then add cases and bullets another 100 and so on.
I have 3 loadmasters one set up one for small pistol primers one set for large pistol primers and one set for rifle cartridges. When loading pistol and revolver ammo I deprime in station # 1 size and prime in #2 in #3 I have the Lee auto drum measure in #4 I seat the bullet and #5 LFCD adjusted to just take the flair out of pistol rounds or apply a light crimp to my revolver rounds.
I also lube all 9mm cases lightly 380, 40, 45 acp ,38 spl 357 mag ,44 spl , 44 mag , 45 colt all run great without any lube. I also have a small light set so I can check for powder and see if primers are feeding. The only problem I have is forgetting to empty the spent primers or feeding fresh primers and powder.
1- .45 Auto and .223R (recent addition)
I am about to replace a Pro1000 with a Loadmaster and essentially add the Pro’s duties of 9mmLuger and .380acp.
2- I use the case feeder with non-rifle cartridges, I have not tried to work it out with .223R.
3- Die setups, the press really needs something to hold the case solidly located in place for best priming.
1- resize/deprime die
2-a non-lee expander die (a real expander plug die)
3- Lee Powder-Through Expander die with the measure on top.
4- Anyone’s seat/crimp die adjusted to seat only not crimp.
5- Anyone’s seat-crimp die adjusted to the same seating depth (I have forgotten a bullet once or twice) but adjusted to crimp properly.
I make no use whatsoever of the Lee Carbine FCD for handguns.
1- no die, all resizing, depriming, trimming, etc, has been done off press prior.
2- Lee collet neck sizing die, purely as a locating die for priming, it is not adjusted far enough to size.
3- Powder charging die setup again same as for handgun with measure.
4- Anyone’s Seat/Crimp die, adjusted to seat only.
5- Lee Factory Crimp Die for rifles, I load almost exclusively for autoloaders, I learned 3 decades ago to crimp them.
4- I prime on the press, and have very few issues with the above setups (except when some never-to-be-sufficiently-damned small primer .45 Auto case slips past into a batch of normal .45 cases).
I’ve run a Pro1000 for over a decade, run a Loadmaster for almost as long, both work fine, the Loadmaster does just simply work better/smoother/easier.
My Pro1000 was a used FLea-Bay item, the Loadmaster was a Factory Refurb bought from Lee, the second Loadmaster is another used Flea-Bay item, bought just yesterday.
I like the colator, I do not have a major issue with small cases going down it upside down. On very rare occasion I even get an upside down .45 Auto case.
The “new” Lee folding primer trays………….. are a mixed basket.
The shut off feature is nice, they work fine for large primers.
For small primers they bulge excessively being folded plastic and they allow some of the small primers to turn sideways and jam (and if they can turn sideways they CAN flip over).
Thus I only use the old round feeder reservoir for small primers, I use either for large primers.
That second Loadmaster I bought, cleaned, polished, lubed,,, runs like a Swiss watch.
On the .223R setup I am using the Auto Drum measure, and it works very well, including with extruded powders. The rest of the setups run the Auto Disk Pro’s, and they work very well. Zero measure complaints.
I am about to set up a .38 Special head and a .357 head, which powder measures undetermined.
I’ve had my Loadmaster for a year and a half. I reload 9mm, 45 acp, 38/357, and .223. I prime off press using a RCBS Auto Priming Tool and a Lee Auto Prime II
attached to Breech Lock Reloader Press. I owned 2 Dillon 550b’s in the past and they were great but the Loadmaster is great once it is set up properly. I use Lee dies. I have found it much easier to prime off press on all the presses I have used. I wet tumble my brass which lends to off press prep.
I have a new to me loadmaster. As of now im set up for 9mm and 45 acp.
Loading 9mm is now problem other then the occasional prime problems, but i cant get the 45 acp shell plate to sit correctly. when installing the case kicker, o-ring and then tighten down, the shell plate wont move. if i loosen, the case kicker get real sloppy and wont hold the shell plate in place letting it move backwards, not letting the shellplate index
I have used my Loadmaster for mostly 9mm but have also done 223. I plan to use it for 357 mag, 45 auto (ACP), 38 spl, and 380 when I get enough brass accumulated to justify spending the time to set it up.
I de-prime my brass before cleaning. I wet tumble to clean, comes out looking like new brass after only four hours!
Stage one empty at this point. I may add a universal decapper at some point just to be sure no brass makes it through with an old primer that I may have missed..
Stage two size and prime on press with the de-capper pin pulled up and locked into position. I have taken the primer feeder apart and did the best I could at removing any mould lines. I also polished all paths with a lead pencil (graphite). I have had no primer detonations at this point and have had no tipped primers in the last 750 plus rounds loaded. (I DO wear hearing protection if I am priming on press!!!) I have installed an LED (light) under stage three to catch any primer feed issues. I would guess that one in 50 or so fails to feed a primer this is easily caught by the light shining up through the flash hole. When I get a failure to feed I just recycle that brass and move on.
Stage three I check for un-primed brass, expand, and add powder with a Lee Auto Drum. I really like the Auto Drum for pistol rounds.
Stage four I manually add the bullet seat, and start the crimp.
Stage five I use a factory crimp die.
At this time I am using all Lee dies.
I am VERY late joining this discussion, however I wish to share my Loadmaster information:
1) I progressively reload for 9mm Luger and .223 Remington, and have a Lee Precision Loadmaster press set up for each caliber.
2) I do use case feeders for both my 9mm and .223 presses, and they work great, particularly with the upgraded collator (black).
3) My die setup for .223 is the RCBS lubrication die in station 1 (the only non-Lee die I own, which I only just installed, mainly to avoid gunking up my case feed tubes), the resizing die with depriming pin removed in station 2, the powder charge die in station 3, the dead reckoning bullet seater (with no crimp applied) in station 4, and the factory crimp die in station 5.
4) I am still hemming and hawing as to whether or not I will prime on the Loadmaster or pre-prime with my Lee Ergo-primer, which works like a charm.
I have suffered too many flipped primers and missed primings (with powder spilling down the ram), however I may try techniques from Mike’s Reloading to remedy this situation.
As a case prep note, I always run all brass through my Lee Universal Depriming die in a single stage press, then wet tumble with steel media, Dawn, and Lemishine, then I will sometimes do a dedicated resizing of my .223 and a case trimming/chamferring/beveling, and finally progressive reloading.
I hope this provides you and others with ideas, and I welcome any and all constructive feedback. I love your highly professional site, channel, and videos!
Primer tipping is a problem for my Load Master (purchased 8/2020) even after adjusting carrier alignment. The press is securely mounted on a robust tabletop made of 2×6’s (no wiggle!) and the pull stroke is smooth and even. I’m averaging a tipped primer every 30 cases. I’ve loaded over 700 cases now.