LEE Pro 1000: Unboxing, Overview, Setup, Loading 45 ACP

My very first reloading press was a LEE Pro 1000. I had purchased a 44 Magnum revolver for hiking carry, and found that I really liked to shoot it. The problem? 44 Magnum ammunition is not cheap! So I started to research reloading my own ammunition. At the time I had two small children and didn’t have a lot of discretionary funds to spend on shooting sports equipment.

I started with some simple calculations (I’ve adjusted to today’s dollars here):

Once weekly range trip (4 trips/month) X (2) boxes of 44 Magnum per trip @ $37.00 = $296.00 + tax spent on ammunition per month

Using the Ultimate Reloader Reloading Cost Calculator, I estimate I can reload ammunition for $8.36 per box of 50. Running the math again:

Once weekly range trip (4 trips/month) X (2) boxes of 44 Magnum per trip @ $8.36 = $66.88 + shipping/hazmat spent on ammunition per month

That’s a savings of about $230.00 per month on ammunition. Given that you can find a LEE Pro 1000 for less than that online, the press itself would be payed for in a month. WOW. Yes, there are other items that are needed to load pistol ammunition (see this article for handgun reloading items, and this article for rifle reloading items) but it was clear that I could save a lot of money over a year, and I did!

So let’s take a look at the world’s most affordable progressive press in detail: the LEE Pro 1000!

What’s In the Box

As you may have noticed in my video, I unboxed this press in two stages, here’s the main box contents:

Above we have:

  • Press assembly
  • 3-die set
  • Catalog, owners manuals (press, powder measure)
  • Primer flip tray
  • Auto-Disk powder measure and parts (including four disks)
  • Case feed base
  • Die lock ring wrench
  • Ergonomic roller handle and handle mounting parts

And here’s what I discovered after the main unboxing (inside a cardboard sleeve):

Above we have:

  • Top: Spent primer collection tube
  • Bottom: case feeder tubes

This Pro-1000 kit contains everything you’ll need to load ammunition for a single caliber except:

  • Consumables (powder, primers, bullets, cases)
  • Basic reloading tools: scale, calipers, etc.

Overview of Press, Stations and Features

Above are the basic parts of the LEE Pro 1000 press:

  1. Powder measure: dispenses powder charges only when a case is present
  2. Case feeder: feeds cases into the press
  3. Roller handle
  4. Completed cartridge bin (custom setup pictured here)
  5. Shellplate (holds shell casings in press during reloading stages)
  6. Priming system: inserts primers into press on-demand
  7. Dies and die stations

Here are the die stations for the LEE Pro 1000:

Above we have:

  1. Sizing (reducing brass dimensions back down to fit chamber) and de-priming (poking out old primer)
  2. [top of stroke] Expanding (for handgun) case mouth and powder charging (powder charge is on-demand [bottom of stroke] priming
  3. Seating bullet, crimping case

Note here that three stations is “just what you need and no more”. The LEE Pro 1000 is the only 3-station press on the market today (in common use), and is also the most affordable. These two aspects of the Pro 1000 are intentional!

Setting Up the LEE Pro 1000

As shown in the video, setup for the Pro 1000 is not difficult. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Install press handle (left side or right side)
  2. Assemble powder measure, based on load desired (disk and disk setting used)
  3. Install and adjust dies
  4. Install case feeder (can wait until familiar with press)
  5. Load primers into flip tray, install flip tray in press

At this point you are ready to load!

Some additional notes on setup:

  • I had to grease the indexing rod in order to get indexing to work smoothly (grease the bottom side to prevent accumulation on shellplate area)
  • It’s a good idea to check your indexing timing, it’s as simple as turning a screw! (see instructions that come with the press)

Loading Ammunition with the LEE Pro 1000

Before you load ammunition with the LEE Pro 1000, you’ll need to:

  • Complete and validate press setup
  • Load poweder into the powder measure and turn on flow (rotate hopper)
  • Load primers
  • Load cases into the case feeder

Once you have gotten everything setup, you’ll load ammunition be doing the following:

  • Pull the handle to the bottom of the stroke
  • Push the handle to the top of the stroke being careful to seat primers deliberately at the top of the handle stroke (press forward with consistent pressure, “feel” the primer being seated)
  • Place bullet on case in station #3
  • Repeat

As you load with the Pro 1000, you need to:

  • Monitor case feed tube levels and rotate as needed to switch to loaded/full feed tubes
  • Monitor primer level (you can see primers in the chute) and reload as needed
  • Monitor powder level (visual, looking at hopper) and refill as needed

Lee Pro 1000 Accessories and Upgrades

The LEE Pro 1000 has quite a few accessories that are available that can add to your reloading experience and efficiency, here are a few to check out:

Bullet Feed Kit for the Pro 1000 (also fits LEE Loadmaster)

I haven’t tried this bullet feeder yet, but I’m looking forward to! If you have experience with this accessory, please leave a comment!

Case collator for the Pro 1000

At a little over $10 street price, this upgrade is a no-brainer. Just pour cases into the bowl, and shake. The feed tubes fill up, and you’re off and running. This collator has worked very well for me on the Loadmaster.

Summary, Pros/Cons

The LEE Pro 1000 is the most affordable way to progressively load ammunition! If you are on a budget, this press is definitely worth consideration. Here are some pros and cons to help guide your decision making.

LEE Pro 1000 Pros

  • Affordable
  • Comes with dies and shellplate
  • Impressive feature list at the price (case feeder is example)
  • Simplicity: only 3 stations to deal with
  • Compact form-factor: doesn’t take up much space
  • Two-year warranty (details here)

LEE Pro 1000 Cons

  • With 3 stations, you can’t use a powder check system, or separate bullet seating from crimping
  • Only certain primers are recommended by LEE for use with the Pro 1000 (CCI and Remington are approved)
  • Only one priming setup is included with the press (large or small depending on caliber ordered with)

Get Your Own LEE Pro 1000

If you ‘re looking for a LEE Pro 1000, you’ll find everything you need at Midsouth Shooters Supply:

LEE Pro 1000 at Midsouth Shooters Supply

The team at Midsouth will take good care of you!

You can also order the Pro 1000 directly from LEE:

LEE Pro 1000 at leeprecision.com

Don’t forget to save 10% on once-fired brass from Capital Cartridge with the “ULTIMATE” code at checkout!

Do you have a LEE Pro 1000? I’d love to hear about your experiences, please leave a comment!

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4 thoughts on “LEE Pro 1000: Unboxing, Overview, Setup, Loading 45 ACP”

  1. Another great reloading video. Very fun to watch.

    I actually really Speer Gold Dot HP for my duty 1911 (S/A/ TRP Operator). It’s comfortable recoil and quick to got back on target. I haven’t reloaded in some time, but want to try to make something close to that round. Any suggestions as to powder for that load?

    Thank you


  2. I sure wish they made a model like this that allowed for the use of the Lee Factory Crimp Die. Also, I am curious as to how consistent is the powder charges with this. Currently, I use a Lee single stage press and the Lee Perfect Powder Measure. I also weigh each powder charge on an electronic scale and sure glad I do. Some powders, such as Titegroup meter very consistently. Others, such as Unique, tend to vary often. Frankly, inconsistency in powder measuring is a major reason I have shied away from progressive loaders.

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