With improved throughput comes a new issue -- and a question

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With improved throughput comes a new issue -- and a question

Postby Orochimaru » Fri Dec 23, 2011 12:13 am

Okay -- my Lee 1000 as a case-prep machine is awesome. With the case collator, I'm able to prep (deprime/size/prime/flare) large amounts of handgun cases without *any* significant hand discomfort.

However, I have had a couple of things happen that simply would never happen with my turret press -- occasional problems with primers.

The Lee system is "ok", but it doesn't seem immune to the occasional weirdness with primer feeding (even when it has a large number of primers in the tray). I've had ZERO primer-related issues with my turret press, so this stuff is new to me. However, with the progressive, I've had a couple of things happen:

* I've had a primer end up going in sideways. I could feel something was wrong and didn't "squish" the primer, but it was enough to deform the outer case of the primer enough that I didn't want to use it.

* I've had one primer end up going in upside-down. When I *carefully* deprimed the case and harvested the primer, it appeared to be slightly damaged, so I was not comfortable re-using it.

The rate of primer issues is very low. I've had these two out of a total of well over 1000 rounds prepped, so it is certainly not a regular occurrence. I think both issues popped up while I was getting the timing "just right" on the shell plate advance.



So... on to my question.

How do you guys recommend dealing with a mangled primer?

I've read that some people try soaking them in various liquids for several days to hopefully make them inert (this seems to be rather unsuccessful). Other people do crazy stuff like hitting them with a hammer. I want to do something safe and sensible. Right now, I've got them in one of the trays that they came in, but marked and isolated from the "good" primers (so I don't accidentally use one).
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Re: With improved throughput comes a new issue -- and a ques

Postby evan price » Fri Dec 23, 2011 12:21 am

Yep, probably a shellplate timing issue. It sometimes takes a bit of fiddling, and in a new machine, running a bunch of primers through the chute so it gets good and slicked up with greenish/yellow primer dust.

I have had upside down primers before. I have (c a r e f u l l y) gently pushed them out and caught them with my finger in the slot in the ram. There will be a very light dimple where the deprime pin pushed it out. When reloaded into plinker/tin can blasting ammo only, so far every one has had no problems.

The sideways ones, I put into empty small medicine bottles along with scrap .22LR rimfire primed/disassembled cases. When I have a bonfire to burn rubbish I throw the whole bottle in. Sometimes I have placed them in a stainless-steel bowl and put a piece of aluminum foil on top, then poured any salvaged/scrap powder in there with them, put it in the fireplace, and dropped a match in.

Sounds like very small firecrackers. Nothing else.
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Re: With improved throughput comes a new issue -- and a ques

Postby Orochimaru » Fri Dec 23, 2011 12:49 am

Thanks, Evan! This just never cropped up on the turret press. About the worst that ever happened was that the Lee "dispenser thingy" got fouled up and dispensed a primer into my hand rather than into the priming arm...

The shell plate timing was almost *certainly* the cause. The shell plate got far enough around to trip the case sensor, but not quite far enough to actually be ready to accept a primer. The movement of the ram jolted the press enough to cause the shell plate to hop into position -- but the same hopping flipped the primer. A bit of a twist on the timing screw fixed it permanently, but I had a case with a sideways primer in it -- something I've just not dealt with before.

Still, for the price I paid for this, I'm absolutely thrilled with it. A couple of goofy primers while still in the "learning curve" for the machine is a small price to pay for the comfort it has brought to my hands.

For the heck of it, I actually ran some 9mm through it in full progressive glory. It just so happens that the Autodisk has a dead-perfect match for my "go to" 9mm load. I was skeptical of the powder measure, so I ran a LOT of tests -- and much to my surprise, it performed VERY well. It wasn't *quite* as consistent as my Hornady and Lyman, but it was easily with 0.1 grains every time. More than accurate enough to be both safe and consistent shooting. Now that I'm comfortable changing carriers and shell plates, I can do all my major calibers on it. I'm probably going to slowly accumulate additional dies so I can go full-bore progressive or full-bore old-school (100% turret) without having to move dies from one turret to the other (not interchangeable, unfortunately).
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‎"Though defensive violence will always be 'a sad necessity' in the eyes of men of principle, it would be still more unfortunate if wrongdoers should dominate just men." St. Augustine A.D. 354-430
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Re: With improved throughput comes a new issue -- and a ques

Postby evan price » Fri Dec 23, 2011 1:01 am

I went further than that. I have each caliber of dies in its own dedicated turret. A couple of the most common have their own dedicated AutoDisk mounted on the dies. Then I eliminated the need to mess with shellplate carriers by acquiring a complete carrier assembly with case feeder, "Z"-bar, primer feed, etc. for each major caliber. So a total caliber change- let's say from 45 auto to 9mm luger- can be done in a couple minutes.

I also stuck with the 3-hole turret press, so my Pro-1K press turret plates work as-is.

I do also notice that the AutoDisk will throw (once it's dialed in with good flowing powder) +0/-.1 grains as maximum variance.

If you go by Lee's chart, they tend to run a bit more minus but I wound up making my own special disks by reaming extra disks to get what I want.
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Re: With improved throughput comes a new issue -- and a ques

Postby Sevens » Fri Dec 23, 2011 1:10 am

I would say that I've have a few more primer errors than you have... but I've also processed many thousands at this point. Typically, I can feel when something has gone awry and 98% of the time that something wrong happens with a primer it's simply because the tray didn't feed them down and there wasn't enough "push" to place the primer where it needed to be. To put that another way -- it is MY fault for not getting a visual that I have proper primer flow down the chute as I'm supposed to! :)

I do not look at the cases that eject... I simply collect them and move 'em to a Country Crock container until I load them. Could be later that day, could be two months later. However, before I load those cases, I get them in to 50-count ammo trays and I get a proper look-see at the primers from the bottom of them, to ensure that I'm going to load 50 flawless rounds. On the range is NOT where I want to find out that I made a crapper some 3 months ago. :oops:

FWIW, if you've had two primer errors in more than a thousand rounds... I'd say you are nearly as good as Winchester and probably a bit ahead of Remington! :D And if you caught those errors before they became loaded ammo and ended up at a shooting range... well, then you've likely beat both of them handily. :lol:
I like to swap brass... and I'm looking for .32 H&R Mag, .327 Fed Mag, .380 Auto and 10mm. If you have some and would like to swap for something else, send me a note!
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Re: With improved throughput comes a new issue -- and a ques

Postby evan price » Fri Dec 23, 2011 1:14 am

For that matter, you both are way ahead of Tulammo or Wolf. I've found a good number of them with sideways or otherwise mangled primers lying on the floor over the past couple years.
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Re: With improved throughput comes a new issue -- and a ques

Postby Sevens » Fri Dec 23, 2011 1:16 am

Well, I've got electricity AND heat in my man cave, so yes, I would say that I'm a step ahead of Tulammo! :wink:
I like to swap brass... and I'm looking for .32 H&R Mag, .327 Fed Mag, .380 Auto and 10mm. If you have some and would like to swap for something else, send me a note!
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Re: With improved throughput comes a new issue -- and a ques

Postby evan price » Fri Dec 23, 2011 1:20 am

Sevens wrote:Well, I've got electricity AND heat in my man cave, so yes, I would say that I'm a step ahead of Tulammo! :wink:


And your 'man cave' isn't literally a cave, so yeah, I agree!
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Re: With improved throughput comes a new issue -- and a ques

Postby Orochimaru » Fri Dec 23, 2011 9:53 am

Fortunately, none of the rounds made it to the range. I could tell something was wrong -- either by the shell plate not indexing or the feel of the ram (or both), and just made sure to catch the case in my hand rather than letting it go into the bin. I've had a few more times where something went wrong, but no primers were injured or abused. Again -- shell plate timing. An unspent, undamaged primer was either sitting on the table or the frame of the press waiting to be re-used. Once the timing gets established, though, it'll run as many as I want without error. The careful use of a paperclip at just the right time can feed primers perfectly to the last available one.

Lee's equipment seems to be a combination of a Wile-E-Coyote creation crossed with a MacGuyver invention -- all for prices that would work well in the Acme catalog (right next to the rocket-powered pogo stick). When it works, though, it is a thing of incredible beauty. I see a lot of posts on various forums criticizing Lee equipment, but there just isn't anything out there for the price. I could buy almost two more *complete* 1000 press kits and be right in price range of a single Hornady. Nothing against Hornady -- their gear is excellent and I'd love to own one of their presses - I'm merely making a price comparison.

Of course, Lee equipment probably isn't for everyone. If you're turned-off by instructions like: "Attach the slider to the frame using 1/2 stick of recently-chewed Doublemint gum and a 4" x 1/4" wire-tie (not included)..." Lee might not be the gear for you. :lol:
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Re: With improved throughput comes a new issue -- and a ques

Postby Sevens » Fri Dec 23, 2011 10:01 am

I'm sure we both look at the price of the machine as an investment and because of that, we'd spend what we need to get where we want. Where the price really drew me in more than the low cost of the machine is what was needed for swapping calibers and the dollars attached to that aspect of it.

If it were only about punching out 9mm, I would have given serious though to an RL-550 or 650, or a L'nL or perhaps even a Square Deal B. But it wasn't.

It was about the ability and cash layout to make the same machine run .380, too. And .327. And .40, gotta have that. Oh yeah... 10mm also. And .45 of course. Plus .38 Special, need that. And .357 Magnum. Might as well do .44 Mag on it while I'm at it.

I can get a turret for six bucks and a shell plate for under $13, and I can use a single shell plate for multiple calibers. Quick switchability and low dough to do it.
I like to swap brass... and I'm looking for .32 H&R Mag, .327 Fed Mag, .380 Auto and 10mm. If you have some and would like to swap for something else, send me a note!
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Re: With improved throughput comes a new issue -- and a ques

Postby sethmcdonald » Wed Dec 28, 2011 10:37 pm

by evan price » Fri Dec 23, 2011 2:01 am
I went further than that. I have each caliber of dies in its own dedicated turret. A couple of the most common have their own dedicated AutoDisk mounted on the dies.


I have done the same thing and it makes life much easier.
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Re: With improved throughput comes a new issue -- and a ques

Postby evan price » Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:05 pm

I tell everybody this:

Consider lawn mowers. Most people can get by just fine with the riding mowers you buy at the big-box stores. Then there's the professional lawn-care people who buy commercial quality equipment. The guy with the 2-acre yard probably doesn't need a John Deere or Kubota mower. He'd do fine with an MTD or AYP mass-market machine like the Cub Cadet or Husky. But if he wants it, fine.

Lee gear is a lot like the MTD mowers. Inexpensive, tends to need tinkering, parts will wear out or break. If I were shooting IDPA or 3-gun and needed thousands of rounds per month every month there would be a Dillon XL-650 with case and bullet feeders bolted to my bench. NO question.

Instead I shoot a few thousand rounds a year. I change calibers a lot to suit what I feel like playing with on the range. I will run 200 pcs of 44 magnum, 100 32 Longs, then 500 9mm Luger all in one setting. In a Dillon that's a lot of work to change over plus the expense of caliber conversions.

Lee's the kind of thing that you have to enjoy working on and enjoy the value of making your own ammo on a press that costs less than a cheap used car... If you aren't comfortable with tools you won't like a Lee press.
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Re: With improved throughput comes a new issue -- and a ques

Postby Orochimaru » Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:56 am

Someone posed a question about "reloading habits" on another forum -- inquiring about caliber changes, quantities, and the like. Some people responded that they load 10-15K of a given caliber before making a change.

My reloading patterns are much more like yours. 100 here, 200 there -- different powders, different bullets, different this/that... It is still new and wondrous to me -- lots to try and learn. I'm not in a hurry to turn it into a task or a job.
The second amendment is why we're citizens and not subjects...

‎"Though defensive violence will always be 'a sad necessity' in the eyes of men of principle, it would be still more unfortunate if wrongdoers should dominate just men." St. Augustine A.D. 354-430
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Re: With improved throughput comes a new issue -- and a ques

Postby Sevens » Thu Dec 29, 2011 10:17 am

I found that I did smaller runs of ______ before I had a good array of "pet" loads. The more of these "pet" loads I nail down, the larger my output is when I sit down to make them. I will be making a particular run of something and say, "Wow, I'm getting tired of handling these small 9mm slugs and I'd like to make some .45" back like I used to do... but it doesn't make much sense. Afterall, the powder measure is full and set with the perfect charge that I need for my favorite 9mm load. And for sure... I know I need a lot of that 9mm ammo.

So at last session, I finally stopped making 9mm when I got to a thousand of them. And that's semi-progressive, of course, with brass I had prepped 3 weeks back.

One problem that I think that I have is before a range day when I'm trying to figure out which handguns will be chosen for the trip... is that I look at the ammo cabinet and the tallest stacks often get the call. I worry that sometimes I take more ammo than I ought to, and I'm compelled to burn through it simply because I have it. I wouldn't go so far as to say that it's wasted shooting (I don't just fling 'em down range to rid myself of them!) but I do end up going through more ammo than maybe my budget would like. :oops:

I tell you, if some evil force came down and made it impossible for me to handload, I just don't know how much center fire shooting I'd continue to do. Handloading is such a massive factor in how & what I shoot.
I like to swap brass... and I'm looking for .32 H&R Mag, .327 Fed Mag, .380 Auto and 10mm. If you have some and would like to swap for something else, send me a note!
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Re: With improved throughput comes a new issue -- and a ques

Postby Imcrazy » Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:34 pm

I use a lee pro 1k to do all operations of my .45acp reloading... I'd guess I've loaded 15k rounds on that dang thing... When I have a primer issue I put it in the same place I put complaints, the trash can... try adjusting the timing a bit, sometimes the retaining spring gets loose, sometimes the shell plate is loose...

You get what you pay for in reloading equipment however, the lee is an excellent value, I would prefer a Dillon but, I'd prefer to drive a BMW and carry Wilson Combat 1911's also, since I'm just a working schmuck, I compromise...
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