Metallic Reloading Presses

With the exception of a RCBS Rock Chucker press and a Redding powder scale, all of the reloading tools that I have purchased new over the years have been manufactured by Lee Precision.

It is not that I don't think that other brands are just as good or even better, it is just that Lee tools have been good enough to serve my purpose and are considerably less expensive than their competitors.

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RCBS Rock Chucker

The RCBS Rock Chucker had been in production since at least the very early 1970's. It is single stage cast iron O frame press for metallic cartridges. Weighing about 17 pounds, it is an excellent press, capable of resizing just about any cartridge case smaller than 50 BMG or even swaging bullets. It has been replaced by a newer model. RCBS now manufactures an improved version called the Rock Chucker Supreme which retails for between 130 and 160 dollars.

RCBS Partner Press

Single stage cast aluminum O frame press for metallic cartridges. It weighs about 5 pounds.

This was another hand me down press that I obtained from a friend. I use it primarily to seat and crimp bullets. It is fully capable of full length resizing hi-power rifle cases. It does however require less effort to resize larger cases such as 30-06 or 7.5 swiss with the heavier Rock Chucker press.

Lee Anniversary Kit

The first metallic reloading press that I used was a Challenger press that was part of the Lee Anniversary Kit that I ordered. In addition to the press, the Kit included a powder scale, powder measure, funnel, and a priming tool as detailed below.

Lee Challenger O Frame Press
Made of cast aluminum, the Challenger press was a solid piece of equipment that worked well. I used it for some years until one of the cast aluminum links wore out. At the time, I had just the one metallic cartridge press. Since I wanted to finish what I was doing I went to a local gun store and bought the RCBS Rock Chucker press that I still used to this day. The next week I did order the necessary part to fix the Challenger press so that I would have a spare. Wouldn't you know it, a few days later a friend of mine gave me a bunch of firearm related equipment that he no longer needed including another challenger press. So I ended up with three presses.
Lee Safety Scale
A good accurate scale for measuring powder but it only measured up to 110 grains which precluded it use for weighing most 30 caliber bullets.
Lee Perfect Powder Measure
Generally it works well and is quite consistent in the weight of charges it throws. However it does not work well with some of the finer grained ball powders such as Ramshot True Blue which will cause the measure to bind up in short order.
Lee Ram Prime
Slow to use but it is a simple and reliable primer seating tool that can be used on any reloading press that uses standard shell holders and dies.

Lee Hand Press

Portable but it lacks the power and leverage that you get with a properly mounted reloading press. It is possible to full length resize a bottle neck rifle cartridge but it can be a painful effort to do so. You will be much better off with the a bench mounted press for that type of operation . I use mine primarily for belling cartridge cases or when crimping.

Lee Loader

The Lee Loader in 303 British pictured below was the first reloading tool that I ever used. While it worked well for me, I would be reluctant to recommend it in preference to a bench mounted press and die set to anyone who is interested in reloading ammunition.

Lee Loader Kit in 303 British.

A hammer or mallet(not included) is required to push the case/bullet in and out of the tool. The kit is capable of making some pretty accurate ammunition since it only sizes the neck of a bottle neck cartridge like the 303 brit. That means however that the reloaded cartridges likely will only fit in the rifle in which the brass had been previously fired. This was not a problem for me since I only had one rifle chambered for 303 British. It also took a fair amount of time and effort to reload a box of 20 cartridges but it really did not matter since I was only able to go out shooting once or twice a month at that time. Later I got another loader in 308 Wichester which worked equally well.

After I bought a lee loader for 38 special, I decided that it was time to upgrade to a proper reloading press and dies. In order for a straight wall pistol case to chamber properly in a handgun it has to be full length resized and that is just what the 38 special loader kit did. It took a considerable amount of pounding with the handle of my ballpeen hammer to force the case into the sizing die. A great deal more time and effort than that required to size a case in a carbide die with the aid of the leverage of a good press. The metallic cartridge Lee Loader Kit is still produced today but only for a limited selection of the most common rifle and pistol cartridges. The list price for this item in the 2009 Lee Catalog is $33.98

1. Lee Loader Shotshell Retail Price $9.95 on page 248 from Handloaders Digest 6th Ed 1972

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