So cheap!! Is it durable and stable? Can it reload with precision? I’ll answer these questions and many more in this article. This Lee Classic Cast Turret Press Review will justify why you should buy this turret press.
The auto-indexing feature is my favorite when reloading pistol rounds, and this auto-indexing feature can easily be configured for manual indexing for rifle rounds if needed. This Lee Classic Cast Turret Press is also available with a kit and includes many essential tools, but more on the kit later.
Short on time? Check this boiled down Lee Precision Classic Turret Press review to help you quickly make the decision.
- Dirt Cheap.
- Durable Cast Iron Made.
- Stable and consistent in reloaded ammo.
- Changing the turret head is fast and easy.
- Auto Indexing feature.
- Changing to manual indexing is easy.
- The lever angle is adjustable.
- Auto Priming Assembly.
- Indexing assembly is made of plastic.
- Nightmare for left handy reloaders.
- All case operations need to be performed with the left hand only.
- The hardwood handle ball interferes with the priming assembly.
- The Die holders are quite close.
- Poor Quality turret Head
The Lee Value Turret Press is very similar but has some flaws, for which I’ve included a comparison table in the lower sections.
1. Details of Good Features
Want to know the good features of Lee classic press in detail, you have come to the right place;
1.1 Cheap but Durable and Stable.
The Lee Precision Classic Turret Press is cheap, no matter how you try to compare it with other presses, you won’t get a turret press cheaper than Lee Precision Classic Turret Press.
But cheap does not mean it’s not durable. The Frame of this press is made up of a mixture of cast iron and steel. Both of these materials have excellent corrosion resistivity and rigidity, which gives this press its durability and stability. The turret head is made up of aluminum but it does bend upon applied pressure from the ram.
The weakest link in this press is the plastic indexing assembly (Not so weak), more on that later.
1.2 Switching turret Head
Most turret press requires at least one tool to open the turret head. But Lee had an ingenious idea and used their breech-lock technology in the turret head. This means, with one twist you have a perfectly secured turret head, and with another twist, the turret head is loose and in your hand. The instant change turret head requires 30 seconds or less for the changeover.
1.3 Auto and Manual Indexing
The Lee Classic Cast Turret Press has an auto-indexing feature, which expensive turret presses like the Lyman all American 8 & Redding T-7 lacks. The auto-indexing feature increases the reloading speed by many folds. And this feature best shines while reloading pistol ammunition.
But if you need accuracy for your rifle ammunition then you can simply remove the indexing rod (takes one 20-25 seconds), and use it like a pre-set single stage reloading press.
1.4 Adjustable handle
Non-ambidextrous handle, but you can adjust the height & angle, providing ample leverage at arms reach. The angle of the handle increments by 7.5 degrees. That means full rotation in a 48-tooth, ratchet-type handle clamp, and you can set the handle at any angle you like. The solid steel linkage helps in smoothing the process and reducing the pressure on the handle.
1.5 Priming Assembly.
Lee lever primer system is included in this press. Hence, seating primers becomes easy and fast with the safety primer feed and tray.
By the way, the priming assembly does not come included with the press, you will have to buy it separately or buy the kit.
2. Details of Cons
Everything has a good and bad side. So this amazing Four-hole Turret press also has some lacking. And I’ve discussed them in detail.
2.1 Plastic Indexing Assembly.
The Auto indexing rod is mounted with the ram using a plastic auto-indexing clamp & plastic ratchet. And according to Lee, if you install and regularly lube the auto-indexing clamp, it will last 2 years easily. But in my case, my auto-indexing clamp has lasted more than 3 years but the ratchet, I had to change twice.
The cost of the ratchet and auto-indexing clamp is less than $10 combined, so I usually keep 2 extra in hand for emergencies.
2.2 Left-hand loaders nightmare.
If your left hand is the dominant hand, then this press can be a problem. The press has 3 support columns to hold the turret head in position. And one column is in front of the ram on the right side, which blocks most of the access to the shell holder from the right side. This leaves us with one option only, which is to access the shell holder from the left side and perform all case operations from the left side.
2.3 Lever and Priming assembly collide.
The wooden handle and the priming assembly have barely any clearance. While operating the handle you will usually bump your right thump with the priming tray. It is quite annoying and can lead to disaster if the tray falls off.
This can be avoided using the roller handle which increases this clearance and increases reloading speed.
2.4 Close die arrangement.
The 4 die stations are quite close to each other. which is fine as long as you are using Lee lock rings. but if you already have lock rings from other manufacturers then, kiss them goodbye.
2.5 Poor Quality Control Turret Head.
Because it is a 4 die stationed turret, I need additional turret heads for reloading other dies. The good news is the turret heads are cheap. And this they achieve by making them of cast aluminum and having bad quality control.
In short; if you buy 5 turret heads, you are bound to have at least one turret head that is misaligned with the ram, threaded wrongly, or drilled at an angle.
Detailed Lee Classic Cast Turret Press Review Summary
By now you already know this Lee turret press inside out. And you may want to jump into buying or avoid it completely. But, read through this section to know real hand experience.
The press sure has a few integrated plastic parts and some hindrances while using the primer feeder assembly. But in my Honest Opinion, you will truly enjoy using the Lee classic Turret Press if you invest in some extra cash on the indexing bracket and change the hardwood handle to a roller handle.
The best advantage this press has over other turret presses is the auto-indexing feature, which greatly speeds up the reloading process.
And the worst disadvantage is the fact that you may have to buy 2 turret heads to get a functional one. But they are getting better and hopefully, you won’t get a defective item.
Overall, this is one turret press you must experience in your reloading journey. And it’s cheaper than some single stage in the market.
Lee Classic Turret Press Kit Review!
This section is all about the Lee Classic Turret Press Kit Review. You may want to stick around to know if buying the kit saves you from lots of delays.
The kit contains the following items.
- Lee Classic Turret Press.
- Large and small primer assembly
- Lee Pro Auto-Drum Powder Measure.
- Powder Measure riser.
- Lee Safety Powder Scale
- Lee Case Sizing Lube.
- Lee Case Conditioning tool
- Lee Modern Reloading Manual.
- Another Hodgdon-specific reloading manual.
Almost all the items are self-explanatory. But I’ll give little details of the items in the kit.
The primer assembly is used to automatically dispense the live primers on the primer punch attached to the ram of the press.
Lee Pro Auto-Drum Powder Measure and riser are used to dispense accurate grains of powder for every throw – fast and accurate. I have got a whole article dedicated to automatic powder dispensers check it here.
You will need something to weigh the powder coming out of the powder measure and that’s where the LEE Safety Powder Scale comes in.
Lee Case Sizing Lube is used to lube and smooth the case operations.
Well, you may need to trim and deburr your cases so lee has included its Case Conditioning tools to help you with just that.
Finally, you will need some references for handloading, for which the kit provides 2 reloading manuals. 1st is the Lee Modern Reloading Manual and then there is the Hodgdon-specific reloading Manual. Check out my reloading manual comparison to know where Lee Modern Reloading Manual stacks with its competitors.
Comparison between Lee Classic Turret Press and Lee Value Turret Press
The Lee Classic and Value Turret Press are very similar in operation and handling. But there are a few key differences that make the classic turret superior.
- The ram is slightly on the right side, unlike LCT.
- Due to the right alignment of the ram the primer now completely blocks the lever handle.
- Less ram contact than Lee Classic Turret.
- The ram is smaller.
- The handle does not have angle freedom.
The smaller ram and ram contact space was the reason why I did not like the Lee Value Turret Pre. And using both the turret presses I liked the Lee Classic Turret press more. It’s just a feeling I can’t put them in words.
Setting Up the LCT with Precautions!
You can follow the instruction booklet with the precautions listed below.
- Mounting holes are quiet at the edge, check if your table edge can take such pressure, if not construct support on the table edge.
- Make sure the slight ben on the handle is facing directly at you when installing the ram for greater leverage.
- The ram should have at least half-inch below the lever sleeve.
- Make sure the primer punch is not passing smoothly through the shell holder, then you must adjust the rotatable top portion of the ram so that the primer arm sits perfectly between the bumps.
- Change the turret head by half pulling the lever.
So what do you think of my Lee Classic Cast Turret Press review?