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Just started reloading, with a lee progressive machine; set up for 38 sp.

A few of my reloads, about 1 in 10, feel and sound like they are duds,however they do fire. My question is what might be the cause? crimp?, clean brass?, bad prim.?, min. overall length is 1.52.

I"m reloading 158 gr. lrn, Fed. 100 prim., and 3gn. of red dot.

24 degrees outside and snowing, managed to get some target practice in anyhow...
 

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jdnc,
I never used that Lee loader. I have loaded untold thousands of pistol cartrdiges, however. I've also used quite a bit of Red Dot. In my experience Red Dot does not meter well. My guess is that you are getting very light loads.
Tom
 

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I'm a firm believer in starting out on a single stage press so you can see and learn each stage. Then when you move up to progressive presses you can usually answer questions like this yourself.
Throw 10 charges and weigh them on a scale. I'll bet you have a variance in charge weights. You could try raising your charge weight a little with Red Dot or go to a faster powder.
 

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[ QUOTE ]
I'm a firm believer in starting out on a single stage press so you can see and learn

[/ QUOTE ]

Amen to that. I would think trying to learn reloading with a progressive machine would be a nightmare. Once you know what you're doing and have a load developed they are great for production.
Tom
 

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I have loaded a lot of ammunition on a Lee 1000, which I assume is the loader in question. The loader is a bit tempermental in primer feeding, but otherwise the powder dispensing is nearly foolproof. However, like any powder measure, the type of powder may make a difference in the accuracy of the charge.

Only three grains of Red Dot is not a very big charge. A small variation in the charge could produce the symptoms mentioned. I would suggest choosing a powder that requires a larger charge, so a small variation will not have the same percentage effect.
 

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I've used a Lee 1000 for about 10 years and agree with the previous responses. It's tempermental sometimes, but loads good ammo if you pay attention to each round. The flake type powders sometimes meter poorly, and I use other types when using the progressive. I take a quick look inside each round as it comes into the bullet seating station, prior to placing the bullet on top. You can see variations in powder charge if you do this, and weigh any that are suspect. A little slower but much safer, and saves time down the road tearing apart loaded ammo that has a problem with powder charge.

I've gone back to using my single stage press for a lot of my reloading. I use the progressive for large batches of practice ammo in 357 mag and 45 ACP mostly. Good luck with this.
 

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when I was young & dumber, I let a gun show salesman talk me into a Lee progressive. I know know why everyone at the show was telling me not to buy one,get a Dillon. Only thing good I can say about Lee is they taught me that customer service is more important than anything. I still have the Lee press. It's a fine single stage press. as far as the progressive, it never worked, never will work, as long as a 1/4" nylon toggle nut is the key to cycleing a progressive press. Lee had no answer even when it was new, but to send me another nylon toggle nut, that lasted at least one cycle.
I would like to think Lee for pushing me to Dillon. I know own 6 Blue presses, and there is never a question about replacing any part that might wear out. I have even sent an entire ancient Dillon press back (I got it for $65 in a pawn shop) and it was totally rebuilt, no charge.
 

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My experience with the Lee 1000 has been somewhere in the middle. Never did like their priming setup so sized on a single station and hand primed with their tool and then used the 1000 to flare and drop powder in one station, seat in the next and crimp in the final. Took the plunge and went to a Hornady Pro 7 which was a huge improvement and had 5 stations. Now use a Dillon 650 which is the best working of the bunch.

As noted some flake powders do not meter well. May want to switch to (a) heavier load (b) ball or spherical powder (c) granular powder that is fine.
 

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jdnc
I have 3 Lee 1000 presses in 380acp, 38 special, and 45 acp and am pretty well satisfied with them. As the other posters have noted they have a few faults that can easily be overcome by reading the instructions when trouble happens. The primer tray should not run low on primers as the weight of the primers in the stack keeps the primers moving. The large primers cause a little more trouble as they tend to bridge in the tray and stop the flow. Otherwise if the primers aren't moving properly the trouble is usually oil that has worked onto the slide. Just push the primers back into the tray, remove the tray, and wipe the slide with a couple dry "Q" tips.

The most important part of this post is your use of Federal primers. The instructions say to not use Federal primers as they are more prone to firing in the machine. Winchester and CCI are specified for use. I recently had a problem with a Ruger Blackhawk that has lighter springs in it to reduce the trigger pull and hammer cock and it would not always go off with the Winchester primers, so I removed the primers from the Lee tool and did the priming operation with Federal primers and an RCBS hand primer tool before loading the brass into the hopper. Worked good.

I always tumble the fired brass with the primer in and then deprime it and clean the pocket before loading the hopper. That keeps the carbon residue out of the loader. I use the Lee primer pocket cleaner to clean the pocket and have worn out a bunch of them. That abrasive residue would otherwise have been working on the zink casting and would cause early wear.

Hope this helps some.

Regards,

Bob
 

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Just a question,,, you "...tumble the fired brass with the primer in and then deprime it and clean the pocket..." Why don't you deprime first, and tumble with an empty primer pocket, it seems as tho that would tend to clean the pocket at least a little or maybe even enough so that no further cleaning is necessary.
 

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[ QUOTE ]
Why don't you deprime first, and tumble with an empty primer pocket,

[/ QUOTE ]
Your resizing die stays clean and you don't have to pick media out of the flash hole.
 

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There's a fairly new Lee 1000 in my (departed) trash. After a lifetime of loading a hundred or two thousand rounds without any problems, I tried the Lee. Result: two squibs in the first two thousand rounds loaded.
I thought I knew how to supervise the reloading process, but the Lee proved that to be wrong.
The bad loads (and there were scores of other bad loads, too, besides the squibs) pretty much all originated with priming system problems.
I concur that new reloaders should start with a single-stage and learn to handle every single round with care.
Bill
 

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Bill is right,,,get a good single stage,,maybe a Lyman or RCBS,,something in that catagory.Learn what reloading is all about,shoot some of your reloads.You will always have a need for a single stage,so don't buy just cheapo stuff.Then when ready to start progressive,do your research.Most go with Dillon.I have two Dillon 650's and a Dillon 550 simply because I have the 650's designated for a caliber.It takes me about an hour to start pumping bullets if I remember right on the 650..about 20 minutes or so on the 550.Be ready for some cost if you do more then one or two calibers.If cost is of concern I think I have heard good things about a Lock-and-Load.I looked at one and think they might be a good press for something in between for not much cost in different calibers.
 

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If you are going to buy a progressive, save your money and buy a Dillon. I don't necessarily agree that you can't learn the basics on a progressive...if you are organized and careful in your reloading practices, you can learn the basics on a progressive. When I first started reloading, progressives weren't even available. My first progressive was a Lee which was a piece of plastic junk and I pitched it after a couple of weeks. However, after saying all that, I still do use a single stage when I am doing precision reloading for my Target Python.
 
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