- Published on Saturday, 30 June 2012 03:02
- Written by Christine
Lee Deluxe Reloading Kit - The Good, bad and ugly overall first review - I just recently started reloading so I wasn't really sure of what I was even looking for when I decided to buy this Lee Deluxe Reloading Kit. I did some research and my son-in-law gave Ronnie and me a quick and dirty reloading session with his Lee reloader. I had read a lot of reviews and for the price range Lee had pretty good reviews. I needed something in the low end price range but I didn't want junk. As I was doing my product search I came across a sale at Cabela's on the reloaders and free shipping. So the combination of the sale and free shipping kind of made the decision for me. Well, that and the decent reviews. It was also important to me for the reloader to be American made. Which of all things - reloading presses made in America are not hard to find.
My review will cover the press itself, Cabela's service and Lee service.
Cabela's quickly shipped the Lee Deluxe Reloading Kit that was advertised to "contain everything you need to load your own ammunition". Well that is kind of true but not quite. You can load with what is in the box but you have no way of checking the exact length of your casing and no way to trim should you need to trim your case. You will also need to purchase the appropriate die for your caliber, which they do clearly state. So just be aware that you will need a few more items for safety sake.
I will also reiterate that this review is being done by a novice reloader so it is simply my impressions of the product, companies and supplies.
Out of the box -
The reloader was shipped by Cabela's in a timely manner and received in good condition. (Well the package was in good condition anyway) I was very exited when it arrived and had envisioned myself reloaded by weekend. I had even built myself a wooden reloading table.
After I opened the reloader and removed all the items in the box I quickly drilled the holes in the table to mount the reloader to ensure stability.
Once the reloader was mounted I followed the instruction for assembly and found that the ram was so difficult to move it took two hand to budge it. I got online and checked some videos to see if this was normal or if maybe I just needed to oil it or something.
What I found from watching all the videos on the Lee Website in their help section was that it was not normal. I then put in a trouble ticket on Lee's website. When I opened the trouble ticket it said that it could be up to 48 hrs before I receive a response so I patiently waited. On the 3rd day with no response from Lee I sent them an email letting them know politely that was was not please with the service and had expected better. It was that same day they sent me an email saying they had responded and if I was unhappy with their service to return the press to them. I told them I had received no response from them and he said I should "go check my junk mail". I had already thought of that and it was not in my junk mail box either. He didn't apologize for the delay or even that I was dealing with an item that I purchased that was defective. Instead he comes across like I am too stupid to check my email for the response from them. There was a response from them on their website but one never came through to me. It simply said the ram should not be that difficult to move so ship it back. I really didn't want to wait weeks for it to go back to Lee and then back to me again so I contacted Cabela's to see what route they suggested.
Service from Cabela's was wonderful. The lady I spoke with gave me clear directions on how to return it and that it could be picked up from my door by UPS with the label included in the box. She said they would send me a new one in the mail so that is the route I took.
Bottom line - Cabela's had great customer service and Lee Precision had the worst customer service I had ever received.
On to the press -
Once I received a press that was functioning properly I set it up as instructed. I decided that I would load 9mm first because I use so much of it.
I decided to go with the 4 hole turret so I could use the deluxe die sets and the auto powder charger - I was really impressed with how easy to set up and get started the Lee Deluxe Turret press was. The instruction leave something to be desired but there are so many videos on YouTube and even on Lee's site that it is easy enough to find the answers to what you need.
Lee recommends that you only use the Lee lubricant for the shell casings. It is inexpensive enough that I followed those directions without hesitation.
I also installed the Lee Safety Primer which made priming the casing very easy indeed. Occasionally you would go to release a primer and it wouldn't cooperate but for the most part the entire operation worked very well and was easy enough for a novice like me to use.
I was able to pretty quickly and efficiently get 50 rounds of ammo loaded using the specification for a 115 grain round in my reloading magazine my son-in-law gave me. I figured I would go with a low end load to start with and work up from there.
The deluxe kit also came with the Safety Powder Scale to measure the grains of powder. I didn't care for the scale at all so I decided to purchase a digital scale that would allow for me to quickly see if the load is correct or not.
So I had 50 rounds made, measured and within accuracy but did they fire correctly?
I was very excited to take my first 50 home loaded rounds to the range to see how they preformed. I was so tempted to keep reloading but at the same time didn't want to make more until I test the rounds to see if they were functional.
Out of 50 rounds all fired with pretty good precision but 3 did not extract correctly. Since I know the gun I was using never has a problem extracting casing I knew it had to be something with my reloads.
I beleive they might just have been a touch short so that they couldn't be properly extracted. I had measured each with a caliper and all the rounds were within tolerance but those three were on the short end.
I haven't reloaded any other calibers yet so I don't know if it was just my bullet seating die on the 9mm but it did not keep a consistent bullet seating depth so I had to continually adjust the depth of the seat. That didn't seem like something that should have to be constantly done. I checked to make sure the die was seated correctly and tightened correctly and it was.
I will have to see if the same thing happens when I load my .223 later this week.
Overall Satisfaction -
Over all I like the press and the functioning of it (the replaced press anyway). I like the service provided by Cabela's and was very disappointed by the service provided by Lee. If I had to do it again, as in purchase another press, would I purchase a Lee Press? The answer would be no. It is not that I am not happy with the functioning of the press now that I have a working model but I am a person who believes that a company should stand behind their product and in doing so provide good customer service. If customer service is what is sacrificed by the lower price then increase the price and stand on your product reputation. I will keep the press I have and will not purchase another press unless this one stops working. If it stops working I will not go to Lee nor will I purchase another Lee product. I will just wait a little longer and save for a product that comes with better customer service.