Lee Auto Breech Lock Pro Progressive Press

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Post by Tim:H11 on 1/23/2020, 9:48 am

For the last couple of years I was thankful and fortunate to be able to borrow a Dillon 550 progressive press to load my 45ACP ammunition on. It was a wonderful press. However, I took on a new job and had to move away so it became time to return that Dillon 550 to my friend. It seems I was back to my old equipment again. That being a Lee three hole turret press and a Lee single stage press. I rather much prefer and enjoy my single stage press for rifle ammunition and I reserve the turret press for pistol ammunition. For small batches of 45 Colt and 38 Special the turret press does fine. But it's slow rate of manufacture is not desirable for making large amounts of ammunition. And as bullseye shooters we do go through quite a bit of ammunition. So in search I was for a new progressive press. 

Budget has always been the name of the game for me. I don't spend a lot of money on my equipment if I can help it. I make do with what I can. Thats why when I came across the Lee Auto Breech Lock Pro Progressive Press I was quite intrigued. For the money you could have everything you might need or want; a case feed, priming system, powder drop/measure, a bin to catch the completed rounds, even an allen wrench to change shell holders when changing over to another caliber. Lee advertises a caliber specific kit for $310. You can order it anywhere else online for various prices. Compared to the heavy cost of a Dillon and after reading some reviews and watching some videos I decided it was worth a shot. 

When the press showed up at my door I was without a doubt excited. I got it unboxed and mounted to the bench right away. The press comes pretty much assembled already. You need to install the shell holder but it's a simple task. The case feed system is already inlace and working. The case feed hoper is something that takes minor assembly and installation but it's quite simple. Setting up the dies is what took the longest - making adjustments, taking measurements, and weighing charges. The priming system leaves something to be desired but it works well enough.

After using the press to pump out 100 rounds of 45 ACP I was pleased to see that 100 rounds took no time at all in comparison to the turret press. I think it's a little slower than the Dillon what with the priming system and all but it's still a fast loader. Being the first 100 rounds, I'm going to go shoot them first before I get into making a bunch of ammo. I'd like to make sure everything is running correctly. 

First impressions, I like the little press. I really like the incorporation of the quick change bushing system. I can set up the dies and quickly change them out as I want to load a different cartridge or even something like changing bullets - I can change out bullet seat and crimp dies without changing everything or losing settings. I purchased a 38 Special shell plate as well and plan to be able to change between 45 ACP and 38 Special. Changing shell plates is fast and easy. For the money I find it to be well worth it. I will say though that the Dillon is a far superior press. Much more rigid in feel when operating and smoother I think. The Dillon is much more expensive but you have to decide what you're wiling to be content with and what you're willing to spend. 

To be clear on one thing: I do not reload for competitive use any more. I just reload for fun and for my own personal guns and personal shooting activities outside of work. So these opinions are mine and are not that of anyone else or any group. But I still want to be able to make decent ammo on my own and I think the Lee Auto Breech Lock Pro Progressive press is capable of doing this. It is a great option for any reloader on a budget where a Dillon isn't possible at the moment. If it's your first progressive press or you're seasoned to this sort of loading and simply want another press to be a press dedicated to a single cartridge this is a very useful press. 

Just my thoughts on an affordable and neat little progressive press.
Tim:H11
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Post by Bullseye58 on 1/23/2020, 10:24 am

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the Lee Auto Breech Press. I use a Lee Classic single stage to load my .38 special ammo. After reading you impressions of this press, I may upgrade to increase my production. I love the Lee Single stage press and I don't shoot thousands of rounds p/year. I don't need a Dillon Progressive press, just a simple easy to use press that can speed up the loading process for a few hundred rounds. This press suits my budget too. Thanks again!
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Post by James Hensler on 1/23/2020, 4:02 pm

I had 2 presses one was a Dillon SDB in 45 ACP and the other was a classic turret press by Lee. I got a burr up my butt and decided to sell the Dillon and buy a Lee Auto breech Pro in 45 with a 32 ACP shell holder. I already had the dies but wanted a new set of 45 ACP. Like you I mounted it to my bench and locked it down. I started off setting it up and it didn’t take a hour. In 32 ACP you will need to grind off the bottom of the small hole of the case feeder and make it the same as the large hole. If not the 32 cases fall to far and fall over onto the floor. This fixed the problem and it now runs perfect. With 32 ACP I hand install the Bullets by hand and I am amazed how perfect and how fast I can make them! They shoot every bit as accurate as my old press! I don’t think a person can make 32 ACP any better then what I do! Yes I am proud but I have this round down perfectly. Now to the 45! Case feeder works perfectly! I use a Hornady bullet feeder die and ironically the primer tube from my classic press fits perfect!!!! With Zero 185 JHP my setup works flawlessly but when I am seating the bullet the bell does scrape the die and make a horrible sound! It has to be that big for the bullet feeder to work. The rounds come out perfect and pass my check gauge every time! I can’t make the bullet feeder die work with lead! Not even the Hi tech coated Brazos 160’s! So I just use my hand to install them and they come out perfect! 

On a scale I give this press 9 
I do not think the plastic pieces will stand up long term but replacements are very inexpensive! 
So far in 2 weeks I can say I love it!
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Post by Tim:H11 on 1/23/2020, 5:57 pm

The 100 rounds of 45 I made on the press, I shot today. They cycled and had no malfunctions and shot accurately. I shot well with them. Very useful press indeed.
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Post by lablover on 1/23/2020, 8:04 pm

This sounds great for a caliber specific set up.....  set it up and leave it alone!  I like that

Thanks ..great review
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Post by Tim:H11 on 1/26/2020, 9:15 am

Just an update: I've been using the Lee Auto Disc Powder Measure with my turret press and now with the progressive press I just bought but It's limited to only the holes and charges you get with the discs. So working up a load is challenging if not impossible. You're limited. 

I purchased the Lee Auto Disc Adjustable Powder Charge Bar. This is a conversion piece for the powder measure. This is way better to use because you can dial in just what you want. However, you can't get charges from zero on up. It has a minimum charge weight. So for my 38 Special load of 2.8 grains of Titegroup.. it's unobtainable with this system. 2.8 is too small of a charge for this system. 

SO. I got the Lee Auto Drum Powder Measure. Again much better. You can truly go from zero up to what ever you need. However, (theres always a however..) the darn thing leaks a little bit of powder while in use. Which for me and my precious money I spend on reloading components I'm not too enthused about. With a powder that has more bulk or size to itself it may leak less or not at all but Titegroup is pretty fine so... oh well I guess. 

These systems are affordable. They work but perhaps not in the best way possible. I have found though that the consistency of the charges dropped are very good. So these are quite usable but there are some small set backs to deal with as I've mentioned above. 

Just thought I'd add this.
Tim:H11
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Post by James Hensler on 1/26/2020, 9:44 am

Tighten up the nut on your auto drum. I use N310, Titegroup and I don’t have any leakage!
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Post by Atomix on 2/2/2020, 6:45 am

Have been using one since these came out. Love it for straight walled cartridges, getting to 9mm seems to require a little more oomph on sizing than I would like when you are pulling the handle hundreds of times! Have loaded 38, 45, 9, and a little 223 that was primed off the press.

My one gripe is the priming system, especially with large primers. I have damaged two of the 'cups' that hold primers in the arm. Not sure how this is happening, but if the primer doesn't easily enter the case, and you keep pushing on the arm, this little cup gets pushed out of round. Then the primer arm won't go through the shell plate...and you're done reloading for a few days.

So probably all my fault, but all in all a great press for the price.

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