September 9th, 2017

Reloading Gear Review: Lee Classic Cast Breech-Lock Press

Lee Classic Cast Breech Lock Press

The Lee Classic Cast “O”-style press has always been an excellent value — it works as well as some other presses costing twice as much. And now Lee has improved on its Classic Cast Press design by adding a breech-lock fitting in the top. This allows you to swap dies in and out in seconds, once your dies are equipped with breech-lock quick-change bushings. The Lee Classic Cast Breech Lock press is available for under $120.00. That makes it a bargain compared to other heavy-duty single-stage presses. MidwayUSA offers this press (item #824144) for $105.29, while Natchez Shooters Supplies sells the press (item #LEE90999) for $110.49.

Lee Classic Cast Breech Lock PressBreech-Lock System Allows Fast Die Exchanges
With the Lee Breech-Lock Press system, the die drops straight in from the top. Then, with a quick 1/6th (60°) turn, the die locks firmly in place (like the breech on an artillery canon). The interrupted three-start thread assures dies return and lock into the exact same position each time. Bushings cost $7.43 each at Midsouth. If you prefer, you can leave a bushing in the press, and screw your dies in normally. But consider that it normally takes a dozen or more turns to screw in a normally threaded die. The Breech-lock system is way faster.

The Lee Classic Cast press features a strong, cast-iron frame and all-steel linkage. The large 1 1/8″-diameter ram is guided by over twelve square inches of ram bearing surface. We like the fact that you can mount the handle on either side, and adjust handle angle and length. As Lee explains: “The start and stop position is adjustable with a 48-tooth, ratchet-type handle clamp. In addition, the handle length is completely adjustable. Shorten [it] when you’re loading handgun and short rifle cases.”

Lock-Ring Eliminator Quick-Change Bushings
With Lee’s basic quick-lock bushings, you control vertical die position with the normal locking ring that seats against the top of the bushing. That works fine, but Lee also offers a handy Lock-Ring Eliminator Bushing (Lee SKU 90063). This clever design combines bushing and lock-ring into a single part. The Eliminator is turned from a solid piece of steel and the lock ring is integrated into the design of the part. With the Eliminator you’ll get the most repeatable and precise die positioning because lock ring and bushing are all one piece. Moreover, some guys say the Eliminator Bushings are easier to grab and remove than the standard Lee Breech-Lock Bushings.

Lee Classic Cast Breech Lock Press

Press owners have praised their Lee Classic Cast Breech-Lock units. Here are reports from two MidwayUSA customers:

Five Stars: Perfect single stage press. Loads accurately 6mm BR and 308 Win for competition. Large clearance is also great for my 460 Wby and 30-378 Wby. Pistol rounds in 44 mag and 45 ACP also load easy. The press has a lot of leverage for full-length rifle case sizing. Nice primer disposal system. Lowest price for its class. This unit beats my Lyman press by several miles…. ” — J. Davidson, California

Five Stars: This thing is outstanding and better than my old RCBS partner press. Once you get the sweet setting of the die, lock it in place and next time you load, you need not fumble to find the best setting. Breech lock is the key. I load a lot of .308 Win and .223 Rem for my ARs and this requires full-length sizing. Lee meets the challenge with no flex and excellent ram/die fit and alignment. Another nice feature is that the breech-lock inserts have a lock preventing [them] from unlocking. [T]he spent primer disposal is perfect vs. RCBS where primers can miss the primer catcher. The handle can also be placed left or right as needed and shortened for small cases or pistol to reduce the handle travel.” — E. Stanley, Rockford, IL

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading 1 Comment »
November 2nd, 2016

New Cast-Iron, Single-Stage Marksman Press from MEC

MEC Marksman reloading press single stage Rock Chucker RCBS cast-iron

If you’re shopping for a heavy-duty, single-stage reloading press, there’s a new option you should consider. MEC, noted for its shotshell reloading machines, has just introduced an all-new, cast-iron press, the MEC Marksman press. This new single-stage press has features we really like. First, the beefy, cast-iron frame is strong enough for the toughest reloading jobs. Second, the MEC Marksman features an OPEN front — that smart design makes it easier to insert and remove cartridge cases during the reloading process. It also makes it much easier to place your bullets during the seating stage. This open-front design makes good sense — note that Hornady’s new LNL single-stage press also has an open-front layout for important reasons. Lastly the MEC Marksman has an innovative, self-centering shell-holder. This patent-pending design should help hand-loaders reload more efficiently.

MEC Marksman reloading press single stage Rock Chucker RCBS cast-ironMEC MARKSMAN

Manufacturer’s Product Description
The MEC Marksman is made from ductile cast iron for superior quality and durability. Our patent-pending self-centering shell holder provides greater accuracy and consistency to every reload. The MEC Marksman is compatible with all 7/8-14 thread dies to change calibers quickly. Reload .22 Hornet to .416 Rigby all with one convenient machine. The MEC Marksman single-stage metallic reloader and accessory products are made in the USA in Mayville, Wisconsin.

In addition to the MEC Marksman, MEC’s new Metallic line of products will include reloading accessories. Powder measure, powder trickler, scale, and calipers will be offered. An additional base is available for easy installation and is compatible with the MEC Jig Fixture mounting system. Case prep tools and components are also available.

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August 9th, 2012

New Bald Eagle Rests with Remote Windage Controls

Some clever F-Class competitors, such as Forum Member Peter White, have fitted remote flexible-drive-shaft windage controls to their front rests. This allows you to easily adjust windage with the twist of a knob without leaving your shooting position. Until recently, if you wanted a flex-drive windage system on your rest you had to fabricate it yourself.

Bald Eagle Front Rest Remote Windage

Now you can enjoy the advantages of remote flex-drive windage adjustment in a ready-made product. Bald Eagle Precision Products has introduced a trio of front rests with “factory” flex-drive windage controls. There are three (3) models. The model BE1006 boasts a heavy, cast-iron slingshot-style base with heavy-duty 1/2″ x 13 TPI threaded feet. Weight is 20 pounds without front bag. This heavyweight model BE1006 should be popular with F-Classers shooting the 7mm and magnum calibers, as the added mass provides great stability.

The slingshot base design has a longer rear leg, bringing the windage control closer to the shooter’s hand. Bald Eagle’s model BE1005, shown below, shares the clever slingshot design of the ME1006 along with remote windage adjustment, but the BE1005’s base is cast aluminum. This drops total weight to 11 pounds (without front bag), making the BE1005 easier to carry than its heavyweight cousin. The aluminum-based BE1005 saves you 9 pounds compared to the BE1006.

Bald Eagle Front Rest Remote Windage

The third new Bald Eagle front rest, model BE1004, features a more conventional triangle pedestal design. Like the model BE1005, it has a cast aluminum base, and weighs 11 pounds without front bag. All three Bald Eagle rests, BE1004, BE1005, and BE1006 can be equipped with over-size disc-type feet (item BE1007) for greater stability in soft or soggy ground.

Bald Eagle Front Rest Remote Windage

Bald Eagle Front Rest Remote Windage


SEB-Made Bags with MicroFiber Tops Available for Bald Eagle Rest
Bald Eagle offers high-quality front bags to fit its line of front rests. These bags are crafted by SEB and feature a low-friction, smooth microfiber surface. We have used SEB front bags with micro-fiber tops and we think they are some of the best available. The microfiber allows your rifle to slide easily without powders, silicon sprays, or other surface lubricants. Having two fill spouts, the front bags are also easy to fill to the firmness level your gun prefers. The front bags measure 4-5/8″ wide by 1-3/4″ tall, and come in three configurations: 3″ wide for F-Class and Benchrest; 2-1/4″ wide for medium-wide flat forearms; and a 3″ radius for sporter/hunting stocks.

Bald Eagle Front Rest Remote Windage

All Three Bald Eagle Rests, Front Bags, F-Class Feet, and other accessories can be purchased from Grizzly Industrial and other retailers nationwide. Here are “street prices” of the three rests, as sold on Grizzly.com:

BE1006 is priced at $475.00 but has an introductory sale price of $425.00.
BE1005 is priced at $450.00 but has an introductory sale price of $399.95.
BE1004 is priced at $450.00 but has an introductory sale price of $399.95.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 4 Comments »
July 11th, 2010

Lee Classic Cast Press on Sale, Plus MidwayUSA $10 Off Promo

MidwayUSA has the Lee Classic Cast Iron “O” press (item 317-831) on sale now through the end of July. Priced at $77.29 (marked down from $82.99), this is an outstanding single-stage press for the money. It performs as well or better than some presses costing twice as much. If you don’t believe us… read the dozens of positive reviews from Lee Classic Cast Press owners.

Modern precision machining ensures a precise fit of the ram so it moves smoothly. There is plenty of leverage, and the handle can be moved from left side to right side. One really cool feature is that spent primers eject straight down through the center of the ram, exiting through a tube.

Lee Classic Cast Press Sale

Save an Extra $10 off Order of $50.00 or More
If the price reduction for the Lee Class Cast Press isn’t enough of an incentive, MidwayUSA is offering an exclusive promotion for AccurateShooter.com readers this July. To save an additional ten bucks on your order of $50 or more, use PROMO CODE 2437210 during check-out. This promo expires 7/31/2010.

Permalink Hot Deals, Reloading 5 Comments »
October 21st, 2009

Gear Review: Lee Classic Cast Iron Press

Lee reloading products have always represented good “bang for the buck”. The Lee Classic Cast “O”-style press is no exception — it works as well as some other presses costing twice as much. One well-known “boutique” bullet maker has recently switched to Lee presses because the tolerances and lack of slop were actually superior to more expensive presses.

The Lee Classic Cast press is a well-designed unit with a strong, cast-iron frame and all-steel linkage. It has important (and very cool) features you won’t find on an RCBS RockChucker. First, the ram is drilled in the center and fitted with a plastic drop tube so spent primers drop right out the bottom (where you position your trash can). Second, the handle adjusts for length and “attack angle”. This allows you to change the leverage to suit your task. As Lee explains: “The start and stop position is adjustable with a 48-tooth, ratchet-type handle clamp. In addition, the handle length is completely adjustable. Shorten when you’re loading handgun and short rifle cases.” As you can see, you can also mount the handle on either side, left or right.

Lee Classic Cast Iron PressLee Classic Cast Iron Press

You can purchase the Lee Classic Cast Press for under $86.00 at major vendors. FactorySales.com offers the Lee Classic Cast for $73.40, item 90998. MidwayUSA sells the Lee Classic (item 317831) for $85.99. Natchez Shooters Supply also offers the Lee Classic for $80.99, item LEE90998.

Lee Classic Cast Press Primer systemMark Trope of SurplusRifle.com has written a detailed Review of the Lee Classic Press. He notes that the press is “southpaw friendly” and he praises the priming system. Mark found that the spent primer drop tube worked very well and that the press “works perfect and has great sensitivity” when seating primers.

Not yet convinced? CLICK HERE to read comments from actual Lee Classic owners. Here are some highlights:

“It has a large, heavy-duty 1-1/8″ diameter ram that has been drilled out for spent primers … and a long clear plastic hose attached to it so you can route it to a trash can. [This is] a VERY well thought-out way to collect ALL primers to your trash can when you’re decapping.” –D. Oldham

“Fit and finish are impeccable. The spent primer disposal system is simple and neat. There is no spring or flexing of any kind. There is virtually no play in the ram, which is a good tight fit in the frame. Operation is totally smooth.” –R. Smith

“Totally outclasses any other press in its price range. Runs with presses in the $100-$120 range.”–W. Rose

“I like…the position of the ram at priming. The Lee seats the primer with the ram at the bottom of the stroke vs. the RC II, which seats in the middle of the stroke. Priming at the bottom of the stroke gives you a much better ‘feel’.” –M. Gallagher

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