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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My first forray into reloading, and it's been quite an adventure.

Over the past week, I picked up a used Lee Pro 1000, and set it up over a used Harbor Freight work bench. When I tried to set it up, I had to visit Home Depot twice and Walmart once (at 11.30 pm, in the middle of a T-storm!). Anyway, it's now set up. The top is tiny (24" X 24") and cluttered with tools, but once I can quit fiddling with it, I think I'll have a bit more space.
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I've had all sorts of teething problems. The primers keep jamming or failing to feed, leading to powder EVERYWHERE! Tip: keep the shell plate holder & shell plate dry. I had less problems then. I thought I'd help things along by lubricating it with some lithium grease, and once powder got in, it was almost impossible to turn.

I tested the primer feed by priming 16 shells. Once I added the hopper, I started to have all sorts of primer issues, probably initiated by a fail-to-prime, followed by the mechanism being jammed by spilled powder. I'm going to have to sort out that problem another day. I was using a paint brush to remove stray grains, but I think I need the canned air to deal with spilled powder better. To avoid vacuum cleaner explosions, I accounted for every single primer, but that seems impractical on scale.

I assembled 16 primed shells with powder and the projectile by manually skipping the deprimer. I'm using AA 7, and the charge bar seems to give me 6.7 +/- 0.2 grains. The powder route was freshly cleaned, so I expect it to improve over time. I'm shooting 124 gr. 9 mm FMJs, and they have an OAL of 1.1475-1.1500, more than the specified, but less than the SAAMI specification. I think that'll be fine. I found one of the cartridges had a high bullet, so I quarantined it somewhere else.

If all goes well, this charge might work (albeit on the light side of AA's start point). I just now want the Z bar to stop falling off, and for the primer feed to get along with the rest of everything.

Fingers crossed that nothing other than a bang and a hit on the bullseye happens tomorrow.

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You need a bigger table. That just isn't going to do......now, two of those tables connected together would be good, but man you need more space. Clutter is not good in an area that you have primers and powder hanging around in.

Not sure whats going on with your primer feed - hard to tell without more detail. Let us know what you come up with......I do hope you have some eye cover for working with primers, it would be a good idea.

Congrats on getting started ! It's a fun and enjoyable hobby.
 

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I have two and have just started loading. I loaded up about 20 rounds range tested then loaded 200 of 45 Colt loaded with Pyrodex RS (black powder substitute). I followed what the video said at San Francisco Liberal...WITH A GUN! as this guy has used them for years and is also a member of ammosmith.com Forums - Index forum under the handle of Cowboy T. He gives a number of tips as well as step by steps of how to set the Lee Pro 1000 running and running trouble free, especially the primer feed which is not secret just keep it clean.

As for a bench I picked up a really nice one from WalMart (shipped to store) for $70 which is hard to beat. I also picked up a Lee Bench plate from https://fsreloading.com/catalogs/lee-precision/lee-bench-plate.html which is shown with 3 pieces of wood however you get two pieces of wood and a metal plate that I used. I actually purchased 2 of these as I have two presses but only use the metal top plate. These run about $35 every where else but only about $20 at fsreloading.com.

Some of his tips in the video are how to clean and where the one spot is you grease and with what. He also recommends using WD-40 as a solvent followed by soap and water when cleaning.
 

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Just a word or two of caution:
Smokeless powder is a flammable solid and an oxidizer.
this means basically its like powdered gasoline so blowing it around an area with air or anything may be subject to a violent dust type explosion , additionally as it is an oxidizer it produces its own oxygen as it burns(ignites) so burns hot and violently.
Just saying you want to correct the powder drop problem and don't leave it laying around the area, a sweep up and removal might be the best way to handle that.
its not a good idea to use a vacuum or anything that is driven by an electric motor to get it up.
you can spread it around the lawn as it makes an excellent although expensive fertilizer-LOL
Be careful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Texastaurusguy: Yes, I do wear eye protection. Thanks for asking. I wear them at work too, so I understand their importance. I'm going to find a side table somewhere for my log and manual, and replace the huge cans of bullets and cases with smaller jars. When I put it together I was thinking of Frankford Arsenal and Lee's reloading stands, but it doesn't seem to be so useful in practice.

Joecil: Thanks, I saw your suggestion about the reloading bench, but I was trying to be cheap. I'll look at that again when I move in a bit. I have seen Cowboy T's videos and he made it look TOO easy.

Olfarhors: Thanks for the caution. I do clear the outright spills by sweeping it up, but some gets on the carpet, and that I can only vacuum up. I'll not let too much get sucked up.
 

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Texastaurusguy: Yes, I do wear eye protection. Thanks for asking. I wear them at work too, so I understand their importance. I'm going to find a side table somewhere for my log and manual, and replace the huge cans of bullets and cases with smaller jars. When I put it together I was thinking of Frankford Arsenal and Lee's reloading stands, but it doesn't seem to be so useful in practice.

Joecil: Thanks, I saw your suggestion about the reloading bench, but I was trying to be cheap. I'll look at that again when I move in a bit. I have seen Cowboy T's videos and he made it look TOO easy.

Olfarhors: Thanks for the caution. I do clear the outright spills by sweeping it up, but some gets on the carpet, and that I can only vacuum up. I'll not let too much get sucked up.
What I did was pickup a plastic carpet protector/no static piece like used under chairs at a computer desk to protect and make it easier to move a chair on carpet. I use a small dedicated, battery vacuum meant for car interiors and such for the chair mate on the floor so my carpet is clear. I use a shop brush and dust pan for any powder on the bench.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Just got back from the range, and I didn't manage to blow my PT809 up! I think I read it in the Lee book, and I totally agree. I was so nervous when I was squeezing the trigger on my reloads, and it was a great relief, almost anticlimatic, when they did what they were supposed to do and kissed the paper.

These rounds seem to be give a light recoil my wife likes, and they appear to be pretty accurate at 15' (left). At 20' (right), maybe I was tired (was up til 7.30 this morning), or something.

Target archery Shooting sport Shooting Recreation Circle
Target archery Shooting sport Recreation Shooting Circle


I examined the primers and bases of the shells for signs of over pressure. Even though they appear slightly flattened or cratered (left), they are no different from commercial ammo (right):

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It appears that even though there is a little variation in the bullet weight (+/- 0.5 gr.), and in the charge (+/- 0.2 gr.), the rounds appear to impact around the same point (good thing!). Any idea how much the charge varies in commercial ammo? Let's say I shot a bullet with a minimum charge and a maximum charge. Is the difference only how high/low the bullet strikes? Should I expect a big difference either way?

I'm going to make another batch of 100 rounds of the same to try tomorrow, esp. at longer range.
 

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Congrats on becoming your own "ammo factory". It really is a great feeling! ;)
 

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at close ranges its actaully quite uneventful as to how powder amounts vary point of impact.
The biggest thing that you are likely to notice is recoil, loudness (report) and muzzle flash.
as long as the ammo operates the action of a semi auto and comes out the end of the barrel then you are likely good to go as for target/plinking rounds.
long ranges and hunting or protection you may want to get a good bit more energy out of the projectile but shooting paper I have found them paper men aren't to hard to put a bullet through, although them Zombie targets are a bit tougher!
Have fun, follow your manuals and be safe!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I finished my next batch of 106 rounds a while ago. It took me three hours, not very efficient! Half the time, I was fighting with the priming mechanism. I know, keep the primer tray filled, but I didn't want to have too many left over. Incidentally, blowing the primers back into the tray and then poking a screwdriver is a good way to unload primers from the machine.

Are all primer pockets the same size? I had about 10 cases that would not fully seat the primers, and many more that would not even allow the primer to enter.

I'm currently producing one round every three pulls, manually feeding a round into the shell plate. If not for the primer problems, I think that's still pretty quick. I can even do a powder check before seating the bullet. I still haven't gotten the Z-bar to work properly. It works under no-load conditions, but when I start priming, the vibrations jar it loose. I'll need to figure that one out.

Apart from getting to know the machine's idiosyncracies, it was a good day!
 

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The "Same Size" is kind of a relevant term !!-LOL
they should be but in the real world they aren't , variations from manufacture to manufacture will change a very little bit, even from batch to batch.
most priming devices will pretty much seat the large percentage of primers in primer pockets.
well unless its a military or crimped in primer.
and likely thats what you are encountering.
many foreign manufactures of bullets use a crimped primer and so many times depending on how much of the crimping is remove during the sizing/depriming process you get from hard to very hard to impossible to seat a new primer into the primer pocket.
they do make a tool especially to remove these crimps from the primer pocket, I just generally chunk that brass and don't mess with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I didn't notice NATO crosses on those I had problems with. I wanted to save them to caliper them or something, try and figure out if it were headstamp specific. But while cleaning up I chucked them back into the brass bin. At that point I was wondering if it were the primer feed trough being insufficiently full.

How hard can I pull on the handle? If it doesn't go in with a pop, I skip it entirely. Even so, I managed to get 10 or so wedged in sideways, upside down, etc.
 

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I didn't notice NATO crosses on those I had problems with. I wanted to save them to caliper them or something, try and figure out if it were headstamp specific. But while cleaning up I chucked them back into the brass bin. At that point I was wondering if it were the primer feed trough being insufficiently full.
How hard can I pull on the handle? If it doesn't go in with a pop, I skip it entirely. Even so, I managed to get 10 or so wedged in sideways, upside down, etc.
Well I don't do progressives and actually I prime with a lee hand held primer as I find the feel and just plain out easier to sit and prime cases in front of the TV, drinking a cold one or watching the trees sway in the backyard than sitting at a press and doing it.
so i will pass on reccomendations to you at this point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
I loaded another 182 rounds today!

I started at 5 and am just about done (almost 4 hours later), but that included starting up, finishing up, and cleaning. I made little notations and I loaded 50 rounds in the first hour, and 75 rounds in the second hour. The third + hour was spent finishing up those cases that I used for powder checks (primed empty cases) - that I can only deal with after I clear my primer tray. My wife'll do the QC in a bit.

I found that I need to check my charges more. I was checking every 20 or so, and I stopped checking for 50 rounds, and the charge had crept up to 7.4 grains per throw. I think the height of the powder in the hopper needs to be quite consistent. I need to check my OAL carefully too. Even though I put witness marks on the adjustment screw, I have had a few short rounds (1.142", set point was 1.1475"). Since I have a few slightly heavier charges I think I must make sure all of them are above the nominal 1.1450" OAL listed in the manual.

I culled those cases with tight pockets. 29 FC (civilian), 5 FC (NATO), 6 RG, 1 WIN (fluke?). Does this sound about right?

It was a good day!
 

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Sounds like you're starting to have fun!

For you're Z-bar issues, make sure the post that holds that aluminum tab that holds the Z-bar is set so the hole in the tab is at the correct angle. If the post and the tab are at all twisted either to the left or the right, the z bar will either fall out or bind up. To correct the angle, loosten the bolt on the top of the post, set and hold the square inner post with a wrench to the correct position, then retighten the top bolt.

For the primer feed, I like to keep things clean with a clean and dry q-tip. Most primer problems are due to primers sticking in the chute, or the tray running low.
 

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Yep, and if you are still having problems with the primer feed, give Lee a call. They're in WI and are some easy folks to deal with. I called with a problem not that long ago and got a couple depriming pins and a shell block spring (that little spring that holds the cases in the plate as it rotates, somehow I lost one) for free for my trouble.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks. I don't get much primer flipping or jamming now, by keeping the tray filled. Do you think the tight primer problem is solvable by changing parts (a spring, perhaps?), by tweaking the timing of the index rod, or is hand-priming the only option?
 

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Thanks. I don't get much primer flipping or jamming now, by keeping the tray filled. Do you think the tight primer problem is solvable by changing parts (a spring, perhaps?), by tweaking the timing of the index rod, or is hand-priming the only option?
I actually loaded up 100 rounds of 45 Colt today after cleaning the bottom part of my Carrier section and dies. I had zero problems with the primers but I cleaned it well as well as paid close attention to the primers. So I don't know what to tell you on the primer loading as only the first couple of bullets I did with it did I have a problem. It was due to not taking the handle all the way down which seats the primer in the hole. I was limp risting it for the first couple of rounds. Now I pay real close attention to pressing it all the way to the bottom.
 
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