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Lee Progressive 1000 reloading tool.

Dick Lee, the owner of Lee Precision, 4275 Highway U, Dept. GA, Hartford, WI 53027, is one smart fella. Down through the years, he has managed to come up with fine reloading tools, and related reloading equipment, that normally sell for much less than the competition. Best of all, his products are top-notch. Take for instance his new Progressive 1000 reloading tool, a true progressive that sells, complete with a set of carbide handgun dies, for $199.98.

Not only is that a ridiculously low price when compared to much of the competition, but the machine is well made and easy to set up. And it's easy to operate, even if the owner has had little, if any, experience with progressive tools in his past. I predict a big future for this machine with handgun shooters (the Progressive 1000 loads handgun ammo only).

The 1000 requires little help from the operator once it has been set up properly. About all he has to do is feed in the bullet to be loaded and crank the handle.

One of the nice features of the machine is the detachable turret that holds the dies. It snaps into the tool and can be quickly replaced with a second turret paired with a different die set for another caliber, providing, of course, the case head is the same size. If not, the shell plate has to be changed (for instance, .38 Special to .45 ACP). Changing the shell plate, or the complete shell plate carrier, takes between five and 10 minutes, and again you're ready to load.

With each stroke of the handle, you get a loaded round dropping off the shell carrier plate via a chute located on the left side of the machine. As the operator, all you have to do is place a bullet in the proper case with each stroke; the powder drop and new case insertion are done automatically by the machine.

The four tubes that hold the ready brass, located at the front of the tool, hold slightly over 50 cases of .38 Special brass; they would hold more .45 ACP cases and slightly fewer .357 Magnums. As each tube empties, the operator simply rotates the tube holder to place a full one into position.

The second station, after the first has decapped and sized, contains the powder-through-expander die. It utilizes Lee's own Auto-Disc Powder Measure to charge the case, and it won't drop powder unless there's a case in place to operate the measure. Dies other than Lee's can be used, but then you lose the automatic powder drop feature.

The third station holds the bullet seater die, and like the other two dies, it is properly set as you would any die in a single-station press.

About the only trouble I experienced with the Progressive 1000 was in the primer feeding system. The primer feeder sits at the rear of the machine (a safety feature I do like) at an angle. Gravity is used to feed the primers from the primer tray into the primer trough. The weight of succeeding primers keeps moving them into position in the machine. But once there is less than about 10 primers left, I found the feed was not consistent. There's an "agitator" pin that rides on one of the columns to stop this problem, but even when I put a bigger bend into this pin, primer feeding with the last few primers wasn't always positive. I only loaded just over 100 rounds of .38 Special in my test, so perhaps after a few hundred rounds, the trough will smooth out and feed in a more positive manner--only time will tell. Whether it does or not, it is not that big of a deal. A sharp rap on the side of the trough slides the last few primers into place.

Other than that one minor glitch, I found the Progressive 1000 to work flawlessly. Including set-up time (removing the machine from the shipping box and setting the dies), those 100 rounds were turned out in slightly less than one hour. Now that the machine is adjusted and ready, I figure I can turn out over 300 rounds in one hour--maybe more as I get used to it.

Another nice feature of the machine is that for a progressive tool, it takes up little space; it would be perfect for a person who reloads in a small room or an apartment. Heck, let's face it, it would be a perfect tool for a reloader who loads for handgun only, no matter what his reloading room looks like. In short, Dick Lee has another winner on his hands ... as usual!
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Title Annotation:evaluation
Author:Hetzler, Dave
Publication:Guns & Ammo
Date:Oct 1, 1985
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