Lee Precision Classic Turret Press and Kit Review

As ammunition remains scarce on the shelves of gun shops and sporting goods retailers nationwide, many shooters turn to a new hobby to produce their own ammunition: cartridge reloading. In the past, reloading was often undertaken to save money while enjoying shooting sports; however, nowadays, it is sometimes the only way to keep a reliable source of ammunition. A single stage press may seem slow and not worthwhile for reloaders with some experience, so many reloaders are jumping into the hobby with a progressive (turret) press such as the Lee Precision Classic Turret Press.

It is our recommendation as the top turret press available, considering price, versatility, durability, convenience, and ease of use. Check out our full review.

Lee Precision is one of the oldest names in cartridge reloading, and even though they got their start with simple operation single stage presses, they have come into their own with their progressive models. The price is always affordable for reloaders that don’t need all the bells and whistles. Some feel the price of a reloader indicates the value you’ll receive in return, but as you’ll see over and over, Lee is well-regarded. One will receive great value for a solid product throughout the litter of presses they offer.

The Classic Turret is part single stage press and part progressive. It has all the strengths of both systems and none of the weaknesses. It literally gives you the best of both worlds with the control of a single stage and nearly the speed of a full progressive.

Lee Classic Turret Operation

The Lee Turret Press allows the user to run this machine as a single stage, which may be helpful when working out the calibration. It can also be used as a progressive press. This four-hole progressive press (or turret press) can load any caliber up to, but not including, 50 BMG by replacing the dies and shell plate. It may benefit many looking for additional speed but is intended to go from the pistol and small rifle calibers to the larger rifle calibers.

If you choose, you can even go back to auto indexing, as when loading single stage batches, it is handy to have the dies in the turret. The opportunity to get extra turrets and keep your dies in position is beneficial.

The Lee Turret Press can be quickly tailored for each caliber in fewer than ten rounds. When used with a cartridge headspace gauge or a drop gauge, you can determine whether your bullet is seated too deep or extended too far and how tight your crimp is.

Like many of Lee’s presses, the Classic Turret is upgradeable for several features; the priming mechanism is fundamental. This is much more robust than most hand priming tools, and once you load your primers in this manner, you seldom, if ever, want to go back.

Realistically, a beginning hand loader should have no problem producing 200-250 rounds per hour with the Lee Classic Turret. It may not be as fast as more expensive progressive presses, but it beats loading rounds on a single-stage machine.


Pros of the Lee Turret Press

The relatively low cost of the Lee Classic Turret Press makes it attractive for someone new to reloading as well as an easy sell for a reloader looking for an additional dedicated press for a specific caliber.

The ability to go back and forth between progressive and single stage is a plus in my book as I still load all my large rifle calibers on a single stage press. Still, the Lee Classic Turret would be a safe bet if I were limited to one machine for all my reloading needs. The long stroke enables rifle cases exceeding 3 in long to be loaded using the automatic index. You can choose to load 38 specials, 45 ACP, 45 colts 223, 308, and 30-06 on this press without an issue.

Lee claims the press’ ram is the strongest in the industry, and I have no reason not to believe them. It is drilled through to dispense primers in a configured clear PVC tube. The solid cast iron construction imparts a definite feeling of strength over many of its competitors, assisting the ram with more than 12 sq. area.

Cons of the Lee Turret

I ran into no problems with this simple and easy to use press by Lee, but the printed instructions could have been better. Luckily, Lee has published some excellent instructional videos on their website to understand better how to set up and operate the Lee Classic Turret, including top notch phone support. Some amazing YouTube videos clearly outline the setup and use of the press.

Grab the Full Lee Precision Classic Turret Press Kit Instead.

The low price of the Lee Classic Turret Press makes this press a great bargain for the money. However, keep in mind that this is for a bare bones press with no accessories. Should you decide it is not enough and you are starting with no loading equipment at all, you may want to invest in the Lee Classic Turret Press Kit, which includes Lee’s Pro Auto-Disk powder measure and riser and the Lee Large and Small Safety Prime for mounting directly on the press.

The kit contains case prep tools such as a Chamfer Tool, Primer Pocket Cleaners, Cutter, Lock Stud, and Case Length Gauge. Finally, you get some Lee case sizing lube, a powder scale, and a hardcover copy of the latest Lee Reloading manual with new load data for 167 cartridges with over 28,000 loads.

The increased price of the complete kit still makes this a desirable option for the neophyte reloader, as it is complete reloading and case prep shop in one package.