Lee Auto Breech Lock Pro -- Update

The Pro 1000, Load-Master, and the Auto Breech Lock Pro

Lee Auto Breech Lock Pro -- Update

Postby EdgeOfEden » 06 Jun 2018 12

While I have not had the following problems, I wanted to report these issues so that new owners of the Auto Breech Lock Pro won't repeat them.

Do not lube the ramp under any circumstances -- not even with a wipe. There have been others that have done so and have had problems with cases kicking out while under the weight of the cases above. Friction in this situation is your friend. What is happening is that the cases in the tube by their sheer weight are trying to hold the case being fed in place. As the slider pushes the case, it gets hung at the top and the path of least resistance is then for the case to slip out at the bottom. I have had no problems with 9mm, but some have reported issues with 40 S&W. The only way to correct this appears to either increase the friction on the ramp or to use two or three glued Popsicle sticks; file them at the front to line up with the slider and then mount them to the slider block with sheer double face tape. If I reloaded 40 S&W, I'd likely leave this mod permanent and buy another slider block for my other rounds.

Another problem has been users failing to setup the Universal Case Feeder properly and destroying their ramps. When you are setting up the case feeder you have to make sure it does not touch the tool head. Upon verifying proper alignment, lock it down. If it moves during operation under the tool head, the case being fed gets crushed between the Case Feeder and the ramp. This also puts a ding in your ramp. I've seen pictures where guys have literally destroyed their ramps by not having performed the setup correctly and repeatedly crushing cases on the ramp. You can order one replacement of all the carrier plastic parts and other parts for free for only the cost of shipping. I ordered a set and paid for another set, just so I would have them available if I needed them.

In another post, I have already referenced the problem with .223/5.56 cases flipping out of the Universal Case Feeder and how I fixed that. I also posted Lee Precision's bulletin on their modification.

Due to the plastic which covers the carrier and ramp, this press is not nearly as robust as my LoadMaster. What I can say is that proper setup is much easier for the new user and with proper care the learning curve is much less. I also like the breech lock system for its versatility and it eliminates the variable of turret float, which has impacted consistent COAL for some.

At this juncture, I believe, I'm going to dedicate my current LoadMaster to .223/556 and use my ABLPro for my handgun rounds. Now a question a new progressive reloader might want to know is which press would I recommend. That's a tough one due to so many variables regarding the needs and capabilities of the reloader. We all know those who could manage to damage an anvil and others who just want to sit down and have the press work. The less they have to tweak the better. So here is where I presently stand. In general, if you're new to progressive presses and your rifle needs don't exceed auto indexing for .223/5.56 or 6.5 Grendel, I'm going to recommend the Auto Breech Lock Pro. It's a sweet press. On the other hand, if I were to buy another Lee progressive, I believe, I'd buy another LoadMaster. I've been through the phase of wanting to throw it out the window. I've learned its idiosyncrasies. It primes just fine for me. It will auto index larger rifle calibers and it is simply a more robust press. When it's all said and done the price is about the same for both comparably equipped.

As I continue to gain more experience with the ABLPro, I may give further updates and opinions on the press. I'll also state if my opinions change as well and why. I hope this update helps the new potential buyer. When buying a progressive press, you need to know your needs and know yourself. We are all gifted differently. Not everyone is mechanically inclined and there is no shame in that. I am not good at advanced math and I hate plumbing. Others are. Lee now offers three progressive presses. I believe the ABLPro is one of the easiest progressive presses to learn in the marketplace particularly in its base form. It won't be for everyone, but it will be a great choice for many.
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Re: Lee Auto Breech Lock Pro -- Update

Postby GRV01 » 07 Jun 2018 05

Great info, i love reading about this new press. Ive written before that im thinking of skipping the Turret and going straight to the LABLP as my first mounted press and posts like this serve only to convice me more :D
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Re: Lee Auto Breech Lock Pro -- Update

Postby EdgeOfEden » 07 Jun 2018 10

GRV01, The Lee Classic Turret was my first press. For the money I think it is the most versatile and one of the most precise turret presses available. I have read negative concerns regarding the float of the turret possibly causing less than desirable run outs by people who have never owned the press. So what what are the facts?

The Lee Turret head fits in a retainer that uses 4 major and 8 minor locking lugs. The purpose of the design is to minimize the horizontal rocking experienced by some other brand turret presses using a center bolt. Before the case fully engages the die the locking lugs are already engaged. Does this work in practice? In my research before purchasing the LCT I could find very little documented comparisons of run out by respected reviewers. The most detailed information came from Joe D'Alessandro. In his tests comparing the highly applauded Redding Turret Press vs the LCT, the bullet run out was the same at <.001. Neck run out for the Redding was <.001 while the LCT was <.002.

Now let's think about these numbers. For the majority of shooters and hunters shooting at ranges of less than 600 yards does a neck run out difference of .001" actually make a difference? In my opinion and many others, No! Now if you are shooting at 600+ yards and/or are a competitive long range shooter or sniper, I can see where you would want to minimize all possible mechanically induced variations. That's why thousands of dollars get spent. But for the rest of us mortals, it makes no practical difference at all. Most of us don't have the talent, the rifles or the scopes to outshoot the capablilites of our presses or dies.

I could wax on about the versatility and features of the LCT over it's competition, but let's move back to the ABLPro. If you already have a Single Stage press, personally I would go straight to the ABLPro or the LoadMaster based on the criteria I stated in my OP. I discovered that I really like 1 round per pull vs 4 pulls per round. In other words 1000 rounds on the LCT is 4000 pulls. At my age my arm and shoulder appreciate the difference along with the time saving that comes with it. My LCT does not get as much use now, but I still pull it out occasionally for special use projects.

Other considerations: The ABLPro uses the Lee Safety Prime; so you will be placing each primer as you would on the LCT. Also, while the press comes with the small and large primer arms, they are unique to the ABLPro. They are not interchangeable with other Lee presses. Unlike a SS or the LCT, on a progressive you need to preload the shell plate when making your final die adjustments due to shell plate flex. This will help minimize COAL variation.

One final thought: Consider when you pick any press, but particularly a progressive press that you are buying into a system. The ABLPro uses the Lee Breech Lock System. The advantages: You don't have to worry about potential tool head float that might also impact COAL. Enhanced versatility for special projects--very quick. Also, if you happen to already have a Lee Breech Lock SS press, you can easily move your dies between presses with minor adjustments. Disadvantages: Even with the quick change die bushings, full caliber changes are a little slower than simply changing out a pre-configured tool head.

Think about which system will suit your needs better because once you've made the investment, it's expensive to discover later that you would have preferred the other. :o
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Re: Lee Auto Breech Lock Pro -- Update

Postby GRV01 » 07 Jun 2018 15

Thanks for the input
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Re: Lee Auto Breech Lock Pro -- Update

Postby Ranch Dog » 07 Jun 2018 15

GRV01 wrote:Great info, i love reading about this new press. Ive written before that im thinking of skipping the Turret and going straight to the LABLP as my first mounted press and posts like this serve only to convice me more :D


Great reports EOE! You hit both the pros and cons I see between the LCT and the ABLPro. Money wise, a cartridge change is cheaper with the LCT, about $14, as all you need is the 4 Hole Turret (#90269) in that Lee includes the shell holder with the die sets. A cartridge change on the ABLPro is going to run about $41 at best. That's two sets of BL Bushings, 2 per pack, and the shell plate. Prices I pulled up where the lowest on eBay with shipping.

I'm only loading rifle cartridges on the LCT now, but should it ever wear out, I would stay with the LCT as it would cost me a bit over $900 to change to the ABLPro bushing/shell plate setup. Out of curiosity, I ran the same price comparison for a cartridge change on the Load-Master, $38. The four strokes of the LCT don't bother me with my rifle cartridges as the most I load at a time is 50. My two volume cartridges, 30 Carbine and 7.62x39, have moved to the LM. With spare parts for the LCT, I'm not sure how I would ever wear out my LCT. My original 3-Hole Turret that I converted to a 4-Hole Turret and rebuilt once is running strong. My nephew puts a crazy amount of handgun cartridges through it. I had offered him my fourth Load-Master, but he said the turret was just his speed.

It amazes me, the mention by EOE, that reloaders are already tearing up their new ABLPros. :cry:
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Re: Lee Auto Breech Lock Pro -- Update

Postby EdgeOfEden » 07 Jun 2018 17

Ranch Dog wrote: It amazes me, the mention by EOE, that reloaders are already tearing up their new ABLPros. :cry:


Yes, RD, it amazes me, too. Lee had experienced reloaders working with this press for a long time before it was released to the market with no apparent issues. Not to backseat quarterback, but I could have predicted that the plastic ramp might be an Achille's heel. I read somewhere that Lee was changing the ramp to a harder polymer. If true, we'll see if that helps protect it from new reloaders. :lol:

We shouldn't forget, however, how many LoadMaster owners we have seen damage their priming systems or even crack their carriers by overtightening the carrier bolt. If they can damage a LoadMaster, I wouldn't want them anywhere near my ABLPro. :lol:
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Re: Lee Auto Breech Lock Pro -- Update

Postby Ranch Dog » 07 Jun 2018 17

Yep, don't matter the press a knucklehead is a knucklehead.
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Re: Lee Auto Breech Lock Pro -- Update

Postby GasGuzzler » 09 Jun 2018 05

After looking into the ALBPro this morning I'm not really sure at all why it exists. It's featureless but not inexpensive. Add all the goodies and it's more than a Loadmaster. What am I missing?
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Re: Lee Auto Breech Lock Pro -- Update

Postby Ranch Dog » 09 Jun 2018 08

GasGuzzler wrote:After looking into the ALBPro this morning I'm not really sure at all why it exists. It's featureless but not inexpensive. Add all the goodies and it's more than a Loadmaster. What am I missing?

The one thing that you get is something happening to four cases, after the initial shell plate sequencing, with every stroke of the ram lever. In other words, It takes four strokes of the turret to produce a case where the ALBPro produces a completed case with every stroke. This feature is probably more important to pistol, 5.56x45, and 7.62x39 loaders than anyone else. If just a pistol guy, you would be better off with the Pro 1000.

As I sit here with an LCT, Pro 1000, and Load-Masters; the ALBpro has nothing for me to consider. I am tickled pink that Lee is willing to continue product development!
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Re: Lee Auto Breech Lock Pro -- Update

Postby Ranch Dog » 09 Jun 2018 08

Ranch Dog wrote:[snip]Money wise, a cartridge change is cheaper with the LCT, about $14, as all you need is the 4 Hole Turret (#90269) in that Lee includes the shell holder with the die sets. A cartridge change on the ABLPro is going to run about $41 at best. That's two sets of BL Bushings, 2 per pack, and the shell plate. Prices I pulled up were the lowest on eBay with shipping.

[snip]Out of curiosity, I ran the same price comparison for a cartridge change on the Load-Master, $38.

I slighted the Pro 1000, a cartridge change is only $23 with it. If I was basing my decision on pistol cartridges, I would probably go with the Pro 1000. When you add the case feeder and die set to ABLPro, you are with $4 of the Pro 1000. For $4, I would rather have the auto priming the Pro1K offers over the Safety Prime. Oh wait, you got to buy that too for the ABLPRo, so the ABLPro is $20 more as a semi-progressive.

The manual priming won't get guys in trouble but as they are watching the cases go around they are going to miss some primers. Hell, I do it on the turret. I also have a problem with feeding small primers to the cup and I'm not sure what it is as I've checked the index continuously for alignment and replaced both the primer arm and Safety Prime. As the ram moves away from the Safety Prime, the primers fall out of the cup. This is on my LCT, and I've been chasing this since I moved to the Safety Prime. It happens so often that my dogs don't bother chasing them down anymore and my Cur dog has given up eating them. It is enough of an issue that I'm thinking of moving all my small primer cartridges to the Load-Masters.

The above represents only 5 cartridges. I don't shoot enough 357 Mag and 454 Casull cartridge to matter, both Rossi R92s, but I do shoot a bunch of 218 Bee, 25-20 Win, and 32-20 Win. That is a single #6 shell plate and three turrets ($64 shipped). The problem with putting this stuff in print is that it becomes a done deal. Those three cartridges will now be Load-Master Cartridges as the parts are on the way.
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