Mike's Reloading Bench
Your source for custom parts and accessories for the Lee Load Master
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Mike's Reloading Bench is not afilliated with Lee Precision.
Tools and Tips
The primer system on the Load Master has been a problem for a bunch of folks for some time now and everyone seems to have an answer as to how to fix it. The majority of comments from long-time users seems to be that the original system was the best one but it also had its problems. The main one being the smashing of the slider if you short cycled the press or if the slider arm got hung up on the case retainer. As most of us know, Lee has made several changes to the system over the last few years with the thrust of their efforts aimed at redesigning the slider so that it cannot get smashed in the event things get out of time for whatever reason. I am sure they are tired of handing out replacement parts and reading negative reviews about it. The current version employs a slider that is designed to stay clear of the primer pin. Because of this it is now possible for the primer to get ejected down into the ram as it is no longer "captured" by the slider even though there are some small bumps or protrusions cast into the primer trough to try and prevent the primer from getting away. The current design is better in that it does prevent the smashing of the slider but it is worse in that it simply pitches a new primer down the ram in the event there is no case present to receive it. Over the last couple of years I have spent untold hours working with the primer system on the Load Master to include coming up with three different systems of my own design all of which worked better than the Lee system but required too much of the average individual to implement. So, as of late I have spent my time trying to fine tune the newest Lee system and listed below is what I have discovered I have to do to get it to perform. Be advised that what works well on my press may not translate to yours or your buddy's as they all seem to have their own personalities, however, the basic mods should work to a greater or lesser degree on any Load Master.
The second item to look at is the ADJUSTMENT OF THE CASE RETAINER at the #2 station. It has been my observation that when using the 19s shellplate, if the case retainer is adjusted according to the Lee instructions by setting it too far inward and then allowing the first case that passes to automatically set it to the proper position doesn't work well. The problem is the spring used in the primer pin and the weight of the primer tray and primers causes the pin to tilt outward as the pin is raised and subsequently it becomes misaligned with the primer pocket in the case. If it is anything like mine the pin will be off center, sometimes by as much as one third the diameter of the primer pocket. Instant smiley face time!
Using your new drilled out case tool as a visual aid carefully push the case and retainer outward until the primer pin is directly in line with the primer pocket and lock down the case retainer. Doing this will allow subsequent cases to drift out and contact the case retainer due to centrifugal force and your cases will now be in the correct position to receive a primer. I believe using a sizing die without the decapping pin in station two is more of a problem than a help. On my press the die simply moves the case back toward the center of the shellplate and misaligns the case and primer pin cancelling any advantage gained by letting the case float outward into proper alignment. If you feel you must have a die providing shellplate contact in station two for whatever reason, I would suggest a universal decapping die sans decapping pin.
This is what you get when setting
the case retainer using the Lee
instructions and a 19s shellplate holding a 9mm case.
This is what you get when setting
the case retainer using my method.
My main point with all this is that as much as Lee would like to have you believe that you can just slap your large or small primer system into your press, fill it with primers and start turning out rounds, it usually isn't going to happen. Now I realize that some of you out there claim to have no problems with your primer systems and if that in fact is true good for you. One quick browse of the internet pretty much proves that you are definitely in the minority. The rest of us for some reason known only to a higher authority struggle with it. My comments and attending pictures are simply my efforts and fixes for what I have had to deal with on my press. Bottom line, go ahead and give these ideas a try. Take your time, set it up carefully and see what happens.
If you do the above mods and setup and you are still having problems then I suggest you consider the complete primer system mod that I offer elsewhere on this site. This mod works and it works well. I have done a bunch of them at this point and I believe the people who have taken advantage of it are glad they did.
This first item is important so listen up. If you will take the time to DRILL THE PRIMER POCKET out of a case for which you plan to reload and USE IT AS A TOOL you will be amazed at what you can learn about how your primer system works. This simple little tool will tell you what you need to do to set your primer system up. When setting up your press do the primer system first. Leave the turret out of the press so that you can look straight down on the primer pin and with your new tool in place you will be able to make fine adjustments of the case retainer to get the case right where it needs to be to accept the primer. Leaving the turret out and operating the press will also let you watch the primer as it gets delivered to the pin. Is it a smooth transition or is something causing the primer to jump around on its way to the pin? If it's not a smooth transition find out why and fix it. Simple.
Another thing to check is the position of the Wedge Bar in relation to the little ramp on the Slider Actuator Arm. Because the bearing surface on the Wedge Bar is so small it can easily deform the edge of the hole in the frame of the press and become tilted out of position upon tightening. If it tilts away from the actuator arm, the primer will not be fully delivered to its proper position over the primer pin. You can correct this to some extent by loosening the Wedge Bar and moving it to another position then retightening it. If you can, try to keep one of the "flats" on the Wedge Bar in contact with the actuator arm. It's not critical, but it will help reduce wear a bit.
This is where you want the Wedge Bar to be.
Case Retainer Set-up
Wedge Bar Position