The best upgrades to a Lee Loadmaster

The bottom line: The Lee Precision Loadmaster is a good, value oriented progressive press with lots of features. It’s budget pricing forces Lee to take shortcuts in its design however which require a few additional upgrades to make work smoothly.

My very 1st press that I owned was a Lee Precision Loadmaster. It is still on my bench and I use still to this day. I bought it because it is affordable and on paper looked to have all the features of a Dillon 650 for a fraction of the cost. While it does have a case feeder, on press priming, auto-indexing, quick change 5 station turrets, etc. it definitely is the budget option. Any quick Google search will tell you it has a few shortcomings as I soon discovered. So if you find your self the new owner of a Loadmaster progressive press, consider these upgrades to make your life easier.

Number 1 – Lee Precision Case Collator
I seriously don’t know why it took me over a year to buy this. I don’t care what you are using the case feeder for, buy this thing right now. It will save you an unbelievable amount of time when filling up the tubes. Some reviews say that to feed 9mm cases correctly requires some modifications. They may be old reviews and Lee has fixed the design flaw or ?? but I have never had an issue with 9mm cases going in ass end first. I could however see 380’s being a problem.

Number 2 – Lee Precision Charge Bar
This is another can’t live without accessory. Designed for the Lee Precision Auto Disk Pro powder measure, it replaces the stupid disks that have pre-sized holes cut in them. The magic of this is if you need to adjust your powder drop by a 0.10″ you only need to twist a knob instead of tearing your powder measure apart. This will make changing calibers far easier, and again save you an exorbitant amount of time as you dial in your recipes.

Number 3 – Off Press Priming Tool
I have tried and could not find a way to get a better than 90% success rate with the Loadmaster’s on press priming system. To be blunt, it just sucks. Do yourself a favor and buy something to prime the cases off press. I use the RCBS hand held one, but there are many out there. You will pay yourself back within the 1st year with all the primers you will end up NOT wasting.

Number 4 – Lee Precision Universal Case Feeder
This one you can only get from Lee Precision directly, but it only costs a few $$. Older case feeders had a separate short and tall slider that required you to pull the case feeder assembly apart to swap out. This new improved version only requires you add or remove a stack on spacer depending on the case height. The guide arms are also a better design, doing a better job of corralling the case as it drops and gets moved into the shell plate.

There you have it. If you have a Loadmaster progressive press from Lee Precision you will thank your self, and hopefully me, for considering these upgrades. They will all save you time, headache, and increase your overall rounds-per-hour output from your setup.

What impacts accuracy in an AR?

I see it all the time. Some tacticool Joe goes out and spends $1,500 on parts to build his AR15 and then puts a $30 scope on top of it. He then goes out and tries to make “sniper” shots and can’t hit the broadside of the barn. “its got a <fill in the name of some high priced barrel> on it. Why doesn’t it shoot well?” is always the follow up to which some harsh truth gets dropped on this poor soul.

When it comes to getting the best accuracy performance out of your rifle, ammo is the biggest influence over performance. After that comes optics, then trigger, and finally barrel. If we take a step back and think about what perfect accuracy is, it is the ability to send the bullet out the barrel over some distance and hit what we are aiming at dead center all in the matter of seconds. When in the barrel, the bullet doesn’t have much room to move around, but once it leaves the barrel all sorts of physics laws impart their harsh reality on it. If the bullet you are shooting has a low ballistic coefficient, then the bullet will go off course easier. Likewise, if your optic doesn’t provide a clear target image due to cheap glass or poor parallax adjustments, the barrel of your rifle may not be lined up with target even though the cross-hairs say they are. Last, but definitely not least, if your trigger is too stiff then what ends up happening is you apply so much pressure that you pull the barrel off target when the hammer gets released. All of these things can result in fractions of an inch change which translates to feet off target down range.

The bottom line is that the barrel has not as much influence on the overall accuracy of the gun as most people think. Yes having a barrel from a good manufacturer is paramount to accuracy, but to be honest its more about their QC processes than anything else. I have shot both high dollar rifles and budget ones and I have shot well and horribly with both. At the end of the day it’s your money and you get to decide what to do with it, just don’t be surprised if that $300 barrel with a $20 scope pairing doesn’t make dime sized groups.

Does the NRA deserve your money?

I recently retweeted a story about a 2A business pulling their booth from the annual NRA conference.  They took this action as a sign of protest to the recent stance the NRA took on the bump-stock ban implemented by the US DoJ.  At the time I was being bombarded with letters and phone calls from the NRA warning me that my membership was about to expire and the cost was going to be increasing in a couple months.  I decided to follow suit and not renew my membership to the NRA.

At the time I too was unhappy with how the NRA was supposedly fighting for my (and your) 2nd Amendment rights.  I was befuddled by their seeming continuous stream of lawsuits arguing the exact same legal reasoning time and again, and each time being shot down (anyone know the definition of insanity?).  I too wondered how the largest organization of so called “supporters of gun rights” could say they agreed with the unconstitutional banning of a non-firearm item?  At that time I decided I couldn’t justify giving them my money.

But a few months later, I can’t help but wonder if refusing to give the NRA my money is the wisest decision in the grand scheme of things.  I mean lets face it, there is an all out war in the media over the 2nd Amendment.  And the NRA is the largest pro-gun lobby group.  The NRA has helped get 2 supreme court nominees confirmed in the past 2 years.  They also have very deep pockets to help fund some campaigns.  So there is some good the NRA has been doing for the gun rights community.

I feel my decision might have been a little brash back then.  Yeah I am still upset over what I perceive to be poor legal arguments and  somewhat spineless response to left-wing attacks on our constitutionally guaranteed rights.  But they are still a driving force in American politics with a lot of money to spend and there is value to them staying as mainstream as possible.  When you take the emotional (OK mostly anger) factor out of it and try to look at the NRA’s existence objectively I find that the NRA still does more good than harm for gun owners and still probably deserves my $35 a year membership due.

Making the most of your time at the range

I was talking with a friend the other day and they were telling me how frustrating their recent shooting outing was. We’ve all had the not so successful day at the range where that latest build didn’t work as anticipated or that new load recipe wasn’t as accurate as we hoped. Those failures are productive though. My friend however had a different kind of bad range day (if there is such a thing) that is 100% avoidable every time. His problem is he went out with one agenda that didn’t match his shooting buddies’ or the location. Continue reading “Making the most of your time at the range”