LEE 1000 Modifications

I currently shoot Cowboy Action. This sport uses huge amount of ammo. A standard one day match can use 120 rounds of centerfire ammo and 24-30 shotgun shells. Add a bit of practice and you are shooting a few hundred rounds a week.

This calls for a progressive reloader.

I’m a big fan of the inexpensive LEE 1000 loader. Inexpensive, but it helps to be mechanically inclined if you go this route.

Currently I have 6 of these loaders, all set for a different cartridge.

I recently ordered another, my seventh, LEE 1000 in 38-40, a vintage cartridge that was used in the “Old West”. When I received the LEE 1000 it included a set of LEE 38-40 dies and all the other accessories I’d need. Upon setting up the loader I realized one issue immediatly. The rims of the 38-40 and 44-40 are larger than the 45LC or the 44 Magnum and simply would not fit down the plastic tubes LEE supplies. I called LEE and they did not have a solution. So first order of business I needed to find larger tubes. Off to Lowes Home Improvement I went. I found copper tubing that would work with a little bit of work.

The first thing I needed to do was file the tube retainer so the case rims would fit through. A round file took care of this.

The copper tubes needed their ends turned down a bit so they would fit in the above retainer. The lathe made quick work of this.

All four tubes turned down on both ends

And they slide right into the retainer

At the other end, the collator needed to have the holes enlarged a bit. Sandpaper took care of this.

And now the tubes fit right in

The final modification

But, now we created another issue. These four copper tubes, filled with 38-40 brass, weighs quite a bit. All of this weight is simply held by the plactic retainer on the bottom all held together with a little bolt. As the press is manipulated these tubes really rock and roll.

I needed a way to steady this assembly. So I built this

A piece of strap steel, a 1/4-20 bolt, a piece of PVC pipe.

The metal strap was cut and bent to mount in the unused hole in the top press plate

At the other end a piece of PVC pipe, I think it was 1.5″, was attached with a small bolt.

To facilitate this, a large hole was bored through the other sdide so the bolt could be inserted and tightened.

The copper tubes slide up and down through the PVC pipe as the press is manipulated.

All loading tube wiggle is now gone!

So there you have it. A quick project to get the LEE 1000 progressive press to handle the 38-4- or 44-40 cartridges!



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