lee loaders

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Joined: Saturday, October 11, 2003 - 12:00am
lee loaders

Does or has anyone here used the Lee Loader sets for reloading, some cuss them some wouldn't live without them, what are the problems/good points? any safety issues? seems like beating a bullet in a primed and charged brass is a bad idea?

C BABYRemoved
Joined: Sunday, February 2, 2003 - 12:00am

If you are talking about a shot gun shell reloader I have a Lee. I mainly just use mine to reload target load. If you shot a semi auto, I am not sure I would recommend it. But with the old pump, or over N under it would work like a dandy, and can save you alot of money if you shoot alot of shells.

A ba%

mwill's picture
Joined: Saturday, February 1, 2003 - 12:00am

I have one of those Lee aniversary reloading kits from Cabelas. I also use Lee dies for my 7mm Mag. The reason I got this kit was because I wanted something cheap and wasn't sure how much reloading I was going to do.

I would recommend going with a different brand if you plan on doing a lot of reloading or would like something with better quality. The press I got is pretty cheap. The metal where the handle hinges with the ram is already tearing after realoading only about 100-200 rounds. The scale that came with is also really cheap. Have fun.


Joined: Saturday, October 11, 2003 - 12:00am

I am talking about the set made by Lee that will reload one specific caliber. There is no press, it looks like a handheld cylinder that holds the case and you tap the bullet into it. They advertise holding a world record for accuracy. And they are cheap( 15.00 for one caliber) and says you can reload while on the range

Joined: Monday, August 5, 2002 - 12:00am

I've used the Lee Loader kits like you describe, though they haven't been
available for some years. Biggest disadvantage is that it's SLOW. In
seating bullets, you'd want to use a plastic mallet and GENTLY tap the
bullet home, or even better, take a piece of hard wood to use as a
handle, and PRESS the seating plunger home.

The original Lee kits had a little base that you put the primer in, and
you then put the die with the shell in it over that base, and, with a rod,
you tapped the case out of the die and over the primer. THAT was a bit
scary. :-) If you have one of these, a hand priming tool would be highly

Another disadvantage, depending on what sort of rifle you're loading for,
is that the Lee die neck sizes only. If you're loading for a lever gun or
autoloader, you'll run into trouble, as the cases need to be sized more
for those guns.

There's nothing inherently wrong with the old Lee Loader setup, and
indeed, there are benchrest shooters who use similar hand die sets and
get great results. They use arbor presses to drive the cases into the dies
and seat the bullets, though. If you only shoot and reload a little, it'll
get you by nicely. On the other hand, if you're loading 100 rounds or
more, you WILL curse the slowness of the setup. :-)


Horsager's picture
Joined: Tuesday, August 12, 2003 - 12:00am

If you're looking for something to take to the range, a buddy of mine built a platform for the receiver hitch on his pickup. Holes pre-drilled for the press and the platform is big enough for a scale, shell holder, powder measure, etc. He used some scraps and had about $10 in the whole thing.

This moment is a paradox, it's the oldest you've ever been as well as the youngest you'll ever be.

bobkat's picture
Joined: Sunday, December 16, 2001 - 12:00am

Heck Elmer, I reloaded my first case 37-38 years ago (30-06) with a lee loader like you describe. I think I still have it around somewhere. Had no money back then and used it for a few years, then sprung a press and powder measure and slowly added stuff from there. Worked pretty good, as I recall, although with no powder measure you will only have one load and that will be somewhere near the minimal for that powder/bullet/caliber combination. But shot a lot of stuff, moose, elk, bears, etc. with those handloads......the good old days!!

Joined: Saturday, October 11, 2003 - 12:00am

thanks for the input, by the way white bass, they sell them through cabela's still for 12.99.

tim roark
Joined: Saturday, January 29, 2011 - 10:21am

These are the tools that hooked me into reloading.  After purchasing my 7mag I was aghast at how much more factory ammo cost over the 30/30 I had been feeding.  The cost of a full blown reloading outfit was too much for me to bear at the time.  The hardware store I had been purchasing my ammo from sold me a Lee Loader and some Nosler Ballistic Tips and IMR4064 powder.  Cost all of $40 back then.  I remember the first round I shot was done at arms length and with my head turned away - I wasn't too confident I had done things right and didn't want to loose a chunk of my nose if this unexpectedly made a really really loud bang.  Turned out I did everything right, and my groups shrunk in half, along with the price of a box of ammo!  I was always a little skiddish about seating primers, but never had a problem doing so when using rifle primers.  But, when I purchased a 44-mag Lee Loader it was then I found out about the differences in cup thickness/softness and primer mix senstivity between pistol and rifle primers.  Unlike the rifle primers, these pistol primers were being set off during the priming stage.  Not dangerous mind you, so long as you wear some eye protection, but disconcerting none-the-less.  My gunsmith introduced me to a hand held squeeze type primer seater, and I began using that for all priming needs.  I can seat pistol primers using the Lee Loader without them going off, but, have to do so very slowly, gently, carfully.  The hand held primer seater doesn't require that sort of finess.  Today I have a Lee Auto Turret, RCBS Rock Chucker and Dillon XL-650 (it's the cats' meoow).  But, I have kept my Lee Loaders (one for every caliber owned) as back-ups.  Who knows what will happen tomorrow.  If the proverbial crap hits the fan, I can always grab a gun and ammo and head to the hills till it's over with.  And if I take a pound of powder, bullets and primers, that Lee Loader will replenish my ammo supply so long as I pick my brass up.  Shouldn't be littering anyway, but I'm getting off topic now.  One final suggestion - get a rawhide mallet for the sizing operation. They're softer, quieter, and won't damage the tool nor the brass.  yours for the second..


rainman1882's picture
Joined: Tuesday, November 14, 2006 - 10:22pm

I use one that my Dad gave me.  It's for 45-70 and makes for a usable but slow process. 

Yeah, it's kind of like that.

drayweb's picture
Joined: Wednesday, December 19, 2001 - 12:00am

I got the Lee Breech Lock Challenger kit for X-mas.  Seems to be working pretty well so far.

Crackshot.'s picture
Joined: Tuesday, July 14, 2009 - 11:53pm

 I have one of those lee hand loaders too.   I quit using it  30 years ago.   it worked ok and I would use one again if I had to.  They are slow and primative but they do get the job done.




Life is good




bobkat's picture
Joined: Sunday, December 16, 2001 - 12:00am

Tim, I used a little yellow plastic mallet for primer and seating on those Lee's!   I bought the mallet back in 1968, remember cause I'd just got out of school  and I still have it - as a matter of fact, a buddy and I used it to knock out the wing bolts of my plane yesterday to remove the wings and I told him the history of that mallet!  Should put it in the family heirlooms! 
 And yes, those little original Lee loaders work well, are safe, a bit slow, and don't full size resize of course.   Quality ammo, yes!  Like all reloading, wear safety glasses when folling with primers, but I've never heard of an accident.   If there had been, the lawyers would have put Lee out of business 50 years ago when they first invented them.
I see Lee now has a little hand held mini loading tool for about $40.00 that looks like it could be handy for loading my old black powder guns out on the range.   I never full length resize those old antique case and don't even neck expand them for bullet seating, so might be handy for plinking around.  Anybody on FBO used them?  .