a history of the lee loader

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biddulph posted this 08 July 2010

Hi all,

I'd like to develope a thread on thd history of the lee loader. I have found that this elegant peice of reloading gear is the basis of our shared interest in reloading.

 

In my case it got me into reloading. I'd read a lot of neagative presss relating to this product so was somewhat hesitant in buying it but my first batch of ammo halved my groups from my clapped out no. 4 303 and I was an instant convert.

 

cheers

 

James

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tturner53 posted this 08 July 2010

Hi James, do any camel hunting lately? If you have how about some pictures?  I share your appreciation for the Lee Loaders. I started off with one, like many of us here have. Still use them today, sometimes for the fun of it or just to reload a box quick and easy. No die adjustments to worry about. Throw in a Lee Powder Measure Kit with the dippers and a load manual and the sky is the limit. I don't know anything about the history of the LL, other than my own experience. Being a pack rat I have accumulated a good sized collection of them, still looking for more. I've used them to load from the .22 Hornet to the 7mm mag., often with very good results. If you want to you can knock out a surprising amount of ammo in a short time using an assemblyline approach. If the wife's gone, you can reload at the kitchen table, I set a brick on a towel for a pounding base.

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biddulph posted this 08 July 2010

Hi Tturner,

unfortunatley no camel hunting to date due to a broken pelvis from a freak horse riding accident: horse stumbled at a walk, front dropped down and just as I hit the apex of the saddle he pushed up hard and split my pubis 4 cm wide... flown down to Adelaide in South Australia and bolted back together again... this in Feb and only this week am I off the crutches...

Still, a few trips to the rifle range was excellent therapy allowing me to walk known distances for rehab as well as shooting lots of cast .375 loads.

cheers

James

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jppr26 posted this 09 July 2010

i havenet got a LL myself just a small press and a lee 1000, but for what they are, and the price of them in todays bullet priced market your an idiot not to try it, i just got a 300 wby mag and for a box of 20rnds was $75 i know i did it to myself by buying them, but nobody had brass or dies available. All of my buddys that hunt i tell them to buy one of these little guys or at least the lee load book that comes with the press but they are happy spending $30 on 20rnds when i spend maby that much on 800rnds. Lee is the best choice for beginners my $0.02

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biddulph posted this 09 July 2010

Hi JPPR, Wow, 75 bucks for 20 rounds! God only knows how much you'd have to fork out for that in Australia, as most fire arms related stuff is much more expensive than in the States.

The lee loader is sure fun to use and cases seem to last forever, at least if you don't load them to maximum power. There is something very therapuetic about belting a case into the neck sizer with a piece of wood... especially after a bad day at work!

Almost got down to your neck of the woods at christmas when we went to Seattle and then to Canada skiing. Love the north west coast. Likewise America's relaxed attitude to guns. In Australia the shooting fraternity is becomming more and more demonised. I bought a set of wood for my old no 1 mark3 303 the other day from interstate and had to give my gun liscence number to allow the sale to go through... bloody madness!

cheers

James

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Ranch Dog posted this 12 July 2010

I'm crazy about the Lee Loaders also. Got my start into this endeavor with a 30-30 Win loader and never looked back. I've tried to collect at least one loader for each levergun caliber I have. My prize is a special order for the 450 Marlin which was done right before Lee stopped doing the custom work. I also collect other odds and ends related to the Loaders such as Lee's original “Modern Reloading” which was for use with the kits. Match books that look like Loader boxes, catalogs, and other items grace my shelves in my Reloading room.

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Vacek posted this 23 July 2010

I posted in the THR forum for reloading a question regarding the Lee/Unitized/Mequon...Lyman...and Wilson Whakamo full length resize dies. Has anyone had experience with full length resize dies that use the mallet and or arbor press? I do own a couple of the Lee Unitized but not in the calibers that I reload. Curious to their effectiveness.

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Webley posted this 31 July 2010

I have Lee Loaders in .303 B, 7.62x54R, 30-30, and .38 Special. I find them easy to use, and they produce raesonable loads. If I only had a Lee Loader, I would not feel too bad. My Lee Turret is just a lot faster.

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gunarea posted this 31 July 2010

My first Lee loader is now 45 years old and I expect it will still produce 38 specials as good as when it was new. After only a few months of using a couple of pieces of 2 x 4 and Dads framing hammer, my Mother asked Dad if he could quiet me down some. Dad made me a shock hammer, filled the head with steel shot and made nylon tips. At seventeen my Mother bought a Lyman spartan for my birthday. Making cartridges with my dad there to insure I didn't make any major mistakes was time I'll always cherish. I haven't loaded any shells with my old Lee loader since my first press, but I plan to give it to my grandson and help build some memories for him. Thanks for bringing this to mind.

                                                                                                                 Roy

Shoot often, Shoot well

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Popgunner posted this 28 March 2012

My first reloading was around 1970 with the help of a shooter's bible article from around 1962 that showed how to use a nail to deprime, cut off 30-30 cases for powder measures & a pair of pliers to dent the case mouth enough to hold the bullet. In 1974 when I was old enough to deer hunt my dad told me I could hunt with him if I could get myself set up. The local gunshop had had a mosin M-44 for $39 & a box of new norma shells for $22. The gunshop owner could see I was limited on funds & he said he had a used Lee Loader for $7 & he threw in a box of Norma empty cases for free. I got my deer that year & we needed the meat so I was happy & hooked on loading with that “fancy” loader. I've now got the LL's in 38 spec, 357 mag, 44 mag, 30-30, 308win, 30-06 & 7.62x54R. also in 20ga & 12 ga.

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JohnM posted this 28 March 2012

I think my first Lee Loader was for 30-30. Made in 1963. Still have it, the box is a little rough, but still works fine.

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Alexander Dembski posted this 29 March 2012

I love the LL. Got my first, in 16 gauge, for Christmas in 1969. That was soon followed by 38Special (also used for 357), 45 Colt, 12 gauge, 30-06, 303 Brit, 6.5 Jap, 7x57, and 45-70. I have seen bench rest competitors use them in matches reloading the same case while on the firing line. I have produced very accurate match ammo with these tools, and have used them to teach my son to reload. I mostly use my presses today because of speed or to full length resize, but I will never get rid of them. They are just too useful and too portable.

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Alexander Dembski posted this 29 March 2012

Almost forgot. I also shot my first deer and first elk with ammo hammered out on that 30-06 loader on the kitchen table.

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max503 posted this 2 weeks ago

Old thread, I know.  But I have a 38 LL.  With all the ammo shortages, I've tried to give it to family or friends and no one wants it.  I'd even help them out with some components.  I'm not trying to get rid of it; I'm just trying to help someone out.  It seems sad that people don't care to reload.embarassed

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LarryW posted this 2 weeks ago

Old Lee Loader 38Spec is what I started with a hair over 55 years ago now. 

Sure wish I had another 38spec kit. I did find & buy an almost pristine .357 kit.

Sure brings back memories.

There is a lot of loading history in the Lee Loader.

Things started as Lee Engineering, things did not end well there, & Richard Lee

Started Lee Precision who are still in business today. Info's out there, just gotta dig.

A day late & a dollar short, story of my life ???

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mashburn posted this 2 weeks ago

Hello to all,

I started loading shotgun  shells with a neighbors Texan loader when I was about 19 yrs. old. Then I got rich when I was about 25 and managed to buy a 12 gauge Lee loader. I used a set of bathroom scales to measure the wad pressure and loaded every kind of shell imaginable. Paper shells were so much easier to load. Plastic hulls were just hitting the marked that was in 1973.

A friend of mine took his Lee loader set and made a press for it with all of the lee accessories mounted like a shot shell press. He used the hood latch spring off of a 1950 model Ford car for pressure spring. It was adjustable. It's amazing what people do when their funds are limited. It worked great. I still have mine, although it has been idle for about 50 years or so, It is priceless, Memories, memories and more memories.

Let us not forget Richard Lee's load book.

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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Wineman posted this 2 weeks ago

I had a 12 gauge LL also early 70's. I was never happy with the results with plastic hulls. Truth be told, I'm not much of a shot gunner either.

Dave

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william iorg posted this 2 weeks ago

I dont know if you will be able to read any of this or not. I had to make it small to attach. If you cannot see it I could put it up on imagur.

The Guns & Ammo look is pretty in-depth considering the patent for the Lee Loader was about a year old.

From about this time in 1964 to 1968 or -69 everyone was talking about and lusting after a Lee Loader. We all could afford this and our Dads  could keep an eye on us.

My father had a Pacific press and when we needed to full length re-size we we used it. We all loaded the same thing,: .30-30. .308 or .30-06.

I have several more but these are my most currently used sets. I have a .308 with the red plastic priming tool. I wish I could have purchased more of the Lee Pan lube trays with hand sizer. I have many hours investedLee LoadersLee Loader test pg 1Lee Loader test pg 2 in lubing and sizing .38 and .44 caliber wadcutters.

Slim

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william iorg posted this 2 weeks ago

The Patents for the Lee Loader, Target Loader, hand priming tool - screw type and case trimmer are fun to look at. It wont let me upload them. The Lee Shooter program was good stuff back in the 286 desktop days. The little inventory program load table were easy to use.

Slim

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mashburn posted this 2 weeks ago

Hello William,

Enjoyed your post tremendously.

I have the little pan luber and cookie cutter and hand sizer that you wrote of. Man, haven't reloading tools evolved by leaps and bounds. I bought my little brother-in-law a Lee 20 gauge loader when he was 13. He now says what in the world did you mean by buying me that Lee loader when I was just 13. I said because I wanted one at a young age and never had one.

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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Larry Gibson posted this 2 weeks ago

It was '62 when I got a 30-30 Lee loader.   They had just come out and it was the 1st one in the LGS.  That got me started down this long winding road......

Got a 30 carbine Lee Loader in '67 and a 44 magnum in '68.  The lid on it still has the store price sticker....$6.95......

I have 8 standard Lee Loaders and 4 Lee target Loaders.  I have given several Lee loaders to the grandsons to get them started.......223, 30-30 and 8x57... 

From the Lee site;

Brief History of Lee Reloading Equipment

The Lee reloading business began in the home workshop of Richard Lee in 1958 with the invention of the famous Lee Loader for shotgun shells. Lee Loaders, for rifle and pistol ammunition, were invented in the early sixties. These highly effective and economical tools introduced over one and a half million shooters to reloading.

 

LMG

Concealment is not cover.........

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william iorg posted this 2 weeks ago

These are easy to come up with. Here is the first page from the Lee Loader and the Lee case trimmer patents. The target Loader and the hand primer come right up on a search. 

https://i.imgur.com/GaVSUHi.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/wqb7lv2.jpg

Slim

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Squid Boy posted this 2 weeks ago

Cut my reloading teeth on a Lee 12 gauge loader. Loaded hundreds of shells with it. Brings back some great old memories of my first hunting days. Squid Boy

"Squid Pro Quo"

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Boschloper posted this 2 weeks ago

I started with a .308 Win. Lee loader in 1973. In 1975 I joined the Army and bought Lee loaders in .380 & .357 while stationed at Ft. Hood.  I still have and occasionally use the .308 & .357.  Great tools for starting out and for special jobs.

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mashburn posted this 3 days ago

 Hello to all who have experienced the use of a Lee loader,

One of the posts in this thread mentioned the bad press that Lee loaders received and how dangerous they were. When I purchased mine, everybody just knew that I was going to blow myself up and if I was lucky, I would only maim myself .However, I do know some people,  who use modern loading equipment, who should have or maybe they do have a guardian angel who protects them from harm.

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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RicinYakima posted this 3 days ago

The only danger of the Lee Loader is people who don't read the directions, follow them or keep the loader CLEAN. 

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JeffinNZ posted this 2 days ago

I picked up a 12g Lee Loader recently.  I no particular use for it but it is too cool not to have at the price.

Cheers from New Zealand

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Wineman posted this 2 days ago

My first was also the 30 carbine. They said full length size, and they meant it. Used up two plastic mallets and a nice piece of maple that was supposed to be a lamp. The lamp blank was left over after my 7th grade year ended before I could lathe it.

Dave

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