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Tandemkross

Author Topic: Lee Precision LoadAll II Single Stage Shotshell Reloading Press  (Read 5475 times)

Offline masfonos

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I went out and shot some sporting clays with some buddies recently and had a blast.  In preparation of shooting lots of clay birds, I loaded up a decent number of shells with my Lee Load All II press.  I've had the press around for a while and have loaded up a few boxes of shells; some for recreational shooting but mainly for small game hunting.  The shells I made worked out pretty well and I had so much fun that I got a cheap thrower and some clays and loaded up a bunch more shells so I can do some more shooting with friends and family and not have to pay some exorbitant amount per head at a club.  Now that I've loaded a couple hundred rounds with this press recently, I figure I can write up a little review.

First off is the price.  You really can't beat it.  It was a little over $50 for the whole thing when I got it a few years ago; it looks like Midway has them now for $44 before s&h.  Not paying much for the press makes it a lot faster to hit your break-even/saving mark with reloading.

I don't really have a reloading area, so I went with the "portable" suggestion noted in the included instructions.  I screwed the press to a couple blocks of wood which I C-clamp to the table/bench when I reload and it works pretty well.  This also makes cleanup easier since spent primers are ejected to a little cubby hole under the base of the press and you can pick it up and shake them out.

Operation is as follows:
  • Select the correct shot and powder bushings for your desired load (as per your cookbook or the included charts) based on the hull, powder, shot, wad, etc. that you are using and install them in the chargebar.
  • Fill the correct tubs on the press with powder and shot.  It's not a bad idea to slide the chargebar in each direction a couple times to throw some shot and powder charges to make sure that they are filling consistently (don't forget to put a spent shell under the hole where this stuff will be coming out so you don't end up with a mess).
  • Place the sizing ring over a fired hull that is in good, reloadable condition and place it in the first station.  Pulling the lever here both removes the spent primer and sizes the hull.
  • A pull of the lever with the shell in the second station removes the sizing ring and inserts the new primer.
  • The third station is where the guts of the shell go in.  Place the primed shell here, pull the handle down and slide the charge bar to the right to throw the powder charge.  Lift the handle, place the wad and pull the handle down to insert the wad. Slide the charge bar to the left to throw the shot.
  • The next station starts the crimp.  There is a starter for 7 and 8 fold crimps.  Select the right starter, line up the shell and pull the handle to start the crimp.
  • The final station finishes the crimp, giving it a factory looking closure.

The simplicity and versatility (and, no doubt, the price) of this press means that it doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles that I imagine a more pricey press might have.  The press has the ability to load a variety of gauges with a variety of wads, a variety of powders and a variety of shots.  This means different volumes of "stuff" inside of the hull and, therefore, different depths at which wads should seated, crimps should be pressed, etc.  The press doesn't have any stops for the lever so you have to practice a little bit to get the feel for how far to pull it, otherwise you will end up with some funky crimps.  The first few shells I loaded, I ended up cranking the lever too far during the wad-seating process which ended up letting the crimp get pushed in too far.  This resulted in a hole in the middle of the crimp that let shot rattle around and come out.  After I figured out what I was doing wrong, it didn't take much to fix it and the rest of the shells came out looking factory-fresh.

Summary:
I think this press is great for someone just getting in to reloading or any budget conscious shotshell reloader.  Shotshells are probably a good place for new reloaders to start since they are fairly forgiving, have easy recipes, are easy to experiment with and fairly easy to tell if you screwed it up.  With the price of this press and enough components to load up a decent number of shells, if reloading doesn't turn out to be your thing you won't shed many tears like you might if you spent hundreds on a more expensive press.  If reloading does turn out to be your thing, this press should be plenty capable and plenty durable to last you for many years of reloading.  It's not painstakingly slow, but if you're planning on reloading in huge numbers and don't want to spend much time, a loader with some of the extra bells and whistles to speed up the process might be better for you.  Personally, I enjoy using the press so I don't mind the time I spend doing it.






Stock Photo:



From the Lee website:
Quote
LEE LOAD-ALL II shotgun shells not only look better than those loaded on machines costing hundreds of dollars, but they usually have more uniform velocity and patterns. You can load just as fast as with any other brand of loader costing up to $200.

Twenty-four shot and powder bushings are included free. The bushings alone can cost several dollars each from other manufacturers - and they're not as accurate as those made by Lee. Only Lee supplies molded bushings.

This is a time proven tool. There are hundreds of thousands in use world-wide. In over fourty years, we have yet to see one worn out.

Shown with accessory primer feed, not included.

Features:

    * Built-in primer catcher with an easy-to-empty door right up front
    * Recesses at every station for speedy shell positioning
    * Easy and economical gauge conversion
    * Optional primer feeder so you never need to touch the primer from the box to the shell
    * Adjustable from the standard 2 3/4 shell, up to 3 inch shell

Available Calibers:

12 Gauge
16 Gauge
20 Gauge

There are no plans to produce a Load-All II in .410 as this gauge is very difficult to reload.



From the Midway Website:
Quote
The Lee Load-All 2 offers the reloader a an inexpensive option when it comes to making cost effective shotgun shells. This press includes eight shot bushings that measure 7/8, 1, 1-1/8, 1-1/4, 1-1/2, 1-3/4 and 1-7/8 ounces. The 1-7/8 ounce bushing is a small tab that fits inside the charge bar. Also included with this press are sixteen powder bushings that measure: 095, 100, 105, 110, 116, 122, 128, 134, 141, 148, 155, 163, 171, 180, 189 and 198 cubic centimeters. Unlike other more expensive presses the Lee Load-All 2 also comes with 6 and 8 point crimp starters, safety charge bar, steel sizing ring, aluminum plate for primer catcher, spare wad guide, primer guide, spring and pin, one screw and two bolts with locking nuts. Additionally the 12 and 20 gauge models can load 3" shells without needing an expensive conversion kit.

Technical Information:
Press Type: Single Stage
Gauge: 12
Shell Length: 2-3/4", 3"
Frame Material: Steel frame, plastic base
Priming Feature: Single priming the reloader has to place the primer in the press, there is an optional primer feeder available separately
Charge Bar Shot Weight: Comes with 8 shot bushings (7/8, 1, 1-1/8, 1-1/4, 1-1/2, 1-3/4 and 1-7/8 ounces)
Powder Bushings Included: Yes (095, 100, 105, 110, 116, 122, 128, 134, 141, 148, 155, 163, 171, 180, 189 and 198 cubic centimeters)
Gauge Conversions Available: Yes

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