Anyone still use a Lee loader?


November 11, 2007, 05:26 PM
I noticed in the Lee loading book that they give step by step instructions on using the lee loader. It loooks pretty cool and the price is right in my range. Does anyone still use these? I'd like to pick on up to load 30/30's for my Marlin 336 and 38's and 357's for my S&W. Do I need to trim the cases when using the 30/30 loader? Is there anything I should know before I buy and start using one that the lee book dosen't explain?


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November 11, 2007, 06:55 PM
I have several Lee Loaders, 30-30 and 38 special in particular. They work, and do a fair to middling job. On the 30-30, they only resize the neck. I picked up a bunch of brass at a range one time and after resizing, it would not chamber in my gun. A friend full length resized it for me and I didn't have any trouble with it from then on.

The pistol is a full length resize. It takes A LOT of force to resize the case the full length, but it can be done. I also had some problems with primers going off while trying to seat them. Seating a primer by hitting it with a hammer is not the best idea in the world.

Needless to say, reloading with a Lee Loader is slow but it gets the job done.

I finally bought a Lee press and dies for everything I reload. I had a slight problem with seating the primers with it also, but after a close inspection of what was going on and a very minor modification, that went away. It is a pleasure to use. The only problem I have with the press is that it loads stuff to fast and there is not as much time to enjoy reloading.

November 11, 2007, 08:13 PM
YEP Guilty

Super Guilty

I have a Lee Loader for my 30-30
I also have a Lee Target Loader for 30-30

The Lee Target Loader is Awesome. You wont find that anymore.

I also have a Lee press. Do i still use the loaders. YEP

I have done probably around 5000 rounds on a lee loader

Tools to get. Go on there website. You need some more tools. They will all Fit in the lee loader case too.

Case Chamfer and Debur
Lee Primer pocket Tool
Lee Lock stud
Lee case trimmer

The lock stud is needed with the trimmer.

My Lee Target model has everything in it. Including a Case reemer, and the most important a hand primer loader. For 30-30 Cases only.

Later on id recomend getting a hand priming tool. I have never had a primer go off on me. But after a good thousand rounds you will want the hand held primer installer. You will not be able to find the target model loader as they stopped making them about 20 years ago.
Once you start loading with a lee loader you will see it is so easy to do.

The funnel is important because if you lube your cases (which you need to) you will find the powder sticking in the die when you pour it in. The calipers are very important as you need to know how long to seat the bullet. All in all you could spend about 40.00 and have everything you need to make very good quality rounds. Tool wise that is you will still need powder, primers, bullets.

If you get it and need help write to us. i can walk you through it.

lee n. field
November 11, 2007, 09:12 PM
A Lee Hand Press kit + a die set will do you a whole lot more good, for only a few bucks more.

Yes, I've used both. I still use the Hand Press.

November 11, 2007, 09:34 PM
I have also used Lee Loaders but have switched to a Lee Hand Press as well. The Loaders do work, but the Hand Press is much faster and more consistent. For the money, Lee Loaders are fine, but for not too much more, you can get MUCH more in the way of capabilities.

November 12, 2007, 04:38 PM
I have noticed the hand press also and after what I juts read I think that will be the way for me to go. I really want the classic turret from kempfs, but I don't have money for all of that right now. I've got the reloading bug really bad and maybe the hand press will get me by for awhile:)

November 12, 2007, 04:44 PM
A guy at the range today was using a Lee Loader to make rounds for his handgun--looked like a Makarov to me. He was grouping shots by the dozen at the 15-yard line, and then he moved to the 7-yard line and kept on putting them in the center ring. First time I've ever seen a Lee Loader in action.

November 12, 2007, 04:48 PM
I confess to using an original " lee loader " for .308 plinking . Were i to get another one today tho it would be a hand press with a better powder measurement system . In fact i belive ill do just that for even my single loaded .308s .

November 12, 2007, 05:24 PM
Last year I gave a couple of them to my nephews for Christmas. I think it's a great way to introduce others to reloading and let them decide if it's something they're interested in without spending much money. They're slow but can make pretty decent ammo.

Carl N. Brown
November 12, 2007, 06:31 PM
I use Lee Loaders in
.38 Special/.357;
.303 British;
6.5 Carcano;
.32 S&W Long.

The weird part is, I use components from the .38Spl and .32S&W Long
kit to necksize 7.62x25 empties to reload for C96 Broomhandle Mauser,
as well as necksize .30 M1 carbine cases fired originally in my carbine
and load pulled 7.62mm Tokarev bullets for plinking rounds for the carbine.

Reloading with the classic Leeloader lets me smack things with a mallet.
It is great stress relief.

November 13, 2007, 10:36 AM
I don't use it any more but still have the one I used for my very first reloads. May be a bit slow but if it was all I had I'd still use it.:)

November 13, 2007, 10:46 AM

Yours is a new one -- my first one was in a cardboard box!!!

November 13, 2007, 10:51 AM
Have a hand press and the classic loader. I did a batch of 25 .357 Magnums yesterday on the classic loader - to be honest, because I didn't want to fiddle with the dies I have set up for .38 Special in the hand press. I works fine, and it is fun. I don't know that I would want to do hundreds of rounds at a time, but it's enjoyable.

To be honest, I'll take out the hand press and decap a whole buncha cases at one time. I can do that watching TV or listening to the radio or watching the kids in the driveway. If I'm on a roll, I'll use the hand press to prime, too. Then I have primed, ready-to-go cases.

Then I'll bust out the classic loader. One tap and it's flared. I use the dippers (the .5cc scoop with AA#5 gives me plenty of ooomph for a range round - and yes, I have weighed the load of powder and yes, it's fairly consistent with what it should be, right at 8 grains for a 158 LSWC.) The hardest part is figuring out how much of a tap to give it to crimp the bullet. Tap too hard, and it has a REALLY hard crimp. So, I would give it a few taps, pull the cartridge to check, tap some more, check, and so on until I had the idea of about how much force to use. I did the 20 rounds yesterday in about 30 minutes.

If you're on a tight budget, the classic loader is OK. Check wiedeners - they had them for about $10 when I ordered mine this summer.

And, by the way, you CAN use the .38 Special loader to do .357s and vice versa. You do NOT need to order separate ones. I called Lee and asked - the difference is in the size scoop you get and the load chart. Email me or PM me if you want more info about it.

Best wishes,

Mike 56
November 23, 2007, 01:06 AM
I have Lee Loaders in 30/30, 45ACP and 7.62x54R. I enjoy using then once in a while. The 54R Lee loader i use for a neck sizing die and seat the bullets in my press. It takes about the same amount of time as using a sizing die considering you don't have to lube the cases and i always deprime the cases before cleaning the cases anyway.


November 23, 2007, 11:11 AM
yes i have one. i am not impressed. it will reload, and if it was the only thing available, it gets the job done. not really what i would call high quality reloading, but you can shoot the ammo it makes. would be ok for wilderness or hunting cabin situations i suppose. mostly, i use the decapping part of it so i can tumble my brass, and not contaminate my good reloading dies.

November 23, 2007, 12:06 PM
I like the Lee Loader, it offers a lot of value for the small investment. For the difference, I like the Lyman 310 tool. Lyman 310 Tool ( The FAQ's from Lyman's website give some example of how these tools are used. Lyman 310 tool faqs (

November 23, 2007, 12:26 PM
I picked up a whole boxful of lee loaders in various calibers (the old cardborad box ones) recently at auction. I don't think I'll ever use them, but they look sort of neat around the garage.

I even got one in 221 Fireball (and had to look it up, LOL).

If you want one to play with PM me, I'm sure I'd turn em loose cheap.

John C
November 23, 2007, 05:37 PM

Just out of curiousity, which ones do you have?


November 23, 2007, 05:42 PM
I just answered a PM on em so they might be gone, John, but I've got the following atm.

.45 long colt
12ga shotshell
16ga shotshell
.348 Winchester
.221 fireball

I enjoy their nostalgia factor, but I'm probably too lazy to be bothered with loading with em.

*edit* All gone.

fearless leader
November 24, 2007, 11:07 AM
I used a Lee Loader in .45 ACP, but it was an awful lot of effort for so few rounds. I think in 2 hours, I could crank out 50.

I bought a press and it really sped things up. My personal favorite is the Lyman T-Mag. I tried the Lee Progressive 1000, but found it problematic. I had to keep stopping and taking it apart to clear powder that would somehow spill into the mechanism as the case that had just been charged would not come out very smoothly, and a few grains of powder was always getting in sensitive areas.
If I used a Lee Loader today, I'd be in a rubber room, I'm sure.
Their little single stage press is hard to beat though.

November 24, 2007, 11:18 AM
me too
i prep my brass on the press ,prime ,then go to the range with a 38 set to develop loads with different powders (one powder at a time though) after i hit upon a load i like i load em on the press ,& find no difference in the accuracy or quality of rounds
i also have a set in dirty-30,06 &44.


November 24, 2007, 06:39 PM
I've got one in .32 Win Spec and another in .30-06 (which I don't a gun for).

I load 100-200 rounds of .32 Win Spec a year, so for low volume the Lee Loader is great.

It's also a great tool for learning the basics of metallic reloading and/or developing loads.

November 25, 2007, 03:24 PM
I've used one in the past for my 30/06. Was up to loading a box of 20 in an hour. Now I have a press, but to this day, I've never loaded anything more accurate than what I could do with that little $15 loading package.

The only reason that I went to the press was to get the full length sizing. Other than that, I would highly recommend the Lee.

Peter M. Eick
November 25, 2007, 04:18 PM
Yep, used it today to do a couple of quick 9mm's to test a theory out. Works well if you only have to do a few.

November 25, 2007, 04:33 PM
Also works well if you are broke/cheap, like me. I've probably dropped just a little over $200 on reloading/casting equipment. I can do a box of .38 spl for $2.50 using salvaged brass. Saves about $10.00 per box.

Doing bulk pistol rounds on a Lee Loader sucks. If you have more time than money, however (like me), then it's nice to have around.

November 25, 2007, 06:30 PM
Ok then add casting your own bullets which cost you pennies. Then all you need is the powder and primers. When doing loads like for the 9mm or for a 38. They hardly use any powder so you are saving so much money. Making great ammunition. On a 10-20$ tool. All its costing you is the time to do it. Kinda like the old saying. you either have a lot of time and no money or no time and a lot of money. either way that lee loader really fits in the budget. I hear that eventually the lee loader will be phased out from production. When it comes down to that im going to buy as many and as much as i can. Its just one of those you have to have. I currently have 3 of them. I just need to get 3 more.

November 25, 2007, 08:06 PM
I get my best accuracy from my .303 with a lee loader. It only sizes the neck. Yes, it's slow but I'm not loading a whole bunch of ammo either. It gets the job done.

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