The First Lee Loader?


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confederatemule
July 16, 2011, 09:35 AM
I'm not into reloading yet, but, I am intrigued by the Lee Loader. I'd like to have one for every caliber and gauge that I have. Or that my family has.

My question is which is the oldest? The kit in the black cardboard box? The kit in the red plastic box? The deluxe kit?

Mule

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Mal H
July 16, 2011, 09:44 AM
The kits in the cardboard boxes were the first ones sold by Lee. I think they started selling them in the '60's.

Quoheleth
July 16, 2011, 09:46 AM
You can call Lee and ask. My experience is that they have always been very helpful and friendly.

Q

dbarnhart
July 16, 2011, 09:57 AM
The one on the cardboard box with the black lid is the original. 35 years ago I loaded many a 45 ACP round in one. I'd like to find one of those old original Lee Loaders in 45 ACP just for nostalgia reasons. I don't think I'd ever go back to using one on a regular basis though.

confederatemule
July 16, 2011, 10:32 AM
Thanks to all, for the answers.

Quoheleth, I'll call Monday.

Mule

psyshack
July 16, 2011, 12:18 PM
Here is a old kit propping up my CZ-52.

http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/638/medium/S7300406.JPG

It is a .45acp kit that stays in my bug out bag with my 1950's 1911 with ammo and consumables.

It is also the very first reloading tool I ever bought.

confederatemule
July 18, 2011, 10:27 AM
I called Lee Precision today. I just talked to the Lady that answered the phone. She could not give me dates.

All Lee Loaders for Shotgun shells were made by Lee Custom Engineering. The Deluxe model Lee Loader being made after the Lee Loader. Lee Custom Engineering also made Lee Loaders for [cartridges] pistols, revolvers and rifles.

All Lee Loaders in cardboard boxes were made by Lee Custom Engineering. The red box being older than the black box.

All Lee Loaders in see through red plastic boxes were made by Lee Precision. The see through red plastic boxes with clear lids came before the see through red boxes with red lids. Lee Precision makes Lee Loaders for [cartridges] pistols, revolvers and rifles, only. No shotshells.

All of this information may not be exact, but I did not want to bother an important member of the organization with such trivial, unimportant junk. And, there is the possibility that I may have misunderstood.

Although, I really would like to know. I'll keep searching. I may end up calling back, someday.

Mule

mgmorden
July 18, 2011, 11:08 AM
Are you looking at them more so as collectors items or for general purpose loading tools? If the former, then carry on - collecting things is a fun hobby onto itself. If for loading tools, truthfully, my recommendation is to skip the loader and get a basic singlestage press. Lee makes a cheap C-frame one that retails with their loading manual for around $30. Get that and for each additional round you want to load for you only need a die set (and Lee's basic "RGB" die sets are around $15 or less for each set, which is basically what a loader would cost).

That'll be equipment that will give you a little more control over your loadings and will stick with you as you "graduate" up to more advanced stuff. Don't get me wrong, you'll be able to load perfectly working ammo with the Lee Loaders - it's just that if you ever chose to move beyond them you'll have a lot of money invested that won't carry over to your new equipment.

confederatemule
July 18, 2011, 11:59 AM
Are you looking at them more so as collectors items or for general purpose loading tools? If the former, then carry on - collecting things is a fun hobby onto itself. If for loading tools, truthfully, my recommendation is to skip the loader and get a basic singlestage press. Lee makes a cheap C-frame one that retails with their loading manual for around $30. Get that and for each additional round you want to load for you only need a die set (and Lee's basic "RGB" die sets are around $15 or less for each set, which is basically what a loader would cost).

That'll be equipment that will give you a little more control over your loadings and will stick with you as you "graduate" up to more advanced stuff. Don't get me wrong, you'll be able to load perfectly working ammo with the Lee Loaders - it's just that if you ever chose to move beyond them you'll have a lot of money invested that won't carry over to your new equipment.
I'd like to do both. My better judgment says; "STOP!. Buy a press!". But, my not so good judgment says; "Go ahead and buy a Lee Loader for everything you have! It ain't nothin but money that you don't need to spend!"

snuffy
July 18, 2011, 12:28 PM
I'd like to do both. My better judgment says; "STOP!. Buy a press!". But, my not so good judgment says; "Go ahead and buy a Lee Loader for everything you have! It ain't nothin but money that you don't need to spend!"

I suppose you know this, but the cardboard box lee loaders use a mallet and a block of wood to load everything. The block of wood is to protect the dining room table when you sit down to load. Also, the lee loaders ONLY neck size. You MUST be loading shells fired in your gun, since they don't full length re-size, they won't reduce an oversize case that's bigger than your chamber.

The boxes made of plastic are for standard loading dies made for a press. Recent lee manufactured dies have the needed shell holder included with the dies.

confederatemule
July 18, 2011, 04:46 PM
I suppose you know this, but the cardboard box lee loaders use a mallet and a block of wood to load everything. The block of wood is to protect the dining room table when you sit down to load. Also, the lee loaders ONLY neck size. You MUST be loading shells fired in your gun, since they don't full length re-size, they won't reduce an oversize case that's bigger than your chamber.

The boxes made of plastic are for standard loading dies made for a press. Recent lee manufactured dies have the needed shell holder included with the dies.
Yes, sir, I am aware of the short comings of a Lee Loader and the fact that a hammer serves as the press.

The Lee Loader manufactured by Lee Precision are packaged in a plastic box, as are the Lee Precision standard loading dies made for the presses.

mdi
July 18, 2011, 04:57 PM
Lee Loaders also came/come in red plastic boxes, I have several. I believe my first, in '70 came in the cardboard box with black lid. Many (most?) Lee die sets come in the round, red plastic containers.

I tried my 30-30 Lee Loader the other day for a short run of ammo and was surprised (remembered) how easy it is to use (Neck sizing is ok for me as I'm reloading for a single shot.).

clutch
July 18, 2011, 05:04 PM
My first reloading solution was a Lee Loader for a 7.7 Arisaka. It worked fine, I still have both eyes.

Today, I'd buy dies and a Lee hand press and skip the Lee Loader but then today, I'm not living as close to broke as I was 32 years ago.

confederatemule
July 18, 2011, 05:38 PM
I am broke, but, I am intrigued with the Lee Loader. For cartridges and Shotshell.

mgmorden
July 18, 2011, 06:41 PM
Many (most?) Lee die sets come in the round, red plastic containers.

Their 3-die sets come in those. Their "regular" 2-die sets come in flat red plastic boxes. Their RGB 2-die sets (basically their budgets sets that only include a fl-sizer and seater - no shellholder or crimp die) come in the same type of boxes by they're green. Their 4-die sets come in a larger flat box. Single-die items vary. I bought one of their universal decappers and it came in a 2-die box with one slot left open. I also bought a Ram-prime but it came in a plastic tube with a cap.

I personally can't stand the round containers. For stacking dies on a shelf they just don't store well at all. For all my Lee dies that came in those I actually bought some empty Lyman die boxes that lay flat and moved my dies over to those. :)

RandyP
July 18, 2011, 11:46 PM
The whack-a-mole Lee Loader is a very clever device. Simple as a rock and it works.

For actual reloading however I'd suggest at the minimum spending the $82 and buying the complete Lee Anniversary single stage kit from :

https://factorysales.com/html/xcart/catalog/anivers.html

Add dies, components and maybe a nice $8 Harbor Freght digital caliper and a person would be good to go.

confederatemule
July 19, 2011, 10:16 AM
The whack-a-mole Lee Loader is a very clever device. Simple as a rock and it works.

For actual reloading however I'd suggest at the minimum spending the $82 and buying the complete Lee Anniversary single stage kit from :

https://factorysales.com/html/xcart/catalog/anivers.html

Add dies, components and maybe a nice $8 Harbor Freght digital caliper and a person would be good to go.
It ain't the cost. I've already spent more than a 4-hole turret press set up would of cost.

LordDunsany
July 20, 2011, 05:56 PM
'Whack-a-Mole'... I like that.

The Lee Loader was my first reloading setup and I must have reloaded several thousand rounds for my first 1911 using old military brass with that rig. I reloaded for several calibers before I had the finances to get a proper reloading press setup.

Even now I have about ten of these loaders for the calibers I use most, and still reload my 30.30 hunting ammo with one, been using the same brass for years. I worked up a good load using IMR3031 and made a custom powder dipper. This simple setup brings home the venison and bacon (we have hogs!) every year.

Ron in Texas

confederatemule
July 20, 2011, 06:26 PM
Thanks to all for the continued posts and information.

andrewstorm
July 20, 2011, 07:46 PM
ill take one in 41 colt,please ,...........if i ever find one ill be a happy plinker:D

CHALK22
July 20, 2011, 10:39 PM
I personally can't stand the round containers. For stacking dies on a shelf they just don't store well at all. :)

BUT they do work well for storing your dies in the extra 3 or 4 hole turrets for your Lee turret. Turn the bottom of the round case over, and put your loaded turret in, throw the cover on, and there you go! Instant turret storage!

cheech
July 22, 2011, 05:37 PM
I've been reloading for years now and have a single stage RCBS press as well as a Hornady LNL progressive. I load everything from .223 to .458 Win Mag. I recently bought a 45-70 trapdoor and wanted to reload for that as well so I bought the shell plate for my LNL but I also bought a Lee Loader. I love it. It's nice to be able to reload in the back yard on a nice day while hanging out. It's a nice way to pass the time and I really enjoy it. The only thing with the 45-70 Lee Loader is because the case needs to be flared, you have to run it through the expander die. Or, do what I did and order the 45-70 flaring tool (about the size of a 45 ACP cartridge) for the Loader. I ordered mine on Monday and had it Thursday and it cost $13.00 including shipping. Now I have a complete reloading bench for my 45-70 right in my back yard whenever I want it. You won't crank out a lot of cartridges, but you'll thoroughly enjoy making the ones you do. Get one.

confederatemule
July 22, 2011, 06:54 PM
I've been reloading for years now and have a single stage RCBS press as well as a Hornady LNL progressive. I load everything from .223 to .458 Win Mag. I recently bought a 45-70 trapdoor and wanted to reload for that as well so I bought the shell plate for my LNL but I also bought a Lee Loader. I love it. It's nice to be able to reload in the back yard on a nice day while hanging out. It's a nice way to pass the time and I really enjoy it. The only thing with the 45-70 Lee Loader is because the case needs to be flared, you have to run it through the expander die. Or, do what I did and order the 45-70 flaring tool (about the size of a 45 ACP cartridge) for the Loader. I ordered mine on Monday and had it Thursday and it cost $13.00 including shipping. Now I have a complete reloading bench for my 45-70 right in my back yard whenever I want it. You won't crank out a lot of cartridges, but you'll thoroughly enjoy making the ones you do. Get one.
You summed it up nicely. I've not, yet, loaded a cartridge or shell, but when I do, I'd like to be able to do it where ever I might be. With a borrowed dozier I pushed out a firing lane through my wooded property beside the house. It stops down at the creek. A little over 100 yards, I figger, I ain't never measured it to be exact. There will be a shed [roof] to shoot under with a shooting bench and a picnic table to load/visit/rest at. The shed is just a formality cause the sun has to work to get in. There is one disadvantage, though. Skeeters. Although, because of all the medicine I take they seldom/never bite me, just buzz and light.
Thanks for your opinion, cheech.

Mule

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