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Lee Shotshell Reloaders - Load-Fast vs. Load-All II

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Liberty4Ever, Dec 27, 2006.

  1. Liberty4Ever

    Liberty4Ever Well-Known Member

    I bought a used Lee Load-Fast shot shell reloader on eBay a few years ago and am just now starting to set it up. It was pretty much free if I consider the 1000 hulls and 500 wads that were also in the auction. I bought some steel shot and some other supplies, and a primer feeder. I need a box of primers, and I'm ready to go.

    In researching the press and other reasonably priced alternatives, I found three models of Lee shot shell presses.

    1) Lee Loader - Uses a hammer to assemble the shells.

    2) Lee Load-Fast - An eight stage fully progressive press.

    3) Lee Load-All - Multi-stage press with manual shell advance between stations.

    4) Lee Load-All II - Same as #3, with improvements

    I think the Load-All II is the only version Lee currently makes, and there is an upgrade kit available to convert the Load-All to the Load-All II.

    I compared the directions for the Load-Fast I have with the Load-All II. Even though the Load-Fast is old and discontinued, it seems better than the Load-All II. The Load-Fast is fully progressive, so every pull of the handle produces a shot shell. It auto advances, so I don't need to move shells from station to station manually. The Load-Fast has a resizing die like brass cartridge reloading presses and the Load-All II uses a steel collar that is placed over the hull in one station and removed in the other, which is one more manual operation and a loose part to misplace. The all steel construction makes the Load-Fast very rigid, while the Load-All II has an injection molded base and a square steel tubing column. I assume it's up to the forces needed to reload shot shells, but the Load-Fast seems more rigid and probably more durable in the long run?

    I'm not posting this to say how smart I was when I bought the Load-Fast. I really didn't know what I was doing. What I'd like to know is, what am I missing here? Was the only reason that Lee moved to the simpler Load-All to cut costs by reducing part count, number of machined parts and complexity? Or were there some design issues in the Load-Fast that made it problematic, and I should just buy a Load-All II and start with the latest version? It's only $35.

    One possible problem with the Load-Fast is the shell carrier. The shells insert up from the bottom and they fall out the bottom after reloading. If there was a problem in the progressive reloading process and the press jammed, I think the entire column would need to be pulled off the top to unload the press. In practice, is that an issue that's likely to be a problem?

    I'll probably reload some shells with bird shot, and a few manually loaded with buck shot, but I expect most of my reloading will be one ounce slugs I cast myself.
  2. rdmerhar

    rdmerhar New Member

    I just acquired a Lee Load-Fast and was hoping you or another could share their experience with this equipment.
  3. hangfirew8

    hangfirew8 New Member

    I would love to add some real info to this thread, but I typed in a long, detailed response, hit go advanced, it told me I was logged out, and hitting the BACK button revealed everything I typed was GONE. Yes, I checked the checkbox when logging in.

    a 15 year Load Fast II user who doesn't like poorly implemented forums.
  4. snuffy

    snuffy Well-Known Member

    Frustrating ain't it? But the OP has most likely had his questions answered in 3 years! As has the person from 11 months ago.

    Actually this is the first time I ever heard of a load fast from lee.
  5. Starter52

    Starter52 Well-Known Member

    The original Lee Load-All that I bought back in 1970 is still serving me well after 10,000+ shotshell rounds. I never even bothered with the primer feed upgrade.
  6. Liberty4Ever

    Liberty4Ever Well-Known Member

    Thanks for posting to tell us you aren't going to be posting!

    I bought a couple of minor parts from Lee that I needed to get the used Load Fast back into operation, but I purchased the Load All II anyway for it's simplicity. It's basically the difference between a progressive press (Load Fast) and a single stage press (Load All II). I never mounted the Load Fast press to my reloading bench so I never had the opportunity to try it. I mounted the Load All II to a 24" section of wood that I glued up from a scrap of lumber I found in the dumpster behind Lowes! I use quick clamps to clamp the Load All II to the desk in front of my computer and I've loaded a lot of 12 gauge shot shells there... mostly the 7/8 ounce and 1 ounce slugs I cast in Lee slug molds. I even made a video demonstrating the Load All II.


    I suspect that Lee abandoned the progressive Load Fast press when they realized that their Load All II was the 80/20 solution, providing 80% of the ideal solution for their customers at 20% of the cost. I'd guess that a lot of the small market for progressive shot shell presses would go to MEC, and now Dillon. Lee would probably prefer to own almost 100% of the much larger market for inexpensive "good enough" reloading presses.

    There is definitely something to be said for the simplicity of the Load All II. There's very little to go wrong with it, and I suspect that the time that would be saved with a fast progressive press would be spent maintaining that more complicated press and futzing with it whenever something goes wrong in the reloading process. The Load All II is elegantly simple, and Lee was ruthless when reducing the cost of the product while keeping the needed features and surprisingly, the reliability and durability. My Load All II has been 100% reliable. At this point, if it broke, I've more than gotten my money's worth out of the press. I'd simply spend another $40 and buy another just like it, but I can't see any signs of wear or anything that's likely to break.

    My concern over lost parts in my initial post was for naught. The Load All II has a little storage area on the top where the parts are stored. For better organization, I used a Forstner bit to bore round pockets along the back edge of the board where I mounted my press, and I put the bushings in there, arranged by size. In practice, I use the same powder and the same bushing for the same load, and I almost always load slugs, which are a lot more fun to shoot than bird shot. I mostly shoot stuff like helium tanks. :cool:

  7. Geneseo1911

    Geneseo1911 Well-Known Member

    Wow; never heard of the load-fast.

    I've loaded several thousand rounds on my Load-All II, and it's still working just fine, although it is starting to get a little loose around the joints. I'd have a MEC 9000 if I could afford it, but there's other priorities right now.

    If you still have that load-fast, and have no use for it, I might be interested in it; shoot me a PM. I've generally had very good luck with Lee equipment, and that load-fast sounds like something I'd enjoy tinkering with.
  8. JimKirk

    JimKirk Well-Known Member

    If I'm ever replying to a post and I think it may be long reply, I high light and copy with my right mouse click. If the net goes bonk or blinks for a second then all I have to do is "paste". I may lose some but not all that I have typed.

    Jimmy K

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