There are a variety of reasons to reload, from saving money to precision control over rounds, and if you’re a sport shooter or hunter, this Lee Precision II Shotshell Reloading Press in 12 gauge capacity is a great choice. Don’t be dissuaded by the belief that set-up costs are prohibitive – because they don’t have to be – or think it’s too complex for the average shooter, because it isn’t. The learning curve is a short one, and if you simply follow the directions and pay attention to data, you’ll be reloading your shotgun shells like a pro in no time.
It was 1958 when Richard Lee founded the Lee reloading business. Although it got its start in Richard Lee’s personal workshop, it wasn’t long before the company began to flourish. Lee was first known for their shotgun shell press the Lee Loader, but by the 1960’s they’d grown to include rifle and pistol reloaders.
And by the middle of the next decade, the first Lee Load-All for shotgun shells came into being; that is where this particular reloading press got its start. Today they’re headquartered in Hartford, Wisconsin, and for more than 50 years they’ve been building their solid reputation for producing quality reloading presses at competitive prices.
According to the company, shotgun shells made using a Lee Load-All such as this have greater uniformity both in velocity and patterning. There are a multitude of presses on the market, but no one can claim the rich history and experience of a Lee Precision press, and where others cost upwards of $200, Lee takes care to keep their products affordably priced. This press is designed so using it is a logical process, making it fantastic for new reloaders, and has a variety of remarkable features, all meant to make entering the world of shotshell reloading easier on you.
Features and Accessories of the Lee Load All:
- Single-stage press
- Dimensions: 8.6”x19.2”x3.6” and 4 lbs.
- Reloads standard 2 ¾” shells and can be adjusted for 3” shell as well
- Rated by Lee for reloading as many as 200 shotgun shells an hour
- Hopper capable of holding 5 lbs. of shot
- Simple, affordable gauge conversion
- Primer feeder available as an optional feature which removes the need to touch the primer at any stage of reloading
- 6 and 8-point crimp starters
- Steel sizing ring
- Primer guide (single primer process with optional feeder)
- Built-in aluminum-plate primer catcher
- Extra wad guide
- 1 screw and 2 bolts w/locking nuts
- Steel frame
- Gauge conversion kits available
- 24 shot and powder bushings included (listed below)
- 7/8, 1, 1-1/8, 1-1/4, 1-1/2, 1-3/4, 1-7/8 oz.
Powder bushings included:
- 095, 100, 105, 110, 116, 122, 128, 134, 141, 148, 155, 163, 171, 180, 189, 198 cu. cm.
Pros and Cons of the Lee Shotshell Reloader
Perhaps the most immediately obvious pro of this Lee shotgun reloading press is its exceptional value. It’s made to stringent standards by an established company, yet it’s economically priced; it pays for itself within approximately the first 100 reloaded shells. The reloading process is made easy with this platform as well, with new users praising its simplicity and smooth functioning.
In addition, this press produces near-factory quality shells and performs many tasks, including measuring powder, seating the wad, pre-crimping 6 or 8-fold plastic shells and performing the finishing crimp. It fits 2 ¾” shells, which are the most commonly used, and also takes 3” shells. And then there’s the fact that Lee supplies dozens of bushings with the purchase of the machine. From other manufacturers bushings can cost several dollars apiece, and Lee provides them for free – and they’re molded bushings, something only Lee supplies.
There are few complaints about this shotgun reloading press, and for the most part it comes down to one thing: time. The various steps involved using a single-stage press will always take more time than a more expensive, complicated progressive press, however, when taking more time you have greater control over details. Precise control over each stage of reloading should never be seen as a hindrance but should be seen as an advantage. And although emptying the powder or shot hopper requires covering — whichever you don’t wish to empty to prevent spillage that is a small trade-off for Lee precision.
Looking for a 20 Gauge Shotshell Reloading Press Instead?
As an alternative, you can opt for the Lee 20 gauge shotshell reloading press with 24 shot and powder bushings. It’s a safe and sturdy complete solution for casual and experience shotgun reloaders. This Lee Load All can handle thousands of rounds and while it may look like a lower quality press compared to others in its class, the performance is certainly on par with theirs for half the cost.
The Bottom Line
Overall, this is a great machine for the average hobbyist. It comes with some accessories other similar presses do not, such as the dozens of molded bushings, and is competitively priced. And, of course, every Lee Reloading product comes with an unconditional guarantee, which is good for 2 years, as well as a limited lifetime guarantee. Their customer service is excellent, turnaround is fast, and they truly stand behind their tools. This item is also available in 20-gauge; if you plan to reload a number of shells in both gauges, it makes good sense to purchase both presses rather than simply getting a conversion kit.
If you’re a shotgun reloader looking for a reliable press made with pride in America by a reputable company – and you don’t want to spend vast quantities of money to get started – go with the company trusted by generations of shotshell reloaders before you. Go with Lee.
If you’re on the fence and looking for something more along the lines of a beginner press, stay in the Lee family and opt for the Lee Precision 50th Anniversary Reloading Kit. It’s got everything you need in one single stage press package to get you on you way to creating ammo in a hurry. Check out more details in our full review