> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Lee Loader - 12 Gauge



Lee Loader - 12 Gauge

Heading down the black hole that is reloading...

I've been looking for a decent price on one of these for a while. 'round about when Dave Canterbury started promoting the 12 gauge single as the ultimate survival firearm and running through a variety of field expedient reloading methods, these long out of production reloading kits started selling like hotcakes - commonly in the $75+ range.

This one ran me around $35 on eBay. There are a couple nice ones up there now in a similar price range right now.

Look at that honest wear...isn't it purty?

If you've never seen a Lee shotgun loader at work, I've embedded a video tutorial from YouTube after the jump. Shotgun reloading is very simple - you just need to stick to the recommended recipe. You can get even more basic than the Lee loader, but the Lee can give you a more refined, finished looking end product.

If you're just looking to reload shotgun shells from home on a bench, this system really offers no advantage to something like a $50 Lee Load-All. The portability and field expediency factor are what make the Lee Loader in 12 gauge interesting.

While not particularly fast, you can kick out around a 25-shell box in around half an hour. If you're a high volume skeet shooter, that's not going to work. But, for the occasional shotgunner or putting food on the table, a box of shells in a half an hour isn't bad.

Note: Duelist is loading a black powder shell above, so he uses a modified procedure and doesn't rely on the Lee Loader's scoopers for loading the shell.

I'm sure more than a few folks reading this have hammered out a few shells with the Lee Loader - happy to hear your experiences, what you use the kit for, etc.


  1. I purchased a few of these kits in popular rounds around our area, I think there will be a market for them. Very slow compared to bench mounted units, but try carrying them in the field when you want to experiment right now. The Lee Field Press is cool, but this one is even more compact and has everything you need (less a powder scale but the scoops do a pretty good job).

    Nice find.

  2. jeepboy1991April 10, 2014

    I purchased a 12 and a 20 gauge lee loader back in the 1980's when I first got into reloading. They are slow but work great. I upgraded to a lee Load-All II for faster loading and still use it.
    I still use the shot scoops from the lee loader for loading my brass shell black powder loads for cowboy action shooting. (I use the volume of powder and shot method for black powder loads, if you are going to load black powder do the research first).
    Lee Precision has extensive data for what charges of smokeless powder their scoops throw. I have used the scoops and if you develop consistent technique you can throw really accurate repeat amounts of powder. I loaded a lot of shotshells over the decades with them.
    My reloading over the last few years has really been in support of my cowboy action shooting and specifically loading black powder cartridges and shotshells using American Pioneer Powder black powder substute. One of the things about APP as opposed to black powder or pyrodex is it works with modern bullet lubes on cast bullets. use black or pyrodex with modern smokeless lube and you get a gooey sticky mess that fouls the barrel and action in less than a dozen shots. They need spg lube to work.
    Lee no longer makes the lee loader for shotgun but they are out there used. If you are going to explore this way of reloading, I must suggest a good reloading manual as your first investment. Lee's modern reloading 2nd edition is good but there are others out there.
    Lee Precision's home page is http://leeprecision.com/ and has lots of good information available.

    1. Thanks for your comment!

      Agree on the need for a reloading manual. A good scale, too!

    2. jeepboy1991April 10, 2014

      yes a good scale is a must, the rcbs and lyman scales are good the lee scale is not nearly as good. the new electronic rcbs and lyman scales are supposed to be good but I have no experience with them.
      If you are going to be loading rifle and pistol loads with smokeless powder ignore my comments about black powder, get a good manual from lyman, rcbs or lee and do your homework. You can make ammo just as good as the factory stuff for less money. It really is that easy

  3. This is an excellent idea. I'd like to get one of these plus some pyrodex and lead shot. Been meaning to get a single shot 12 gauge for awhile now to go all Dave Canterbury. This would fit that mold well.

  4. jeepboy1991April 11, 2014

    I have been told by some of my cowboy action shooters that most of the shooters who are NOT using "Holy Black" (actual black powder) are using triple -7 black powder substute rather than Pyrodex. My understanding is that pyrodex has really fallen out of favor except with the muzzle loader crowd. They still seem to use it a lot.
    I will need to do some homework on Triple -7 and find out more about it