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Old June 8, 2021, 07:53 PM   #1
pathdoc
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Lee Load-All 2: In Praise of the Plastic Fantastic.

First let me acknowledge that I am well aware of the machine's limitations, flaws and idiosyncrasies.

However, I think the beast needs to be given credit where it is due. When I bought it, it was an inexpensive way to introduce myself to shotshell reloading and see whether that was something I really wanted to take on without too much sunk cost if I found myself in over my head.

I recently picked up shotshell reloading again after a seven year break, and it was to the Lee that I first returned for a slower, gentler reintroduction.

The machine itself is simple to operate, and the lack of adjustments to make (when compared to the MEC 600 Jr Mk5 I later bought to handle my .410 loads) makes it even simpler. Yes, the whole "take the thing half to pieces to get the powder and shot bushings in" business can be annoying, and the inability to simply disconnect the powder and shot reservoirs to change the bushings for both can also be a hassle, but once you've settled on a load, it's not hard to get into a rhythm that loads enough ammo for the casual shotgunner in a reasonable space of time.

The process runs in a straight line from left to right, which makes it easy and logical, rather than proceeding in a clockwise circuit as with the MEC (effectively right to left).

The bushing-based loading table included with the device does not include all powders, but it does list many of the common ones. At least for the 12-gauge, the table is completely independent of wad and primer types (though this is not the case for the 16 and 20 gauge), and it's evident that some work has gone into compiling the table to produce safe loads in the broad range of hulls.

The tables are divided into columns for paper shells/paper basewad plastic shells and plastic wad/compression formed shells in various dram equivalents. It's not hard to find combinations of shot weight and powder type that are fully compatible with loading into either type of hull with the same powder bushing, and which in a few cases even give the same dram equivalent. The only downside is that these tables don't go down to 7/8oz, in which case you're in the situation of having to actually weigh the powder charge a particular bushing is dropping and verify that it's within safe limits for the lighter shot charge.

I would imagine that reducing the shot weight for the same powder charge and primer MUST automatically lower the peak breech pressure, but I wouldn't lightly try to extrapolate beyond the bounds Lee has set, even at the light end.

I know people like to swear at this plastic monstrosity, but I think it has a right and proper place at the amateur or occasional shotgunner's reloading bench. I only wish there was a variant in .410.
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Old June 9, 2021, 04:57 PM   #2
Don Fischer
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I had two of those, a 12ga and a 20ga. Kept me in useable shells for a long time!
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Old June 9, 2021, 06:04 PM   #3
ChasHam
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Yup, original Load All was my intro to reloading in general. Great little machine; used it for years and years, reloaded boxes and boxes!

Foolishly sold it when I got my Mec...
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Old June 9, 2021, 08:21 PM   #4
FITASC
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I had one - for about a month and then I decided I really wanted to load more than 1-2 boxes of dove loads and moved on.

Sorry, but that plastic/zinc POS isn't worth what you paid for it - you're better off buying some factory if you shoot a few boxes per year.. If you shoot more than that, get a MEC basic 600 Jr.
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Old June 10, 2021, 05:13 PM   #5
Don Fischer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FITASC View Post
I had one - for about a month and then I decided I really wanted to load more than 1-2 boxes of dove loads and moved on.

Sorry, but that plastic/zinc POS isn't worth what you paid for it - you're better off buying some factory if you shoot a few boxes per year.. If you shoot more than that, get a MEC basic 600 Jr.
Please, if you have something on your mind just throw it out there. Don't be bashful!
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Old June 11, 2021, 09:04 AM   #6
cdoc42
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I started with a Load-All in 12/20 GA but I was never happy with the quality of the crimp, so I switched to a Mec 600 Jr. Eventually I moved up to the Mec semi-auto model where one completed cartridge is produced with every cycle. But I could never count on the primers falling into proper position, no matter how many times I adjusted it. Finally one day, it jammed during use and a piece broke off or got bent - I never went any further to look into it. It sits on the bench collecting dust these days. I went back to the Mec 600.
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Old June 11, 2021, 01:02 PM   #7
Average Joe
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My Load ALL has reloaded thousands of shells without a hiccup.say what you want, it works.
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Old June 11, 2021, 03:31 PM   #8
FITASC
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With no adjustability or precision - it is all about trying to get the right "feel". A MEC Jr isn't that much more and will last for you, your grandkids and their grandkids. Except for the bottles, they are virtually indestructible.
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Old June 12, 2021, 06:32 AM   #9
pathdoc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FITASC View Post
With no adjustability or precision - it is all about trying to get the right "feel". A MEC Jr isn't that much more and will last for you, your grandkids and their grandkids. Except for the bottles, they are virtually indestructible.
I did in fact go on to buy a MEC for 12G, having got used to what the .410 one could do. I maintain that the Load-All 2 is the friendlier option for the beginner/returning shotshell reloader.

I got into shotshell reloading (a) to give it a go and (b) to make myself independent of the stores if they ran out, had shut for the day, or didn't have exactly what I wanted. Turning out box after box of reloaded hulls in the shortest possible time was not my need, nor my intention.

The one particular downside I have found with the MEC is that if you change hull brands, the machine might need tweaking, as I discovered switching between Federal and Winchester hulls on the .410 model. The "go by feel" of the Lee actually puts it at an advantage in such a situation. Yes, I know the cure for that is to only ever shoot the same hull, but not all of us have the reloader's Valhalla of regularly active clubs near us with bins full of fired hulls ready to scavenge when our current batch is beyond reasonable salvage; we have to pick up what's actually there.
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Old June 14, 2021, 08:51 AM   #10
Mike Irwin
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Back in the late 1970s my Dad and I got into shooting shotgun games on a fairly regular basis. Nothing truly competitive, but pick up leagues at a couple of sportsmen's associations.

To supply it, we got a Load All II.

Our standard club load was an AA hull, 1 1/4 ounce of 7.5 shot, 2 3/4 dram equiv load of Red Dot, and a Federal 209 primer. We broke a LOT of clay pigeons with that load.

Over the 10 years or so that one or both of us was shooting (I was in college part of the time) we loaded close to, if not over, 30,000 rounds with the Load-All with ZERO problems of any kind.

Dad's eyes started going on him and I moved to Virginia, so the Lee was pretty much retired. When Mom died a few years ago I meant to grab it and bring it home to Virginia with me, and I forgot and it got tossed when the house got cleaned out.

I've loaded a LOT of ammunition over the years (in the vicinity of 100,000 rounds total), virtually all of it on Lee equipment using Lee dies, and I have never had an issue with any of that company's equipment.
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Old June 14, 2021, 09:18 AM   #11
Don Fischer
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A problem with Lee detractors is that many just seem hateful about it. Far to many people have had good luck for a very long time. Trashing Lee the way many do only serve's to confuse others! Server's no useful purpose. if someone had a problem with RCBS or another popular tool you would not hear the spite in their words that something didn't work for them and I think normally, not always, it wasn't the tool but the user not using it right that caused the problem in the first place. I also believe that a good number of these detractor's have never used a Lee tool in the first place but instead are passing on something they read somewhere else. I don't care for the Lee scale but it's a personal thing, nothing more. Lot of people get along just fine with it. I don't like Lee lock rings on their dies. No big thing as I have a lot of old dies laying around and I swap out Lee rings for one's I like! I had a lot of trouble with a Dillon Sq Deal handgun loader. Wasn't the Dillon, it was me. I've done single stage loading for over 50 yrs. It's what I like and what I do. That Dillon was a nice press and the company was helpful trying to figure things out. Should I slam Dillon for my inability to use their press? I don't think so!
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Old June 15, 2021, 07:58 AM   #12
Mike Irwin
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There have been threads here over the years where a few people have absolutely lost their minds if anyone dares to say a positive word about Lee products.

I also don't care much for the low-end Lee scale. I've discussed what I perceive to be its shortcomings here a number of times over the years.

Overall, though, I've gotten great service out of my Lee products.
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