Shotgun Shell Reloading Tools

Over the years many tools have been developed for reloading shotgun shells. Most are long out of production and almost forgotten but there are still some reloading presses which have stood the test of time.

Shotgun Pages
Lore of Guns
Explore this site

Lee Load All II

Manufactured in 12, 16 and 20 gauges only, the Lee Load-All is likely, the least expensive tool for loading shotgun shells made today. Simple and easy to use, it is an ideal tool for the beginning shotshell reloader. In fact, this was the first tool that I ever used for loading shotgun shells and I still use it from time to time particularly when trying new loads and components. No adjustment is required for loading 2 3/4 inch shells other than inserting the appropriate shot and powder bushings for a given load. A chart is supplied with the tool to assist in proper powder bushing selection. It is possible load 3 inch shells on the 20 and 12 gauge machines but the wad columnn guide must be moved up.

The Load All is a bit slow to operate but it is pretty easy to load quality skeet trap, and upland game hunting loads with it.

Of course, anyone wishing to load shells with steel shot, buckshot, or slugs would probably be better off investing in a more expensive single stage machine such as a MEC 600 or a Mec Sizemaster. The Lee Loader is not designed to provide the heavy wad pressure needed to ensure the proper ignition of the slow burning powders used for these applications.

More on the Lee Load All 2

Mec 600jr

This single stage press is considered to be the most popular shotshell loader in the world. Available in 10, 12, 16, 20, 28 and 410 gauges.

Mec 650

I got a 20 gauge Mec 650 progressive reloader as part of a shotgun trade some years ago. It has served me well and I still use it occasionally to load 3/4 ounce 20 gauge skeet loads. With this machine shells are resized with a separate Mec tool called a Supersizer. Only the powder bushing can be changed in a standard Mec Charge bar, the amount of shot dispensed by the bar is fixed. This means that if you have a 7/8 ounce bar and you want to load 1 ounce of shot then it will be necessary to buy and another Mec charge bar or invest in an aftermarket universal charge bar.

Lee Loader for Shotgun Shells

No longer in production, Lee Custom Engineering's first product in 1958-59 was the Lee Loader for shotshells1, produced initially in 12, 16 and 20 gauge. Later 10, 28 and 410 gauge kits were added to their product line in the 1960s

Pictured above is a Lee Loader for 12 gauge 2 3/4 inch shells that I bought at a swap meet for 4 dollars. Although I purchased the kit mostly as a curiosity, I have successfully loaded a few boxes of shotgun shells with it. The process is slow and tedious but the end product was of acceptable quality.

Manufactured in the late 1960s, the kit parts are held in a piece cast polystyrene foam. At that time the suggested retail price for this reloading tool was $9.952 however it often sold for less at various retailers. The 12 gauge Lee Loader kit pictured above has a price tag from Memco for $8.39 .

Lee Loader for Shotgun Shell Instructions

It should be noted that Lee Custom Engineering Inc. is no longer in business and that it was a separate legal entity from Lee Precision Inc. which currently manufactures the Lee Loader for metallic cartridges only.

1. Richard Lee "An Inside Look at Lee Precision" p. 65 Handloader's Digest 17th Ed. 1997
2. Ibid. p. 66

The author of this page can be contacted at loreofguns at