If you’re a gun enthusiast or a hunter, you know how important it is to have the right tools and accessories for your firearm. A shell holder is one such accessory that can make a significant difference in your shooting experience.
A shell holder is a device that holds cartridges or shells in place, making them easily accessible when reloading your firearm. The best shell holders are those that are durable, reliable, and compatible with a wide range of firearms.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the best shell holders on the market, their features, benefits, pros, and cons, to help you make an informed decision when choosing one for your firearm.
What To See Before Buy
Compatibility: The first thing to consider is whether the shell holder is compatible with your shotgun. Some shell holders are designed specifically for certain models or brands of shotguns, while others are more universal. It’s important to check the product specifications or consult with the manufacturer to ensure compatibility.
Capacity: The capacity of a shell holder refers to how many shells it can hold. This can range from just a few shells to more than 25. Consider how many shells you need to have on hand and choose a shell holder with a capacity that meets your needs.
Durability: A good shell holder should be made from high-quality materials that can withstand heavy use and provide reliable performance over time. Look for a shell holder made from durable materials such as leather or high-strength polymers. Additionally, consider the quality of the stitching and any hardware used to attach the shell holder to your shotgun.
Attachment method: The attachment method of a shell holder can vary. Some attach directly to the shotgun using screws or clips, while others attach to a belt or vest. Consider which attachment method would work best for your needs and preferences.
Ease of use: The shell holder should be easy to use and access. It should allow you to quickly and easily reload your shotgun without fumbling or wasting time. A shell holder with a quick-release mechanism can be helpful in situations where you need to reload quickly.
Comfort: If you plan on wearing the shell holder for extended periods of time, consider its comfort level. Look for a shell holder with padding or a design that distributes weight evenly. A comfortable shell holder can help prevent fatigue and discomfort during extended hunting or shooting sessions.
Price: Consider your budget when selecting a shell holder. There are many affordable options available, but keep in mind that higher-quality shell holders may come with a higher price tag. It is essential to find a shell holder that provides the right balance of quality and affordability.
6 Best Shell Holder Reviews
1. LEE PRECISION 90197 Universal Press Shell Holder Set (Clear)
The LEE PRECISION 90197 Universal Press Shell Holder Set is a comprehensive kit designed to meet the needs of reloaders of all levels. Here’s a detailed look at its key features:
Features and Benefits:
Material and Durability: Crafted from robust steel, this set is built to withstand the demands of reloading over time. Its sturdy construction ensures long-lasting performance, even with frequent use.
Comprehensive Shell Holder Set: The package includes 11 shell holders, marked as #1 to #11 and #19. This wide range of shell holders covers various calibers, making it suitable for a diverse array of reloading needs.
Convenient Carrying Case: Organize and transport your shell holders effortlessly with the included carrying case. This thoughtful addition keeps your shell holders neatly arranged and readily accessible when you need them.
Lightweight and Portable: Weighing in at less than 1 pound, this set is incredibly lightweight and easy to transport. Whether you’re heading to the range or your reloading bench, you won’t be weighed down by heavy equipment.
Compact Packaging: Comes in a compact package with dimensions of approximately 4.41 x 3.35 x 0.71 inches and a weight of 0.23 kilograms. This makes it easy to store and transport, whether you’re heading to the range or your reloading bench.
Compatibility: Designed to work seamlessly with a variety of presses, making it a versatile choice for reloaders using different equipment.
Versatile Compatibility: This kit includes eleven of the most popular size shell holders, ensuring compatibility with over 115 different cartridges. Whether you’re working with common or less common calibers, these hardened steel shell holders are up to the task.
Press Compatibility: Offers a universal press fit, means that it can be used with various press models, enhancing its versatility and convenience.
These shell holders are designed to work seamlessly with most single-stage and turret presses, providing versatility in your reloading setup.
Organized Storage: Packed in a convenient plastic storage box that includes a Shell Holder Fit chart. This organization ensures that your shell holders are neatly arranged and easy to access when you need them.
- Wide compatibility with a range of cartridges
- High-quality construction for durability
- Easy to use and switch between calibers
- Versatile compatibility with different presses.
- Well-crafted with no burrs or flaws.
- Convenient and organized storage.
- Suitable for oddball brass casings.
- Loose fit for some shell holders.
2. RCBS Trim Pro-2 Manual Case Trimmer Kit, Precision Trimming Kit for Reloading
The RCBS Trim Pro 2 Manual Case Trimmer Kit is designed for reloading enthusiasts who demand the highest level of accuracy in case trimming. Here’s a detailed look at its key features:
Precision Case Trimming: Achieve precise case trimming with the RCBS Trim Pro 2, capable of providing 0.001-inch case trim accuracy. This level of precision ensures that your cases are trimmed to the exact desired length for consistent and reliable performance.
Comprehensive Kit: This kit includes a durable and reliable case trimmer, along with a set of caliber-specific pilots for popular calibers. The included pilots cover a range of sizes, including .22, .24, .25, .27, .28, .30, .35, .44, and .45, allowing you to quickly and easily trim cases to the desired length.
Adjustable Settings: Features an easy-to-use design with adjustable settings. This flexibility enables reloaders to achieve consistent and reliable trimming performance every time. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced reloader, you can fine-tune the trimmer to your exact specifications.
Durable and Reliable: Crafted from high-quality materials and built to last, this case trimmer is both durable and reliable. It’s designed to withstand the rigors of reloading and provide long-term, consistent performance. It’s a great investment for any reloading enthusiast seeking precision and durability.
Spring-Loaded Case Holder: The spring-loaded shell holder is a crucial feature that securely locks the case in alignment with the cutter. This ensures that the case remains stable during trimming, preventing any wobbling that could affect the accuracy of the trim.
Caliber-Specific Pilots: RCBS Case Trimmer Pilots are tapered to guide the pilot into the case mouth. This design not only ensures precise alignment but also prevents cases from wobbling when being trimmed to length. The result is a smooth and accurate trimming process.
Compact and Portable: The RCBS Trim Pro 2 kit is compact, with package dimensions of approximately 10.7 x 4.5 x 3.7 inches and a weight of 2.85 pounds. Its compact size and portability make it easy to store and transport to your reloading bench or shooting range.
- Great quality and durability.
- Universal shell holder for various calibers.
- Dead stop feature ensures consistent trimming.
- Easy to set up and use, even for beginners.
- Delivers consistent and accurate results.
- Versatile for trimming different calibers.
- Quick setup saves time.
- Comprehensive kit with included pilots.
- Proper case alignment is required.
3. TOURBON Tactical Gun Stock Cover with Cheek Rest Pad, Ammo Holder, and .22 Rifle Shell Carrier
The TOURBON Genuine Leather Cheek Rest Pad is a versatile and stylish accessory designed to enhance your shooting experience. Here are the key features of this high-quality cheek rest pad:
Features and Benefits:
Compact and Portable: With dimensions of approximately 5.51 x 1.77 x 6.69 inches and a weight of 0.12 kilograms, this cheek rest pad is compact and easy to transport. It won’t add unnecessary bulk to your firearm.
Ammo Holder: This cheek rest pad is not just about comfort; it’s also practical. It includes 14 round leather shell loops, keeping your ammunition snugly secured in the retention loops. It’s an excellent choice for hunters with high-powered scopes and long-range shooters.
Premium Leather Construction: Crafted from genuine leather in a sleek black finish, this cheek rest pad not only adds a touch of elegance to your firearm but also offers durability and longevity. It’s built to withstand the demands of hunting and shooting sports.
Ergonomic Design: The cheek rest pad features a cushioned top with a height of approximately 35 mm or 1.4 inches. This design provides a comfortable and stable platform for resting your cheek while aiming, enhancing your shooting accuracy.
Scope Compatibility: With easy eye adjustment, this cheek rest pad allows you to achieve proper alignment with your scope, ensuring a clear and precise view of your target. It’s an essential feature for shooters who demand accuracy.
Secure Attachment: The pad is equipped with a snap closure and elastic strap for a secure and hassle-free attachment to the stock of your rifle. It stays in place during your shooting sessions, so you can focus on your target.
Adjustable Strap: To ensure a secure fit, the pad has a strap that goes across the butt-plate of your rifle stock, preventing any unwanted movement and keeping it positioned at the back of the stock.
Number of Pockets: The cheek rest pad features two pockets for your convenience, allowing you to carry extra ammunition or small essentials during your hunting or shooting activities.
- The material feels durable and well-made.
- Comfortable to use.
- Holds up well over time.
- High eye alignment for better scope positioning.
- Durable and well-built.
- May require modifications for a more secure fit on certain rifles.
- Material may not be full-grain leather
4. TacStar Slimline Sidesaddle Shell Holder
The TacStar Slimline SideSaddle Shell Carrier is a highly practical and streamlined solution for convenient shot shell placement, ensuring faster reloads during your shooting activities. Here’s an in-depth look at the key features of this innovative accessory:
Features and Benefits:
Efficient Shell Placement: Designed to provide convenient and efficient placement of shotgun shells right where you need them for quick and seamless reloads. It’s a valuable addition to your shotgun setup, especially during intense shooting situations.
Secure Shell Retention: This SideSaddle features secure shell retention with an internal flexible strip positioned along the shells. This design ensures that your shells are held securely in place while still allowing for easy removal. You can rely on your ammunition staying put until you need it.
Durable Materials: The backing plate is constructed from non-glare, anodized aluminum. This material is not only durable but also resistant to wear and tear. It can withstand the rigors of shooting and outdoor conditions.
Ample Shell Capacity: Has a capacity to hold 6 shotgun shells. This capacity ensures that you have an ample supply of ammunition readily accessible for quick reloads during shooting.
12 Gauge Compatibility: This shell carrier is specifically designed for 12-gauge shotguns, ensuring a perfect fit and reliable performance for this commonly used shotgun caliber.
Compact and Portable: Compact and easy to transport with dimensions of approximately 8 inches in length, 7.5 inches in width, and 2.5 inches in height. It won’t add unnecessary bulk to your shotgun.
Weather Resistance: The shell carrier itself is made from a proprietary flexible synthetic rubber material. This material offers excellent weather resistance, ensuring that your shells remain in optimal condition even in adverse weather conditions. It’s designed to withstand the elements while maintaining secure shell retention.
Sleek and Compact Design: The backing plate is contoured to take up less space on the receiver, reducing the risk of snagging. Additionally, the shell carrier is compact in size, adding to its overall sleek appearance. It’s a functional and aesthetically pleasing accessory for your shotgun.
- Mounts cleanly and securely to the shotgun.
- Holds shells securely without needing excessive force.
- Quick and easy installation.
- Durable and well-made.
- Extra shell capacity.
- Compatible with various shotgun models.
- Facilitates quick reloads.
- May limit the use of certain shotgun accessories, such as scabbards.
- Compatibility issues with certain shotgun models.
5. ACTALOAD Flash-5 Stock - Integrated Magazine Loader, Fits Remington 870, 5 Shell Holder, Patented Next-Generation Stock
The TactaLoad FLASH-5 Gunstock is a purpose-driven firearm accessory designed to address the common challenge of limited ammunition capacity in pump-action shotguns. With its innovative design, this gunstock enhances your shooting experience and reloading speed. Here are the key features and technical specifications:
Features and Benefits:
Ample Ammunition Storage: Provides a practical solution for limited ammunition capacity. It offers storage for 5 additional shotgun shells in the most convenient location, allowing for quick and efficient reloading. You’ll always have spare rounds at your fingertips.
Ammunition Protection: Not only does the FLASH-5 Gunstock increase your shotgun’s ammo capacity, but it also protects your shells from the elements and accidental external damage. Your ammunition remains in optimal condition until you need it.
Easy Installation: Installing the FLASH-5 Gunstock is a straightforward process. It’s designed for easy installation, ensuring that you can quickly upgrade your shotgun without extensive effort or technical expertise.
Intuitive Action: The gunstock features an intuitive action, reducing the need for extensive practice and training to master its use. It enhances your reloading speed and efficiency.
Rugged Durability: Constructed from rugged and durable materials, can withstand the harshest elements and the most demanding shooting situations. It’s built to last and perform reliably under various conditions.
Glove-Friendly: The gunstock’s design allows shooters to operate it comfortably with or without gloved hands. It ensures that you can maintain control and accuracy regardless of your shooting attire.
Ambidextrous Design: Thoughtfully designed to accommodate both left and right-handed shooters. Its ambidextrous design ensures that it can be comfortably used by a wide range of users.
Instant Upgrade: Installing the FLASH-5 Gunstock is an instant upgrade to your pump-action shotgun. It significantly enhances your shotgun’s capabilities without the need for complex modifications.
Universal Shell Compatibility: The gunstock is designed to hold all three common 12-gauge shotgun shell sizes, including 2 3/4″, 3″, and 3 1/2″. This versatility ensures that you can use the ammunition of your choice.
Sling Swivel Stud Attachment: Includes an optional sling swivel stud attachment, allowing you to customize your shotgun setup further.
- Easy installation.
- Durable construction.
- Provides easy access to extra shotgun shells.
- Improves reload speed.
- Does not add extra width to the shotgun receiver.
- May not fit all shotgun models.
- May require practice to efficiently draw rounds from the stock.
- Sharp molding lines, may need smoothing.
- Initial round removal tougher.
6. Lyman 0810503 LYM Shellholder Set (12) Orange, One Size
If you’re a gun enthusiast or a reloader, you know how important it is to have the right tools for the job. The Lyman 0810503 LYM Shellholder Set offers reloaders a comprehensive selection of 12 shellholders conveniently housed in a compartmented storage box. These are designed to fit the most popular rifle and pistol cartridges, providing versatility and ease of use. This product is proudly manufactured in the USA, ensuring quality and reliability.
Features and Benefits:
Comprehensive Set: The Lyman 0810503 Set includes 12 shellholders, covering a wide range of rifle and pistol cartridges. This comprehensive selection simplifies the reloading process by accommodating various calibers.
Universal Compatibility: Designed to fit popular and commonly used rifle and pistol cartridges. This ensures compatibility with a diverse range of firearms, making it a versatile choice for reloaders.
Efficient Storage: Comes in neatly organized in a compartmented storage box. This not only keeps them organized but also makes them easily accessible during reloading sessions.
Streamlined Design: User-friendly design, allowing for quick and hassle-free installation. Reloaders can easily switch between different calibers.
Enhanced Reloading: With this set, reloaders can experience enhanced efficiency and convenience during the reloading process. Having the right one on hand for each caliber simplifies case preparation.
Safe and Secure: Lyman’s commitment to safety is evident in these shellholders. They securely hold cartridges during the reloading process, reducing the risk of accidents.
Support for Multiple Calibers: Compatible with various calibers, including popular ones like .22, .44, and more. This versatility makes them suitable for a wide range of reloading projects.
- Convenient and comprehensive set.
- Fits well in various reloading presses.
- Well-packaged for convenient storage.
- Highly functional for cowboy shooters.
- Compatible with their reloading machine.
- Efficiently holds shells and covers a wide range of calibers.
- Ideal for use with the Lyman hand priming tool.
- Weak shell grip.
- Some shell holders may not fit specific primer tools.
Q: What is a shell holder?
A: A shell holder is an accessory that attaches to a shotgun or gun belt and holds additional ammunition. It allows shooters and hunters to have quick and easy access to extra rounds.
Q: How do I know which shell holder is compatible with my shotgun?
A: Check the manufacturer’s specifications to determine which type of shell holder is compatible with your shotgun. It is essential to consider factors such as gauge, caliber, and model when selecting a shell holder.
Q: How many shells can a shell holder hold?
A: The number of shells a shell holder can hold varies depending on the size and type of the holder. Some shell holders can hold just a few rounds, while others can hold up to 25 or more.
Q: Can a shell holder be used for other types of ammunition?
A: Shell holders are typically designed for shotgun shells, but some may be compatible with other types of ammunition. It is important to check the manufacturer’s specifications to determine if a shell holder can hold other types of ammunition.
Q: Can a shell holder be attached to a gun belt?
A: Yes, some shell holders are designed to be attached to gun belts or vests. They can provide easy access to additional rounds without taking up space on the shotgun.
Q: How do I clean and maintain my shell holder?
A: To clean and maintain a shell holder, wipe it down with a soft cloth after each use. If the shell holder becomes dirty, use a mild soap and water to clean it. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that could damage the shell holder. Store the shell holder in a dry place to prevent rust or corrosion.
Q: Is a shell holder legal to use while hunting?
A: Yes, shell holders are legal to use while hunting. They can provide quick and easy access to additional rounds, which can be helpful in situations where multiple shots may be required. However, it is important to follow all local hunting regulations and laws.
In our experience, both the LEE PRECISION 90197 Universal Press Shell Holder Set and the RCBS Trim Pro 2 Manual Case Trimmer Kit have proven to be valuable additions to our reloading toolkit.
The LEE Precision shell holder set has impressed us with its wide compatibility across various cartridges and its robust steel construction, which ensures that it stands the test of time. The included carrying case adds to the convenience, making it easy to keep our shell holders organized and accessible. Plus, its lightweight and portable design make it a reliable companion whether we’re at the range or our reloading bench.
On the other hand, the RCBS Trim Pro 2 case trimmer kit has truly elevated our case trimming game. Its precision trimming capabilities, down to 0.001 inch, provide consistent and reliable results every time. The comprehensive kit with caliber-specific pilots covers a range of sizes, making it versatile for different reloading needs. The spring-loaded case holder ensures stability during trimming, contributing to the accuracy of our reloads.
While both products have their unique strengths, we can confidently recommend them based on our positive experiences. Whether you prioritize versatile shell holders or precision case trimming, these tools deliver on their promises and enhance the reloading process. So, in conclusion, we’ve found both the LEE PRECISION and RCBS products to be valuable assets in our reloading endeavors.