L.E. Wilson History

Sam (L.E.) Wilson

Sam (L.E.) Wilson out testing loads in the mid-1960s.

After returning home from WWI, Sam (L.E.) Wilson’s enthusiasm for shooting led him to compete in and win many shooting-related matches in the United States and abroad.  In 1927 Sam Wilson started making his own Tools & Gages because he was unable to locate the right tools to satisfy the requirements for his reloading work.  This was done out of a small shop in Cashmere, WA where L.E. Wilson is still located.  Sam held three National and World Records in Benchrest Competition, one of which still stands today.

Sam’s credentials are as follows:

  • Distinguished Marksman
  • Distinguished Pistol Shot
  • Gold Medal in A.E.F. pistol competitions, Le Mans, France 1919
  • National Small Bore Champion 1920
  • National Pistol Champion 1929
  • Three National and World Records in Benchrest Competition
  • Attended National Matches of 1916-19-20-23-29-31-35-36
  • Firing member on Class A Washington Civilian teams of 1929-31-35. Coach of the 1935 team
  • National Benchrest Champion – 1954
  • Numerous Northwest Rifle Championships
  • Inducted into the Benchrest Hall of Fame 1973
  • Life Member of the NRA
Sam Wilson with some of his many awards, 1950s

Sam’s love of shooting inspired him to design several of the lines of products still sold today. L. E. Wilson Inc. has been making tools for hand loaders ever since.  His tool designs were centered around user safety and bullet accuracy.  Now in the fourth generation of family ownership, we still hold true to Sam’s core principles and strive to continue the legacy he created.  The generations of knowledge and the experience in tool making is what sets L.E. Wilson Inc. apart from the competition.

Sam with his 1973 Benchrest Hall of Fame Award.

Keeping the business in the family has insured the highest quality and craftsmanship possible.  Wilsons uses the highest quality materials and our tools are well known worldwide for their precision and accuracy.  Our teams approach to manufacturing is to make each and every part as if we were making it for ourselves. This passion and commitment for excellence extends through our entire product line.  Because of this reputation we receive orders from all over the world.  Most of our tools were first-of-a-kind on the market and were designed to fill a need in providing safety and accuracy for handloaders.

Sam in the late 1960s shooting with sons Jack and Jim as well as daughter Mary.

Developments in case design since Wilson Tools were first introduced have not lessened their need, but have increased it, steeper-shouldered cases, higher pressures, and the popularity of the belted calibers have made it more necessary to reveal and correct case problems before they cause trouble.

Here are some additional historic pictures that help tell the story of L.E. Wilson:

Load testing, early 1960s.
Shop construction, late 1950s.
Shop construction, late 1950s.
L.E. Wilson reloading room in the 1960s

About L.E. Wilson Products

Wilson Tools and Gages For Handloaders
L.E. Wilson, Inc. has been a family owned and operated business for 90 years. During that time they have gained a reputation for producing high quality American Made Reloading Tools geared toward Benchrest Shooters, Precision Tactical, Hunters, and Shooting Enthusiasts.  Their hand dies are slightly different in that you do not necessarily need a press to reload your bullets and many shooters will take L.E. Wilson products to the range to develop loads while they are shooting.  Wilson is best known for our three core product lines Case Trimmers, Bullet Seaters and Case Gages.

Wilson Case Trimmer

Over-length cases are probably the most common cause of excessive pressures that can cause erratic shooting and even danger.  Trim them squarely to uniform length with the Wilson Universal Case Trimmer, the best and most versatile trimmer since 1936.  Cases are aligned by the body so they are trimmed squarely regardless of offset heads or varying neck diameters, while the positive stop assures uniform length.

Chamber Type Bullet Seater

L.E. Wilson takes the threads out of the seating operation.  Impartial test show that alignment of the bullet with the case does affect accuracy.  For concentric seating, the bullet and the case both must be supported in-line as the bullet enters the neck of the case.  Unlike most other seaters, the L.E. Wilson bullet seater aligns and supports the case throughout the entire seating operation where the bullet is aligned and seated by the close fitting plunger in the bore section of the seater.

Case Gages – The Original Case Gage Manufacturer in 1935

Adjustable Case Gage -Cone-to-Head Length and Overall Length Cartridge Case Gages are for belted and non-belted calibers.  These gages use a milled surface on both ends to check overall length and cone-to-head length (headspace) of a case.  For belted calibers, only the adjustable gage is made (wide variations in shoulder-to-head dimensions in chambers and resizing dies make this necessary).  This gage can be set for individual chambers in any one caliber and will assume  minimum working of the shoulder from resizing and thus greatly increase case life and reduce danger.

Cartridge Case Gage – For non-belted calibers in which chamber and dies are held to close cone-to-head dimensions, the one-piece gage assures proper ignition, correct overall length, and maximum case life.

Please check out the L.E. Wilson website for more information and details on L.E. Wilson products. Also, please see the L.E. Wilson content collections here on Ultimate Reloader! (left-hand side of this page).