Primer seating tools

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R. Dupraz posted this 17 April 2017

What's the advantage of using a hand primer seating tool instead of doing it in a reloading press? Some better than others?

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Tom Acheson posted this 17 April 2017

The most frequent comment I've seen is that hand unit lets you “feel” the primer being seated better than the press approach. The length of the moment arm and ease of pressure application using the press arm on the press mounted unit, reduces the sensitivity that you can detect as the primer is entering the primer pocket.

FWIW

 

Tom

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MarkinEllensburg posted this 17 April 2017

A couple of advantages are with some hand tools you never have to touch a primer. You also do not have to fill a primer tube, a time consuming and possibly hazardous exercise although I've not read one single account of a primer detonation in a tube in the 40+ years that I've been around it.

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John Alexander posted this 17 April 2017

I have always used the Lee hand tools with the magazines since they came out and it seems faster to me in addition to Tom's reasons.

John

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 17 April 2017

I began using the Lee priming tool in the late 70s and was very happy with the “feel” it gave me in seating the primers over the press. But an added bonus was the speed and ease of use. Then about ten years later I decided to try the RCBS hand held priming tool. It is very similar to the Lee, but it did not work as easy or smoothly as the Lee tool, giving up some of the “feel". I went back to the Lee and have never looked back. I suppose if I would have started with the RCBS, I would have stuck with it feeling I had the best tool, but in my opinion the Lee tool is superior and much cheaper too.

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys, Good Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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R. Dupraz posted this 17 April 2017

How do these hand primer seaters work when priming de-crimped military cases? I use them in a couple of rifles and it takes a little more effort to cap these.

I have never used a hand priming tool. Always a press with an automatic feed. Great when they work but a pain when they don't. Some years ago, I bought a Hornady single stage press with an auto primer feed as a replacement to the old tool that I had used for years. I chose the Hornady mainly because there was a L&L progressive here already and I do like the L&L bushing set up.

No complaints with the press itself, basically similar to any other, but the auto primer feed needs some serious re-engineering. for several different reasons. Not the least of which is a tiny wire spring that holds the primers in the storage tube and then moves out of the way when the primer arm picks up a primer each time. Very poor design.  Routinely leaks primers or when the spring starts to lose it's tension, instant emptying of the storage tube on the floor.

I did get a new spring right from Hornady a couple of years ago but now I'm faced with the same thing again. and handling the primers one at a time. I

My patience isn't what it used to be and have pretty much reached the end. So am searching for alternatives.  That's why I don't buy green bananas any more either.   

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RicinYakima posted this 17 April 2017

RD, I love primer tools and gadgets, but have settled on the old Lee tool with the screw in case holder and no magazine feed. Since I do not sweat acetone or MEK, it doesn't matter if I touch a primer or not. In fact I put a little Imperial sizing die wax on my left index finger to make it sticky to pick up the primers. Feel using the tool is good. If I don't have a shellholder, I use an RCBS Ram Prime die and punch. Ric

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norm posted this 18 April 2017

RD, I never used a primer feed tube when I primed on the press when I started reloading.Soon bought a Lee hand priming tool and liked it except you need Lee's special shell holders.  Bought an RCBS when I found out that it used regular shell holders.  Very happy with the RCBS and have used it for over 20 years.

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OU812 posted this 18 April 2017

I have the RCBS version that uses shell holders. The other RCBS version has a one size fits all shell holder.

I make sure to seat primer until lever stops. Stopping short of that may not be good?

I do not own the Lee version. Is it easy to feel when it stops?

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SouthDakota4440 posted this 18 April 2017

Mr. Dupraz

I agree with most of the comments listed as far as preferring the Lee Primer Hand Tool.  The “feel” of the primer being fully seated is unmistakable...it a very consistent “seat".  As you noted concerning military brass, I have tried priming de-crimped military bass in the Lee, but it was a bit of a rough “squeeze".  Also, I have used the RCBS Hand tool that uses their regular shell holders and that has been satisfactory.   The RCBS Tool seemed to have greater leverage in seating primers in de-crimped military case and worked better than the Lee for that purpose...however, for the most part the Lee Hand tools wins out for general commercial brass cases which is the majority of cases I use.   Good luck in evaluating the options available with hand priming tools...there are many choices.

mm 

mm

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shootcast posted this 18 April 2017

I have always used hand prime tools. Mainly just thought it was easier and quick. Most have been Lee. Lately I have been disappointed with the Lee tools.  Now they sell a update kit and the new tools come equipped with it. This is a big improvement over the past. For some reason I still get a primer that flips in the tool. Pays to look at the primer just before installing the case into tool. I have only had this problem with small primers. The large primer adapter has been flawless. Lee's price is half of the others. Try it I think you will like it.

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 18 April 2017

With the Lee tool I have not had any issues priming military cases, but my experience with them has been primarily .223 with small primers. As far as the Lee tool having to use it's own shell holders, they are inexpensive at about $2.80 each and they come in a set. 

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys, Good Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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Hick posted this 18 April 2017

I use the RCBS hand primers with the shell holders.  I prefer this because I'm a little process oriented and like to separate the steps of reloading in order to avoid double charges.  I start with 50 unprimed cases in a loading block, then hand prime all 50.  Then, one by one, I take a primed case from that loading block, Add powder, and place the case in a different loading block.  Its just my way of being careful.  I also  sometimes prime sets.  If I am planning a range trip with several rifles and loads, I might do a priming session one evening and loading sessions separately.  The hand primer makes this easy.  I also have two hand primers-- one permanently set for small primers and one permanently set for large primers-- all I have to do is occasionally swap our the shell holders.

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R. Dupraz posted this 18 April 2017

Appreciate the replies Gents.

Decision time

From a certified member of the ripe banna gang.

 

 

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j35nut posted this 19 April 2017

I have used the  Lee auto prime for close to 30 years

Lately in the winter my thumb cracks open from the dry air so back in January

I bought the RCBS bench prime and have adapted to it, its a nice tool.

----------J

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BigMan54 posted this 19 April 2017

I started loading using a 310 tong tool to prime .38spl cases. I was about 4yrs old.

When I started my own loading set up in the mid '70's I got a LYMAN press with an auto-primer feed. Didn't like it. Bought a RCBS Standard Priming tool. Bench mounted.  Used for a few years until LEE brought out their hand priming tool.  Used up 2 of them. By then RCBS had come out with their tray fed hand priming tool.  I've used it ever since.  I single stage size & prime off the press and then switch to the progressive.  Never have to worry about  crushed/ cocked-up primer. 

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 19 April 2017

speaking of process ... after priming rifle brass, i put the cases neck down in the loading block ... then fill my belding mull tube and always pour into a case newly turned upright ..  doesn't slow me down much because the ByM is slow anyway ... heh .

with pistol cases i might use my rcbs lil' rotary measure ... but double visibly check every load before seating bullet .  if a light load i use a dipstick  ... ” chickenstick ” ?

five fingered ken ... who has observed other loaders blow up guns ...

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BigMan54 posted this 19 April 2017

My Uncle had  primer tube detonation on brand new MEC 650 in the mid 60's. 

I wasn't there, but I saw the remains of the tube afterwards. 

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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Rich/WIS posted this 19 April 2017

Used to prime on the press and tried the hand tools, worked okay. Now still using a Lee Auto Prime II that I bought about 25 years ago on a dedicated Lee C press (the little $25 one).  Issue I have with the hand held is arthritis, very little hand strength and painful.  The little press is not high leverage and you can feel the primer bottom out in the pocket.  Only negative is it will not work with all primer makes.  Also have a Lee Ram Prime that you put the primer in one at a time which is handy if I have to use primers that are not recommended in the Auto Prime II.

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GP Idaho posted this 20 April 2017

I've had good luck with and a lot of use out of my Hornady Handheld priming tool. It comes with two primer trays, one works with the Hornady shell holders and the other with RCBS. I've never owned a Lee priming tool but most people seem to have good luck with them. RCBS must make a couple of different models. I've seen posts that others use and like them. The RCBS priming tool that came with the Rockchucker bundle reloading package is one of the few reloading tools that I've actually thrown in the trash.  Gp

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10Speed posted this 20 April 2017

speaking of process ... after priming rifle brass, i put the cases neck down in the loading block ... then fill my belding mull tube and always pour into a case newly turned upright ..  doesn't slow me down much because the ByM is slow anyway ... heh .

with pistol cases i might use my rcbs lil' rotary measure ... but double visibly check every load before seating bullet .  if a light load i use a dipstick  ... ” chickenstick ” ?

five fingered ken ... who has observed other loaders blow up guns ...

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

I use the “neck down” method for storing primed brass prior to loading as well.  I double check charged cases, too.  I like the idea of the dipstick.

 

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Westhoff posted this 26 April 2017

I tried using hand held priming tools (RCBS). Eventually, they started “short-seating” primers, i.e. the primers weren't being seated to the bottom of the primer pocket.  Seemed as though the rod that pushed the primer pocket when you squeezed the handles eventually got shortened from wear.  After the second RCBS tool started having the same problem, I bought a Lyman Ram Prime tool, that sits up on the top of my old Herter's press, and is adjustable so I can control primer seating depth to fit primer pocket depth.  Doesn't seem to slow my loading process down appreciably, and I'm very happy with the results.

Wes

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R. Dupraz posted this 26 April 2017

After reading all the replies to my question, I ordered an RCBS auto bench priming tool yesterday. Most of what I load is  7.62x51 and 30-06 using military cases. Any where from a few to upwards of 200 at a time. Along with a few others. But my Hornady progressive won't fully seat primers in these cases. The Hornady works fine though for all the rest for volume loading in commercial brass, rifle and pistol.

For my application I needed a tool with some leverage first of all, because CCI LR primers are not an easy fit in the Lake City "69" cases that I use. Even after de- crimping. And I fear that these old paws wouldn't be up to the task with one of those hand powered gizmos even if it would. Another advantage, I thought, is that the RCBS has a universal shell holder and doesn't need extras. .

So, in a week or so, guess I'll find out. You pays your money and you takes your chances. Now to find a place to put it.  

Thanks for all the info.  

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BigMan54 posted this 26 April 2017

I just tried priming a few 45acp cases on both my HORNADY progressive & RCBS Rockchucker. Just as I remembered,  it seems to take way more force to prime on the press. Guess it's going against the leverage that makes it so.

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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R. Dupraz posted this 26 April 2017

Sam with mine. Have had it for several years now and generally like it. Did get the cartridge ejector mod kit to fix that mickey mouse original though. And the primer seating system does need some re-engineering.

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Eutectic posted this 27 April 2017

I used a Lyman tong tool for years, but you had to put the primers on it one at a time. The Lee prime tools work well but get uncomfortable after a few hundred cases. I tried the RCBS hand tool but did not like it, too many jams. The one I use now is this Hornady, it is built like a tank, uses standard shell holders, feeds excellently and has great feel. The handle extension and rubber tubing are my additions. They let me do 500 to 1000 cases while watching TV and not regret it the next day

.

I have tried several primer seaters that came on reloading presses I bought. Some came with primer feed, but I never found one which gave good feel and was as convenient as a hand primer.

Steve Hurst

 

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R. Dupraz posted this 28 April 2017

It was a good day in the neighborhood today, I finished casting my summer's stash of 314299's and the RCBS bench auto primer tool showed up.

My first experience with anything other than a press mounted auto feed and think I'm going to like it if things keep going as there are. It seats LR primers in my military cases better than the "0" Hornady press. I thought that I was getting a full seat but found out "not".today. Smooth, and complete and no primers on the floor for a change. Think that it takes a bit less effort as well but maybe not because of smooth seating. The important part is that It does what I wanted.

Besides, one can never have too many tools. Clever little gizmo. ”

 

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Tom Acheson posted this 02 May 2017

Like Mr. Dupraz's recent post, the RCBS bench mounted tool is what I've used for maybe 45 years. Long ago I stopped using the feed tube and now insert each primer one at a time.Feels good  and uses stock standard shell holders.

I did buy a Sinclair hand priming tool about 15-years ago but that was only used when loading @ the range for a few select cartridges. That is also a well made device. 

There's something about hand-loading tools that makes me agree with Mr. Dupraz....you can never have too many!

 

Tom

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Ed Harris posted this 02 May 2017

I used the Lee Priming tools for years, frequently replacing the knuckle link and body as they broke or wore out.  Then I inherited a pair of RCBS Posa-Prime hand priming tools from the late Dennis Lundmark, which use RCBS shell holders.  One primer at a time, no primer tray or tube explosions.  The only caution from Denny's hand written note was "Don't prime cases while eating fried chicken, buttered popcorn or pizza with your fingers..."

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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John Alexander posted this 03 May 2017

I notice in a catalog that the Lee priming tools now have a triangle loading tray instead of the square or round ones.  The old shapes work fine but has anybody tried the newer version?

John

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BigMan54 posted this 03 May 2017

John,

RCBS sent me a new square replacement tray for my hand priming tool. It "feeds" off of the corner of the tray. No real difference.  Ya still gotta jiggle it every few primers.  

Wes,

I used to watch a lot of Cowboy Action Shooters at the loading bench give the cylinders of their S.A. resolvers a HARD spin before lining up the empty chamber. Checking for high primers.  These folks inevitably loaded their ammo on a dillon press. Most always without any prior Re/Handloading experience.  They couldn't understand the concept of CLEANING primer pockets. Of course there was also the inevitable "dud" from a crushed primer.

I gave some .44mag COWBOY rifle loads to my Chiropractor some years back. He was fascinated by the fact that every one of the 250rds he shot that day shot & functioned perfectly. I told him no dillon. Every round inspected, sized-deprimed,  cleaned, & primer pocket cleaned. Then primed BEFORE loading on  Hornady progressive.  Then every round checked for chamber fit.

Damn,  wordy again.

Clean those primer pockets .

 

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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shootcast posted this 30 September 2018

John,  the triangle type Lee update kits make the old tool work much better. Also get the plastic extension handle that snaps on the tool. This gives it some length so it fits your hand better. BTW these triangular primer holders work in the RCBS tool also.

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fa38 posted this 30 September 2018

I have a problem with the new square shaped Lee priming tool.  It seems to try to load 2 primers into that little tower feed area and this pushes the clear tray cover upwards and some of the primers flip in the tray.  Then it wants to seat a primer either upside down of sidewise.

Any one else have this problem and did you find a cure for it

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John Alexander posted this 30 September 2018

Thanks for the tip Shootcast.  I didn't know they had a conversion kit.  I am well satisfied with the square feed magazine but it ain't perfect.  The handle also sounds like an improvement for old arthritic hands.  Will order a couple of upgrade kits.

John

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BigMan54 posted this 30 September 2018

Fa38,

Another reason I'm not overly fond of LEE products.

They do work as advertised. But after wearing out 2 of their hand priming tools in the 1980's (yes I did lube them well), I became even less fond of them. The only LEE tools I'd used previously was the 22 & 30cal depriming units that were sold separately from the LEE Loader. And yes you can actually break them. If you use them on phillipine military brass with off center flash holes.

Then my DAD gave me 3 used LEE 2cav pistol molds. After getting adjusted to aluminum molds, they cast some great bullets. And after 30yrs, they still do.

After starting up casting a couple of years ago, and because of what I've learned on this  website, I've bought more LEE products, including more 2cav molds & now; 4 6cav molds. With one exception, I'm very pleased with LEE products.  

Just not their priming tools, or guarantee.

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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lotech posted this 30 September 2018

I've had several of the hand priming tools over many years. The original Lee model, the "dangerous" one with the round tray, would be among the very best if it was made of durable materials. It would cost more, but even at the higher price would be worth the additional cost considering how much many of us use a priming tool.

In place of that, I would recommend a Sinclair or a 21st Century one-at-a-time tool. Not nearly as slow as some think, and the tools work exceptionally well. Parts are machined and the tools are built to last. They're far from expensive if the cost is amortized over years. I would rather buy one $120.00 tool than a handful of cheap, mediocre tools that really don't work all that well or wear out. 

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Danny posted this 01 October 2018

I read these type of posts and look for something to add to the conversation but sometimes I have to wonder why. Folks have been priming cartridge brass since cartridge brass accepted primers using just about every method. The press does fine. A hand priming tool does fine, A hammer and a Lee tool does fine. I've used them all. Never had a primer go off. Conditioning primer pockets helps but the factory doesn't do it. I use a primer pocket reamer just because I own it. I fully seat primers no matter what method I use. I have an old Lee hand primer I've used for decades and it still works. It is a one at a time primer just like a press primer. Just squeeze the handle closed and done, same as a press. I hope someday someone will convince me I'm doing it wrong.

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BigMan54 posted this 01 October 2018

LEE has some of the very best idea's in the industry .

But the CHEAP materials ruin the execution .

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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donr308 posted this 02 October 2018

I too went through the Lee stage but after getting a tool made from steel rather than pot metal I found out  that a case primed with a Lee tool had  significant movement of the primer when placed in a tool such as K&M or Sinclair.. The Lees have been pretty well replaced in the bench rest world. Don Ross  

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bushranch posted this 03 October 2018

I use the Hornady tool as per Steve's photo. I am a one at a time person so have discarded the primer tray and drilled the housing to take a 6-48 screw .540 up from bottom (rear) . I use this screw to shorten the ram travel and can adjust primer depth in the shell holder. This makes a good hand held outfit and shell holders remain easy to change. 

 

Rus

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Danny posted this 03 October 2018

It always seems to come down to the quality of the tools instead of focusing on the method of priming with these discussions. I read all the time on boards about how "flush" to seat the primer and wonder where that comes from. I don't want the firing pin to seat the primer. Does your press seat the primer? Can you seat the primer with a hand press? Have enough hand strength for that or do you need more leverage. That is the big question and after that should be how can I prime most efficiently and safely for my reloading style. As far as investing in expensive priming tools goes, I have never seen the need for them. My Lee hand primer is 40 years old and has no issues with any of the parts, even the springs are original. I like press priming just as well. I guess it is just preference.

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BigMan54 posted this 03 October 2018

Danny,

You answered the QUESTION. 

It's just preference. 

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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2kbill posted this 04 October 2018

I've had Lee (2 or 3) - plastic parts wore out.  Tray "ears" broke. 

Newer Lyman which I saw in the Fouling Shot - Nice design, parts wore quickly, primers flip from time to time

RCBS Universal style, no individual shellholders - Worked well enough, but seating each case in the spring-loaded holder gets old

Latest is from Frankford Arsenal, built like a tank, all metal parts except the tray.  Comes with 12 shellholders.  Easy changeover from large to small.  After two years of use, I purchased another so I don't even have to do that.  It's a winner.  Take a look at the reviews on Midway.

Regards,

Bill

Region 3

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Brodie posted this 04 October 2018

Up until a couple of years ago I used the primer tube and holder on my RCBS Jr. press the only press I owned until last summer when the primer set up flew apart.  The hold in screws came out and the little ball and spring went (somewhere).  So I bought the RCBS hand priming tool.  It takes lee and RCBS shell holders which is convenient.  My only gripe about it is the spring loaded affair in the handle that pushes the primer in.  If you let it go too far down it is misery to get the ball arm to push the socket up far enough to work.

Personally I do not detect any advantage over priming on my reloading press.  I have had no trouble detecting when the primer is fully seated on either tool, and to me priming on the press is a little more convenient.  The tray on the hand tool is a pain.  I chose the RCBS because of all the bad reviews I had read about the Lee.  Oh Well It works.. 

B.E.Brickey

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Lee posted this 14 January 2019

I prime with an RCBS bench mounted APS priming tool. If I really need to get precise about priming I use a press mounted RCBS tool, a depth mic and a dial indicator mounted on a granite block. I own a Sinclair hand held priming tool and a couple of Lee's. I have a very old RCBS bench mounted tool I still use now and then, it's older than my oldest son. Guess what they all work just as they were designed to. Also I can "feel" the primer slide into the pocket and seat using any of these tools.  When using the APS tool I adjust it till I get the proper depth below flush measurement and go to work, a real time saver. I do check the first 5-10 rounds for consistence and then as I feel like it till the job is done. One of these "it works for me" things.

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