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Old 07-07-2018, 06:24 PM
HKSmith HKSmith is offline
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I've been using various iterations of Lee hand held priming tools for 20+ years with good results, but not without some problems. The ErgoPrime is my current choice, but the plastic tray covers are a weak link and I occasionally get misfeeds and inadequately seated primers. Lee has very good customer service, so any broken parts have been replaced. I've also tried priming devices from Hornady and RCBS and just couldn't warm up to them.

I decided to look at everything available and bought a K&M Priming Tool from Midway (had my birthday discount as well). This requires putting each primer in the tool manually, so it's a bit slower. The tool is all steel, no plastic or pot metal, so it feels like it will last a lifetime. Leverage is excellent. It uses the Lee priming tool shell holders, of which I already have a complete set. I've now primed over 500 .38 Special and .45 ACP cases with this tool and am delighted. The seating depth is very finely adjustable and very reproducible. I use a Pacific primer turning plate that I bought about 45 years ago to get the primers turned upright and on a flat surface. I highly recommend this tool if you like hand-held priming.
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Old 07-07-2018, 07:21 PM
rockquarry rockquarry is offline
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I gave up on the current Lee products; not good tools. I tried two of the RCBS Universal models; these required an undue amount of effort and primers didn't always fully seat. I bought a 21st Century priming tool and have been very pleased with it. Seating single primers is only a bit slower than a priming tool with a magazine.

I've never used a K&M, but have only heard good reports about the tool. There's something to be said for good quality machine work, tight tolerances, and parts that are not made from plastic and cheap metal.

A tool like a K&M, 21st Century, or a Sinclair comes at a higher price, but when one considers how much such a device is used by many handloaders, the price is quite reasonable. Comfort is also worth something.
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Old 07-19-2018, 06:57 PM
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After my wrist arthritis got worse (and I finally broke my Lee) I looked into the more solid hand held primers.
Something with a longer handle for more leverage.
I got the Sinclair and am totally happy with it.
Had I known about the K&M I might have gotten that one instead.
You certainly will never need another one.
Once you develop your one-at-a-time technique, these aren't really much slower than the tray styles.
They are, however, much more accurate and consistent.
I also like the heft and solid metallic feel of it in my hand.
Definitely worth the premium price.
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Old 07-20-2018, 10:21 AM
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I prime as a separate operation using the Lee Auto Prime for small primers, and a RCBS bench mounted priming tool for large primers. I have owned both since the mid 1970's and never had a problem that I didn't cause. I do have another Auto Prime tool like new in the box as a backup.

Have a blessed day,

Leon
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Old 07-20-2018, 12:19 PM
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Many reloaders use hand held priming tools, but they never felt "good" for me (lifelong machinist/mechanic, using hand tools for 60+years). I had to "reset" the tool in my hand after each squeeze and I didn't feel any consistency in seating depth of the 3 different tools I tried.

I looked at the K&M tool, but just didn't get around to purchasing one (single loading primers in a tool is no big deal). In the mean time, I came across a ram prime tool (about '90) and used that quite successfully until I got my Co-Ax and often prime on that. I may look into the K&M again...
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Old 07-20-2018, 01:08 PM
rockquarry rockquarry is offline
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If you're going to prime on a press, the Co-Ax may be the best setup. I used it quite a bit until I got a good hand prime tool.
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Old 07-20-2018, 10:41 PM
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IMO the Lee hand primers don't generate enough leverage to properly seat rifle primers. I like the RCBS hand primers because they work and at a fair price.

Also IMO the best hand primer available today is made by Frankford Arsenal. When spending the kind of money the OP is talking about it would be my choice.
https://www.cabelas.com/product/FRAN...5.uts?slotId=1
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Old 07-21-2018, 06:15 PM
Green Frog Green Frog is offline
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Back in another century, one of my mentors was a strong proponent of using the prime function of Lyman 310 tools, and if George said to do it that way, that was how I did it.

Later, I went to loading with various presses, including progressives, so I got into priming on the press. For loading in bulk, this worked fine but then I got into more precise schuetzen and went back to individual priming, first with the 310 I already had, then on to the Jake Simmons copy of a Harry Pope re- and decapping tool.

Flash forward nearly 30 years and the SOP is as follows; With the Star or Dillon, priming happens on press, with rifles, priming is generally on one of the classic style tools like the Simmons, and for revolvers not mass loaded, I use an old aluminum bodied Lee priming tool with screw-in shell holders. BTW, I have several backup Lee tools due to their well known propensity for wearing out, and at 69, I want a lifetime supply... old dogs and new tricks, don't you know? The Simmons is all steel and will never wear out.

Each of the modern tools mentioned would be good for the beginner to learn on and develop his own skills. There nothing wrong with any of them, but there is the thing about old dogs...

Froggie
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Old 07-21-2018, 07:00 PM
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I have used Lee’s hand primers for over 25 years. For the first 20 + years I had one of the original round primers and had very few problems. Then I broke the handle.

I replaced it with one of the then square/diamond tray primers and had continuous issues. Primers raising to the load position would lift the corner of the tray allowing primers to flip. The clips holding the lid down on the tray would break and the tray would be useless. I ended up going through two of this version in about 3 years.

Recently I upgraded to the latest triangular tray version. I had problems initially with large pistol primers not feeding which were resolved by loosening the screws holding the unit together a 1/4 turn, but I had to flick the handle out with some force and there were still times when I had to move the handle 2 or 3 times to load a primer into the bottom on the shell holder. I would shake the unit up and down once to get a primer to feed and side to side a bit more gently to get the primers to feed down from the tray after every primer.

Small primers were worse! I would have a 10% loss rate due to upside down and sideways primers. It was really frustrating. This morning I primed 50 .38 Special cases. The first 20 I had 3 misfeeds. Then I accidentally hit the little protrusion at the base of the riser spring down and noticed the primer “jump” into the pocket beneath the shell holder. For the next 30 cases I just squeezed the handle, released it and then pushed lightly on the protrusion with my thumb. All 30 primers fed smoothly and without any flipping or sitting sideways.

I have another 100 or so cases to prime (after I shoot them off on Tuesday ) so will see how it goes.

And I have 500 9mm cases I need to prime in the next few weeks plus at least 300 .45 ACP cases. Fingers crossed.
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Old 07-22-2018, 08:51 AM
Forrest r Forrest r is offline
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I like the old round style lee hand priming tools, still got a couple of them laying around with along with the pot metal part that breaks.


I've tried the lee priming tool that goes in a standard press and didn't care for it. The rcbs presses with the priming arm are ok for every day use. But I still like the old ssk priming tools for precision work.
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