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Old 08-01-2020, 09:47 PM
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Default Who likes & uses the Original Lee Auto Prime tool?

I've read several threads by people who really like this piece of gear.
In particular I recall seeing threads by those who have experienced a broken handle on theirs, lamenting its demise.
So who really likes them and/or has experienced a failure of the handle on theirs?
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Old 08-01-2020, 09:58 PM
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I have an Auto Prime that I brought 20 plus years ago, I have primed literally thousands of .45acp and .45 colt cases without any issues. I used to put just a drop of oil on the pivot points every now and then, what I didn't like was on my progressive re-loader was sometimes powder would get on the primer seating anvil and actually dent the primers plus once in a while it wouldn't feed a primer which was irritating if you didn't catch it quick enough. I also like that you have a good sense of feel seating the primers with the auto prime.
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Old 08-01-2020, 10:32 PM
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I have no idea how many decades I have been using the Auto Prime and Auto Prime II for. Or how many tens of thousands of primers they have seated

I have broken a lever. No big deal I ordered the replacement part.

On any day you can find a few of these available used on eBay and the various other auction sites

I suspect there will be a way to get parts for years to come
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Old 08-01-2020, 10:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colt_saa View Post
I have no idea how many decades I have been using the Autoprime II or how many tens of thousands of primers it has seated

I have broken a lever. No big deal I ordered the replacement part.

On any day you can find a few of these available used on eBay and the various other auction sites

I suspect there will be a way to get parts for years to come
Yeah, as I understand it they are still making parts for the AutoPrime II - the one with the square primer trays.

But from what I understand the AutoPrime II parts aren't compatible with the ORIGINAL AutoPrime - the one with the round primer trays.

That is the one I'm talking about.
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Old 08-01-2020, 10:45 PM
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I liked mine, and broke a couple. About '90-something I got the RCBS hand primer and it's still rolling tens of thousands of rounds later.
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Old 08-01-2020, 11:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BC38 View Post
Yeah, as I understand it they are still making parts for the AutoPrime II - the one with the square primer trays.

But from what I understand the AutoPrime II parts aren't compatible with the ORIGINAL AutoPrime - the one with the round primer trays.

That is the one I'm talking about.
Typo on my part. I meant Auto Prime.

The Auto Prime is a hand held device and the Auto Prime II is a press mounted device.

The Auto Prime and Auto Prime II both use round trays.

The Auto Prime XR uses the square trays and is very similar to the Auto Prime with the exception of a reshaped handle

The NEW Auto Prime and Ergo Auto Prime use the Triangular trays and have the lift/feed mechanism for "greater safety"
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Old 08-01-2020, 11:15 PM
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I have 3. Been using them forever. Tip.....If the aluminum cam that rides on the steel priming rod grows short from wear(steel against aluminum). You can remove the cam and peen it on both sides to get back to the original spec. Or you can cut a small piece of the primer carton. Grease it and insert it between the cam and primer rod.
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Old 08-01-2020, 11:34 PM
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Have mine since 80-81, still use it but I have noticed it's getting worn and I hear creaks and cracks that weren't there before. I find them on Ebay once in a while, just haven't done anything...yet.
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Old 08-02-2020, 12:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colt_saa View Post
Typo on my part. I meant Auto Prime.

The Auto Prime is a hand held device and the Auto Prime II is a press mounted device.

The Auto Prime and Auto Prime II both use round trays.

The Auto Prime XR uses the square trays and is very similar to the Auto Prime with the exception of a reshaped handle

The NEW Auto Prime and Ergo Auto Prime use the Triangular trays and have the lift/feed mechanism for "greater safety"
So you meant to say that you have a source for replacement handles/parts for the original AutoPrime - like the one below?
If so, there are a lot of people who will be very pleased to hear it, because from what I've read/understood after several thousands of rounds, the lever handle eventually breaks - and replacements aren't available.
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Old 08-02-2020, 02:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BC38 View Post
So you meant to say that you have a source for replacement handles/parts for the original AutoPrime - like the one below?
If so, there are a lot of people who will be very pleased to hear it, because from what I've read/understood after several thousands of rounds, the lever handle eventually breaks - and replacements aren't available.
I said exactly what I meant to say.

Did you not read post #3, these tools and their parts are available on the secondary market.

Heck we even have somebody looking to sell two of these right here in our own classifieds section
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Old 08-02-2020, 02:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colt_saa View Post
I said exactly what I meant to say.

Did you not read post #3, these tools and their parts are available on the secondary market.

Heck we even have somebody looking to sell two of these right here in our own classifieds section
OK, I'm following you now. Used parts, and complete used AutoPrime tools are available from eBay and other sources.

FWIW, the point I was making is that the part that most commonly breaks is the handle and it isn't available as a replacement part by itself - either new or used.

That doesn't make your point invalid for the other parts or whole units. I've seen both complete AutoPrime tools and broken ones WITHOUT the squeeze handle for sale. I just haven't seen replacement handles for sale anywhere.

If you know a source where you can still order replacement handles, I'm sure there are people around here who would appreciate that info. Because Lee doesn't sell them on their website.
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Old 08-02-2020, 03:31 AM
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Reportedly, as the Q&A at Uncle Larry's goes, the thumb bar that Lee makes now will work with the older tool. Got one on order to see as I prefer it to the Lyman I'm now using.
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Old 08-02-2020, 05:23 AM
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Several years back I bought every original auto prime I could find.

I have two that I use, one large one small primer.

I have the extras for parts. So far I haven't had to cannibalize any of them.

I use white lithium grease to keep them moving freely.
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Old 08-02-2020, 05:56 AM
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I have 2 Lee hand primers that I got in the mid 80's one I use for small and the other for large primers, have primed thousands of cases with them and have never broken or had to replace any parts...
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Old 08-02-2020, 07:22 AM
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I also have 2 Lee Auto primes, set up for small and large primers. Broke 2 handles on the small set priming milsurp that had not had the pockets swaged.

Bought (4) replacement handles back when Lee still sold them, installed (2) and have 2 left in bags.

Have switched to a different manufacturer and don't use the primer tools or spare handles. Could sell or trade if someone needs.
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Old 08-02-2020, 07:46 AM
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been using one since they came out - one breakage of main body 20 years ago when Lee was still selling parts - now have 3 complete spares that i found at estate + yard sales - my preferred priming tool ! -
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Old 08-02-2020, 09:10 AM
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I have one with the round plastic primer tray's , (if memory serves me right the very first model had no tray, you picked up and placed each primer , with your fingers , and placed it in the tool )...mine have clear plastic tops and so old I don't remember when I got it .
I love it , take care of it , treat it gently when using it...if a primer doesn't want to seat I stop and find out why... I DON"T go all Magilla Gorilla on it and keep applying more and more pressure on the little pot metal handle ...the reason being is pot metal isn't strong.. a little TLC goes a long way in keeping it unbroken .

Don't forget to lube them... makes a big difference in operation and life span .
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Old 08-02-2020, 09:17 AM
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I used one until the wear caused some of the primers to flip, so I replaced it and still use the replacement about 1/2 the time. The other time I spend priming is with the Lee original primer tool that has not tray and you screw in the shell holders. Mine is probably 40 years old and has seated thousands of primers. I prime my brass in front of the TV, so going slow in not a problem. Sometimes, I still get a "hiccup" in the auto prime tool so my preference is to do it one at a time with the original.
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Old 08-02-2020, 10:33 AM
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I used the Auto Prime Tool from when they first came out until a few years ago. I have two complete setups (one setup for large primers & the other setup for small primers). Arthritis in the hands is why I have switched to the RCBS Bench Mounted Priming Tool. So now both of the Auto Prime Tools are back ups I guess.
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Old 08-02-2020, 10:41 AM
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I still have mine. Do not use it anymore but it works fine. Handles broke if you did not grease the pivot point regularly as indicated in the instructions.



I got tired of hand priming and now only prime on the press, turret and LnL AP.
The whole "feel" thing is a bunch of nonsense, A primer is seated or its not.
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Old 08-02-2020, 11:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Westie1 View Post
Reportedly, as the Q&A at Uncle Larry's goes, the thumb bar that Lee makes now will work with the older tool. Got one on order to see as I prefer it to the Lyman I'm now using.
That would be great news for a lot of people.
Let us know if it works please.
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Old 08-02-2020, 11:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BC38 View Post
I've read several threads by people who really like this piece of gear.
In particular I recall seeing threads by those who have experienced a broken handle on theirs, lamenting its demise.
So who really likes them and/or has experienced a failure of the handle on theirs?



But what is your question about them, are you looking for a hand priming tool?? If so, there are far better ones and I am a Lee Fan Boy
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Old 08-02-2020, 11:35 AM
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One f the few things Lee made I really liked. Yes the handle broke, twice. So I have a new one but dont like it as much. I only hand prime precision rifle so not a huge deal.
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Old 08-02-2020, 12:11 PM
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I like the old original "dangerous" model Auto Primes, but eventually wore out the ones I had. Subsequent "safer" versions were and are safer, but didn't work nearly as well. I junked a couple of these.
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Old 08-02-2020, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
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But what is your question about them, are you looking for a hand priming tool?? If so, there are far better ones and I am a Lee Fan Boy
I thought my first post (that you quoted above) ended with my questions.
Who likes/uses them, and who has experienced a broken handle?
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Old 08-02-2020, 12:25 PM
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When I first read your title I mistakenly thought you meant the first generation of Lee priming tool, the one-at-a-time version. I have a half dozen or so of them and it is just about my favorite design for priming pistol class cartridges. I keep one set up all the time for the 32 S&W family of cases, for instance.

I used the round reservoir Auto Prime a few times, because Dad had one, but I was really not enamored with it... I really can’t see what all the excitement was about. But then again, I also like to use the Lyman 310 tool for priming as well the Pope style, both of which lack the multi-primer reservoir, so there may be a pattern here.

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Old 08-02-2020, 12:31 PM
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When I first read your title I mistakenly thought you meant the first generation of Lee priming tool, the one-at-a-time version. I have a half dozen or so of them and it is just about my favorite design for priming pistol class cartridges. I keep one set up all the time for the 32 S&W family of cases, for instance.

I used the round reservoir Auto Prime a few times, because Dad had one, but I was really not enamored with it... I really canít see what all the excitement was about. But then again, I also like to use the Lyman 310 tool for priming as well the Pope style, both of which lack the multi-primer reservoir, so there may be a pattern here.

Froggie
Until I started this thread I didn't know there was a version before the model with the round trays.
Was that one-at-a-time version also called an autoprime? Seems weird to tag something with the "auto" label if it doesn't even feed the primers automatically...
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Old 08-02-2020, 12:46 PM
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Had one, hands get tired, have to hold it just right or it will not feed properly, so I tried a RCBS Ram Priming Unit and love it. Mounted on my Rock Chucker and is about a quick as the hand units and works great. It is only about $25. Video below shows it fitted into a quick change unit for what looks like a Lyman Press, but comes as a standard 7/8" screw-in unit. Very good solid feel when seating the primer and once you get used to the operationt, it is fast.

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Old 08-02-2020, 12:59 PM
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I used to use them all the time. Yep broke a handle or 2 in the past. But I always had replacements from estates sales etc. Now days I use a RCBS Bench mounted priming tool. In fact yesterday I got another at the gun show for 10 bucks. Didn't have the primer tubes but hey I have plenty of them anyway. Yesterday I also got a NIB RCBS hand priming tool. Single priming..Paid 5 bucks for it...It'll probably go on the infamous Fleabay.... The original Lee single primer tool was of course pot metal body with a screw in shellholder. They also came in the Lee Target Model Lee Loaders...which was a very neat item and worked very well for it's intended use. I used them extensively for my 222 22-250 and 243 varmint rifles
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Old 08-02-2020, 02:55 PM
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Smile I used the Lee autoprime for many years

Yes I used the Lee autoprime for many years until arthritis stopped me. Now I use the RCBS benchmounted priming system. I tried the RCBS hand primer after the Lee autoprimers and that was ok, but the arthritis in the thumb stopped all hand priming. I loved the feel of the Lee autoprimer, but the bench mounted RCBS has almost the same feel but is a LOT easier on my hands.
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Old 08-02-2020, 11:37 PM
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I've used it historically but upgraded to a progressive press this year, so I'm going to see how that goes. I'll probably still use it for rifle loads. I do like how it feels, for lack of a better way of saying it.
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Old 08-03-2020, 12:27 AM
smoothshooter smoothshooter is offline
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I still have three and love them.
Used one of them yesterday loading .38 Specials.
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Old 08-03-2020, 08:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BC38 View Post
I thought my first post (that you quoted above) ended with my questions.
Who likes/uses them, and who has experienced a broken handle?



So you are doing a survey of broken handles of a tool that is no longer made?
Alex suggests posting you question as a Poll.
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Last edited by Rule3; 08-03-2020 at 08:26 AM.
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  #34  
Old 08-03-2020, 09:12 AM
pistolpete10 pistolpete10 is offline
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I have 2 of them, original one broke where the shell holder slides in(made of pot metal). I bought another waiting on the new part from Lee. Both show wear on the cam now and last time I used one of them it didn't seat the primer all the way to the bottom of the case. I actually like the Lee more than the RCBS. I may try peening the cam, nothing to lose.......
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Old 08-03-2020, 09:16 AM
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I still have two calibers that I reload on my Rock Chucker and for those two calibers I DO use a Lee Auto Prime which is far and away better than the RCBS priming system on the RC.

All other calibers get reloaded on my Dillon 650 and that press does everything including perfect priming.
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Old 08-03-2020, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by biku324 View Post
I liked mine, and broke a couple. About '90-something I got the RCBS hand primer and it's still rolling tens of thousands of rounds later.
That has been my experience as well.
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  #37  
Old 08-03-2020, 03:54 PM
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I still have and use the original hand primer, without any problems. I don't use it extensively, just when I want to try a new load of about 1/2 dozen rounds. I will use it when I'm making shotshells from Speer capsules too. I know it was recalled and is supposed to be "dangerous", but nowadays, that's abut the most dangerous thing I do.

(not really, I still climb on my roof to clean out my gutters, and I drive everyday. The hand primer is likely the least of my worries. It does a really good job.
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  #38  
Old 08-03-2020, 05:21 PM
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I have two, one I bought new when I started reloading in the last Century. Bought another one a couple of years ago. The first one is worn until it won't seat the primer completely. I have semi retired it and use the replacement. I have always greased the pivot points with vaseline and have never broke one.

Have a blessed day,

Leon
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  #39  
Old 08-03-2020, 06:06 PM
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I had the original "trayless" hand primer and it worked well until the lollipop link wore down and wouldn't fully seat primers. I thought about getting the newer version with the primer tray but Lee changed all the shell holders--a habit it has--and I didn't feel like reinvesting in more proprietary shell holders. I switched to an RCBS hand primer and never looked back.

The Lee was a great tool for me, even if it only handled one primer at a time. I like to do most of my priming whil relaxing in my recliner.
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  #40  
Old 08-04-2020, 12:23 AM
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I have two Auto Prime tools, with the round primer trays. I've had them so long I don't know when I got them. A couple of years ago I got one of the Lee bench priming tools. What a mistake. Pure C-R-A-P, avoid at all costs. Lee generally has good stuff, except for that one.
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  #41  
Old 08-04-2020, 12:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rule3 View Post
So you are doing a survey of broken handles of a tool that is no longer made?
Alex suggests posting you question as a Poll.
Feel free
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  #42  
Old 08-04-2020, 12:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rule3 View Post
So you are doing a survey of broken handles of a tool that is no longer made?
Alex suggests posting you question as a Poll.
Feel free
I'm not quite getting the point of your comments and criticism.
Are you trying to turn this thread into something contentious?
Sorry that it isn't up to your standards - feel free to ignore it.
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  #43  
Old 08-04-2020, 03:13 AM
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Default Using mine about 30 years...

I've probably stressed it pretty good with tight primers and it's still kicking. And I like the way it works. If you rock it back and forth to get the primers in the plate away from the primer on the piston, it's safe, as the ones with the 'built in' safety device seem to have more feed problems. I do have some feed problems, but it's a simple matter to clear things up and get started again.
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  #44  
Old 08-04-2020, 03:17 AM
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Default You can still buy them on Ebay.......

I would order one now, but they are a little pricey. Apparently other people like them too.
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  #45  
Old 08-04-2020, 07:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BC38 View Post
Feel free
I'm not quite getting the point of your comments and criticism.
Are you trying to turn this thread into something contentious?
Sorry that it isn't up to your standards - feel free to ignore it.



No , I just didn't fully understand your post and interest in a tool that is no longer made. Go forth and buy all the ones you can find. With all the other ones available I simply do not see the interest?. Lee stopped making them for a reason, there are some on Flea Bay for crazy prices.

I will sell you mine for a collectors item price plus shipping.
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Old 08-04-2020, 08:42 AM
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Quote:
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No , I just didn't fully understand your post and interest in a tool that is no longer made. Go forth and buy all the ones you can find. With all the other ones available I simply do not see the interest?. Lee stopped making them for a reason, there are some on Flea Bay for crazy prices.

I will sell you mine for a collectors item price plus shipping.
I think his main interest is just to sell the two of these that he posted in our For Sale area a couple of days ago.
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  #47  
Old 08-04-2020, 09:24 AM
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I think his main interest is just to sell the two of these that he posted in our For Sale area a couple of days ago.



Ahhhhhh


Clever.


Just a edit:


Lee warns against using Federal Primers in their hand held primer tool as they have found they chain ignite and go kaboom!


Now of course there will be those that claim to use Federal all the time and have no issue. So be it. Just what LEE says.
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Old 08-04-2020, 11:13 AM
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[QUOTE=Rule3;140857906]Ahhhhhh


Clever.


Just a edit:


Lee warns against using Federal Primers in their hand held primer tool as they have found they chain ignite and go kaboom!

Lee did a lot of testing years ago after some handloaders had primers detonate in the original round tray Auto Primes. As a result of the testing, Lee recommended using only CCI and Winchester primers.

This isn't just Internet doctrine of dubious worth. In fact, the evaluation was done long before the Internet. It was written up in at least one magazine and it may be included in the Lee load manual. If not, I'm sure Lee could steer you toward a copy of the article and testing.

This is the reason the original "dangerous" version (the one that worked well) was discontinued and replaced by the safer square tray model.
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  #49  
Old 08-04-2020, 12:02 PM
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[quote=rockquarry;140858047]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rule3 View Post
Ahhhhhh


Clever.


Just a edit:


Lee warns against using Federal Primers in their hand held primer tool as they have found they chain ignite and go kaboom!

Lee did a lot of testing years ago after some handloaders had primers detonate in the original round tray Auto Primes. As a result of the testing, Lee recommended using only CCI and Winchester primers.

This isn't just Internet doctrine of dubious worth. In fact, the evaluation was done long before the Internet. It was written up in at least one magazine and it may be included in the Lee load manual. If not, I'm sure Lee could steer you toward a copy of the article and testing.

This is the reason the original "dangerous" version (the one that worked well) was discontinued and replaced by the safer square tray model.



Ummmm, not exactly, even the "new one" they say to not use more than one(1) Federal primer as they still blow up.


https://leeprecision.com/files/instruct/PT1204.pdf


New Auto-Prime - Lee Precision


The New Auto Prime (patented) is designed to reduce the likelihood of a mass detonation when priming cases. This is accomplished by remotely locating the mass of primers during the priming operation. A separate elevator raises a single primer from the tray and presents it for priming. We have tested the tool by intentionally setting off a variety of brands and types of primers. Our testing has demonstrated that wearing safety glasses and hearing protection will prevent serious injury. However, all types of FEDERAL BRAND LARGE PRIMERS frequently caused the entire tray to explode with sufficient force to cause serious and painful injuries. These primers must be fed individually, see step 7, single priming option.
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  #50  
Old 08-04-2020, 07:24 PM
leadhead2 leadhead2 is offline
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It's still the best primer tool made. I have several and use them
all the time. Picked up a new in box one at a gun show for $8
dollars. Thought I'd retire them and just bought a Frankfort
Arsenal with all the shell holders. Reviews said they were the
cat's meow. It is a very well built tool and would probably last
forever, but for me it's to heavy and hard to seat primers. So,
back in the box it goes and will be on my table for sale at the
next show. My Lee's will out last me as I just turned 78.
Denny
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