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Old April 30, 2013, 09:38 PM   #1
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Lee Auto Prime vs. Ram Prime

I have an old school lee loader kit with a Lee auto prime in it and I just picked up a lee press that came with the ram prime tool. Which do you think is better for ease of use and just doing a good job?

I have used them both for a brief time but not long enough to form a major opinion.

Seems the auto prime would have the advantage of never touching the primers with your hands.

and the ram prime uses the die kit shell holder taking up less required tools.


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Old April 30, 2013, 10:09 PM   #2
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The press mounted ram prime will have more leverage for seating tight primers, but it boils down to which one you prefer doing as long as the autoprime is working for you.
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Old May 1, 2013, 09:42 AM   #3
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Lee Prime?

I use both. I use the hand prime when I am doing high volume handgun brass
and the Ram Prime for rifle brass which is done in 5's, 10's, etc. as opposed to
hundreds of pistol rounds.
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Old May 1, 2013, 12:09 PM   #4
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I also use a ram prime system. I don't load 100's of rounds, but small batches of 20-50, but with the ram prime I know that each primer is set to the same depth ( .003 below the case head ) on each and every cartridge I load. Just a personal preference.
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Old May 1, 2013, 12:22 PM   #5
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I use both as well. I use the Ram only for calibers for which no Auto Prime shell holders are available (or not convertible) ... usually the BIG, old BP types (Murata, Werndl, Jarman, etc).

Ram is not as convenient and is slower ... but I only do 50 round runs of those odd calibers so it's realy not an issue.
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Old May 1, 2013, 06:19 PM   #6
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I have an old school lee loader kit with a Lee auto prime in it and I just picked up a lee press that came with the ram prime tool. Which do you think is better for ease of use and just doing a good job?
I don't have the auto prime tool. I have the latest version, the Ergo Prime. Works very well.

I have 3 different ram prime dies, Lyman, RCBS and Lee. I'd rank them RCBS (best), Lyman second (because of how annoying it is to change the primer size, I eventually just got a second), Lee's last. Lee's ram prime sucks, compared to the others.

Using a ram prime is precise, but slow.
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Old May 1, 2013, 07:55 PM   #7
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First of all, my use of the Lee auto-prime goes back some time, so this may be old information to others here.

The original auto-prime(from your picture) worked very well for me, but did come with a caveat to NOT USE Federal Primers. Considering that the design left all of primers in the tray very close to the seating stem, if you had a jammed primer that might be set off, the entire tray would go off. Federal Primers were noted as being the most sensitive in this regard. I believe that Lee redesigned this product in the past but not sure how long ago.

The Lee ram prime system doesn't share this problem and does have the benefit of being able to be adjusted to provide a repeatable primer seating depth. I've never used one, but it should be a benefit for the "bench-rest" set.
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Old May 1, 2013, 08:27 PM   #8
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Thanks for the info guys. A bit more backstory is I inherited an old school lee loader reloding style set with auto prime in it. This was my grandpa's (dads father) that he used sometime starting in the 60's. Not sure when all the stuff was collected but he passes away 9 years ago.

When that happened this kit went to my other grandpa till it could be given to me. I reloaded with him on a turret press set up for about 10 years. Then I took 10 years off for school and life. Now that I have it in my possession I decided i'm going to upgrade somethings to stuff I know of. I bought a Lee hand press because I live in an apartment and didn't want to do all the hammering with the lee loaders. The new press came with the ram prime.

But like many I am frugal but also sentimental. I like to use the tools of my ancestors. I did buy the Auto Prime shell holders for the 30-30 and 30-40 so I can use it with my rifles. The new lee dies I just picked up have shell holders too so I guess I can use both systems and see which fit best.

Again thanks for your help and info.
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Old May 2, 2013, 09:44 AM   #9
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I like my auto prime!

I use the Lee auto prime XR. Sure Lee stuff is kinda cheap but it is what it is. I enjoy it and find it to work quite well. Like others have said I load in small quantities and priming is pretty quick that way. I have a ram prime set up for my classic cast haven't used it and may not ever. Who knows. To the OP I couldn't agree more about using equipment that was passed down. Cherish it and use it! I'm the same way!
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