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Old November 14, 2013, 12:52 AM   #1
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hand priming

While I like being at my bench, sometimes priming in the comfort of a couch with a hand primer is awfully nice....
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Old November 14, 2013, 04:52 AM   #2
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Before I entered the world of progressive presses, i would often take a few hundred .45 ACP cases along when we went to the beach in the Summer.
I used a hand press to size and decap and then a Lee hand primer to reprime.
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Old November 14, 2013, 05:48 AM   #3
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I agree, I will often take a few hundred brass over to the couch with me and sit there and hand prime them all
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Old November 14, 2013, 09:08 AM   #4
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Plus, some hand primers can do a better job than some progressive presses by giving you more feel. It's not usually an issue for handgun ammo, but for precision rifle, getting the primer seating right causes ignition timing to be more consistent. That shrinks groups by tending to get the bullets out with the same barrel time. Muzzle velocity standard deviation is a good indicator of ignition consistency.

There is some debate about how deeply primers should be seated. I don’t pretend to have all the answers about this, but I have experimented with seating primers to different depths and seeing what happens on the chronograph and target paper, and so far I’ve obtained my best results seating them hard, pushing them in past the point where the anvil can be felt hitting the bottom of the pocket. Doing this, I can almost always get get velocity standard deviations of less than 10 feet per second, even with magnum cartridges and long-bodied standards on the ’06 case, and I haven’t been able to accomplish that seating primers to lesser depths.

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Precision Shooting Reloading Guide, Precision Shooting Inc., Pub. (R.I.P.), Manchester, CT, 1995, p. 271.
Hard or soft is something I can't always discern on a progressive press.
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Old November 14, 2013, 10:01 AM   #5
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I"ve used a well lubricated Lee hand primer for a long time. Also used a well lubricated Lyman 310 tong tool seating primers. The tactile feedback from these tools to my hand makes it easy to feel the resistance of the primer suddenly increase as the anvil starts pushing into the primer pellet. Primers end up well below flush with case heads.

All of which means the primer's going to be further away from the bolt face when the firing pin falls. Keeping head clearance (bolt face to case head dimension when the round's against its headspace juncture in the chamber) to a minimum of only a few thousandths (less than 4) helps in making primers fire uniformly. And the firing pin needs to protrude far enough from the bolt face to make primers fire uniformly; .060" to .065" is a good range to have it be at.
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Old November 14, 2013, 10:34 AM   #6
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I've reloaded for years and never used one. I've finally decided I need one, but having trouble deciding which is most comfortable to use since I can't try them out. The Lee ends up about the same price as RCBS after you buy the sheel holders (and additinal ones I need that aren't included). I've never seen a Hornady or Lyman which was always my go to for cheaper substitutions. Cheap is always nice, but not if its not any better than the press. I use a ram die for larger primers, so small primers are my main interest here.
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Old November 14, 2013, 10:46 AM   #7
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I use the Lee Auto-Prime for rifle ammo reloading and the Lee safety Prime on my turret presses for all my handguns. The amount of reloading I do for rifles is in the hundreds and the amount for pistols/revolvers is in the thousands.

The additional step of hand priming handgun rounds would be a major burden compared to using the Safety Prime on the turret. I do not see how either system is a quality improvement over the other.
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Old November 14, 2013, 11:11 AM   #8
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I used a Lee for 20+ years, but now I use RCBS's APS handprimer (when I use one) with the universal shellholder. That's a no-brainer since I use a Pro 2000 progressive for most of my loading and buy APS primers almost exclusively now. I like the versatility of being able to prime a few large primers (could mean 3 or 300),and mid strip, pull the strip out, screw in the small primer rod insert another strip and start loading small primers. No screwing around with trays or handling primers.

As for priming on a Pro 2000 progressive, feel matters less if you first uniform the primer pockets in your brass. Then one only has to set the primer depth stop, and crank away....all the brass is primed at the same depth. I use the uniformer in a Trim Mate for that. Like any operation of that nature (using a uniformer) one can press too hard and over-cut the pocket, but with a little practice & resisting urges to bear down, uniform holes are easy.
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Last edited by GWS; November 14, 2013 at 11:27 AM.
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Old November 14, 2013, 12:44 PM   #9
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boondocker385: "While I like being at my bench, sometimes priming in the comfort of a couch with a hand primer is awfully nice...."
Me too. I'll grab my Lee Auto Prime, take a seat on the couch, and prime my brass while watching my Raiders lose yet another game.

I like hand priming. I want to "feel" and then see the primer seat. This is one of a number of reasons why I'm reluctant to go progressive. (Those "number of reasons" taken collectively, makes going progressive something that may not be right for me. But that's outside the scope of this post - sorry.)

I only load pistol, and I know that primer seat is not as critical with pistol. But I'm comfortable with the process that I have been using for almost 30 years. Every round I have ever loaded - ever - has gone "bang." If it works, don't mess with it.
I load 9mm, 10mm, 38 Short Colt, 38 Spl, 357 Mag, 44 Spl, 44 Mag, & 45 ACP.
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Old November 14, 2013, 06:49 PM   #10
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I do lot of hand priming for rifles and I have them for specific cal or primer size.
Need to click on this to see them
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Old November 14, 2013, 07:29 PM   #11
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Hand prime here to. sit at couch and prime away. I think you inspect brass while you do it sub concisely also. one more check- works for me
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Old November 14, 2013, 08:03 PM   #12
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I load pistol brass in batches. First I deprime with a universal deprimer. Then I pin tumble. Then I put them in a progressive and size, expand and bell. Then I hand prime. Then I charge powder in a set of cases. Then I put them back in the progressive to start, seat and crimp. Then I do a plunk test in the (removed) barrel. Whenever I feel like doing any of these things, I take out the batch of brass that is in the appropriate stage and have-at-it. The priming part is something that I can do while sitting on the couch and watching TV, since it is basically tactile. Of course, I need to select the proper primers, inspect the brass, and and all the other attention requiring duties BEFORE I turn on the TV.

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Old November 15, 2013, 03:06 AM   #13
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sometimes priming in the comfort of a couch with a hand primer is awfully nice...
Yes, it could be. And yes I have a hand primer, and yes I occasional hand prime 10 or 15 rifle cases for a test load, BUT I find I can more consistently crush the anvil into the primer on a press, and depending on the type of press, it is much faster for larger jobs (at least for me). Besides my thumbs aren't what they use to be.

The whole issue of not being distracted while reloading is something that should not be ignored, like watching TV while putting primers in upside down into cases.

But, what the hay just have a cold drink for me and make room on the sofa will you!.

Si vis pacem, para bellum
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Old November 15, 2013, 05:35 AM   #14
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I use the Lee Ram prime in my hand press. Works for me, have never set one off accidentally in 20K tries, many of them Federals.
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Old November 15, 2013, 07:15 AM   #15
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The LEE hand primer tool hurts my hands so I went to an RCBS which has different pressure/leverage points. I also use a Forster bench mount tool when priming large batches of .223. Since I got a Dillon SDB for handgun ammo, I don't have nearly as much hand priming to do.
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Old November 15, 2013, 07:39 AM   #16
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I hand prime everything I reload. I have a better feel for the primer seating and am more comfortable sitting on the couch doing it. For me it is also much faster than priming on the single stage I use.
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Old November 15, 2013, 07:44 AM   #17
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The LEE hand primer tool hurts my hands so I went to an RCBS which has different pressure/leverage points.
Thanks. This is the info I was looking for. I was also looking at Hornady hand primers, and they look like the pull angle is better. Wish I could test drive them all!
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Old November 15, 2013, 07:45 AM   #18
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Don't own a Lee hand primer myself, but a few of my fellow range shooters do that reload. Recall selling some Wolf/Tula LR primers to one of them when he was short of primers. He would later complain about "wearing himself out" with the primers due their cup hardness.....took more pressure to seat the Wolf/tula with the Lee hand primer. Think he was used to installing Remington or Winchester primers.
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Old November 15, 2013, 09:22 AM   #19
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I use wolf and tula in my rcbs hand press with no issues.... I used to have a Lee but gave it away. It didn't fit my hand.
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Old November 16, 2013, 11:55 AM   #20
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Jim, regarding distractions of priming while watching TV: I find that putting all of the primed cases back into a box primer-up before charging them solves two problems. One is that it makes it simple to always visually note that each case is primed and that the primer is correctly oriented in a batch of cases before I charge them. Two is that picking-up an upside-down case immediately before adding powder completely assures me that I don't double charge a case. As for making the primer seating consistent, I am taking my time and using feel, plus I rotate each case and put pressure on the primer again after it is first seated, before removing it from the hand primer. It is quite easy to be meticulous with hand priming and still do hundreds of cases in the time that I am sitting beside the wife watching TV showes. But, as I wrote in my first post, it is imperitive that you select the RIGHT primers and set-up the tool for the right primer size BEFORE you let the TV distract you at all.

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Old November 16, 2013, 08:22 PM   #21
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An old-school Lee Auto-Prime (the one with the round tray) is all I use.
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