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Old June 21, 2011, 07:25 PM   #1
gunsrtools
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Lee's Auto Prime XR

Anybody besides me hate Lee's newer Auto Prime XR?

I have nothing but trouble with it and have stopped using it.
My old Lee original Auto Prime works fine--no problems.
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Old June 21, 2011, 07:45 PM   #2
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Thanks for the heads up. I'll stick with my old Auto Prime.

Thanks again.
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Old June 21, 2011, 07:57 PM   #3
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I thought they'd either fix it or someone would figure it out. Guess I was wrong on both counts. Makes me wonder why they "improved" it.
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Old June 21, 2011, 10:06 PM   #4
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I have not used it. They changed it so you could more easily dump a full tray of primers on it. Also you have to press twice foe each primer. Thus the one you are loading is not in direct contact with the rest of the primers. That's what I heard. I think it was on here or in a magazine?
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Old June 21, 2011, 10:31 PM   #5
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You only have to press twice on the first one, after that its like the old ones.
However, I still hate it. I'll be calling Lee in the next day or so. I have to
squeeze the handle as far as it will go to get the primer fully seated and
then the handle gets stuck, the spring will not send it back. With the old
one I controlled the pressure to seat it but the handle didn't go all the way
so it easily sprang back. As with many of their products, Lee comes up with a fairly good design but then produce it with cheap materials and poor
tolerances. A shame.
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Old June 22, 2011, 10:17 AM   #6
Smokey Joe
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Lee Auto-Prime XR

Gosh, I feel out of place! I like my new XR very much. Mine works slick.

Had used the original Auto-Prime for years & years. Broke a couple or three handles (which Lee promptly replaced!) I do wish that Lee would make their hand priming tools out of a stronger quality of pot metal, but as long as they replace the parts that break it's not a major issue. (I note that the lever on the XR is reinforced--Mebbe Lee has solved the lever-breakage problem. Time will tell.)

The XR feeds primers into itself better than the original. With a square tray, as pointed out, it is easier to dump primers onto than the original. The two-stage feed from tray to primer ram seems to be an answer to the RCBS hand primer, which is advertised as isolating the primer being installed from all the others. Never had this sort of problem with the original Auto-Prime, but the new one feeds the primers just fine so who cares about the difference.

Something else about the XR I like, is that Lee changed the surface of the primer tray so that the primers get turned right-side-up more effectively, compared to the original.

Agree with the complaint that the lever doesn't spring back on its own, but a little practice seems to be making it automatic for me, to pull the lever back past dead center so the next primer can be cycled. You have to get used to the peculiarities of any new gadget you use, and until you do, it will compare poorly to what you're used to.

I can't comprehend having "nothing but trouble" with an XR. What's to have trouble with?

If Lee made a steel Auto-Prime I'd probably buy it, and expect it to last absolutely forever, but it'd cost as much as the RCBS unit (which is steel) and there goes one of Lee's major advantages in the marketplace.

One thing I DO NOT like is that Lee has stopped supplying parts for all the original Auto-Primes out there--there must be multiple thousands--and instead requires you to put money (granted, a deeply discounted price) into a new XR to replace your original that you already paid for. But that's a business decision, and this is America, and I voted with my wallet, and so can you.
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Old June 22, 2011, 01:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
I thought they'd either fix it or someone would figure it out. Guess I was wrong on both counts. Makes me wonder why they "improved" it.
They improved it, now it is a pain in the A.
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Old June 23, 2011, 07:35 AM   #8
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Smokey Joe--you do seem to be in the minority here.

I have been reloading for over 20 years and never had a problem with the original Lee Auto Prime and I never have broken any parts. I like it because I can seat the primers deeper than I can with the old Rock Chucker press primer attachment.

But this new Auto Prime XR has been trouble from day 1 for me.
The primers get out sync with that flip one out of the tray before it goes into the actual priming spot. And then often I cannot press the primer into the case--it seems to be a little out of alignment. This seems to happen 1 out of every 3 or 4 primers. I never know with their new "improved" system if I can hold the tool perfectly level--tilted forward or what? I am not a patient man and although I do load single stage--I don't want to waste time being aggravated by this priming tool. I have my original Auto Prime all set up for my calibers that use large pistol primers. And now I have gone back to priming on my rock chucker for the calibers that use small pistol primers, instead of using the Auto Prime XR.

Anyone own the RCBS hand priming tool? Is is good. Perform pretty flawlessly?

Bob
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Old June 23, 2011, 07:41 AM   #9
Don P
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I have both and prefer the improved model. Nice being able to dump 100 large primers as to the old 20 only. Both the new and old work as they should without issue.
My old primer has 18,000+ round primed and never broke a part. A touch of grease works wonders.
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Old June 23, 2011, 08:01 AM   #10
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Don P---I have always dumped a 100 primers at a time (large or small) into the round tray of my older Lee Auto Prime without a problem. Only a handfull, after gently shaking them did not flip to the correct side and those are easily flipped by finger. Why did you only dump 20 at a time?
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Old June 23, 2011, 08:39 AM   #11
Don P
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Quote:
Why did you only dump 20 at a time?
Because that is what the directions stated to do. 20 large Winchester primers at a time.
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Old June 23, 2011, 08:54 AM   #12
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"Thus the one you are loading is not in direct contact with the rest of the primers."

I haven't used the XR but the seating primers in my old AutoPrimes are not in direct contact during priming, it's physically impossible to do that!

I bought two of the very inexpensive AutoPrimes at once about 1990 because I'd heard the whining about breaking handles and wanted a spare. Set one up for small, one for large and both are still working fine. I do lube the wear points on the toggle links. And I stop to find out why a primer isn't entering normally; the Tim Taylor method of using "more power" to solve a problem seems out of place on small tools. ??

I've always put as many primers in the trays as I wished and have used thousands of Federal primers safely too. (I know why Lee suggests we don't do that and it's irrelivant to me because my working method prevents the potential problems.)
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Old June 23, 2011, 12:15 PM   #13
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Don P--I see.
Well, for 20 years I have always put 100 at a time of either small or large pistol primers in the original Lee Auto Prime and it all has worked fine.

I can't imagine the large primers being resticted to 20 and the smalls to 100.

Does not make a lot of sense to me. I don't doubt that is what the instruction sheet says---but it seems illogical to me.

Bob
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Old June 23, 2011, 01:54 PM   #14
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Quote:
Anyone own the RCBS hand priming tool? Is is good. Perform pretty flawlessly?
gunsrtools,

I used the Lee tool for many, many years. It worked okay, but it was unsafe with Federal Primers. People had kabooms.

When I went progressive (RCBS Pro 2000) I was introduced to their new APS strip priming system, which uses CCI primers pre-mounted into APS strips. After 40 years of using tubes and Lee's hand primer products, its a great improvement in safety and speed.

So it was natural that I bought RCBS's APS handprimer for those jobs not set up for progressive loading.....it uses the same strips...plus it boasts a universal shell holder that works well for most calibers.

I like it a lot...works and never runs out of primers, as you just keep feeding strips. I did a review of this tool HERE.

Even if you don't wish to use APS, the review still describes the Universal Shell holder of the primer tray version. I haven't heard any negatives from people using the square-tray version of the RCBS universal tool. Most people love it.

BTW, 6mmBr.com also loves this tool. Their review is HERE.

Last edited by GWS; June 23, 2011 at 02:05 PM.
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Old June 23, 2011, 08:27 PM   #15
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I have to jump in on this one. I've used both and now use the new version EXCLUSIVELY because I like it that much. I made one tiny mod and that was to use my pocket knife to make a couple of passes on the left edge of the top cover hole ... just because I felt it needed a bit more relief.

I have a 3/8" hole in the top of my bench and stick the handle end in it. Then I tip the unit directly away from me at about 30-45 degrees. Then it's just prime away ... I can run about 15-20 and then just tilt the unit upright, tilt it to the right to reload the feed track, bring it back to upright and tilt it away from me again and go right back at it. I've time studied this and can do 50 rounds in just a shade over 4 minutes.

If I have a problem with mis-alignment, it's either a shell holder fit problem or a too-tight primer pocket or one with insufficient relief on the rim of the primer pocket ... I call it a hard edge. Just use your tool for removing military crimps ... or just fudge it with your inside chamfer tool.

All priming operations can be made more difficult by badly fitting shell holders and this comes from most manufacturers wanting to make as few different ones as required. The result is that there is sometimes a too-wide a range of tolerances which causes the primer pocket to be oriented off center. I have now loaded probably 8,000 rounds this year with my new units (I have one for large and one for small primers) and after a brief learning curve, it's just ducky. I reload calibers as small as 25 ACP to as large as 577-450 (and wish I could use it for those big calibers as well) and as common as 30-06 to as obscure as 276 ENFIELD (for a P-13 Troop Trials rifle). I like the fact that the cover STAYS ON ... something the older units had a problem with after the locking tabs started wearing. I have NO issues with the handle not returning so I can't comment on that. I also like that I can dump 50 primers at a time and NOT have some just barely miss the edge of the round tray!

I'm tempted to post that you guys who have the new units and hate them ... send me a PM and I'll give you my address ... and if you send me your unit I'll send you $10 plus shipping.

To sum up, I do think this unit is an improvement. I have no more trouble seating primers properly with this one than with the older unit and I'm not some big bruiser. Some people complain that you have to buy "special" shell holders ... OK ... yes you do. However, that has not been an issue for me (a shell holder is generally not that expensive) and I have made some custom ones for my need for better fit by finding who makes one that fits right and then turn off the stud and slightly chamfer the back inside edge of the thru-hole. That special set stays with that caliber's die set.
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Old June 23, 2011, 09:26 PM   #16
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Glad it works for you!!

Romeo 33 Delta--Welcome to the minority! Mebbe as more people use these XR's they'll get more generally liked.

From this thread, I was beginning to think that my XR was the only one that left the factory with no problems. Glad to know that that is not the case!

BTW--GWS--Can you identify any one individual who will admit to having "kaboomed" a Fed primer with an Auto-prime himself?? We always hear of stuff like this where somebody's uncle's friend's brother-in-law allegedly had a problem, once, twenty years ago. I call "urban legend." FWIW, have used some Fed primers myself in an Auto-prime with no problems, not that that proves anything. (Not many Fed primers--I strongly dislike their huge boxes and will avoid buying them wherever possible, but that is a whole different rant.)

I do use safety glasses whenever priming cases.

Anyhow if you accidentally detonate one primer it's no big deal. Especially when that primer is completely isolated from all the others. It happens occasionally in the Lee hammer-it-in set, which is an entirely different setup from the Auto-Prime. If/when it happens, the primer goes bang (not kaboom) there is a little smoke, you wasted a primer, so you hammer it out and hammer in another one. That's all. (Detonating a number of them at once is quite something else again! Not recommended!)
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Last edited by Smokey Joe; June 23, 2011 at 09:52 PM. Reason: The usual--had another thought.
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Old June 23, 2011, 10:04 PM   #17
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Romeo 33 Delta--it is amazing you posted about your slight modification.
This morning I looked at the plastic part that sits underneath the shellholder and saw that it was uneven. Kinda higher in the back than the front and sides. I can't see how it could have been designed that way--so I took my Buck pocket knife out shaved away the extra plastic--to sort of make it uniform. I don't know if that was the problem. But next time I am reloading a caliber that requires small pistol primers, I'll give the device one more try.
If that solves the problem and it works well, I'll post to let it be known.
But if NOT--then I am PMing you and requesting your address and will be expecting that $10.
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Old June 23, 2011, 10:10 PM   #18
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GWS--thanks for the links and the info.

Now I may be interested in the RCBS hand priming tool but not with the use of primers in strips. Number 1---I don't want to be restricted to only using CCI primers,. Number2---I have a large stash of non-CCI and non-strip primers. number 3---I have to assume it costs more to buy primers mounted in these strips than the conventional way.
So, while I am interested in the RCBS hand priming tool---I do not wish to use primers in a strip.
Anybody use the RCBS tool that uses primers packaged the conventional way?
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Old June 23, 2011, 11:52 PM   #19
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Quote:
BTW--GWS--Can you identify any one individual who will admit to having "kaboomed" a Fed primer with an Auto-prime himself?? We always hear of stuff like this where somebody's uncle's friend's brother-in-law allegedly had a problem, once, twenty years ago. I call "urban legend." FWIW, have used some Fed primers myself in an Auto-prime with no problems, not that that proves anything. (Not many Fed primers--I strongly dislike their huge boxes and will avoid buying them wherever possible, but that is a whole different rant.)
Smoky Joe,
No I can't. I used (oblivious to any danger I might add) the Lee tool for years with all brands of primers, even Federals.

Yes, we all hear stuff, and I don't wish to perpetuate rumors, but I read the following on Lee's own web page at the following url (unavailable today since it was replaced understandably by a new page describing the new safer "improved" model.
Deleted Lee page:
Quote:
www.leeprecision.com/cgi/catalog/browse.cgi?1276920733.5429=/html/catalog/primtool.html[/url]
The following is verbatim from that Lee web page on primer tools just a month before their new replacement tool was released toward the bottom of the page!)
Quote:
"WARNING!
Users have reported that the primers in the tray of an Auto Prime can explode for various reasons, some of which include: a cocked primer, or an attempt to prime a case which has a primer already in place, or more than one primer on the punch, or priming a military case with the crimp not completely removed. Should an explosion occur, our tests have demonstrated that safety glasses will normally prevent serious injury to the user if CCI or Winchester primers are used, because the explosion is minimal. Other primers, however, can explode with sufficient force to seriously injure the user, or persons nearby. We do not take any position with respect to the quality or performance of primers available on the market. However, only those primers manufactured by CCI or Winchester are recommended for use in the Lee Auto Prime, and when loading those primers, safety glasses should always be used. No other primers should be used with the Lee Auto Prime."
(My red emphasis)
This published paragraph from Lee tells me Lee has the names for you...not that they'll release them to you.

To Gunsrtools:

You are welcome and I wouldn't dream of forcing APS on you or anybody else. The purpose was strictly information for people unaware of the choice Sorry I don't have a review of the tray version....maybe a new thread asking for such will net you some info. They are great tools

BTW, (again information only) the strip loading tool fills 4 strips of 25 at about the same speed as pecking a hundred primers in a tube...not as fast as dumping a box in a tray for sure. I had 2000 Winchester primers to strip. It only took a couple of nights while watching CSI to make them press ready. Once loaded they can be stored that way for years. You probably shouldn't do that with trays or tubes. (storing them outside their boxes ready to use)

I admit that I now only buy CCI's pre-stripped. They work just as good as Winchester and Federal, and buying them is often the same price as regular boxed primers from my sources. Such as Grafs

Last edited by GWS; June 24, 2011 at 12:06 AM.
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