The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Handloading, Reloading, and Bullet Casting

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old September 20, 2012, 02:06 PM   #1
haskins02
Member
 
Join Date: May 10, 2009
Posts: 25
Hand Priming Advice Needed

I’m struggling a bit with the Auto Prime XR hand priming tool which came with my Lee Challenger kit. While I never considered my grip strength to be weak, I find I have to use all my strength, using both thumbs, to prime a .308 case (large primers). I can feel the primer go into the primer pocket relatively easily, but unless I continue to press REALLY hard, the primer will stick out a tiny bit and I cannot remove the case from the Auto Prime (it gets stuck and I have to take the whole thing apart and start all over). Reversing the angle and using my fingers instead of my thumbs doesn’t help either. After priming just 25 cases, my thumbs are so sore I have to stop.

Is there something wrong with my technique? Are there other hand priming tools which have significantly more leverage? Perhaps I should just get the Lee Safety prime and use my press to prime and forget about hand priming. Any suggestions appreciated.

Thanks,
Greg
haskins02 is offline  
Old September 20, 2012, 02:11 PM   #2
jmortimer
Junior member
 
Join Date: January 24, 2010
Location: South West Riverside County California
Posts: 2,763
Did you lube the friction points? It should not take a huge effort to get the primers flush.
jmortimer is offline  
Old September 20, 2012, 02:16 PM   #3
jimbob86
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 4, 2007
Location: All the way to NEBRASKA
Posts: 7,118
Are your primer pockets clean?

If not, then yeah, it will take some effort to get them to seat flush.
__________________
TheGolden Rule of Tool Use: "If you don't know what you are doing, DON'T."

http://nefirearm.com/
jimbob86 is offline  
Old September 20, 2012, 03:16 PM   #4
GeeJ
Junior Member
 
Join Date: August 9, 2012
Location: Texas
Posts: 14
I've recently been learning to reload 308 myself. Though I don't have the Lee hand priming tool, I am using the Hornaday priming tool but both work basically the same way. One thing you might need to consider is whether you are using commercial brass or military brass.

I am almost certain there is a distinct difference in primer pocket size between the two. In fact many of the cartridge dimensions will defer between the two. If anybody here knows better than I, please chime in. As I said, I am still learning myself. It's at least worth a check.
GeeJ is offline  
Old September 20, 2012, 03:19 PM   #5
jimbob86
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 4, 2007
Location: All the way to NEBRASKA
Posts: 7,118
Quote:
One thing you might need to consider is whether you are using commercial brass or military brass
.mil brass often has a crimp to keep primers from coming out and jacking up the works of an automatic weapon.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVpkkHFMKjo
__________________
TheGolden Rule of Tool Use: "If you don't know what you are doing, DON'T."

http://nefirearm.com/
jimbob86 is offline  
Old September 20, 2012, 03:22 PM   #6
rebs
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 10, 2012
Posts: 2,295
Quote:
I've recently been learning to reload 308 myself. Though I don't have the Lee hand priming tool, I am using the Hornaday priming tool but both work basically the same way. One thing you might need to consider is whether you are using commercial brass or military brass.

I am almost certain there is a distinct difference in primer pocket size between the two. In fact many of the cartridge dimensions will defer between the two. If anybody here knows better than I, please chime in. As I said, I am still learning myself. It's at least worth a check.
GeeJ is online now Report Post
I wouldn't think there is a big difference ion the primer pocket size of a 223 compared to a 5.56, just that the 5.56 will be crimped in place and you have to remove the crimp before putting in a new primer.
Alos both cases take the same small rifle primer. If there was a significant difference then one or the other would require a different size primer
rebs is offline  
Old September 20, 2012, 04:47 PM   #7
Unclenick
Staff
 
Join Date: March 4, 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 10,491
He's talking .308, not .223.

There is, in fact, a significant difference in primer pocket tolerances in some brands of brass. I've got IMI .308 match brass that is new and never crimped that I still have to use a primer pocket swaging tool with to be able to seat by feel. So I think that's what the OP may need to do. The RCBS tool for presses should work with the Lee press, too. The alternative is a primer pocket reamer to size the pocket. These are available from several companies.
__________________
Gunsite Orange Hat Family Member
CMP Certified GSM Master Instructor
NRA Certified Rifle Instructor
NRA Benefactor Member
Unclenick is offline  
Old September 20, 2012, 04:50 PM   #8
jcwit
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 28, 2007
Location: Upper Indiana
Posts: 606
Quote:
I am almost certain there is a distinct difference in primer pocket size between the two. In fact many of the cartridge dimensions will defer between the two. If anybody here knows better than I, please chime in. As I said, I am still learning myself. It's at least worth a check.
There is no difference in primer size. Usually military cases have the primer crimped, but then not always. If in fact the primer is crimped the crimp needs to be removed either by swaging or be cutting it away. You will then end up with the same as a commercial case ready for reloading.
__________________
U.S. Army Veteran
NRA Certified Range Officer
jcwit is offline  
Old September 20, 2012, 08:47 PM   #9
haskins02
Member
 
Join Date: May 10, 2009
Posts: 25
Thanks for the input. I am using Winchester brass for .308 - certainly not military. I have not lubed any parts of the Auto prime. I'll give that a try. Any reason to believe other hand primer tools do the job with significantly less effort? Thanks.

Greg
haskins02 is offline  
Old September 21, 2012, 09:30 AM   #10
old roper
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 11, 2007
Posts: 1,108
haskins02, As was mention before primer pockets vary and one of these will help
http://www.sinclairintl.com/.aspx/pi...-Uniformer-Kit

Here another company http://www.shooters-supply.com/reloading_equipment.html

This is the one I use it's listed as the Whitetail primer pocket uniformer
http://www.shooters-supply.com/photo...rUniformer.jpg

Hope the above helps
__________________
Semper Fi
Vietnam
VFW
old roper is offline  
Old September 21, 2012, 09:38 AM   #11
jmortimer
Junior member
 
Join Date: January 24, 2010
Location: South West Riverside County California
Posts: 2,763
"Any reason to believe other hand primer tools do the job with significantly less effort?"
That is a good question. I only have two old school Lee Precision Auto Prime tools. Looking at the newest model, the Ergo-Prime, I want to try it out. Never had a problem with the older ones, but the Ergo-Prime looks good. Regardless, I will always hand-prime off the press - it is easy, fast, and I can inspect each one. Try the lube and the pocket clean-up and you should be good to go. Since you already have the Lee Precision shell holders, it might be worth trying the Ergo-Prime as you could always return it.
jmortimer is offline  
Old September 21, 2012, 12:59 PM   #12
jcwit
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 28, 2007
Location: Upper Indiana
Posts: 606
Quote:
Any reason to believe other hand primer tools do the job with significantly less effort? Thanks.
Can't really say. I have and use the Older Lee Auto Prime, the real old Lee Priming tools with the screw in shell holders, the Hornady hand primer, and a K & M Priming tool. All of them take some effort to seat primers but have never been much of an issue, at least not that I think and I even have gnarled fingers from arthritis.

I get along with all of them just fine even when priming hundreds of cases at a time.
__________________
U.S. Army Veteran
NRA Certified Range Officer
jcwit is offline  
Old September 21, 2012, 01:17 PM   #13
JKilbreth
Member
 
Join Date: May 10, 2012
Location: Georgia
Posts: 97
I noticed the same issue (though perhaps not to the same extent as the OP) when I started hand priming my .308 WIN and .45LC cases with the Lee hand primer.

Cleaning the primer pocket helped me a little, but I found that (as I initially used a lot of found brass and mixed brass) the most helpful thing was to make sure my primer brand and brass cases were compatible. Such warnings ad instructions can be found in your Lee equipment instructions.

When they say don't mix Winchester brass and Fiocchi primers, they mean it! Took me 12 "failure to fire" rounds to give myself a kick in the pants to remind myself to read the instructions and warnings before using Lee reloading equipment.
JKilbreth is offline  
Old September 21, 2012, 01:46 PM   #14
Ralph Allen
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 21, 2007
Posts: 389
I use an RCBS hand priming tool. No problems and great feel. My 308 loads are for precision, so always get primer pockets cleaned before repriming.
Ralph
Ralph Allen is offline  
Old September 21, 2012, 04:13 PM   #15
Unclenick
Staff
 
Join Date: March 4, 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 10,491
Haskins02,

I just realized we've omitted to discuss the other side of the equation. The primers don't all have the same tolerance, either. I really like the Russian primers (Wolf and TulAmmo) for performance consistency, but they are distinctly more difficult to seat than a Federal or Winchester primer or even than some CCI primers (which used to be the hard ones to seat before they revised their cup forming method). I don't know what primers you are using, but it can have an effect.

As to other tools, on the K&M tool you can unscrew the head until you maximize the ram leverage at the end of the priming stroke. But I'm surprised the Lee is giving you grief. If you want the easiest slip fit into a primer pocket, the Wilson case trimmer and their primer pocket profile cutting tool will give you that, but it's slow work if you have many hundreds of cases.

Lapua does make a small primer pocket version of the .308 case, but that kind of size difference is pretty obvious.
__________________
Gunsite Orange Hat Family Member
CMP Certified GSM Master Instructor
NRA Certified Rifle Instructor
NRA Benefactor Member

Last edited by Unclenick; September 21, 2012 at 04:38 PM.
Unclenick is offline  
Old September 21, 2012, 04:42 PM   #16
Strafer Gott
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 12, 2011
Location: New Mexico
Posts: 1,144
I found an old RCBS priming press, and use it exclusively. It's nice and portable. I broke one of the Lee hand jobbies clean off with excessive thumb pressure, and I bet I'm not alone. I never have to wonder if I seated the primer to full depth with the little green press.
Strafer Gott is offline  
Old September 21, 2012, 10:46 PM   #17
haskins02
Member
 
Join Date: May 10, 2009
Posts: 25
I'm using CCI primers with Winchester .308 brass. I am also cleaning the primer pockets first using the Lee primer pocket cleaning tool. Seems I am in the minority having difficulty hand priming.
haskins02 is offline  
Old September 21, 2012, 11:04 PM   #18
SHR970
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 24, 2011
Posts: 557
Win white box is in some cases S&B; especially in the metric calibers. S&B is well known for tight primer pockets....at least well credited on line.

It is possible that the brass the OP is using happens to be S&B......I would need a little more info before positing an opinion on the issue at hand.
SHR970 is offline  
Old September 22, 2012, 10:50 AM   #19
jag2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 30, 2009
Location: dallas
Posts: 405
From my experience, a couple of people have touched on it. I'm a fan of the older Lee Auto Prime but I have broken one. The Wolf (Tula) primers have a well deserved reputation for being very tight. Not saying that is bad, they just are. The hardest priming job for me is Wolf large pistol in 45 cap cases, that is what I was doing when the handle broke. I bought the Lee Ergo (plus a couple of others that are now in the back of the closet) and use it for the Wolf/45 and use the old Auto prime for everything else. I figure that will save the wear and tear on the Auto prime and help me make sure the Wolf/45 is set properly. When you consider how long a priming tool will last (and they aren't that expensive) why not keep trying new ones til you find the combination you like. If money is tight you can probably take the ones you don't like and sell or trade them at a gun show, at least you'll get a little bit of your money back.
jag2 is offline  
Old September 22, 2012, 12:33 PM   #20
haskins02
Member
 
Join Date: May 10, 2009
Posts: 25
Thanks SHR970, I believe I am using Winchester .308 cases from white box cartridges. I have not tried other brands yet with my new Auto Prime. I’ve got some Federal brass and some never fired Remington brass. I’ll load up some rounds with both – see if it makes a difference – both in terms of priming ease and accuracy with my favorite load.
haskins02 is offline  
Old September 22, 2012, 01:40 PM   #21
Unclenick
Staff
 
Join Date: March 4, 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 10,491
Old Winchester brass did not have tight primer pockets, but I don't know if Global Brass or someone else is making the current stuff. There have been complaints about primer pockets widening too soon in the newer .223. Federal tends to be soft, so don't run full power loads in it. Try to keep it in the lower half of the load range. You can tell us if the Remington seems any different.

Assuming this is a bolt rifle and not a gas gun, try a box of Federal primers to see if they feel any different.
__________________
Gunsite Orange Hat Family Member
CMP Certified GSM Master Instructor
NRA Certified Rifle Instructor
NRA Benefactor Member
Unclenick is offline  
Old September 22, 2012, 08:16 PM   #22
saitek
Member
 
Join Date: October 30, 2011
Location: iowa
Posts: 93
instaling primers

man i have chad no problems with winchester brass , priming .have done winchester,imi,rp,federal all with the auto prime xr . my grip strength is not the best . how are you holding it the smooth handel should be aginst the web of your hand .i put a peice of 1/2 dense foam on the paddel to cushin your fingers . i use a rcbs bench mount primer pocket swager on military crimped brass .i use the auto prime xr also .
lee does make a newer hand primer installer called the ergo prime
https://fsreloading.com/ergo_prime-90250.html
maybe this will work better for you .
saitek is offline  
Old September 23, 2012, 03:21 AM   #23
Pond, James Pond
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 12, 2011
Location: Top of the Baltic stack
Posts: 3,243
I can't offer an alternative, but I can offer my sympathy.

I, too, need to use both thumbs to prime my cases, and so far I'm only reloading large and small pistol primers!!

I've not yet reached a point where I can't prime anymore (most I've primed is about a 150 cases in a stretch), but my thumb has certainly felt pummeled!!

I don't see myself changing to another system, but I hope you find a vialbe solution.
__________________
You cannot wake someone who is pretending to sleep. Stop pretending. Wake up.
Freedom: Please enjoy responsibly.
Pond, James Pond is offline  
Old September 23, 2012, 03:31 AM   #24
Lost Sheep
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 24, 2009
Location: Anchorage Alaska
Posts: 3,060
I prime on-press

I have used hand primers, but prefer to prime on-press. I get good leverage, no problem. I do not feel I lose any sensitivity of feeling. Here's why: When I have to use a lot of force, my sensitivity is diminished. I do have a lot of leverage using the press, but just use my fingers on the press' lever arm and can tell how the primers are seating very well.

It helps that I can adjust my press' lever arm to position it close to the press' frame so I can have both in my grip and tell very easily how much movement and resistance is involved in seating the primers.

Lost Sheep
Lost Sheep is offline  
Old September 23, 2012, 01:51 PM   #25
haskins02
Member
 
Join Date: May 10, 2009
Posts: 25
I also had difficulty priming new .308 Remington cases with CCI primers. So I think the problem is me - I must have weaker hands than I thought, despite weight training 3 times a week and doing grip exercises. I plan to buy the Lee Safety Prime to go with my Lee press and prime off the press in the future.
haskins02 is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:52 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.13210 seconds with 7 queries