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Old July 11, 2018, 04:23 PM   #1
markr6754
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Above the Press Ram Priming

I wish that I'd known! A Public Service Announcement for New Reloaders

One of my great challenges reloading on a portable workbench (converted Black & Decker Workmate 550) is on the press priming. My Hornady LNL Classic Single Stage press has a priming arm that inserts a new primer when lowering the ram (on the upstroke), which means that much of my effort is put into lifting the table due to the flexible nature of the Workmate 550 frame. I've taken to countering that effort with my left arm pulling on the C-frame of press as I push up on the ram handle with my right arm. This does wonders on my bad lower back (aging, and degenerative discs).

In my constant search for other ideas for priming, and due to the continual Backorder status of the Frankford Arsenal Hand Priming Tool, I discovered several bench mounted priming options...and subsequently, a different method for on-the-bench priming.

Multiple You Tube videos revealed the existence of the RCBS Ram Priming Unit ($21 - $25), as well as it's lesser known, and slightly cheaper alternative...the Lyman Ram Prime Die (Amazon $17.24). They function essentially the same way. A plug or "Primer Punch Pusher" fits into the shell holder slot on the press ram, while the shell holder of the cartridge you are loading fits into the top of the ram prime die. Both large and small priming punches are included in either kit.

As luck would have it...AFTER ordering my Lyman kit from Amazon, I discovered that there is a Lee Ram Prime Priming Unit for Single Stage Press that is even cheaper than the Lyman unit, but cheaper in both cost, and materials of production. While the RCBS and Lyman units are steel, and standard 7/8"/14 thread die bodies, the Lee kit is aluminum. It is also quite different in design, but does get the job done. I know this, as I discovered that I already owned the Lee Ram Prime - it came with the Lee Hand Press kit that I bought months ago. As I had intended to use this device (and do use it) for depriming, I never explored the other components of the kit. Oh well...not I have the Lee Ram Prime, I've just received my much better construct Lyman Ram Prime, AND, Cabela's told me that my Frankford Arsenal Hand Priming Tool shipped on Monday.

Well, it's only money...right! I hope that this helps save someone else the time and effort that I've gone through, along with my past, poor, priming results.
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Old July 11, 2018, 05:48 PM   #2
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Well Mark you certainly will have plenty of options at your disposal to prime with.

This did get me thinking though. I have never seen a production setup and run such as the Big Boys would use like Winchester, Federal or R-P but I wonder what their reject rate is like!
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Old July 11, 2018, 06:15 PM   #3
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Well I haven't seen this Lee tool that you speak of but Lee formerly made a setup that they dubbed the "Lee Auto Prime II" and in my opinion with tens of thousands of hands-on experience, it was FANTASTIC and I remain baffled and annoyed that Lee took it out of production.

Rest assured, this sucker was made of steel -- it is a screw in die like your basic sizing die, it accepts Lee's curved black plastic feed ramp (one for each size) and it accepts a standard shell holder just as your press ram does, the entire unit sits atop the press and it is definitely my favorite priming tool.

These days, ally handgun fodder is loaded with a hybrid "semi-progressive" system so pistol and revolver brass all gets primed on my Pro-1000. But all of my rifle brass is primed with the Lee Auto Prime II, long ago discontinued, for reasons I'll never understand.
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Old July 11, 2018, 06:43 PM   #4
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Sevens I watch for the Auto Prime II on ebay all the time and if I can find one for a reasonable price I'll try to pick one up. The last one I'd seen in ebay the auction closed at almost $50.00 but it was pretty much complete with box and instructions.
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Old July 14, 2018, 04:07 AM   #5
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My Lee Auto Prime 11 works well with large primers but consistently jams with small primers.

Probably why it was discontinued.
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Old July 14, 2018, 04:17 AM   #6
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best thing to do is get a stable bench mounted to a wall ,no movement
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Old July 14, 2018, 04:46 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cptjack View Post
best thing to do is get a stable bench mounted to a wall ,no movement
If you are referring to the Lee Auto Prime 11, it needs a bit of a jiggle to get primers to move into and then down the feed ramp.

Large primers work OK, small primers turn sideways.

This is not a problem unique to Lee.

My new Lyman Ezee priming tool is actually worse.
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Old July 14, 2018, 08:35 AM   #8
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Never have been a fan of press mounted priming. Lack of feel as the primer is seated is the main reason. Though I now use the ones supplied with my Dillon 550B's with no problems.

That said: I really liked the original Auto-Prime but found that I was replacing the pot metal squeeze handle/lever about once a year. Called Lee, and they wanted the original lever returned at my expanse before sending me a replacement...BS! I went through a slew (>5) handles before quitting. I now use the Lyman equivalent, a better idea in that it uses standard shell holders. Rod
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Old July 14, 2018, 10:30 AM   #9
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Quote:
Never have been a fan of press mounted priming. Lack of feel as the primer is seated is the main reason. Though I now use the ones supplied with my Dillon 550B's with no problems.
This is going to be a rather inexpensive trial for me. The Lyman Ram Prime Die cost less than $20 delivered, versus nearly $60 for my still undelivered Frankford Arsenal Hand Primer. I agree with your caution for the smaller cartridges. My test with .380ACP I didn’t even feel the ram approach the case, let alone seat the primer. On the other hand, I haven’t crushed any primers yet. My initial trial with the Hornady hand primer, I crushed several, and inserted one on its side.
I know the field is mixed on this one, but I am expecting to greatly reduce or even eliminate my high primer problem in 45ACP, and the occasional 9mm. I’m too new to have a preferred method of doing anything...but this does look like the answer to MY problem, and it was significantly cheaper than any of the bench mounted priming systems that I may move to when I have more experience.

I’m just grateful that my wife hasn’t shouted out “basta!, enough spending on this process.”
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Old July 14, 2018, 01:01 PM   #10
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A Plethora of Options

Wouldn’t you know it...I no sooner posted my last comment...and found that USPS quietly dropped off my new Frankford Arsenal Hand Primer. You’ve probably heard it dozens of times....this is a high quality piece of machinery. I’m betting that while I was in the garage degreasing my new RCBS Bulge Buster for 40S&W, and my new Lyman Ram Prime dies, the postman sneaked in and dropped off my Frankford. Lots of toys...and so little time. Between catching up with the 2 semifinals games, and tomorrow’s World Cup Final...reloading functions will be on hold.
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Old July 14, 2018, 01:58 PM   #11
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CH-4D also makes a ram-prime type tool.
It's actually a variation of their primer pocket swaging tool, but that doesn't really matter.
No bells, whistles, or automatic feed. It just seats primers - one at a time.

CH-4D Priming and Swage Kit
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Old July 14, 2018, 07:58 PM   #12
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So I got a chance to use my new Lyman Ram Prime...it worked beautifully...for 2 380ACP primers. Then, no matter how I adjusted the Die, it left me with high primers...I couldn’t get the round out of the shell holder. The small primer stem was too low in the ram. I couldn’t get the stem out, needle nose pliers to the rescue...oops...where’d that bloody little spring go. $18 of scrap metal in a nice plastic box.

Franken Mauser, thanks for the tip. I’ll have to check that out. I need a frustration free priming method that is easy on the back AND the pocket.
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Old July 15, 2018, 07:40 AM   #13
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I'm using the RCBS Ram priming unit for years , never had a problem . I only have a single stage RochChuckrer press . I do uniform all my brass once , makes bottoming the primer in the pocket a no brainier . Ram primer & Uniformer ,great tools .
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Old July 16, 2018, 10:41 AM   #14
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My first call for customer service on any reloading tool - I called Lyman to order replacement parts for my Lyman Ram Prime Die - parts are in stock, and they'll ship them right out to me. So I asked Nick how I pay for the parts, and he said, "We'll ship these out to you at no charge." I told him that I was the one that lost the parts, and he said, no problem, they're glad to ship the parts at no cost.

I've heard stories that reloading manufacturers have a really great end-under warranty, but this is my first personal experience. Very pleased.
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Old July 16, 2018, 02:36 PM   #15
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The Lee Ram-Prime unit is a good, simple, durable tool. I discovered it
years ago when I bought a Hand-Press kit.

I have a turret press now but keep the old Lee Hand Press around just in
case. Also, if I go out of town for an extended time I can load on the road.

All the Best,
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Old July 16, 2018, 05:14 PM   #16
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Quote:
Well I haven't seen this Lee tool that you speak of but Lee formerly made a setup that they dubbed the "Lee Auto Prime II" and in my opinion with tens of thousands of hands-on experience, it was FANTASTIC and I remain baffled and annoyed that Lee took it out of production.

Me too. I use my auto prime II for every thing but what I run through my LNL-AP which is almost dedicated to 9mm.


You do have to jiggle the primer disc to keep it full of small pistol primers but it is the most efficient top of the press primmer system I have ever seen in my 43 years of reloading.

I set it for the top out of the ram and every primer is perfect in depth.

I also can't see why Lee stopped making them.

I have the Lyman top of press die also and never use it. I even machined out my own top of press die and even with the pride factor I still use my Lee Auto prime II.
It's just not worth my time to use any thing else when I'm single staging.
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Old September 16, 2018, 06:59 PM   #17
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Just Call me Clueless!

I made several more attempts at loading primers with my Lyman Ram Prime. It still left primers sticking out of the case. So I decided my die must be defective, and I ordered another one, which came on Friday. With not a lot going on between games I decided to clean some dies, and test out my new Lyman Ram Prime. It came with the large Primer cup installed, so I pulled some new 45 ACP brass, and some large primers, then read the install instructions yet again, this time doing a dry run. Satisfied, I attempted to seat a live Primer. It seated perfectly. I did another, and another, and another...so what was wrong with my old die? Nothing...it was all me!
Turns out, the die was too high on the press, so I was compensating by pulling out the Primer cup stem, which would then get pushed back down into the Primer Ram. In actuality, the stem should be seated at the bottom of the ram, where the set screw merely holds it in the ram, versus holding it up.
So, now I have two Lyman Ram Prime dies...one set for small primers, and one set for large primers. Gee...it only took 3 months, and about $85 in additional hardware purchases. Nonetheless, I highly value the Frankford Arsenal Hand Primng tool that I bought so “solve” my priming problems.
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Old September 16, 2018, 07:14 PM   #18
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I like the ram prime tools but not as much as I like my old-school RCBS bench mount priming tool. Have to load them one at a time but there is never a problem or doubt they seated properly.
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Old September 16, 2018, 09:09 PM   #19
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Right on, Flashhole. Everything that doesn't get primed on my Dillon, goes to the bench moumted RCBS.

I've tried ALL of the hand held priming tools and none of them give me the "feel" of the bench tool.
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Old September 17, 2018, 05:20 PM   #20
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They are hard to find and usually command a premium on eBay. RCBS discontinued them years ago but those who have them swear by them. Me included. I have two, one dedicated to small primers, one dedicated to large primers.
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Old September 17, 2018, 05:50 PM   #21
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They just upgraded it!

This is the one I have.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4nShKxk7Gs
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Old September 18, 2018, 01:56 PM   #22
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RCBS must have also just changed packaging or small parts content for the bench mounted automatic primer seater, because MidwayUSA, Midsouth, and Natchez all had them on clearance or marked as a 'blow out' two weeks ago.
I picked one up for $38.
...And now all of the retailers are back to more typical pricing.


Quote:
...so what was wrong with my old die? Nothing...it was all me!
I'm glad you figured it out.
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