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Old September 13, 2010, 03:28 PM   #1
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LEE turret press does NOT catch old primers

Hi. New guy here.
I posted the following thread in another forum, which is much less visited than this one, without much success. So, here I am.

I have a LEE turret press (,
the older one with a high base, that has no
good way of catching old primers. No, it does not drop them through a
hole in the ram to a tube at the bottom like the newer 'Classic' press.
The primers just pop out of a slot on the side of the ram.
Sometimes they drop into a dead-end hole in the base where they are
hard to get out, but most of the time they just dribble out onto the
bench or the floor somewhere, an annoying mess.

Has anyone else had to deal with this? Did you come up with any kind of
good workaround for it? Do you have a picture of it?

I suppose there are all sorts of little containers I could make out of
cardboard, aluminum foil or plastic bags or something, but they all
seem like a big pain. I need a simple 'there you go' kind of solution.
Thanks for any thoughts.
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Old September 13, 2010, 03:46 PM   #2
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There is a reason they improved the new press to catch the primers. I have read that there are a few ways to make your own catch but I read that months ago and can not remember where it was I read this.

I have the newer turret press and it works perfect every time dropping the primer right down the tube.
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Old September 13, 2010, 05:23 PM   #3
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Hanksboy, I'm afraid you're just going to have to live with it. There isn't much you can do. I tried a few things to help, but the success rate wasn't good.

The problem is the primers don't release from the primer pockets consistently, while being deprimed. They fly every which way, bouncing off at all angles.

I finally sold the deluxe model, and bought the classic. Much better system for handling spent primers.
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Old September 13, 2010, 05:43 PM   #4
Real Gun
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Catching primers relies on the primer arm being in place, whether or not it is being used. That provides a ramp that the dropped primer will hit. The angle will point the primer to the left side cavity in the base. I have improved my catch rate simply by taping paper along the right side to have a higher wall.

As far as emptying the base, one of the more clever ideas I have read about involves mounting the press over a hole, under which is attached a threaded jar lid with a big hole in it. The excess primers will flow into the jar. A variation is having the primers flow into a PVC pipe to a bucket. You can also come close to simulating the fall through design of the Classic cast. Same idea. All it takes is a hole in your bench.

One use I have found for the new Lee bench plate is to put a hole in the wooden plate under each device setup for being mounted on the plate. That hole will fill up with primers but basically provides a way to empty primers without removing the device's mounting adapter plate. You just put a bucket under the edge of the bench, loosen the bench plate, and slide the mounting out enough to dump the primers in the bucket.

I find fewer escapees by keeping the bucket as close as possible.

I also have the classic cast single stage in order to use quick change adapters in its large threads, so I do enjoy its primer collection, which is the same as the cast turret. I just don't think the difference in primer collection is enough to warrant a 40% increase in cost, jumping up to the cast turret. I would go that route if loading large rifle cartridges.

Last edited by Real Gun; September 14, 2010 at 08:12 AM.
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Old September 14, 2010, 12:22 AM   #5
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I don't have experience with the Lee turret, but did have similar issues with my RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme. I ended up trimming a length of styrene tubing to insert into the hollow core of the ram. It directs primers exactly where I need them to go, and is only in the way if I want to use the priming arm (which is about 1 primer in 10,000).
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Old September 14, 2010, 01:16 AM   #6
Lost Sheep
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Large solution

Spread a sheet or painter's drop cloth or some such out on the floor. It not only will catch the primers, but any spilled powder or other stuff. Pretty much prevents stuff from rolling away and makes cleanup easier.

Beware of the tripping hazard, though.

Good luck, and thanks for asking our advice. Sorry I don't have a small solution.

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Old September 14, 2010, 07:18 AM   #7
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I have a simple solution. What I did was take a primer slip cover and taped it on the right hand legs of the press. It acts as a back stop and helps drop the primers into the holder in the base. I still have a few that get away but only usually 2- 3 per hundred.

Real Gun-- That's basically what I did with mine. I mounted it to a board, because I remove my press from my bench when I'm done reloading. I have a 2 inch hole drilled in the board under the press. When I'm done reloading I slide the board off the bench and have a container under it to collect the primers as they fall out.

Last edited by doctruptwn; September 14, 2010 at 05:31 PM.
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Old September 14, 2010, 08:35 AM   #8
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Despite having the tray designed to catch them, my RCBS rig scatters them all over the floor too. I'd say it only catches maybe 70%. By the time I'm done with a reloading session, there's old primer, trimmings and powder all over the floor beneath me. That's what shop vacs are for!
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Old September 14, 2010, 03:49 PM   #9
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I had the Rock Chucker Supreme and the primer catcher on this was miserable. It was the main reason I bought the Lee Classic Turret. In my opinion it was well worth the cost. Before this I would have to spend all this time searching the basement floor looking for primers.
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Old September 14, 2010, 08:39 PM   #10
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My Rock Chucker was flipping primers all over the place because the lip of the primer catcher is too low. I simply placed a 3"x5" card in the right position and the problem ceased. The card holds itself in the primer catcher under its own tension. Works great and no more problems.
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Old September 17, 2010, 10:33 PM   #11
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A final solution.

I have a final solution, but not the kind I hoped for.
A pill bottle. Yep, the very thing I wanted to avoid, and a bit clumsy, But it works.
The primers pop out on the right side. I use my right hand on the press lever, then reach around the back side with my left hand holding a small plastic pill bottle up to the ejected primer slot.
I appreciate everyones comments, but I realized that I can't obsess about this forever.
This will have to do.
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