What is the best hand held priming tool?

  • 965 Views
  • Last Post 19 October 2022
John Alexander posted this 25 September 2022

I have been using Lee's hand held priming tools from before they had magazines. They were a great improvement over priming with a reloading press or with a Lyman tong tool.  However, the arthritis in my thumbs isn't getting any better and the Lee tools don't have a lot of leverage, so am looking for a replacement that you squeeze with your fingers.  What should I buy?

John

Attached Files

Order By: Standard | Newest | Votes
RicinYakima posted this 26 September 2022

I buy all of the old screw-in Lee priming tools I can get. If that is too hard, I would go with the K&M tool.

https://kmshooting.com/product/primer-deluxe/

Has twice the MA of the old Lee, but takes the new Lee shell holders. I can use it with my fingers on the lever instead of just the thumb. 

If you decide on this one, give me a PM. 

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • Bud Hyett
BigMan54 posted this 26 September 2022

How about the old RCBS Auto priming tool ? The one that fastens to the bench and uses a primer feed tube. 

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

Attached Files

David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 26 September 2022

Frankford Arsenal, I switched from using the Lee's for 40 years. I wish I had the FA when I started. 

https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1016958988?pid=582486

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys, Good Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • Bud Hyett
SkinnerD posted this 26 September 2022

Some thoughts...

Ihave the older Lee ones with the round tray and the yet older screw in ones. What I use most for rifle is the little priming arm that comes with the Lee Presses and I hand feed it with loose primers held in a clean lidded plastic tub dedicated for the task. I have the Lee Press mounted tray feeder rigs with the swing arm and clicker thingamyjig but when primers hit 25c each down here at the long end of the ocean I wasn't prepared to have 2 or 3 in a 100 drop and vanish on the floor any more.

The Lee handheld is fine but yup, arthritis. I do still use it tho for 100 shell runs and swap hands on tge squeeze periodically. A mate has the new Lee bench mounted tray fed primer and swears by it but I have come to love the ease, feel and simplicity of handfeeding the press priming arm, doing runs of 20-50 rds.

I do like the exceptional feel of the Lee Ramprime on a press and when I get my permanent reloading room set up this summer I plan to have my smallest Lee Aluminium Press set up with a RamPrime as a separate station. I also use the Ramprime on my Lee HandPress with some pleasure.

For Pistol its always the Dillon 550. After several years and 3 presses I got out of Lee Pro 1000s. Glad to see the back of that primer system.

If my hands were really struggling to manage handhelds, or to handfeed the Itty bitty things, I would consider batch priming 100 rifle brass at a time on the Dillon. In fact I'd decap, resize and prime in advance then store the brass until I wanted to charge with powder and seat bullets.

When I started reloading I read a lot of cautions about not ever handling primers. Frankly I think its an issue that is overstated to sell overpriced hands free gear half of which doesn't work well enough. Keep your primer handling fingers clean and dry there's no issue. My biggest prob is gnarly old stumps that pass for fingers letting the primer fall.

Good luck.

John - New Zealand

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • Bud Hyett
lotech posted this 26 September 2022

I've used the 21st Century hand priming tool for at least five years, Better than the others (though the Sinclair comes close), it's an excellent well-made tool but one at-a-time priming. However, any hand priming tool may require too much effort for arthritic hands. I'd certainly look at a bench model tool instead.    

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • Bud Hyett
RicinYakima posted this 26 September 2022

When I started reloading I read a lot of cautions about not ever handling primers. Frankly I think its an issue that is overstated to sell overpriced hands free gear half of which doesn't work well enough. Keep your primer handling fingers clean and dry there's no issue.

Until you start sweating acetone or MEK, clean skin is good enough. 

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • SkinnerD
  • Bud Hyett
RicinYakima posted this 26 September 2022

The "no touch" is because of the original primers that were water soluble, like from sweat. 

These first primers used fulminate of mercury (Hg(CNO)2) as a priming compound. Fulminate of mercury is a primary explosive—meaning that it is very sensitive to shock, friction and heat—produces a hot combustion gas that easily ignites propellants like black powder. While fulminate of mercury is generally a good priming compound, it has a few major deterrents: It is susceptible to water contamination, and it leaves behind a very corrosive residue that must be cleaned from the firearm and its casing quickly to prevent rusting of the gun or chemical corrosion of the cartridge case. 

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • Bud Hyett
OU812 posted this 27 September 2022

I have been using the basic RCBS for years. The one that requires separate shell holders. You can squeeze using two hands if needed.

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • Bud Hyett
Bud Hyett posted this 27 September 2022

I have two Basic RCBS Hand priming tools, the old version and the new version. The new version is an almost unmeasurable improvement. It is easily used with two hands for more power.  

My old tool is set up for ,32-20/.25-20 and the new one for .308/.30-'06. This speeds production. 

I also have several other priming tools including the K&M and Lee. The advantage of the Lee is a supply of shell holders for the K&M priming tool. 

Farm boy from Illinois, living in the magical Pacific Northwest

Attached Files

Tom Acheson posted this 27 September 2022

I have one of the Sinclair units with a handful of shell holders. You insert the primers one at a time. Has lots of leverage but also lets you “feel” the primer being seated. Memory says I paid about $85 for it way back when.

The only time I’ve used it is when out of town @ a two-day match and loading in the hotel room, which has been seldom. Most of the time I use a RCBS bench top mounted unit. But…one primer @ a time with it also. I don’t believe in using the tube magazine. Don’t want the “enhanced risk” of the tube detonation! 

Tom

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • RicinYakima
  • Bud Hyett
Shuz posted this 28 September 2022

I like the RCBS hand tool except for the loose primer rod. It took me a few sessions before I learned that you can't turn the thing upside down!

Attached Files

Ross Smith posted this 28 September 2022

CPA rifles makes a prime de-prime tool that I use and like.

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • Bud Hyett
Pentz posted this 29 September 2022

I like the adjustability of my Frankfort hand priming tool.  Lots of purchase for the entire hand and no sore Lee thumbs.

Mike

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • Bud Hyett
  • David Reiss CBA Membership Director
Qc Pistolero posted this 30 September 2022

How about the old RCBS Auto priming tool ? The one that fastens to the bench and uses a primer feed tube. 

Makes 2 of us who like it!And I like it a lot!!!

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • Maven
  • delmarskid
John Alexander posted this 03 October 2022

Thanks for all the advice on a variety of priming tools.  I was surprised that so many of you are using single loaders.  Since Lee came out with a magazine fed loader I just assumed that everybody had gone to that faster type.  Priming tools are seldom discussed much   so we don't know what others are doing I guess.

 I know both the tube type feeders and the other configurations have been know to explode.  Have any, or many, of you experienced such an event?  Lees claims their latest design is very safe but not with Federal primers and they used to recommend certain brands use in their older magazine models.

Is safety the reason for using the slower type?

John

Attached Files

RicinYakima posted this 03 October 2022

Is safety the reason for using the slower type?

For me, I seldom load more than 40 cases at a time. It is almost a fast for me to pick them up off of a paper towel, than having flip them to orient, load them and shake the magazine to make it feed. 

When I was loading 200 a week for pistol Bullseye and 200 for High Power, I used older round magazine Lee.

Reloading and shooting are my hobbies and I enjoy doing both. I'm not in that much of a hurry these days.

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • Bud Hyett
Tim DeMarais posted this 03 October 2022

I have used the Sinclair hand priming tool for a few decades and agree with Tom's comments. I have no problem using the Sinclair but my arthritis is not too bad yet.

I do not think I would prime much faster using a hand held tool with a primer feeding system. I thought the time spent loading tubes or strips would eliminate any time saved using the primer feeder.

https://www.sinclairintl.com/reloading-equipment/priming-tools/hand-tools/sinclair-priming-tool-prod37732.aspx

 

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • RicinYakima
Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 03 October 2022

if you load primer tubes one primer at a time it is about as fast just putting the primer in the primer tool cup  .....

same with lubing bullets in a sizer >>> why pick up a bullet, put it in a sizer, pull the handle, turn the lube lever, lower the handle, pick out the bullet, set the bullet down, then later pick up the bullet and seat it ...

i just pick up the dry bullet with greasy fingers and seat it ...  works at least for plinking fodder ...

ken

 

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • Ross Smith
lotech posted this 04 October 2022

John-

The original Auto Prime round tray "dangerous" (my word) model worked very well, but there were some reported explosions and injuries that caused Lee to do some in-house testing. This was more than thirty years ago as I recall. The testing was written up in at least one gun magazine; I read it but don't recall the publication. I think the subject may also be addressed in the Lee load manual, so none of this is dubious Internet lore. 

Lee advised using only CCI and Winchester primers in the tool. The square tray model supposedly eliminated the danger but was a sorry tool. I threw away two or three of these.  

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • RicinYakima
John Alexander posted this 04 October 2022

lotech,

You are right, that it isn't dubious internet lore.  The instructions with their latest priming tool says it "REDUCES the likelihood of a mass detonation"  They further say, "However all types of FEDERAL BRAND LARGE PRIMERS frequently cause the entire tray to explode" Hard to believe it's that bad but I am not going to find out.  I wonder what the instructions for other magazine fed priming tools say?

I have been using  the Lee square tray model for years and find it works perfectly.  Different strokes for different folks.

John

Attached Files

Show More Posts
Close