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Let’s Hear It for the Equipment Snobs! #14894247 05/19/20
Joined: Apr 2001
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Steve Redgwell Offline OP
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Let’s Hear It for the Equipment Snobs! – the Lee Ram Prime
Copyright 2020 – Stephen Redgwell

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
Lee Ram Prime

I have used a lot of priming tools over the years. A few were expensive. Others, cheap. Cost was secondary, as long as they got the job done. But when I was shooting competitively, I used an inexpensive Lee hand priming tool. The reason? Equipment had to function properly. The little Lee worked.

But then there are the reloading snobs. They always seem to buy outrageously priced priming tools and other equipment to create what they think is the best ammunition on the planet – even if all they own is an off the rack Savage 110 or a Marlin 336.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
Old Lee Tool

There are a few reasons I believe they think this way. The first is the inverse proportion rule. Group size is inversely proportional to the amount of money spent. Put another way, some shooters figure their groups will get smaller if they spend more money. They haven’t realized that you cannot buy bugholes.

These folks point to top competitors and their high end equipment. If it was no good, why do they own it? Well, I didn't say it was no good. The difference is, they know how to use it properly and can afford it. All are looking for an edge. Some have sponsors.

Top competitors also do a few things differently than casual shooters. They practice a lot and know how to analyze and correct deficiencies. Some use coaches. All spend a lot of time shooting. It’s the time spent, and knowing how to practice that are important. Priming tools, rifle stocks and other things are secondary.

If you wish to follow the inverse proportion rule, consider that more time practising will make smaller groups.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
RCBS Hand Tool

The second is “Keeping up with the Joneses”. It’s a form of social pressure. They read about others on websites like this one who own $3000 rifle scopes or expensive dies and presses. They feel that they have to own these things too. Sadly, they are willing to put themselves into hock to accomplish this. Part of the 'keeping up' problem is tied to the glam factor.

“Hey, Old Bill only runs custom rifles with March or Nightforce scopes!”

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
Forster Tool

You cannot afford to be seen with a Remington 783 or a Burris scope! What will the others think? Praise the retail gods, Bill! Your credit card company thanks you too!

There are even a few shooters who flat out lie about the equipment they own. These guys are too embarrassed to admit their reloading room is full of used equipment and inexpensive dies, or well worn rifles, so they, um, prevaricate. No need to stretch the truth! Congratulations on not being fooled into thinking that everything you own must be worth a king's ransom!

Some shooters recover from this when they are over 60, but they are still a minority.

Anyhow, back to the priming tools that I have used and fought with. I’ve tried a lot. The equipment companies and retailers benefited to be sure, but most of my stuff was either a loaner or tax deductible. smile

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
RCBS Bench Tool

1. Lee hand priming tool with the round trays – years of faithful service. I wore out three. It would have been perfect if the primer tray was square.
2. Lee Auto Prime II – Good. It's only failing was the plastic feeding trough. It had to be tapped or the primers moved onto the ram with a pencil. It didn't like to feed the last five to ten primers.
3. Forster bench priming tool – Okay, but a pain in the butt to load the primer tube. Tied for tedious with the RCBS Automatic Priming Tool.
4. Lee Auto Bench Prime – Yuck! The primer trays jammed and misfed constantly.
5. RCBS universal hand priming tool – Okay, but it broke after a year. For $100 CDN, I expected better.
6. Lee Ram Prime – Sometimes, simple is best.



Safe Shooting!
Steve Redgwell
www.303british.com

"Stay away from negative people. They have a problem for every solution." - anon
Proverbs 22:10: Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.
BP-B2

Re: Let’s Here It For the Equipment Snobs! [Re: Steve Redgwell] #14894264 05/19/20
Joined: Apr 2001
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Steve Redgwell Offline OP
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A New Priming Tool – the Lee Ram Prime, Part 2
Copyright 2020 – Stephen Redgwell

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
Lee Auto Prime II

If I could go back in time, I would purchase about 20 of the old Lee hand priming tools with the round trays. They were easy to use and maintain. I never had an issue with any of them. When the last one broke around 2000, I scoured gun shows, stores, and the want ads in the back of gun magazines to find replacement parts. Sadly, there was nothing available, and it was before the Internets was a big thing.

I tried the RCBS and Forster bench mounted priming tools, thinking that they were more expensive and therefore, better. Not so. They had their own idiosyncrasies. The big thing for me was loading the primer tubes. It took too long. I liked the simplicity of dumping 100 primers into the tray of a hand held unit. A few seconds to load and you were ready to go!

I went back to Lee and tried a couple of their creations. The Auto Prime Tool II worked fairly well. I suppose my only criticism of it would be the primer trough. It didn't like to feed the last few primers onto the ram. They had to be helped along with a pencil.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
Lee’s Auto Bench Prime

Lee’s Auto Bench Prime should never have been released for sale before working out some of the problems. The biggest was the priming tray. It was plagued by misfeeds and jams. I never wrote them asking if they had received complaints, but there is no doubt that they got an earful from reloaders. Hopefully, they re-engineered the tray. It was a big pile of bad.

The RCBS Universal Hand Priming Tool was okay, Because of the design, no shellholder was needed. I have two, and use the small primer tool the most. Wear has taken its toll however. Cases and primers have a tendency to jump off the tool, and land where they can't be found. I recently redid my office floor and found a bunch of kamikaze primers hidden under the moulding and furniture. I think the RCBS hand priming tool that uses shellholders might be a better idea.

At any rate, I got fed up with all the broken parts and high prices of the various priming systems. I decided to go simple and cheap, and bought a Lee Ram Prime. It attaches to any press and doesn't have many parts. The Ram Prime is fed one primer at a time using your fingers. I have it on a cast Lyman Brass Smith Ideal press. It was $30 CDN dollars, or $15-$20 USD.

But what about handling primers with your fingers? That’s bad, right?

Years ago (a lot of years ago), I remember reading that you should never handle primers with your bare hands. It was possible that oil (or coffee, or snot) might contaminate them, resulting in misfires or duds (failures to fire, for you young uns). Well, that was a worry in the dim times, but hasn't been for at least 30 years, and probably longer. Still, old habits die hard.

Nowadays, it’s not a problem. Your hands can be dripping with gun oil, but nothing will reach the priming compound. Primers are sealed and protected from spoliation (yeah, you better look that up).

So, I thought I would try a cheap, easy to use priming tool. If it didn't work, or broke, I wasn't out a lot of money. I am happy to report that after several thousand 223 and 6×45mm loads, the tool works as well as the day I first used it.


.
.
.

What are you using?


Safe Shooting!
Steve Redgwell
www.303british.com

"Stay away from negative people. They have a problem for every solution." - anon
Proverbs 22:10: Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.
Re: Let’s Here It For the Equipment Snobs! [Re: Steve Redgwell] #14900659 05/22/20
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AB2506 Offline
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Using the old Lee hand priming tool or the RCBS variation as the WSM cases don't fit the Lee.

Last edited by AB2506; 05/22/20.
Re: Let’s Here It For the Equipment Snobs! [Re: Steve Redgwell] #14900811 05/22/20
Joined: Nov 2013
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Pappy348 Offline
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Used the old Lee tool forever, but finally asked the Birthday Fairy for the RCBS Universal, which honestly, I like better. Have two Lees in reserve if it should bust.

Was always befuddled by the otherwise unexplained claim that the Lee was "unsafe" with Federal primers. I suppose what they really meant is that one had to use a liitle care while loading them, being sure to keep the row being fed into the tray centered over the widest section of the tray. Don't recall ever dropping any. The Nanny System at work, "Don't ask questions, just do as we say". Certainly the Federal trays themselves have the safest design.

Have never used any tube-feed priming system; my imagination won't permit it. Have used the Lee single primer tool, as provided in the old Target Loader, a handy thing to have at times.

Not wild about hammering in primers with the Lee Loaders either. Even when those were my only loading method, I ponied up for the hand tool with trays. Keeping those well-lubed with Vaseline, or later white lithium, is the key to long service life.

Never had an unplanned "bang" while priming, so far anyway. My late brother was decapping live primers from .45 ACP cases, for reasons lost in time, using the punch from a Lee Loader. Predictably, one went off, sending the punch skyward into the ceiling. I have used that method a time or two, but with the punch chucked into a drill press, without incident.


What fresh Hell is this?

Don't be a Provincial Nitwit.
Re: Let’s Here It For the Equipment Snobs! [Re: Pappy348] #14902401 05/22/20
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Steve Redgwell Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Pappy348
...Never had an unplanned "bang" while priming, so far anyway. My late brother was decapping live primers from .45 ACP cases, for reasons lost in time, using the punch from a Lee Loader. Predictably, one went off, sending the punch skyward into the ceiling. I have used that method a time or two, but with the punch chucked into a drill press, without incident.


The old Lee hand priming tool was the first thing I bought when my collection of Lee Loaders grew. No Internets back then, but the word got around that it was possible for a primer to detonate and launch the rod into the air.


Safe Shooting!
Steve Redgwell
www.303british.com

"Stay away from negative people. They have a problem for every solution." - anon
Proverbs 22:10: Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.
IC-A

Re: Let’s Here It For the Equipment Snobs! [Re: Steve Redgwell] #14903233 05/22/20
Joined: Jun 2004
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greydog Offline
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I still use the original Lee priming tool (not the auto-prime). For cases for which I don't have set up in the Lee, I use a Lachmiller copy from RCBS. I use an RCBS Jr. press (purchased in 1971) a Bonanza powder measure and a Bonanza scale. Both of these circa 1978. Not a real equipment snob, I guess. GD

Re: Let’s Here It For the Equipment Snobs! [Re: Steve Redgwell] #14903987 05/23/20
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673 Offline
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I just use the Lee Ram prime, pretty simple, but I like the feel of it.

Re: Let’s Here It For the Equipment Snobs! [Re: Steve Redgwell] #14914017 05/26/20
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Steve Redgwell Offline OP
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I agree.

I am serious when I say that sometimes, simple is best.


Safe Shooting!
Steve Redgwell
www.303british.com

"Stay away from negative people. They have a problem for every solution." - anon
Proverbs 22:10: Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.
Re: Let’s Here It For the Equipment Snobs! [Re: Steve Redgwell] #14914291 05/26/20
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JSTUART Offline
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Originally Posted by Steve Redgwell



What are you using?



I am currently using a 21st Century Stainless Primer Seating Tool and a Forster bench priming tool...cannot say that it makes me feel snobbish though.

Mainly I just like stuff that doesn't break.


These are my opinions, feel free to disagree.

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