Lee Auto Prime


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2popfire
May 21, 2010, 04:41 PM
I just recieved a Lee auto prime and found that the shell holders from my Lee deluxe pistol die sets don't seem to fit the auto prime. Is there a different shell holder for the auto prime? I have shell holders for .40 S&W and .45 Colt neither fit. :fire:

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Walkalong
May 21, 2010, 04:47 PM
Yep, they use a different holder. Good news is a whole set (http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?productnumber=566058) is pretty cheap.

2popfire
May 21, 2010, 05:10 PM
Thanks, Walkalong, got em' on order.

Joe

dc.fireman
May 21, 2010, 05:14 PM
I made this very same mistake ( as I'm sure other novice reloaders have) when I bought mine a few months ago. I struggled with getting the regular press shell holder in place for about 15 minutes, before getting on the Lee website to find out the what for. And thats when I see that the shell holders for the auto prime, are in fact different from a regular shell holder! The reasoning from Lee is, that they don't want you using the small collar from the press die, to give added leverage when seating primers. After thinking about it, I was fairly certain I didn't want that added leverage, either.

Once you obtain the correct shell holder (and I'd buy the whole set Walkalong mentioned), you'll find that using the Lee Auto Prime is a joy. Good Luck!

-tc

p.s. - that was a rather long-winded way of saying what Walkalong just said. Sorry.

Tilos
May 21, 2010, 07:57 PM
The best thing about a Lee Auto Prime is: the trays can be used to quickly fill RCBS primer tubes:what:

A piece of cardboard shim to center the tube under the tray hole and a Sonic toothbrush to vibrate the tray, loads 100 primers into the tube in about 5 seconds :D




PS: no shell holders needed;)

Dodge DeBoulet
May 21, 2010, 11:00 PM
The best thing about the Lee Auto Prime is that it's only $15.

And the reason that's so good is that you'll only be out $15 when you break the handle 2 weeks after you buy it.

2popfire
May 22, 2010, 12:53 AM
This seems like B.S. to me, I've done a little measuring and can't see why the auto prime should not be modified (by Lee) to accept the same shell holder as the press. Looks to me like a designed in money maker, I'll bet those new shell holders I just ordered will measure about .030 thou. smaller in diameter and about the same amount less in height and shazamm!! in they go.

Also those new holders which were $12.99 got to be $24.65 after the $3.00 "special handling charge" plus $8.33 postage handling and insurance. Yup thats almost DOUBLE.

So is reloading any less expensive than buying factory ammo?

Sorry if I'm whining but my equiptment has started to arrive and in looking it over some of this stuff seems toy like, this auto prime and powder scale (balance beam) for example. The carbide dies look stout enough and I'm hoping the turret press is up to the job.

Joe

UpTheIrons
May 22, 2010, 02:17 AM
I'll bet those new shell holders I just ordered will measure about .030 thou. smaller in diameter and about the same amount less in height and shazamm!! in they go.

Also those new holders which were $12.99 got to be $24.65 after the $3.00 "special handling charge" plus $8.33 postage handling and insurance. Yup thats almost DOUBLE.

So is reloading any less expensive than buying factory ammo?

Sorry if I'm whining but my equiptment has started to arrive and in looking it over some of this stuff seems toy like, this auto prime and powder scale (balance beam) for example. The carbide dies look stout enough and I'm hoping the turret press is up to the job.

Joe


No. The Auto Prime shellholders are not .030 thou smaller. The entire base that clips into the ram on the turret press is not on the Auto Prime shellholders. I am lucky enough to live close to Cabela's, so my set - after I, too, tried to get the regular holder in there - was only $15 OTD.

Yes. Reloading IS cheaper than factory ammo - once you have your setup all figured out. My first run of .45 ACP was $4/box cheaper than factory ammo, and that was with expensive FMJ (I didn't buy in bulk). Moving to bulk, or even bulk lead bullets can save you 60-75% (or even more) per box over factory ammo prices.

Which turret did you get? I have the Deluxe Turret Kit, and have had zero problems with it, the Auto Prime, or the scale. The Classic Turret is supposedly even better.

Welcome to the wild, wild, world of reloading. Be safe and have fun!

jmortimer
May 22, 2010, 02:18 AM
I have two Lee Precision Auto Primes - what a fantastic invention. Worth every penny. Apply grease as recommended and it will last. To answer your question - yes - I can load
.45 Colt with a hard cast premium LBT bullet for a fraction of the cost of Buffalo Bore, Double Tap etc. I can load a Nosler Partition or Swift A-Frame for a fraction of the cost of factory ammunition. Even if you are just loading plinking rounds you will save $$$ - The "military calibers" are closer as you can get surplus ammunition cheaper than top of the line ammunition.

rondog
May 22, 2010, 03:22 AM
I have carpal tunnel syndrome in both wrists, so my Lee Auto Prime gathers dust. But it works great until the pain shuts me down.

The Bushmaster
May 22, 2010, 10:48 AM
Should've bought the Lee Auto Prime II instead...Your die shell holders fit it too. Don't have to buy different shell holders...

Bad Hammer
May 22, 2010, 05:02 PM
Dodge DeBoulet...."The best thing about the Lee Auto Prime is that it's only $15.
And the reason that's so good is that you'll only be out $15 when you break the handle 2 weeks after you buy it."

I wish you'd told me that before I bought mine.
I've had it since 1997, but apparently I forgot to break it at the two week interval.:rolleyes:
I guess it's true what they say....you really do learn something new every day.:scrutiny:
Thanks for the tip.

drgoose
May 22, 2010, 10:30 PM
No. The Auto Prime shellholders are not .030 thou smaller. The entire base that clips into the ram on the turret press is not on the Auto Prime shellholders. I am lucky enough to live close to Cabela's, so my set - after I, too, tried to get the regular holder in there - was only $15 OTD.

Yes. Reloading IS cheaper than factory ammo - once you have your setup all figured out. My first run of .45 ACP was $4/box cheaper than factory ammo, and that was with expensive FMJ (I didn't buy in bulk). Moving to bulk, or even bulk lead bullets can save you 60-75% (or even more) per box over factory ammo prices.

Which turret did you get? I have the Deluxe Turret Kit, and have had zero problems with it, the Auto Prime, or the scale. The Classic Turret is supposedly even better.

Welcome to the wild, wild, world of reloading. Be safe and have fun!
Is reloading cheaper than factory ammo?
Yes it its, I started recently. Your 2 boxes of 50 rds will cost you about 4 dollars per round (400$ in equpiment) but after that it gets a lot cheaper. You will end up spending more money than before because you will shoot a lot more than before and will have a harder time explaining to your wife how come if it is cheaper to reload you are spending more money, but it is also a nice little hobbie.

Just my 0.02$

2popfire
May 22, 2010, 10:40 PM
Now I understand.... I get to go shooting more, so it must cost less. :evil:

Walkalong
May 22, 2010, 10:50 PM
That's right, you can save so much money that you can shoot your self right into the poor house.

2popfire
May 23, 2010, 12:21 AM
I have to try this theory out on the wife.

Maybe if I start shooting more I can save enough to get that new Ruger GP100 I've been lusting over.

Of course that means another caliber to reload for...

Joe

rondog
May 23, 2010, 12:26 AM
Should've bought the Lee Auto Prime II instead...Your die shell holders fit it too. Don't have to buy different shell holders...

I've actually never heard of that one before, looks very interesting! Thanks!

My wife actually suggested to me that I should start reloading. She said her ex did it and saved himself a lot of dough.

"Um, OK honey!, That's a good idea!" Little did she realize the monster she was letting loose.....She also suggested I buy the grandkid his own .22 rifle. She won't go with us, I think she was just scheming to get us outta the house.

dc.fireman
May 23, 2010, 02:20 AM
http://10xshooters.com/calculators/index.htm

Pop - if you know what a box of 50 rounds costs you locally - you can figure out your 'savings'....

Mr_Rich
May 23, 2010, 11:03 AM
Dodge DeBoulet...."The best thing about the Lee Auto Prime is that it's only $15.
And the reason that's so good is that you'll only be out $15 when you break the handle 2 weeks after you buy it."

I wish you'd told me that before I bought mine.
I've had it since 1997, but apparently I forgot to break it at the two week interval.:rolleyes:
I guess it's true what they say....you really do learn something new every day.:scrutiny:
Thanks for the tip.

Thanks for the jinx. I read this message last night and the first thing I do today is break the handle after using it for a year.

Rich

Walkalong
May 23, 2010, 11:04 AM
I think she was just scheming to get us outta the house.
Whatever works. :)

Dodge DeBoulet
May 23, 2010, 11:35 AM
Dodge DeBoulet...."The best thing about the Lee Auto Prime is that it's only $15.
And the reason that's so good is that you'll only be out $15 when you break the handle 2 weeks after you buy it."

I wish you'd told me that before I bought mine.
I've had it since 1997, but apparently I forgot to break it at the two week interval.:rolleyes:
I guess it's true what they say....you really do learn something new every day.:scrutiny:
Thanks for the tip.

Sounds like you have girly thumbs, my friend ;)

The fact that yours didn't break really doesn't have any bearing on the fact that mine did, and I was warned ahead of time that I'd be replacing it regularly . . . with the explanation that one RCBS hand primer cost 4 times as much as the auto prime and in the end I'd be happier with the auto prime's ergonomics.

The handle is made of chrome plated pot metal, for cryin' out loud. Of course it's going to break. Maybe Lee wasn't so focused on cost cutting back in '97 . . .

I'm just going to turn mine into a vibra-prime for my progressive press, so the investment won't be a total waste.

jcwit
May 23, 2010, 12:05 PM
The handle is made of chrome plated pot metal, for cryin' out loud. Of course it's going to break. Maybe Lee wasn't so focused on cost cutting back in '97 . . .


Have never broken mine in thousands and thousands of priming cases. Have yet to break a handle. Also have an old Lee Primer that only holds one primer at a time, so old and so used all the paint or plating is worn off, have yet to break a handle on that either.

If one stops and actually thinks about how many things we trust working made out of "pot" metal AKA Alu. alloy casting, like the pistons in your vehicle as only one example, it wouldn't be looked down on so much.

Don't accuse me of having "girly thumbs" what I have is common sense when using my equipment.

Eagle-101
May 23, 2010, 12:31 PM
I have used a Lee Auto Prime for over 20 years. I have broken one handle. I went to my gun dealer to buy a new one and told him what happened. He told me to return it and he would replace it. He said that Lee would reimburse him. I am not sure if this is the case or he was just trying to keep me happy (I am a GOOD customer), but I got a replacement for nothing. Someone should contact Lee to find out what their replacement policy is.

jmortimer
May 23, 2010, 01:41 PM
I have used mine for 10 years and never broken anything. If you grease it as indicated in the instructions it takes so little effort I don't see how it could ever break. Richard Lee discusses this issues in his fine book "Modern Reloading" - the "ham- handed" user with no commom sense. Used properly, it will last for thousands of rounds - just read the many user reviews/comments on Midway USA or Cabelas. For every one of the "cheap pot metal" and "I broke my handle" comments there are twenty users like me who are completely satisfied with this fine tool from Lee Precision.

dodge
May 23, 2010, 02:05 PM
They're cheap enough that you should have two like I do. I have one set up for large primers and one set up for small primers. Saves a little time when I'm reloading as I don't have to change it out everytime that I switch from large to small. I've used mine for 20+ years and never broken a handle on it yet. Now that I've said it I'll probably break one.

Boxhead
May 23, 2010, 02:50 PM
Still using the Auto Prime I bought in 1978 with zero problems.

bds
May 23, 2010, 03:02 PM
They're cheap enough that you should have two like I do. I have one set up for large primers and one set up for small primers.
Dodge, now that's a great idea! I was going to order a spare handle (just in case), but I think I will order another one and setup for SP/LP. (hundreds of thousands of hand primed cases and no broken handle, so another setup will be convenient) :D

I used to use Breakfree/motor oil for lubrication, but testing synthetic boat trailer bearing grease I have in the garage. Sandwich bag with small corner tip cut or plastic syringe without the needle make good precision applicator for the grease too.

rondog
May 23, 2010, 03:51 PM
So, from reading this thread, I take it that I'm not the only guy that likes to have a bunch of cases all cleaned, polished and primed before I actually start reloading? I'll actually sit down and prime cases until I either have a bucketful of them or run out of primers, then when I want to load some up it goes very quickly.

I do this with every caliber I load, but usually have to do them one at a time because the carpal tunnel in my wrists and arthritis in the thumbs don't agree with the Auto Prime. I'm thinking about buying one of those Auto Prime II's now, that looks like exactly what I've been needing.

bds
May 23, 2010, 05:08 PM
rondog, I switched to hand priming after getting too frustrated with small pistol primer attachment with the Pro 1000. What I found out at the range is that all the seasoned match shooters hand primed their cases (40S&W is my match caliber and uses small pistol primer). And most of these match shooters do not have primer attachment issues with their non-Lee brand progressive presses. :D

They said one round that do not fire will cost them enough time penalty to lose the stage. Hand priming is an insurance that all of their rounds will go "bang".

Since I have switched to hand priming, I find myself being even more relaxed while resizing/depriming and hand priming cases because I can do these steps while watching TV. I love it! The added bonus is that when I reload, the amount of force needed to work the ram lever is very minimal just to flare/powder charge and seat/taper crimp the case (typically 2-3 finger pressure).

Walkalong
May 23, 2010, 06:32 PM
I found two handloaded rounds of .40 at the range yesterday. One had the primer seated flush and had no primer strike, but one had a light strike and the primer was still high.

I hand prime all my ammo, although not in the primer being discussed.

gandog56
May 23, 2010, 08:38 PM
Thanks for the jinx. I read this message last night and the first thing I do today is break the handle after using it for a year.

I don't break them, but I bend 'em too far sometimes. Darn them Winchester cases have tight primer pockets on their 7.62X54R cases.

ranger335v
May 23, 2010, 09:02 PM
"I'll bet those new shell holders I just ordered will measure about .030 thou. smaller in diameter and about the same amount less in height and shazamm!! in they go."

You gonna lose that bet.

I've had two Lee Autoprimers for some 20 or more years, thousands of primers (including a LOT of Federals) with no breakage, no problems, no failures to fire. Wonder if it matters how someone uses the tool??

pmeisel
May 23, 2010, 09:40 PM
Wonder if it matters how someone uses the tool??

No, we all have equal style and coordination. Some of us just have bad karma.

jcwit
May 23, 2010, 10:22 PM
Wonder if it matters how someone uses the tool??

Ya suppose?

bds
May 23, 2010, 10:24 PM
Wonder if it matters how someone uses the tool??
I use one thumb, sometimes two thumbs to really seat those primers deep.

Am I using the tool right? :uhoh:

Roccobro
May 24, 2010, 12:23 AM
I don't like doing it with my left hand. The right just feels right...

We are talking about the right tool right?

Justin

blackwalnut
May 24, 2010, 12:32 AM
I love my Auto Prime too. Years ago mine broke after thousands of shells being primed and Lee sent me the part at no charge. It actually was what they call the connecting rod. I went and bought a second Lee. I started with the Lee in 1980 and am on my third one. I also do have some spare parts from the broken ones but I still love it. It has good sensitivity I feel. You do realize that the low price is because of the materials that it is made of. Love it anyway. I was reloading with Arnold Schwartzenegher once and he broke the handle off my RCBS press. We need some humor ...

aftCG
May 24, 2010, 08:19 PM
I had my kid priming some .223 brass one night and he managed to break the lever trying to prime a shell I missed the military crimp on. The lever is really the only weak link.

That said, I couldn't find a local shop which had the Lee Auto Prime, let alone spare parts. I wanted to get back to loading that night, so I ended up buying a Hornady priming tool. I thought that for three times the money it should be a great tool, right?

I hate it. If anyone out there has a Lee and wants to trade just PM me and I'll put it all in a box for you.

The good:
It does use conventional shell holders (but requires two trays to support the different styles)
The metal parts are made of stronger material
The trays are large enough to dump a whole box of the primers into, even the brands where they are spaced far apart (Federal?)
If you use the lid correctly it is possible to shut off the feed with primers in the tray and lay it on the bench without it leaking primers.

The bad:
Changing from large to small is a royal PiTA
The trays don't flip primers as well as the Lee does
There is a dead spot in the center of the tray.
Getting the cover on requires that the center dead spot is clear.
Each tray is set up for large and small, directly opposite each other. While you're trying to flip primers over and keep them out of the middle they can migrate towards the far (open) side.
Even with the lid on it is possible for small primers to flip upside down.

I grew up using a Lee Auto Prime so I already knew about the type specific shell holders. They're cheap and quite easy to swap out.

If Lee would increase the size of the tray for the larger primer boxes and make the lever out of non-Chinese reject scrap metal I would pay double for it.

bds
May 24, 2010, 09:55 PM
If Lee would increase the size of the tray for the larger primer boxes and make the lever out of non-Chinese reject scrap metal I would pay double for it.
Take the broken lever to a metal/machine shop and they can probably make one out of steel.

I thought about doing that, but I still haven't managed to break my handle. I must be doing something wrong??? :uhoh:

I start with light one thumb pressure. If I run into any resistance, I check for military crimp. Once I get the primer started, if I need to seat the primer harder/deeper (like S&B cases), I use two thumb pressure. Make sure you lube all the contact points before each priming session - that REALLY helps. I use Breakfree/motor oil, but looking to test synthetic bearing grease.

Walkalong
May 24, 2010, 10:48 PM
I still haven't managed to break my handle. I must be doing something wrong???
Come on bds, your gonna have to try harder. :D

Any equipment can be broken if pushed beyond its design limits.

bds
May 24, 2010, 11:02 PM
Come on bds, your gonna have to try harder.
I am, I am. :) All of my primers are seated waaaaaay below the case bottom and no more failure to ignite since I started hand priming. Heck, I even flatten some of the brass Winchester/PMC/Wolf and chrome Magtech primers in the primer pockets. That is hard enough, right? :D

In all fairness, I am beginning to see the chrome/nickel plating starting to wear in a small oval shape at the base pivot of the handle (copper color). I am going to order another Auto Prime set to use as dedicated SP hand primer and use the older one for LP (I shoot more of 9/40 than 45).

Roccobro
May 25, 2010, 01:53 AM
Can somebody post a picture of the failure? I'm feeling a little machiney this week and a simple project usually fixes it.

Justin

Bad Hammer
May 25, 2010, 08:37 AM
Sounds like you have girly thumbs, my friend
Nope, nothing "girly" here, my friend.
And no Cro-Magnon tendencies, either.
So therefore, not much incidental breakage going on around here.
Just set the primers 'till they "feel right".
No need to try and make 'em sweat.

Mr_Rich
May 29, 2010, 08:54 PM
Thanks for the jinx. I read this message last night and the first thing I do today is break the handle after using it for a year.

Rich
I called Lee and they mailed me a shiny new handle I received today for free. It's good to deal with a company that stands behind their warranty.

Rich

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