Lee Hand Primer lever broke


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ocabj
January 21, 2004, 11:44 AM
My $10 Lee Hand Primer broke last night. I was priming a few hundred cases of 223, and in the middle of priming some 223 I heard a wierd click. Checked the primer and it looked like it was seated ok. Primed another 223 and heard a wierd click. Checked the seating again. Primed another 223 and when I pressed the lever with my thumb, the lever just snapped off.

I was able to finish priming the rest of the primers left in the tray, but man, my thumb sure hurt after that.

Placed an order for a couple extra levers from Midway last night. Hopefully I get them before Sat so I have time to prime some 308.

I've primed over 20,000 cases with that thing (based on the number empty 100ct primer packages I have in a box). I figure it was bound to break sooner than later.

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BluesBear
January 21, 2004, 12:58 PM
I used to wear one out every 20-25,000 rounds. I'd buy them 2 or 3 at a time and just toss them.

444
January 21, 2004, 01:06 PM
Yeah, I had that happen to me last year.
I had primed cases with that tool for about 20 years before it broke. I don't know how many rounds were primed with it, but quite a few.
Lee sent me a couple more and I was good to go.
Good tool for a good price. Not industructable, but you get a lot of use from it before it lets go.

Poodleshooter
January 21, 2004, 03:44 PM
Ditto 444 experience. I broke mine, but since I didn't follow the instructions and lube the link well, I sucked it up and bought an extra from Midway. I lubed this one very well, and expect it to last quite awhile. Lee's tool is so much easier to use than the RCBS (I own that one,too), but it really needs to be made out of something other than that cast zinc or whatever it is.

Peter M. Eick
January 21, 2004, 09:25 PM
I would say the 20 to 25k per unit is about right. I am on my 3rd now. I keep the old ones as "tokens".

Anyone else notice that the finish work seems to degrade over time. My oldest is much nicer ground and has left rough edges then the new ones.

Paul "Fitz" Jones
January 22, 2004, 12:22 AM
I am sad to say that over my long career the quality of the reloading and bulletcasting tools commonly available has really degraded. However when I became one of Lee's first dealers, Lee opened the reloading and bulletcasting hobbies to beginners at a lot lower prices. There is a very old saying that "You get what you pay for" and another that "The top ranked competitors use the best equipment available". So Lee opened the hobby to a lot of younger competitors whose money had many demands placed on it which is still true today.

As time and a shooters competency increases there is a lot of trading up in quality of equipment bought but old traditional names in the industry are having their products made of cheaper materials and with less effort in quality of production to sell at a cheaper price to compete in a tough marketplace.

Steel and aluminum have replaced cast iron that was common for tools in old timers reloading rooms. Lucky are young fellows who have received quality tools from their parents and grandparents that can give them good service.

I still have my first and only Lee hand priming tool.

John Paul

Mike Irwin
January 22, 2004, 02:06 AM
Looks like Lee's going the other way round with their new press, from aluminum and plastic to cast iron and steel...

I've got probably between 20,000 and 40,000 cases primed on my Lee hand tool, and it's still going strong.

Unfortunately, my thumbs aren't anymore.

Sheldon
January 22, 2004, 09:02 AM
Call Lee up, they will replace the broken one for free.....at least they did mine when it broke. I did order a couple extras as wellto avoid waiting the next time it broke. They were nice about it.

dleong
January 22, 2004, 12:38 PM
The lever on my Lee hand primer broke in exactly the same fashion as described by ocabj (i.e., two clicks before fracturing). This happened about a month ago. I telephoned Lee to request a replacement under their warranty; they insisted that I send the broken part in first. This I did, and the replacement lever was in my hands about a week after that.

I've primed well over 10000 cases with the hand primer before the lever broke. That's a pretty decent service life, but I still wish they had made the lever out of a more durable material.

DL

moxie
January 22, 2004, 12:55 PM
Same with me, 3 times now. I think the newer levers are stronger than the old pot metal ones. Despite the lever problem, I still prefer this primer tool over my RCBS tool. I get a better "feel," and just know when the primer is seated just right.

Larry Ashcraft
January 22, 2004, 02:46 PM
I wore two of them out in about 20 years. When the last one broke, I bought the Hornady tool. Costs about 30 bucks but as easy to use as the Lee and I'll probably be able to leave it to my grandkids.

Peter M. Eick
January 22, 2004, 09:01 PM
Come on guys. After that many rounds, I just ordered new ones from Midway.

The ones that broke served me well, why should I expect them to replace the broken ones after they served a reasonable period of time.

Just my thoughts....

dleong
January 22, 2004, 09:57 PM
Come on guys. After that many rounds, I just ordered new ones from Midway.

The ones that broke served me well, why should I expect them to replace the broken ones after they served a reasonable period of time.
Cost of replacement lever: none, if replaced under the warranty.

Cost of a new hand primer: anywhere from $10 to $30, depending on brand.

In these economically depressed times, I know which option I'd choose! :D

DL

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