Lee Auto Prime & Primer ?


April 6, 2013, 07:38 AM
Just purchased another reloading book to my library called "Modern Reloading" second edition by Richard Lee. In the chapter explaining primers it states DO NOT USE FEDERAL PRIMERS in the original auto-prime, auto-prime II,pro1000, and load-master. It also goes on and states that if using Winchester Large Pistol, Magnum Pistol and Magnum Rifle to limit to 20 primers and Winchester Large Rifle primers to 10 primers. And that any primer not listed in this chart you are to assume they are unsafe to use.

My question does anyone know why? Is this a CYA for the company? I have a original auto-prime and have a box of federal small rifle primers and another brand not on the list for 223 to load bought before I got this book. I was under the impression that any primer designed for a specific cartridge(rifle,pistol, etc) was safe to use in my hand priming tool.

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April 6, 2013, 08:33 AM
federal primers are easier to pop/more sensitive. I would imagine it is CYA, but there is probably some truth to it. I have used federal in all the lee priming devices at one time or another, and I have used large winchester primers in there too without mishap.

THAT SAID, fingers and eyes don't grow back, and I'm sure Lee wasn't sitting around one day and decided to throw some arbitrary primer restrictions on primer use. And just because I've done something does not make it a ringing endorsement.

As a side note, I would be leery of using federal primers in an AR or something with a floating firing pin. When the bolt closes on a loaded round the pin slams forward and dimples the primer. It may be no issues at all, but that just seems like a bad idea to use a sensitive primer in that situation.

April 6, 2013, 02:08 PM
My underdstanding is there are different types of priming compound. The federal primers use a mixture that is more sensitive to external mechanical shock. So if one goes off while you are mashing it into the shell, the possibility of a chain reaction is increased.

If you're concerned, you can send that auto prime to me for safe disposal. Actually, you could probably get someone to trade you a shiny new auto prime XR or ergo prime for it. But frankly, I don't like my XR as much as the original and reviews show I'm in the majority on that.

April 6, 2013, 04:01 PM
Don't look a primer and flinch it will go off. That's what the manufacture was getting at. With anything reloading, don't force things, use common sense, don't look down the cartridge while priming or anything else.

I'm sure that warning was because some yahooooo was priming with federal and one popped and he got injured SUE SUE!!!!!!

Tolkachi Robotnik
April 6, 2013, 07:19 PM
The Federal primers have a history of all going off if in contact with one another. This does not have to be in a glass jar (loose inside any container is bad bad bad).

I can remember an early Lee autoprime had a single hole in the cover, and you could put one in at a time through the hole. The Federal primers were still described as unsafe, probably due to potential for static electricity. New ones came out without the hole and any description of using the device for Federal primers...

Primers are dangerous and delicate. I have never had one go off when I did not want it to, but it could happen pretty easy. They should be handled with due respect, just like automobiles.

Notice how thick the packages are on a lot of primers. They do not make them take up more space for no reason.

It might be CYA for Lee, but it also should be a wake up for you in the use of all primers, more so maybe for the brands described.

Good luck and stay safe.

Matt Dillon
April 6, 2013, 07:35 PM
I have used federal large rifle primers without incident in my Lee Autoprimes, for bot action rifles, but you should really look for CCI #41 primers for your .223 as they have a hardened cup designed for the rather violent clambering in an AR.

April 7, 2013, 10:21 AM
Thanks guys for the tips. I have always treated primers and all aspects of reloading serious. These were all that was available at the time.

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