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Am I the only one who breaks these?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by X-Rap, Sep 30, 2011.

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  1. X-Rap

    X-Rap Member

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    I have three broken Auto prime levers on my bench, I love these tools so I am going to order a half dozen. Their performance doesnt bode well for me using any of their other pot metal products, I have some dies that are fine but these handles are junk.
     
  2. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    Been reloading 50 years and have been using the Lee hand primer tool since it came out, have yet to break a lever. I even have some of the ones that you load one primer at a time and the only thing that ever went bad on those was the thread in the aluminum wore out that the shell holder screwed into. Solved the problem by making them a dedicated caliber spific tool by using JB Weld to hold the shell primer.

    These priming tools have loaded literally 100's of thousands of shells.
     
  3. grubbylabs

    grubbylabs Member

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    I broke mine a few months ago as well. I bought a new primer and it is vastly different. I am not sure I like it, but I did like the old one. This one was also much more expensive than my old one.
     
  4. bds
    • Contributing Member

    bds Member

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    Are you talking about the old Auto Prime with straight handle? They don't make them any more as the new Auto Prime XR replaced them (and no, Lee don't make replacement handle for the old units).

    It uses the same body, but that's it - Everything else is beefed up for heavier use. The new handle on the XR is a bit shorter and much fatter (thickness and width) and you can really apply the "Ooommph" to seat the primer without worrying about breaking the handle.

    Two handles side-by-side for comparison - notice the rib on the new handle and much wider contact surface on the connecting rod end (larger square trays are nice for dumping primers straight from the square primer trays they come in).

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  5. X-Rap

    X-Rap Member

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    Oh Yea I got the old ones and I'm looking at the parts list that came with it, it shows lever #90087 for $2.00 but if they are discontinued I guess I'm out of luck because they don't look interchangeable.
    jcwit you must be doing it right, I guess ill go back to my bench mount RCBS, it is made tough enough just a PITA not being hand held and mobile.
     
  6. Uniquedot

    Uniquedot Member

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    Been using the same one since 1991 and have not broken the lever. If you are applying enough pressure to the lever to break them it can't be good for the primers. You should just feel the primer bottom out and then apply a tad more pressure to set the anvil.
     
  7. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    When I bought mine I liked it so much in short order I got a second one. Now I have one dedicated for large primers and one for small primers. Never broke one either, cant imagine putting enough pressure on the primer to do it. Ouch.:eek: To the OP--You have never had any problems with primers?? I never seat them that hard. I also have a Ram Prime that I got as a backup and tried it just because. Don't like it because it does not allow me to "feel" the primer insertion as well IMHO. At least Lee did improve the design of the new ones, looks beefier and when I wear one out will probably get the improved model as mine work so well.
     
  8. Kevin Rohrer

    Kevin Rohrer Member

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    :cuss: I have the older style and broke mine, also. It works, so I bought a couple more pot metal levers for it. Guess I'll have to check to make sure they work w/ the old style pot metal or I need to buy new pot metal.
     
  9. kshock

    kshock Member

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    I have three with broken levers sitting in a drawer right now. The new style ones will not fit the older models and I have read the reviews and it seems the new style ones are not liked by alot of folks. I have primed thousands of cases with mine, broke three levers but have never popped a primer. I wish I had a RCBS bench mounted, but will probably buy the RCBS hand held. I think I am done with pot metal.
     
  10. bds
    • Contributing Member

    bds Member

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    Only the body will work with the new parts. I have really put the new thicker/heavier handle to the test and Lee definitely made the new handle to be heavy duty.

    I have tested the new handle using different head stamp cases and primer brands with no breakage regardless of the pressure I used (I used two thumb pressure). :D

    The old Auto Prime worked well with Winchester primers even with one thumb pressure. Since larger diameter Wolf/Tula primers take more effort to seat, I only use them in the new Auto Prime XR. I still have the old Auto Prime with extra handles (I never broke one) so I guess I will keep it for seating Winchester primers.
     
  11. Rollis R. Karvellis

    Rollis R. Karvellis Member

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    I, have broken a couple over the years, one of the reasons I, bought a ram prime set up. And when the latest Lee breaks, I'll buy another one. There cheap, break easily, and work well.
     
  12. snuffy

    snuffy Member

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    So, just what is this "POT METAL?" Is that term used just because you fellas don't like typing ALUMINUM?:neener:

    Lee is famous for using aluminum for many purposes because to make the same stuff out of steel would make it as expensive as the other reloading equipment companies. I bought a K & M priming tool,(it uses the auto prime shell holders), it cost as much as 3 lee auto primes. It's made of STEEL. It IS more precise than a lee, and it does not have a tray to feed primers to the seater. You have to place each primer manually.

    Lee just did not figure people would be using both hands and one foot on those levers!:what::eek:

    I too have been using the lee auto prime for most of my primer seating. I have never come close to breaking a lever. If you're using enough force to break a lever, you're crushing the primer pellet. It does not need to be seated that hard!

    BTW, I just got the new XR. It's designed to eliminate the chance of a chain fire if the primer being seated should happen to pop. I have never had a primer fire while seating in a press or hand held primer. I did pop one with the old lee whack-a-mole classic loader, 8mm mauser. I learned real quick that 10 taps were better than one or two hard whacks for seating those primers! :banghead:
     
  13. kk0g

    kk0g Member

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    I also broke mine years ago. Replacing it with another weak pot metal one didn't make much sense to me so I made a replacement out of steel keystock.
     
  14. bds
    • Contributing Member

    bds Member

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    The new handle is SUBSTANTIALLY thicker and heavier constructed with larger ribbing. I think Lee addressed the weak design flaw for those with superhuman strengths who kept trying to seat the primer instead of checking to see if the primer pockets had military crimps. :neener:

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Snowbandit

    Snowbandit Member

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    The auto-prime is the only piece of Lee equipment I have anymore. Broke the levers in the past and when this one goes I'm done with them and their crappy junk forever. Hornady makes a much better one that takes standard shell holders instead of those proprietary one needed for the Lee. I've had it with buying junk tools that don't last. Might as well just throw the money in the dumpster and save driving to the store.
     
  16. X-Rap

    X-Rap Member

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    It's clear that the new design attempts to fix the weekness in the original, I hope it works. It also looks like I am not the only one who has had this problem so I'll chalk it up to poor design and materials. If I can still get some of the old levers I will if not maybe I'll give the new ones a shot. If somebody made an all steel with the feed tray I would be all over it. If I was standing on it or using both hands it still shouldn't break IMO, I have seated many tens of thousands of primers though not all on the auto prime but never have I had a detonation or crushed primer so I guess I must be doing it right, if no others had broken I might feel different.
     
  17. JohnM

    JohnM Member

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    I got one of the old original hand primers from the 60s.
    Got no idea how many thousands of primers it's seated.
    I can't imagine how anyone could break the handle off.
     
  18. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    The "destructions" on the old version state you must keep the handle lubed with silicone or Vaseline. There is no need to push so hard that it breaks. Granted it's not the most substantial tool but it works well.

    The new version appears much better.

    I bought the RCBS Universal and although better built it doesn't have the "feel" nor does it work any better,
     
  19. X-Rap

    X-Rap Member

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    If you are talking about the ones don't have feeder trays then you are correct, they are tougher than hell and made different than the crome plated junk on the auto prime. I have one of those but I can single set primers with ant of my presses. I like the feeder and not having to touch the primers. Compare your old sixties mod. to the ones in the pics and I'm sure you will see the difference.
     
  20. JohnM

    JohnM Member

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    Guess I'll buy one of the new styles just to see if it breaks.
    I mean, some people can break an anvil.
     
  21. DC Plumber

    DC Plumber Member

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    No, you're not the only one. I broke mine after using it for 13 years. When I bought the new handle, I bought 2 of them. I should be good until 2030 at least.
     
  22. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    When I started using the Lee Auto Prime in the early eighties, I used to go through about one a year. They were so reasonably priced that I had two, one set up for small primer and one set up for large. That way I had spares on hand to keep me in business until I obtained a replacement.

    I did break a couple handles but also wore out the various ram parts and at least one body. Over the years, as I replaced parts, the design of the parts got better.

    I have not broken an Auto Prime in years, but my reloading volume is not what it used to be.

    When Lee cautioned against using certain primes in the Auto Prime a number of years ago, I bought RCBS hand priming tools that did not have the restriction. I keep the Auto prime tools around because there are one or two cartridges (brass .410 shells for one) that I don't load often but don't work in the RCBS universal primer.
     
  23. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    Not always aluminum, usually some low cost, low melting point metal, frequently zinc, but also other metals to make cheap castings.

    See link.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pot_metal
     
  24. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    I have a cigar box full of broken & worn out Lee hand primer parts from the defunct Lee Engineering company.

    I solved the problem by buying an RCBS hand primer tool in 1970 something.

    Haven't broke it yet!
    And it uses standard shell holders.

    rc
     
  25. snuffy

    snuffy Member

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    Yeah, I looked it up too, I just don't think it's pot metal, whatever that is. The wiki link isn't sure either!:uhoh::scrutiny:

    I don't claim to be a metallurgist, I don't actually KNOW what the lee auto prime is made of. Perhaps a call to them would clear it up . The controversy does not really matter. The fact that the levers are being broken is what matters. If you're breaking them, then you're squeezing too hard, assuming of course, they're all made the same.

    This has become a call for all lee bashers to unite, gripe about mythical lee junk. I'll stand up for them in most things they make. And they understand the shortcomings of their stuff, bringing out improved models of presses and hand tools.

    Richard Lee is the leader of innovative design, look at the RCBS and Hornady hand primer, a copy of the FIRST, the lee auto prime. Do the others have a collet neck sizer, collet factory crimp die, simple yet effective case trimmers, and on and on--------.
     
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