Hand priming?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Epicurean, Jan 28, 2020.

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  1. Epicurean

    Epicurean Member

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    I have a few Smith revolvers that are primer picky. Not only do they demand Federal, they can occasionally get ornery about seating depth. If I have a sense that the primer didn't fully seat I'll pull the sized and primed case from my LCT and run it though my RCBS hand primer then return it to the press - very time consuming. I've noticed a lot of you guys prime off machine and I'm considering doing the same. But first some questions. I'm loading handgun only.

    Why do you choose to prime off machine? Do you size and decap dirty brass then tumble then prime, or do you tumble then size and decap? Won't dirty brass have a negative effect on the sizing die over time? Does tumbling decapped brass help clean the pocket? How much time is added by priming off press?

    Thanks in advance for your help and insight.
     
  2. dredd

    dredd Member

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    I prime off of the press because I personally feel like it is faster compared to loading tubes etc.

    I de-prime, wet tumble, size (trim certain cases & deburr) prime and load.

    Wet tumbling cleans primer pockets.

    NOTE: 600 Million-Trillion cases have been loaded without ever being tumbled or having the primer pockets cleaned.
    They all shot fine.

    I am only posting what I like to do, even if it is a complete waste of time.
    It's my time and I'll waste it as I see fit. :rofl:
     
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  3. adcoch1

    adcoch1 Member

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    I feel like I get really consistent seating doing it "by hand" and it gives me an extra chance to look at the case before it sees powder. I use a turret press, but I still do everything in batches, sorta semi auto, powder seating and crimp semi progressive. I don't like priming in an automated system, for me I want to control this step one at a time.
     
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  4. mrawesome22-250

    mrawesome22-250 Member

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    I tumble then size/decap. I dry tumble with walnut. Even decapped the walnut won't clean the primer pocket. Cleaning primer pockets has been proven over and over again to be a waste of time and effort. A dirty pocket has zero effect on accuracy.

    I prime by hand because I can feel for loose pockets that way. If a primer goes in too easy, it gets a rap on the side of the bench a few times. If the primer backs out, I push it out and throw that piece of brass in the trash. If it doesn't back out, I color the case head red with a sharpie. After it's fired, it goes in the trash or chucked into the woods.
     
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  5. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    I deprime and wet tumble. My pockets get mostly clean as only tumble an hour. I hand prime because the more inside I can do during the summer and winter the better. I use the rcbs universal primer because changes for shell holders is silly and gets old fast.
     
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  6. mrawesome22-250

    mrawesome22-250 Member

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    I also use the RCBS Universal hand tool. Money well spent.
     
  7. film495

    film495 Member

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    I'm new at this so take it for what it is worth. I dry tumble then size and de cap (keeps some crud out of the die that way) and hit the case with a case brush quick, give the primer pocket a quick hit and tap out the crud, then they go back in the tumbler for another 1/2 hour or hour, just to maybe clean out the primer pocket and inside the case a touch more, but not idea if it makes any difference. It would probably be faster to just pop the primers out first with a dedicated die and do the rest then tumble to spruce them up a little.

    I've only primed on the press and still load the primers one by one by hand with gloves on. Not sure exactly why, but I've started turning the cases when priming and pushing them twice, just to make sure they are seated well.

    An idea, you may want to check the play in the cylinders on those revolvers, there's a reason they are primer sensitive - I'd for sure want to know why.
     
  8. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I don't clean primer pockets on handgun brass. I also prime handgun brass on press with Lee Auto-Prime and a Lee turret press. I do not however shoot any tuned revolvers with light triggers.

    Rifle brass gets primed off press with an RCBS hand primer.
     
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  9. Hooda Thunkit

    Hooda Thunkit Member

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    I do almost the same as ArchAngel.

    Handgun brass gets deprimed and dry tumbled. Primed on the LCT during loading.

    Rifle brass is deprimed, primer pocket cleaned, then either washed or tumbled (sometimes both). Then hand primed with an old Lee hand primer and neck sized.
    Back on the LCT, charged and loaded.
     
  10. .308 Norma

    .308 Norma Member

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    Good questions!:)

    1. I could tell you that I use a hand primer because I have better control because I can better “feel” when the primers bottom out. But the truth is, my loading bench is in the basement, and I’d rather sit in front of the TV with a cup of coffee in the living room while priming cases.

    2. Yeah, probably dirty brass has a negative effect on the sizing die “over time.” But the key words here are “dirty” and “time.” There is no reason to not wipe the brass off with a rag before resizing it. That’s what I do, and I’m using some of the same sizing dies (357 and 44 Mag) I started with back in the late ‘70s.

    3. Yes, tumbling decapped brass “helps” clean the pockets. But it usually leaves pieces of dry tumbling media stuck in a few flash holes. No bigga deal. Working together, with a couple of short pieces of baling wire, my wife and I can check and clear (if necessary) a couple of hundred flash holes in about 5 minutes.

    4. A lot of time is added to my priming off press because I’m watching TV and drinking coffee while doing it. But if I wasn’t engaged in those additional activities, priming off the press wouldn’t add any more time. Besides, handloading is one of my favorite activities, so I don't consider the time I spend at it. That's not to say I never did; way back when I had a full time + job, kids at home, and a mortgage, my wife and I were deep into IHMSA competition. And I'll tell you what, an hour or two at the loading bench every evening back then is one of the main reasons we no longer get involved in any kind of competition shooting.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
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  11. Dudedog
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    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    I like to wet tumble so I do a quick pass and let the cases dry, then deprime them, wet tumble for and hour and have nice shiny brass.
    (that probably makes no difference in how it shoots but clean brass makes me :))

    Then I hand prime while watching the TV. I like the feel the hand primer gives me.
    It give me a chance to check the cases (toss the 9mm with the stupid step).
    Then when I go to load one less thing to worry about.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
  12. Random 8

    Random 8 Member

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    I tumble, then resize/deprime, expand (pistol), then prime. I only worry about cleaning primer pockets on dedicated match and hunting ammo, even then it probably wouldn't matter, but I do it 'cause. My spent primers that go in the recycle bin are nice and shiney though! I started off loading rifle for many years before I ever loaded a pistol round. For rifle, as my arsenal includes a couple of automatics that can cause a really bad day with a high primer, I ram-prime on the press for a failsafe, mechanical stop. I also feel this lends itself to consistency...provided consistent primer pockets. I still use this process for the first large pistol case I loaded, .41 Mag. These are universally sorted by brand and I don't shoot that many of them, so this process works here also.

    Things got interesting during the great ammofamine, when I began loading 9mm. Those itty bitty cases and itty bitty primers became a pain to handle vs big fat LR and LP primers I had been used to so I invested in a Lee hand primer. This is the way I roll now for small pistol cases, prep a bunch of brass, then sit in front of the idiot box and squeeze in primers. Works well with mixed brass as I can "feel" them into any inconsistent pockets. I can even feel the anvil crush fitting.
     
  13. Ohen Cepel
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    Ohen Cepel Contributing Member

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    If I am using one of my Star presses I let that do the priming and I have had excellent performance with them. My other presses are a Forester and while I like the press a lot the priming their is a bit odd for me or an old Pacific so I do hand prime for those. If really handloading I prefer to do it by hand, can't say its any better but has worked for me.
     
  14. Eddy19

    Eddy19 Member

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    I tumble soon as I get home from the range. Then size and decap. I tried decap before tumbling but for me it didn't clean the pockets that well so felt it wasn't worth it. I usually don't clean primer pockets on pistol brass. I use the RCBS bench mounted priming tool and really like it. Tried the press built in priming tools but for some reason they didn't set the primers slightly below about .001-.002. but the RCBS tool does.
     
  15. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    Hand priming with a progressive press doesn't sound very progressive to me.

    The only time I use a hand primer is when loading single stage. Even then, it's so I can do it somewhere other than the bench. Other than that, I don't really have a problem with the Rock Chuckers priming rig.
     
  16. Lennyjoe

    Lennyjoe Member

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    I only hand prime 22-250, .243, 30-06, .308, 45-70, .450 Bushmaster and .50 Beowulf. Single stage load with each powder drop weighed for accuracy.

    .223, 7.62x39, .300 BO and all pistol gets primed on progressive press.
     
  17. Obturation

    Obturation Member

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    I can feel how the primer seats much better and gives me one more chance to look the case over before I load it. I don't load large volumes and only load ammo I can't afford to buy regularly .
    Yep-I decap, wet "wash", dry, vibratory tumble, clean primer pockets if needed, prime off press and load on a single stage... It's not fast.
     
  18. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    My preferences and my idiosyncrasies.

    For handgun cartridges, I resize, deprime and mouth expand most handgun cartridges on my Hornady L-N-L progressive. It goes quick as I just have to make sure cases are aligned as they enter dies and I do two steps at once. I prep cases shortly after shooting them so relatively small batches get competed quickly.

    I then tumble clean the cases. Usually dry tumble but at times I wet tumble them. The cases are then stored away for a future loading session.

    I prefer to prime the cases off the press with a hand primer. I feel I get more consistent primer seating and I'm able to correct priming issues more easily.

    Cases are then loaded on a progressive press. Loading session can be a small quantity or up to 1000 or more cartridges depending on my need at the time.

    I charge the case, seat the bullet, then crimp, each at a separate station. Since the cases are already prepped and primed, I have less to watch when only charging and loading bullets. The loading process goes pretty quick and smooth with less stopages for problems.

    Another advantage to separating the process, I have the option of using a different press for the loading steps than I used for the case prep steps.

    I have three Dillon SDB's dedicated to 45 ACP, 9x19, and 380 ACP. I never change the loads for these cartridges and Dillon SDB does the work well. I change cartridges by swapping out the press. The SDB's never resize or expand the case mouth of a case.

    Many handgun cartridges get loaded on the Hornady L-N-L. With the bushing system of installing dies, I can set up the press having dies in stations that are most advantageous to my needs.

    The Hornady press does not work well for me with a few cartridges, primarily issues with the shell plate and the case eject system. I load them on an RCBS Pro2000 (45 Colt is one here) or a Dillon BL550 (460 S&W Mag here).

    Except for the Dillon SDB's that use the Dillon powder measures, I have an RCBS Uniflow and Redding 10-X powder measures mounted in Hornady case activated powder measure dies. They get swapped between the Hornady L-N-L, RBS Pro2000 and Dillon BL550 as needed. I find which powder measure works best for the cartridge that I am loading. For many cartridges, I've made custom drop tubes for the case activated dies.

    I load more cartridges than I can shoot this way.

    Again, my preferences and my idiosyncrasies.

    P.S. I load for something north of 30 different handgun cartridges.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2020
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  19. Waterboy3313

    Waterboy3313 Member

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    I decap, run a primer pocket cleaner, throw in the ultrasonic cleaner for 30 minutes, resize, prime on a Lee single stage press with the Lee safety prime and expand the case mouth in the same stage. Probably a little over kill but I try to keep up with what I shoot at about 150-200 cases a week.
     
  20. Old Stumpy

    Old Stumpy Member

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    I always clean the primer pockets with the Lee hand-held tool. I always have and I always will.
    It's not a waste of time any more than tumbling brass is. I like my brass clean.
    And since I use a single stage press it doesn't interrupt the sequence like it would with a turret or progressive press.
    I hand prime with a Lee Auto Prime, because it's faster and easier than priming on-press. and because I can feel the primers bottom out.
    I've looked at getting a primer feed for my Redding Big Boss 2 press since I like their system.
    But I really don't need it.
     
  21. lordpaxman

    lordpaxman Member

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    #MeToo, in more ways than one.

    @Epicurean, just curious if you are making a decision based on the LCT not performing a function correctly? I switched from a single stage to a progressive to simplify my process and manufacture lots more quality ammo. I currently run my smaller pistol calibers on a LNL and don’t have any primer issues. I’ve also been reducing the tension on that 625 hammer spring to get a lighter trigger but that’s the only issue in firing that I’ve seen. I understand the hesitancy to change presses, but if it didn’t do what I wanted consistently, it wouldn’t be on my bench.
    For all you others that see a need to excessively clean and prime off press, go for it! And I thought I had CDO!
     
  22. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    I LIKE going slow and methodically when reloading ammo. I generally spend the winter months processing my piles of brass. Then prime charge and seat as needed the rest of the year. I like to use my two Lee round style hand primers but for my WSM and 500 S&W I use a ram prime because the brass will not fit the primer body.
    My process with a SS and turret press follows:

    Universal decap and clean with SS pins if really dirty or tarnished first.
    Size, flare, chamfer, etc clean with SS pins inspect
    and put away after drying.
    Later just before use I prime, charge, and seat as needed.
    I am retired and know how much ammo I am going to use so plan accordingly. I do keep 50 or more rounds made up ahead for everything but don't go crazy on this either. Usually enough for a range trip more than the minimum at best. YMMV

    ETA: Often I will be showing someone how to reload then let them make some of the ammo. When done we meet at the range to use it up. Always puts a smile on their face for some reason.:D
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
  23. Dudedog
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    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    Pretty much my sequence as well.
    Even though I load on a LNL progressive I like having primed brass.
    Making two passes takes a bit longer but then for pass 2 when loading I have a station for all the things I want
    1 Powder drop
    2 RCBS lockout die
    3 Bullet feeder
    4 Seat
    5 Crimp
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2020
  24. rskent

    rskent Member

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    I prime off the press when:

    I am prepping brass for match rifle loads that are boxed up labeled and ready to load when needed. I prep brass when I have time and feel like it. I load when I need ammunition.

    I prime off the press when I am loading rounds that I don’t need more than a hundred of. Some things I only load fifty at a time.


    I prime on the press when:

    I need to load common pistol rounds. 45acp, 9mm, .380. Even then I’m likely to run them all through once to have the cases ready to load. Then when I need to load them, I run them through again.
    To all the people that think I am wasting time running the through twice. Yea, I get it. You are right, I am.
     
  25. Bill M.

    Bill M. Member

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    I used to hand prime and have several hand primers. I still do 9mm that way sometimes. But... I bought a ram primer last year and now really prefer the feel of the single stage press for priming. All my serious loads get primed on the press. I do hate handling the primers with my fingers but put up with that.
     
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