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Lee Auto Prime Problem

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by bl4ckd0g, Jul 16, 2007.

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  1. bl4ckd0g

    bl4ckd0g Member

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    Damn thing won't take a shellholder- either RCBS nor Lee. I am right to assume that this thing is a total POS, or am I missing something here.

    I insert the shellholder per the instructions, but the retaining lip on the bottom of the shellholder is too large to fit inside of the priming tool.
     
  2. Uncle Don

    Uncle Don Member

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    Press shellholders and autoprime shellholders are different. They share the same numbers but the ones for the auto prime don't have a lug on the bottom so that the throw is shorter and you can easily feel the primer bottom in the pocket.

    The bad news is you obviously don't have an autoprime shellholder - the good news is that you can get a full set of them for well under $20.00. Once you have them, you'll like it I think.

    djd
     
  3. bl4ckd0g

    bl4ckd0g Member

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    Thanks, I'll go order a set.
     
  4. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    HUH!??! Now I'm confused...I have a Lee Auto Prim II and the shell holders that I use in my Lee single stage and Lee 3 hole turret also work in my Lee Auto Prime II and vice-versa. Howcome I'm confused here...???
     
  5. baz

    baz Member

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    You're talking about the model that attaches to your press. He's talking about the hand operated model. The latter uses special shell holders.

    Now my question -- I was thinking of starting a thread with the question, but will ask here and see if anyone knows.

    The hand primer is said to work only with CCI or Winchester primers. Why is that? Has anyone tried other brands in it?
     
  6. Wedge

    Wedge Member

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    That is because you will grenade your hand with soft Federal primers...
     
  7. MutinousDoug

    MutinousDoug Member

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    In addition to CCI and Win, Remington primers are deemed acceptable.
     
  8. Citroen

    Citroen Member

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    Gosh, I didn't know!

    When I began shooting IPSC with my 25-2 revolver, the gunsmith that did the action work told me to use only a handheld Lee Auto Prime and use only Federal primers. This was around 1982 or so.

    That is exactly what I did. In fact, I wore out one auto prime and bought a couple more (deal for two or more). One is set up with the shell holder for 45 ACP (the only caliber I reload). The other has the shell plate for .38 so that I can prime (with large Federal primers) the Speer plastic practice ammo that my wife shoots in our garage.

    Never in over 25 years have I had a primer ignite while loading. I am not saying it could not/does not ever happen, but it has not with me.

    Recently I could not buy Federal Large Pistol Primers so I bought some Wolf and they too load just fine.

    John
    Charlotte, NC
     
  9. jr81452

    jr81452 Member

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    i honestly think LEE has a cooperative agreement with CCI/Speer and Winchester. i have loaded thousands upon thousands of federal primers through all (auto prime, auto primeII, loadmaster, etc) of my lee priming tools and never seen so much as a crushed primer with exception of my loadmaster. and even with the 100 or so completely smashed and mangled primers from the loadmaster not one ever went off, let alone set off the whole tray.
     
  10. Uncle Don

    Uncle Don Member

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    As I understand it, the compound in Federal primers is more condusive to a chain reaction. I'm sure that thousands upon thousands would be loaded without a problem, but if one pops, the danger of it igniting the others is greater with Federal. I doubt Lee has a agreement as they are a seperate company. I could see it with RCBS as they are the same corporation that makes CCI and Speer (I think).
     
  11. Wedge

    Wedge Member

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    I just follow the instructions and do what the manual tells me...
     
  12. JA

    JA Member

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    Well I thought like some of ya'll about a Winchester and a CCI marketing rep handing Lee fat unmarked envelopes late at night in a dark alley.
    As the instructions that came with my Lee Pro 1000 press saying only Winchester or CCI primers should be used. That is until some time between the 300-400 round of 9mm loaded with Remington primers when a primer went off. With my ears ringing I looked up at the pock marked cealing that had that shot with a shotgun look. Then finding the primers and primer feeder parts scattered all over the room. I then realized that Lee might be onto something with the instructions saying to use Winchester and CCI primers only.
     
  13. FieroCDSP

    FieroCDSP Member

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    I think I read somewhere that you can use Federals, but they recommend with only 20 or so in the pan. A pain, I know.
     
  14. baz

    baz Member

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    Says who?

    What about Wolf?
     
  15. bl4ckd0g

    bl4ckd0g Member

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    I felt that the auto prime was a piece of crap and I purchased a RCBS hand primer this afternoon.
     
  16. P-32

    P-32 Member

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    I guess I forgot you couldn't use Federal primers in the Lee auto prime (the hand held one) because I sure primed enough 308 with one using Federal gold match primers. If a guy can't figure out not to continue to add pressure if things are not working and sets a primer off he should maybe not be reloading any ways.
     
  17. baz

    baz Member

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    In my experience -- somewhat limited, but I am actually using the Lee Auto Primer -- it isn't a piece of crap.
    So Lee just doesn't want to accept responsibility from users loading softer primers, but there's no mechanical reason why primers other than CCI or Winchester shouldn't work. That's what I was wondering about, because I couldn't imagine why any brand of standard primer wouldn't be the same size as another brand.

    Thanks for the replies.
     
  18. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    Thanks Baz...I thought that might be the answer. I have never had the Lee Auto prime hand held...Learn something new every day...
     
  19. presspuller

    presspuller Member

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    I really think the entire primer thing is a pissing match that goes back many years.
    IIRC Lee says in his book that the federals (or whatever brand it is he says not to use) had simply not been "tested" in the auto prime. I would think after all these years they could have tested them and found them safe by now or tested them and put out a VERY stern warning not to do it or you will lose a hand.
     
  20. Citroen

    Citroen Member

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    Hand Held Auto Prime

    For me the advantages of using the hand held Lee Auto Prime outweigh the possible disadvantages. Using the hand held, you can fully seat the primer every time - lessens the number of FTF in any given batch.

    Truthfully, I felt there was a greater danger of igniting a primer using the loading press to prime. The "feel" is not as controlled and the pressure is much greater.

    Years ago I stopped using that feature of my Dillon and decap only in the first stage. It may not be as fast but I like it still - and that is after somewhere upwards of 20,000 reloads.

    John
    Charlotte, NC
     
  21. Hawk

    Hawk Member

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    Obviously, whatever advantages are associated with the hand primer would disappear in the absence of primers.

    Given the supply shortages we've noticed and my aversion to hazmat charges, a tool which only operates without restrictions with one primer brand is stone useless if I don't have any of that primer.

    Skeptic that I am, I downloaded Lee's instructions and the Winchester is restricted to small pistol only if 100 primers are to be loaded. Winchester large rifle primers are to be loaded 10 at a time with most others being 20 (icludes small pistol magnum). Wouldn't having to load only 10 primers at a time pretty much negate the point of the tool?

    Remington is only on the anointed list for pistol primers.

    Federal is verbotten.


    Are the advantages of hand priming sufficient that I should look into a hand primer that will work with the primers I have? I can't find similar issues in RCBS's hand primer although the APS primer is unsurprisingly CCI-centric.
     
  22. baz

    baz Member

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    I don't know how I missed seeing Remington (pistol only) on the list. I haven't tried rifle primers, so I don't know why the mount is limited to 10 or 20? I'm guessing that it has to do with limiting the amount of KABOOM if one goes off. I'm also guessing that the limits, and the outright "Do not use" for Federal just represents an abundance, and possibly an excess, of caution. The "WARNING" states:
    With the exception of the later, I've experienced all of these situations, without a KABOOM. The key is "Do not force it." Once you know how a correct seating feels, its pretty obvious when something is not right.
     
  23. Hawk

    Hawk Member

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    Limiting the amount of kaboom is certainly a reasonable surmise.

    However, it does not appear to be a limitation shared by RCBS or either of my on-press primer seaters. One wonders if one of the benefits of the hand primer - precise seating of the primer, isn't actually required unless the only unrestricted brand has a (perhaps undeserved) reputation for being hard as a rock.

    In other words, the only primer acceptable to Lee in all configurations is the only primer that needs to be delicately seated. Perhaps if one is using any primer other than CCI, any old primer seating artifact is acceptable.

    This is only conjecture on my part - I'm not saying CCI is, indeed, harder than the alternatives. Nevertheless, I'd be hesitant to buy a tool where the first thing I'd have to do to is ignore the instructions. Based solely on Lee's downloadable manuals, this does not seem like anything I'll have a use for in my lifetime - or at least until CCI becomes a little less scarce in my area.

    I've got around 4K primers presently, none of which Lee deems suitable to be used "100 at a time" in their gadget.
     
  24. Citroen

    Citroen Member

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    Remember, I am talking the hand held unit

    I fail to see how anyone could exert enough force to ignite a primer with the hand held unit. The "ram" is plastic and it appears to me that it would give before the primer would ignite.

    Also, unlike a primer tube in one stage of a progressive press, the other primers are in a tray that is off to one side of the priming station. Even if one were to ignite I fail to see how the others would also ignite.

    I am confident that Lee has a reason for including a warning but I think, since I have been ignoring it for a lot of reloads, I will treat that like the warning that firearms manufacturers publish about not shooting reloads.

    Decide for yourself. As for me I think the Lee Auto Prime (hand held) is a great tool and works for whatever primers I have on hand.

    By the way, Federals are beginning to show up again at some suppliers.

    John
    Charlotte, NC
     
  25. Hawk

    Hawk Member

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    Me neither, but that’s not really what I'm asking. Let's presume a brand new reloader, perhaps recently landed from Mars, drops by the THR reloading forum.

    He reads, time and again, the importance of reading and following directions. What distinguishes the Lee hand primer directions from other directions ("don’t exceed max loads", to pick one totally at random) that someone new would feel comfortable ignoring them?

    He (the Martian) does a search. He finds 3 hand primers: a Lee, an RCBS and a Hornady. The prices range from 12.00 to 32.00.

    The 12.00 example requires proprietary shell holders which would appear to run 20.00 per the above posts. It’s no longer "low bid". It requires one brand of primer, probably but not necessarily invoking multiple 20.00 hazmat fees. It's now the highest priced, least convenient alternative.

    Our Martian wonders why it tends to bubble to the top of the "things one has to have" threads when it’s clearly the most expensive, least adaptable product of the lot.

    I don’t have a dog in the fight – I prime on press. If I'm missing something, I won’t take it personally if it's pointed out to me. However, from simply reading this thread and a rudimentary 10 minute search, it does appear to be, at once, the least flexible and most expensive alternative. Especially if I have no (none, zero) CCI primers.



    (I probably am missing something obvious but it's been a long day and I'm not seeing it.)
    :eek:
     
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