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2ndtimer

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I guess I am in the market for a new hand priming tool.
A92894A2-0809-4542-AF05-3A5385D865E0.jpeg
This was my fourth Lee attempt. Guess they are cheap for a reason, as I have managed to break the pot metal parts in all of them. To be fair, I did prime quite a few cases before it broke, but then again, I finished the few .223 cases I was priming with the almost 40 year old auto prime for my vintage Rockchucker press. So, do I contact Lee and see if I can get a replacement part (none were listed on the website), or finally turn from my cheapskate personality and invest in a decent quality tool for a change?
 
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My RCBS is 15 years old and going strong after lots of use. I bought a Hornady one when I lost my RCBS for a while and it works great as well. I prefer the RCBS as you get a better “feel” for when the primer is seated.
 
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I guess I am in the market for a new hand priming tool.
View attachment 980129
This was my fourth Lee attempt. Guess they are cheap for a reason, as I have managed to break the pot metal parts in all of them. To be fair, I did prime quite a few cases before it broke, but then again, I finished the few .223 cases I was priming with the almost 40 year old auto prime for my vintage Rockchucker press. So, do I contact Lee and see if I can get a replacement part (none were listed on the website), or finally turn from my cheapskate personality and invest in a decent quality tool for a change?
Lee claims they do not have parts. Have been keeping fingers crossed with my 2nd auto prime for several years. You've done well if you haven't broken a handle also. Not a fan of Lee products but I do like the auto prime.
 

bbbass

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Geez man, I wouldn't want to shake hands with you... sounds like a painful experience!!

I have a Lee that I have used for 40 years, and an RCBS I have used for 20 years. I prefer the Lee for ease of changing shell holders, the RCBS for availability and interchangeability of shell holders with my single stage press. I HATE the clunky guide blade on the RCBS.

1624570239454.png

It's hard to get the plunger/swivel rod at the bottom set right on reassembly too.
 
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Well dang. I have a Lee also that’s lasted over 10 years. Works great but they are definatley on the cheap built side.
 

Mikej

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I guess I am in the market for a new hand priming tool.
1624572969190.png
This was my fourth Lee attempt. Guess they are cheap for a reason, as I have managed to break the pot metal parts in all of them. To be fair, I did prime quite a few cases before it broke, but then again, I finished the few .223 cases I was priming with the almost 40 year old auto prime for my vintage Rockchucker press. So, do I contact Lee and see if I can get a replacement part (none were listed on the website), or finally turn from my cheapskate personality and invest in a decent quality tool for a change?

I like how it says "Lee Precision" on the box. And it keeps breaking on you. Kind of funny, but not really.

After breaking that many, I'd say, bite the bullet and go with a more expensive, (more better?) model.

I look at the Lee and Hornady model and those two look painful to use compared to the RCBS I've been using for 10 years.
 

2ndtimer

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Thanks for the replies. Am tempted to go with the Frankford Arsenal unit. That way I can use my Lee shell holders and I have been well pleased with my Frankford Arsenal liquid stainless steel tumbler and case trimmer unit. I had an RCBS unit years ago that required one primer at a time and it was less than impressive. Hope the newer models are better.
 

CLT65

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I broke several Lee hand prime units too, back in the day.

My first one 25+ years ago, so I bought a replacement. It didn't last terribly long either. Some years later I was talking to an acquaintance who was a much more experienced reloader. He swore by the Lee hand-prime tool, said he'd been using his forever with no trouble. So I bought another, and in due course broke it too.

So maybe I'm just hard on them, but it's nice to know I'm not the only one. I now have a couple of RCBS hand prime tools. Within their limitations, they work great, and they don't break!
 

Pops1911

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I have been flirting with these for years. All of your comments make me glad I haven't purchased one [yet].
 

Longwalkhome

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I guess I am in the market for a new hand priming tool.
View attachment 980129
This was my fourth Lee attempt. Guess they are cheap for a reason, as I have managed to break the pot metal parts in all of them. To be fair, I did prime quite a few cases before it broke, but then again, I finished the few .223 cases I was priming with the almost 40 year old auto prime for my vintage Rockchucker press. So, do I contact Lee and see if I can get a replacement part (none were listed on the website), or finally turn from my cheapskate personality and invest in a decent quality tool for a change?
You can buy the part that broke at Midway usa and Grafs for about $3. Put a little Vaseline on the wear surface to reduce friction.
 

po18guy

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Email them this thread and get their take on it. If you always break the link, it may be the thumb lever that is bad. Any lube on the moving parts? 3M or other silicone paste does a fine job lubing those parts. It is intended for pin-slide brake calipers (heat+pressure) so it's def good stuff. Have had two Lee hand primers for 20+ years and no breaks.
 

gmerkt

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I have a Lee that I have used for 40 years, and an RCBS I have used for 20 years. I prefer the Lee for ease of changing shell holders, the RCBS for availability and interchangeability of shell holders with my single stage press. I HATE the clunky guide blade on the RCBS.
Fully agree with the comment above. I started using the Lee Auto Prime tool (old design with round tray) decades ago. Somewhere along the line, I had to buy an RCBS because Lee didn't make a proprietary shell holder for some cartridge or another that I needed. I wasn't fond of the RCBS. Way more clumsy for changing shell holder, that guide blade is not commended. Oh, and of course costs more than the Lee and probably rightly so.

The old style Lee Auto Primer with the round tray, those were a dream to use. Then the lawyers had them change to the current design with the square tray. Those are more of a pain in the prat to use. Then they came out with the Bench Auto Prime. Works like the current hand held Auto Prime, but you push down on a lever with the palm of your hand, doesn't require squeezing, which some of you will learn more about with aging.

Yes, die cast metal never holds up like steel. Yes, Lee stuff will wear out or break eventually. As others have said, you need to make sure the moving parts are greased. You also need to make sure you have reamed crimped primer pockets, you can break a Lee on uncrimped. Also, the Lee #4 shell holder is not to be commended. Which is the number that Lee calls for when doing .223 Rem. And it's a compromise tool, made to fit .32 S&W Long (and derivatives), as well as .223 - and any anus knows that the rims on these two families of cartridges just aren't the same. As a consequence, you have to pay attention when priming .223 to make sure the case is properly lined up within the shell holder so the primer is lined up to go into the pocket as it should.

One thing my dad used to tell me, "Never force it." I don't know how some of you guys break one of these one after the other. If a primer feels like it's taking too much force to seat, stop and take a look to see why that might be.

The Lee primer tools that have worn out/broken in my use, I've returned them and the company has always replaced them gratis without a whimper.

I had an RCBS unit years ago that required one primer at a time
I've got one of these old things. Bench mount. They are really a nice tool, better in my opinion than the typical on-press gadgets (for example as supplied with the RCBS Rock Chucker press). These were an early offering by RCBS; they are obsolete now. I've got small and large primer fittings for mine; I keep is as back-up.
 

fstdraw

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I have two RCBS units. One for 7.62x39 (steel case) and one for everything else. Both work great.
 
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I had a Lee (new design) hand primer. It sucked ballz, so I gave it away.
Currently have (1) Hornady, (3) RCBS, and just received, gratis, a Primal Rights CPS (Competition Primer Seater - video by Ultimate Reloader). It's totally awesome, and will be fantastic when my arthritis is in high gear. You guys may balk at the price of it, but having set it up, worked with it, and having designed and built scores of machines, I think it's worth it.
 
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