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Thread: RCBS Universal primer seater

  1. #1
    Boolit Master Jack Stanley's Avatar
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    RCBS Universal primer seater

    Does anyone here have experience with the RCBS universal primer seater ? It's a hand held unit that has an adjustable shell holder so you don't need the standard shell holders from the loading press .

    I'm thinking it might work well for priming 303 British cases .

    Thanks guys , Jack
    Buy it cheap and stack it deep , you may need it !

    Black Rifles Matter

  2. #2
    Boolit Man handyman25's Avatar
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    Works very well. I do all my priming by hand. I have the a RCBS universal primer seater and a RCBS standard hand held primer seater (takes a shell holder), I prefer the universal. one of the rounds I load for is the 30/40 kraig very close to the 303 British.

    A friend of mine purchased the Lee but I did not like it. Did not feel right in my hand.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
    winelover's Avatar
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    Purchased one cause I didn't care for having to switch shellholders on their other hand held unit. Have this one set up for Large primers. Does the job, works better on some cartridges, than others. Have to hold your mouth just right. Recently, picked up RCBS bench unit and like that one much better, easier to switch back and forth. Amazon had them on sale for $58.........couldn't pass it up.

    Winelover

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

    Wayne Smith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by winelover View Post
    Purchased one cause I didn't care for having to switch shellholders on their other hand held unit. Have this one set up for Large primers. Does the job, works better on some cartridges, than others. Have to hold your mouth just right. Recently, picked up RCBS bench unit and like that one much better, easier to switch back and forth. Amazon had them on sale for $58.........couldn't pass it up.

    Winelover
    You grabbed that too. Then I had to call and get the part # for the primer flipper after getting one off Amazon that ended up being for the hand held. The primer flipper 2 is part # 9480, I have one being delivered.
    Wayne the Shrink

    There is no 'right' that requires me to work for you or you to work for me!

  5. #5
    Boolit Master Jack Stanley's Avatar
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    Currently I have one of the old style RCBS and leave it set with a 7.62x54r Russian shell holder , I'm not fond of the switch over either . Plus it doesn't like to take my "standard" LEE shell holder for the British round .

    The Lee "ram prime" works but leaves marks on the new primers so I'm casting about for ideas since priming shell holders for my old CO-AX aren't available . The last one broke, been suffering along with the "ram" .

    Jack
    Buy it cheap and stack it deep , you may need it !

    Black Rifles Matter

  6. #6
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    Unless using my progressive, this is all I use now. Super easy and seats them well. It gives good tactile feedback on tight and loose primer pockets as well. I've primed as small as 32-20 to as large as 45/70.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master


    Walter Laich's Avatar
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    I have and use the bench mounted RCBS primer mainly to seat rifle and brass shotgun shells (brass shells take a large pistol primer)
    I extended the length of the lever arm to give me a better feel for seating.

    I have been known to use it on 'not fully seated primers' on occasion--know seating loaded ammo is frowned on but in life you make all kinds of choices, some not wise
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  8. #8
    Boolit Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    Yes I have one, have used it for about 4 years and adore it.

    I do all my priming with it. Just wish I had bought two so I would not have to mess with switching sizes.

    Only thing it does NOT do is magtech .410 cases. Those are just outsized a smidge much.

    Everything else from .223 to .444 it does quick and easy with no problems.

    Combine it with the Frankford Arsenal Depriming tool and do more of your work in front of the TV is my motto.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    I have one and I think it is very good! But for some reason I have trouble with .45 Colt brass. They keep popping out of it if the fit of the primer is tight. Don't know why as they work in every other caliber I have loaded.

  10. #10
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    Wayne......I already had two primer flippers laying around, one green and one orange.

    Winelover

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Bought two from Brownells two or three months ago. Returned both. Neither would fully seat a primer 100% of the time and the effort required was more than with any tool I have ever used.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master rototerrier's Avatar
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    Ok guys, I'll try to do the best I can to explain this so it makes sense. I went thru this search several months ago and bought and returned several units before stumbling on the holy grail. My original Lee hand primer failed and they no longer offer parts. I needed something new and this is what I did.

    1) Bought the Lee Auto Prime Ergo. This is the one that you use your entire hand. This thing was the worst of the worst. It was big and bulky and felt like it was purpose built just to put blisters on your fingers. Primers would flip in the tray, flip in the body, get hung up. Just a horrible tool. Returned it immediately.

    2) Bought the Lee Auto Prime. This is the one that just uses your thumb and is the replacement for the original. I wound up keeping this because it is so cheap and does do a decent job, but the little plastic inserts for large/small primers are garbage. Already broke one and had to get them to send me another. Primers will flip in the tray, get jammed in the body, etc. I've managed to tweak it to get it to work fairly well, but it doesn't hold a candle to the original, much more simplistic, version that they no longer offer parts for. I don't love it, but I don't hate it enough to not keep it...if that makes sense.

    3) RCBS Universal. 3 Major Complaints with this one that resulted in me returning it.

    a) Pain in the butt of switch from small to large primers, compared to other primer systems.

    b) The primer tray has a little post in the center of the lid that has to snap into the bottom tray where the primers lay. At least 9/10 times it will snap with enough jolt that primers will flip while trying to put the lid on. Absolutely the most horrible tray design ever.

    c) That universal shell holder is way slower to use than a regular shell holder. 45-70, which I load often enough, requires a lot of effort to get in. I also found 9mm was hard to get centered up once put in and I'd have to jiggle to get primers to line up with the case. When doing thousands of rounds, it just became very cumbersome and isn't nearly as smooth and quick to operate as a regular shell holder.

    4) RCBS Hand Primer. I figured I liked the design of the universal well enough that if I just eliminted the univeral shell holder, I'd be happy. Well, turns out that wasn't true. The regular one has this horrible plastic large/small primer assembly that will only fit RCBS shell holders. I was able to dremel out the base of my lee holders to get them to work, but yet more frustration. Then there's still the same issues as above with the slow large/small primer swap and the same stupid tray design that causes primers to flip. Returned it!

    5) The holy grail. Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Perfect Seat Hand Priming Tool. It's a mouth full! This thing is beefy, smooth, and feels great in the hand. Comes with all the shell holders you'll ever need and even comes in a nice case to keep everything organized. There's not a single thing I dislike about it, so I'll just tell you about all the things I do like.

    a) The primer tray is the best in the business. It doesn't snap straight down, but rather slides from the top down onto the base and snaps together at 2 corners. Nothing ever jostles and jolts to cause primers to flip. The ridges are perfect and it flips primers better than any other primer flipper tray I've ever used. It has a shut off that has enough built in resistance that it doesn't shut itself off from your hand movements and the tray is removable.

    b) Swapping from small to large primers is a breeze. Just push down on a little spring loaded button and remove the shell holder and out comes the body, pin and spring. Replace with the other size body, spring and pin and pop in the shell holder. Takes seconds and no unscrewing of parts of having to fiddle with delicate plastic bits that can break or bend or get lost.

    c) The primer seating adjustment. I didn't think this would be nice at first, until I used it. Wow. Not having to pay attention to how much pressure you are applying is kinda like having cruise control on a car. You don't have to have it, but having it sure makes things nicer. Once you get that depth dialed in, you just squeeze all the way and the primer drives home where it needs to be. You don't have to think or feel. Just squeeze till it stops and move on. Perfect seat every time.

    d) The body is super smooth and has no rough or square edges. It's just fits the hand perfectly and doesn't have any edges that will dig in or mess up your hand over a 1000 primer session.

    I never tried the hornady or the lyman. I have friends that have used them and told me to not even waste my time. I also checked all the reviews and found the same sentiment.

    After letting one of my reloading buddies borrow the FA, he went and bought one for himself. It's that good compared to the rest. I don't work for FA or any of these other companies. I pay for the products just like everyone else. I know I've shined a pretty bright light on the FA in this mini review, but it's just how I feel and what I've found.

    These are just my findings and I'm sure there could be disagreement.

    On a positive note, while at the NRA event this year in Atlanta, I visited the RCBS booth and told the guys there all about the pitfalls of their hand primers. They said I wasn't the first person to mention these issues. One of the guys was very thorough and took notes to pass along to the engineers. Hopefully, someday, they'll sort out their issues. But, in the meantime, just be warned. RCBS makes a nice hand primer but it's not the best and isn't without issues. They are aware of those issues and the ball is in their court to correct them. With this FA now out there, they will have to correct the issues to compete. It's really raised the bar.

  13. #13
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    The FA Priming and Depriming tools get good reviews. Along with some of their other more recent products, they seem to be doing it right. The RCBS Universal Hand primer gets good marks. I use the Harvey Hand Deprimer and it is quality and great function. I will always prime and deprime off the press. There are some great options discussed in this thread. I still have a few functional Lee Round Tray Hand Primers which are, for me, the best ever. Have many other primers. If I bought another new hand primer it would be the FA unit.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master

    Wayne Smith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by winelover View Post
    Wayne......I already had two primer flippers laying around, one green and one orange.

    Winelover
    Yeah, my 'problem' was that I passed on my primer flipper to Arisaka99 when I gave him my RCBS JR3 and primer equipment. I figured I'd just use the hand primers until the sale came up. I really never considered buying the RCBS bench unit because of the price.
    Wayne the Shrink

    There is no 'right' that requires me to work for you or you to work for me!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by rototerrier View Post
    Ok guys, I'll try to do the best I can to explain this so it makes sense. I went thru this search several months ago and bought and returned several units before stumbling on the holy grail. My original Lee hand primer failed and they no longer offer parts. I needed something new and this is what I did.

    1) Bought the Lee Auto Prime Ergo. This is the one that you use your entire hand. This thing was the worst of the worst. It was big and bulky and felt like it was purpose built just to put blisters on your fingers. Primers would flip in the tray, flip in the body, get hung up. Just a horrible tool. Returned it immediately.

    2) Bought the Lee Auto Prime. This is the one that just uses your thumb and is the replacement for the original. I wound up keeping this because it is so cheap and does do a decent job, but the little plastic inserts for large/small primers are garbage. Already broke one and had to get them to send me another. Primers will flip in the tray, get jammed in the body, etc. I've managed to tweak it to get it to work fairly well, but it doesn't hold a candle to the original, much more simplistic, version that they no longer offer parts for. I don't love it, but I don't hate it enough to not keep it...if that makes sense.

    3) RCBS Universal. 3 Major Complaints with this one that resulted in me returning it.

    a) Pain in the butt of switch from small to large primers, compared to other primer systems.

    b) The primer tray has a little post in the center of the lid that has to snap into the bottom tray where the primers lay. At least 9/10 times it will snap with enough jolt that primers will flip while trying to put the lid on. Absolutely the most horrible tray design ever.

    c) That universal shell holder is way slower to use than a regular shell holder. 45-70, which I load often enough, requires a lot of effort to get in. I also found 9mm was hard to get centered up once put in and I'd have to jiggle to get primers to line up with the case. When doing thousands of rounds, it just became very cumbersome and isn't nearly as smooth and quick to operate as a regular shell holder.

    4) RCBS Hand Primer. I figured I liked the design of the universal well enough that if I just eliminted the univeral shell holder, I'd be happy. Well, turns out that wasn't true. The regular one has this horrible plastic large/small primer assembly that will only fit RCBS shell holders. I was able to dremel out the base of my lee holders to get them to work, but yet more frustration. Then there's still the same issues as above with the slow large/small primer swap and the same stupid tray design that causes primers to flip. Returned it!

    5) The holy grail. Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Perfect Seat Hand Priming Tool. It's a mouth full! This thing is beefy, smooth, and feels great in the hand. Comes with all the shell holders you'll ever need and even comes in a nice case to keep everything organized. There's not a single thing I dislike about it, so I'll just tell you about all the things I do like.

    a) The primer tray is the best in the business. It doesn't snap straight down, but rather slides from the top down onto the base and snaps together at 2 corners. Nothing ever jostles and jolts to cause primers to flip. The ridges are perfect and it flips primers better than any other primer flipper tray I've ever used. It has a shut off that has enough built in resistance that it doesn't shut itself off from your hand movements and the tray is removable.

    b) Swapping from small to large primers is a breeze. Just push down on a little spring loaded button and remove the shell holder and out comes the body, pin and spring. Replace with the other size body, spring and pin and pop in the shell holder. Takes seconds and no unscrewing of parts of having to fiddle with delicate plastic bits that can break or bend or get lost.

    c) The primer seating adjustment. I didn't think this would be nice at first, until I used it. Wow. Not having to pay attention to how much pressure you are applying is kinda like having cruise control on a car. You don't have to have it, but having it sure makes things nicer. Once you get that depth dialed in, you just squeeze all the way and the primer drives home where it needs to be. You don't have to think or feel. Just squeeze till it stops and move on. Perfect seat every time.

    d) The body is super smooth and has no rough or square edges. It's just fits the hand perfectly and doesn't have any edges that will dig in or mess up your hand over a 1000 primer session.

    I never tried the hornady or the lyman. I have friends that have used them and told me to not even waste my time. I also checked all the reviews and found the same sentiment.

    After letting one of my reloading buddies borrow the FA, he went and bought one for himself. It's that good compared to the rest. I don't work for FA or any of these other companies. I pay for the products just like everyone else. I know I've shined a pretty bright light on the FA in this mini review, but it's just how I feel and what I've found.

    These are just my findings and I'm sure there could be disagreement.

    On a positive note, while at the NRA event this year in Atlanta, I visited the RCBS booth and told the guys there all about the pitfalls of their hand primers. They said I wasn't the first person to mention these issues. One of the guys was very thorough and took notes to pass along to the engineers. Hopefully, someday, they'll sort out their issues. But, in the meantime, just be warned. RCBS makes a nice hand primer but it's not the best and isn't without issues. They are aware of those issues and the ball is in their court to correct them. With this FA now out there, they will have to correct the issues to compete. It's really raised the bar.

    I've found that I'd you put the lid on there and snap it while holding the exit side down to prevent primers flipping out there is enough room to do the shake and shimmy to get them all flipped over and it just slides down with no snap.

    Switching from L to S should only take 30 seconds

    I usually prime in front of the TV or radio while eased back on the couch so time isn't much of an issue and I've learned how to get the shells in and out with relative ease.

  16. #16
    Boolit Bub
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    I use the rcbs, I have two. One dedicated to small, one dedicated to large primers. The work very well. Except for Winchester brass in 45 colt and 454 casull.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master Jack Stanley's Avatar
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    From what I gather in this thread the RCBS bench mounted unit and the Frankford Arsenal are about the easiest to use . Right ??

    Jack
    Buy it cheap and stack it deep , you may need it !

    Black Rifles Matter

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

    Wayne Smith's Avatar
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    I have the RCBS hand units too. Problem #1 - Tula (Russian) primers need to be fully seated, some of my 8x57 (expanded to 9.3) were not adequately seated. Problem #2 - the 'Universal' shell holder ejected about every three 32S&W cases. Could not hold on to them even tho they were rimmed, or maybe because they were rimmed?
    Wayne the Shrink

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  19. #19
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    69daytona's Avatar
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    I have had one for about 5years now and done everything from 30 carbine to S&W 500 and have never had one problem.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    The RCBS bench mounted is a fine tool. Polish up the steel lever where it cams and it gets slicker and even light feel. Springs can break and RCBS will replace them of course. You will like it if you are doing a lot of priming.

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BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
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HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
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