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Thread: Lee new auto prime

  1. #1
    Boolit Man
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    Lee new auto prime

    Just wondering about the new lee auto prime what do u all thank about it. I have been using the old lee round tray hand primer for about 20 years and it's almost wore out. I really liked it.I bought the new square tray lawyer approved hand primer tool. The one that raises the primer and isolates the other primers a few years ago.I never could get it to feed and work right without jamming primers up. The new lee auto prime has the v shaped tray like the new bench mounted primer tool. Just wondering what every body thought about it that has used it. The bench mounted one looks ok but I thank I would like the hand held primer better. What do u all like the bench mounted or the hand held model. Is there another brand that's better easier to use that's not to to expensive?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jniedbalski View Post
    Just wondering about the new lee auto prime what do u all thank about it. I have been using the old lee round tray hand primer for about 20 years and it's almost wore out. I really liked it.I bought the new square tray lawyer approved hand primer tool. The one that raises the primer and isolates the other primers a few years ago.I never could get it to feed and work right without jamming primers up. The new lee auto prime has the v shaped tray like the new bench mounted primer tool. Just wondering what every body thought about it that has used it. The bench mounted one looks ok but I thank I would like the hand held primer better. What do u all like the bench mounted or the hand held model. Is there another brand that's better easier to use that's not to to expensive?
    With proper setup, they are great. Been using one for about a year. As they come not so great. I bent the al safety shield in the first 10 primers-just took apart and flattened it back out and went again. It usually occurs when the arm is allowed to go past the bottom point. I added one of the 3/8" threaded rubber covered feet to the wooden piece I mounted the tool to and after adjustment, problem was solved. Artheritus in hands had previously been a problem using the hand primer type I had used for over 45 years. Really a pain saver for some of us old guys!

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Airman Basic's Avatar
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    Might want to ebay, garage sales, word of mouth and whatnot to find the old style round reservoir type. Some of the newer tools parts will work with the round tools, too. Scrounge like you're looking for boolit lead and snatch it when you see it. I think I've got enough parts and tools to last me that way.

  4. #4
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    The older square tray setup was better. I have been fighting mine to get it to feed well and not jam (could be my technique or lack thereof) since I got it a year ago.
    Last edited by Bzcraig; 09-20-2017 at 09:57 PM.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bzcraig View Post
    The older square tray setup was better. I have been fighting mine to get it to feed well and not jam (could be my technique or lack thereof) since I got it a year ago.
    I believe you mean the OLDER ROUND tray was better
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  6. #6
    Boolit Master




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    Quote Originally Posted by Smoke4320 View Post
    I believe you mean the OLDER ROUND tray was better
    Yes sir, that's exactly what I meant...duh!
    "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same......." - Ronald Reagan

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  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I still use two of the old round try tools. I also have a Sinclair single tool. It is very well made and seats primers precisely. But I hate the one at a time thing. I have parts scavenged away for my old LEEs, to keep them limping along for a while.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master


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    After losing my spare LEE old style round tray from inventory, I found 2 more as backups. Because the two I'm using have served me forever. I don't anticipate needing more. As with any mechanical device, lube and common sense are required.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by B R Shooter View Post
    I still use two of the old round try tools. I also have a Sinclair single tool. It is very well made and seats primers precisely. But I hate the one at a time thing. I have parts scavenged away for my old LEEs, to keep them limping along for a while.
    In case my old round tray tool bites the dust or if the brand new mickey mouse square tray doesn't want to feed , I'm just going to ditch the tray and use it as a single loader. If it's good enough for Sinclair to make a tool that way.
    When I primed on the reloading press , I picked the primers up one at a time and put them in the cup...I'll just revert back to single loading and keep on like I got good sense.
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  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    One thing I found about keeping the old primers working. Mine seemed like they wouldn't push a primer far enough into the pocket, the handle was bottoming out before the primer was home.

    If you take the push "rod" out, the thing with the round top and it fits into the cross pin of the handle, it is made of cheap pot metal. You can gently peen the middle of the push rod against another piece of steel, to expand it. I put a piece in my benchrest vise to hammer against. It stretches it enough lengthwise to seat primers fully.

  11. #11
    Boolit Man
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    My round tray primer tool still works but the hole in the plastic where the primer rod goes up and down is getting oblong. U have to go slow when priming. This is on the small primer tray. The large primer tray is still good a lot less use . The small primer tray had loaded at least 10,000 to 15,000 rounds

  12. #12

    My thought on the LEE Auto Prime and Bench Prime

    I started out using the newer Lee Auto Prime just because it came in my press kit, The tray and primer ram system aren't perfect, it will hang once in a while, or the primers will stop feeding from the reservoir into the chute and it takes a few taps to get them going again, but its not too bad,

    The little "Open, Lock, On" latch on the tray that's designed to allow you to "Open" the tray to load it with primers, "Lock" it closed but not allow primers to flow out, and finally click it to ""On" to allow primer flow is actually the biggest issue...

    After loading the tray with primers, then switching to "Lock" I'd then put it on the primer, and sometimes accidentally flip it back to "Open instead of "On" and would dump the tray all over. (My fault, but its easy to do)

    And the "Lock" position doesn't work all that well to stop the primers from flowing out, Occasionally after you switch it to "lock" then tip it up to insert into the primer handle body, primers flow out of the chute anyway.

    Easy work around for this is just insert the tray into the primer handle body before you load it with primers. OR load the tray, switch it to "Lock" and put your finger over the end of the opening until you have it in position to insert to the Primer handle body.

    A lot of people have posted the Auto Prime and or Ergo and Bench prime are junk and they broke the primer ram inserts right away because they were plastic, etc... (they all use the same type of plastic housed primer ram and the same tray) but I've never broken anything on the Auto prime or Bench prime and have used them for a few thousand rounds...IMHO you'd have to be cranking on it pretty hard in order to break the ram housing, or get a primer jacked up in the ram chute and keep forcing it...

    Like others said, a little quality grease on the metal linkage pivot points helps a lot to smooth it out,

    One gripe about the Auto prime is that slot in the finger side of the handle is uncomfortable after a short while, but enough people must have complained, because now they offer a "comfort grip" you can buy for $7.50 and snap it on. ( I haven't tried it yet, but will probably order one)

    They also now have the "Ergo Prime" which looks to be similar an Auto Prime with a smoother body and the lever relocated to the front instead of the back so it has no uncomfortable slot, based on the looks of it, the Ergo Prime would be a lot more comfortable to operate, but its a few buck more than the Auto Prime and even the Bench Prime (which I don't really understand?) but I haven't actually used an Ergo Prime so I cant say 100% for sure...

    I also have arthritis pretty bad in my hands so I decided to give the new Lee Bench prime a try, it still uses the same type of plastic ram housing and the same tray as the Auto Prime and Ergo Prime, but the priming is much easier.

    Its basically an Ergo Prime redesigned to mount on a bench with a better leverage handle,

    The first time I used it, I had feeding problems and also ruined quite a few primers, but after a little research, I found that Lee was recommending to remove the Rubber O-ring on the body which was supposed to act as a little bump stop cushion for the lever when it returned to the "Up" position, supposedly it was limiting the lever return travel a bit too much and wouldn't allow enough clearance for the next primer to drop into position. After removing the O-ring it fed much more reliably.

    I also mounted it a little better and slowed down a little till I got the feel for it, I actually really like it now.

    I have it mounted to a board I clamp to the bench when I need to use it and I clamp it at a slight angle (not directly at my face obviously) so after removing the primed case, I can see the next primer that dropped into position, every once in a while a primer will drop wonky and I can see it and easily correct it before I smash it into the pocket, If you operate the lever smooth and make sure your returning the lever fully back "Up" the less often wonky drops happens, "Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast" ...

    The bench prime is definitely MUCH easier on the hands, you can prime with just 1 or 2 fingers on the lever, just be careful not to press to hard, it has a lot of leverage and a whole different feel than the auto prime. But you still get a good feel,

    It probably sounds like a lot of negative issues from this post, but its really not, especially for the cost... just wanted to give you an honest thorough review...

    A little learning curve, and patience and both the auto prime and bench prime work just fine for me... the RCBS hand primer is almost twice as much $, and their Tube feed bench mount is over $100, I'm not knocking them, I'm sure they're fine, I just didn't want to drop that kind of money into a priming tool.

    The auto prime was basically free with my press kit, and the bench prime was around $28 online

    Hope this helps ya
    Last edited by nitroviking; 11-01-2017 at 06:31 AM.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    I've had all of them except the original one with screw in shell holders, I've liked all of them. I like the ergo prime as much as the old round one. I've also had the ram prime II and the new bench mounted one. All have worked well, I currently use the bench mounted one the most though.
    Last edited by Moonie; 11-07-2017 at 08:02 AM.

  14. #14
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    I had about 500 primers through mine when I decided to end the foolishness and bought a Hornaday. It works with Lee shellholders, though they do not say it will. My old round one went 22 years before it died.
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  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    In the instructions for the Lee square auto primer, it says to hold the primer at a 45 degree angle when using it. I just primed 150 LR caliber cases today and only had 1 jamb. I didn't hold the primer at 45 degree
    Regards
    John

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    I've stopped counting but surely have 10,000 primers through my Auto Bench Primer. I can't beat it for the cost. Including set up I primed 500 SP brass last night in less than an hour. One sideways primer, I could have prevented it but wasn't paying attention. LP's require more frequent taps on the tray to drop into chute than SP's. As long as I pay attention and fully stroke the lever back up it works every time.
    I paid $25 for the tool and found a complete set of shell holders on flea-bay for $10. There are better primer tools out there at 3 X the price. I can live with a one out of 500 failure rate.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master opos's Avatar
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    I've got several of the old Lee round tray units....don't know why but when I'd see one on E bay "back when" I just bought them..I sometimes use them but frankly my favorite is to place one primer at a time in the priming arm on my Classic Turret press...I tried to use the press mounted round trays with the priming arm but it was a bit iffy and I'm in no hurry...I got used to using the little press priming tool (ram) with an old Lee hand press and it is so simple and uncomplicated that it just fits my needs to a tee if I want to do some "off press" priming....I don't load fast and hard like some folks...so hand feeding the priming station is good for me and if I just keep my hands clean and dry I have never had a "bad primer"....I"ve loaded thousands of rounds with all sorts of tools and "back to basics" is the way it works for me.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

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
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check