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Thread: Lee hand priming tool

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
    GOPHER SLAYER's Avatar
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    Lee hand priming tool

    I got this priming tool in a box of reloading gear. It looks like it was made by Lee but I cannot find what case it it was made for. As you can see the shell holder is replaceable. The one it came with only has the letter J stamped on it and it doesn't fit any case
    I have tried. Anyone else have one of these?
    While looking through drawers where I keep brass I found two more hand priming tools. One is like the tool tha started this post. It has a K holder which primes 303 British, Krag and 44 Spl.The other is a RCBS which takes their shell holders.
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    Last edited by GOPHER SLAYER; 03-22-2020 at 03:25 PM.
    A GUN THAT'S COCKED AND UNLOADED AIN'T GOOD FOR NUTHIN'........... ROOSTER COGBURN

  2. #2
    Boolit Master 44magLeo's Avatar
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    That loks like a Lee to me too. They used to sell a kit that had the Whack a mole die and a prime tool like that.
    Some where caliber specific others had interchangeable shell holders. A lot of people like that tool
    Perhaps some of the people that know more about them, such as Pressman or Froggie se thius they can tell you what that shell holder fits and if and where you may find ones you can use.
    Leo

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  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I see the J shell holder is for the 300 H&H case which makes it pretty much uselss to me. Thanks guys.
    A GUN THAT'S COCKED AND UNLOADED AIN'T GOOD FOR NUTHIN'........... ROOSTER COGBURN

  5. #5
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    If you have a standard magnum it should work and I'd try it in 303 Brit and 30-40 Krag, if you have either of those.

  6. #6
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    I can use that one and I have others to trade.

  7. #7
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    What cartridges do you intend to use this tool to prime? As far as I am concerned, that is the best hand primer that Lee ever made. I have tried the others and always come back to the first one, the one you have. Shell holders are getting a little hard to find in some calibers but they are still out there---for now at least.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master



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    I do have a good assortment.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    I tried every case I have including the Krag, 303 British. After reading the above posts I tried a 7MM Mag case and it fit. As I said, useless to me. Ron, did you want the complete priming tool or just the shell holder?
    Last edited by GOPHER SLAYER; 03-07-2020 at 09:32 PM.
    A GUN THAT'S COCKED AND UNLOADED AIN'T GOOD FOR NUTHIN'........... ROOSTER COGBURN

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by GOPHER SLAYER View Post
    I tried every case I have including the Krag, 303 British. After reading the above posts I tried a 7MM Mag case and it fit. As I said, useless to me. Ron, did you want the loading tool or just the shell holder?
    Either. If you want to prime LPP, keep the handle and we can trade screw in shell holders. If you want to prime SPP, we can trade complete.
    Last edited by BrassMagnet; 03-07-2020 at 09:40 PM.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrassMagnet View Post
    Either. If you want to prime LPP, keep the handle and we can trade screw in shell holders. If you want to prime SPP, we can trade complete.
    Ron, why don't I just trade you the shell holder for a 30-30 shell holder? That will cover a wider range of cartridges.
    A GUN THAT'S COCKED AND UNLOADED AIN'T GOOD FOR NUTHIN'........... ROOSTER COGBURN

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    I love a happy ending... I also love the 1st model Lee priming tool. Even though the aluminum body and handle are subject to wear and tear, I continue to go back to mine, especially for pistols and revolvers. Some of us like Brass Magnet and myself seem to be gathering up all the tools and parts we can find economically, and just like here, his makes it possible to put shooters and their needed piece papers together. Just don’t ask for my last one in 32 S&W, H&R and 327!
    "It aint easy being green!"

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by 44magLeo View Post
    That loks like a Lee to me too. They used to sell a kit that had the Whack a mole die and a prime tool like that.
    Some where caliber specific others had interchangeable shell holders. A lot of people like that tool
    Perhaps some of the people that know more about them, such as Pressman or Froggie se thius they can tell you what that shell holder fits and if and where you may find ones you can use.
    Leo
    This topic has been pretty well discussed here, but friend 44magLeo has brought up one point I’d like to clarify. The “branch” of the Lee group that split off and became Mequon made an “Improved” loading set that had a red plastic priming tool that had a shell holder resembling and lettered like the ones we’ve been discussing here. I don’t know whether they were threaded the same as they are solidly affixed and I’ve never felt the need to destroy one to find out. My gut feeling and the operation of these red tools makes me think they are just a fixed holder, plastic version of the aluminum Lee unit. I never saw them for sale as a separately packaged new unit, only as part of the “Improved” set or as orphans from somebody’s parts bin.

    While I’m typing, I’ll say some more about The aluminum tools with screw-in shell holders. They were apparently available as part of the Target (“Zero Error”) set and as a separate unit packaged for individual sale. As the chart in the link above showed, there were over 30 shell holders available for it... probably more than any other shell holder set. These shell holders were available individually too, packed in a clear envelope with a card printed with an application chart on it. I believe it is possible to “cheat” a little and substitute some holders that are “close enough” as the differences in many of them are quite insignificant.

    Other than the bewildering array of shell holders, the only other disadvantages I have found with these “1st generation” hand priming tools are that they can have the handles broken off from too much pressure and the combination of aluminum and steel parts can lead to undue wear with long usage. I exercise restraint to prevent the first problem and try to remember to put a little dab of heavy grease on the base of the priming rod (where it rides against the internal cam) to alleviate the second. Of course I have also accumulated what I expect to be a lifetime supply of odd priming tools and parts to cover breakage or loss!

    Froggie

    PS It is worth mentioning here that I collect priming tools, but with all of them I have, I tend to return to the 1st generation Lee tool time after time. For me it just works!
    "It aint easy being green!"

  14. #14
    Boolit Mold
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    Back in 1972 Neil Jones would modify the shell holder. The K&M priming tool uses the same design. I once asked Ken when visiting with him. He told me Neil gave him permission to use the design. It really improved the already excellent Lee primer. I keep a little moly on the hinge and it's been trouble free for MANY thousands of cases.

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy gumbo333's Avatar
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    I still have my first reloading set up, a Lee deluxe in 6mm rem and the plastic/ rubber hammer that I bought to whack it with. It has that hand primer in it. I used the primer for many years. Must be about 1970 vintage. Oh the good ole days. But today is a bunch better.
    Never trade luck for skill.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by gumbo333 View Post
    I still have my first reloading set up, a Lee deluxe in 6mm rem and the plastic/ rubber hammer that I bought to whack it with. It has that hand primer in it. I used the primer for many years. Must be about 1970 vintage. Oh the good ole days. But today is a bunch better.
    I don't miss my using my Lee loader either about same vintage as yours it floats to the top of a box stuff once in a while and still has the 9.95 price tag on it loaded 45 colt with it for several years.

  17. #17
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    I just looked at my Red Plastic Lee. It has the "L", 38spl shellholder that is molded in, it cannot be removed. Really, too bad as it is the most ergonomic of all the Lee designs.
    Antique Reloading Tool Collector, Historian and Writer
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  18. #18
    Boolit Master

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    I had one of those red plastic Mequon tools with the cast-in metal shell holder. The thumb lever finally broke after priming a thousand or so .45-70s. I think it was originally for a .348, but it worked for .45-70 as well.

    I busted up the remainder of the plastic housing to get the shell holder out. It has a flange on the bottom like a snap-in shell holder, but the proportions are wrong for popping into a standard press ram.

    I wound up doing something to it (can’t remember what at this remove) to make it fit on the bottom of a Charles Newton reloading tool. Made a priming stake to fit and planned to continue its use as a priming tool. Unfortunately, it’s always at the bottom of my pile of “collectibles” when I need it, so I usually wind up priming with other, more compact tools that are more convenient to the reloading bench.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    BR, thanks for that... you’ve saved me the need to destroy one of my red plastic tools only to be disappointed! At last count, I have these tools for 32-40, 38 Special and an unknown example that may be for the PPC series of bench rest cartridges.

    If I get really ambitious in the machine shop, I’d like to make a brass version of the old Gen 1 Lee tool since I’ve put in the effort to collect a pile of shell holders. I’ve got what should be a lifetime supply of the originals, but brass would take more abuse and certainly look more cool!

    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    The old style screw in type priming tool has taken on a cult status among some of those fortunate to have used them way back when.
    Several years ago I had a dead one (threads stripped) with a good lever that I swapped to a member of Boolits for a shell holder for the .25-20. So I got a needed shell holder and the guy who got the handle got to keep an old tool in use.
    EDG

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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