Lee Auto Bench Primer; Issues/smashed primers
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  1. #1
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    Default Lee Auto Bench Primer; Issues/smashed primers

    So I bought the Lee Auto Bench Primer. I used it on 200+ Rem Cartridges (Large Rifle Primers) with zero issues.
    I finally got around to priming my Federal and Hornady Cartridges (Small Rifle Primers). I started with the Federal and things got sticky in a hurry. The first one went it rather forcefully so I Checked the primer pockets and wouldn't you know it, the pocket needed reaming. So did the next. But the next 20 or so were fine. Then a few more that needed reaming. So i figured I had this, "figured" out.

    The next 5 or 6 went in smoothly with just a little tightness right at the beginning then right in.
    The next one had that tightness but never went in smoothly. So as I applied a bit more pressure it went in a bit more and stopped. The primer went in crooked and I had to take the entire bench primer apart just to remove the shell holder from the primer body. The shell was still stuck onto the holder because the primer was jammed halfway into the shell. I used the Lee decapping die to remove the primer.

    So this went on for the next two stuck primers until I took a good look at the Small primer insert. It had a burr on one of the centering lands. Without the case in place, I ran a primer up the insert to watch it cock over just before it got to the top. So I did my best to remove it and started priming. That worked for the next 8 cases or so, but noticed that the case would shift ever so slightly as the primer made contact with the shell.
    Then I proceeded to get the next three primers stuck. Each time having to disassemble the entire primer.
    What was happening was that I took off a bit to much of the original land and the primers were ever so slightly off center.

    Then, I went to Lee to get another Small Rifle Primer insert. They are $5 plus shipping. But when you put it in the basket, it goes to zero. You still have to pay for shipping (I think If I had called, they'd probably have shipped it for free also since the primer is new) Funny thing is that they have no idea that I own one of these, and it was still free.

    Anyhow, great Customer Service. I only wish they made the insert out of metal, not plastic.
    Last edited by nedro; 03-14-2017 at 05:02 PM.

  2. #2
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    I had the Auto Prime and had problems too. Went back to using my handheld primers and never looked back. I have a Lee hand primer that I keep set up for large primers, and a RCBS that I use for small.
    "Stupid is as stupid does"---Forrest Gump

  3. #3
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    Thanks,
    That's good to know.
    I'll give the new piece a chance before ultimately deciding what to do.
    BTW, I'm not smashing them in there like a gorilla. once they cock and then get any movement they stick in there just enough to lock up the mechanism. Then the whole thing needs to be split apart.

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  5. #4
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    Default

    Not sure if you are aware but Federal and many Hornady cases have crimped primers and the primer pockets need to be swaged or reamed (or sometimes both) before the new primer will go in. Federal are the absolute worst in my opinion. I got rid of all my Federal brass because it was such a pain.
    01 FFL, NRA, GOA, NAGR
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    I have the Lee bench tool and absolutely love it. I've primed at least 4000 small primer cases so far and about 1000 large. After that the small primer seating mechanism broke. Went on the Lee Website and you can get the part for free just pay shipping. I ordered two small and an extra large just to have spares for about $6.00 shipping. Then I wrote Lee and suggested a design improvement on the small and they told me they had made one and would send me both a large and small redesigned seating part for free...even after I told them I ordered two small ones already.

    There is a learning curve with these and you absolutely MUST read the directions to prevent jammed or cocked primers. The handle must be pulled up far enough to compress the O ring stop on each stroke or it will miss feed, jam or turn the next primer sideways requiring removing the priming mechanism or careful work with a small pointed object to clear. The instructions are quite clear on that point. It's also simple to disassemble when you screw up. Of course I didn't read the instructions all the way through and had so many malfunctions I almost called Lee and made an idiot out of myself.

    They have also redesigned the primer tray for small primers by removing the little bumps in the feed tray that kept on hanging up the primers making you have to bump the tray every so often to get the primers to feed down. I figured that out on mine right away and had already cut off the bumps. You still have to tap it once in a while but probably 25% less than with the bumps in there. Lee also sent me a redesigned tray without the bumps with the other parts.

    I used to use an RCBS Universal Hand Primer. That also worked great but was hard on my hands and the white plastic small primer insert would crack or break at least once a year so, not much different than the Lee. RCBS also gladly sent me a new one for the last two years, no cost. The Lee provides much better feel, deeper primer seating and greater leverage. The best part is that I can sit there and prime 1000+ cases at a time without suffering sore hands for a week afterward like with the RCBS hand primer. And the Lee seems to be faster.

    Lee has been great in their Customer Service for me. Considering it's such a cheap tool it's surprising that they have sent me so many parts without a second thought. Enough so that they almost equal what I paid for the entire tool.
    Last edited by lapriester; 03-15-2017 at 01:40 AM.

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodstock View Post
    Not sure if you are aware but Federal and many Hornady cases have crimped primers and the primer pockets need to be swaged or reamed (or sometimes both) before the new primer will go in. Federal are the absolute worst in my opinion. I got rid of all my Federal brass because it was such a pain.
    Feds are definitely the worse. I tried swaging by two different methods and finally reamed the crap out of them yet I still run into a hard one at times. Good cases but what a PITA to prep. I still have 250 pull, primed cases to load and shoot and about 150 Gold dots left. I cringe at having to prep those cases once I'm done but once they are I'll have so many I'll be good for a very long time.

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by lapriester View Post
    I have the Lee bench tool and absolutely love it. I've primed at least 4000 small primer cases so far and about 1000 large. After that the small primer seating mechanism broke. Went on the Lee Website and you can get the part for free just pay shipping. I ordered two small and an extra large just to have spares for about $6.00 shipping. Then I wrote Lee and suggested a design improvement on the small and they told me they had made one and would send me both a large and small redesigned seating part for free...even after I told them I ordered two small ones already.

    There is a learning curve with these and you absolutely MUST read the directions to prevent jammed or cocked primers. The handle must be pulled up far enough to compress the O ring stop on each stroke or it will miss feed, jam or turn the next primer sideways requiring removing the priming mechanism or careful work with a small pointed object to clear. The instructions are quite clear on that point. It's also simple to disassemble when you screw up. Of course I didn't read the instructions all the way through and had so many malfunctions I almost called Lee and made an idiot out of myself.

    They have also redesigned the primer tray for small primers by removing the little bumps in the feed tray that kept on hanging up the primers making you have to bump the tray every so often to get the primers to feed down. I figured that out on mine right away and had already cut off the bumps. You still have to tap it once in a while but probably 25% less than with the bumps in there. Lee also sent me a redesigned tray without the bumps with the other parts.

    I used to use an RCBS Universal Hand Primer. That also worked great but was hard on my hands and the white plastic small primer insert would crack or break at least once a year so, not much different than the Lee. RCBS also gladly sent me a new one for the last two years, no cost. The Lee provides much better feel, deeper primer seating and greater leverage. The best part is that I can sit there and prime 1000+ cases at a time without suffering sore hands for a week afterward like with the RCBS hand primer. And the Lee seems to be faster.

    Lee has been great in their Customer Service for me. Considering it's such a cheap tool it's surprising that they have sent me so many parts without a second thought. Enough so that they almost equal what I paid for the entire tool.
    After reading this I'll have to try mine again. Thanks for the info.
    "Stupid is as stupid does"---Forrest Gump

  9. #8
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    lapriester,
    I addressed most of your comments in my opening post. It was long winded, so maybe you skipped through it.
    Bottom line on the small primer insert is that it is off center.
    One of the lands came to me messed up. It looked like the flashing you get when you remove a piece of plastic model off of the molding tree that it comes on. (For those of you younger than 40, we used to build plastic models with real glue. The kind that dipwads sniff today)
    That flashing flipped the primers almost on their side before making contact with the shell.
    Once I discovered that, I tried to just take the flashing off. But of course, it wasn't really flashing, it was a mangled up land that was not caught by QC (If there even is any).
    These two lands are so small, that these old eyes couldn't see them well without a jeweler's glass.
    We'll see how the new one centers under the shell holder.

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by nedro View Post
    lapriester,
    I addressed most of your comments in my opening post. It was long winded, so maybe you skipped through it.
    Bottom line on the small primer insert is that it is off center.
    One of the lands came to me messed up. It looked like the flashing you get when you remove a piece of plastic model off of the molding tree that it comes on. (For those of you younger than 40, we used to build plastic models with real glue. The kind that dipwads sniff today)
    That flashing flipped the primers almost on their side before making contact with the shell.
    Once I discovered that, I tried to just take the flashing off. But of course, it wasn't really flashing, it was a mangled up land that was not caught by QC (If there even is any).
    These two lands are so small, that these old eyes couldn't see them well without a jeweler's glass.
    We'll see how the new one centers under the shell holder.
    That's a problem I haven't ever had on mine. But next time you order any of these from Lee, order more than one. They are free for shipping. I'll bet if you write them about the defect they will send a replacement anyway. They usually answer in a couple days max. That is an expendable part so a spare is handy. On the small primer device the plastic spring on the back is what fails but it took several K for mine to break. That one took a beating at first from me picking out crooked and stuck primers because I failed to follow the instructions. Duh!

  11. #10
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    I ordered late Sunday night and expected delivery on Friday.
    That's pretty good in my book.


 

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