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Hand priming versus Press priming
Discussion regarding the reloading of ammunition and tuning of loads for accuracy
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jeh7mmmag
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 3:03 pm    Post subject: Hand priming versus Press priming Reply with quote

Hope my first new post is not so ecentric. Just love that cordite smell in the morin! Very Happy

Hand priming versus Press priming
I know we all love the hand primer or the concept because of convience. I have been using one for years but I continually question quality of the job I am doing with a hand primer. The reasons are:

1. I load several different calibers mostly rifle. Some times I find my primers may be low or high using hand primer depending on shell holder I have used. I have several shell holders of the same number and brand. I try different shell holders of correct number and find that one will give me the correct primer height. Preferably flush to –0.002in max. Result is- I always have to match my shell holders to the seating depth of primer. (One shell holder may cause the primer to be high or the next may be low). These shell holders are the same brand as the priming tool. (I have 2 or 3 different shell holder for each caliber and I have to dedicate and mark the best shell holder to hand priming to alleviate high /low primer) The brand or lot of brass does not affect this situation so it is not brass problem. So unless I use a certain selected shell holder of (correct number) I get a high or low primer. I always seat by going to bottom or end of stroke. But I should not have to match shell holder to tool. Does any one else experience this problem with hand primers and shell holders? I know this height variation is cause by shell holders. I know there is a new hand primer out with a universal holder but I wonder about the height I will find on it?

2. With the hand primer tool the mechanical leverage or ratio at the end of stroke is very high and you are not able to correctly feel the pressure you are applying to finish seating primer. So you end up with a primer seated to the end of stroke of hand tool but it may not be seated to bottom of primer pocket. Or if pocket is not deep enough primer with be seated flush but will be imprinted and deformed.

3. With the press priming you can feel the pressure you are putting on primer and can feel & control it because the mechanical ratio is not that high at mid stroke on most press. So you are able to seat a primer to bottom of the primer pocket and feel it. If primer is high or low then you reject this case. If it is high you can deprime and clean up primer pocket with uniforming tool or try to correct problem and reprime. If low or loose you have to dispose of case. The pressure or feel with press priming is something that is hard to do with hand priming tool.

4. I just don’t want to have to have a bunch of extra shell holder around that I have to use as a selective fit. And I have questions about the universal primer that is available. I had 1 misfire 2 year ago and I would blam it on a slightly low primer but cant ever be sure of cause. And yes the 6 point walked away while I was waiting to rechamber #2!!
James

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Bushmaster
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 6:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Hand priming versus Press priming Reply with quote

And a great welcome to the site. grab a beer. Sit a while. And relax...

Low primers is NOT your problem. The primer must be seated all the way down to the bottom of the pocket. If not...It might take two hammer stricks to get them to go off. The first blow to seat the primer and the second one to get it to go off.

I have not ran across any pockets that were not deep enough to seat the primer below the case head. Unless the pocket was not cleaned of the carbon deposits. I have so many primers that show the primer seating rod marks it isn't funny and they have not failed to go off. Believe it or not. Primers can take one hellof a beating and survive. They can and will go off during the seating process, although I have never in 20 years had one go off while seating it. Primers have been known to survive (and quit well I might add) water, oils, WD-40 and a marraid of other human concoctions and still set off the powder charge. They are pretty stout little buggers...

I always clean all primer pockets whether rifle or handgun. Just how deep are your primer pockets anway? You haven't reamed them out too far have you? Something else I never do...

I would venture to say your missfires were not caused by a too low seated primer.

And finally...I use a single stage Lee press to do all my primer seating and the Lee primer seating die. I have tried the hand priming tool of a friend of mine to see if I wanted one and have declined to have one. The hand tools would be handy for range loading, but...

Nothing in the above post was ment to be argumentive (though some may think so). Just stating what I have learned in the last 20 years of reloading. I have never had a squib, missfire or any other "feared" problem with my reloads, All have gone down range. Some not soo well, but down range none the less. But I have had problems with some factory loads. .45ACP in particular. If you are having missfires look for the problem with a primer not seated far enough or a weak hammer spring.

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1895ss
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 7:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Hand priming versus Press priming Reply with quote

Bushmaster wrote:
If you are having missfires look for the problem with a primer not seated far enough or a weak hammer spring.

I think Bushy's right about your misfires, you have to seat your primers far enough till they bottom out. I also only prime using my reloading press. I can feel the primers hit bottom every time. I have never used a hand primer and I don't even want one cause I just don't see the advantage at the reloading bench.

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Bushmaster
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 9:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Hand priming versus Press priming Reply with quote

1895ss...Don't some primers have to be seated to the bottom so they will arm? Seems I read that somewhere. (CRS)

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sniper
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 9:45 pm    Post subject: Re: Hand priming versus Press priming Reply with quote

Don't want to start anything, but my experience has been totally with hand priming tools. I have never experienced a misfire, and my ammuntion has always been consistent and reliable. The only thing I worry about is if the primers are not seated below the case head.

That could be bad!

Bushy is correct when he recalls that the legs of the primer anvil need to touch the bottom of the pocket, to provide resistance for the firing pin strike. At at one time, gun gurus' advice was that the seating should compress the primer's "pellet" just so. HOW you did that was something that had to be learned, by loading a lot of ammunition, I guess. As it happened, my tactile ability could not be tuned that fine.

Sooo, because the Lee hand priming tool was the cheapest around, and it co$t grundle$ less than the press mounted tools, I have always used them. I have worn out 2 Lee tools, and had to return my first RCBS, because it wouldn't seat primers below the case head. Shocked They replaced it: problem solved. Very Happy

Long story short? Both systems work well, so enjoy! Very Happy
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1895ss
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 11:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Hand priming versus Press priming Reply with quote

Bushmaster wrote:
1895ss...Don't some primers have to be seated to the bottom so they will arm? Seems I read that somewhere. (CRS)

You are correct, but sniper already answered that........... Smile

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bodyalter
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 12:45 am    Post subject: Re: Hand priming versus Press priming Reply with quote

my .02 worth is this, if you have problems with shell holders, toss them. Safety and consistency first my friend. I just replaced one of mine today due to it being worn out and the ram would be all the way depressed before it bottomed out. turns out I had a bad small primer tray as well, there was a burr that was catching my primers....that got tossed with the shell holder. I am lucky enough to have 3 stores locally that offer Lee, rcbs, and Hornady hand priming tools so replaceing was a breeze. but it all gets back to safety and consistency first. If its worth more than .02, just cut me a check for the difference.

Matt

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4rum
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 6:05 am    Post subject: Re: Hand priming versus Press priming Reply with quote

I started with priming with the press... ICK ! not fun. I have used a Lee Auto Prime for years now. I have never had a primer go off in the tool nor has a round ever failed to fire.

For me, the whole reloading process is an exercise in consistancy. The priming tool is no different. I PRACTISE being consistant with it, just as I practised the stroke on an old Bair powder measurer.

Again, for me, two things I would be reluctant to give up are my Lee Autoprime and Imperial Sizing die wax.
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shrpshtrjoe
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 6:37 am    Post subject: Re: Hand priming versus Press priming Reply with quote

Howdy. I have both. I seem to use the Lee hand primer the most. I have not had problems with either though, both have done a fine job.
Joe

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1895ss
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 10:05 am    Post subject: Re: Hand priming versus Press priming Reply with quote

Bushy sent me this pic to post for him on this thread. Hope this is where you wanted it Bushy ....... Smile
First of all notice how nice and tidy his reloading bench is? Also a very good safety pratice. Smile



Bushy's note: "For those interested this is my Resizing/Decapping/Priming station set up for priming. Consisting of a Lee single stage press, Priming die and a Lee Auto-prime II."



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Last edited by 1895ss on Sun Jan 14, 2007 10:30 am; edited 2 times in total
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DallanC
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 10:28 am    Post subject: Re: Hand priming versus Press priming Reply with quote

I've press primed and I've hand primed. I've never found a difference between the two in regards to firing preformance. With either type of priming I run my thumb over the primer as I go to put it back in the reloading block and make sure its seated below the case head.


-DallanC
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Bushmaster
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 10:36 am    Post subject: Re: Hand priming versus Press priming Reply with quote

Aah...Mr. Dallan has it...Nothing like the "touch"... Very Happy

Thanks 1895ss... Cheers

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 10:43 am    Post subject: Re: Hand priming versus Press priming Reply with quote

DallanC wrote:
I run my thumb over the primer as I go to put it back in the reloading block and make sure its seated below the case head.


-DallanC

I do the same ........... Surprised Smile

You're very welcome Bushy. Cheers Smile

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jeh7mmmag
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 3:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Hand priming versus Press priming Reply with quote

Thanks guys for the warm welcome and numerous replies. Very Happy
Maybe a one in a million bad primer but I sure don’t like not knowing why it happened especially on hunting rounds.

I got to thinking I may still have the one round that misfired 2 years ago since I am a little behind on loading that caliber. I will see if I can find it. Carefully pull bullet, powder, and deprime it. Maybe this will tell me more. I will inspect cup, anvil, pellet, etc. Best I remember the primer was well struck, deep, strike centered, firing pin protrusion is around 0.060in, primer was recessed slightly (maybe –0.003in) and was not imprinted or damaged from hand priming tool. If I can find round and find answer I will post back. I just have a feeling that press priming may be a more reliable thing to me because I can feel the primer bottom out in recess. The feel is almost impossible to get with this hand primer because of mechanical leverage. This is something I noticed when I moved to hand primer. I always run my finger over primer and do a visual after priming.

Bushy- I will check my primer pocket depth. They should not be to deep because if I do uniform them it is with an RCBS primer pocket tool with shoulder on it to keep from cutting to deep and never cut any brass. Or just clean out krud with Hoppe's and Q-tip. Then I will retumble to get Hoppe’s off. I never expose primer or final round to any chemicals. If pocket was to deep, primer could have moved but it would still be there since round never fired.

Quote: Don't some primers have to be seated to the bottom so they will arm? Seems I read that somewhere. (CRS)

I would agree, other wish anvil has nothing to support it.

Thanks to all again and I sure enjoy the forum guys. Got here as soon as I could! Very Happy Some very nice game pictures also.

Also a big thanks to the codemaster (Dallan) on Point Blank. Great program. Great price!!, Straight forward, and easy to use. BIG THUMBS UP GUY! Very Happy

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 9:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Hand priming versus Press priming Reply with quote

I prefer a hand primer. I can feel when they are seated right. I've crushed too many on a press setup.

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