Lee Auto Prime
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- Last updated: 01/11/2022
The Lee Precision Auto- Prime hand-held priming tool has been around for a long time in a number of versions, evolving considerably over the years, and they have all been effective tools. So, what does the latest offering, the ‘New Model’, have that previous versions lacked?
The most obvious change is the large, softtouch plastic grip, which is ergonomically shaped to give a comfortable grip. There are deep finger grooves on the front of the grip and they effectively prevent your hand from slipping, no matter how much pressure you apply to the priming operation. Out of all the versions of this tool, this is definitely the most comfortable, particularly if you are priming a lot of cases, and the feel as a primer is seated is first class.
Supplied with a folding primer flipper/feeder tray and inserts for both large and small primers, the tool worked well with all makes, and both sizes, of primers. Loading the tray and shaking it to turn all of the primers over correctly takes just a few seconds.
You then lock the tray, fit it into the appropriately sized adaptor and move the latch on the tray to the on position to release primers into the tool.
This Auto Prime uses Lee’s standard hand-prime shell holders, which are quick and easy to swap over and relatively cheap to buy, so no need to go and purchase a whole new set. It is also supplied with a decent-quality plastic storage box, which very cleverly has built-in storage for up to 18 shell holders, so you can keep everything together in one box.
Safety is a concern when seating primers and Lee Precision has always included warnings with their priming tools regarding the dangers of using particular brands of primers in their equipment. In order to separate the priming operation from the primers in the feeder tray, and avoid the chances of a mass detonation, this Auto Prime uses a very clever ’elevator’ mechanism to lift a single primer and present it to the seating tool. This makes the Auto Prime one of the safest hand-held priming tools available.
Although the tool has basically the same mechanism as the previous version, it does provide a much better and more comfortable grip, which gives an improved feel for the primer seating. You can apply a consistent amount of pressure, to ensure all of your primers seat exactly the same, and prime a lot of cases really quickly. Even when used with harder primers, which are often more difficult to seat, you can still press them home easily and feel them bottom out in the primer pocket.
Is it worth upgrading your hand-held priming tool to this new version? Yes, at this price it certainly is.