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Hornady Handheld Priming Tool

Hornady Handheld Priming Tool

For many years now I have always used some form of hand priming unit, as opposed to doing the job on-press. I find it offers far more finesse and feel to the job, plus it allows you to re-prime anywhere. In the UK Lee’s Auto Prime is perhaps best known, which is what I use, so I thought I would see what Hornady’s Handheld Priming Tool had to offer. As we shall see there are a few differences.

Double Ender

The tool consists of a tubular aluminium body, with integral leverage system, case holder and primer tray. It is large and comfortable and allows all four fingers onto the lever for maximum control. Hornady do it all with one green tray that has integral feeds for both small and large primers set 180° apart. So I was a bit confused when I saw a second (black) one in the kit. Reading the instructions shows that this is for the older RCBS shell holders that have a slightly smaller diameter than the current ones.

Typically I never read this first and found that I managed to jam up the feed system by using the black tray with a current holder; don’t you do the same. But it took seconds to sort out. The Handheld uses standard shell holders so you don’t need to buy a separate set as you do with the Lee.

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Which Is Which?

The kit comes with two, primer seating punches (small & large) and a spring that slips over either. To set up; fit the punch (short end down) into the top of the ram then drop the spring over. Slide the tray down from the top of the handle, ensuring that the feed hole matches the punch diameter; this is done by eye as Hornady do not mark the two ends to indicate which is which… Now push the tray down far enough so you can insert the shell holder and that’s that. Correctly assembled the tray should be facing you with the operating lever away.

The inside of the trays are ridged so you can pour in the primers and shake them anvil-up. There’s also a clear, removable top cover to check capacity. In use the larger build is comfortable in the hand and the big lever is easily squeezed by all four fingers, making it comfortable and efficient in use.

Feed is smooth and easy and you get an instant feel of what is going on. Also, as even the same size but different make primer pockets can fluctuate in dimensions minutely, there is enough leverage to ensure full seating even on a hard one.

Overall a good design that offers easy and consistent hand priming and in my opinion well worth including in your loading kit if you want maximum consistency. My only niggles are the lack of identification of the large and small ends of the tray and the fact the instructions don’t tell you that it’s the black one is for the old RCBS sizes, as you have to find that out for yourself.

PRICE: £43.40
CONTACT: Edgar Brothers Ltd, 01625613177