RELOADERS CORNER: The Priming Process

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Priming is the final case preparation step, and it’s one of the most important. Read how to do it right.

Glen Zediker

There are pretty much three different style tools used to seat primers.

The first, and way on most common, is the priming “arm” attached to most every single-stage press. This works, but it’s the least best way to do it. There’s too much leverage at hand, and that makes it hard to feel the seating process to its best conclusion.

Take a close look at how a primer is constructed: there’s a cylindrical cup, inside the cup is the incendiary compound, and then there’s the anvil (that’s the little part that extends below the cup rim; it’s like a flat spring with three feet).

rifle primer close up
Take a close look at a primer. The anvil is the tripod-shaped thin metal piece protruding above the bottom of the primer cup. Getting the primer sitting fully flush on the bottom of the primer pocket in the case, without crunching it too much, requires some keen feel for the progress of primer seating, and that’s where the stand-alone tools come in to help. I strongly suggest using one.

Ideally, a primer will seat flush against the bottom of the primer pocket, with compression, equally of course, against the anvil. Also ideally, there should be some resistance in seating the primer (if there’s not then the pocket has expanded an amount to cause concern, and a rethink on the suitability of reusing this case, and its brothers and sisters).

If it has to be a choice, even though it doesn’t have to be, it’s better to have “too much” seating than not enough. The primer cannot (cannot) be left too “high.” That’s with reference to the plane of the case head. There are both safety and performance concerns if it is. First, if the primer is not seated snugly to the bottom of its pocket, then the firing pin will finish the job. No doubt, there will be variations in bullet velocities if this happens because it affects ignition timing.

Each and every loaded round you ever create needs to be checked for this. Every one. Get in the habit of running your finger across the case bottom and feeling a little dip-down where the primer is. Look also. Rounds loaded on a progressive machine are susceptible to high primers. The reason is no fault of the machine but rather because the feel or feedback is that much less sensitive than even when using a press-mounted priming arm. If there are a half-dozen other stations on a tool head in operation at once, then the one doing the priming is that much more obscured from feel. And also because we’re not usually able or willing to inspect each finished round as it emerges from the rotating shell plate. But do check afterwards as you’re filing the loaded rounds away into cartridge boxes. Much more to be said ahead on this topic next edition.

correctly seated primer
Check each and every (every last one always) primer you seat to make sure it’s below flush with the case head.

The better priming tools have less leverage. That is so we can feel the progress of that relatively very small span of depth between start and finish. There is also a balance between precision and speed in tool choices, as there so often is. Also, so often, my recommendation is one that hits the best balance.

The press-mounted primer arm styles exhibit variations from maker to maker, but they’re all about the same in function. What matters most in using a press seater is going slowly and double-checking each and every result. Again, it’s the lack of feel for the progression of the primer going into the pocket that’s the issue.

press priming arm
Here’s the most common means for seating primers: the attached arm assembly on most single-stage presses. It’s tough to really feel the primer seat correctly because there’s a honking lot of leverage at work.

The best way to seat primers, or I should say the means that gives the best results, are the “hand” tools. They are also a little (okay, a lot) tedious to use, and, for me at least, aren’t kind to my increasingly ailing joints after priming a large number of cases. Those types that have a reservoir/feeding apparatus are less tedious, but still literally a pain. The reason these type tools give the best results is that they have poor leverage. The first few times you seat with one, you’ll be amazed at just how much pressure you need to apply to fully seat a primer.

LEE hand priming tool
Here’s a “hand” tool. This one from LEE works plenty well, despite its low cost. There are others similar from most major makers. The whole point to these designs is absence of leverage. Check it out HERE at Midsouthl

The best choice, in my book, are the benchtop stand-alone priming stations. They are faster than hand tools, and can be had with more or less leverage engineered into them. I like the one shown nearby the best because its feeding is reliable and its feel is more than good enough to do a “perfect” primer seat. It’s the best balance I’ve found between speed and precision.

Forster Co-Ax priming tool
Here’s a Forster Co-Ax bench-mounted tool. It’s a favorite. It provides relatively low leverage for better feel for the progression of primer seating.

Forster Co-Ax priming tool

Get a good primer “flip” tray for use in filling the feeding magazine tubes associated with some systems. Make double-damn sure each primer is fed right side up (or down, depending on your perspective). A common cause of unintentional detonation is attempting to overfill a stuffed feeding tube magazine, so count and watch your progress.

RCBS APS
Another good one is available from RCBS, the APS. Check it out HERE at Midsouth.

It’s okay to touch primers, by the way. Rumors abound that touching them with bare fingers will “contaminate” the compound and create misfires. Not true. All the primers I’ve ever used, and all those anyone else is likely to encounter, are treated to a sealant. Now, a drop of oil can penetrate the compound and render it intert, but not a fingerprint.

The priming process, step-by-step is almost too simple to diagram. Place a primer anvil-side-up in the device housing apparatus, position a case, push the primer in place. It’s learning feel of the whole thing that takes some effort. As mentioned, using a tool with poor leverage, you might be surprised how much effort it takes to fully seat a primer. On anything with an overage of leverage, there’s little to no sensation of primer movement into the pocket. It just stops.

TWO DONT’S:
Don’t attempt to seat a high primer more deeply on a finished round. The pressure needed to overcome the inertia to re-initiate movement may be enough to detonate it.

Don’t punch out a live primer! That can result in an impressive fright. To kill a primer, squirt or spray a little light oil into its open end. That renders the compound inert.

ONE (BIG) DO:
Keep the priming tool cup clean. That’s the little piece that the primer sits down into. Any little shard of brass can become a firing pin! It’s happened!

See what’s available here at Midsouth HERE

The information in this article is from Glen’s newest book, Top-Grade Ammo, available HERE at Midsouth. Also check HERE for more information about this and other publications from Zediker Publishing.

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48 thoughts on “RELOADERS CORNER: The Priming Process”

  1. When I seat primers on the 50 BMG, I like it just a tad below flush and I confirm that by using an industrial single edge razor blade across the headstamp. If I see daylight between the bottom of the razor edge and the top of the seated primer, good to go. Doing this since 2010.
    For the military crimps, I gently move the metal away and I do not cut the pocket. Sometimes I may have to re-swage the pocket just a tad more but this is better than having a loose pocket and the primers falling out after ignition.
    Whatever plan you develop that works for you is good as different calibers all have their unique quirks in the primer area.
    My 2¢

    1. 100% with Rooftop Voter
      I am dismayed at some handloaders who think whittling away brass off the case head using Primer Pocket Uniformers, and Crimp Ring reamers is not sinful. Try as I might, I cannot convince them that they are removing material from one of the most highly stressed areas of the case..the unsupported radial section around the primer pocket (particularly for “rimless” cases such as 5.56 x 45).

        1. PMC loaded ammo has very tight primer pockets. I find that I almost always have to swage a PMC case that I am prepping for reloading if it was factory loaded ammunition. If I do not, the primers either will not fit into the pocket OR it takes so much pressure trying to seat them that you risk setting them off. That actually happened to me and it will NEVER happen again.

        2. Poongsan Metal Corporation is based in South Korea and they later changed their moniker to Precision Metal Cartridge as Poongsan was too hard to pronounce by most Westerners.
          PMC brass was the first I reloaded in the 50. I had saved all the brass from my Bud’s Guns purchases and I found it to be excellent brass as they control everything over in SoKo in-house. They meet NATO specs and the SAAMI requirements and I never had any problems seating primers.

      1. A French Canadian machinist told me years ago to sneak up on the finished dimension a little at a time rather than go charging right up to it in one pass. At that time, he was referring to Bridgeport milling machines and lathe operations but it still holds true for swaging primer pockets. One setting does not fit all with milsurp OFB and I like to get the best fit on each case that I swage so I float my way to the right dimension and after all these years, it is pretty much a ‘by feel’ operation. Once in awhile I fall short but I would rather re-swage a few tight ones than have an entire run of loose ones in loaded rounds. I usually toss a case after 5 trimmings based on the growing brass I trim. For the price I buy 50 BMG brass, not worth having one come apart during the ejection cycle and I get sprayed with burning powder. Yep, gently moving the parent metal vs cutting it out in the primer pocket is the way to go.

      2. So are you suggesting that it’s better to have inconsistent primer pocket depths? They were created by “whittling” or punching (which displaces rather than removes metal) but in an inconsistent manner. The better brass appears to my eyes to have machining marks so it has already been “whittled.” Crimp rings MUST be removed either by cutting or swaging. Cutting whether for primer pocket uniforming or crimp removal removes a very tiny amount of brass. If you don’t believe that then weigh the brass before and after. If that tiny amount of brass is making a difference in the yield point of the brass the pressure is excessive.

      3. You seem to be confused as to what a “Primer Pocket Uniformer” does. They only make the depth to the bottom of a primer pocket the same on all primer pockets. Which means the same depth & absolutely flat. This allows all primers to be seated exactly the same. I’ve never had to remove more than .002 of an inch. To give you some perspective….. .002″ is 1/2 the thickness of copy paper. It’s also common practice to ream the flash hole to the same diameter for bench ret shooting also. A primer pocket uniformer removes nothing from the head of a case.

      4. Tell me this, how do YOU get a new primer into a pocket that has been crimped? I have destroyed many primers trying to do just that! You absolutely have to reshape it to get a new primer back into a pocket that has been crimped

        1. Use the swager nib to barely bump back the burr that gets raked upward out of the pocket when you decap the fired primer cup.

          Does it require some experimentation and setup? Well yes. That is what reloaders do. Realize that the cup (in rimless mil brass, with the crimp ring) passes through crimp ring twice: once when initially fired and it goes backward into the bolt face, then is overtaken and engulfed by the case head coming back into the bolt face, and once when you decap it. So at that stage there will be a burr wiped up out of the pocket. If you do not round off the burr, it will hang the cup rim of the new primer as you try to insert it (sometimes or often). Experimentation is required to set the nib of the swager and its stroke into the pocket so it reforms the entrance to the pocket, but does not reshape or malform the pocket entrance.

          Usually this needs to be done once at setup with a particular year of LC brass, or PMC or WWB or even better a particular lot. Of course, the backup rod or support rod that rides the inside of the case head has to be adjusted at setup also.

          1. Why mess around with crimped primer pockets? All of the ones I end up with go into the bucket for recycling (for ca$h, of course).

      5. PMC isn’t the only one IMI also has tight pockets. When you look at the metric pocket dimensions vs. those in the current (2015) SAAMI standards, their minimum comes in about 3 tenths of a thousandth smaller. I wind up using my Dillon primer pocket swager on them even when they are merely new and never loaded.

        Removing brass from the perimeter of the primer pocket is only a concern with extreme maximum loads. Watch that you are not getting mushrooming of the primer, where the head next to the pocket mouth is wider than the sides of the primer deeper down. You can see this in removed primers. If you are worried about removing too much with the crimp, the swaging tools can be adjusted so that only the cylindrical portion enters the pocket, as a primer would, and you don’t have to upset the mouth of the pocket outward at all.

    2. In reply to Guy Smith …….. I too have removed many primers from rifle and pistol cases. My case removal was mostly all some “batch mistakes” I may have made, and after pulling the bullets I removed my primers ………. and as someone else said, SLOWLY. I did pour water into the cases. I did not know if this helped or not but as Mr. Smith said, “oil will be hard to remove and contaminate smokeless powder”.

  2. I do not load hundreds of rounds for my .22-250 so speed is not a priority for me. I have used the Lee hand primer and still do for my 9 mm and .38 Special loads, but my favorite way to seat each primer just as in the photo is with the slow but very precise Forster Co-Ax press’ primer seater. Their press design of the primer seater is unique because you cannot seat the primer too deep, (crush it somewhat), because the design of the cup and it’s holder “hits a stop” and cannot go deeper, leaving every round about .005 below the head of the case.
    Yes it is slow, but for my needs I do not worry about speed.
    I am 76 and do not hunt anymore, (bad knees).
    I enjoy shooting from the bench @ 100 yd. only, and shoot about 50 rounds per session in competition with “myself”, in trying to shoot ragged “1-hole” groups. I do not get those all the time, but have done so many times over these last 5 years.

    NOTE: Sometimes I wonder if I should have spent the money I did for my Forster press. My inexpensive Lee presses did a good job for years. This Forster press is better and it should be for the cost! 😉

    1. Do yourself a favor and find an ORIGINAL Hornady hand priming tool. Nothing better, IMHO. The ‘new and improved’ version is junk.

  3. Just as “”Roof Top” mentioned, I’m 76 also & shoot 100 yard Bench Rest also, with my 17.5 pound Savage LRPV BR chambered for the 22-250. It has a 3 inch Beaver-Tail laminated stock & a Shilen Select Match SS Bull Barrel with a tight-necked chamber. My goals are to always to shoot .25 inch or less which doesn’t happen as often as I’d like. I also shoot my CZP 0-7 9mm if I’m up to it.
    A couple of months ago I purchased a new priming tool sold by Frankford Arsenal. It’s a heavy duty tool & it’s adjustable in .001 inch increments & the price is great. The only thing missing is a plus & minus to indicate which way to adjust it for deeper or shallower seating. To date I’ve never seen any rating for this tool that’s less then 5 stars.
    I worked in the machine tool trade as a machinist, toolmaker, model maker & die maker. I know a good tool when i see it. I paid about $65.00 plus shipping for this tool. Had I known how good it is beforehand, I would have been willing to pay more.

    1. +Spencer: I bought the same tool recently and while it’s good it’s not perfect, I would not give it 5 stars for following reasons. I am going to compare it to RCBS one that I’ve used for couple years. 1. It’s not as ergonomical, it’s larger and heavier than it really needs to be, RCBS is perfect, it has this curve that’s more natural and fits better in my hands, plus I can use 2nd hand finger to help with the process, it gets tiring after seating 500 primers. 2. The tray is not as good at flipping primers, there are always several that I need to flip by hand and sometimes the primers flip during priming process, I am not sure how it happens, I make sure they all seated but when inspecting cases later I found several cases that had upside down primer installed, not a lot, maybe like 5 per 500 but still I never had happen with RCBS. 3. Sometimes 2 primers somehow will end up in the feeding column stacked and you’ll notice the handle will go up but not very far and primer will seat but being pushed by another primer and the process will keep repeating until you clear all the primers, it’s annoying, never had that with RCBS.

      On the plus side, it’s more precise at seating than RCBS, it’s faster since I can let go of the handle and let the case fall out on it’s own in to the box while I am grabbing another empty case and case will never slip out from the shell holder unlike with RCBS that has universal jaws.

      1. You’re right about difficult flipping primers over, but I had the same problem with the Lee Priming Tool. I use a small scribe with a sharp point on it to flip individual primers over. It takes a little practice to flip them consistently. I’m going to drill a couple of small holes in the lid like Lee has done in their’s. One for small primers & one for large primers. Once the lid is on, I’ve never had a problem with the primers going upside down if they were all facing the correct way after the lid was on.
        The adjustable stop was the feature I wanted & since it isn’t made of aluminum, I doubt it’ll never wear out in my lifetime.
        I need to mark it with a + and – sign so I won’t forget which way I need to adjust it when needed.

  4. I find that Forster primer seater to be a bit dangerous as the primer tube is pointing straight up at your face while seating . Mount it on a taller than normal bench and not a low one you hover over .

  5. The writer of this has a few facts dead wrong!
    Oil will not immediately kill a primer. Actual testing done by Geoff Beneze has proven this over and again. In fact it’s quite difficult to kill a primer quickly.

    De-priming a live primer is quite safe … so long as it is done slowly. It’s not pressure that fires a primer, it is shock….quite a significant shock. One can’t move a depriming too nearly fast enough to generate such shock.

    HERE’S a good one he got right:
    Primers seated high will give poor results. Esp with revolvers with trigger jobs. Hammer just doesn’t carry enough energy to seat then ignite a high primer. Some hand-held tools can wear down gradually resulting in high primers over time.

    The older Lee hand-held priming tool was just about perfect, except for the wear-out factor of the link that sets seating depth. Too bad about the Auto-Prime. Great idea with poor execution of the primer feeding.

    1. I would not want to be the final arbiter of something so dangerous. One person died and three injured last April at the primer compound mixing room of the Lake City Plant. I agree that oil against a primer, some which may have a waterproof shield is risky business. I think this comes from the fact that lead styphnate is hard to ignite while it is wet from the mixing process.

      One way I explain this to my class is use a Zippo Classic Lighter, pass it around let them try it. You have to strike the wheel and flint hard and fast, emitting a shower of sparks to light it. Roll the wheel slow, nothing happens. Shearing the crystalline planes of the Lead Styphnate compound in the primer to get sufficient voltage and spark to ignite requires a certain amount of velocity.

    2. I have deprimed live 50 BMG primers from old WWII cases that I was reworking. Yeah, I wore ear protection and placed a rag over the open case but none ever ignited on me and I must have done 100 of them.

    3. I agree about depriving slowly is safe. I have used my press mounted Lee decapping die (slowly) for nearly 20 years without a single ignition. I have even done this with Berdan primers using a tool I made based on a Youtube video. The key is going slowly. And always wear safety glasses or a face shield to be doubly safe.

    4. I agree that depriming slowly is safe. I have used my press mounted Lee decapping die (slowly) for nearly 20 years without a single ignition. I have even done this with Berdan primers using a tool I made based on a Youtube video. The key is going slowly. And always wear safety glasses or a face shield to be doubly safe.

    5. The older (original) Hornady hand held priming tool WAS perfect. Of course, Hornady had to ruin it with the ‘new and improved’ version.

  6. Jim Irwin made a couple of good points a;though he didn’t mention that high primers have been known to cause slam fires in auto loading weapons. I have probably punched out a thousand live primers from rifle and handgun cases, using both my Rock Chucker and my Lee handheld press without a mishap although I make it a point to do it gently and keep the mouth of the case pointed away from me.

    Oil may, or may not render primers inert, but it is very bad for smokeless powder, and I suspect dangerous with nitrate based powders (for example fertilizer bombs) and rather difficult to remove from inside bottle neck cases. I therefore think it would be very a bad idea.

  7. I’m getting my first press soon. I talked to quite a few loaders. Most say the Dillon Press or Forster is the best way to go. I know the Forster has what seems to be great priming and primer removal system to residue away from the loading area. But some say they’re worthless and hand priming is the way to go.
    I have nothing against Lee, Lyman, RCBS, Redding or Hornady Presses. Just the best long-term maintenance friendly ergonomic set-up for a +7 cal. use system.

    ????

      1. Thanks RV! The RCBS was the #1 press used by everyone but admired the other two for certain aspects if price wasn’t a concern to me especially with the Forster.

        So the list looks like this:
        RCBS
        Dillon
        Forster

        On unloading live primers. Makes me think about Bugs Bunny working in the bomb plant hitting them with a hammer looking for the duds. : 0

        Be safe shooters’!

    1. To the best of my knowledge, Dillon makes only progressive presses. I strongly recommend starting with a single stage press. I have reloaded thousands of cartridges (.30-30, .30-30 Ackley, .30-40, .30-06, .303 British, 7.62x54R, .38 Spl,
      .40 S&W, .44 Spl, 44 Mag, and 45 ACP. I do not shoot any single caliber enough to justify a progressive press, and I like to weigh each charge which is not practical using a progressive press. Progressive presses also require too much setup time for small batches or test loads to find the best load for a particular firearm. I also like to deprime and clean the primer pocket before tumbling. I prime the cases with a Lee hand primer while watching TV and usually size handgun cases using the handheld press in front of the TV.

      Start with a RCBS Rock Chucker or similar single stage press. You will find it invaluable even if you eventually get a progressive press.

      1. Thanks GS! Fellas the info is excellent and much appreciated.

        Hey let’s pray for the church goers in TX. I wish a member had a defensive firearm to minimized the casualties. Rats in the cornfields. They’re liberal communists and Radical Islam.

      2. If you use a fine corn cob media (20/40) for tumbling you don’t need to mess around with cleaning primer pockets that you have deprimed.

    2. I would like to add that I am a Forster press owner. It is a great press but “pricey”!
      I would refer to Guy Smith’s reply to you about that Dillon progressive press not being a good choice for someone just starting out. You can’t go wrong with RCBS.

      That said, before my Forster Co-Ax press , over my 50 years of reloading I have used the single stage Lee Presses. I was in and out of shooting over those 50 years and owned 3 Lee presses. (Yeah .. I stupidly sold ALL of them but it was not because they were junk). I shot many dime size or LESS with my 22-250 using ALL Lee items. Several targets I have saved were targets with 3 to 5 shots ….. with one ragged hole. I weigh all my powder charges.
      Good Luck with whatever your choice may be.
      Indy Bob

      1. Thanks RFR! “We responsible” gun guys must think alike because I was viewing those particular two makers last evening. That is Lee and RCBS. The ‘C’ style of the Lee single appealed to me and “the no finger pinching during pressing”. It’s between the Lee with RCBS as first choice. Knowing I’ll want a second press in future will help me decide to go to a progressive style later or stick with another of the same or move up to a Forster. Pricey Yes!
        My Black Friday decisions have been narrowed to two!

      2. Actually, a Dillon progressive press is fine for a newbie. They not only provide excellent written instructions but also have simple to follow instructional videos available. Kind of like claiming you should start out driving a 4 cylinder car instead of a V-8. And you are aware RCBS single stage presses are now made in China?

        1. Some people do not shoot a high volume of rounds and an expensive Dillon, or any progressive press is not needed. If you have the means to purchase as a newbie that’s fine.

          No …. I did not know RCBS was now made in China. Being informed of this gives me even more reason to continue to support our President and his resolve to reverse the trade deficits with China, AND other countries.

          1. Clark,
            I disagree. A progressive press offers far too many chances for disastrous mistakes for a beginner. Even for someone who shoots only a single caliber, the setup of a progressive press is much too complicated for a beginner. If he shoots several calibers, dangerous mistakes would be almost inevitable.
            I would not advise any inexperienced re-loader to start with a progressive press.

        2. Thanks CK! I kinda get where you and the point others are making. My first car was a ’73 Chevy, 400blk, 4bbl. with dual exhaust and ole leaded gas. The learning curve was easy, quick and powerful. But I’m glad to know the about the ergonomics and the Made in China part. I’m not too concerned with possible quality problems. I just don’t want my hard earned American money going to Maoists/Marxists.
          I’ve ordered my bench choice from U-Line and will look deeper into Lee’s turret style press. Plus my learning curve is quicker than most. The Forster is still on table but for later.
          Press
          Bench
          Precision Scale
          Priming Tool
          Precision Calipers
          Trimmer& Chamfering Tool
          Brass Cleaner
          Reloaders Book(s) I realize most makers have kits for most that but it seems some makes make better specialized tools in areas where others are under par.
          Bill at Custom Cartridge advised me more than a decade ago to get into loading my own ammo because we seem to buy more guns over the years don’t we.; ) It’s not mentioned here but we had a long conversation about back then about the dangers of loading lead-free primers.
          Anything else?… Please Chime in. I’ll wait for an article on the best powders.

  8. MSS: You must refer back to better primer pocket prep and ignition efficiency by conical chamfering the inner cartridge hole prior to priming process.

  9. First time I used Co-Ax press to seat the primer, I literally destroyed 2 cases, it mangled the rim horribly, I’ve never had any priming device do that ever, I just wanted to see how it works but I gave up and went to my trusty hand priming tool.

    1. I also did the same thing. I discovered I had the incorrect “holding tab” for the rim on the case head. The case I destroyed was caused by using the “deeper cut-out” on the tab, for the thickness on the rim of the case I was using. As a result, …. the case was not “held down” and was allowed to tilt enough when pressure was applied with primer going in……. it slipped past the hold-down-tabs and bent the case head rim.
      Like I mentioned…… each of the 3 tabs has a deeper-relief cut on 1 end of the tabs, and the other end of each tab has a more shallow-relief-cut for the thinner rimmed cases. They are indexed to show the correct end, but I put my own “dot” of white paint on the shallow end. (I use it the most.).

      I will have to admit, this primmer system set up is a PIA!! That being said, if you are in no hurry, it is very accurate in seating depth. I use my Lee hand primer to do my 9 mm and 38’s. I am retired, so I have time to be “picky” and overdo a lot of case prep for my 22-250. (I only load the 3 mentioned and do not shoot as much as many of you guys posting).

      This Forster Co-Ax is a well made press. I DO like it. It has given me some awesome groups. That said, ….. my inexpensive Lee Presses and dies did too.
      Is the Forster worth 2 times the cost of most presses? Probably not, but I took the plunge and it is what it is.

    2. Note: I apologize if this appears twice. (please don,t ask) 🙂

      I also did the same thing. I discovered I had the incorrect “holding tab” for the rim on the case head. The case I destroyed was caused by using the “deeper cut-out” on the tab, for the thickness on the rim of the case I was using. As a result, …. the case was not “held down” and was allowed to tilt enough when pressure was applied with primer going in……. it slipped past the hold-down-tabs and bent the case head rim.
      Like I mentioned…… each of the 3 tabs has a deeper-relief cut on 1 end of the tabs, and the other end of each tab has a more shallow-relief-cut for the thinner rimmed cases. They are indexed to show the correct end, but I put my own “dot” of white paint on the shallow end. (I use it the most.).

      I will have to admit, this primmer system set up is a PIA!! That being said, if you are in no hurry, it is very accurate in seating depth. I use my Lee hand primer to do my 9 mm and 38’s. I am retired, so I have time to be “picky” and overdo a lot of case prep for my 22-250. (I only load the 3 mentioned and do not shoot as much as many of you guys posting).

      This Forster Co-Ax is a well made press. I DO like it. It has given me some awesome groups. That said, ….. my inexpensive Lee Presses and dies did too.
      Is the Forster worth 2 times the cost of most presses? Probably not, but I took the plunge and it is what it is.

  10. I find that Lee Precision Classic Turret Press is like single stage but with big advantage of mounting all your dies on the cheap 4 hole plate ($12) and not having to re-setup again. Swapping calibers takes 5 seconds. How many of you like setting up dies each time??? I don’t care if you got all time in the world it just plain not fun. It’s very solid press and I believe it’s cheaper than Rock Chucker. I went from single stage to turret and than to Hornady progressive, but if I had to start over I would start with turret press right away, it’s pretty much same as single stage so the learning curve is same. I made very accurate ammo with it. It also has adjustable handle, you can make it short for quick manipulation or long for more leverage.

  11. A word of caution. We had a fellow do some tests submerging primers in various things from water to WD-40 to kerosene and several other items. He never found any of them would consistently kill all primers. Even after two weeks submersion, many would still fire. So if you decap a live primer, do it on a press that doesn’t have powder close to it, doesn’t have other live primers near it, and always wear ear and eye protection and some gloves can’t hurt, just in case. A friend of mine puts the brass in the press and throws a scrap of mover’s blanket over it, too. Run the ram up slowly. Usually, it doesn’t go off, but not always.

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