Some help selecting some new reloading gear

Discussion in 'Reloading Forum (All Calibers)' started by Evan, Feb 15, 2019.

  1. Evan

    Evan Gold $$ Contributor

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    Hi all,

    I've been having more and more trouble with hand and wrist pain using my brass prep hand tools:
    - primer pocket wire brush (old rcbs)
    - chamfer tool (old, classic rcbs 45deg "rocket")
    - rcbs manual trimmer (old, with the bar you have to twist to lock on to the rim)
    - rcbs hand primer (round flat primer tray, priming effort on newer brass is quite high and the whole thing is just fiddly)

    These tools have all been reliable partners, but all the twisting and turning is really painful and I can't even load a full 50 rounds all the way through in a single session anymore. I'd like to find more ergonomic solutions that will allow me to comfortably reload without injury. What have folks found to work well for these jobs? I'm certainly not averse to power options and if there are notable upgrades in performance available, I'd jump on those. These tools were my grandpa's and here I am decades later still using them. I'm not concerned about cost; my grandkids may be using them way down the road and I'm sure they'll appreciate a quality tool too!
     
  2. AJC

    AJC

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    You could prime on the press but I have always liked the feel of doing it by hand. It's a solution.
     
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  3. MikeMcCasland

    MikeMcCasland Silver $$ Contributor

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    90% of your problems would be cured by going to a wet tumbling setup, and getting a Giraud trimmer. It'll probably cost you ~$1,000 or so for everything, but it'll fully cure the issues with the hands, and it'll significantly speed up your process.

    The wet tumbler will clean out the pockets assuming you deprime before you toss them in there, and the Giraud will trim as well as chamfer the inside/outside case mouth, all in one step. Takes about 2-3 seconds a case, and actually makes trimming fun. You could also look at one of those "powered case prep" centers that turns the various tools for you for the times the brass hasn't grown enough for the giraud to touch it.

    As far as priming, I'd look into one of the many bench mounted priming systems (the RCBS for example). I don't have any personal experience with them, but it's the only practical alternative to hand priming. I'd probably quit reloading entirely if I had to press prime everything. ;)
     
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  4. Evan

    Evan Gold $$ Contributor

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    I'm not opposed to hand priming if there is a tool with smoother operation and better mechanical advantage than the rcbs tool. I don't know if the 21st century tool is going to be easier than my rcbs, which is my hesitation with that investment. I don't want to have to handle the primers one at a time. Gotta be able to dump them in a tray and flip them with tweezers! Both for my sanity and to keep the hand oils off them.

    I am eyeballing the giraud trimmer. I've got 3 cartridges that I shoot with regularity, so it's kind of pricey but I feel like it is the best solution. Has anyone tried the Tri-way trimmer from Giraud? It looks a bit like the WFT: https://giraudtool.com/giraud-tri-way-trimmer.html

    Any recommendations on the wet process? Are you talking about an ultrasonic setup?
     
  5. MikeMcCasland

    MikeMcCasland Silver $$ Contributor

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    Most every hand primer I've used has required roughly the same amount of grip strength to operate; some handles will give you more mechanical leverage, but probably not enough to avoid hand pain.

    Bench Priming options (there are more, these are just the easiest to find)
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000NOORXE/?tag=accuratescom-20
    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/101268874/forster-co-ax-bench-priming-tool

    Regarding wet tumbling, nope! I'm talking about tumbling brass in a drum with water and stainless pins. There are a multitude of options, and in general it works very well to remove all carbon deposits from cases (the necessity of doing this is hotly debated on these forums). I've listed a few below, but some folks have home-made versions that work just as well for much less money.

    AS article on stainless tumbling: https://www.accurateshooter.com/technical-articles/reloading/brass-cleaning-with-stainless-media/

    Basically, you just toss brass in there with some steel pins, water, and Dawn dish soap; even the worst brass will come out looking brand new after about 45 minutes.

    FA Rotary Tumbler: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HTN4R6O/?tag=accuratescom-20

    Stainless Tumbling Media:
    https://www.stainlesstumblingmedia.com/


    Lastly, the Tri-Way works the exact same as the larger Giraud unit; the trimmer indexes off the case shoulder, and a carbide cutter does the trimming/chamfering. The only downside is that the tri-way is cartridges specific, so if you'll only ever be reloading 1-2 rounds it'll work perfect. If you reload for a bunch of different stuff, it's probably smarter to go with the larger unit.
     
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  6. JimSC

    JimSC

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    I have mild to moderate osteoarthritis in my hands and thumbs so for the primer seating I will recommend the Hollands Perfect Primer Seater https://hollandguns.com/. I upgraded my regular RCBS bench primer this week with the adapter kit and love it. Dial in the seating depth to .001. Also comes with a modified dial indicator to measure the seating depth.

    For trimming I pick up used Wilson trimmers on EBay for less than $50 each. I adjust each for a specific cartridge and use a electric screwdriver for a hardware store with the power adapter. I have three set up for .223, 6CM and .260 Rem and shopping Ebay for a fourth in case I decide to build a 6BR this fall. Fast, easy on the hands and incredibly consistent.
     
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  7. Fliers

    Fliers Gold $$ Contributor

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  8. Evan

    Evan Gold $$ Contributor

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    I like that a lot. Thanks for the pointer! Seems like a great way to get rid of the primer pocket cleaning step. I can lube up brass, size it (and decap the primers), then wet tumble clean to remove the lube and the carbon in the pockets!


    I like this LEE priming tool cause of the primer tray (like my rcbs hand primer):

    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/978504/lee-auto-bench-priming-tool

    But I don't have any LEE shell holders, and the reviews seem pretty bad for it. I'd rather not load up the long primer tubes; it just seems way more difficult than the trays. What do you guys who've done it think? Is it easier than it seems and functions reliably?
     
  9. AROKHUNTER

    AROKHUNTER Gold $$ Contributor

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    I am an amateur, to say the least, but I prime with either the universal shell holder RCBS primer with tray or on my RCBS Rock Chucker with tubes. I like both, but prefer to prime with tubes in the Rock Chucker. Once you get everything set up and lined up to feed the primers, it’s a breeze. I prefer the tubes for the primers. Can’t tell you the exact reason why, but it’s easy and that’s what I learned with. I get pretty good feel with primer seating. Never a problem with a single primer I seated.
     
  10. Dusty Stevens

    Dusty Stevens COVFEFE- Thread Derail Crew Gold $$ Contributor

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    Wet tumble, get a case prep center and get a good priming tool. 21st century or sinclair will make you smash an rcbs with a hammer. If you just gotta have a bench mounted rig (i cant recommend it but) the primal rights is the only one id use
     
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  11. Rsadams

    Rsadams

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    Lyman case prep station is wonderful....You can pick one up under a hundred bucks on sale... Pretty much accepts all tools but it comes with them included....
     
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  12. damoncali

    damoncali Gold $$ Contributor

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    The 21st century priming tool is very good, especially compared to the rcbs, which is pretty much junk in comparison. But the force required is only a little less- maybe 70-80% of the Rcbs. (There’s less friction in the 21st century). The rcbs is probably the most hated piece of reloading gear I’ve ever purchased. If they had any dignity they’d quit selling it.

    A bench primer is probably the best bet, but I don’t have much experience with those. People seem to like the primal rights unit, but I’m not keen on something that uses a stack of primers without a shield. It’s basically a bomb. It seems unlikely to go off but you won’t want to be around if it does. It’s also very expensive. The ones from the big manufacturers are safer and a lot cheaper.

    I would go with a case prep center for all the twisting stuff. Or you can skip a lot of that too - the only necessary one is chamfering, which can be done with some trimmers. Rcbs makes a motorized trimmer and an optional three way cutter, which I believe fits it. That eliminates the need for a chamfering tool.

    I would be cautious about the Giraud, especially the drill mounted tri-way. Gripping the cases tight enogh so that they don’t spin on the cutter might cause you some trouble. In fact, don’t even bother with the tri-way unless you have some way of mounting it and spinning it up. Unfortunately drill presses and mini lathes aren’t ideal. Drills are terrible. You’ll kill your hands in ten cases.

    The full version with the motor is better- it spins them faster than a drill so there is less tendency to grab. It may work for you, but if at all possible I would try before you buy.
     
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  13. Bob L.

    Bob L. Gold $$ Contributor

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    I had a Giraud trimmer and sold it because holding the cases was painful for my hands. I also use a Bald Eagle bench mounted press. It only seats single primers, but it is adjustable for depth and a lot cheaper than the Primal Rights unit. I never really could get a “feel” with hand priming tools and they also wore my hand out.
     
  14. Texas10

    Texas10 Gold $$ Contributor

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    Very INexpensive wet tumbler is the Harbor Freight rock tumbler.https://www.harborfreight.com/3-lb-rotary-rock-tumbler-67631.html
    Get an online coupon and save 20 bucks. This will do 20 to 50 at a time. Great for small batches.

    Get the Sleeping giant SS chips to avoid pins stuck sideways in necks.https://sleepinggiantbrass.com/Stainless-tumbling-media

    A bench mounted drill press makes many operations much easier.
    https://www.harborfreight.com/8-in-5-speed-bench-drill-press-60238.html

    For brass trimming, the Worlds Cheapest Trimmer is fantastic. http://www.newhighpower.com/brass-trimmers.html

    I use the Hornaday primer tool because it lets me use all my fingers to squeeze the primer into the pocket, instead of just my thumb. Much easier on the ol' hands. https://www.midwayusa.com/product/101275795/hornady-hand-priming-tool
     
  15. JMayo

    JMayo

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    I got a 10.oo electric screw driver and a Chuck for my pocket cleaner. I could use it for the other case tools but I have no need to be that aggressive.
    I have a Wilson case trimmer, which is fantastic. It's locked in my table vice, use it once on New brass.
     
  16. Evan

    Evan Gold $$ Contributor

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    Thought I'd follow up real quick. I bought the FA tumbler recommended above: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HTN4R6O/?tag=accuratescom-20

    First round of brass went well and I'm pleased with the results. It definitely isn't faster, and it feels like more of a production with all the rinsing and sorting, but everything is bigger movements without much repetition that could cause strain or injury. It's a worthwhile tradeoff, and it will be a reasonable break-point between reloading sessions: I'll lube, size, and prep all the brass then throw it in the rotary, come back rinse and lay it all out to dry. The next session a day or more later, it's ready to prime and load having dried fully.

    I'm still pondering on the powered prep station/tool to chamfer with and a priming tool. I'm tempted to lay out for the 21st century tool, but if it isn't enough better, then I've thrown more money into a tool that doesn't work for me. I'm not excited about the other options available though. Kinda feel like it may be worth it to build my own solution.
     
  17. TheOtherZilla

    TheOtherZilla

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    Bony Fido ol phart here. [71]. Arthritis in both wrists. Here's my tricks. For trimming. I have an RCBS electric trimmer. I also have a Worlds Best Trimmer for 5.56/223 and one set up for 204. Primer pockets: I found a small drill chuck on the internet that has a 1/4" hex shank. I bought an electric screw driver that takes this hex shaft. I then put an RCBS primer pocket brush in the chuck. Takes the crap right out. I have also just chucked the brush up in my battery drill..

    Priming I use a variety of Lee hand primer tools, but for 204 and 5.56/223 I use a Dillon 550 progressive set up.
     
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  18. grovey

    grovey Silver $$ Contributor

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    I use the std RCBS deburring tool, and if only dealing with 10-15 cases I spin them by hand. If doing a "lot" my hands can't take it either, so... after wiping the case down, sizing, and then trimming I use The Sinclair universal case holder setup chucked in my cordless drill to chamfer, deburr, and I use a strip of 320-600 grit sandpaper , and clean the outside of the neck shiny clean in a few revolutions. I've done this everytime on 15x fired brass and not removed enough to affect anything in my rifles. I use the case holder to neck turn as well. I have a few tumblers, but rarely use them anymore.
     

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    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019
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  19. Twoboxer

    Twoboxer Silver $$ Contributor

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    As my hands began to hurt, it didn't much matter which hand-driven priming tool I used. They still (and will) hurt. The RCBS bench primer solved the problem, but required filling primer tubes like progressives do. That hurt too. After throwing out a VibraPrime that produced more jams than drops, I got a Hornady 1911 primer tube filler. All is well now - no hand pain, no frustration.

    BTW, the tube of primers rotates away from the case being primed before you crush . . . er, nudge it in place :)

    Same with trimming and case prep. The hand tools were a PITA . . . or better said, a PITH. That includes a WFT (same principles of operation as the Giraud). The RCBS Universal Case Prep Center works for me. The case is held in place by pushing a spring loaded lever - no finger usage at all. Unlike the WFT, case length is easy to adjust . . . even when my goal is to get all cases to the same length, not necessarily the trim-to minimum. Other case prep (pirimer pocket cleaning, neck cleaning, deburr and chamfer) requires my fingers to hold. But because there's not much torque and those operations overlap with the hands-free trimming, even my hands remain pain free.

    Works for me, YMMV.
     
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  20. Evan

    Evan Gold $$ Contributor

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    I'm looking into the 21st centruy primer now and I have a question about it for everyone who uses it: do you honestly have to drop each primer in by hand?!?!
     

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