Top 8 Best Hand Priming Tool in 2020 – Buyer’s Guide

If you are into guns and shooting as a sport, then you must be aware of how fulfilling it is to clean and prime the empty shells. This gives you complete control over how you want to go about this business and besides, it can give you savings over the long run.

Reusing the shells is good for you and the environment as you are contributing to less waste.

The right way to go about reloading the ammunition is by using only the best hand priming tool. Not only does this save money, but it also saves time by simplifying the process and giving you full reign over quality.

With so many brands of hand priming tools available, it becomes a conundrum to choose the right one. Hence, this post covers all you need to know about hand priming tools. Having a thorough knowledge before you buy one will give you a satisfying experience each time you prime the cartridges.

product Image

Product Name

Editor's Rating

Price

LEE PRECISION 90230 New Auto Prime Hand Priming Tool

5 out of 5

RCBS 90200 Hand Priming Tool

5 out of 5

LEE PRECISION 90700, Auto Bench Priming Tool

4 out of 5

RCBS 90201 Universal Hand Priming Tool

4.5 out of 5

Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Perfect Seat Hand Primer

5 out of 4

Name

Shell Holder Compatibility

Special Feature

LEE PRECISION 90230

Same brand.

Elevator pin to keep each primer separate from the tray.

RCBS 90200 Hand Priming Tool

Same brand.

Holds 100 primers in the tray to save time.

LEE PRECISION 90700, Auto Bench Priming Tool

Same brand.

Built-in flipping feature in the tray to allow direct primer filling from boxes.

RCBS 90201 Universal Hand Priming Tool

Universal.

No need for using shell holders, saving money.

Frankford Arsenal Perfect Seat Hand Primer

Universal.

Dial for an accurate depth of primer.

RCBS 9460 Auto Priming Tool

Universal.

Single-stage handle for fast and efficient priming.

Lyman Products E-ZEE Universal Priming Tool

Universal.

Two primer trays for separate punch assembling as per the large or small size of primer.

Hornady 0500021 Handheld Priming Tool

Hornady and RCBS.

Integrally molded primer bushings for simplicity and efficiency.

Top 8 Hand Priming Tool Reviews

1. LEE PRECISION 90230 New Auto Prime Hand Priming Tool

Tested extensively to ensure it prevents tray detonations, this hand-held priming tool gets a gull score on safety.

Its revolutionary “elevator pin” has been designed to ensure the tray remains separated from each primer as these get presented for priming, thereby reducing the chances of the tray getting detonated and causing injuries.

The product is suitable to work with all brands of primers and has a new and improved design. Only the original body and shell holders have been used. Other than these, the remaining parts have been replaced with better ones.

A notable improvement has been the triangle-shaped trays in a larger size that is compatible with all brands of primers. It features a slide-on cover to accommodate large and small primers.

Another point of improvement is the curve lever that has two benefits – one, it is unbreakable and two, it provides your hands much comfort when you are using the priming device. Thus, the ergonomic design of the handle doesn’t need a lot of energy for it to be pushed, saving you from hand fatigue.

The small size of the product makes it easily portable, hence you can carry it along anywhere. Moreover, the operation of this product is simple and effective. You can easily handle the small parts and swap between large and small primers by changing the pre-assembled insert.

The shell holders from the same brand are suitable for this hand priming tool and you have to buy these separately as these are not included.

If you are looking for a small tool that works perfectly and safe to use, you can trust this product. However, you are advised to wear protective eye goggles and ear protection while handling this tool.

Highlighted Features

  • Unique elevator pin to keep the primer and the tray separate.
  • Safe, simple, and easy to use.
  • Ergonomic handle for preventing hand fatigue.
  • Pre-assembled insert to make changing bigger and smaller primes easier.
  • Large, triangle-shaped trays for compatibility with all primer brands.

2. RCBS 90200 Hand Priming Tool

If you are looking for an easier and safer way to reload ammunition, you should definitely add this product to your reloading tool kit.

This is an up-gradation from the previous model and is the same safe and handy tool that reduces the reloading time, giving you more time to enjoy your sport. This tool allows you to set the primers quickly and safely with the help of the primer plugs for both small and large-sized ones.

To prevent tray detonation from occurring, the safety gate keeps the primer supply separate from the priming seat. When you install the tray, there is no contact with the primer, thereby giving you more features to remain safe while you are in the reloading process.

The tray can hold 100 primers at the same time, thereby reducing the refilling time.

The size of the device is perfect for fitting in your hands. The weight and size both make it easily portable and convenient for you to carry around.

As this product package does not include shell holders, you need not be disappointed as you can reuse all your shell holders. However, these need to be of the same brand for compatibility.

This is the best hand priming tool if you value both convenience and safety. Moreover, its cast-iron metal body and the high-quality plastic material of the tray lid make the product a durable one.

Although the enclosed manual instructions give you a step-by-step about using the device, you may need some time before you can get perfectly comfortable using the tool.

It's recommended to always wear safety glasses when handling ammunition and using this device for reloading.

Highlighted Features

  • Safety gate to keep the primer separate from the tray.
  • Handy and convenient for carrying around.
  • Cast-iron metal body and plastic tray lid for durability.
  • The tray can seat 100 primers simultaneously.
  • The same brand of shell holders is needed for compatibility.

3. LEE PRECISION 90700, Auto Bench Priming Tool

For beginners and those who are not quite at ease with a hand primer, this device can be mounted on the workbench to give you more comfort and flexibility.

With the device firmly installed on the bench, it gives you more stability and hence, greater precision during the reloading process. Moreover, the process becomes smoother.

Installation is very fast as it takes only a few minutes for mounting this. Since the machine is not very heavy, it won’t put much strain on your muscles when you mount it.

Designed to suit all brands of primers, it features a triangular tray to hold all sizes of primers. The handle is easy to push down to allow you to apply the primers. Thus, the ergonomic design creates comfort and simplicity.

Another key benefit of this machine is that it can be operated by using just one finger. Moreover, it can be easily operated by both left- and right-handed users.

The built-in flipping feature in the tray allows you to directly fill the primer from boxes.

You can choose three different positions to set the tray – open, locked, and feed. The open mode allows you to load new primers on the tray. The locked mode prevents the primers to go into the holder. The feed mode lets single primers into the tray, ensuring a high level of safety.

All shell holders of the same brand are compatible but are not included in the package. Priming thousands of rounds with this machine is easy and as a lot of the parts are made from clear plastic, you can be sure of the orientation as you can watch the entire priming process from start to end.

Highlighted Features

  • Workbench station tool for precision and stability.
  • Suitable for all primer brands.
  • Large, triangular tray to hold all sizes of primers.
  • Clear plastic parts enable watching the whole priming process.
  • Built-in flipping tray feature for filling primers directly from boxes.

4. RCBS 90201 Universal Hand Priming Tool

This is the original hand-held priming tool before many changes were made! If you want a great combination of design and durability, then you must go for this.

As this is a universal tool, it negates the need for shell holders altogether. Hence, you can use various types of calibers and get more value for money from a single device.

The jaw of the tool secures any brass you can feed it in the holder. Other features that make it the best hand primer include the safety gate to keep the tray and the primers apart, thereby reducing any chances of detonation.

Moreover, as there is no need to be concerned about different primers getting into the tray as it can hold multiple primers at the same time, the reloading process becomes easier.

With various accessories included, many different sizes of shell cartridges are suitable for handling, starting from .32 to .45 - 70. That’s why many users have termed this tool as versatile and flexible.

The removable primer tray allows you to fit it into other devices and hence, you get greater flexibility.

Depending on the size of the primers you are going to work with, you need to adjust the machine. You can get more precision by using this product as the case will be in alignment with the primer, thanks to the jaws on the opposite sides of the shell holder.

One downside of this hand priming machine is that you need to remove each case manually after priming it. Thus, the overall priming process may be a bit delayed.

Highlighted Features

  • Negates the requirement of shell holders due to its universality.
  • Safe to use as the tray is kept separate from the primers.
  • Removable primer tray that can be fitted on other tools.
  • Perfect alignment between primer and shell with opposing jaws.
  • Combines durability and design for more value for money.

5. Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Perfect Seat Hand Primer

If you have a hard time getting the feel of the depth of the primer, this device will help you do it better and faster.

With a dial, the depth of the primer seating is done accurately – by one-thousandth of an inch. What’s more, the heard stop in the primer ensures that the primer does not go deeper than necessary. Hence, there is no chance of over-crushing the primer.

The tool features 12 shell holders for all types of bullets, hence you don’t need to buy these separately. Plus, there are 3 additional spaces for extra shell holders in case the 12 slots are not compatible.

The easy and simple thumb release technology of the product makes changing the size of the shell holders a breeze.

The overall design is a huge improvement in looks when compared to other hand priming tools. The functional aspect is also a topper as the tray has been designed with ridges inside it so that the primers always seat in the right position. Plus, the tray can hold more than 100 primers at the same time.

Made from die-cast zinc, the body of the device is unbendable even under pressure, ensuring it lasts for a long time. The internal parts are made from steel for durability.

Portable and lightweight, the tool can be carried around and you can change the primers and the shell holders from the comforts of your couch. Credit goes to the well-designed handle that fits in your hand perfectly.

Along with the hand primer, you get a sturdy storage case to protect the shell holders and the tool.

Highlighted Features

  • Dial for accurate measurement of primer seating depth.
  • Hard stop to ensure primers don’t get crushed.
  • 12 shell holders for all bullet types with 3 additional slots.
  • Cast-iron zinc and steel components for durability.
  • Auto-adjusting tray for accurate positioning of primers.

6. RCBS 9460 Auto Priming Tool

Weighing at only 2.25 pounds, this is the lightest auto priming tool that you can carry around, even in your pocket!

The slim design and the lightweight features make this a handy device to reach out for when you are at the shooting range.

The single-stage lever technology of this device makes reloading a faster and more efficient process. It's easy to operate and can handle shell holders of various sizes comfortably.

With a metallic body, the tool promises to give you years of service. It includes accessories of two feed tubes and two metallic rods to help make the reloading process more efficient as the primer can be injected with more precision in any size of shell holders.

The tube of the tool has a capacity of 100+ primers to make reloading more efficient as it would take only two to three minutes to prime 100 cartridges comfortably. However, don’t forget to put the pin that goes through the rod as otherwise, the primers will fall out.

Besides being portable, you can also mount this on your workbench with a small clamp for greater stability and ease of operation. The handle gives you a firm grip without hand fatigue even after doing 100 to 200 rounds.

You won’t face any problem regarding the danger of over-crushing primers even for cases that have very tight pockets. You will always get the same seating depth consistency that it is vital when you are reloading ammunition.

It's also recommended for beginners who can get a better feel of the seating depth instead of using a press.

Highlighted Features

  • Lightweight and portable at only 2.25 pounds weight.
  • Can work either as a hand-held tool or a mounted one.
  • Single-stage lever technology for a faster and more efficient process.
  • Two feed tubes and two metallic rods are included for feeding primers.
  • 100+ primers capacity in the feeding tube.

7. Lyman Products E-ZEE Universal Priming Tool

This hand primer ensures safety and reliability as well as comfort in operating it.

Fitted with two primer trays, one for large size and the other for small-sized ones, punching is more efficient and simpler as each has its own punch assembly. Switching between the trays is a matter of seconds and greatly increases the speed and efficiency of the process.

The built-in shut-off gate featured in the primer tray is there to prevent the primers from spilling and causing a mess. You can also leave the shut-off gate in the middle of the reloading process and get back to it later.

Another useful feature of the tray is that it doubles up as a flipper so that the primers are always in the correct position. You don’t need to struggle with loose or small parts when working with this tool.

Compatible with all the leading brands of shell holders including RCBS, Lee Precision, Redding, and Hornady, it makes for a versatile tool that most gun enthusiasts can use.

The design of the hand primer is ergonomic and won’t give you tired hands even after changing several hundred rounds. The handle fits right into your hand and you can feel the firm grip it provides. Moreover, the black matte finish gives a good look to the device.

This is one of the best priming tool models for portability, as you can carry it around with you and get your shells primed from any location.

The handle is made from heavy-duty steel and the lid is made from good quality plastic to ensure you get the maximum life out of this product.

You may need to move the tray back and forth to prevent the seat from getting overloaded with the primer. Hence, it might take a little getting used to. As with all other hand priming tools, you are strongly recommended to wear eye and ear protection.

Highlighted Features

  • Two trays for two sizes of primers for more convenience.
  • Built-in shut-off gate to prevent the primer from spilling.
  • The tray also works as a flipper to keep the primer position correct.
  • Heavy-duty steel body and high-quality plastic lid for durability.
  • Ergonomic design with a comfortable grip to prevent hand fatigue.

8. Hornady 0500021 Handheld Priming Tool

An easy to operate tool to give you much satisfaction when you want to hand prime the cases with the least hassle.

The ergonomically designed primer features a one-piece primer tray that has an improved retaining technology due to the lid that has a lock to keep things in place safely.

You don’t need separate primer bushings because there is an integrally molded primer bushing to keeps things simpler and more efficient.

Changing primers and shell holders has never been easier as the spring and punch are inside the device, therefore doing away with the need to remove them while changing.

It is a tool that does not put pressure on your thumbs. Instead, you can operate it by the user-friendly, plier-style handle that reduces the chance of getting hand fatigue.

The product is compatible with both large and small primers. You can use Hornady shell holders on this, and it comes with an additional tray for RCBS shell holders. Hence, you get more versatility from this single unit.

It gives you a better option than a press-mounted primer and you can carry it around easily due to its design and lightweight features. Not only is it portable, but it also reduces the total priming time. Setting up the machine is a simple matter of several minutes, hence you save time here as well.

The primer seating height is not adjustable and so you need to use the thread-in plug to do so.

You need to buy shell holders separately as these are not included in the package.

Highlighted Features

  • Integrally molded primer bushings for simplicity and efficiency.
  • Compatible with Hornady shell holders.
  • Separate tray included for RCBS shell holders.
  • Pliers-style handle to prevent hand fatigue.
  • One-piece primer tray with lock.

Hand Priming Tool Buying Guide

Before buying a hand priming tool, you need to consider a few factors so that you don’t regret your purchase decision later. The following are the main points to be aware of beware you make the payment.

Safety

Safety is the number one consideration for any tool and especially one that you will use to reload ammunition. One false move when handling explosives can cause serious injuries.

Therefore, always check if the primer tray and the primers in the hand priming tool can be kept separate through a safety gate.

Durability

You would ideally like to use your hand primer for loading many thousands of rounds. Hence, the device must be made from sturdy material like cast-iron or heavy-duty steel to ensure it lasts long. A strong body will be maintained well even after repeated use.

Shell Holders

Some devices negate the use of shell holders while others require you to buy these separately. Hence, give a thorough check on whether shell holders are included in the deal or not. Also, check if the machine is universal. In this case, you can use any size of shells.

Design

Check the handle of the priming tool well before you make the purchase. Opt for a priming tool with ergonomically designed handle so that you don’t need to exert too much pressure.

Check to see if the grip is contoured so that it fits well in your hand. Avoid designs that need you to use your thumb to press down on the lever. This will prevent hand fatigue.

Portability

Check how much the hand priming device weighs. If you want it to be easily portable, it should not be heavy, and it should not be something that needs to be mounted on a workbench.

How To Use Hand Priming Tool?

There are some steps that will lead you to use the hand priming tool correctly. Give the following a thorough read so that you don’t miss any step!

1. Choosing The Right Tray

Choose the right tray as per the size of the primers. Making a mistake here may lead to the primer sitting in an incorrect position. Always use the switch to change the size of the primer.

2. Selecting The Shell Holder

Not all hand tool primers allow all brands of shell holders to be primed. Hence, check the shell holder brand to match it with the hand primer you are choosing.

3. Applying Gentle Pressure

This is the most critical step. After you choose a small amount of gunpowder, you need to push it gently to the base of the projectile. Don’t press the gunpowder so hard to cause an explosion. There should not be any sudden impact to trigger sparks and let the bullet go.

4. Checking The Depth

Carefully check how deep the primer has gone into the seat. It should not go down too deep or form any bulges. The primer depth will determine the performance of the bullet.

5. Operating The Primer

Put a tray or bucket under the priming tool and place the cartridge on it. Then squeeze and release the handle of the primer. You will notice the primed case falls into the tray. This is the case with a specific shell holder.

In case you are using a universal shell holder, you will need to manually remove each primed case.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why Do I Need A Hand Priming Tool?

Answer: A hand priming tool makes it easier to reload ammunition in empty cases or cartridges. This saves money as buying pre-primed shells cost more and also, some gun enthusiasts like to prime their own cases.

To ensure good quality and to re-use shells, a hand priming tool helps you to do both. Moreover, it saves time by making the process of reloading much easier and simpler.

2. What Is The Depth That The Primer Should Be Positioned?

Answer: There is no specific measurement of the depth where the primer should be seated. Over many uses, the user develops a feel for the right depth and position. This is especially true if you use a priming tool that’s portable.

The ergonomic design of the handle also helps you to ensure that the primer has reached the right depth.

3. What Is The Downside Of A Universal Hand Primer?

Answer: Though a universal hand primer allows you to use all brands and sizes of shell holders, the major downside is that it extends the process of reloading as you need to manually remove each primed case at the end of the process.

4. What Are The Maintenance Tips For A Primer?

Answer: Getting the best priming tool isn’t enough. To get consistent and smooth service from your tool, maintain it properly.

For starters, clean the primer tray regularly. Carefully dust the other parts so that they don’t gather any residue. Using a drop of any light grease or machine oil on the handle and the joints will keep the tool supple.

5. What Are The Safety Measures For Working With A Primer?

Answer: As you will be handling explosives when priming with a hand-held device, always follow some safety measures like wearing protective goggles to shield your eyes from any flying particles.

You should also guard your ears by wearing hearing protection because in case there is a detonation, your hearing won’t be affected by the loud sound.

Always store your primer in the box in which it came when you are not using them. Keep the package away from heat and put it in a dry place.

Final Word

Whether you are a novice or a seasoned shooter, you should always buy safe and effective tools like a hand primer to get your cartridges ready for many rounds.

Most brands these days feature a safety separator to keep the tray apart from the primers so that there is almost no chance of detonation.

However, you should bear in mind other factors like size and portability, user-friendly design, and materials used for durability before choosing the best hand priming tool for you. Also, remember that not all primers are compatible with all shell holders so select one carefully.

Most importantly, exercise caution and safety measures so that you enjoy this sport without causing yourself or others around you any injuries.

By following the correct steps and wearing the right protection, the process of reloading ammunition will become much safer and quicker.

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