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Old 04-01-2016, 04:18 PM   #1
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RCBS auto prime system

Last year I bought a new Rockchucker Supreme and the Auto Prime system to replace my 50 year old Lyman. Finally got the new loading bench built (Bench Mahal) and got working.

I won't bore with detail, but the Auto Prime system is a good concept, executed poorly. I believe I've finally got it working by doing things the designers should have, but I don't believe it will seat primers as firmly as the old Lyman Universal system.

Of course RCBS has a bench loading tool that seems to duplicate the old style Universal priming system. But, it's another $100 and requires more bench space. I do believe there's a conspiracy here.
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Old 04-02-2016, 03:38 AM   #2
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The reviews on MidwayUSA seem to agree with you that the concept is sound, but the instructions are murky and the design needs tweaking.

I have to say that one of the best days of my reloading life was the day I asked myself why I was using a big iron press designed to exert tons of pressure to seat a tiny little primer. As I thought about it I realized that more that half of the problems I'd ever had with reloading involved the various on-press priming systems. I read the reviews, ended up ordering an RCBS APS hand primer, and haven't looked back. It's about the best reloading investment I've ever made. Primer seating is fast and positive; you can actually feel the primer bottoming out in the pocket. You can sit in front of the TV with a big tub of unprimed brass and plug away, just like an old lady sitting there with her knitting. Without worrying about the finicky priming systems, my presses fairly fly, with almost no stoppages.

I have three presses (Rockchucker, Hornady LNL, and Forster Coax), and the priming systems for all of them have been removed and sit in a drawer. I doubt that they'll ever see the light of day.
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Old 04-02-2016, 06:46 AM   #3
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The RCBS hand priming tool is a great piece of equipment. That was the next thing I bought after I got my press. It's everything the Cap'n says it is.
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Old 04-02-2016, 09:40 AM   #4
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I don't know how the APS system works on the Rock Chucker, but I've been using it since introduction. The hand tool is great and I use it for small jobs, the bench tool is great for quantity although I don't love the little plastic inserts you must put in the shell holder . I've had some issues with the seating punch catching on the strip and being pulled out of its place.. RCBS send me the parts to rebuild the tool and it's much better now.

I really liked the ability to change from small to large primers on the Pro 2000 by simply changing one part that doesn't require anything other than a 7/16 wrench.

I agree that some things could have been done better but I think the convenience outweighs the problems.
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Old 04-02-2016, 04:07 PM   #5
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My subconscious worked overtime last night while I slept and I figured out why the primer punch wasn't being properly supported. The directions in the instruction manual truly suck. I've seen this before: the person who writes the manual knows what he wants to say but doesn't. The proof reader also knows what is supposed to be said and doesn't realize it's not there. The result is confusion, sometimes hysterically funny, but still a problem.

I've always repurposed a lot of formerly military brass. As a result, the primers sometimes require a bit of effort to seat. Since my recent purchase of the Dillon primer pocket swage tool, it's a whole lot more uniform and easy, but there's still the occasional oddity.

Back when they first came out with non press mounted primer seaters, all of them said "DO NOT USE FEDERAL PRIMERS". Naturally, I had 5,000 of them. So, I've never indulged, but I admit it's tempting, bench space permitting. Also, with some of my loads while I'm seating primers, I'm also running a mandrel down the case neck to create uniform tension on the bullet. Yes, it can make a difference.

I also cynically believe that the HBS types in management have a vested interest in making the old style stuff less functional than the new, extra piece of equipment (with necessary accessories of course).

Now that I appear to have the Auto Prime working like it's supposed to, wonder if I should apply for a patent for the improvements?

Last edited by William R. Moore; 04-02-2016 at 04:16 PM.
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Old 04-02-2016, 08:15 PM   #6
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I use Federal primers frequently and load them in the APS strips as needed.

FWIW: primer feed seems to be a weakness at RCBS. I got the new Autochucker 7 and had a devil of a time with the primer feed. Broke 3-4 primer slides before I got it going. Does fine now
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Old 04-03-2016, 07:12 AM   #7
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I have used my RCBS hand tool to seat several thousand Federal match primers and never had a problem with it.
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Old 04-05-2016, 04:14 PM   #8
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I discovered another source of part of the problems on primer seating. It seems back in 1979 Lake City Arsenal had an issue with forming primer pockets the correct depth and/or reasonably even in depth. I appear to have a whole bunch that exhibit that behavior. I'm not sure how the arsenals seat primers, but they appear to use considerable force to ensure the primers are below the case head.

Commercial cases or military with properly formed pockets are not problem. I chucked a bunch of cases into the lathe and used a primer pocket uniformer to cut them to correct depth. Those seat quite well also.

Think I'm gonna scrap a whole bunch of brass and use the money to buy different, newer brass.
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Old 04-05-2016, 07:32 PM   #9
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I stopped using GI brass except for match brass without crimped primers long ago. Most of that is gone now except for a little old LC 06 that I load with Trail Boss and cast bullets for plinking.

If you think about the time it takes to make other GI brass usable it's probably false economy.

But now some companies are crimping primer pockets on .45 ACP especially stuff loaded with non-toxic primers. I also wonder if/when they will switch to all small pistol primers for the .45.
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Old 04-06-2016, 04:08 PM   #10
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I've got bunches of the stuff. I'm going to try trading the GI stuff by weight with my former employers for current used civilian brass. Some of that is crimped, but the primer pockets are good. If that's a no go, I'm gonna sell it for scrap and buy other brass. Now I recall why that bucket of brass was way away from my loading area. The other bucket I got at the same time (debt settlement) has normal primer pockets once the crimp is removed. 09 LC I bought last year is good too.

Actually, a lot of .223 is crimped nowdays. I also noted that Dillon lists a .40 primer pocket swaging adapter for their crimp swaging tool. When I asked about it, I was told a lot of brass is getting primer crimps these days. Possibly the "green" primers have something to do with it.

What's really funny is that LC 7.62 ball brass from the same era has flawless primer pockets.

Last edited by William R. Moore; 04-06-2016 at 04:12 PM.
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