Anyone have issues with Federal primers in Lee loaders?

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by prof_fate, Jan 30, 2012.

  1. prof_fate

    prof_fate Former Guest

    Jan 20, 2012
    Western PA
    Lee says to use CCI or Remington and to avoid Federal primers.
    I know federals are 'softer' and I hear CCI are harder, some don't like Remington...lots of opinions of course.

    Anyway, anyone use Federal in Lee loaders? Experienced or head of any issues?
  2. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2009
    SW Fort Worth
    I have a friend with a couple of Lee presses and he has used Federal primers with no problems at all. I just don't understand why Lee makes that statement, I think it has more to do with a grudge by Richard Lee than the possibility that Federal cups are "softer". Other than mil spec primers, I don't see a significant difference in primer cup hardness between brands.

  3. cycloneman

    cycloneman Well-Known Member

    Dec 16, 2008
    I use federal and remington primers and lee eq all the time and for 20 years now. I never use cci.

    crazy to think someone can tell you what brand of primer to use.
  4. steve4102

    steve4102 Former Guest

    Jan 27, 2006
    This is from another site, but it explains it pretty well.

    "a few years to when Speer and Richard Lee got into a ****ing match about the Lee Factory Crimp die. "

    Yep. Actually, that was in the late 70s, early 80s if I remember correctly. Fred Hundington had sold RCBS, Vernon Speer sold and CCI sold out to the Blount Group so the original owners were gone and a bunch of distructive "professional" management MBAs were running things, wrongly. Pretty much damaged Blount in the same process.

    Richard Lee had just gotten into making presses, dies, etc. His tools were designed from the gound up to be made on largely automated and CNC tooling by unskilled labor forces so they could be high grade tools sold at low prices. It worked. Soon, Lee was cutting deeply into the "big boys'" markets. Speer and RCBS struck back by publishing badly misleading magazine adds showing how badly Lee's tools worked, especially the (excellant) rifle Factory Crimp Dies. (They massively over-crimped some rifle bullets and put the photos in their adds to "prove" their point.)

    Federal got caught up at the same time with a big suit claiming injury from some idiot misusing Federal primers, not a part of Blount, and it cost Lee a bundle to defend against Federal pointing a finger at Lee. Lee wanted no more of that so they started posting the warnings against the use of Federal caps we still see.

    I don't believe Federal primers pose any more, or at least not much more, of a hazard than any other. I really haven't been able to see how Federal caps are "softer" than others, in fact my past experiments indicated they were a tad harder, but they do use a bit more sensitive priming compound. That sensitivity does make them more prone to chain firing if one does go off in a box, tube or tray. THAT'S why they are packed in individual holes in the packages. But they also have a LOW indidence of failure to fire and I like that!

    I've run a lot of Federals though my Lee auto primer tools for over two decades with no problems. But, I don't use the Tim Taylor "More Power" method of dealing with anything that doesn't feel right either. If a primer won't go easily, I stop, find out why not and fix it before continuing . So far, so good....
  5. prof_fate

    prof_fate Former Guest

    Jan 20, 2012
    Western PA
    That all sounds reasonable.

    I figure folks would do it regardless of the instructions - either from ignorance, stubbornness or to see what would happen. With the Lee rec of using a 'blast shield' I would gather explosions of primers would be the 'result' of using the wrong primers. But that would be an issue in other presses which would force Federal to change their product to be 'safe' to reload with.

    So no tales of woe from exploding primers then? No "proof" that Lee's warning carries real value?
  6. CampingJosh

    CampingJosh Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    Federal and CCI are now owned by the same company, ATK. I think it's a leftover relic from a bygone era.
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