thoughts on RCBS priming system

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by Chadk, Aug 16, 2012.

  1. Chadk

    Chadk Member

    Jul 10, 2012
    So I'm looking at an RCBS turret press. Noticing the priming system..
    First sticking each primer one by one with the little tube rod. Then dumping them into the press. They sliding one underneath the shell each time. This system just seems much more involved than say the lee auto press ones or even a hand held unit.

    I'd like to hear from any RCBS user on their success with this type of priming system.

  2. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA

    If you look at the Dillon presses, the Hornady presses, and perhaps many others with a press mounted priming system, they all work about the same and that is:

    You use a primer tray that you shake to get all the primers upside down then pick them up with a primer pickup tube. You then take the primer pickup tube and invert it over the primer delivery tube and transfer the primers into the press primer delivery tube. Most all have a sliding bar that moves under the case in the press and they get seated in the case on the up stroke. Some of these presses do it automatically and the RCBS Turret press you referenced does it with the push of a handle.

    You don't actually handle the primers. You pick them up with the pickup tube from the special primer tray, and transfer them in bulk, 100 at a time, into the press delivery tube, never touching them.

    I don't own the press you referenced but rather a Dillon RL550B (for about 25 years...same press) and the delivery is perfect every time. I suspect the same can be said for other primer system like this.

    Years ago I had a LEE Progressive press and it was the most frustrating reloading experience. It broke every time I used it (I bought it new!). It is hard to imagine anyone who has used it and anything else to reload with would choose any system that is part of the LEE press over anyone else's.

    RCBS makes excellent stuff as does Dillon and Hornady. If you are looking for a new press you need to look at them all including the Lyman Turret. All are better made than any LEE press. But of course, that is my opinion based on my experience. Others here may will differ with me, and still others will agree with me. Which press you choose to use is a controversial issue here. Buy whatever you want but the priming system on everyones press but LEE's will be pretty much the same as I described above. Maybe because that is what really works (??).


  3. soundguy

    soundguy Well-Known Member

    May 8, 2012
    i looked at the press based priming with my rock chucker or piggy back kits and quickly decided to hand prime everything.. :)

    the rcbs hand primer is virtually foolproof..
  4. Chadk

    Chadk Member

    Jul 10, 2012
    Mr Bennett you answered my question perfectly. Thanks so much for the information. I am on a Lee Press budget for sure, but have found what I believe to be a good deal on some RCBS new equipment someone purchased and never used. Even this will be over budget but from what I gather better quality. I understand now that this type of tube fed priming system seems to be more the norm than the exception. Thank you for explaining that to me.
    Soundguy, when you say hand prime do you mean those little devices with the squeeze handle that will prime? I thought those looked very simple and quick. Not familiar with "piggy back????".
  5. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2009
    SW Fort Worth
    I use the priming system on my RC Supreme and it works great. Easy to adjust and change between sizes and has a consistent "primer seat" feel every time.
  6. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    I prefer to prime on the press. I also prefer to load single stage as I feel it produces better ammo and fewer mistakes. My priming system of choice is the LEE auto prime 2. I use an RCBS single stage but removed the priming system from it because priming on the downstroke feels 'funky' to me. And loading one at a time into the arm is frustrating. But to each his own.

    The hand primers are worth thier weight in gold. Not only because they work, and they do work very well, they are inexpensive, simple to use and maintain and are priceless backups to a press mounted or automated priming system. I primed tens of thousands of cases on a LEE auto prime before deciding to save my thumbs and buy the Auto Prime 2
  7. Chadk

    Chadk Member

    Jul 10, 2012
    The Auto Prime 2 looks great and fast. Love that idea on a designated single stage press.
  8. Clipper

    Clipper Well-Known Member

    Mar 21, 2010
    Amarillo, TX
    I used to prime on my Rockchucker, even have the Lee Auto Prime for my Lee 4 hole turret press (cheesy primer setup, don't ever want to try using it) and I also prime with hand primers. I have one RCBS and two Lee hand primers, and all work very nicely for me. I had problems with jams on the RCBS tube so I quit using it, even have an occasional double primer on the RCBS hand primer, but it is easy to clear. I never have that problem with either of the Lee hand primers.
  9. soundguy

    soundguy Well-Known Member

    May 8, 2012
    yep.. the rcbs hand primer is virtually fool proof.. safe and easy.
  10. soundguy

    soundguy Well-Known Member

    May 8, 2012
    ps.. the piggy back setup converts a rcbs rock chucker ( and a few others ) to a multi station press )
  11. dbach

    dbach Member

    Jul 31, 2011
    Trinity, TX

    I have a RCBS Turret Press. I prime brass on the press and have very few problems. It works very well for me. I had to make a few adjustments here and there but this is all part of learning how things work.

    As mentioned above, you drop your primers into a primer tray. Shake it lightly to flip them all anvil up. Next place the primer tray cover over the tray and flip them over again. Now all of your primers are sitting anvil down. Next you take the correct loading tube (large or small) and pluck them up with the plastic tipped loading tube. Hold this tube over the safety primer opening on the press and pull the cotter pin. All of the primers fall into the loading tube in the proper orientation. From here I size the brass on the down stroke and seat the primer on the upstroke by sliding the handle to position the primer under the brass.

    Simple as pie. You will need to make the minor adjustments then keep things clean. If the works get dirty it will become difficult to slide the primer bar under the brass.

    I like my RCBS Turret. It has worked well for me.
  12. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA

    Good detailed explanation! and on the press the poster has.

    My Dillon works the same way except the bar that carries the primer is shaped differently and it works automatically. This mechanism design is used by many manufacturers of presses and there is no reason to avoid it but like everything else in the world, it may take some initial adjustment and of course must be kept clean.

    Many here like the hand primer seating tools. With the volume of cases I reload at any one time my tired old hands would give out and take days to recover. If there is a tool that seats primers perfectly every time with total consistency every time then why would anyone choose to "feel" the primers seat? But hey, we all get to choose.

  13. elkslayer4x5

    elkslayer4x5 New Member

    Aug 3, 2012
    Lane County, Oregon
    There is. Both Lee and RCBS make a ram primer unit, unaware of any others, can't speak on the repetiviness of the Lee, but once you've set the seating depth on the RCBS unit, it seats the primer the same on every case. Of course, you're back to handling each primer one at a time. :)
  14. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA
    I have to use Ram priming on my RCBS big press for 50 BMG. Once set up it works great but you can, as I did by mistake, set it up to not seat the primers deep enough. Whereas regular rifle cases get the primer seated to a couple of thousands below flush the 50 BMG cases need to have their huge primers seated about 20 thousands below flush. As I was not privy to this spec without great searching, I got some early reloads with primers not seated deep enough for reliable ignition. I got it now.

    My point is my Dillon primer bars come pre-set by Dillon to seat primers perfectly every time. While there is an adjustment and it is covered in their instructions, I have only had to verify it and never adjust it on all the primer bars I have. The contrast is the ram priming that has to be setup every time you reload else the press is stuck in the ram priming mode. And the setup is by trial and error. I prefer the Dillon method and design (shared by others) but have no choice with the 50 BMG. Yes, I know, Dillon makes a progressive 50 BMG press but for an arm and a leg, which I can not spare.

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