Best Hand Priming Tool in 2021: Your Need-to-Know Guide

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If you are looking to speed up the reloading process, but also to increase the quality of finished rounds significantly, all you have to do is look for the best hand priming tool on the market and get it. That’s right, the simple hand priming tool can complete your reloading equipment, giving you way more options, and streamlining the entire reloading process. 

And today, we’ll help you determine what makes the best priming tool, what you need to consider, and what brands/products stand out with their quality and affordable price!

Top 5 Best Hand Priming Tools: Comparison Table

Product Shell Holders Dimensions
LEE PRECISION 90230 Hand Priming Tool Not included 7 x 5 x 2 inches
Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Hand Primer Seating Tool 12 shell holders 11 x 9 x 3 inches
RCBS 90200 Hand Priming Tool Not included ‎10.3 x 4.9 x 1.8 inches
Lyman E-ZEE Universal Priming Tool Not included 6 x 6.5 x 6.5 inches
Hornady 0500021 Handheld Priming Tool Not included 8 x 7 x 3 inches

There is a wide variety of models to choose from, and each of them has its own advantages, as well as downsides. No worries though, you won’t have to go over dozens of hand priming tool reviews and waste precious time deciding what is the best product for you – we’ve already conducted a thorough analysis and are ready to bring you the top 5 hand primer tool models of the moment:

LEE PRECISION 90230 Hand Priming Tool

If you are looking for top-notch performance, the 90230 LEE priming tool has to be the closest entry to excellence in our list. It’s also the most updated and complete version from this manufacturer. One of its main highlights is the patent-pending “elevator pin”, a feature that will safely separate one single primer from your tray, thus reducing the possibility of tray detonation considerably. Among other noticeable upgrades, we have to mention the comfort curve lever, which is virtually unbreakable, as well as the folding tray that comes with a built-in primer flipper.

Pros Cons
  • Revolutionary elevator pin that keeps the primers and the tray separate
  • Simple, safe, and very easy to use
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Pre-assembled insert that eases the process of changing large and small primers
  • Large trays, compatible with all primer brands
  • Requires Lee Auto Prime Shellholders, which are sold separately
  • The material on the collar has to be removed

Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Hand Primer Seating Tool

If you are having difficulties ascertaining the depth of the primer, then the Frankford Arsenal Platinum is the best primer seater for you. This product will not only help you do this better but also much faster. It features a dial that will help you determine the depth of your primer seating with accuracy. On top of this, the primer’s heard stop will ensure that the primer never goes deeper than it has to. We are talking about a one-thousandth per inch accuracy, so the chances of over-crushing your primer are close to none. The Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series also features 12 shell holders, that can cover any type of bullet. Plus, 3 additional spaces in case you need the previous 12 are not compatible. Lastly, this model is one of the most resilient products out there, as most of the hand priming tool reviews agree – the body is made from die-cast zinc, and cannot be bent under pressure.

Pros Cons
  • Extremely accurate dial for primer seating depth measurement
  • Hard stop that prevents primers from getting crushed
  • 12 shell holders and 3 extra spaces
  • Extremely durable due to cast-iron zinc components
  • Auto-adjusting tray
  • Loose fit shell holders
  • Extra strength required to changing shell holders

RCBS 90200 Hand Priming Tool

Much like their high-praised progressive reloading press, the RCBS hand priming tool 90200 is one of the top-rated products available on the market nowadays. And for a good reason: this is a very safe and handy tool that can considerably reduce the reloading time. Plus, it’s packed with a multitude of great features. It comes equipped with primer plugs for both large and small sizes, allowing you to set up primers safely and quickly. It also features a safety gate that separates the primer supply from the priming seat, thus preventing tray detonation. If you are looking for an affordable hand primer that is both convenient and extra safe then the RCBS 90200 model is the perfect choice for you. 

Pros Cons
  • Safety gate that keeps primers separate from the tray
  • Convenient
  • Cast iron body that is extremely durable
  • Up to 100 simultaneous primers capacity
  • Plastic tray lid
  • You need shell holders from the same brand for compatibility

Lyman E-ZEE Universal Priming Tool

If you are looking for a cheap hand primer tool that is also efficient and easy to use, the Lyman Products E-ZEE Universal model should be right up your alley. Firearm owners that are on a budget should be quite familiar with the hassle of finding a qualitative product that doesn’t necessarily break the bank. This universal hand priming tool is the perfect answer, featuring two interchangeable trays with in-built shut-off gates to keep the primers in place. It works great with any shell holder, and its metal body makes it a durable, yet comfortable handheld primer tool.

Pros Cons
  • Very inexpensive primer of high-quality
  • Easy-to-use and very comfortable
  • Great for both large and small primers
  • Enhanced safety measures
  • Compatible with any type of shell holders
  • Slightly below-average accuracy
  • You need to purchase the shell holders separately

Hornady 0500021 Handheld Priming Tool

The Hornady 0500021 is considered by many users the least difficult to use handheld primer tool out there. It’s extremely easy to operate, featuring a one-piece tray that brings a new and improved retaining technology. This is mainly due to a lid-lock that will keep everything in place. At the same time, there is no need of separating primer bushings, due to a fully molded primer bushing that keeps everything simple and efficient. Lastly, this model features a plier-style handle that is very user-friendly, and that will reduce the chances of hand fatigue. 

Pros Cons
  • Simple and efficient integrally molded brushings
  • Easy-to-use and extremely comfortable
  • Features a separate tray for RCBS shell holders
  • Plier-style handle that reduces hand fatigue
  • One-piece tray with safety lock
  • You need to purchase the shell holders separately

What is a Hand Priming Tool and Why Use It?

A hand primer will allow you to feed small or large primers with ease when reloading your ammunition. The best hand priming tool models available today can seat primers safely, and extremely fast. They include both small and large primer plugs, as well as safety mechanisms that will separate the seating operation and the primer supply. Furthermore, and much like the name suggests, a universal hand priming tool will fit in your hand perfectly for portable primer seating.

Hand Priming Tool Benefits

Now, it’s only natural that some people out there might think that purchasing the best hand primer for the money is just an unnecessary expense, and a fad. Everybody is certainly entitled to their opinion, but the reality of it is that there are a lot of significant benefits you can derive from this purchase. For instance:

  • It’s better than priming on press: The first and most important benefit of a primer tool is that of literally eliminating any possibility of tray detonation. Since a handled primer tool is not mounted to a bench, this will a lot more flexibility in the loading process, and it will make it that much easier for you to prime your cases after you’ve cleaned them.
  • Portable: At the same time, the main difference between a press and a hand primer lies in the fact that you can take the latter wherever you want. You will not be constricted to one single place, usually a bench to which press primers need to be attached.
  • Safe: Whenever handling firearms, safety should be the number one priority, and this is exactly what such a tool can provide during the reloading process. Priming is a relatively dangerous process, which is why all of the best hand primer tools available on the market come with advanced safety features.

What to Look for in Hand Priming Tool?

Now that we’ve gone through the most popular and recommended hand priming tool models, it’s time to go over some of the key features that you should consider before deciding on a purchase:

Material

Ideally, you will be using your newly-purchased hand primer for thousands and thousands of rounds. For this to be possible, you want a product made from a sturdy material, preferably heavy-duty steel, or cast iron. These are known for their durability, both practically guaranteeing a very long lifespan.

Shell Holder

There are models out there that do not use shell holders at all, and there are models that will require you to purchase them separately. Thus, before deciding on a purchase, you should make sure to check out if shell holders will be included in the sale price. Ideally, you should be looking out for a universal primer tool, as this will allow you to use any size of shells.

Safety

As previously mentioned, safety should always come first, especially when dealing with ammunition. Thus, the top-rated hand primer tools must come with advanced safety features, that practically negates the possibility of tray detonation.

Design

Another key feature of the best hand priming tool is the design. Make sure to check out the handle before making a purchase, and always go for ergonomically designed products that will not require you to exercise too much pressure.

How to Use Hand Priming Tool?

Contrary to popular belief, using a hand priming tool correctly can be done by following only a couple of small simple steps:

  • Choose the right tray: You must always choose the tray, based on the size of the primers. The last thing that you want is to have a primer sitting in the incorrect position, so you should always use the switch when changing the primers’ size.
  • Choose the shell holder: Not every hand primer is compatible with all shell holder brands. Thus, always make sure to check the brand of the shell holder and match it with your hand priming tool.
  • Apply gentle pressure: This step is crucial, and you should always push small amounts of gunpowder gently into the base of your projectile. Never press it too hard, otherwise, you risk an explosion.
  • Check the depth: Always check carefully for how long your primer has gone into its seat. It should never go too deep, and there should never be any bulges. Remember, the depth of the primer will determine the performance of the bullet!

Safety Tips when Using a Primer 

This may very well be the most important aspect of using a hand primer. Any mistake or overlooked step from above may lead to tragic accidents, so you can never be too safe. Thus, we recommend wearing hearing and eye protection at all times while operating a primer tool. Plus, always store it in its original package when you’re not using it. The package should also be stored in dry spaces, far away from heat sources.

FAQ

Should I Choose a Bench Priming Tool or a Portable One?

Most hand priming tools available these days are portable. This allows users to prime cases anytime and anywhere. However, if you feel more comfortable with grounded products, then you can always opt in for a model that features a portable reloading bench.

What Is the Depth That the Primer Should Be Positioned?

You should always seat by feel, and not measured depth. Always make sure to set the primers just below flush for extra safety.

What are the Maintenance Tips for a Primer?

Even if you buy the best hand priming tool available on the market, you will still have to properly take care of it. With good maintenance, the primer tool will serve you well and for a long time. 

To begin with, clean your primer tray regularly, and dust all the other parts making sure that there is no residue left. Then, use machine oil or light grease on the handle, to keep it supple and mobile.

Conclusion

Regardless if you are a seasoned shooter or a complete newbie, buying safe and effective gear such as a hand primer tool is a must. And the best hand priming tool 2021 should feature a safety separator keeping the tray away from the primers, a cast-iron body for durability, and preferably universal shell holders. The design, portability, and ease of use are other key factors to take into consideration, much like the price. 

So keep all these in mind, and we have no doubt that you will find only the best hand priming tool!

So have you ever used a primer tool?