RCBS Hand-Priming Tool (Universal)

Rugged, Reliable Unit Fits All Rim Sizes with Universal Shell Holder

RCBS Universal priming toolMany careful reloaders prefer to use a hand-tool for seating primers. The majority of short-range benchrest shooters seat one primer at a time, using finely-machined hand tools, such as the Sinclair priming tool Such tools offer unrivaled “feel” during the seating process, but they are slow to use and require that you handle primers with your fingers. If you’re a fumble-fingers type like this Editor, you’ll drop a primer now and then. That’s why I prefer a hand tool that keeps the primers in a strip or a tray.

We think one of the best affordable priming tools on the market is the latest RCBS hand tool. RCBS’s Universal Hand Priming Tool boasts some many nice features. The tool now shares the Universal shell-holder we liked so much in the RCBS APS (strip-priming) hand tool. An opposed set of spring-loaded jaws allows you to prime nearly all sizes of cases, without the need for conventional shell-holders. This makes the tool faster and more convenient if you load a variety of calibers. And you’re never “out-of-luck” if you can’t find the right shell-holder. However, you do have to change the “pusher” shaft when you switch from small primers to large primers or vice versa.

The universal shell-holder has another important benefit. With opposing jaws holding the casehead, this allows the case to “float” and align itself as the primer is seated. This may help primers seat more consistently every time. With most other hand-priming tools, the case is held by a conventional shell-holder. This leaves about 40% of the rim unsupported on one side. If you actually look closely at cases as you seat primers with conventional tools, you’ll see the case tilt in the shellholder as the primer is inserted. In the RCBS, by contrast, the case stays straight as the primer goes in.

The new unit also shares its ergonomic grip (with plenty of leverage) with the APS model. A redesigned primer tray accommodates all brands of primer packages–you can easily load 100 primers at a time without worrying about spills. A unique Primer Safety Gate shields the primer being inserted from the remaining primers in the tray. That’s an important safety feature. The RCBS Universal Priming Tool retails for about $50.00 at major vendors such as MidwayUSA, RCBS product number 90201.

Here are MidwayUSA user reviews for this tool:

“I have been reloading for 34 years and I don’t know why I didn’t buy one of these tools years ago. Everything about it is great. Changing from large primer to small primer was very easy. Ergonomic fit in the hand is good. Loading primers into the tray is no problem. The universal shell holder is a plus. I rate this product a 10″. — Keith McC., NH

“Primers flip as they should, and they are seated to a uniform depth. The universal shell holder is great! I reload .223 up to the Sharps 45-120 with no problem. Also as a few have said buy two and make each a seperate large and small primer unit. I happen to like it very much as it makes priming easy and portable.” — Tom H., NY

“This is a very well-made tool. I do not like the changing from small to large primers as it is a little bit of a time waster and a awkward. I think it is just a matter of time before one of the parts gets lost. If the price was a little lower I would just buy two. Much more substantial than the Lee which I have been using. I rate it 4 stars, deducting for price and the way you have to change between large and small. Works great however.” — Fred, FL

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