Thursday, December 08, 2005

Reloading: Primer Tube Filler

Reloading Tip:
Do you use a progressive loading press which features a "primer feed tube"?

I do, I've been using the Dillon XL650 for about 14 years and the thing I NEVER liked about it was using the Ashtray (Primer Flip Tray) to orient the primers, and the primer pickup tube to fill the primer feed tube.

For a while, I considered spending the (budget challenging) two hundred fifty bucks to buy the Dillon RF 100Automatic Primer Filler. But hey! I could buy a case of bullets with that money, so that's what I did.

Four or five years ago, a friend introduced to a simple, inexpensive, powered primer tube filler . . . the Vibra-Prime Automatic Primer Tube Filler from Frankford Arsenal.

It's all plastic, looks cheap, and it works like a charm. The best part is, instead of paying $249.95, you only pay $60!

There are three major parts to it: The primer tray assembly, the 'gun', and the tube assembly.

Step 1: Dump the primers in the bottom half of the primer tray, shake it to orient all the primers (just as you do with the Ashtray), put the cover over the primer tray so the outlet hole corresponding to the primer size (large or small) is open.

Step 2: Slide the primer tray assembly into the gun, insert the tube assembly (either the white one for small, or the black one for large primers) into the bottom of the gun and lock it into place.

Step 3: Pull the trigger and watch the battery-powered (one AA battery, not included) gun shake the primers from the tray into the tube.
Then all you have to do is dump the primer feed tube into the primer tube of your reloading press. It's all done.

After I got my Vibra-Primer, I immediately did a Geek Customization Job on it.
I separated the primer feed tube from the feed tube adapter in the primer tube assemblies, and added an extra step to the process. In Step 2, instead of using the included primer tube assembly, I just insert the primer tube adapter (white plastic for small primers, black plastic for large primers) into the gun. Then I put a Dillon Primer Pickup Tube in the hole where the primer feed tube went.

Before I did this, I bought extra primer pickup tubes from Dillon - two batches of four for small primers and two batches of four for large primers, at $16/4-pack - so when I start loading primers I pull the plastic tips off the pickup tubes and load THAT end into the primer tube adaptor. After I've filled each tube, I remove the tube from the adaptor, put the plastic tip on it, set it aside and start the process over again. That way I can load 8 tubes at a time (takes about 10-15 minutes, all together) and then I can load 800 rounds of ammunition without having to 'revisit the priming process'. And BTW, the primer tray CAN accomodate the large Federal-brand Primer boxes.


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