October 9th, 2017

TECH Tip: Check Your Primer Tools If You Have Primer Problems

Priming Tool APS CCI magnum Primers Lee RCBS Priming

From time to time, we all encounter a primer that doesn’t go off. It’s normal to attribute the problem to a bad primer. But sometimes there are other explanations. George S., one of our Forum members, experienced a couple failures to fire, but he learned that the issue was his priming TOOL, not his primers. Here’s what George told us. There’s a lesson to be learned:

“I had issues with CCI 450s when I had my first 6BR barreled. I had probably three or four out of 20 rounds that failed to fire. the primers were dented but didn’t fire. I called CCI since I had bought a case of them. The tech was decent enough but had the audacity to tell me I was not seating the primers all the way in the pocket. I proceeded to let him know I had been reloading longer than he had been alive and I knew how to seat a primer.

Turns out that I did and I didn’t! I was using the RCBS primer tool I had used for years and the primers felt just fine to me. I finally decided to check the tool and since I had a new one I took the seating pins out and measured them. The seating pin on the tool I had been using for years was shorter by a few thousandths! I then used the pin from the new primer tool and darned if the primers that didn’t seat down to the bottom of the cup.

I switched to a K&M primer tool for seating the CCI primers and have not had a problem since. It was the combination of harder cup and lack of proper seating. I did call the CCI tech back and apologized for being an idiot.”

Another Forum member witnessed a problem cause by misuse of a priming tool: “I did … see a failure to fire on a Rem 9 1/2 primer only a week ago. That was in the new Rem muzzleloader that uses a primed case to ignite the pellets. After watching the muzzleloader’s owner seat his primers, I believe that it was operator error not the primer. He was seating the primer and then squeezing the priming tool so hard that his hands hurt after a few. We got that corrected.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 2 Comments »
June 14th, 2016

Reloading Gear Review: Lyman Case Prep Xpress

Lyman Case Prep Xpress gear review

For a few years now, Lyman has offered the Case Prep Xpress, an all-in-one case prep center that chamfers necks (inside and out), cleans and uniforms primer pockets, brushes the inside of case-necks, and uniforms flash holes. The unit can also ream out the crimps on military brass. However, the Lyman Case Prep Xpress does NOT trim cases.

The Lyman Case Prep Xpress comes with all the necessary tools (listed above), so you don’t have to purchase extra accessories. The five (5) gear-driven heads on the unit are powered by a high torque, low-speed motor ideal for case prep operations. Lyman’s Case Prep Xpress features handy storage areas for accessories, a removable brass shavings dump pan, and a handy clean-up brush.

Sinclair Int’l video clearly illustrates all case prep functions. Worth watching.

In the 3.5 years that this product has been on the market it has been a strong seller. If you’re prepping hundreds of cases, this unit will save considerable time and reduce hand/finger fatigue. While the Case Prep Xpress is not as sturdy as the metal-bodied Hornady prep center, the Lyman unit offers a lot of functionality for the money ($115-$125 normal price, and sometimes around $100 on sale).

Lyman Case Prep Xpress Pros and Cons

GOOD Features
Quite Affordable (under $120)
Compatible with RCBS and Redding Tool-heads
Removable Bin for Shavings
Four Brush Sizes: .25, .30, .38, .45
Compact Footprint

Not-So-Good Features
Tool-heads Not Particularly Sharp
No Case Trim Function
No Flash-hole Uniformer
No Top Dust-Cover
Only 1-Year Warranty

Reviews by Verified Purchasers

“Case prep is the most tedious and boring aspect for hand loading in my opinion. The process center makes all the steps in prepping the case very quick and with consistent results. It has reduced the time required to do these steps with separate tools by easily 50% if not more. Highly recommended.” — Brandon G.

“Quiet and capable. Worth every penny. I adapted a Lee Cutter and Lock Stud, to cut case lengths, and I can fly through my brass. I can do so much more brass without getting the sore, cramped-up hands.” — Dean Ellis

“This unit has plenty of torque, and my unit is very quiet. This unit will also work with tools made by RCBS and Hornady, or anything else with 8-32 threads. My Redding tools (specifically, my primer pocket uniformers) do in fact fit on this machine. This unit is certainly worth the money, and will revolutionize the way you reload by saving you massive amounts of time and wear on your hands/fingers.” — Mule

“A simple machine to perform complex solutions. I was up and running in about 10 minutes flat. This thing has made my life of reloading so much easier. I do wish there was a trimmer included, but I have a manual one from L.E. Wilson.” — Richard Niles

Lyman Case Prep XpressYou can find Lyman’s Case Prep Xpress for under $120.00 at Brownells and Midsouth, making it much less expensive than the larger Hornady Case Prep Center, which runs about $365.00. The Hornady unit is beefier, and will trim cases. However, we think the compact Lyman unit makes sense for guys who already have a good case trimmer, such as a Forster or Wilson. The Lyman Case Prep Xpress is hundreds of dollars less than the Hornady prep center. The money you save will buy lots of bullets and brass.

Case Prep Xpress $115.45 at Midsouth
The Lyman Case Prep Xpress is sold by most of the big vendors. The best current price we found was at Midsouth Shooters Supply, which sells the Lyman unit for $115.45.

Gear Review Tip from Edlongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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December 31st, 2012

Magna-Tip Torx Driver Set from Brownells

Here’s a cool Torx driver from Brownells that belongs in every shooter’s tool box. The Magna-Tip Tactical/LE Field Torx Kit features a driver with five (5) Torx bits to fit popular scope rings and bases. A storage compartment in the handle holds the bits when not in use. A built-in magnetic socket in the handle holds each bit securely in the shank. We think this is a great new product. When Eyeballing a Torx screw, it’s hard to tell which size bit is required, and the short, L-shaped Torx wrenches that come with ring sets get lost all too easily. The $17.99 Torx Driver Kit, (Brownells Item 080-000-757), will help shooters keep all their often-used Torx bits safely in one place.

Brownells Magna tip torx driver

Permalink Gunsmithing No Comments »
January 25th, 2012

SHOT Show: JGS Precision Mfg. — Reamers and More…

Robert Whitley of AR-X Enterprises visited the JGS booth to review the Oregon-based tool-maker’s offerings for 2012. In the video below, Cary Pugh of JGS Precision Mfg., spotlights some popular JGS products including chamber reamers, headspace gauges, core drills, counter-bores, and more….

JGS Precision

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March 6th, 2011

Gear Review: Bruno Concentricity-Checking Tool

German Salazar has posted an informative article about concentricity-checking tools on his Rifleman’s Journal Blog. In that article, German provides a detailed review of the impressive new Bruno Concentricity Checker which features a high-grade dial indicator and an innovative system for holding both loaded cartridges and empty brass in place during the measurement process. German gives the Bruno tool high marks and it is now his favored concentricity gauge, replacing on older Sinclair tool (also reviewed in the article).

German writes: “When measuring a seated bullet, the Bruno [tool] is simple and intuitive in use: adjust the length of the tip holder, set up the indicator to bear on the ogive and get to it. I usually slip a Sinclair hex nut comparator over a bullet to make a faint mark right at the ogive to help me in determining where to set the indicator. I then set the indicator tip about 0.010″ behind the mark so that I am definitely on the bearing surface even if some of the bullets have a bit of variance. It’s a handy way to get set up consistently from one session to another.”

German continues: “Reading an empty case requires a little more effort, but not much…. Once the case mouth is smooth, the readings are in line with those of the Sinclair tool, although easier to read to a fine level of precision due to the finer gradations on the indicator and its horizontal mounting. The Bruno tool has become my principal tool for checking the concentricity resulting from different die setups and for comparing the results of one loading process to another. I simply have more confidence in my ability to get an accurate reading from it. After many years of service, I’ve decided to retire the old Sinclair and make the Bruno tool my primary concentricity tool. It is simply a better made, easier-to-use, more accurate tool and those are the qualities I value in any tool.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Reloading 4 Comments »
January 7th, 2011

New Case Prep Multi-Tool with Six Heads and Internal Storage

Lyman has introduced a handy new multi-function Case Prep Tool. Most serious reloaders employ a variety of tools to chamfer and de-burr case mouths, and to clean and uniform primer pockets. As you may need four or five separate tools to do all these tasks, keeping track of all those gadgets can be a challenge. The Lyman Case Prep Multi-Tool makes life simpler. The Multi-Tool comes with six matching tool-heads, all of which conveniently store inside the orange-anodized aluminum handle.

Lyman’s new double-ended Case Prep Multi-Tool is a smart design. It holds tools on both ends, and the orange handle unscrews in the middle to provide secure storage for all necessary case prep fittings: Outside Deburring Tool, VLD Inside Deburring Tool, Large & Small Primer Pocket Cleaners, and Large & Small Primer Pocket Reamers. Both ends of the handle are threaded, allowing two heads to be mounted at the same time.

Lyman Case Prep Multi-Tool

COMMENT: Priced at $24.95 MSRP, the Lyman Case Prep Multi-tool is a good value, considering what it would cost to buy a full set of case prep tools one by one. However, we wish some of the tool heads had better cutting edges out of the box. For the Multi-tool heads (as with most Lyman cutting tools), you’ll benefit by honing the cutting edges with a good whetstone or blade sharpener.

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May 8th, 2010

40% Off Savings on Savage Barrel Nut Wrench

Thanks to Savage’s signature barrel nut system, it’s easy for Savage rifle owners to swap barrels without gunsmith assistance. With a pre-fit barrel from Pac-Nor or Shilen you can easily re-barrel your rifle and set the headspace with go/no-go gauges. In addition to a barrel vise, you’ll need a specialized barrel nut wrench to swap Savage barrels. Now through 5/31/2010, MidwayUSA has the Wheeler Engineering Savage Barrel Nut Wrench on sale for just $22.99, marked down from $38.49 (a $15.50 savings — roughly 40%). For comparison, Brownell’s charges $47.90 for the Sharp Shooter Supply Savage barrel nut wrench.

Wheeler Savage barrel nut wrench

The double-ended Wheeler Savage Barrel Nut Wrench (item #288765) allows easy removal of the barrel nut on Savage model 10, model 110, and model 12 series rifles. Made from 3/16″ steel, the Wheeler tool features two 1/2″ square drive holes for a swing bar or torque wrench.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Hot Deals 2 Comments »
June 3rd, 2009

Speed Case-Prep with Lithium-Ion Powered Screwdrivers

Many folks use battery-powered screwdrivers for case prep work. A powered screw-driver is a convenient, inexpensive power source for case-neck chamfering and other tasks. However, if you have been using an older screwdriver, you may want to consider an upgrade to the latest generation of rechargeable screwdrivers with Lithium-Ion batteries. The Lithium-Ion powerpack is a new technology that significantly outperforms the old NiCad batteries.

Lithium Ion screwdriver

The new Li-Ion screwdrivers are much smaller, hold their charge for longer periods of time, and the batteries will last longer. These units cost about $30-$50, are lightweight, and fit in the palm of your hand. We think this pistol grip design is easier to hold that the first-generation cordless screwdrivers. They certainly run longer… that’s for certain. We get about two hours on a charge. If you buy a spare battery you can just swap it in and keep working.

The Li-Ion Black & Decker SmartDriverā„¢ powered screwdriver comes complete with 20 accessories for $48.29. Black & Decker claims its compact screwdriver delivers 20% more power verses a regular rechargable screwdriver and lasts longer.

Toolbarn has a SKIL Cordless Palm Size Screwdriver that comes with a 34-bit accessory kit, for $42.00. The tool is very light and comfortable to hold. SKIL claims the Lithium-Ion battery will hold its charge for up to 18 months.

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April 15th, 2009

Seven-Function Tool for AR15s Released by ATI

With the new AR15 combo tool from American Tactical Imports, you can pretty much take apart an entire AR15 rifle. This all-purpose tool can be used for installing and removing buttstocks, free float tubes, barrel extension tubes, and handguards. It will work with both standard stocks and M4-style stocks. The tool also fits CAR stocks with 3 point castle nut and locking rings.

AR15 multi combo tool

American Tactical Imports’ AR15 Combo Tool is seven tools in one. In addition to the uses already mentioned, the tool can be used to align barrel nuts to the gas tube. It has a wrench for muzzle brakes (compensators), plus it has a Ā½-inch drive for socket and torque wrenches.The ATI AR15 combo tool features a matte black, corrosion-resistent, hard-coat finish. Suggested retail price for the tool is $39.95, and that includes a limited lifetime warranty from ATI. With its versatility, we think this tool could be invaluable for owners of AR15s or AR-based “space-guns”.

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December 31st, 2007

Leatherman MICRA Multi-Tool — $9 Each (Two or More)

The Leatherman Micra is a versatile, ultra-compact Multi-tool. Not much bigger than a Swiss Army Knife when folded, the Micra may be the ultimate “urban survival tool”. Closed, it is only 2.5″ long, and it weighs just 1.75 ounces. It has knife blade, scissors, nail file, ruler, bottle opener, and both regular screw-driver and flat Phillips heads. You get all that utility in a package that will fit on a keychain! (Be careful though–you can’t carry the Micra on an airplane as it’s not TSA-approved)

Right now the Leatherman Micra is on sale at Wideners.com for just $12.00. Or, if you buy two or more, they are just $9 EACH. That’s a great deal. NOTE: These are surplus items, but they are in “like new condition” according to Wideners. We’ve checked extensively around the web. REI sells new Leatherman Micras for $25.95, and the cheapest price we could find (other than Wideners) was $19.00 per unit.

Leatherman Micra Tool $9 each

Here is a user review from REI.com: “I put it on my keyring that I carry with me just about everywhere. One place it can’t go is on commercial airlines, since it includes a sharp blade. Probably my favorite tool is the Phillips screwdriver–it works better than most dedicated screwdrivers. The knife and scissors do a great job for light cutting work as well.”

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