Easy Prime Time (with Colonel Smoothbore)
By angelamontana

It’s finally summer and I’m spending as much time outdoors as I possibly can. A little golf, lots of yard work, some fishing, and weekends spent competing in trap tournaments are keeping me off the couch. So with all the outdoor activities that keep me busy in these wonderfully warm months, I don’t have much time to reload cartridges. So I need to maximize my reloading time by being more efficient.

Lee Precision, Inc. was started by Richard Lee in 1958. Lee reloading equipment has been a staple of the hobby ever since. Lee has been providing quality equipment at very reasonable prices for almost 60 years. Some think that because it is inexpensive, it might be of inferior quality; I can attest that is not the case. I don’t own a great many Lee tools, but the Lee tools I have are of great quality and some that I use the most.

If I counted right, I reload nine different pistol and rifle cartridges and three different shotshell combinations. This makes winters a bit shorter as I spend quite a bit of time preparing ammunition for the upcoming shooting and hunting seasons. Recently I purchased a new tool that has really made my pistol and rifle reloading efforts more productive and easier. It’s the Auto Bench Prime from Lee Precision.

I prefer to hand prime my pistol and rifle cartridges. Doing so gives me the opportunity to immediately inspect the primed case to make sure the primer is seated properly. Unfortunately over the years I have developed arthritis in both my hands. I’ve undergone reconstructive surgery on one and in the near future, I may need some work on the other. As a result of this affliction, my hand strength has deteriorated and after priming just a few dozen cartridges, my hands ache and often the muscles and joints stiffen to the point I have to stop my production. The Auto Bench Prime Tool has really made priming easier for me and quite honestly it is the best priming tool I have ever used.

The Auto Bench Prime can be permanently mounted to your reloading bench or you can mount it, as I did, on a separate board making it very portable. Heck, you can even take it to the range and produce new rounds while working on new loads. FYI, I used a rectangular piece of oak that measures 3/4 inch thick, 4 inches wide, and 10 inches long.  I did a little finishing work (stain and varnish) on the board and mounted the priming tool biased toward one end. It works great. This new tool is really easy to use, I can seat a primer with light pressure with just one finger!

I found my Auto Bench Prime, which includes mounting hardware and instructions, along with a kit containing just about every shell holder one might need for about 40 bucks. It is one of the best values in my gun room and I love it. If you hand prime your cartridges, I strongly suggest you try the Lee Auto Bench Prime Tool. I’m sure you’ll be quite pleased with the results.

Be safe and good shooting.

Colonel Smoothbore