• RCBS APS Hand Priming Tool

    Over the last 25 plus years, I've reloaded with nearly every reloading tool available in that time frame. I'm an inveterate trader and tinkerer and make no apologies for it. It keeps me interested and knowledgeable. I seem to end up with all the odds and ends that those who've quit reloading don't have any further use for. By the way, I wasn't aware that quitting reloading was an option, but I guess it is for some? I've had, in years gone by, more presses, scales, trimmers and priming tools than any human ought to be able to have. Most were bought at yard sales or from ads in the local papers, and some from gun shows, and of course, some were new. All worked, and some worked well. It is when you've had a chance to experience the range of tools available that you begin to realize what works well, and you tend to keep it.

    I was recently at the Cabela's store in Dundee, MI and they were having a huge tent sale. It was at that sale I encountered a strange lot of CCI primers that came in little plastic strips, 25 primers in a strip. They were going for around $9 a box of 1000. Now I may not be a genius, (and I can prove it) but that's too good of a deal to pass up. I bought all they had, 6000. After I got home with my treasure, (that's how we reloaders look at a deal), I simply punched the primers out of the strips, one at a time, as I used them. I didn't need no new fangled priming tool to use these babies. Then one day it dawned on me, (I told you, I'm no genius!) that a tool that used these priming strips would be really neat and you wouldn't have to handle the primers at all. Now I wasn't having any trouble poking them out of the strips and using my Lee Classic Cast press to prime cases, it just didn't seem right to waste all the pre-loaded strips, after RCBS was nice enough to load them for me. BUT, that new priming tool from RCBS is almost $40, now that's a couple of cans of gunpowder for me. Hmmm, I'm cheap about some things, especially when it cuts into my shooting money. In the end I bought one of the RCBS APS Hand priming tools. I couldn't stand it anymore, it looked like such a good idea.

    When you look at the RCBS priming tool, you'll wonder why someone didn't think of itsooner. It's one of those kind of tools that should have been invented years ago, but evidently everybody with half a brain was busy. But when someone with enough marbles did get freed up, he sure did a bang up job on this dang little priming tool. It's got all the right features. Primers are separated from each other in the strips so as to make it impossible for a stack of primers to detonate. This is a good thing. The strips advance and index with absolute precision, and changing from large to small primers is a snap. You only have three extra pieces to keep track of with this tool. The allen wrench, the priming punch for whichever size you're not using and the wrench to change priming punches. A neat feature is that you can store the unused punch threaded into the side of the wrench and use it for leverage to change punches, also making it harder to lose. The tool fits the hand nicely and leverage is just right. To change punches, you use the allen wrench to tighten a setscrew in the side of the handle while holding the handle squeezed. This locks the punch in the raised position, and keeps it from turning. Simply take the knurled wrench and unscrew the punch, and install the opposite punch with the same wrench. Loosen the setscrew in the handle and you're ready to go. If you've used other RCBS hand priming tools of recent manufacture, that don't use the APS strips, and you've liked the leverage of these tools, then the APS hand tool is just the same. Other priming tools from RCBS and many other manufacturers require a shell holder change to accommodate different calibers. Not so with the RCBS APS tool, it uses a spring loaded set of opposing jaws that firmly hold and center the case for proper priming. This is another one of those features that make you wonder why someone hasn't thought of it sooner. It works like it's supposed to, which is saying something in this day and age of gizmos that don't always work as intended. I get so tired of buying something thinking it will make a job easier, only to find it's more trouble than it's worth. This is definitely not the case with this fine priming tool from RCBS. They have done their homework and improved the way we do one of the most mundane and monotonous tasks of reloading.

    If for some reason you like to use primers other than CCI, which is what are factory loaded in the APS strips from RCBS, then you're covered too. You need the RCBS APS Primer Strip Loader. With this tool you simply pour the primers of choice into the tray of the tool, shake it a bit to orient the primers cup up and insert an empty strip into the loading trough. Press the handle and presto! You have a loaded strip with 25 primers in a snap. Strips are available in different colors. Six for rifle and four for pistol primers. For rifle primers there are standard, magnum, and benchrest in large and small. For pistol there are strips for standard and magnum primers, both large and small. This makes primer identification as easy as looking at the color.

    After I looked over the tool and changed the priming punches a time or two to get the feel of the tool I was ready to start priming cases and see how it worked in real reloading, not just playing with the tool. I was getting ready for whitetail season and had several 30/06 and 260 brass that was ready for priming, so away I went. What can I say, it works like a charm. It ranks right up there with the best priming tools I've ever used and the convenience cannot be equaled. Changing strips takes 3 seconds tops and you're happily priming away. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I've spent several times the price of this tool for priming tools for precision reloading, and they aren't nearly as convenient as this tool and reloads from this tool were just as accurate as with any tool. no matter what the price. The one size fits all jaws of the tools work perfectly, holding any case I tried solidly. I can't imagine what else you could ask of a priming tool.

    Have you gotten the idea that I liked this tool? Well you should have.. It is one of those things that you'll use and wonder how you ever got along without it. It's that good. An idea whose time has come, and I'm sure glad that some brainiac took the time to design it. He sure made the job of priming a whole lot easier. It shouldn't surprise anyone that RCBS has come up with a great idea for a priming tool that works like gang busters, they've been making great reloading tools for longer than I've been tradein' guns and gear!

    605 Oro Dam Blvd
    Oroville, CA 95965