Priming 260 Terminator cases with the RCBS Automatic Priming Tool

RCBS Automatic Priming Tool: Review

The RCBS Automatic Priming Tool is a bench-mounted, single-stage priming tool.

I’m not sure why it’s called the RCBS Automatic Priming Tool, unless it’s because the primer automatically falls into the priming rod cup when the user manually pulls the feed arm over it. I would have named it the RCBS Bench Priming Tool. Having said that, it’s a very effective tool for high-volume priming.

RCBS Automatic Priming Tool Mounted To Bench

Priming 260 Terminator cases.

It comes with everything needed to prime with small or large primers, and can be configured to prime with either one in just a few minutes. The two parts that have to be changed according to primer size are the primer tube and primer rod assemblies. The primer tubes can be filled with up to 100 primers at a time. Once the primers are all facing cup side up, you pick them up with the plastic nipple on the end of the tube. I used my Dillon Primer Flip Tray to get them facing the right way.

Dillon Flip Tray and RCBS Primer Tube

Dillon’s Flip Tray, used to orient primers to be picked up by the primer tube.

The other end of the tube uses a retainer clip to keep the primers from falling out until the tube is placed on the Automatic Primer Feed Arm. If you’ve ever used a Dillon progressive press, the primer tubes with be very familiar to you. Below the hole where the tube sits, there’s what they call a Stop Pin. The spring-loaded stop pin keeps the primers from falling out of the tube until the feed arm is pulled over the priming rod cup. The cup depresses the stop pin, allowing a primer to fall out into the cup. It works very well, and can be cycled much faster than it took me to type this sentence.

Stop Pin

The primer tube retainer clip in place, and the feed arm stop pin showing.

Primer In Priming Cup

Retaining pin out, allowing primers to rest against stop pin until cycling the feed arm.

The RCBS Automatic Priming Tool uses standard shellholders, which clip into the main ram just like they do in a press.

I’ve used both RCBS and Redding shellholders with mine. Once the primer is dropped into the priming rod cup, simply lift the handle, insert a case, and push down on the handle to seat the primer. The handle has enough leverage to firmly seat every primer, yet enough “feel” to know when you’ve hit the bottom.

RCBS Shellholder

Standard shellholders are used.

RCBS Automatic Priming Tool Lever

Priming handle contact point with priming rod. Excellent leverage and great “feel”.

The overall build quality of the RCBS Automatic Priming Tool is impressive. This thing is solid, and as soon as I pulled it out of the box I knew it would last a long time. Other than the nipple on the end of the primer tube, there are no plastic parts. A casual glance at my shooting log shows I’ve seated around 6,000 rifle primers with mine since early last year. I’ve had no problems with it and would buy it again. I bought mine from here.

Stay tuned for more reviews of the tools and equipment I use for reloading. If you have any comments about this review, or have an idea or request for another, please feel free to leave a comment below. Thanks!

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As an Idaho native, avid hunter, and long range shooter, Sam has written numerous articles and gear reviews for various online publications. Specializing in long range hunting in the mountains of northern Idaho, Sam founded Panhandle Precision as a way to continue sharing his passions.

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  • Dave
    March 19, 2017 at 07:41

    Sam, since you are loading on a Redding T7, did you try or consider their Slide Bar Automatic Primer Feeder System? I’m just getting started with Single Stage Reloading, but I’ve been using a Dillon 550B for years. I thought about using the 550 to seat primers, by pulling the handle to place a primer on the cup, then seating it and removing the brass, then repeating the step. Can you think of any drawbacks to this method? Thanks for all of your videos and articles!

    • Sam
      Sam Millard
      March 20, 2017 at 04:44

      The Dillon’s priming system is very similar to the RCBS tool. I can’t think of any drawbacks to that method. I had the RCBS tool before I bought the T-7, but I doubt I would have added anything to the T-7. I prefer to use my main press for sizing/seating only.

  • George M Yarborough
    December 31, 2018 at 16:09

    I have been using the RCBS hand help priming tool for years but due to my arthritis in my hands I decided to try the bench primer. The problem I have is that the bench primer does not seat the primers to the bottom of the primer pocket. After priming with the bench primer, I can seat the primers down another 2 thousands using the hand held primer. I sent the unit back to RCBS and they replied that the unit was working correctly. Any ideas?

    • Sam
      Sam Millard
      December 31, 2018 at 16:34

      No. My experience was exactly the opposite. You should be able to crush primers with the bench tool.


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