Lee Precision Ergo Prime – priming tool review

I recently got a batch of once fired Winchester brass in .243 and wanted to use in my Blaser. I prepared the brass as I usually do, full re-sized it and started loading process. First thing to do was to prime the brass. I used my usual tool which I used for last couple of years -Lee Auto Prime.


Lee Auto Prime is probably most popular hand priming tool in the world. It is cheap as chips and easy to use giving good control when sitting primers. It comes with two round trays for large and small primers and has to be used with dedicated shell holders – these are different from shell holders used with a press and are caliber specific.
Auto Prime is a great tool, however, built quality is not to the highest standard and I saw many with bent handles or broken, but to be honest this must have been to improper usage by home loading gorillas 😆
One thing that Lee re-designed a few years ago was the trays. They introduced new square trays to prevent theoretically possible chain reaction as it could be possible to accidentally detonate a primer that being seated and as the rest of the primers held in the old round trays were not separated. In the re-designed square tray (Auto Prime XR) they put a simple mechanism to separate primers from the tray from the one being seated. The same square trays were used in new Ergo Prime.

When I started reloading my new batch of Winchester brass I soon got a case I just could not squeeze in a primer. It just would not sit flush with the bottom of the case and Lee Auto Prime handle would just bent. I used K&M primer uniformer (I never had to do this before) but it did not help. Some of the primer pockets were just tight and it was real muscle exercise to seat primers.

I started looking for an alternative to Auto Prime and spotted new Ergo Prime from Lee Precision. I am a fan of Lee and generally all they do is low cost but it works. I spotted Ergo Prime on Amazon and just got it.

First impression was very positive. Nice red handle and two trays packed nicely with instructions. It was easy to use and the shell holders I got for Auto Prime could be reused.

I got back to this stubborn Winchester brass and reloaded all remaining cases in no time. It was pleasure to use and never noticed any tight primers. I even used this tool on primed cases with already fitted primers previously with Auto Prime that were not exactly flush with the bottom of the case, and it worked a treat. Really pleased with it.

If you broken your Auto Prime or feel tired after fitting 100 primers with it, have a look on Ergo Prime. It is great little tool for not much more.

[amazon_enhanced asin=”B0075LKW78″ /]
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  1. Clear demonstration of both, agree the ergo prime is an significant improvement.

    What is your current 243 load? Do you you have different loads for roe and red?

    1. Hi Simon,

      At the moment I only tested one reload 87gr Hornady V-Max, 35.4gr of Vihtvuori N140, CCI200 primers and once fired Remington cases. COAL is 2.685″ to the tip. I only used factory 100gr ammo on red deer. So far I only shot a couple of roe deer with a V-Max. One shot heart lungs can be seen on this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPK4o02LsDQ
      Very little meat damage I was expecting a lot more…
      I neck shot one as well and it was very effective and the bullet well expanded. So should be good roe load.
      I will try 100gr reloads soon just to have something universal for both roe and reds. Has to be minimum 100gr in Scotland.


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