Perfect Primer Seating with Frankford Arsenal

Though priming a large number of cases can be taxing, many prefer handheld priming tools because the handloader can feel the primer being seated into the primer pocket. A properly seated primer is vital for consistency and accuracy. Primer seating on most presses provides so much leverage that “feel” is sacrificed. Some handheld priming tools can be difficult and frustrating to use. Let’s see how the Frankford Arsenal Perfect Seat Hand Primer stacks up.


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About the Frankford Arsenal Hand Seat Primer

I started hand-priming back in the 1980’s. It offers some great advantages – it’s portable and simple. You can prime cases at the kitchen table or while watching TV if you wish. It also gives you the opportunity to inspect each case.  

From Frankford Arsenal: 

The Frankford Arsenal® Perfect Seat Hand Primer will make sure you do not over seat and crush a primer again. It features a dial that adjusts the seating depth .001 at a time with a total adjustment range of .05. Once you have the seating depth set, you can squeeze the handle as hard as you want; with the positive hard stop the primer will never seat deeper than the set depth. The Frankford Arsenal® Perfect Seat Hand Primer, designed so you can have the perfect primer seat every time.


    • Tool comes complete with 12 shell holders to cover the most popular cases and the self-righting primer tray holds 100+ primers
    • Works with both small and large primers – case includes 3 extra posts so you can store custom or rare collets in the same place
    • A quick thumb release system allows you to switch from small to large primers easily and a hard stop so you can never over crush a primer
    • Features an adjustable seating system that helps prevent “proud” primers or crushing primers into cases
    • Constructed of a heavy-duty die-cast zinc with steel internal components. The entire system stores in a robust injection molded case

What’s in the Box

The Frankford Arsenal perfect seat hand primer comes in a sturdy injection molded case for easy storage and portability. Inside is the primer seater body, instructions, a shell holder chart, a primer flip tray, large and small primer pins and sleeves, and 12 clearly labeled shell holders which I greatly appreciated. (Both the shell holders and the pegs they rest on are labeled!) 

Features of the Frankford Arsenal Perfect Seat Hand Primer

Several things struck me about this handheld primer. First was the nicely finished appearance. It looks like a quality tool and is much heavier than other handheld priming tools I’ve used. A zinc body and steel internal construction point towards a long life. It feels great in my hand and is comfortable to use. 

The 12 clearly labeled shell holders are a real improvement over my drawer full of assorted shell holders by several manufacturers. These 12 shell holders can accommodate most centerfire rifle and pistol cartridge cases. I checked and found that all of the rifle cartridges I regularly load can be used with the included shell holders. This is a range from the diminutive 204 Ruger to the large 375 H&H and 45-70. 

If the primer seating depth needs to be adjusted, turning a dial on the body adjusts the seating depth .001 per click with a total of .05 available. It also has a positive hard stop to prevent crushed primers. 

The primer flip tray holds 100 primers.  I started testing with large rifle primers and 45-70 cases, but it’s pretty simple to change from one primer size to another. The flip tray works like any other — place the ribbed side of the flip tray over the sleeve of primers.  

Hold them tightly together and flip, removing the now empty packaging. Lightly shake the tray side to side until all primers are facing up with the primer cup showing. Add the top to the tray and slide the small tongue sticking out from the corner into the primer body. Inside the tray there’s a little dam that prevents primers from moving forward until you are ready for them too. The rest of the process is like any other hand seater. Make sure a primer falls into the shellholder with the primer cup up, slide the case in, squeeze the handle, and pull the case out. You should always make sure the primers are flush. If any are proud, adjust the seating depth with the dial on the body and reseat the primer again. 

To change to small rifle or pistol primers, you first have to push down on the thumb latch and remove the shellholder. Be careful, it’s spring-loaded. Personally, I like to hold it horizontally to prevent parts from flying out.

Set up for Pistol Priming – Shellholder 19

There’s only three parts— the primer stem, spring, and part of the primer assembly. I swapped out the large primer stem and spring with the small primer stem and spring then added the thumb latch and the rest of the assembly back in. Hold down the latch, keeping  your thumb out of  the way and install the appropriate shellholder.


This isn’t the least expensive handheld primer tool, but it seems to be a very good one. I am able to feel the primer as it goes in. Assembling it and using it was simple, and the tool did a good job. I especially love the set of labeled shellholders and the fact this hand-primer comes compact in an all-in-one kit. One thing that really sets this hand-primer apart is its customizable seating depth. 

Get the Gear 

The MSRP is $104.99 but the tool can be found for $74.99 retail. 

Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Perfect Seat Hand Primer (

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Guy Miner

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