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Capybara 02-12-2014 3:13 PM

Quick Review - The Harvey Hand Depriming Tool
Quick Review - Harvey Depriming Tool

FTC Disclaimer: Harvey Deprimer did not send me a Harvey Depriming tool for review, I purchased my review unit at full retail price. No material connection exists between me and Harvey Deprimer, and no payment, compensation, or other blandishment has been offered in return for a favorable review.

Description: Hand-held depriming tool
Specifications: Weight: 11 ounces
Outside Length: 5 inches
Outside width: 1 inch
Depriming pin diameter: .07"
Depriming pin constructed from 01 tool steel, heat-treated to Rockwell 50C
Maximum cartridge length: 3.075 inches
Maximum cartridge width: .62 inches
Maximum cartridge rim: .75 inches
Machined from a solid block of 6061 aluminum, just like your AR 80% lower.
Cost: $49.95

For many reloaders who prefer to deprime their cases before wet tumbling, removing spent primers from cases can be a tedious process, requiring more hours spent at the reloading bench, well before even getting into the actual reloading process. There are advantages to depriming at your reloading bench, your press is probably set up with a decapping die or if you are lucky enough to have a progressive press, you can probably deprime a thousand cases fairly quickly. But for those who want to deprime away from their reloading bench, the choice of tool comes to mind. For space challenged apartment dwellers, bringing out the portable bench and setting up the press, just to deprime, may be a nuisance. For the rest of us, unlike actual reloading, depriming is kind of boring, mindless and repetitive. Depriming from your couch or recliner, watching the big game might sound more appealing than being tied down to your bench for hours at a time. I recently purchased a Harvey Deprimer. I have had the unit for about a month and in that time I have used it to deprime approximately 1,500 cases. The Harvey Hand Deprimer is an interesting tool that is designed to do just one thing and do it well. The tool requires no shell holders and will deprime all but the largest cartridge sizes.

While not inexpensive, the Harvey is a quality tool built with heavy-duty construction. A common complaint with decapping dies is that the decapping pin itself often breaks when accidentally trying to deprime a Berdan primed case. The decapping pin on the Harvey Deprimer is robust, it’s constructed of “heat-treated 01 tool steel” according to the manufacturer and in my experience so far, it has had no problems in successfully depriming hundreds of 9mm, .45 ACP, .223 and CMP HXP .30-06 cases with ease, whether the primers were military crimped or not. Extra decapping pins are available from Harvey for $5.00 each, but in reading user comments, nobody has complained about the decapping pin breaking.

The Harvey Depriming Tool is pretty simple to use. You open the tool up and push the decapping pin out from the tool body, then insert the tip of decapping pin into your case. Feeling your way into the case, you make sure that the tip of the decapping pin is placed into the primer pocket hole in the case. The case will not fit into channel in the tool, and the handle on the tool will not close unless you have the decapping rod inserted into the primer pocket. Once you have the decapping pin aligned and the case inserted into the case channel, you use the palm of your hand to slowly press down on the handle of the tool.

I obtained the best results in squeezing down slowly and deliberately. I found that if I carelessly “snapped” the handle down, the tool would sometimes launch the spent primer across the room. Primers are small and whomever does the vacuuming around the house will probably not appreciate picking up spent primers out of the carpet.

I discovered that by slowly and deliberately pushing the handle on the tool down, I could modulate where the primer would launch out of the end of the tool. I ended up using a discarded clear plastic salad container to catch the spent primers, then another one next to it to catch the deprimed cases. Of course, we all have our favorite containers for holding our cases and loaded ammo, use whichever does the trick for you, but I like recycling and being Green when it makes sense. To me, giving old salad containers new life on my reloading bench is a good thing.

Once I was up to speed, I could work at a good rhythm and was depriming a piece of brass about once every 5-7 seconds. Not as fast as a progressive press can deprime, but about as fast or a little faster than most single stage presses can deprime cases. I don’t think you will have too many issues if you come across an occasional Berdan primed case, the case will not fit into the tool if the decapping pin doesn’t bottom out in the primer pocket. The Berdan primer’s dual flash holes rather than a single primer hole, ensure that the case isn’t going to fit into the tool. If the case cannot be inserted into the case channel of the tool, there is no danger of breaking off the decapping pin.

There is nothing ground breaking or highly technical about the Harvey Depriming tool. It’s not inexpensive but it doesn’t feel inexpensive in use either. The 6061 Aluminum construction provided a nice rigid feel to the tool, even when really leaning on it to remove crimped primers. All of the edges on the tool are smooth and beveled. The Harvey Deprimer has an anodized coating that provides a durable protective finish, resisting scratching, chipping, and abrasive cleaning solvents. Speaking of cleaning, spent primers are really dirty. The amount of grunge, carbon and burned powder fragments that will be expelled along with your spent primers is considerable; the tool performs better when it is clean. I found myself wiping the tool down with WD40 and applying a little bit of CLP to the decapping pin about every 300-400 rounds, depending on how dirty the cases were that I was depriming.

Not everyone wants or needs to hand deprime. But if you do want to hand deprime, the Harvey Depriming Tool is a quality piece of engineering. Designed and made in Oregon, the $49.95 price isn’t cheap, but the end result was well worth it to me, my reloading bench is in the garage and sometimes it is nice to deprime while I am working in my office or while catching up on the latest episode of my favorite TV show. If you want to deprime in the comfort of your living room or while outside, enjoying nature, the Harvey Depriming tool represents a solid value. I found that my 15-year-old son had no problems either in learning how to quickly and efficiently use the tool. He too enjoys helping me deprime the seemingly endless piles of spent brass sitting on my reloading bench shelves.

It seems that reloading is full of unique and interesting products. With the Harvey Hand Depriming Tool, it was nice to stumble upon a quality tool that genuinely works as advertised and makes life easier. I highly recommend it if it fits your needs.

Mike402 02-12-2014 4:22 PM

Well written and thorough review. This is actually incredibly timely for me as I just got done decapping a bunch of range .40 brass. Here's my problem: I like to do a sonic clean after decapping so that the primer pockets get clean, so I first decap on my single stage. What I don't like is that the powder residue/grime falls into the ram and gums it up. Nothing that a clean & regrease doesn't solve, but I was actually thinking it would be nice to hand decap first away from the press, and not have to clean the press up every time after doing this.

I may get this and see how well I like it. I also like the idea of doing it in front of the tv in the living room, rather than standing at the press. I shifted to priming cases using a hand primer for this reason as well.

Capybara 02-12-2014 4:38 PM

Hi Mike:

Thank you, I am glad you found it helpful. I am working on the new VC Reloading Club website, we will begin generating original content like this on a regular basis. We will also be including video reviews of gear as well. I am looking for contributing writers and reviewers so if you know any Calgunners who would like to write content like this, point 'em my way.

I have two presses, but I find sitting in the garage depriming to be tedious so I looked into this product, bought it and have been very happy with it. If had a progressive press, I could deprime much faster but I don't, I have a turret and a single stage press and don't have a TV, stereo or other electronics at my bench to make the hours go by. It's a pretty good product, I think you will like it if you want to hand deprime.

SmokeWagon 02-12-2014 6:48 PM

I thought of buying one of those last year after seeing the add in a magazine, thought I could use it while watching the boob tube but after seeing all the crude that comes out of a spent primer when depriming I didn't want that mess in the house so I will stick with my Lee Universal decapper and my single stage press. I can get in quite a groove with that setup listening to the radio. Nice review though, thanks for that. It looks like a well designed and built tool.

Capybara 02-12-2014 7:05 PM

I agree, that's why I recycle the clear plastic Costco Salad containers that my wife throws into the recycling bin. All of the grunge and the spent primers go into the one on the left and the brass into one on the right. Grunge and spent primers go into the trash and brass goes into the tumbler. Works for me but if I had white carpet, wouldn't do it.

'ol shooter 02-13-2014 9:20 AM

I did a few sentences on mine a month or so ago. I use a caliber appropriate RCBS guide from my Flash Hole deburring tool, it helps with the pistol brass, no fishing around for the flash hole.They have the same shaft size. I did have to reduce the O.D. on them by a few thou to let the cases drop off more easily. A pic.

Capybara 02-13-2014 11:45 AM

That's a cool idea Bob, thanks for the pics.

ArmedCMT 08-07-2014 5:16 AM

You got an update for us Capy?? Im thinking about picking one of these up.

Mot Mi 08-07-2014 9:44 AM

Wow, this would be a good thing for a day at the range or other events where I could deprime on the go and have them to!bled with no primer. Thanks for the review gonna pick one up just for the range. Had seen another person at the range one time using something simliar .

jtake 08-07-2014 2:23 PM

I recently purchased one of these as well. I am still working out the kinks with it and have found that crimped primers are difficult to pop out, particularly in .308. I have pinched my palm several times now due to how much force is needed to apply to remove crimped primers. Once the brass has been swaged, removing the primers is easy, but it is just the first time removing the crimped primers that has been a PITA.

I too want to try and use a guide from a flash hole de-burring tool to try and center the brass to the rod as I seem to take an inordinate amount of time trying to get the brass to center on the pin. This is one of the "kinks" I need to work out.

Overall, I like the convenience of the tool as I am not tied to my press for decapping, and it has worked, albeit a little more painfully due to crimped primers.

OverUnderClays 08-07-2014 4:34 PM

Got one as well. Works great on plinking brass with offset flash holes.

It's little slower compared to using a Lee decapping die on a press, but I can do it indoors in front of the TV with a garbage can in front of me.

With crimped primers, it does take a little more force to pop the primers out, like jtake mentioned.

'ol shooter 08-07-2014 6:54 PM

I am still loving mine. The guide makes it go smoother and faster overall.

jwest 08-11-2014 6:37 AM

I like mine too - works great.

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