Primer Flip Tray

Why You Need a Primer Flip Tray

By Duane Thomas

A Dillon reloading machine holds around a hundred primers, located in a steel shielded primer feed tube. Therefore you’ll need to refill the primer tube every hundred rounds. This is the most tedious part of reloading, in my opinion. I cannot even imagine doing it without a primer flip tray.

Primers typically come in “flats” holding a hundred primers per. In order to get those hundred primers into the feed tube, they all need to be oriented correctly, i.e. the anvil (that part kind of looking like a trefoil-shaped radiation symbol) facing up, the cup (the smooth, shiny side) facing down. The primer flip tray is how we do that, as fast and easily as possible.

A primer flip tray consists of two circular pieces, one of which fits over the other, like a cover on a bowl. The interior of one of the circles is smooth, the other features a series of closely-spaced, concentric, circular ridges. To start, slip the protective paper cover off the primer flat, lay the ridged cover over the top of the flat, then, holding the two together so no primers fall out, flip them over so the flat is now on top, the tray on bottom.  Remove the flat; this will decant all hundred primers onto the tray. You’ll see some of the primers are now anvil-up, some cup-up, some on-edge. Shake the tray around, its concentric ridges will cause the primers to all turn anvil-up.

Actually, these days I’ve become a bit impatient with the amount of shaking it takes to get all the primers anvil-up, so I just move the tray around until most of them are anvil-up, then take the primer pickup tube (a long, hollow metal tube with plastic pickup lips on one end, a hole through which a cotter-pin runs on the other) and pick up those few primers that are shiny-side-up.

Then place the cover over the tray and, holding them together, flip the entire unit over. Your bottom tray (grooved) has now become the top. Remove it, voilà! You’ll find yourself looking at a bunch of primers all of which are all shiny-side-up, ready for the primer pickup tube.

Pick up all the primers with the tube. Pull the follower rod out of the primer tube affixed to the reloading machine. Hold the pickup tube, plastic lips upward, cotter-pin down, over the opening of the primer tube. Insert the plastic follower rod into the top of the pickup tube. Remove the cotter-pin. Shooosh! all the primers will sheet out of the pickup tube into the primer tube, urged along by the follower rod. Remove the follower rod from the pickup tube and insert it back into the primer tube, on top of the stack of a hundred new primers you’ve just loaded into your machine. You’re ready to rock and roll.

In stock
The Dillon metal primer flip tray makes it easy to fill primer pick-up tubes. The heavier metal tray makes it less likely for primers to bounce over while filling, and the larger diameter of our tray allows use of larger primer packaging, such as used by Federal.

    WARNING: This product can expose you to chemicals including lead, which are known to the State of California to cause cancer and reproductive harm. For more information, go to

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