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Thread: Primer head separation from side or skirt during de-priming

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

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    Primer head separation from side or skirt during de-priming

    Experienced something I had never run into before with a bunch of WCC-'91 .38 Sp. brass. Brass had been de-primed and reloaded before with CCI primers but this time while de-priming the head of the primer cup separated from the side or skirt. Since I have a dremel I found that I could remove the side or skirt of the primer easily but it is not worth the effort. Anyone else run into this problem? This question was raised in the 7/17 issue of the American Rifleman and Chas E. Petty addressed it briefly. Didn't happen with any .357 Mag. brass and only one piece of commercial .38 Spl. brass - don't remember the brand. Primer type? During the primer shortage I did purchase some Remington & S&B primers that I had never used before. Big Boomer

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I missed the article in AR but am wondering - are you sizing and depriving at the same time or separate operations?

    I use CCI and have never had the experience you have had. Have you checked your depriving pin to verify that everything is koser with the end of it and it's not worn or damaged in some manner which would put a strain not he primer when pushing it out? Just a thought of the top of the head and it will be interesting to see if others have had the same issues that you talk about.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master billyb's Avatar
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    I ran into this problem with range pick up brass that had been rained on. The primer developed corrosion and weakened the cup and the end popped off in several cases. If it gets wet and is left for a short time it will corrode. Do not know if this is your problem but it is one cause. Bill

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    I've had this problem with range brass occasionally but not with my handloads. I have not noticed a pattern with any specific brand of brass.

  5. #5
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    JonB_in_Glencoe's Avatar
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    I've seen it many times in 9mm range brass that I bought (I suspect outdoor range), usually Mil surp crimped primer pockets, and I always see corrosion in the spent primer remains.

    In fact, Just this Spring, I did a batch (1500) of 9mm, all range brass from same source, after I have a few of that batch do that, I sorted all the mil surps out of that batch, then I Sized/deprimed those separately, I had about 1 in 10 mil surps do that.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

    gwpercle's Avatar
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    I've had it happen a time or two , usually with brass that was fired and not deprimed for awhile (like a few years) but have not noticed it with new primers in recent loading sessions.
    I simply pried the skirt out with a small awl/ice pick , reamed the pocket to uniform it and kept on with them. Will keep an eye out for this , Thanks for heads up Boomer.

    Gary
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  7. #7
    Boolit Man RGrosz's Avatar
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    I've started top run into that problem while trying to recover from our flood. Just have been scrapping the brass, but will try to use my dermal tool or a pick to sig out the skirt out.

    Rob

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    Thanks for the insight on this issue but I'm still puzzled. Since nearly every incident described occurred with WCC-'91 military brass, I assumed that it was an issue with my not having the primer crimp removed sufficiently. The one exception was 1 piece of commercial brass and only with .38 Spl., not a single piece of .357 Mag. that I was processing at the same time. This military brass was all originally de-primed with a Lee hand de-primer punch that you hit with a small brass hammer. Did not have a single instance of the primer cap coming off during original primer removal of several thousand pieces of brass - and the spent primers having to come out of the primer pocket that was crimped. However, this brass has not been wet. It was fired and dropped into a box so no moisture issue. After running into this problem, I have run all the remaining pieces of this brass over the RCBS primer crimp removal tool again because this has been really good brass. Must be a primer issue of some sort ... but why with only this .38 Spl. brass? I was prepping a gaggle of .38 Spl. and .357 Mag. brass that had all been loaded about the same time period on the same equipment - Dillon XL 650 and with the same components. My practice is to shoot the ammo and dump the .38 Spl. and .357 Mag. brass into a container and leave it in my dry basement, then clean it all up at one time after I have de-primed it all by hand. Beats me. Big Boomer

  9. #9
    Boolit Master fred2892's Avatar
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    Your problem is almost definitely the Sellier and Bellot primers. This brand is well known for having problems with oversize primers , undersize pockets, brittle and poor quality brass. S&B products should be considered one shot only and not reloadable. Most probably incorrect quality or poor metal heat treatment of the primer cups has made them brittle.
    Here in Europe, S&B is last resort, nothing else on the shelf , last ditch product

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  10. #10
    Boolit Bub
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    I had it happen a few times with once fired military .30 carbine brass. I figured it was a combination of the crimp and the age of the brass. Maybe a little corrosion. It didn's seem to be worth digging the skirt out of the pocket, so they went into the recycle box.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    I had got some 38spl brass from a site and had 2 to 3 out of 500 did this.Thanks for the tip of how to remove them gwpercle.
    Life Member of NRA,NTA,DAV ,ITA. Also member of FTA,CBA

  12. #12
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    mold maker's Avatar
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    I now have over a gal of these in 223/5.56. They are both commercial and mil. It is worth finding a simple/cheap method of removing the primer sleeve. I've tried unsuccessfully to use just a pick.
    What size/# drill would likely remove most of it out without damage to the pocket?
    Because of the brass taper, I doubt perfect centering would be possible with the drill press I have.
    Last edited by mold maker; 07-13-2017 at 10:11 AM.
    Information not shared. is wasted.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    Fred: Apparently you know something about S&B primers of which I was unaware. However, S&B brass that I have used has all been very good - .380, 9mm, .38 Spl., 357 Mag - those were all pieces of brass that I picked up at the range when I retrieved my own cases. I have not purchased a round of ammo in many years. Primer pockets on all S&B brass are noticeably tight. The .38 Spl. ammo I loaded was loaded in a short period of time and could well have been with the S&B primers. Perhaps that is the answer.

    Mold Maker: Dremel has a device that will allow you to simply drill away or, more accurately, cut away one area of the primer side or skirt and the remnant comes out easily. I just do not think it is worth the effort. The device looks similar to a drill bit but is not designed for drilling, but for "carving" I suppose. It cuts rapidly and is just a smidgen smaller than the remaining hole when the base of the primer cup comes off. Best wishes on a gallon can of cases with that problem. It will work, though. Big Boomer
    Last edited by Big Boomer; 07-13-2017 at 04:06 PM. Reason: correction

  14. #14
    Boolit Master fred2892's Avatar
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    You appear to have had good luck with your s&b brass. A simple search for 's&b' in the castboolits custom search box brings up hundreds of posts, mainly negative for s&b brass and primers. Looks like you're mainly using pistol cases, personal experience with a few s&b rifle calibres has brought me nothing except a heavier scrap can.

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  15. #15
    Boolit Master

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    Fred: Don't think I have run across any S&B rifle brass ... none that I can recall, anyway. Thanks for the info. Big Boomer

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

    Wayne Smith's Avatar
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    All the ones this has happened to me were extremely hard to deprime - there was significant resistance before the end let go. I have a couple rifle cases that I have broken standard punches on trying to get the primers out - not just depriming pins but punches. I eventually gave up on them.
    Wayne the Shrink

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  17. #17
    Boolit Bub Possumcop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mold maker View Post
    I now have over a gal of these in 223/5.56. They are both commercial and mil. It is worth finding a simple/cheap method of removing the primer sleeve. I've tried unsuccessfully to use just a pick.
    What size/# drill would likely remove most of it out without damage to the pocket?
    Because of the brass taper, I doubt perfect centering would be possible with the drill press I have.
    I've had good luck using the same tool I use to remove Berdan primers with the "punch and pry" method.
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    I've found that the key to success is making your punch out of the right kind of steel.

    Nails and screws are too soft and allow the tip to bend when you start prying.

    Old chainsaw sharpening files are too brittle and will break when subjected to side stresses.

    I've had the best results using old "L" shaped Allen keys. They're hard enough that the point doesn't deform and tough enough that they don't break when you start prying.
    ​7.62x51: Because even the dumbest crook is occasionally smart enough to hide behind a car...

  18. #18
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    S&B rifle brass is suspect at best. The pistol brass I have used is great. The first time reloading it the primer pocket is a little tight. But after that first loading it is some of the brass I always use. I reloaded 50 45acp casings over 30 times and never lost a case. Some other brass the primer pocket will loosen up and has to be thrown away.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master

    Wayne Smith's Avatar
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    I've only used S&B pistol brass, run them through the Lyman primer pocket uniformer and use as any other brass. Just like removing the crimp from military brass.

    I remember more about that brass with primers impossible to remove. It was 8mm brass and had clearly been outdoors for some time. I gave up when I punched through the primer without removing it. Yes, it was Boxer primed, or at least had a single central hole.
    Wayne the Shrink

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  20. #20
    Boolit Master

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    I went back and read the #1 and #8 post again. Those problem cases have to have something in common that we don't know about and that you don't remember. It seems that there is a possibility that you used other primers than CCI. That could be the problem. CCI has always been my favorite primer and I doubt them being the problem. We've all used lesser known brands during shortages but I've had far fewer issues with CCI than any other brand. I doubt that its a heavy crimp causing this, as you would have noticed difficulty with installing new primers.

    Anyway, Possumcop's tool looks like an easy fix for this. Especially since you already have a Dremel tool. Another idea would be a hollow ground gunsmith screwdriver bit. Save them in a can until the weather keeps you in and you get "cabin fever" and need something to do.

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