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Thread: Primer pocket problem

  1. #1
    Boolit Master




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    Question Primer pocket problem

    Don't know if this is the right place for this, so if not, put it where it belongs.
    Am reloading some once-fired GI -06 ammo for a chum. Primers all crimped in, so after resizing/de-capping, I ran them through an RCBS PP swager. On re-priming w/old Lee primer putter, some primers didn't want to go in - in fact, I ruined the Lee primer putter - put so much pressure on the lever that I stripped the threads that hold the case holder! On another, the primer wouldn't go in all the way,, and so the case was locked in the shell holder. Have it soaking in Kroil to kill the primer before knocking it out. By the way - miked the Tula primers, and they measured .2105 - the Alcans measured .2101/2. And the RCBS swage measured .205 - couldn't measure the top radius, just the shank. Did manage to prime (on the RCBS press) some, after using a PP reamer to clean up the PP's, but some gave problems still, whether Alcan or Tula. ***, Over?
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  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Sounds to me like the dimensions on your RCBS swager are off.

    I process thousands of GI crimped .30'06 cases to load ammo for Garand classes, etc.

    I use the Lee Universal decapper and then before swaging in the Dillion Autoswage 600, I chamfer the primer pocket just enough to remove the sharp wire edge to give displaced metal from the primer pocket to go when it is swaged. I adjust the swaging rod to form a distinct radius entrance to the primer pocket so that when primers are seated using the RCBS Posa-Prime, they go in smoothly, and seat firmly against the bottom of the primer pocket, with no visible deformation.

    I DO NOT CARE FOR THE LEE PRIMING TOOL and junked all of mine years ago.

    I cannot speak to the primers you are using, as I use only Winchester WLR primers in the Garand.
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    I never had much luck with the RCBS primer pocket swagger thing either.

    I give them a couple of turns with that inside/outside de-burring tool that is about the size of you thumb.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master

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    All primer crimps are not created equal. I actually like the RCBS tool better than the Dillon. But none of them seem to work perfectly every time. I usually use a carbide countersink in a drill.

    I've had less trouble with 30-06 and 45ACP than with some others. 223 seems to give me the most trouble.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by lightman View Post
    All primer crimps are not created equal. I actually like the RCBS tool better than the Dillon. But none of them seem to work perfectly every time. I usually use a carbide countersink in a drill.

    I've had less trouble with 30-06 and 45ACP than with some others. 223 seems to give me the most trouble.
    I have done thousands with the dillon ... But some times there is one that the primer does not go in

    do you have a VLD chamfer tool to chamfer the inside of the necks .. try that

  6. #6
    Boolit Master 44magLeo's Avatar
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    On the ones that won't prime try doing them again. Maybe adjust the swager a bit tighter.
    Try doing them once and turning a 1/4 turn and do them again.
    I have the Dillon and like it. It does my 223 cases just fine.
    I also use it when converting Berdan primed cases to boxer for my Mosin Nagant.
    I have a lot of brass Berdan primed cases. 440 of them.
    Leo

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I usually use a carbide countersink in a drill.
    I've been doing this since I first encountered military primer crimps, around '90. Works quite well on all primer crimps (I reload a lot of HXP for my Garand which uses stake crimps and a bunch of LC for my 308 which uses annular crimps)...
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  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    I used the RCBS on a few thousand 308 and 30/06 and am very glad I had no more to do
    It never felt like I had the right tool for the job , but it got it done . A little case lube helps.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    GONRA has great results on any military brass (Large / Small primer) with the Heavy Duty Bench Mounted Primer Pocket Swage Tool.
    (Can't remember if mine is a Dillon or RCBS (?) ...

  10. #10
    AKA: GRMPS Conditor22's Avatar
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    The RCBS swagger does a great job IF you put case lube on the swagging button.

    You may not be swaging the pocket deep enough

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Conditor22 View Post
    The RCBS swagger does a great job IF you put case lube on the swagging button.

    You may not be swaging the pocket deep enough
    I am with this guy ^. I have to lube the button to swage easily and I use a big press (RCBS Ammomaster). I think you might have trouble with a smaller conventional press doing this.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master

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    Swagers suffer from brass spring back , some brass springs back more than others . Using a big heavy duty press also eliminates some of the spring back .

    My method is to cut the crimp away with a crimp cutting tool , run them through the swage twice and then use a primer pocket uniforming tool on them to finish up .

    I have not found any one step tool that reliably does a good job 100% every time .

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  13. #13
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    One thing I didn't see mentioned was about the primers. I have always been a fan of the Russian primers regardless of what's on the box (PMC, Wolf, or Tula). They have their own issues, but are very consistent. I've found they tend to be fat and the require a good crush into the pocket. The small rifle seem to want the most crush.

    I'm not surprised they were tight (an understatement) in military brass. Not to dissuade you from using them for your specific purpose, but try a CCI or Federal primer and see if they don't make it easier. I agree with others that the Lee primer tools aren't the strongest especially doing what you are doing. You sometimes have to use what you have though.

    They (Russian primer) are large enough to give slightly enlarged primer pockets a couple more firings before scrapping even. I've kept a few sleeves of different sizes for specific loads. I always considered that the Russian primers were one of the few things that were cheap, but good. I wish they were still available, but I have enough to get done what I want to get done I suppose.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master


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    The Hornady primer pocket reamers will take the pockets to standard dimensions and are made of tool steel. They cut easily and leave a smooth finish.
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  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy Phlier's Avatar
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    IMO, you should get a primer pocket go/no-go tool. It helps tremendously in setting up whatever primer pocket opening device you go with, especially if it's of the swage variety.

    The go/no-go tool will not only help you get your tool set to where it opens the pocket big enough, but it'll also tell you if you've opened it *too* far, which is equally important.
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  16. #16
    Boolit Mold
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    Scrap the junk poor quality GI 06 brass. The primer pockets all not always centered and break depriming pins. Factory 06 brass is all over the place. Buckets of once fired at my club range.

  17. #17
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    I have never used the RCBS PP swager so I don't know if this is even possible to create issues with 30 cal cases. With the Dillon 600 Super Swager on 223 cases the inside support is small enough that if you over swage the pocket you can collapse the pocket from the inside. This makes the pocket to shallow to fully set the primer. With the Dillon the 30 cal support rod is large enough were this doesn't happen. Something to check.
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  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    I too have problems with my RCBS swager on Lake City 7.62 brass. I would guess one in 25 primers go in hard, even after swaging. I know some find it wasteful, but all I do is chuck those ones in the trash. The scary thing is you have to seat the primers on those bad ones to get them out of the shell holder. My Lee priming tool has held up to that so far.

    Lee just announced a primer pocket swagger of their own, to be released late this month. It looks a lot nicer to use than the RCBS anyway.

    I'm now sitting here thinking, why not mill a slot out the front of the shell holder. That way I could remove the brass, even with a primer stuck half way.

  19. #19
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    I used a RCBS Primer Pocket swager to clean the crimp out of 1,000 G.I. .45ACP cases, 40 odd years ago. Pushing on it to release the cases gave my right forearm a case of permanent Tennis Elbow.
    And to make matters worse, the Primer Pockets were all oversize.

    I've gone back to cutting them out with an old pocket knife.
    Or Better yet using the Primer Pocket Reamer on My Lyman Case Express.
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  20. #20
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    2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check