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Thread: Need the help of your collective wisdom, .223 primer pocket troubles

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
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    Need the help of your collective wisdom, .223 primer pocket troubles

    I have saved piles of .223/5.56 brass and now seems a good time to reload them. I have an RCBS primer pocket swager and understand the crimp issues. I prepped my brass methodically and swaged each piece, but I did not have satisfactory results when it came time to prime. Far to much pressure required to seat the primers and deformation to the primers resulted, particularly around the edges. I took precautions in case I had a primer let go, but something in my process isn't right. I stopped at three pieces of brass, knowing it was time to change something. Is my primer pocket tool inadequate, is it the CCI small rifle primers (which I've heard can be tight), perhaps something else? I've always been impressed with the reloading knowledge on Castboolits, so here I am. Thanks for any help you can offer.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    tomme boy's Avatar
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    I swage each piece of brass 2x's. When I used the RCBS tools. I also set it up to toggle or cam over on my press. The ones that were the hardest to do were the LC with the 4 stab marks.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    You could use a primer pocket reamer. Lyman makes a hand held model which I have used extensively for .223 brass, but it's pretty labor intensive and I don't load more than maybe 50 at a time. If you're reloading piles and piles of brass I'd look into rigging up a power reamer, perhaps even just using an electric drill.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    best way I have found to check proper crimp removal is to cut the side out of a case so you can see the pocket and set your tool accordingly
    if you are ever being chased by a taxidermist, don't play dead

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    Need the help of your collective wisdom, .223 primer pocket troubles

    If you have part # 9495 swager, I believe they came out with a second version. It’s the 04981. Supposedly they improved it but as mentioned make sure you go twice. ALSO make sure that the guide rod sits uniform to other side of flash hole. The swager tit presses on bottom of flash hole and the guide rod seats on top (inside of case). Essentially this causes a “squeezing” action.

    Note: I just wrote this and Rancher summed it up!

    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1012920663


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  6. #6
    Boolit Master Burnt Fingers's Avatar
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    I never had good luck with the press mounted unit.

    I bought the RCBS bench mount swage unit and it works like a champ. Then I stumbled into a Dillon and it's even better.

    I haven't touched the RCBS unit in a couple of years. The ergonomics on the Dillon work better for my arthritic body.
    NRA Benefactor.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    If your not lubing the primer pocket it helps to do so . I have used the rcbs press mounted tool and you have to lean on it pretty hard to get good results.

  8. #8
    Boolit Bub
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    Thanks guys. I'll try some of the suggestions, though I really like the looks of the Dillon unit.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    i use the dillon press mounted one and havent had any problems
    if you are ever being chased by a taxidermist, don't play dead

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    If you have an RCBS trim mate they make a crimp remover that cuts 'just enough' brass giving a very slight chanfer to the primer pocket. Very quick.
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  11. #11
    I use the dillon super swager. When i go to set depth i just swage it and try to seat a primer with a hand primer. If its too tight i set it deeper. The dillon super swager is awesome and can be used for 223 308 300bo and 9mm with provided acessories. I can really run through the brass i usually do about 1000 cases in just under an hour. Havent trimmed primer crimps since i got it. Probably not worth it though if you are only doing 100 or so.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master


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    I still convert 5.56 to 300BLK and 277WLV and use a lyman prep station to get the crimp out. I too had issues with the "new" crimp, but found that if I first use the chamfer tool, then the reamer it would remove the crimp much easier. And it being powered I could go through hundreds easily.
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  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
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    Not to hi Jack someone's questions, but I have always wondered if there is that big of a difference between reaming and swaging when it comes too primers backing out when the brass is reloaded ????

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy
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    +1 on the reamer.

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  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    I use a lot of crimped 223 brass and also use the RCBS Primer Pocket Swage Combo II. I like it more than I expected to. I also use CCI 450s almost exclusively.

    Learnings:

    Line up cases on their side and hit the bases with a light mist of One Shot. Helps them release so much easier. Otherwise, some stubborn pockets want to turn inside out a little when extracting the spud.

    Set the backup rod so that it is a touch too low. I don't set it to dead stop, rather I go by feel. I feel for a little flex in the backup rod. That seems to be about right.

    I've done several thou that way with very good success. The next primer pocket swaging tool I buy will be a Dillon Super 1050.
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  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by atlas366 View Post
    I have saved piles of .223/5.56 brass and now seems a good time to reload them. I have an RCBS primer pocket swager and understand the crimp issues. I prepped my brass methodically and swaged each piece, but I did not have satisfactory results when it came time to prime. Far to much pressure required to seat the primers and deformation to the primers resulted, particularly around the edges. I took precautions in case I had a primer let go, but something in my process isn't right. I stopped at three pieces of brass, knowing it was time to change something. Is my primer pocket tool inadequate, is it the CCI small rifle primers (which I've heard can be tight), perhaps something else? I've always been impressed with the reloading knowledge on Castboolits, so here I am. Thanks for any help you can offer.
    Do you sort your brass by headstamp before swaging? I ask because the web of the case is not the same thickness between manufacturers. If you adjust your swager using brass with a thick web which primes correctly and then swage a piece with a thinner web the primer will be harder to seat. The thinner web will not allow the swager to fully enter the primer pocket.

    I use all the same headstamp, I'm fortunate, no shortage of brass from my range. I do know that using different headstamps with the same setting on my RCBS press swager I'll have some brass that's easy to prime and some that are really tight.

  17. #17
    Boolit Bub
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    Yes, I did sort this batch. A trial run of fifty. I reload a lot of pistol rounds but have always hated rifle rounds because of all the brass prep and other necessary procedures. This just reinforces that, but I’m determined to push through.

  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master



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    Not sure which RCBS tool you are using? If it is the RCBS version of the Dillon 600 Super Swage you can collapse the primer pocket by over swaging. https://www.rcbs.com/case-prep/acces...l/16-9474.html.

    What happens is the support rod pushes the flashhole and surrounding material into the primer pocket. If the hang-up is when you start to seat the primer you have not removed the crimp. If the primer has to be crushed to seat at the end you have collapse the primer pocket.
    Last edited by M-Tecs; 06-03-2020 at 11:26 PM.
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  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy Gtrubicon's Avatar
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    +2 on the reamer, and the Lyman case prep center. It works very well.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    I've tried four methods. I've tried the RCBS swage kit shown in the link. I've tried a reamer on my prep station. And I've also tried a chamfer tool. The reamer works great if you are only doing a small amount. Doing more than 50 at a time would kill your wrist. One of those hand held chamfer tools works surprisingly well. All it does is take the lip out, but usually the rest of the pocket is not deformed from crimping. I never liked the RCBS swage kit. It is slow, cumbersome, and never worked all that well. I always turned mine in as far as it would go, the press camming over heavily. Still, it seemed to produce so-so results as you have found. Lubing the punch is a must, else you will be slamming it open every time.

    Thankfully Lee hit a home run this year with their APP press and their swaging die. That thing is a life saver. It fully takes the crimp out of the pocket with minimal effort, no lube needed. I processed something like 700 cases in an hour with it. Primers seat great.

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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