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Thread: Large pistol vs. Large rifle primer pocket depth/reaming

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    Large pistol vs. Large rifle primer pocket depth/reaming

    Am just getting my feet wet in reloading. Started to prep some new .44 mag Starline brass. I resized the cases, then was going to hit the primer pockets with a reamer. Have a K&M Primer Pocket Correction Tool, and looked at the info sheet with it- and noted it is a large rifle primer size... the sheet notes they make a large rifle- set to cut a pocket to .131" deep, and a large pistol size- set to .122". Also a small rifle/pistol tool, set to .122" deep.
    This caught me by surprise, as I didn't realize there was a difference in primer pocket depth in a large pistol and large rifle case.
    Loosened the cutter setscrew, to see if I could shorten the depth up to the .122" depth, but the cutting tool was already bottomed out in the holder. Confirmed the cutter depth is at .131" deep.
    Started looking online for a large pistol pocket tool, and not finding much... everyone seems to treat a large primer pocket the same when it comes to primer pocket tools.
    Does .009" matter that much? I tend to be on the anal side when it comes to doing things the right way...
    Thoughts please?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    You’d be cutting into the bottom of the primer pocket and you’d be setting the pistol primers too deep. You’ll have fewer potential issues just leaving them as they are and loading the large pistol primers.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    Folks don't ream pistol pockets because they consider handguns as a close range weapon of last resort. I'd find some .008 shim stock, make a washer, and glue it to my cutter.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

    Chill Wills's Avatar
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    Is there a reason you need to recut the 44 Mag primer pocket?

    Starline makes good brass. I am not sure what is to be gained. If you are new to handloading, and enthusiastic and eager to do everything the best you can, consider that you may be fixing something that does not need to be fixed.

    I am not trying to be a smart *** but maybe just try shooting a few thousand or more un-fixed and see if you think this step is needed.

    Have fun with handloading and shooting. It has been a life long passion for me.
    Last edited by ReloaderFred; 09-20-2020 at 01:55 AM.
    Chill Wills

  5. #5
    Boolit Mold
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    That's a great idea... I have an assortment of left-over trigger shims that would work perfectly.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    The only reason to ream primer pockets is to remove a crimp.
    You do not need to ream .44 mag Starline brass, they do not have a crimp.

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master

    dragon813gt's Avatar
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    The tool in question is a uniformer designed to cut the bottom of the pocket square. Itís really a waste of time and effort w/ the 44 Mag. Itís not a benchrest gun that youíre trying to squeeze everything you can out of it. And w/ new Starline brass youíll find the proper uniformer wonít do much if anything to the pocket.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chill Wills View Post
    Is there a reason you need to recut the 44 Mag primer pocket?

    Starline makes good brass. I am not sure what is to be gained. If you are new to handloading, and enthusiastic and eager to do everything the best you can, consider that you may be fixing something that does not need to be fixed.

    I am not trying to be a smart $$$ but maybe just try shooting a few thousand or more un-fixed and see if you think this step is needed.

    Have fun with handloading and shooting. It has been a life long passion for me.
    ^^^^ THIS ^^^^ Leave your brass the heck alone. Load it and shoot it.
    Eleutheromaniac

  9. #9
    Boolit Master



    skeettx's Avatar
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    I am in the load and shoot it camp
    NRA Benefactor 2004 USAF RET 1971-95

  10. #10
    Boolit Mold
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    Alrighty, then! I guess the general school of thought is to not worry about it!!

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    I don't uniform primer pockets on anything. I don't shoot anything for extreme accuracy though. For 44 magnum, I trim once for a uniform crimp, but other than that I don't do anything towards accurizing the brass. Course I'm shooting it in a handgun and I'm looking for 2" or less at 25 yards. I can hit a 6" plate at 100 offhand with a handgun.

  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master

    mdi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elmacgyver0 View Post
    The only reason to ream primer pockets is to remove a crimp.
    You do not need to ream .44 mag Starline brass, they do not have a crimp.
    Agree. Many times a newer reloader finds or is given too much information that while can be done, it unnecessary for "normal" reloading and excessive for starting (I can remember when tumbling was hardly done but today new reloaders are "lead to believe" wet tumbling and highly polished primer pockets and case interiors are absolutely necessary). I have purchased Starline 44 Magnum brass and just because I wanted to, I F/L sized them but after 10 firings, I still have not "processed" any primer pockets, even my "T-Rex Killer" loads brass the pockets are left alone (265 gr LRNFP over max. loads on WC820).
    My Anchor is holding fast!

  13. #13
    Boolit Master Shawlerbrook's Avatar
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    Yes, sometimes we make things harder and more complicated than they really are.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master


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    I don't even do it for rifle ammunition, and I stay under 1 MOA. Heck I never even clean primer pockets in pistol brass.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  15. #15
    Boolit Master 44magLeo's Avatar
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    I have been t this since 1978. Till just recently I never did anything to primer pockets.
    Never shot anything with crimped primers or came across anything that had shallow pockets.
    In the last few years I bought an old Mosin Nagant in 7.62x54R and a 223 bolt action rifle.
    On the 223 a lot of the brass I got has crimped primers. So I had to learn how to deal with them.
    On the 7.62x54R I had some S&B brass that primers would not seat flush, let alone recessed. I had to learn to ream the pockets on them so primers would seat. I ran across some Winchester brass for that rifle that had the same problem. I wouldn't have worried about it if brass for it was so hard to find.
    So I recommend trying without the extra work first, it thing go ok then don't worry about it.
    If you have trouble, then worry about a fix.
    Leo

  16. #16
    Yeah if it’s new brass or no reason to rim the pockets but I have some 45 ACP from 1942 the primer pockets are too small for standard size primers you can make them fit but they go in very hard so you have to rem them so they slide in better And see it all the way in that 45 ACP is military brass No crimp

  17. #17
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I toss al S&B brass in the recycling bin due to their primer pockets. Not going to spend time processing them. The sad part is S&B primers donít want to fit in their own brass.

  18. #18
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    Pressman's Avatar
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    Texas Gun, after WW2 GT Smiley and others made special cutters to ream those FA cases with the smaller than the standard large primer.
    It's an in between primer size, larger than small but smaller than large.
    Antique Reloading Tool Collector, Historian and Writer
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  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    If you really want one, Sinclair makes one for sp, sr another for lgr and a third for lgp. Sp and sr are the same. I bought the sr and the lgr but didn't get the lgp as I see little need for reaming pistol rounds. They are carbide and last forever but they are now 29.99 each plus shipping.
    I don't think they are necessary for anything except the bench rest guys but they do make a very nice uniform primer pocket that is very easy to clean if your into cleaning primer pockets.
    I chuck mine in my mini lathe and just push the brass on it until it quits cutting but I don't do it for all brass.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    you might not want to start cutting on you good starline brass. if you need to clean residue in primer pocket get one of those brushes made for cleaning primer pockets.
    ive reloaded 44 mag brass a few times without cleaning anything with no ill effects if shot from a wheel gun and kept from getting in dirt or mud.

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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