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Thread: Reaming VS Swaging

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Reaming VS Swaging

    I have 6000 9mm once fired brass to process . I have a Lee App press,Rcbs trim mate etc. My question is what to do with the primer pockets swage or ream ? The brass is once fired so all different brands some are going to be crimped ,some will have tight pockets I reload 9mm on a progressive press an don't want any problems .

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy Faret's Avatar
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    I'd try the app swager first. Then ream if that does not work.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master


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    I use a RCBS swager on mine and it works well and is pretty fast. Reaming takes longer./beagle
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  4. #4
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    Don't do them all at once. Do them in batches. Do whatever you like most.

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  5. #5
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    I use a Dillon swage tool and it works well. I just don't like the idea of taking off metal with a reamer but that is me.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by beagle View Post
    I use a RCBS swager on mine and it works well and is pretty fast. Reaming takes longer./beagle
    This is what I use for crimped primer pockets also.

    About 90% of my range brass does not need swaged, it is easy to pick out the ones that are crimped and S&B cased need to be swaged.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Swaging is so much easier. I only need to use it for crimped primers. If you have range brass and don't want to sort it then run all of it through the swage.

  8. #8
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    Swaging is the way I have done many thousands of 9mm and 223 military brass. Works fast. Works easy. Works great.

    Keep the metal in place....swage it......don't ream it.

    banger

  9. #9
    Boolit Master


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    You would get carpal tunnel before you reamed 600 cases, let alone 6000. Reaming is for rifle shooters doing batches of 50 or 100.

  10. #10
    I had to get into my stash of WCC military 9X19 to load a large order. I HAVE a stash of that one type of brass because I ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS separate headstamps no matter the caliber. This prevents what you're running into by feeling forced into reaming/swaging a batch of brass wherein some/most don't need the process done to them.
    I decapped the brass in a decap-only die, then I put the alignment rod in my Forster drill press trim rig and a countersink in the chuck. The rod supports the case as the countersink eats the crimp, and the quill stop controls the depth of the chamfer. BUT my hand was cramping trying to hold the case from spinning.
    So I dug out the RCBS swage kit, set it up and yes it does go pretty fast. The stripper cup doesn't sit exactly level on the press I'm using for the task but it's easy enough to square it up on the upstroke.
    The primary problem I was having is that I set a catch-box under the press and if I drop a case on its way to the shellholder, it falls in the "done" box and I have to look for it. So I moved the box to one side and now instead of dropping the case after swaging, I flip it toward the box.
    Although all this brass is the same headstamp, variations in the case head thickness were causing varying degrees of swage-itude as described in the thread on the Dillon swage tool, so instead of trying to set the support rod to allow the ram to reach top center, I extended it down and just stop the ram when the swaging button has made solid contact.
    Ed <><
    Last edited by Old School Big Bore; 11-23-2020 at 01:39 PM.

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I would swage for the ease and speed. The primer pocket reamers tend to want to grab and bind, they also dont give as nice a finish as the swage does. Another reason is the swage irons the metal back into where it came from no metal removal. Some even form a nice lead in radius on the pocket.

    I have a dillon super swage and it does a very good job and is one that also forms the lead in. But RCBS and other swages do well also.

  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Both... to do a complete and proper job:
    1. Swage
    2. Pocket reamer to remove any spring back metal .
    3. Finish job with a Primer Pocket Uniformer... this makes them all the same depth .

    Yes it's 3 steps but it's the right way to do a proper job.
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  13. #13
    Boolit Mold BucolicBuffalo's Avatar
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    Swaging works for many people. It is not something I would ever do on rifle brass. There is no way to know for sure where metal is being shoved. Brass springs back. Sometimes enough to have to swage it again.

    I use the L.E. Wilson primer pocket reamers. Makes for a super nice finish. I have never had them grab or bind when used in the toolhead. Takes longer. More work. Better results.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master gpidaho's Avatar
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    I've swaged a lot of primer pockets with the RCBS II pocket swager and yes it works pretty good. I recently bought the swage dies for the Lee APP press and it's much faster and the brass doesn't hang up on the swage pin like it does on the RCBS Gp

  15. #15
    Boolit Man


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    Swage to put the brass back where it belongs.
    Ream to chamfer the edge so that the primers go in smooth.
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  16. #16
    Boolit Master


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    The new Lee primer pocket swager puts a chamfer in the pocket. It does the best job of all swaging tools I have tried.

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy
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    Thanks guys that was the answers i was looking for. I ordered the App swage kit not easy to find now. Found one at Kempf Gun Shop have my work cut out for me.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    I do what OSBB does and recommend sorting your brass. At least my experience with the once fired 9mm brass I pick up at my range (frequently rented to various agencies in the area) is that there are just a few brands that are crimped, and the headstamps are distinct, with the exception of Winchester, where some cases have crimped brass primers. The time spent sorting and then swaging just the handful or so that actually need it might be much less than what it'd take to swage all 6K cases.

  19. #19
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I prefer to ream but with 6000 to do I would probably swage them. All crimps are not created equal and I don't feel like any one method works well on all of them.

  20. #20
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    I first encountered military primer crimps in about '88 and being a life long machinist/mechanic I immediately thought of a countersink. I already had a few in my tool box so I grabbed a 1/2x60 degree countersing with a 1/4" hex drive and removed about 100 crimps (5.56). I have been using a countersink since on all my military once fired cases. I have never removed "too much metal" and even experimenting with an extra heavy cut/chamfer I never blew a primer. Just 1 second light touch removes the crimp. Inexpensive, readily available an easy. I chuck one in my hand drill and cut as many as I need or as many as I feel like doing...

    I have found many tools/products that work just as well as "dedicated reloading tools" and a counter sink is one. https://www.mcmaster.com/countersinks/
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