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Thread: CH4D Primer Pocket Swager

  1. #1
    Boolit Master zardoz's Avatar
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    CH4D Primer Pocket Swager

    Hello to all:

    Although I've been doing pistol calibers exclusively the last few months since I began this hobby, I recently started doing some research on .223 Remington. I've got a Mini-14, and a Bushmaster AR-15 that consume those in mass from time to time.

    First, I have noticed that a lot of lower cost 1X fired available brass is military crimped, and in fact seems to be plentiful.

    Second, I was looking into what it took to remove that crimp. I found a archived thread about a lot of folks debating various tools and methods from 2005.

    After some other investigation, I came upon this little jewel, which seems to have higher recommendation for swaging the pocket, rather than reaming.

    http://www.ch4d.com/catalog/?p=57

    I also noted they are using what looks to be a Lee Classic single stage press, which is good because that is one that I have (the other being the C-frame type).

    The price looks great, and I am going by the recommendation of this article.

    http://www.surplusrifle.com/shooting...lay2/index.asp

    Questions for the erudite crowd here:

    1. Is the CH4D company (they seem to make a lot of neat stuff) OK? Haven't seen much mention of them on this site.

    2. If you have experience with this sort of thing, does it reliably do the job?

    Thanks for any advice here.

  2. #2
    zardoz

    I used to remove primer crimps with the RCBS primer pocket swaging tool. It worked, but I found it faster and easier to chuck up an 82 or 90 degree countersink in the drill press and use a light touch to just remove the old primer crimp. If you don't have a drill press a cordless drill will work as well.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Papa Foxtrot's Avatar
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    I would be concerned that the tool doesn't support the case head other than the shellholder's grip on the rim. I have the RCBS version, which has a metal rod that applies pressure to the case above the flash hole while the swager spud does its thing.

    I've also got the Forster bit for their case trimmer, which I prefer to the press mounted swagers. It's easy to hold 5 or 6 cases in the palm of your left hand and insert them one at a time in the trimmer. A couple rev's of the trimmer handle and you stick the next one in. Goes pretty quick.

    YMMV
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    CH4D Company

    The CH4D outfit makes among other things the 4 station version of the old C&H "H" press which started out as a one station and then was produced with 3 stations. It is a strong press designed primarily for pistol reloading, but is strong enough to do a lot of rifle reloading. It uses multiple shellholders and involves a lot of case shuffling, but you get a loaded round with each pull of the handle. I've got a couple of the 3 stations for a long time now and they do well for me. Well built-good quality, just keep em greased and oiled. LLS

  5. #5
    Boolit Master




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    I use the RCBS setup, and have no problems - once set up (only takes a minute), it's the old reloader shuffle. Take the fixed one out place an un-fixed one in, drop the fixed one in the right bowl while pulling the handle, pick up an un-fixed one - repeat, & repeat...
    Echo
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  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    I had the CH set, large and small primer pocket swager for a couple years, sold it on ebay. No matter how I adjusted it I wound up with brass with deformed rims, sometimes 10% sometimes 90%, I don't miss it. I now ream the pockets on surplus/crimped brass with the drill press, works fine. I have no problem with removing the minute amount of crimped brass from a casing, I have worked up loads in the 06 AI that churned up some serious pressure on surplus reamed brass, no primer leaks yet, 5.56 and 7.62 either. Save your money on this one and buy one from RCBS or one of the others if you HAVE to swage the pockets, I'll just ream. .02
    Hell, I was there!

  7. #7
    Boolit Master zardoz's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies.

    I already have the Forster stuff for trimming all my cases and such.

    That looks to be a quick, easy solution. I can get the reamer attachments inexpensively. I'll try that approach first.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    gentlemen,

    all swagers have to be adjusted to provide a correctly formed priner pocket. the adjustment is based on the case head thickness.

    the probelm with this process is that unless all your brass is one lot, you will get inconsistant results with a single adjustment, or constantly readjust the tool.

    all reamers i have seen take out way too much material and and some resurface part of the case head.
    i own a dillon super swager and it is great for one lot of brass, but not great for mixed brass.

    this has been very frustrating for me for some time.
    but the light came on a couple of months ago

    lyman make a tool called a VLD inside neck reamer.

    as delivered this tool will do small rifle primer pockets. it removes a minor amount of material. it cuts at a very narrow angle which provides a nice lead for the primer, but supports the primer very well....no giant open topped primer pocket.

    if you take the same tool, and grind a bit off the end, it will do the same job on large primer pockets( so yes you need two tools)

    the tool comes mounted in a wood handle and works ok like that, but the cutter unscrews from the handle.....and this is where it can become very fast. mount as is in an electric hand drill and do them in your lap, put in a drill press and do them that way or what i have moved to is in my lathe. i did 550 plus 7.62 lc05 cases in aprox 40 min! cutting time is about 2 sec in the lathe. the small rifle cases i hold with 6" slip joint pliers with duct tape on the jaws; the 308 cases i held in a gloved hand.
    i like these so much that i carry them as part of my brass biz to sell to my customers...buy my brass, but one at cost( and no this is not an ad..i dont sell 223 brass on this site)

    mike in co.

    somone make this a stickie!
    Last edited by mike in co; 08-25-2009 at 10:35 AM.
    only accurate rifles are interesting

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    My Dad bought a CH4D primer pocket swage tool many years ago to remove the crimp from WWII milsurp .30-06 cases. He used it on thousands of cases, and I never heard a complaint from him about it.

    The hand pocket reamer tools are difficult to use in the way they're intended; very easy to ruin pockets if you aren't in perfect alignment.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    I have the CH4D and if it's one lot of brass, you're good to go after you've adjusted it. Unfortunatley, almost every batch of brass I've ever wanted to swage is a mixed lot and I have to separate it out, adjust for each batch, etc.

    I finally gave it over and bought my self some Lyman trim tools that fit in my RCBS trim mate. Problem solved.

    Regards,

    Dave
    Dave In Georgia

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Perhaps just to prove, "different strokes for different folks", I've used a swager and liked it, own a pocker reamers because, like Dave, I like them even better.

    I have long had a Lyman "Universal" Case trimmer, gray version. Putting one of Lyman's "case care" accessory tools, a cone, in the shell holder aligns the case mouth to the cutter quiet well. Then putting a Lyman pocket reamer and adapter in the cutter shaft allows me to ream pockets precisely without over cutting at all.

    I have used the same case trimmer set-up along with a Lyman Primer Pocket Uniformer but really prefer to do that work with a small battery operated drill, and then follow that with an RCBS flash hole uniformer/debur tool. A Forster deburing tool held in one of the little Forster hand cranked holder/stands completes my case prep work. (Well, unless I turn the necks on a very good Forster HOT-100 hand turner. Don't use Lyman's trimmer mounted neck turner much anymore.)

    Tried using a counter sink on primer crimps but quit. If it actually cuts deep enough to fully remove the crimp it seems they take far to much brass away from the edge of the primer pocket, at least for my comfort level. That leaves too much of the primer edges insufficently supported for the pressures they must hold. IMHO.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by SierraWhiskeyMC View Post
    The hand pocket reamer tools are difficult to use in the way they're intended; very easy to ruin pockets if you aren't in perfect alignment.
    i agree...the lyman vld is NOT designed as a primer pocket reamer.


    which is why the lyman VLD tool is so good. its very narrow angle basically guides it , yes you have to watch what you are doing, but bottom line quick and easy!


    mike in co
    only accurate rifles are interesting

  13. #13
    Boolit Mold
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    CH4D Primer Pocket Swager

    I noticed that CH4D offers a primer pocket swaging tool that can be used with your existing relading press. It is significantly cheaper than the Dillon tool. Has anyone used their system? if so, what were your impressions?

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Swage vs. ream

    This subject proves there's always more than one way to skin a cat. I have used both methods successfully (and unsuccessfully!)


    1. The reamers cut the crimp.

    Advantages of reaming- low cost and no adjustments to make if doing it by hand, as the dexterity of your own hands provide the "adjusting". Reaming is also generally quicker since you do not place each case in a press. You can do it by hand or you can somehow make it power driven. Either way, when I refer to "by hand", I'm speaking of those instances where YOU are somehow holding the brass. And as already mentioned, nearly all the case trimmers offer a way to ream the pockets.

    Disadvantages of reaming- it is very easy to cut TOO much when doing it by hand. Different lots of brass have different hardness, and many times I have applied too much pressure because it did not feel like I was removing the crimp. It all depends upon your dexterity. Whenever I ream by hand, even if using a drill or some such, my hands get extremely tired and sore after a hundred cases. This is not a problem if using a case trimmer setup, but that is just as slow (to me) as using a swaging die. Also of consideration is the fact that any tool with a cutting edge will eventually dull.


    2. The swaging dies work by pressing the crimp. Reforming it, ironing it, or whatever you want to call it.

    Advantages of swaging- once properly adjusted, swaging allows more uniformity over hand reaming; the button never changes size and produces the same exact pocket every time. For those who are REALLY picky about long brass life, a slight consideration is that swaging actually hardens the primer pocket due to the work-hardening nature of brass. This is of concern only to those individuals shooting heavy loads and wanting longest life out of their brass- the harder the pocket, the less likely you are to experience "loose primers". Also of consideration is the fact that you will probably never wear out a swaging die. The press itself will wear out before the swaging button does.

    Disadvantages of swaging- since the dies are used in a reloading press, you can exert considerable force and inadvertently deform the case head if you push the swaging button in too far. All quality swaging dies have an adjusting rod that holds the (inside) case head in place. I like to adjust this rod "long" to account for case head variations between mixed lots of brass, but remember that since you are using a press you can also actually bend this rod (not likely but still possible). The swaging process is slower than reaming by hand, but is just as fast (faster for me) as using one of the trimmer setups to ream.

    So there you have it. Like anything else in reloading, you're probably eventually going to try all possible methods and decide which works best for your situation. If I am doing a small batch, I sit in front of the television, put a towel in my lap, grab a reamer and cordless drill and go to town. If I'm doing a couple thousand cases, I set up the swaging die and devote an evening to it. I personally loathe any form of case prep; thank goodness this is one of those operations that only has to be performed ONCE!

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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