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Old May 11, 2010, 09:34 AM   #1
HALIFAX
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Primer depth question

I have just started reloading and use a lee auto prime. I am reloading 30-30 brass and am having a little bit of a problem getting my primers to go below the case head. I was told to recess them a tiny bit. I do clean the primer pockets.
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Old May 11, 2010, 09:47 AM   #2
Dannyl
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Hi,
Since you have only started, I asume that these are new or fairly new cases.
It is not unusual to feel as if you have to push hard to get them in, particularly with the Lee auto primer.

May I ask what brand of cases and primers you are using?

Brgds,
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Old May 11, 2010, 09:58 AM   #3
Mal H
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Quote:
... am having a little bit of a problem ...
In addition to Dannyl's question, what is the nature of the problem? Do you feel you are having to press too hard? They won't go below flush no matter how hard you try?
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Old May 11, 2010, 10:18 AM   #4
HALIFAX
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I am using a mix of remington and winchester brass with Remington No. 9.5 primers. My problem is that it feels like the primers are a little raised above the case head. They look flush but dont feel like it. Thats why im trying to get them to recess but i do not want to crush them. Maybe im just being paranoid? Or is it just harder to do that with the auto prime?
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Old May 11, 2010, 10:29 AM   #5
Mal H
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Quote:
... but i do not want to crush them.
How much pressure does it take to crush them? I've never been able to do that.

Push harder. Push until you're sure the primer won't go any further.
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Old May 11, 2010, 10:32 AM   #6
Brian Pfleuger
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I intentionally tried to crush one in my Lee Turret press. I don't know if the press stops before you COULD crush one or if they're really that hard to crush, but I pushed until I was more concerned for the press handle than the primer and the primer didn't look any different than any other.
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Old May 11, 2010, 11:33 AM   #7
Mal H
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Primers are extremely strong due to the captive cylinder configuration of fairly strong metal. That is, as long as you are using the correct diameter primer piston to seat them with.
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Old May 11, 2010, 12:18 PM   #8
William T. Watts
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Primer depth question

Primer pockets are formed by punching not cutting, they are not uniform in depth, close but not exactly the same. There is a lyman hand tool (primer pocket uniformer) chuck it in a drill motor, this tool will cut and square up primer pockets to a uniform depth. This operation is a one time and done thing with new or once fired brass and then forget it. Once you have uniformed the case primer pocket your primers will seat slightly below flush. I would think you would be able to find this tool from either MidwayUSA or midsouth reloading etc etc. Hope this helps... William

Last edited by William T. Watts; May 11, 2010 at 08:03 PM.
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Old May 11, 2010, 01:16 PM   #9
Dave P
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"is a one time and done thing with new or once fired brass and then forget it." until the many firings make the pocket more shallow.
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Old May 11, 2010, 02:12 PM   #10
HALIFAX
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I figured it out. I just had to go back through them all and press harder. Thanx fellas.
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Old May 11, 2010, 02:35 PM   #11
William T. Watts
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Primer depth question

Your going to have to learn on the fly, read everything you can get your hands on if your to progress, this is a learning intensive hobby but can be quite enjoyable! Good luck! William
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Old May 11, 2010, 04:07 PM   #12
oneoldsap
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Flash holes are punched not primer pockets .
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Old May 11, 2010, 04:43 PM   #13
William T. Watts
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Primer depth question

This article came from AccurateShooter.com Bulletin The headstamp bunter punch has a protrusion on the end to make the primer pocket, and has raised lettering around the face to form the headstamp writing. This is, of course, all a mirror image of the finished case head. Small cases, such as 5.56×45, can be headed with a single strike. Larger cases, like 7.62×51 and 50 BMG, need to be struck once to form a dent for the primer pocket, then a second strike to finish the pocket, flatten the head, and imprint the writing. This second strike works the brass to harden it so it will support the pressure of firing. Primer pockets are punched as are the flash holes.. William!

Last edited by William T. Watts; May 11, 2010 at 04:59 PM.
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Old May 11, 2010, 05:58 PM   #14
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I had loaded thousands of pistol cartridges without a single misfire. Then I finally took the plunge a year ago and tried my hand on some 7MM Mag cartridges and had 3 misfires out of 50. I thought for sure I had some defective primers but the guy at CCI told me to really lean on them. Push just as hard as I could. I was skeptical at first because I couldn't really feel any difference with that last "grunt" on my RCBS hand primer. But... I haven't had a single misfire since then. There seems to be something just a bit different about rifle cases or primers.
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Old May 11, 2010, 06:56 PM   #15
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Most benchrest shooters use high mechanical advantage hand tools so they can feel the primer touch down in the bottom of the pocket. They then stop. Federal recommends deliberately going 0.003" further for large rifle primers, and 0.002" further for small rifle primers to set the bridge (the part of the primer pellet between the cup and the anvil). Few people do this. With new brass, though, it is generally the case that the primer should be 0.003" to 0.005" below flush.

You can lay a straight edge across the back of a case to see that there's a crack of light getting through over the primer. You can use a primer pocket depth uniforming tool to clean the carbon out of your primer pockets; it resets the depth at the same time.

In the 1995 Precision Shooting Reloading Manual, the author of one of the chapters described how he started seating primers really hard. He found he could then get velocity variance down to about 10 fps for all his rifles.

Just to add to the confusion, the military punches their primer pockets, but drills their flash holes.
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