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Old December 25, 2012, 07:56 PM   #1
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Effects of Military Crimp?

Hi Folks!

I'm reloading some .223/5.56 Lake City brass on an RCBS progressive press (Pro 2000 with APS), and I've had problems with primers going in crooked, sometimes at a 90 degree angle.

Question ...

- Could this be caused by my failure to properly ream out (swage?) the primer pockets? (I'm using an RCBS primer pocket uniformer, but perhaps some roughness remains. I've been cautious about grinding the pocket too long.)

- Or could this be caused by some problem with the RCBS priming system? (However, the primer _looks_ centered in the shell holder.)

- Or both?

Many thanks!
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Old December 25, 2012, 09:16 PM   #2
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I use a countersink bit in my cordless drill. It's fast and it removes all of the crimp for about $10 for a few bits on Ebay.

I do it by feel and you will get the hang of it in no time.

I have use the primer pocket uniformer and the RCBS military crimp remover but the best so far has been the countersink.
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Old December 25, 2012, 10:31 PM   #3
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IMO, the RCBS primer pocket uniformer is not for removing the crimp on military brass. Regardless, yes, that is why you are having primer insertion issues.

I've used the RCBS primer pocket swager (the one that fits in the reloading press) with good results.
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Old December 25, 2012, 10:58 PM   #4
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I agree that the RCBS primer pocket uniformer isn't going to remove the crimp.

Can you post a picture of a few of the primer pockets? Nice clear close ups. It is fairly easy to see if they were crimped.

Normally when you try to seat primers in a pocket that was crimped but not swaged or reamed, you will encounter resistance since the primer catches as it should be starting into the pocket since there is no clearance provided by the radius to get the primer/brass aligned.
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Old December 25, 2012, 11:28 PM   #5
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In my experience I'd have the same problems if I used the press to seat primers. (Hornady single stage) The problem went away when I started using the hand held primer tool. I noticed the press didn't do a good job of lining the primer up to the pocket.
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Old December 26, 2012, 04:05 PM   #6
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You should cut out the crimp in military 223 brass. If you were attempting to prime 7.62/30-06 military you would never have gotten a primer in if you had not removed the crimp.

I used to cut out the primer crimp in 223 brass with the spay blade in a Stockman pocket knife. Does not take much material removal in 223. The fastest way is using a Dillion "Super Swager" I can swage a case in less than five seconds on a continuous run.

I have swaged five gallon buckets of brass with the Super Swager and the cost is well worth the reduction of time.

Always remove the little brass donuts that result from swaging. Donuts can fall into the primer pocket and one gentleman did not remove them, primed right on top, resulting in a high primer with a seated anvil. When he shot them in a semi automatic mechanism the primers slamfired!
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Old December 26, 2012, 08:07 PM   #7
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Jepp2 asked:

Can you post a picture of a few of the primer pockets?
Here we go ...

The photo below is a case that has been decapped and cleaned but otherwise un touched:

The photo below is a case from the same batch that has been "uniformed" with an RCBS primer pocket uniformer using an RCBS case prep machine:

The photo below is a case from the same batch that has be "swaged" with an RCBS Primer Pocket Swager die:

Now, for a some questions ...

1. Forgive my newbie stupidity, but in the first photo, where is the crimp?

2. I can feel the "chattering" when using the uniformer, and boy, you can see the effect of that chattering in the second photo. I assume that's a bad thing. Correct?

3. I like RCBS products, but RCBS instructions tend to be clear as mud. I think I have the Swager die set up correctly, but I'm not sure. It seems to have radiused the entrance to the pocket, but it seems to have made it off center. Any thoughts?

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Old December 26, 2012, 09:23 PM   #8
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Never a stupid question. And great pictures, they were exactly what were needed.

1. Yes they are crimped. The crimp is the slightly larger circular depression around the primer pocket. The purpose is to retain the primer during firing by compressing the side pocket wall inward. When you deprime it leaves the very sharp edge. This makes seating a new primer very difficult because the edge of the primer isn't rounded like the top is.

2. The chatter isn't a big issue.

3. You have not adequately swaged the case. You need to lower the swaging die slightly more. But do it slowly or you can bend the rod. The rod is threaded all the way into the die to where it stops, right? If not your chances of bending the rod are greater. I am including a picture.

Left round was never crimped, but it shows the rounding you are trying to achieve with your swager. The middle round has a crimp just like yours, the right round has a different kind of crimp. I will also include a picture of Federal brass that was crimped and the sharp corner is even more obvious.

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Old December 28, 2012, 08:50 AM   #9
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Excellent! Thanks!

P.S. I've also found another solution ...

... which will work nicely for me since I already have the RCBS Case Prep machine.
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Old December 28, 2012, 09:03 AM   #10
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Primers going in at 90 degrees comes from rough handling of the press' priming system, not failure to totally remove a crimp.
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Old December 28, 2012, 05:52 PM   #11
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The four common primer pocket tools are;
Cleaners only brush out the burnt primer residue
Uniformers only cut the pocket to an even square depth, not the crimp
Reamers cut away the crimp at the outter top edge of pocket
Swagers force the crimp at the top larger thus removing it

Some people also use knives, drill bits, or deburring tools to remove primer pockets. I have the RCBS Swage die set and Lyman reamers. I usually ream primer crimps now on military brass, running the tool in a drill press and holding cases up to it.
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