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Old March 4, 2013, 05:28 PM   #1
tank1949
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Cleaning Primer Pockets

I have always cleaned primer pockets of bottle neck rifle and home defense handgun loads. I have omitted this cleaning on handgun target practices rounds. I am concerned if performing this extra step really affects accuracy or performance at all. If anyone has proven that this extra step is not worth the effort, please respond.
When I shoot a lot of ammo, I'd like to omit this extra step but do not want to reduce accuracy or performance.


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Old March 4, 2013, 09:17 PM   #2
Jeff2131
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I can speak for rifle reloads. I reload .308 and .223. I shoot ALOT and there fore reload alot at one time. I have yet to "hand" clean a primer pocket. What i do is, run my fired brass through the tumbler. Then, lube, resize/decap, and then with the lube still on them, put them right in the tumbler again. Ive found that skipping the second tumbling will make seating a primer a bit tough sometimes...depends on the brass. But, after the second tubling, the primer seats perfectly and easily every time. And the added bonus is your brass gets an extra cleaning and is super shiny! I havent seen a difference in accuracy. Nor have i seen any signs of flattened primers or primers popping out after firing. Again i cant speak for pistol ammo but my rifle reloads have been flawless thus far. I reload 100-300 at a time.
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Old March 4, 2013, 09:22 PM   #3
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I never clean pistol primer pockets, I always clean rifle primer pockets. If you are producing plinking ammo and have no problems seating primers, you are probably fine not cleaning.
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Old March 4, 2013, 09:31 PM   #4
Bart B.
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In my own tests with cleaned and uncleaned primer pockets in loads used for 1000 yard matches, cleaning them makes test groups change about 1/10th of an inch at that range. Sometimes bigger, other times smaller. Too darned hard to measure with any decent level of credibility. So I quit cleaning fired case primer pockets.
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Old March 5, 2013, 05:56 AM   #5
Cheap 870
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I clean all my primer pockets. I think it makes for better & easier primer seating.
I have to say it is the worst part of reloading & the dirtiest. (I do it by hand)
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Old March 5, 2013, 07:03 AM   #6
rebs
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I remove the primers and then put the brass in a vibratory cleaner with crushed walnut shells and the primer pockets come out cleaned.
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Old March 5, 2013, 07:06 AM   #7
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I am with most here. I do clean my primer pockets always,but can't say it makes a difference. I do it because I love to reload and it is just one step in reloading. I have never not cleaned them so have to go with what people like Bart say's. I trim my cases every load though to. I don't wait till they get to the max length and then trim. I guess to me-- Reloading is as fun as shooting
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Old March 5, 2013, 08:58 AM   #8
Magnum Wheel Man
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Just read an artical in an older handloaders magazine, of how to build accurate loads & what was worth doing...

the author found that cleaning pockets & uniforming flasholes didn't seem to make enough difference to warrent the work...

... I'll add, that I do like clean primer pockets enough, that I clean them... used to use a brush in my RCBS case prep center... I guess I don't like "scrapeing" brass out of the primer pocket, & now just wet tumble them with stainless pins, & the cases look like new, inside & out, & including the primer pockets...

... uniforming flash holes... with my cases so clean, I can easier inspect for burrs, or smaller than normal flash holes... if I find a couple in a "lot" of brass, I'll run the whole lot though the case prep center with a flash hole uniforming tool ( I use a Lyman tool )

if the flash holes look decient, then I don't do that step...

... I've actually been considering uniforming the flash holes on semi auto mixed case lots, so my loads will be more uniform, & I don't run into any function issues, since all will have the same primers, powder, powder charge, & bullet weights, if the flash holes are very different in size, just seems like I should uniform the flash holes
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Last edited by Magnum Wheel Man; March 5, 2013 at 09:50 AM.
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Old March 5, 2013, 09:30 AM   #9
chiefr
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Consider myself in the group that does not clean primer pockets.
If flasholes are a problem, I drill them out. I have only seen one lot of new brass that had flashing on flashholes.
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Old March 5, 2013, 09:41 AM   #10
swampy308
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I clean all my primer pockets. I look at it like this, its one of the steps in all the reloading manuals i've read, and it gives you one more step to check for split cases. Always remember SAFTEY FIRST.
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Old March 5, 2013, 09:45 AM   #11
jaguarxk120
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Just as Magnum has said wet tumble with the stainless steel pins and the brass come's out clean inside and out, primer pockets are clean.
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Old March 5, 2013, 09:58 AM   #12
adamc
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I have been happy with my ultrasonic cleaner.. it
does a good job inside & out and the pockets
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Old March 5, 2013, 10:11 AM   #13
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Only load handguns for now,, I never clean primer pockets ; )
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Old March 5, 2013, 12:09 PM   #14
drail
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If you shoot competition you will learn to inspect the flash holes on new brass carefully. They may be only partially punched through on some with a flap hanging on. And you will clean the pockets every 3rd or 4th loading to make sure that your primers are seated all the way in. If the firing pin has to finish seating a primer and then pop it off you'll get terrible accuracy. Most competition guys use Federal primers and lightened hammer springs, so the primer has to be fully seated to have a chance of igniting it. If there is a ring of crud in the bottom of the pocket you can't get a good consistent seating on the primer. That's been my experience.
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Old March 5, 2013, 01:38 PM   #15
5R milspec
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If in any way this helps please say so.I have always cut my primer pockets with a Sinclair tool,small and large.So when its time to load again and I always deprime before cleaning,I just run the cutter again to cut away anything it can.If some stays in the pocket I over look it and move on to the next case.With pistol I just deprime and clean then load again,have to many to work with at one time for pistol.Plus I have yet to see a difference on papper to want to clean the pocket.
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Old March 5, 2013, 02:19 PM   #16
Don P
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De-prime cases after tumbling and no need to clean the pocket
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Old March 5, 2013, 02:22 PM   #17
LarryFlew
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I never clean pistol but since I have an RCBS processor I do clean all of my rifle loads because they are a very minor step when using the processor. I process because of lot of my range pickups in rifle have crimped pockets. NO idea if there is an real difference
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Old March 6, 2013, 09:46 PM   #18
William T. Watts
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I do what 5R milspec says, I uniform all my cases with a lyman primer pocket uniformer & drill motor. I do clean primer pockets after every firing, does it help accuracy,don't know, it's just part of my routine now. Sure as heck can't hurt!! William
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Old March 15, 2013, 09:20 AM   #19
tank1949
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Opinions

I failed to mention that I clean bottlenecks pockets for 308 and 06 mainly because I pass them through M1a and M1. They are flush and I have noticed slight dimple on some of the primers I didn't detonate. Never had a slam fire and don't want one!!!!! Most of the forum contibutors seem to omit pistol cleaning but reamain steadfast on rifle. I haven't been able to find ss tumbling material via Cheap than dirt, Natcheex, or Midway. Any suggestions?????
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Old March 15, 2013, 09:32 AM   #20
Magnum Wheel Man
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STM has a website they sell theirs from ( they are the original, & from what I've heard, use a magnetic stainless pin ) I got mine from E-bay, the same place always has it listed... the stuff I got off e-bay, is non magnetic...

pro's & cons ??? I would guess the non magnetic has a lower iron content, & thus would be more corrosion resistant ( my pins never dry out, I use them enough, they are always wet )... however, you will spill a few on occasion, & they are a bear to pick up... if they were magnetic, it would aid picking up the spares a lot...
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Old March 15, 2013, 10:56 AM   #21
AL45
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Since I don't tumble clean my brass, I always clean the primer pockets. Judging from the amount of crud that is left on the table after cleaning, I would think it is important for insuring good primer seating.
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Old March 15, 2013, 10:59 AM   #22
Magnum Wheel Man
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plus carbon is a hard element... blasting little pieces through the flash hole could cause more internal wear, than cartridges without that extra carbon floating around ???
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Old March 15, 2013, 11:08 AM   #23
rclark
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Used too. Used to tumble and clean primer pockets... Now, I tumble rarely, and and rarely clean the primer pockets of my revolver cartridges. When I feel they need it, I'll do it, but never every time. Never had a problem with primer seating nor a difference in quality of end product.
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Old March 15, 2013, 02:56 PM   #24
ares338
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Since I load in 50 rounds at a time I clean my primer pockets. I have a pocket cleaning tool set in a cordless drill so it takes not even 10 minutes to clan them so why not?
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Old March 15, 2013, 03:24 PM   #25
rodfac
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I clean all rifle primer pockets...competition and practice...as I've found that seating the fresh primer in an uncleaned pocket sometimes leaves it not quite seated. I do not clean hand gun pockets whatsoever and have never had a "High" primer. Rod
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