View Full Version : Unconventional Depriming/ Decapping

March 3, 2010, 01:52 PM
Ok, i'm going to start off by stating that I know there is a tool out there for this and that there are better more efficient ways to do it, with that being said, what is the best way to deprime/decap a 40 S&W casing without owning a specific tool? I am slowly getting into reloading and ive collected about 500 brass casings that i'm going to be tumbling today, i'd also like to be able to clean out the primer pocket, hence my desire to deprime. I've heard a few different methods, such as prying it out with a knife, using nails to drive it out with a hammer, and my favorite, attaching a hose to the mouth of the casing and blasting it out with compressed air. I am actually considering the validity of blasting the primers out, as im confident that this has 0% chance of deforming or maiming the casings. I'd love some feedback on this topic as i'm obviously very new to this. Please understand that I will be buying a press soon enough, but i'd like to get a head start on things.

Thanks in advance for the help,

March 3, 2010, 02:01 PM
My advice:
Tumble now, get a press to deprime later. Forget about cleaning primer pockets on pistol ammo. Total waste of time in my opinion. If you have some OCD tendancies that need to be exercised, inpsect all the cases after tumbling and make sure there are no cracks or bulges near the case head.

Sometimes I have to stop myself doing something the hard way because it's possible vs. doing it right. I would not use air to try and pop out primers. It's not worth it to monkey around with nails or risk cutting yourself with a knife either. Use the right tool for the job. Buy a press and decapping die and go nuts when they get there.

March 3, 2010, 02:27 PM
I'd tumble first for sure. Without a die, I'd probably put the case over top a hole just big enough to let the primer out, the take some sort of rod and hammer it down through the flash hole. Sounds like a very time consuming and tedious idea though. Plus you might mess up the flash holes.

March 3, 2010, 02:27 PM
I agree with Randy che, but if you're going to de-prime anyway…
You're probably going to use a simple punch, keep in mind that you don't want to disturb the flash hole in the process. So, the punch needs to be smaller than the flash hole and maintained co-axial with the case. Consider the tool supplied with the LEE classic loader, it's major diameter fits just within the case walls so it rides co-axially and the punch clears the flash hole. To receive the case, drill 2 co-axial holes in a block, the larger diameter shallow and just large enough to receive the case end. The second just larger than a primer and drilled all the way through. Place the fired case in the hole, inset punch give it a tap with a mallet, and the primer falls out the bottom of the smaller hole. The first few times, you'll want to make sure the flash hole doesn't get changed. If you wish, especially with mil brass, the primer pocket can be lightly chamfered.

March 3, 2010, 04:40 PM
A No 6 torx it in a handle will push it right out . Set the case on a nut or whatever , and tap once or twice and you're done .

March 3, 2010, 08:43 PM
Mr. Truck:

If you ever intend to actually reload this brass, you can't effectively make real ammo out of that brass UNLESS you have resized the brass. Resizing returns the springy brass back to SAAMI spec so that it both fits in your chamber properly and also grabs the bullet as it is supposed to do.

That's the only way to reload these cases.

And... when you resize this brass with a die from ANY die maker that you end up buying, whenever you do, it will DECAP that piece of brass for you.

There's no logical reason that I can come up with to spend even another minute or nugget of energy in trying to decap this brass until you have a press and a sizing die.

To even try is to simply do twice the amount of work in twice the time and if using all manners of goofy pins and nails and a torx wrench, not a very good idea.

March 3, 2010, 10:07 PM
I strongly suggest you follow advice of Randy Che. My view based on 55 years of reloading 22 to 450/500.

March 3, 2010, 10:49 PM

A few thoughts:

1. Since you are interesed in doing it, all the advice in the world to NOT do it isn't what you are looking for. So, I will try to address your desire.

2. Primer and powder residues have lead in them, so you should be careful where that goes. Using compressed air seems like the method most likely to contaminate a large part of your reloading area and the air in it, with the greatest chance for raising your blood's level of dissolved lead and leading to medical/mental issues. So, I wouldn't use that method.

3. As somebody already pointed out, the simplest reloading setup that you can buy is the Lee hand tool set. That contains a punch and a base with a hole in it to let the primer pop out. Those are cheap enough that you might consider buying one if you want to start slowly. But, it is not hard to make a base with a piece of wood and a couple of drill bits of the right size. The punch needs to be small enough to fit through the primer flash hole. Some cases have smaller holes than others. The smallest is about 0.062" in diameter (Speer 357 Sig cases) but most are more like 0.080". I have made a punch of .060" diameter using a piece of hardware store iron rod and an old drill bit that was 0.062" in diameter. But, you really need a drill press and machinist vice to do that, and here's why. The rod needs to be squared-off and the drill bit inserted in a hole that leaves it aligned with the axis of the rod and perpendicular to the end surface of the rod. If the punch isn't lined-up like that, it will wedge in the primer hole when it is struck and the punch pin goes in to the point that the end of the thick shaft hits the inside of the case head.

4. You do not want to do something that will significantly change the diameter of the flash hole, because that can affect the peak pressure of your reloads and also how much your primer cups get deformed by pressure coming back through the flash hole.

5. If you want to clean primer pockets, don't let folks tell you that you are OCD. Primer residue can cause problems with seating primers properly. That can lead to ignition problems. When starting out, I don't think it is a bad idea to clean the pockets. It can be done with a flat blade screw driver of the right size. Or, it can be accomplished when tumbling. They don't need to be shiny, just get the lumps off and it might avoid a problem or two. It certainly can't cause you a problem. Later, you may decide it really isn't worth the effort and stop. Then, if it causes a problem, you will realize that is the cause, instead of having to consider a whole bunch of possibilities as a new reloader with new equipment that may or may not have other issues.



March 4, 2010, 01:08 PM
Thanks for the advice, and I believe the last post pretty much summed me up, i tend to be a bit OCD about things, and am definatly starting slow. After some serious research, i had my mind set on decapping before I tumbled. Well, the compressor idea was done outide, in a pretty strong breeze while wearing a mask and gloves... and it didnt work at all. But was meerly an idea I had seen done elsewhere, im sure if my compressor was capable of higher PSI it may have worked, but it didnt. I then tried a knife to "pry" the primer out, and ironically like mentioned above, cut my finger tip open... I then tried using a very small diamater punch which was small enough to fit through the flash hole... it worked great, for the first five... then it decided to bend. So, I tumbled my brass with the primers in. I would invest in a depriming/decapping tool, but with a press to be ordered within 2 weeks, i cant justify spending the extra $25 dollars on a tool that will be useless once I get my press. So for now, im just going to keep tumbling brass with primer. Who knows, maybe after resizing and depriming I'll tumble it again. If I do, would tumbling it after resizing it produce enough stress to justify resizing it again? And I know there is no real need to clean the inside of the casing, but if one were to have the desire to do so, would a plastic(I think nylon) bore brush suffice? And how about the same for the primer pocket? Thanks again for the help.

March 4, 2010, 01:40 PM
If you are ordering a press, order the dies as well. Then you'll be able to size and de-prime at the same time.

March 4, 2010, 01:43 PM
Tumbling de-capped brass will not clean the primer pocket. The media just doesn't have enough energy, nor is it small enough, to get the primer pockets clean.

No, the tumbler will not alter sized brass, or put any stress on it. The inside of the cases do not need to be cleaned any more that the tumbler does while they're in there. The carbon inside there does NOT "build up".

twice barrel
March 4, 2010, 02:19 PM
I use this: http://www.natchezss.com/product.cfm?contentID=productDetail&brand=LE&prodID=LEE90292&prodTitle=Lee Decapping Die

in this: http://www.natchezss.com/product.cfm?contentID=productDetail&prodID=LEE90045&src=sim

for just such purposes.

If I wash cases instead of tumble (or before I tumble) I like that they can dry out faster with the primers out.