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Old July 29, 2020, 10:13 AM   #1
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Primer pocket reamer for removing crimp.

What are the disadvantages of using a.primer pocket reamer like the Lyman tool. To remove primer crimps? Will reaming the pockets slightly result in a decrease in longevity of my brass?

I have around 2000 crimps to remove and doing it by hand with a chamfer tool is too time consuming. I am planning to put a pocket reamer on my case prep station to accomplish this
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Old July 29, 2020, 03:19 PM   #2
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IMO, boils down to personal preference of what the person prefers. I've done a few by hand, (it sucks), done several hundred as you plan to do, and the swage method. I prefer the swage method myself.

Reaming removes a bit of brass, you can get carried away with it and make the primer pocket to where the primer seats too easily which is not good, especially if you plan on reloading several times which it sounds like you may. I've used the Hornady and RCBS brand crimp reamers, both work but both are time consuming even, with the reamer on a prep center machine. I do have a crimp reamer hand tool that I use on occasion for that stubborn pocket that needs a bit of help to accept the primer without damage to the primer.

Swaging is faster/easier IMO, based on my experience. Swaging just moves the crimp out (no brass is removed) so a primer will fit with slight resistance.
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Old July 29, 2020, 05:18 PM   #3
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I used to ream, both by hand and with an electric drill. Quite often, I thought I was removing too much brass. I switched to the Lee swage die a few months ago. Quick and easy to use. Primers fit perfectly now.
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Old July 29, 2020, 05:18 PM   #4
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If the reamer is correctly designed, it should be flat and non-cutting at the tip and the cutting blades should be profiled to match a proper primer pocket's profile. Conceivably, that could shorten the life of your brass if you are shooting at high enough pressures to expand your primer pockets significantly. But if you are loading at pressures that allow your brass to age until it either starts to split at the necks or suffers incipient head separation without the primer pockets getting loose, this won't be a problem.

That said, for 2000 I'd spend the extra nickel or so a case for a bench-mounted swaging tool and then have it for the rest of my life or resell it on eBay. The RCBS is on sale at Midway right now for $85. The Dillon costs $115, but has the advantage of having been around longer. I've never used the RCBS, so I don't know how they compare in effort or setup complexity, but the Midway reviews make the latter sound similar. But the Dillon, being older, has lots of YouTube videos, one showing how to make it auto-eject, which gets the throughput up to about one every two or three seconds. It also has plastic inserts available at Inline Fabrication to improve case alignment so you don't get the occasional slight miss that ruins the edge of a pocket as otherwise can happen (though you will kick yourself for paying $24 for two pieces of plastic that have to be hand-fitted to your swager, in saved cases, they ultimately pay for themselves).

The RCBS unit looks like it is meant to be mounted left to right, while the Dillon is worked from one end. Both need some setup practice. The reviews suggest the RCBS can wear its aluminum casting over tens of thousands of round, which RCBS replaces cheerfully. I cracked my Dillon's casting once, and Dillon replaced it just as cheerfully, so this may be par for the course between aluminum and the high force involved. That tells me you want one of these brands that stands behind their gear if you get one.

Occasionally, I have had to swage a case a second time. It just depends how much metal was moved in the original crimp. Swaging doesn't remove brass. Rather, it just pushes it out to the perimeter of the primer pocket and a bit beyond, which raises the surface around where its ram went slightly, like a super shallow crater wall. When the case is fired, pressure against the breech face of the bolt squashes that flat again which causes some of it move back toward the pocket, tightening it a little bit. But the number that need this redo are few and far between.

All that said, it's really the immense time savings that makes these devices attractive.
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Old July 30, 2020, 01:51 PM   #5
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I’ve used the reamer a lot over the years, got the RCBS beach mounted swager for Christmas last year and it’s a worthwhile investment.
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Old July 30, 2020, 04:25 PM   #6
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Mighty Armory has a decapp and swage die setup where all you change is the decapp pin for the swage pin without any further adjustments to the die. I have one and it works well. I leave it on a 30 yr old Lee single stage press for decapping and swaging as the need arises. Takes about 30 seconds to swap out the pins and dig out the swage nipple for the ram.
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Old July 30, 2020, 05:43 PM   #7
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If you want a press mounted swager, this looks like a nice setup to me. I have the RCBS one that’s similar but had I seen this setup first I would bought it instead.
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Old August 1, 2020, 08:53 AM   #8
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For me, the disadvantage of reaming is that consistancy depends on my technique. I now swage to take the human factor out; results are much more consistent. YMMV
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