The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Handloading, Reloading, and Bullet Casting

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old July 2, 2010, 07:05 PM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: June 19, 2010
Location: PA
Posts: 7
Primer pocket issue

I'm loading range pickup .45 ACP for a 1911 clone. I've already loaded and shot several hundred rounds with no trouble. Case prep consists of tumbling only (Lee carbide sizing die).

I noticed with the batch I just started that some of the primers, Winchester WLPs, are ever so slightly above the base of the case. I'm talking barely perceptible to the finger. After reading some of the threads here I decided to clean out a couple of primer pockets to see if it made any difference. My dial caliper indicates pocket depth increases from 5 to 10 thousandths after cleaning the pocket.

My reading here shows that lot of people don't bother doing much with .45 cases, just load 'n go. My question is, after having loaded as many rounds as I have, do I now need to be concerned with this?

Or, should I go to the trouble of cleaning every pocket - which would be a pain but a lot less exciting than a slam fire.
-Doug- is offline  
Old July 2, 2010, 10:53 PM   #2
Junior member
Join Date: March 14, 2010
Location: Oklahaoma City
Posts: 538
After de-capping, take a look at the primer pocket. If it looks like it need cleaning then hit it with a primer pocket cleaner or after de-capping your brass just run them back through the tumbler and it will take care of 99% of any fouling in your brass. I find that after de-capping a couple hundred rounds of brass I need a break and my tumbler is just setting there doing nothing.

engineermike is offline  
Old July 3, 2010, 06:50 AM   #3
Join Date: March 4, 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 16,890
Nominal seating depth is about 0.004" below flush. That the fouling is causing the primers to stand high increases the chance of failure to feed or fire. Slamfire is pretty rare because, unlike the self-loading military rifles, the 1911 firing pin does not float, but rather has a spring holding it to the rear of the slide. That why a feed or firing failure is more likely.

You can put some fairly serious pressure on primers without damaging them, and that can usually cut through a fair amount of fouling, but with multiple reloadings it does build up. Dillon says to ignore it until you see exactly the symptom you are seeing, at which point you clean them after decapping.

As mentioned, you can decap and just tumble. You can also precede the tumble with a dip in white vinegar, followed by a rinse and dry. This will cause the cases to stain, but the tumbler removes that. The reason for doing it, when you apply the mild acid of the vinegar, you will see the primer pockets fizz as it reacts with some of the residue. That weakens the residue so the tumbler will get it out more easily and completely.

Some guys have gone over to ultrasonic case cleaning, a la Hornady's system, but I can't see taking the time or trouble for pistol rounds.
Gunsite Orange Hat Family Member
CMP Certified GSM Master Instructor
NRA Certified Rifle Instructor
NRA Benefactor Member and Golden Eagle
Unclenick is offline  
Old July 3, 2010, 09:34 AM   #4
James R. Burke
Senior Member
Join Date: January 3, 2009
Location: U.P. of Mich/Quinnesec
Posts: 1,897
I always clean my primer pockets rifle, and handgun. I dont know if it does make that much of a difference but I do it. Everyone I take a straight edge(razor balde) and put it accroos the back of case. You should see a little light were the primer is if it is seated far enough down. I know that is a little over kill, but I know I wont get a slam fire.
James R. Burke is offline  
Old July 3, 2010, 01:07 PM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: December 14, 2004
Location: Northern Indiana
Posts: 6,117
Using a single stage press after I size, I look at all the primer pockets before I proceed and the ones that have large amounts of crud in them I will put them back in the tumbler and clean them for several hours again.
That seems to clean them well enough for me. As much as I shoot, I really don’t want to handle each case with a cleaning tool,,,,, I’m lazy and let the tumbler do the work.
Rifles are a completely different matter. I clean each and every one by hand.
Ozzieman is offline  
Old July 3, 2010, 10:14 PM   #6
Junior Member
Join Date: June 19, 2010
Location: PA
Posts: 7
Thanks much for the replies. Looks like there are a lot of knowledgeable and experienced folks here.

It never occurred to me to use a tumbler to clean primer pockets. I like that idea! The thought of cleaning hundreds of primer pockets with that little tool (even mounted in a variable speed drill) IS a bit daunting.

I'm going to try Unclenick's tip about the vinegar too.

Have a good Fourth!
-Doug- is offline  
Old July 3, 2010, 10:53 PM   #7
Senior Member
Join Date: July 16, 2008
Posts: 254
I had the same problem-turned out i was using large rifle primers.
It took me a year to find replacements for those primers. Best double check
SQUAREKNOT is offline  
Old July 4, 2010, 01:33 PM   #8
Senior Member
Join Date: December 14, 2004
Location: Northern Indiana
Posts: 6,117
One thing if you do clean them with the primer removed in the tumbler.
Each and every one of them must be checked again for anything stuck in the primer hole. This is critical since most media has small particles that will get stuck in the hole.
Ozzieman is offline  
Old July 5, 2010, 05:40 AM   #9
Junior Member
Join Date: June 19, 2010
Location: PA
Posts: 7

Agreed. I see that on probably over 50% of the cases I do, and that's before sizing/decapping. It's easy enough to deal with though, the decapping pin knocks out the media (corn cob) along with the primer.
-Doug- is offline  
Old July 5, 2010, 04:00 PM   #10
Senior Member
Join Date: May 20, 2001
Location: Oshkosh wi.
Posts: 3,055
It never occurred to me to use a tumbler to clean primer pockets. I like that idea! The thought of cleaning hundreds of primer pockets with that little tool (even mounted in a variable speed drill) IS a bit daunting.
Tumbling won't remove hardly ANY of the primer residue in the primer pocket. it's too hard, and it's in a deep pocket where the tumbler media can't get at it.

I don't bother cleaning the primer pockets on handgun ammo. I've NEVER had trouble getting primers to seat deeply enough, so why do it? If it makes you feel better, than by all means do it.
The more people I meet, the more I love my dog

They're going to get their butts kicked over there this election. How come people can't spell and use words correctly?
snuffy is offline  
Old July 5, 2010, 07:55 PM   #11
Senior Member
Join Date: November 8, 2007
Posts: 2,001
If you use vinegar

the rinse in a bakinbg soda solution, not just fresh water. That stops the cases from tarnishing later, after they are dried.

I also further weakens the primer residue. You will see more fizz in the primer pockets when you put the cases in the baking soda rinse than when you put them in the vinegar. It is the baking soda reacting with the vinegar that has already soaked into the residue.

SL1 is offline  
Old July 6, 2010, 11:43 AM   #12
Join Date: April 2, 2009
Location: Western Washington
Posts: 57
I don't clean primer pockets on .45acp. I haven't seen one yet that was so dirty the primer wouldn't seat all the way.

I get a few high primers when loading .45acp on my Dillon XL650. I chalk it up to just a quirk of progessive presses. Everyone I know that uses a progressive has to keep a sharp eye out for high primers.

I just keep a hand priming tool by the press. As I box up rounds, I chuck up the ones with the slightly high primers in the hand priming tool and give a little squeeze. problem solved.

Every once in awhile, I'll run across a round that the primer is too high to go into the hand priming tool. In that case I put it back in the shell plate on the Dillon press and shove the handle forward firmly.
"Diligentia, Vis, Celeritas"
wilkersk is offline  
Old July 17, 2010, 12:24 PM   #13
Senior Member
Join Date: October 21, 2007
Location: Between CA and NM
Posts: 810
Cleaning primer pockets

I have never found a need to clean a primer pocket, but I have done it, just because...
The first thing to look at is whether your priming tool is set up properly.
If you are using a single stage press, then as you remove the case after resizing, use your $2.25 Lee Primer Pocket Cleaner to scrape out any powder residue. It takes almost no time and it will at least make you feel better.
If using an AP, you really can't clean the primer pockets easily.
What I do, however, is to always decap my brass before cleaning as part of the sorting and inspection process. This way there is some slight possibility that the primer pocket will be cleaned to some extent.
I hear people yelling about all the grit stuck in the flash hole. Well, my resizing dies all have a decapper on them so as the cases are resized, any grit gets knocked out. Besides, if you use 20/40 grit, there isn't much grit that is going to get into the flash hole.
Now, if you are loading for benchrest competition, you will want to go through ever case prep technique there is.
For pistols, however, none of that will mean a thing.
noylj is offline  

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:54 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2018 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.06407 seconds with 8 queries