The Firing Line Forums

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

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old March 4, 2013, 05:28 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: November 12, 2012
Posts: 160
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.

tank1949 is offline  
Old March 4, 2013, 09:17 PM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: November 30, 2012
Location: Spring City, PA
Posts: 497
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.
Jeff2131 is offline  
Old March 4, 2013, 09:22 PM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: June 26, 2008
Location: L.A. - Lower Alabama
Posts: 365
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.
rduckwor is offline  
Old March 4, 2013, 09:31 PM   #4
Bart B.
Senior Member
Join Date: February 15, 2009
Posts: 6,318
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.
US Navy Distinguished Marksman Badge 153
Former US Navy & Palma Rifle Team Member
NRA High Power Master & Long Range High Master
NRA Smallbore Prone Master
Bart B. is offline  
Old March 5, 2013, 05:56 AM   #5
Cheap 870
Junior member
Join Date: November 12, 2011
Location: Ohio
Posts: 159
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)
Cheap 870 is offline  
Old March 5, 2013, 07:03 AM   #6
Senior Member
Join Date: January 10, 2012
Posts: 3,569
I remove the primers and then put the brass in a vibratory cleaner with crushed walnut shells and the primer pockets come out cleaned.
rebs is offline  
Old March 5, 2013, 07:06 AM   #7
Senior Member
Join Date: January 16, 2010
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 3,577
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
NRA Certified RSO
NwCP- Performance Isn't Optional
4runnerman is offline  
Old March 5, 2013, 08:58 AM   #8
Magnum Wheel Man
Senior Member
Join Date: July 26, 2006
Location: Southern Minnesota
Posts: 9,333
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
In life you either make dust or eat dust...

Last edited by Magnum Wheel Man; March 5, 2013 at 09:50 AM.
Magnum Wheel Man is offline  
Old March 5, 2013, 09:30 AM   #9
Senior Member
Join Date: January 27, 2010
Location: AR
Posts: 1,394
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.
chiefr is offline  
Old March 5, 2013, 09:41 AM   #10
Join Date: May 16, 2009
Posts: 87
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.
swampy308 is offline  
Old March 5, 2013, 09:45 AM   #11
Senior Member
Join Date: February 28, 2008
Location: Michigan
Posts: 2,341
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.
jaguarxk120 is offline  
Old March 5, 2013, 09:58 AM   #12
Senior Member
Join Date: January 3, 2013
Location: Stalingrad Connecticut
Posts: 216
I have been happy with my ultrasonic cleaner.. it
does a good job inside & out and the pockets
**** NRA Life Member *****

Connecticut was the Cradle of the Gun Industry, NOW it is just a Pine Box,
Courtesy of our Governor "Chairman MAO Malloy"
adamc is offline  
Old March 5, 2013, 10:11 AM   #13
Senior Member
Join Date: October 24, 2008
Posts: 711
Only load handguns for now,, I never clean primer pockets ; )
There's a GATOR in the bushes & She's Callin my name
>Molly Hatchett<
YARDDOG(1) is offline  
Old March 5, 2013, 12:09 PM   #14
Junior member
Join Date: February 2, 2008
Posts: 3,150
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.
drail is offline  
Old March 5, 2013, 01:38 PM   #15
5R milspec
Senior Member
Join Date: December 11, 2009
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 360
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.
life is great but its better when you can own as many guns you wish to own.for me I haven't bought enough yet.
5R milspec is offline  
Old March 5, 2013, 02:19 PM   #16
Don P
Senior Member
Join Date: December 17, 2005
Location: Florida
Posts: 5,718
De-prime cases after tumbling and no need to clean the pocket
NRA Life Member, NRA Range Safety Officer, NRA Certified Pistol Instructor,, USPSA NROI Range Officer,
ICORE Range Officer,
,MAG 40 Graduate
As you are, I once was, As I am, You will be.
Don P is offline  
Old March 5, 2013, 02:22 PM   #17
Senior Member
Join Date: June 15, 2009
Location: Minnesota CZ fan
Posts: 902
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
LarryFlew is offline  
Old March 6, 2013, 09:46 PM   #18
William T. Watts
Senior Member
Join Date: January 20, 2010
Location: Central Arkansas
Posts: 1,072
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
William T. Watts is offline  
Old March 15, 2013, 09:20 AM   #19
Senior Member
Join Date: November 12, 2012
Posts: 160

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?????
tank1949 is offline  
Old March 15, 2013, 09:32 AM   #20
Magnum Wheel Man
Senior Member
Join Date: July 26, 2006
Location: Southern Minnesota
Posts: 9,333
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...
In life you either make dust or eat dust...
Magnum Wheel Man is offline  
Old March 15, 2013, 10:56 AM   #21
Senior Member
Join Date: December 12, 2012
Posts: 576
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.
AL45 is offline  
Old March 15, 2013, 10:59 AM   #22
Magnum Wheel Man
Senior Member
Join Date: July 26, 2006
Location: Southern Minnesota
Posts: 9,333
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 ???
In life you either make dust or eat dust...
Magnum Wheel Man is offline  
Old March 15, 2013, 11:08 AM   #23
Senior Member
Join Date: February 12, 2009
Location: Butte, MT
Posts: 2,027
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.
A clinger. When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. Single Action .45 Colt (Sometimes improperly referred to by its alias as the .45 'Long' Colt or .45LC). Don't leave home without it. Ok.... the .44Spec is growing on me ... but the .45 Colt is still king.
rclark is offline  
Old March 15, 2013, 02:56 PM   #24
Join Date: March 7, 2012
Posts: 31
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?
ares338 is offline  
Old March 15, 2013, 03:24 PM   #25
Senior Member
Join Date: January 22, 2005
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 2,575
I clean all rifle primer pockets...competition and 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
Cherish our flag, honor it, defend what it stands for or get the hell out. Our Freedoms are not free, they've been paid for many times over by heros in uniform. Far better men than I, died that we could be FREE.

USAF FAC, 5th Spl Forces, An Loc, lll Corps, RVN, 69-70, Vietnam Vet '69-'73
rodfac 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 01:12 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, 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 0.13474 seconds with 7 queries