Swage or Cut primer pocket crimp?


June 1, 2011, 06:04 AM
I have an RCBS primer pocket swage tool and I'm not too happy with it. It just doesn't seem right to me. I have gone through lots of surplus brass in.223 but I still have lots of cases to prep. I started looking at one of the Lyman cutting tools to cut the crimp out.

Any thoughts between the 2 proceedures or the tools?

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evan price
June 1, 2011, 06:39 AM
My personal feeling is the swager also uniforms the pocket for roundness. I have the RCBS set myself and it's been very easy to use. It also does not remove material from the case head like a cutter will.

June 1, 2011, 06:56 AM
The Dillon Super Swage is much faster. The cutters work, but do remove material, so be careful with them.

June 1, 2011, 07:09 AM
I am basically a cheap person.:D So the most cost effective way for me to remove primer crimps was to use my already owned RCBS chamfer tool. It works OK but true, you are removing some material from the primer pocket and this may shorten brass life. I have used both types of brass and have noticed no life difference in mine yet. If I already had the swage tool in my possession I would use it as I think that it would provide more consistent results. We all know repeatability will help accuracy. It is a tossup if one method is faster than the other.

June 1, 2011, 07:14 AM
The Dillon Super Swage is much faster.



June 1, 2011, 07:24 AM
The RCBS swager works, but it has a learning curve. I finally figured out how not to bend the rod and still get an adequate swage of the primer pocket. It's much easier to ID a cut primer pocket than a swaged one.

June 1, 2011, 07:56 AM
I prefer swaging to removing material from the primer pocket. Tried the RCBS for a couple hundred of a couple thousand crimped cases. After that, the Dillon didn't seem so expensive.

June 1, 2011, 08:40 AM
Just out of curiosity.....

Given the lifespan of rifle brass, is the amount of material removed by cutting really detrimental to (what is usually) one of the thickest part of the brass ?

If you no longer desire your RCBS de-crimper, feel free to mail it to me....I can have my wife "help" then too :)

Personally I use neither method you mentioned frequently.

I simply found it faster to use a tapered T30 Screwdriver and just twist 'em out by force.

Granted, I possess extreme hand strength, but know of folks who use a similar technique using a slotted screwdriver with similar results.

I guess technically this might be referred to as "cutting" so throw me in that camp I suppose.

This way I can de-crimp whilst watching shows with the wife with little mechanical noise to bother her (gets two mind-numbing activities out of the way at once).

Using the RCBS trim-mate and pocket uniformer on each piece afterwards tells me instantly if I did my job correctly or poorly, but most often if I just need to re-taper the edge of the torx. ( not often...machine and tool steel far out-strength brass )

June 1, 2011, 09:26 AM
This way I can de-crimp whilst watching shows with the wife with little mechanical noise to bother her (gets two mind-numbing activities out of the way at once).
Shame on you Blarby.

I haven't used the RCBS tool, but I have heard mixed reviews on it. A swager can expand the primer pocket and make the brass useless.

I guess it depends on how much brass you have to process. Good thing it, you only have to do it once.

June 1, 2011, 10:10 AM
I have the RCBS primer pocket swager and have used it on an old RCBS Jr press. The press just does not have enough oomph in my opinion to adequately swage the primer pockets. I have not tried the swager on something like the Rock Chucker.

Given that, I have had good luck with chamfer tools and primer crimp reamers. I prefer the Hornady over the Lyman.

The Dillon is probably the way to go but i just don't get enough crimped brass to justify the expense.

June 1, 2011, 10:27 AM
I tried the RCBS swager and a lot of other tools before I bought the Dillon Super Swage. I should have taken the money I spent on all those other tools and bought the Dillon in the first place.

June 1, 2011, 11:02 AM
i chuck the case chamfer tool in a drill press. It takes about five seconds to remove the crimp.

June 1, 2011, 11:18 AM
I have done both for 25+ years and still do both, depending on how many I need to work up at a time. I find no difference in case life - most of my brass fails with neck splits somewhere over 10 loadings and primer pockets are still tight enough to work. To me, the only difference is that cut pockets are a little easier to prime the first time or two. I do not cut much and I do it with the deburring tool in a holder in a drill press at low speed. Just a touch and you get the feel for it very quickly. Cheap and fast (my favorite combination).
I've read where others use a countersink and that may have an advantage if it cuts shallower.

June 1, 2011, 11:31 AM
Two little tricks make using the RCBS swager "almost" painless.

1. Brass MUST be sorted by head-stamp, and the inside support rod adjusted accordingly to the different case web thickness for each brand of cases.
If you try to swage mixed brass, you will sooner or later bend the rod.

2. A spritz of case sizing lube in the primer pockets goes far in reducing the effort required to swage the pocket, and reducing sticking to the swage punch on the way out.
You are afterall, resizing the brass crimp ring, so case lube is a must.

Also, I recall having to grind just a frog-hair off the end of the swage punch years ago to get complete crimp removal with mine.
That allows the rolled edge of the punch to go in the pocket just slightly further.


June 1, 2011, 12:42 PM
I would have used the RCBS swager if it didn't require a single-stage press (which I don't have). For now, I use a Hornady primer pocket reamer in a drill.

June 1, 2011, 01:33 PM
+1 Dillon Super Swage 600. Also has the advantage that it just "falls" into an oversize pocket, so it is a rough and ready gage too. Oversize primer pocket brass goes in the scrap bucket.

I bolted mine to a piece of 2x4, sit it across my legs, swage by feel and watch videos :-)

June 1, 2011, 03:03 PM
I use the Dillon Super Swage 600 -- Quick and puts the material back close to where it started -- The beauty is that you could purchase and swage all your brass and sell it for 80% of what you paid for it -- You would be out maybe $20 to do all your brass.

You can purchase new for $105-$110 delivered

I have seen them sell for $80-$90 easy

I have kept mine because I have a stockpile of 30-06 Military brass I have not shot yet -- and still have 223 and 308 to work, but after I complete I might sell mine down the road.


June 1, 2011, 04:30 PM
I have a CH4D & it is very easy. The only learning curve is realizing you don't need to fell pressure when doing it. You just set the depth & start cranking them out.

June 1, 2011, 07:40 PM
Thanks for all the responses. My RCBS rod is bent but I can order a new one. I was about to sell this unit to get a reamer but now I think I'll get a new rod and figure out how to set it up right and this time I'll try the case lube as it makes sense.

OK, how do I set up the swage tool correctly? I thought I did that the first time I set it up.

June 1, 2011, 07:59 PM
Some guy on eBay is selling high strength rods. (http://cgi.ebay.com/RCBS-swager-rod-high-strength-primer-crimp-removal-rods-/110598188525?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item19c02a6ded)

June 1, 2011, 09:16 PM
RCBS will warranty the part.

June 1, 2011, 10:03 PM
I just compared the dillion and the rcbs on youtube and I think I like the dillion. Problem is the dillion is almost 100 bucks.

June 1, 2011, 10:11 PM
The Dillon swager is worth every penny if you are processing moderate to large amounts of brass. If not, a press-mounted solution may be better for you.

June 2, 2011, 12:12 AM
I have the Rcbs Swage but also use the Dillon Super Swage. It's the Dillon hands down.

I know some people cut the primer crimp but I like the "feel" of a swaged pocket over a cut crimp when priming. There isn't any USGI brass calibers I have not processed except maybe 45-70 and 30-40 Krag.

evan price
June 2, 2011, 12:59 AM
I process a lot of 308 that is random range brass. I set up the RCBS swager so that the case is flush with the die body when the rod bottoms out inside. Never bent one yet and I swage a lot of brass with it in a Lee 3-hole turret press. No need for a rock chucker or other large press.

June 2, 2011, 09:08 AM
"The Dillon is expensive"

That's what I said to myself and tried to find a cheaper solution. I bought the RCBS. I bought various other hand tools. None of them worked well and I found myself cussing at each one.

If I had just taken the money I spent on all the 'cheaper' solutions and spent it buying the Dillon in the first place I would have been money and time ahead.

June 2, 2011, 09:15 AM
no experience of the others but when I researched it there was a lot praise for the dillon swager....so I picked it up and went through several thousands cases in a few hours.

It worked flawlessly and made short work of removing the crimp in mil brass.

It was worth every penny to me.

GW Staar
June 2, 2011, 01:40 PM
Some guy on eBay is selling high strength rods. (http://cgi.ebay.com/RCBS-swager-rod-high-strength-primer-crimp-removal-rods-/110598188525?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item19c02a6ded)

Hes a little too late. RCBS has upgraded their tool to include that. It's called the RCBS Primer Pocket Swager Combo 2
Quoting the Product Description: This tool also features swaging rods that are made form stronger higher tensile strength steel that more than doubles the strength when comparing to the original tool.
Unfortunately Midway is out...again...they are still selling the old tool out of existing stock "on sale" of course. http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct
/default.aspx?productNumber=447022 (http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/default.aspx?productNumber=447022)
If I was wanting one I wait for the new one.

Also, if you have a bent rod and call RCBS for replacement, ask for the new part # that has the high strength steel.

June 2, 2011, 07:31 PM
I used the RCBS tool for many years, then bought a Dillon swager. The Dillon is much better and faster, but also cost more. YMMV

June 3, 2011, 01:58 AM
I remove military crimps with a Hornady primrt pocket reamer chucked in a drill. With the drill clamped in my bench vise, I can de-crimp cases about as fast as I can pick them up from one bucket and drop them into another.

I don't worry about the amount of brass lost when reaming crimps. It's no more material than you loose when trimming to length and it's at the thickest part of the case.

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