how neccessary is cleaning primer pocket


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Dueling1911s
October 3, 2011, 10:49 AM
title is self explanatory.

i was just wondering because on progressive presses they aren't cleaned. i'm just making cheap practice handgun ammo on a single stage

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jcwit
October 3, 2011, 10:52 AM
For plinking non target ammo I don't bother. As ling as the primer seats just below flush, which I have never had a problem with.

Jim Watson
October 3, 2011, 10:54 AM
I have been loading for about 40 years and have not cleaned a pistol primer pocket yet.
Some of that loading was for moderately demanding shooting like PPC and IHMSA and my accuracy seemed as good as anybody's.

Darned few rifle primer pockets, either. Warren Page said he once went a full season of benchrest shooting without cleaning primer pockets. He said it did not feel right to skip a step in the meticulous case prep, but he could see no increase in his group sizes.

RevGeo
October 3, 2011, 11:19 AM
I'm kinda picky about case prep. It only takes a few seconds to clean a primer pocket. I at least look at the pocket and if it looks crappy I'll clean it.
Part of loading your own ammo is that the quality is determined by you.
To me, loading my own ammo is part of being a rifleman. I like being part of a tradition of competence and attention to detail.
I keep my rifle clean and my ammo top notch.

George

Funshooter45
October 3, 2011, 11:24 AM
I don't think it's necessary at all. I never ever do it for pistols. For rifles, I do it once in awhile. It's not necessary, but I do it as part of my final inspection process while I'm looking the case over. Well, sometimes I do it for some cartridges. I don't worry about the case very much on the .308 or .243. But I do a final inspection on my 7 mm mag and WSM cases to look for tiny splits in the neck or signs of impending failure on cases that I have used many times.

cfullgraf
October 3, 2011, 12:35 PM
There is enough published information out there from the experts that show that not cleaning primer pockets does not affect accuracy.

But, there is also information out there that says not cleaning primer pockets will, over time, build up debris in the pockets that will limit the ability to seat the primers properly. High primers with semi-auto military pattern rifles is an invitation for slam fires.

If it makes you fell better to clean the primer pockets, then you will shoot better.

I sometimes clean my primer pockets of my match ammunition with a brush. I tumble all cases after depriming. Some primer pocket cleaning occurs during that step. Other than the cleaning during tumbling, I never clean handgun cases.

ranger335v
October 3, 2011, 12:45 PM
I clean 'em but I KNOW I'm not making anything better.

Sin City Shootist
October 3, 2011, 01:59 PM
I use a ultra sonic cleaner to clean my brass. The reason I use it is because it cleans the pockets really well. I use Wolf/Tula primers and they are always a tight fit. I've damaged more primers with dirty pockets then with clean, so now they all get cleaned.

SlamFire1
October 3, 2011, 02:34 PM
Un necessary to clean pistol pockers. A long range champ bud of mine never cleaned his primer pockets, and he set several long range records at Camp Perry.

p5200
October 3, 2011, 04:23 PM
I would assume a pocket uniformer is not really important either? Just curious. :)

Friendly, Don't Fire!
October 3, 2011, 05:00 PM
In my humble opinion, everything is "worth it" if there is any chance AT ALL that a round may not fire or may not shoot as intended.

Quality control only happens when one puts their mind into making the best possible ammo they can. When people start cutting corners, all kinds of things may start to happen, and it may not be immediate, but may be cumulative!

If there is any chance that eliminating one action during reloading will make my ammo not as reliable or not as accurate, then I don't want to go there, at all.

When I reload, it is for quality, not speed.

rcmodel
October 3, 2011, 05:16 PM
I just look at the little pile of hard carbon grit I get after cleaning primer pockets.

And re-conferm it is not something I want blowing down my barrel every shot, any more then necessary.

As for cleaning them?
I couldn't bring myself to load a case without inspecting it for defects first, more then once.
And once is when I clean the primer pockets before loading them again.

How to address that in a progressive press, I don't know.
I guess thats one reason I don't have a progressive press.

rc

CraigC
October 3, 2011, 05:21 PM
I usually clean mine. When you have custom revolvers that have headspace adjusted to a minimum, high primers aren't something you can live with.

sugarmaker
October 3, 2011, 05:21 PM
For .223 I deprime / lee collet on progressive station 1, prime between 1-2, and redding body size on station 2. At this time I would say it's not possible to create a high primer with this setup, so I don't clean.

With a regular press / hollow shellholder, I always cleaned them for peace of mind. Using a hand prime I felt the seating feel was better.

esheato
October 3, 2011, 05:27 PM
Never cleaned a pocket on pistol and I promise you, I never will.

As far as rifle, I used to clean them....then loaded a couple batches without cleaning due to time constraints. Can't tell the difference so I don't bother anymore.

cfullgraf
October 3, 2011, 05:50 PM
As for cleaning them?
I couldn't bring myself to load a case without inspecting it for defects first, more then once.
And once is when I clean the primer pockets before loading them again.

How to address that in a progressive press, I don't know.
I guess thats one reason I don't have a progressive press.

rc

Here is how I deal with primer pockets on a progressive.

I resize, expand the mouth, and then tumble brass. Then hand prime and load on the progressive. The tumbling step in between allows me a opportunity to inspect the case again and do what ever i want with the primer pocket.

I resize and clean brass shortly after shooting. Small batches get process quickly, usually less than 10 minutes not counting tumbler time. Then when enough prepared brass saved up, I do a loading session on the progressive.

Until I decided to load on a progressive this way, I resisted purchasing a progressive. But, I hate the extra steps, mouth expanding and taper crimping. with handgun cartridges and a progressive makes those steps transparent.

Canuck-IL
October 3, 2011, 05:55 PM
I uniform the pocket when it's first acquired. Wet tumbling w SS media cleans them as if new for each subsequent loading.
/Bryan

Offfhand
October 3, 2011, 07:11 PM
Quoted from above post:

"There is enough published information out there from the experts that show that not cleaning primer pockets does not affect accuracy."

Oh really? Published where? Name the "experts".

Go to a benchrest tournament and watch the real experts reloading their ammo between relays. It will a be a lesson worth learning about cleaning primer pockets. If in doubt, look at the groups they shoot.

gamestalker
October 3, 2011, 07:37 PM
I've always cleaned them. Why add any variables to what is supposed to be a superior load to factory.

jcwit
October 3, 2011, 07:42 PM
Offhand reread post #3.

FlyinBryan
October 3, 2011, 07:45 PM
i clean my primer pockets. i chuck a lees primer pocket hand tool in a cordless drill and go through them pretty quick.

a lot of fouling does come out.

stainless media pins really clean pockets unlike corn or walnut, and ive considered trying some out in the future.

cfullgraf
October 3, 2011, 10:18 PM
Quoted from above post:

"There is enough published information out there from the experts that show that not cleaning primer pockets does not affect accuracy."

Oh really? Published where? Name the "experts".

Go to a benchrest tournament and watch the real experts reloading their ammo between relays. It will a be a lesson worth learning about cleaning primer pockets. If in doubt, look at the groups they shoot.

Charles Petty did an article for "Handloader" a year or two ago testing accuracy with and without cleaning primer pockets. Apologies that I can locate the exact issue.

I have seen other articles over the last 20 years or so. the subject comes up once i a while. But, since I cannot quote the exact reference, I guess they never happened.

Does cleaning primer pockets improve accuracy? Maybe. Will most shooters really see a difference? Probably not. Is the small improvement in accuracy worth the time involved? If it makes you feel better, you will shoot better.

Jasper1573
October 3, 2011, 10:33 PM
I clean 'em but I KNOW I'm not making anything better.

I clean them, and wonder if it helps, but with a primer pocket brush in a drill press on slow speed, I can do several hundred rifle cases in less than an hour...seems worth the effort to me.

Jasper

ColtPythonElite
October 3, 2011, 10:47 PM
I never clean pistol brass pockets. Some of my brass has been being used for 20 years with no issues. I will admit I clean rifle pockets if I'm trying to work up an accurate load. I am skeptical if it makes any difference, though.

oldreloader
October 4, 2011, 12:16 AM
I'm with rc on this. Besides if I clean them I don't have to wonder.

nojoke
October 4, 2011, 12:46 AM
Isn't a primer really just a fuse to ignite the gun powder?

Could this fuse even possibly do anything to change the ignition of the powder to affect the projectile....seems like its way out of the realm of reason.

I would speculate the only real concern, as has been posted, is the complete seating of the primer into the pocket....which is easily checked prior to use.

tightgroup tiger
October 4, 2011, 08:43 AM
I also clean my primer pockets every time. I use a sonic cleaner and on my pistol brass I use a 30-06 resizing die to remove the primers before putting them in the sonic cleaner. Maybe it does or doesn't affect accuracy or maybe it is a difference in how fussy we are in our building of ammunition. I need to depend on mine so i will clean the pockets every time.

amlevin
October 4, 2011, 10:36 AM
With some case cleaning methods the extra step of cleaning the primer pocket is moot.

I use the Stainless Steel pins and when finished the primer pockets as well as the inside of the case is as clean as when it was manufactured.

I don't know if it contributes to accuracy or reliability but I'll bet money it doesn't harm it.

Red Cent
October 4, 2011, 12:35 PM
I would like to see who loads and shoots around 8-10,000 rifle and pistol rounds per yer and they clean each and every one of the primer pockets.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
October 4, 2011, 12:49 PM
People who state they have been reloading for so many years without an issue related to never cleaning their primer pockets would be like saying "I go every winter without snow tires, I have not gotten stuck in 20 years!"

Remember this:
There is always a FIRST TIME for ANYTHING!

Take that one step further. Suppose that "one-time" there is a fail-to-ignite happens to be the time when you need that shot the most!

I like to think my ammo is better than factory. If I don't prep my brass in the proper manner, then my ammo is not any better than factory ammo. At least new, factory ammo has clean primer pockets! Along with checking primer pockets, I have a Sinclair Flash Hole Reamer. You wouldn't believe the number of flash holes having a little metal flap of metal remaining on the inside of the case! Suppose that tiny flap happens to make its way partially-closed over the primer hole! POOR IGNITION will result!

Friendly, Don't Fire!
October 4, 2011, 12:52 PM
I would like to see who loads and shoots around 8-10,000 rifle and pistol rounds per yer and they clean each and every one of the primer pockets.
Like anything, one devises a system to rapidly clean the primer pockets, whether it be made for that purpose, or just an electric drill with a pocket brush in it. I can bell my case mouths as fast as I am cleaning the primer pocket with my other hand!

Offfhand
October 4, 2011, 07:27 PM
Mr. Cfullgraff. Thank you, and my apoligies for jumping the gun on your comments.
Shoot well and enjoy the new season.
Offfhand

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