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Cleaning flash holes

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by rmurfster, Jan 3, 2007.

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  1. rmurfster

    rmurfster Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    I am fairly new to hand-loading and have been using my father-in-law's Dillon Progressive Reloading press at his house. He gave me a Lyman Turret Press for Christmas :) and I just kicked out a few rounds last evening...

    I noticed after de-priming that my flash holes looked pretty dirty. Of course, when using the progressive press, you never see the flash hole, so my question is,

    How many of you clean the flash hole? Does it matter?

  2. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

    Jan 29, 2005
    Ava, Missouri
    Oh Brother...Here it comes again. Some say not to worry and just load'em. Me? I worry...I also clean my primer pockets. I have seen in the tests that I have ran on my .45 ACP residue build up enough to not allow the primer to seat all the way in having a few thousands of an inch of the primer cup sticking up above the case head (not flush or a few thousands of an inch below the case head as it should be). The flash hole is the little hole that goes all the way through the case head. The primer pocket is the larger blind hole with the little hole (flash hole) in the middle of it.

    Welcome to the site and welcome to reloading...:)
  3. Idano

    Idano Member

    Oct 2, 2006
    The primer pockets should always be cleaned. People will tell you that it is not necessary but that's not the true, a dirty primer pocket can cause a squib load or worse prevent the primer from being fully seated and the round can go off as it is being chambered. When reloading don't take short cuts because you never know when one of those short cuts will come back to haunt you!

    Unfortunately progressive presses promotes bad reloading habits like not cleaning the primer pockets, inspecting brass, or not routinely checking powder charge between rounds.

    I own a progress press and deprime and resize all my brass. Then I chuck a RCBS pocket cleaning brush in my drill press and clean every primer pocket. It only takes about 5 minutes to clean 200 rounds and gives me a second chance to inspect all my casings. When I go to reload cleaned cases I install a universal decapping die in place of the resizer/decapping die. I also check my powder charge every 25 rounds even though I have never found it off by more then 0.1 grains.
  4. ilbob

    ilbob Member

    Jun 14, 2006
    I have found that tumbling with ground walnut does a pretty good job of cleaning out the primer pockets. I take a quick look at them coming out of the tumbler, but rarely if ever see anything that needs any further work on pistol ammo.

    For some reason, I have had to clean the primer pockets now and then on rifle cases though. Don't really know why. Maybe I did not tumble the cases long enough.

    By the way, I am not talking about depriming and then tumbling. Most of the crud seems to be located on the inside of the case, and tumbling gets it out. What little is left tends to come out with the primer when you deprime it. YMMV.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2007
  5. Blackfork

    Blackfork Member

    Aug 26, 2006
    East Texas
    Flash hole de-burring

    I'm working my way through a couple thousand headstamp-sorted 5.56 cases back from being worked over by River Valley Ordnance. www.RVO.com. I'm using a tool to de-burr the inside of the flash holes. I don't always clean the primer pocket but I have in the past.

    Finding some dang big chunks of brass hanging off the inside of these Lake City cases.
  6. Car Knocker

    Car Knocker Member

    Dec 28, 2002
    Salt Lake City, UT
    FWIW, in the 40+ years that I've been reloading, I've never cleaned a primer pocket or flash hole in handgun brass. I've never done it on rifle plinking ammo. I do, however, uniform the primer pockets and flash holes, and clean same after use, on rifle brass that I intend for accurate, long-range use. I do intend to give bias-cut ceramic media a try to eliminate the pocket cleaning.
  7. Father Knows Best

    Father Knows Best Member

    Apr 14, 2005
    Minneapolis, MN, USA
    My practice is the same as Car Knocker. I've loaded and fired tens of thousands of rounds of pistol ammo without cleaning a single primer pocket. Many of those cases go through 20 or more loadings before they are discarded. I have never had a problem related in any way to the primer pocket.
  8. RVSinOK

    RVSinOK Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Wow, Father - I am very new to reloading, and I had no idea you could reload cases 20 or more times! Is that true for pretty much all types of ammo? I am starting with handgun (.38/.357) ammo, but want to get into other handgun and rifle calibers sometime in the future... For some reason, I was assuming after four or five reloads, a case was done - is that a false assumption? I have no idea where I pulled those numbers from, but if you can use cases longer than that, I am thrilled! :D
  9. dmftoy1

    dmftoy1 Member

    Nov 17, 2003
    Lexington, IL
    I think it depends on what you're loading. 3-5 loadings for a rifle cartridge, especially if you load them towards the "hot" end of the scale and they're done. For pistol loads and low pressure rifle rounds (like the 45/70) you can get a pretty high number of reloads. I've got some .45 acp brass that I finally gave to a buddy getting started in reloading and it had to have had 15-20 loadings on it. (Israeli brass with a 68 headstamp that I bought in 1984 if that tells you anything. :) )

    Have a good one,
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