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Primer Pocket Cleaning. Which method?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by gilgomesjr, Feb 22, 2011.

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  1. gilgomesjr

    gilgomesjr Member

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    Okay... this is probably a stupid question and if so won't be my first or last. The one thing I don't at all enjoy about reloading is cleaning primer pockets with a hand tool.

    I'm wondering if it makes more sense to buy something like the "RCBS Trim mate" to help automate the task to a degree... or... spend about the same amount of cash on a decent ultrasonic cleaner.

    If you're not worried about shiny brass, it seems the ultrasonic will clean the outside of the shell as well as the inside and the primer pocket (if you decap before resizing). If you do want shiny brass, you could always run it through a tumbler too.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. MEHavey

    MEHavey Member

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    I just keep/use a pocket uniformer in a variable-speed drill for rifle cases between loadings.
    (and don't worry about it w/ pistol cases.)
     
  3. k4swb

    k4swb Member

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    The in thing now seems to be not to clean primer pockets. I did on everything I loaded, every time until I bought a progressive last year. Kinda defeats the purpose of a progressive if you have to stop and clean the PP.

    I will still ocassionally go through the brass after depriming to clean them because I just like having them clean. Kinda like taking a bath and not washing your feet.

    I am considering getting a sonic cleaner to try instead of a PP uniformer. To me a uniformer has always cleaned better than just a brush or scrape type cleaner.
     
  4. GLOOB

    GLOOB Member

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    Clean and shiny brass is only cosmetic. You can't even see the primer pocket, so a clean and shiny primer pocket is beyond cosmetic.

    I decap, resize, and reprime all in one operation. What I can't see can't bother me.
     
  5. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    I cleaned the old fashoned way for 50 years with a little hand twisted thingamabob or a small screwdriver.

    Then about a year ago, I was staring at a bucket full of .223 cases to process and had a vision!

    I used my cordless Dremel tool and one of the little brass brushs run on low speed.
    You can clean primer pockets squeeky clean as fast as you can pick up cases and throw them down.

    http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXC630&P=FR

    More lately, I have been using Zila brand Lizzard Litter in my tumbler.
    It is very fine ground walnut shell, and cleans primer pockets great while the cases get polished.

    rc
     
  6. Hendiadys

    Hendiadys Member

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    I'm not using a progessive loader, so high volume is not my realm, for cleaning primer pockets, I have taken to using a hardwood or bamboo skewer the size of the primer pocket or slightly smaller and square ended, embedded into a golf ball (as a tang handle). It is not nearly as agressive as brushes and cutters and burnishes the pocket without removing metal. The residues involved are, as a general rule, pretty brittle and crumble readily.
     
  7. kelbro

    kelbro Member

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    A primer pocket uniformer is a totally different tool.
     
  8. GLShooter

    GLShooter Member

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    "kelbro A primer pocket uniformer is a totally different
    tool."


    However a pocket uniformer does , in fact, make an excellent primer pocket cleaner. I have one for small and large primer pockets and when I do clean the odd batch of pockets I fire up my Sinclair Pocket Uniformer in a Makita power screw driver.

    Greg
     
  9. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    Even with the progressive press, I prefer to clean my brass between resizing and loading. So, much of my primer pocket cleaning is done in the tumbler. If nothing else, it gets rid of the loose debris and prevents build up of material in the pocket.

    Occasionally i will get anal and clean the pockets of rifle cases manually. Then, I use a battery powered screwdriver with an RCBS primer pocket brush in the end. Nothing magic about the RCBS, it is what I have on hand.
     
  10. Black_Talon

    Black_Talon Member

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    That's exactly what I do too, except with a Black & Decker screw driver.
     
  11. Canuck-IL

    Canuck-IL Member

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    I uniform pockets on new, or newly acquired once fired, rifle brass and the SS media with wet tumbling leave it all looking new, every time. Most pistol brass just gets put straight through a progressive ... some match brass I'll decap first and wet tumble it.
    /Bryan
     
  12. ranger335v

    ranger335v Member

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    I won't get into "what I do" stuff (because no one cares what I do anyway), but no one has ever shown that cleaning primer pockets does a thing to improve accuracy or reliability.
     
  13. newfalguy101

    newfalguy101 Member

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    The only time I ever clean primer pockets anymore is for hunting ammo, usually in batches of 20 or so rounds, enough to double check zero and kill Bambi.

    When I first started loading many moons ago I used everything from q-tips to a a primer pocket reaming tool to clean them, then decided I didnt really care about a missfire on blasting ammo so quit cleaning those pockets.

    Strangely enough in the thousands of rounds loaded, I cant recall a single missfire that wasnt traced to the gun being used.

    Even when I was shooting matches twice a month I didnt clean primer pockets.

    Do it if you want to, but, really, its probably not needed.
     
  14. northark147

    northark147 Member

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    For Rifle, I use my primer pocket uniformer with a cordless drill, For Pistol... Faagedditaboudit, I just let the Press do its job. Nope no real evidence I found that cleaning them out helps my rifles accuracy, but shiny pockets makes me feel better, and if I feel better, I shoot better :D
     
  15. Black_Talon

    Black_Talon Member

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    I think there's a whole lot of benchrest shooters that will disagree with you.
     
  16. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

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    Unless you are using some sort of weird, crusty primers, or are having problems with the primer seating too high, its a complete waste of time to scrub primer pockets.

    I use a Lee hand-priming tool, and I run my finger across the base of each primed case as I remove the case from the tool. So long as the primer is slightly below flush with the base of the case, I know its seated just fine.

    I never stick my cases back in any kind of tumbling media after the spent primer has been punched. That's just inviting the chance to get some glob stuck squarely in the flash hole.

    There is some sort of newfangled system that uses a rotary tumbler and little bitty stainless steel rods mixed-in some sort detergent solution. Gets the cases SPOTLESS inside and out (including the primer pockets - provided you "de-cap" before tumbling). Like I care.

    For me, its two hours in the vibratory tumbler with walnut media, resize (and de-cap AT THE SAME TIME), stuff a primer in the case, and call it good.
     
  17. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    Every deprimed case coming out of the tumbler gets a piece of piano wire poked through the flash hole to insure no media stuck in the flash hold.

    I resize and prep cases shortly after shooting., then store for future loading. I don't like to store resized cases with primers in them as it may be weeks or months before they get loaded again.

    Resizing and prep cases in "small" doses is palatable to me. I enjoy the actual reloading and can do that for hours at a time.

    But that is one of my idiosyncrasies and not the only way it could be done. What ever floats you boat is what works.
     
  18. StringTwelve

    StringTwelve Member

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    I wouldn't count on sonic cleaners to get your pockets clean. I've tried about everything in my Hornady to no avail. Went ahead an ordered a vibrator style tumbler after a few weeks of half way cleaned brass. It still doesn't completely clean the primer pockets but does a much better job than I was doing before with the sonic.
     
  19. OldmanFCSA

    OldmanFCSA Member

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    I used to used a small electric motor with a RCBS primer pocket brush attachment.
    It was still work to do them all.
    NOW I USE STAINLESS STEEL PINS TO TUMBLE - it cleans the pockets perfectly.
    There is a new posting here with pictures - trust me it does worl as well as it shows in the pictures, and the insides are even cleaner.
    Try it - you WILL like it!!!!
     
  20. smurf hunter

    smurf hunter Member

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    I find a clean pocket makes the priming operation much smoother and more consistent
     
  21. Bula

    Bula Member

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    I like the Lee Primer pocket cleaner chucked into my cordless drill. I only do rifle, but you can do a pile in a hurry.
     
  22. Jasper1573

    Jasper1573 Member

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    Recently bought a 1000 once-fired Lake City brass and decided to clean them as completely as I could. I tried cleaning the primer pockets with a hand tool, but that was laborious and painful. Inserted the primer pocket cleaner brush into my drill press, and the task becomes quick and painless. I do the same with a crimp reamer to remove the crimp.

    I like the drill press better than a hand drill because only the case can move, not the case and the drill. If you don't have a drill press, the drill or Dremel is the next best thing.

    Jasper
     
  23. RidgwayCO

    RidgwayCO Member

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    OK, I'll play!

    Previously I'd decap my brass with a Lee universal decapping die, and then use my Sinclair primer pocket uniformer mounted on a B&D electric screwdriver to clean out the pockets (they'd already been uniformed earlier, and this is something that only needs to be done once). Into the vibrating cleaner, and they come out ready for loading (thanks to Walkalong's suggestion to use 20/40 corn cob media, I've since never had cleaning media stuck in the flash hole).

    Since I purchased my RCBS Trim Mate, everything is the same except I use the correct RCBS primer pocket uniforming tool mounted on the Trim Mate to clean the pockets. It's great... deprime, hit the case with the spinning uniformer (only one hand required), then into the box for cleaning. Adds almost no time to my routine, but my primers pockets are clean and I know I'll always have the correct primer seating depth.
     
  24. gilgomesjr

    gilgomesjr Member

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    stainless steel pins in a tumbler? What kind/brand of tumbler? Like a rock polishing tumbler? This sounds interesting...
     
  25. bloominonion

    bloominonion Member

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    You can clean primer pockets? lol

    I only clean if I see it looks nasty. If I do, I just use a pocket reamer. I usually de-prime, then tumble to remove oil from sizing (on rifle casings). Then I just check the pockets/flash hole for media and load away. I can usually get all the media out of the flash hole by holding the cases against the edge of the tumbler running empty, knocks all the crap right out.

    You use the stainless pins in a rotary tumbler, tumbling the brass wet. I forget the dimensions of the pins you use though. If I had the cash i would probably do it on some cases.
     
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