Primer Pocket Cleaning

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  • Last Post 08 November 2020
Boschloper posted this 27 October 2020

I was loading some .30-30's this morning and got to wondering....  How and how often do you clean primer pockets?

I use a home made tool, a piece of 1/16 inch music wire sharpened to a point and held in a 3/16 inch diameter handle. 

I clean my rifle and revolver brass every time I load it. Semi auto pistol brass I don't clean.

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Eutectic posted this 27 October 2020

I used to have large and small LEE primer pocket cleaners mounted vertically on my press. I religiously cleaned every pocket.
I stopped cleaning primer pockets when I detected no difference in 45 ACP and 38 Special match grade ammunition.
I have a wash step after sizing to remove the sizing lubricant, some of the primer residue is removed, but not all.

Many shooters load on progressive presses which have no way to clean primer pockets.
A local reloading manufacturer who turns out 100,000 rounds a week cleans not one primer pocket.

The short answer is NEVER.

Steve

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RicinYakima posted this 27 October 2020

Always for my match ammo, seldom for practice ammo and never for plinking stuff.

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Ross Smith posted this 27 October 2020

I clean when the primers are sticking out ever so slightly . I use a hand held primer tool not my rcbs rock crushing son of a gun.

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 27 October 2020

when i wuz a farm boy i cut up those wooden trays the primers came in and scrubbed the primer pockets ....  

then i read that it didn't matter ...  might have been Warren Page ... ( he didn't clean pockets for his benchrest rifles . ) 

i haven't cleaned one in 40 years ...

********************

along that line, some of the current mj benchesters " uniform " their primer pockets with their nifty little carbide cutters every shot or so with their 85,000 psi loads ... the brass moves a little ...

ken

 

 

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Coydog posted this 27 October 2020

I clean my out of habit , I seen some build up on some. It works for me .

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Dale53 posted this 27 October 2020

I was a competitive shooter for many, many years in various disciplines. After Warren Page (a renowned Bench rest  shooter and author) stopped cleaning primer pockets without issue, I quit, myself. I ran the usual tests and saw no difference in bench rest as well as big bore and pistol shooting. I haven't cleaned primer pockets since.

FWIW

Dale53

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John Alexander posted this 27 October 2020

I'm with Eutectic, Ken, and Dale.

After reading Page's article I tried strings of groups alternating with and without cleaned primer pockets and didn't get a difference. I haven't cleaned a primer pocket for a long time.

John

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Bud Hyett posted this 27 October 2020

I remember talking reloading to Jim Stekl at length at the Orlando NRA Annual Meeting. He reinforced Warren Page on primer pocket cleaning. My primer pocket cleaning tool is now rusty.

I mentioned building a 6X45 (6mm-.223 Remington). He said that Remington should have offered the 6X45 in place of the 6X47. The 6X47 was a mistake, over-length and not efficient for consistent powder burn. 

Farm boy from Illinois, living in the magical Pacific Northwest

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Ross Smith posted this 28 October 2020

Think I'll quit too.

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RicinYakima posted this 28 October 2020

Then what are you going to do between expanding the neck and seating primers? Listen to the radio?

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pisco posted this 28 October 2020

Even an old screw driver run around in the pocket will loosen things up

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Michael S posted this 28 October 2020

  I clean the primer pockets every time after I de-prime them using the RCBS metal whisker looking thing, a small and large depending on caliber. I never look at the pocket to see if it has residue, doing that takes more time; it is time effective to simple twist every case on the appropriate whisker.

 

GOD, United States of America, US Marine Corps, Family, Self

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lotech posted this 28 October 2020

I tried this and found it to be nothing more than busy work. However, it's probably not detrimental to accuracy or anything else if you like to clean primer pockets.  

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ALYMAN#1 posted this 28 October 2020

I usually clean primer pockets especially for AR brass to prevent high primers  I use a tool that I think Lyman made years ago similar to the old spin top starter.  I have 3 now 2 small and one large - I just put cases in a plastic block Primer pocket up and make a push in each pocket  and then dump to get rid of residue.  Will probably continue to do so until I wear out these little tools which have lasted for 50 + years.  FWIW 

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porthos posted this 28 October 2020

life is too short to clean primer pockets

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beltfed posted this 28 October 2020

Only primer pockets that get cleaned here are for cases from my BPCR rifles.

The tumbling with ceramic media does a great job of cleaning the cases in and out,

including the primer pockets

beltfed/arnie

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 28 October 2020

... if you want to add a little " pro " to your precision loads ....

i mentioned above the little carbide " pocket uniformer " cutters available from benchrest shooter suppliers ...

i have one in both small and large rifle pocket size ... i originally got these to remove crimps from military brass ... but find they occasionally remove something from commercial brass ... 

and yep, they add to the " spiffy " factor of your product.

***************

and i might add my favorite priming rig is the device on the top of my old bonanza press ... 

ken

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Ross Smith posted this 28 October 2020

Can't listen to the radio, I'm deef.

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gunarea posted this 30 October 2020

The residue left in the pocket and the residue expelled during decapping are measurable quantities. Thirty years ago I collected data to corroborate claims made from both sides of this disagreement. Too many variables to substantiate either view. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Bottom line, if you want to know, ask the one who is leaving State tournament with the top award.

Shoot often, Shoot well

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John Alexander posted this 31 October 2020

Sounds good, but what if the one with the top award also always shines his match cases with Brasso should you do that too.

Just because a winner does something doesn't mean it helps. Winners are human too and susceptible to blindly following erroneous rules just like most, especially if somebody has put them in print.

Many past top CB shooters always sized, lubed, and shot their bullets in the exact order cast.  

Early top CBA shooters, including John Ardito and David Lee thought it necessary to only use one case.

Many others followed along obediently because the winners were doing it.  But the shooters who thought for themselves shot better often enough without these two silly procedures and virtually nobody now bothers.

Be skeptical. It's more fun.

John

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RicinYakima posted this 31 October 2020

Well, it is like five 5-shot groups. If the top three shooters do the same thing, should you try it? Not trying to be smart, but what percentage of top shooters have to do it? We all got away from turning case necks about 15 years ago when we found out it was the alignment of the bullet and not perfectly round case necks were important. If you don't have a perfect chamber, turning case neck too small is a waste of time.

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John Alexander posted this 31 October 2020

I think that if you see that something new seems to be working for some good shooters YES you should try it. But it should be tried against identical loads without the new twist.  I believe I am safe in saying that isn't how most CB shooters  act.  They say they don't have enough time or money or curiosity to actually give it a test or if they do it for one group of each which seldom is worth doing.

Probably most of our best shooters do a whole lot of work that they don't have the foggiest idea whether it improves their shooting or not because they have adopted it because it seems like "common sense". Strange that these shooters who don't have enough time to test have time for doing useless procedures.

Using a single case, turning case necks for factory chambers, indexing cases, cleaning primer pockets and inside case necks are maybe the most useless examples.  They all were used by most all  the good shooters at one time. It took us years to stop doing these things even though we had no decent tests showing they are helpful. Pity. Those of you who have heard my rantings before know that my personal list is much longer.

If you like doing these things fine, just don't tell beginners that they are needed.

John

 

 

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RicinYakima posted this 31 October 2020

"If you like doing these things fine, just don't tell beginners that they are needed."

Yep, I always try to add; "this is how I do it, others do things differently." or words to that effect.

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shuz44 posted this 03 November 2020

I feel the same way about primer pocket cleaning as I do with weighing measure thrown powder charges for fine grain or ball powders, it ain't necessary.

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bucksnort925 posted this 05 November 2020

I clean all primer pockets. Some bad (dirty) some not too bad. Sometimes you will see residue in primer holes (reduced hole diameter). It eliminates that one doubt of something effecting accuracy. Confidence that you have done the best you have done to get a good  reload. Bad enough to worry how I messed up the shot. It doesn't take that much time to check primer pockets. Confidence in reloads.

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Brodie posted this 07 November 2020

I think that the last time I cleaned primer pockets was in the mid 70's.  I was loading a lot of .458 Win Magnum.  The ground walnut shells I was using in my rotary tumbler tended to get stuck in the flash hole, and would cause hang fires and misfires.  So I would inspect every case and push the offending pieces of walnut shell out of the flash holes when and if I found them. Beyond that I never was able to find any significant difference between clean and dirty primer holes.

B.E.Brickey

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Pigslayer posted this 08 November 2020

Cleaning primer pockets . . . I do. Why? Just because I want to. For me, time spent at the loading bench is relaxing. Zen I guess. I take my time. I'm in no hurry. Hmmmmmm . . . "hurry" & explosives make for bad bedfellows. Sort of like fire and gasoline. I enjoy the whole process of loading my own ammo. Even if it involves unnecessary things like cleaning primer pockets. I even have an air hose next to the bench so I can blow out any media from the case or primer pocket after tumbling. I also deprime all of my cases on a (cheap) old LEE "C" frame press with a universal decapping die. Wasted time? No. Quality & quiet time. Just my OP.

If someone else had of done to me what I did to myself . . . I'd have killed him. Humility is an asset. Heh - heh.

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