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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Been loading lots of 223 this month which includes about 20% of crimped primer pocket brass. At one time I was not going to monkey with military brass but that has changed. I've been using the RCBS Primer Pocket Swager Combo 2 tool which works fine but not great. After swagging, very few pieces of brass will take a primer with a normal amount of effort. I've adjusted the swage tool back and forth some and I'm quite confident it is adjusted correct. I see the crimps ironed out but what I see the problem to be is no taper or rounded edge at the mouth of the primer pocket.

So what I'm considering is picking up a reamer to use after I swage the primer pockets so I can slightly taper the mouth of primer pockets. Is this a typical process using a swage tool and reamer together on brass? If so, any recommendations on reaming tools?

I don't anticipate working a lot military brass so I'm looking at hand tools as opposed the more expensive RCBS or Dillon bench mount tools.

Thanks
 

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I used the Hornady tool when I did a bunch of 7.62 NATO brass,I never swaged anything just reamed it out. You can just buy the L or S reamer or either with the handle or a combo pack containing everything, I chucked mine up in a cordless drill and made quick work of a couple hundred cases.

https://www.grafs.com/retail/catalog/category/categoryId/481?
 

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I've swaged over two thousand 223 brass with the RCBS primer pocket swager tool and never had a problem with hard to seat primers. Once the pockets have been swaged I can't tell the military brass from commercial brass unless I look at the headstamp.

Maybe there is a difference in the pressure required to seat the primers but I can't feel it.
 

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Like Res45 above, I use the little $6 - $8 reamer chucked in a cordless drill and nothing else. My source of re loadable brass are the few thousand rounds of GECO 223 ammo I have and even being .223 brass they still have crimped primer pockets si I crimp every once fired case I have.

To sidetrack the thread slightly........... I'm tiring of hand holding the brass for all the steps necessary to get it ready to load so after Jan 01 I am ordering the Hornady Case Prep Center. ( http://www.hornady.com/store/Lock-N-Load-Power-Case-Prep-Center )

I have seen them priced around $350 and they are eligible for the 2015 500 free bullet rebate which brings the after rebate price to around $200 +/_.

I'm pleased with my current setup using my RCBS Trim Pro-2 Kit but hand cranking the handle to trim several hundred cases at a time is quickly becoming the most boring part of reloading. After knocking out the primers and using the new case prep center above, I will trim the brass, ream the pockets if necessary, wire brush the pockets, de-burr the insides and outsides of the case necks then brush the case necks all in one fell swoop, handling the case one time rather than half a dozen individual steps.

Jeez, next thing you know I'll be looking at one of those fancy schmancy Lock-N-Load AP presses, then the Lock-N-Load Ammo plant. Where does the insanity stop? :)
 

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When you swage you don't remove any metal...you just push it back from where it originally came when they did the crimp. When you ream you remove metal and leave a depressed area where the crimp was made adjacent to the primer pocket. So it theoretically is better to swage rather than ream.

But my experience with a bunch of Lake City 7.62 cases was that my expensive bench mounted Dillon primer pocket swage tool failed. In fact, the instruction with it warn of the failure. It seems the case head thickness lot to lot and year stamp to year stamp varies all over the place and the way the Dillon swage works requires the head thickness to be consistent. The swage tool that fits in the press where the case is held by the shell holder on the top of the press and the swage is on the ram does not have that problem.

I next tried the hand reamer in a drill motor but it made the entrance of the primer pocket smaller than the inside diameter of the primer pocket making seating primers hard. Finally I chucked up a chamfering tool in a drill motor and removed the edge enough so that the pocket walls were the same diameter top to bottom. I did not have the press mounted swaging tool described above and I think that would have been a much better choice if it removed all of the crimp. But I have not tested that yet. The chamfering worked fine but of course the primer pocket walls are a bit shorter now. That has not yet presented a problem.

Thought I would provide my experience and warn against the Dillon primer pocket swaging tool on Military cases, especially Lake City ones of various lots and head stamp dates.

LDBennett
 

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I use the Lyman case prep canter, though do have a set of the hand tools for onesies
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks guys, all your comments were very helpful!!

Steve32k:
Your reply tells me that either I've got a defective tool (which I really doubt) or I do not have it set up correctly. I just got done adjusting the tool until I was able to get what feels like a normal amount of pressure to seat a primer.. Of course this required a great deal more exertion on the ram up stroke to swage and down stroke to strip the case free. Initially I felt like this was too much stress on my press. After that adjustment, I seated primers in 10 cases without any addition effort over a non-crimped case. I think I'm good now, I'll re-swage then prime the balance of my brass this weekend, just don't like the extra exertion on the press.

res45:
I'm going to add that tool to my next order just to have, just in case. I read several online reviews and it is a highly favored hand tool.

Show Low:
Don't tempt with my more toys and free bullets :). Right now the only rifle round I load in large qty is .223. Maybe if/when I get a .308, I can justify more automation. But you do need a progressive press for your pistol loads whether that be the LNL AP or a Dillon. I predict that will be your 2015 purchase ;).

Soundguy:
Thanks for the confirmation. I didn't think it was necessary for both tools but wanted to see if that was part of someone's workflow.

LD:
Always appreciate your input. Since I am 'pushing metal back" I should have expected more effort on press operation.
 

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RCC:

Glad to hear you got the adjustment right and are now successful. The tool you are using in my opinion is the right tool IF it indeed removes all of the crimp. If all the Military brass with crimps have variations in head thickness as I found and Dillon instruction indicate then the Dillon tool is the wrong tool for the job unless ALL the cases are from the same lot. You'll never know that when you buy a bunch of un-process Military cases.

LDBennett
 

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When you swage you don't remove any metal...you just push it back from where it originally came when they did the crimp. When you ream you remove metal and leave a depressed area where the crimp was made adjacent to the primer pocket. So it theoretically is better to swage rather than ream.

But my experience with a bunch of Lake City 7.62 cases was that my expensive bench mounted Dillon primer pocket swage tool failed. In fact, the instruction with it warn of the failure. It seems the case head thickness lot to lot and year stamp to year stamp varies all over the place and the way the Dillon swage works requires the head thickness to be consistent. The swage tool that fits in the press where the case is held by the shell holder on the top of the press and the swage is on the ram does not have that problem.

I next tried the hand reamer in a drill motor but it made the entrance of the primer pocket smaller than the inside diameter of the primer pocket making seating primers hard. Finally I chucked up a chamfering tool in a drill motor and removed the edge enough so that the pocket walls were the same diameter top to bottom. I did not have the press mounted swaging tool described above and I think that would have been a much better choice if it removed all of the crimp. But I have not tested that yet. The chamfering worked fine but of course the primer pocket walls are a bit shorter now. That has not yet presented a problem.

Thought I would provide my experience and warn against the Dillon primer pocket swaging tool on Military cases, especially Lake City ones of various lots and head stamp dates.

LDBennett
I also have one of the Dillon primer pocket swage tools, and in my estimation it belongs on the same list as sliced bread and canned beer. Any problems I've encountered with it were because of a mal-adjustment (my fault) or an excessive burr in the flash hole on the brass I'm swaging. Like you said about the Lake City brass, some of them have exhibited more difficulty in the swaging than other brands of brass. I've attributed this more to the burr on the inside of the flash hole rather than web thickness. This burr is the result of the flash hole on American manufactured brass being punched through the primer pocket, as I'm sure you already know. A sharper punch results in a cleaner flash hole. A quick check, and the use of a flash hole de-burrer where needed eliminates just about all the aforementioned problems associated with the Dillon.
 

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Twicepop:

If what you say is true why has Dillon pointed out the head thickness variations as a potential problem?

I have limited experience with one batch of 1000 Once Fired Lake City 7.62 brass. The head stamp dates varied all over the place so the possibility I got the same lot number is next to impossible. Could it be that you ended up with the same lot number?

If I get the opportunity to check out your solution I will.

LDBennett
 

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I've used a countersink bit available from any tool supply store, I've used the chamfering/deburring tool but now I use the Lyman primer pocket uniformer in my prep station. It's a one time deal and I don't worry about the loss of that little bit of brass. I've seen pictures of brass that have been decrimped with a countersink or deburring tool and they took it all the way out to the nato stamp. That to me is a bit excessive.
 

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I have been a machinist/mechanic for most of my life. When I first encountered primer crimps my solution went immediately to a chamfer tool. I have been using a 60 degree countersink to remove primer crimps for my 9mm, 45 ACP, 5.56, and 30-06 brass for mebbe 20 years and have found/seen no need for "reforming"/swaging a primer pocket. Nope, no sloppy loose or too tight pockets, no "danger" of removing "too much" metal from the case head, and from a machinist's standpoint, the best/easiest method...
 

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I use this "prep" center, that little cone shaped thing at the top cuts the crimp out and chamfers the mouth, just switch ends of the brass.
 

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I just have the Lyman hand reamer that also puts a bit of a taper on the pocket. I don't load for speed, so a few evenings spent completing that process on my brass is just more time spent "meditating". I separate the cases out that need this done as I can vouch that they are once-fired in this way and use these for my loads where I'm looking for the greatest accuracy versus just plinking rounds.
 

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I just have the Lyman hand reamer that also puts a bit of a taper on the pocket. I don't load for speed, so a few evenings spent completing that process on my brass is just more time spent "meditating". I separate the cases out that need this done as I can vouch that they are once-fired in this way and use these for my loads where I'm looking for the greatest accuracy versus just plinking rounds.
The one I use, leaves a small taper but nothing more.
 

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I also have one of the Dillon primer pocket swage tools, and in my estimation it belongs on the same list as sliced bread and canned beer. Any problems I've encountered with it were because of a mal-adjustment (my fault) or an excessive burr in the flash hole on the brass I'm swaging. Like you said about the Lake City brass, some of them have exhibited more difficulty in the swaging than other brands of brass. I've attributed this more to the burr on the inside of the flash hole rather than web thickness. This burr is the result of the flash hole on American manufactured brass being punched through the primer pocket, as I'm sure you already know. A sharper punch results in a cleaner flash hole. A quick check, and the use of a flash hole de-burrer where needed eliminates just about all the aforementioned problems associated with the Dillon.
If you're talking about the Dillon Super Swager 600 you would be the first person I ever heard of that had one fail on them. And I'm not shilling for Dillon because I own one, I have the RCBS kit.
 

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gandog56:

I was the one that had the problem. If I am the first person then why is it in the Dillon instructions say that the head thickness impacts the adjustment. If every lot of LAKE CITY brass has a different head thickness it is hard to get uniform result. That is exactly what I found on 7.62 brass of various head stamp dates and even within the same head stamp date (obviously different lots). I abandon using the Dillon swager for that brass. It may work fine on other brass (???).

If you still have your instructions you might read them to verify what I said is true.

LDBennett
 

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The one I use, leaves a small taper but nothing more.
This is a reamer, it WILL cut some brass if you have a crimped pocket, but also bevels the edge a tad so that the primer will go in. I still get about 1 in 200 that I shave a tiny bit of brass on when priming just because I didn't quite do it enough I suppose.
 
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