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Cleaning primer pocket

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by lightsareout, Apr 25, 2011.

  1. I've been starting to look into reloading. I've been watching a ton of youtube videos on it and reading everything thing i can. I seen lots of people with the single stage presses emphasize the need of cleaning the primer pocket before loading with a new primer. And then theres videos of the Dillon progressive presses (which i'm really leaning towards) who do everything right on the press and don't remove the casing to clean the primer pocket.

    Is this not really needed when reloading?
  2. ron59

    ron59 Bustin Caps

    Jan 3, 2009
    Smyrna, GA
    What are you loading for? For pistol, VERY few people bother with cleaning primer pockets. For precision rifle (and maybe those loading on SS presses), it's more common.

    Even some who do rifle on progressive presses might do that as a separate step (de-prime and clean pockets), then load on the press.

    Pistol loading is really simple. No primer pocket cleaning, no trimming length, chamfering, deburring... none of it.

    Tumble the brass.
    Inspect the brass for split brass or undesirable brass
    Start loading on the press.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2011

  3. Kwesi


    Sep 23, 2006
    I've only been reloading for 1 yr on a Dillon 550. I do not deprime prior to tumbling my brass. If you do just remember to make sure the flash hole is free of any cleaning media. The 550 press is nice. Don't think you'll be disappointed.

    BTW: I only currently load pistol.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2011
  4. ColoCG


    Mar 18, 2011

    It is not really needed for pistol cartridges only for some magnum loads with magnum cartridges and then it depends on how dirty they are. That said, I do clean all my rifle loads that use large rifle and large rifle magnum primers for better accuracy and better primer seating.
  5. Thanks for the speedy replies. I would start reloading 9mm and other hand gun calibers. Eventually I would like to reload for a Mosin Nagant once I get one. the 550 is the model I'm looking at, time to start saving!
  6. shotgunred

    shotgunred local trouble maker

    Mar 1, 2008
    Washington (the state)
    Single stage guys need something to feel superior about.

    Your depriming pin is going to clean out your flash hole.
  7. Guss


    Jul 1, 2010
    For routine practice, it probably doesn't matter.
    With pistol cases, I found a lot of primers seated kind of high unless I took a pocket reamer to the cases.
  8. Roering

    Roering Sorting nuts

    Feb 14, 2008
    Costa Mesa
    I felt that one.
  9. cowboy1964


    Sep 4, 2009
    I've loaded about 1500 rounds of 9mm and 45 ACP so far. I've never cleaned out the primer pocket. Primers are supposed to be seated just below the case but most of mine end up being basically flush. Hasn't caused any problems yet though. If I ever get a primer pocket cleaner I'll test whether the problem is my press or the fact that the pocket isn't clean.
  10. engineermike


    Jul 15, 2010
    Oklahoma City
    Cleaning primer pockets is more of an obsessive habit than a need. I do it a lot on my pistol ammo (I only load pistol ammo) because I don't have anything else better to do. Unless you are having a problem getting the primers to seat then I would not worry about it. I think if it were a real problem then no one would buy these progressive presses.:rofl: I'm a single stage man myself...
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2011
  11. mmerrill64


    Nov 13, 2008
    Sulphur, LA
    I decap on my Rockchucker and load with my Dillon 650. Pistol I never clean the primer pockets unless I'm loading for long term storage. Rifle I usually clean the primer pockets because I'm looking for long range accuracy. I have a load for my .308 that at 200 yds 3 shot groups will cover with a quarter!
    When I clean the pockets I use an RCBS brush chucked up in my cordless drill, makes quick work of pocket cleaning and my wrist doesn't hurt the following morning!
    I personally like to clean my brass and have it ready to go, trimmed, pockets cleaned and tumbled!
  12. mmerrill64


    Nov 13, 2008
    Sulphur, LA
    Also I like the 650, auto indexing speeds up the reloading process!
  13. GioaJack

    GioaJack Conifer Jack

    Apr 14, 2009
    Conifer, CO
    As with any other aspect in life where people continue to do things that have been negated by technology loading is no exception.

    There was a time, a long time actually, where cleaning primer pockets was a necessity. Up until the 1950's, (generally accepted to be the transition period) primers were highly corrosive. One of the main ingredients in the primer compound was potassium chlorate. Being a highly hydroscopic, the same as black powder, it absorbs moisture from the air resulting in rusted barrels and fouled primer pockets. Immediate cleaning of barrels was a necessity as was the need to de-cap brass and actually wash it to avoid a residual build-up in the primer pocket. If this was not done and brass was left to sit before reloading the residual build up had to be scraped out of the primers pockets to facilitate flush seating of new primers.

    Since corrosive primers are a thing of the past, (there may still be some foreign stuff) cleaning of primer pockets, especially in pistol ammunition has been negated by technology. Precession bench shooter may still choose to clean primer pockets since they will go to almost any length for that elusive perfect group but even then the benefit of cleaning after every shot, or several shots is somewhat suspect.

  14. dudel


    Dec 10, 2008
    Texas Hill Country
    I clean them just because.

    I deprime first with a universal deprimer. Then I tumble clean. I use a fine grade media which does a pretty good job of cleaning primer pockets. So basically, I get the pockets cleaned with little extra effort (vs using one of those primer cleaning tools, which I do have).

    I find that with clean pockets (and segregated brass), it's easier to seat primers evenly and I can tell when there is something wrong with the priming process. I load this brass on a 550. I leave the decapping rod in the sizer die, so there's little chance of media in the flashhole.

    Works for me, everyone needs to find what works for them.
  15. integraracer157


    Feb 10, 2011
    unfortunately, im a single stage precession shooter. and its true. you wouldnt beleave all the steps we go through. Even for pistol. But then again. For allot of us. Reloading was chosen to get the best ammo, and not because it saved money.

    if you just like to shoot. and reloading helps you shoot more. Just clean and reload. its much easier and less headache. But i know its to late for me. if i loaded a round skipping steps. id end up not wanting to shoot it.
  16. shotgunred

    shotgunred local trouble maker

    Mar 1, 2008
    Washington (the state)
    See you just have to ask Jack. Having someone around who reloaded a hundred years ago can reveal a lot of arcane information about obsolete stuff.