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Primer pockets

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  • Primer pockets

    I’m sure this was discussed on this forum (not sure how to look up old discussions) but how important is it to uniform primer pockets in rifle and pistol cases.

  • #2
    Well....not all primer pockets are created equal. I've never had a problem at all with the primer pockets on my 30-30 or 30.06 brass. 223 is a whole 'nother story though. If you're not familiar with where your 223 brass came from, you should be wary. I keep a reamer tool on my Lyman case prep center, and every 223 case goes through that one. It will make sure that the primer pocket is of the minimum diameter for seating and you shouldn't get a boom when doing that step. Ask me how I know.
    "Beware the fury of a patient man." - John Dryden


    • #3
      I run everything over the cutter.
      it cleans residue out of the pocket too.

      is it really necessary?
      meh the ones I haven't cleaned still go bang as long as I press the primer to the bottom of the pocket.
      I just feel a lot better about my stuff when I do it.
      it's also a great check when I have to swage primer pockets, if the cutter doesn't go in easily the primers won't either.


      • #4
        You can find articles out there (I am thinking the last one I read was in the current Hodgen's guide) that have tested with and without. They say uniforming helps. There is also a write-up about the optimum distance between the bolt and primer for maximizing the impact of the pin. YMMV I guess.

        The main reason I do it on everything is I check my primers seating visually and by touch against each other. The second reason is priming on the Forster Co-Ax results in a small percentage of primers that are not fully seated if they are not uniform. The third reason is to keep them clean, but that does not work with Lapua brass as they are deeper than any standard primer pocket uniformer I have purchased.

        Another thing to think about is uniforming and deburring the flash hole even if it has been drilled rather than punched. Punched flash holes tend to be more of a mess, but even drilled ones can leave unwanted material inside the case. I tried a couple of different tools before switching to K&M - pretty much fool proof. Lapua, Peterson, Norma, etc., every brand of brass I have used it on (note different sizes for different flash hole types) has resulted in a nice pile of shavings. Some more than others. The really good news is unlike pocket uniforming, I have found that going back a second or third time after firing yields no additional shavings.
        Friends don't let friends shoot factory ammo.

        Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential.
        -Winston Churchill


        • #5
          The answer to every reloading question is it depends. What are you trying to accomplish? Accurate hunting ammo for deer, not necessary. Long range sniping of prairie dogs or competitive bench rest shooting maybe so. Plinking ammo for your 9mm, not necessary. I do it to all my cases but not because I think it's necessary. I have a Lyman case prep center so as long as I'm chamfering and deburring I might as well hit the primer pocket too. It also immediately identifies any case with a crimped primer pocket.
          If it weren't for double standards, liberals would have no standards at all.

          "Ammo and really good friends are hard to find in a gunfight so I bring them with me" E. J. Owens


          • #6
            Thanks gent’s


            • #7
              I'm not a bench rest shooter, but a K.I.S.S. advocate. I started reloading waaay per-web and very little if anything was mentioned about "uniforming" primer pockets. Cleaning yes, and beburring/removing military crimps, but I don't remember much about "uniforming". I started with a Lee Loader and just blew out (lung power) the pockets before I primed. In my 35+ years of reloading I have never been able to determine any difference in accuracy or function with uniformed primer pockets, or even cleaned primer pockets (primer pockets seem to be "self cleaning" as they will only get so dirty/carbon crud). I do not clean my handgun handload's primer pockets. I do not uniform/ream the pockets on my rifle loads. I use a 60 degree countersink to remove military primer crimps. My rifles shoot better than I do and my Garand has had no FTF and my Ruger will give me 7/8" groups with "my processed" brass...
              I\'ve learned to stand on my own two knees...


              • #8
                When I buy new brass, I run them deep enough into the die to make sure the necks are reasonably round and seriously almost closed necks get opened with a nail punch and then into the die. Then I trim all cases to the trim to length and chamfer. Next the flash holes get properly reamed and the primer pockets get uniformed and that's before they even get their first load. Does it make a difference? Damned if I know but I get some awfully accurate loads from some of my rifles so I have to think it helps.

                To be honest though, gun writer John Barsness once stated in an article doing this with some ammo for IIRC a 22-250 varmint rifle. He also loaded a like amount with unaltered brass. I forget what the exact difference in the groups were but the average was something like .001 or some very small amount in favor of the altered brass. Might be worth the trouble to a serious bench rest competitor but to a hunter? I look at it this way. Theses days I have more time than money. Brass like Nosler and Lapua or RWS is flat out expensive. When I get done my brass is at least as uniform as their's as I can make it at half the cost. Whether anyone thinks it's worth the trouble is up to them. Whatever floats your boat.
                Paul B.


                • #9
                  I got into uniforming primer pockets from the articles in Precision Shooting Magazine. They were the official magazine of the Internation Benchrest Association and their articles were geared for precision shooting. Benchresters at the time were doing it, don't know what the current thinking is.
                  I have found that in all the calibers I uniform primer pockets that after every firing in some cases the pocket depth will change and some will not so in order to keep my pockets at uniform depth I still uniform primer pockets.
                  "The United States Marine Corps is a drug and I am a recovering addict."

                  "American by birthright… U.S. MARINE by the Grace of GOD!"

                  "And on the 8th day God created Marines and like fish, we came from the sea!"


                  • #10
                    I'll uniform my nicer brass and hunting stuff, but don't care to worry about the pistol/bulk rifle stuff. On the brass I run through my HK91 clone, I tend to uniform those just to reduce the chance of a slam fire.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Win70 View Post
                      I’m sure this was discussed on this forum (not sure how to look up old discussions) but how important is it to uniform primer pockets in rifle and pistol cases.
                      Depends, on how important you think it is.

                      I quit cleaning primer pockets 2 decades ago, I NEVER "uniformed" them, and I have suffered not a single problem from this.
                      The only "special treatment" they get is if crimp removal is required.

                      I never so much as cleaned Handgun primer pockets, let alone anything else (unless crimp removal again). Again, over 2 decades, no issues.