Primer Pocket Cleaning Frequency

This is a discussion on Primer Pocket Cleaning Frequency within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; I am just getting into reloading metalic cartridges as my wife got me a nice press and dies for Christmas that I went out and ...

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Thread: Primer Pocket Cleaning Frequency

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    Primer Pocket Cleaning Frequency

    I am just getting into reloading metalic cartridges as my wife got me a nice press and dies for Christmas that I went out and picked up after New Year. My local supplier does not have a primer pocket cleaner. That is the only thing I am waiting on from mail order that keeps me from completing rounds. I have ordered the Lee tool with both the large and small cleaners on the opposite ends of the same tool, but it is not in yet.

    I am curious if you all clean the primer pocket every time or only when it is gunked up a good bit. I shot some factory rounds yesterday and came home and cleaned & sized the brass. I made a dummy round (no powder or primer) to get the expanding & bullet setting/taper crimp dies set up.

    I am ready to go except for the small amount of dirt in the pockets. I appreciate the input from this forum.
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    Member Array Backroad's Avatar
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    I clean out the primer pockets everytime I reload a batch of shells. A Dremel tool with the little bristle brush bit makes short work of the job. And you can do it while you're watching TV.

    al
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    I long ago quit cleaning them as it's pretty much a waste of time. I used to, mainly as something to do while watching TV. The next primer fired burns out the residue from the previous, and I've never had a primer that wouldn't seat properly because it wasn't cleaned, never had a misfire because of it either. Some of my cases have 7-8 reloads with no cleaning and no more noticeable residue than a once-fired case.

    So clean if you think you need to, but it's not a necessity for reliable ignitioin.
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    Senior Member Array Ragin Cajun's Avatar
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    I have the same Lee tool you ordered and do it before every loading. I may try Old Vets advice on some pistol rounds.

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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    I clean my plinking and target ammo about every 3rd time. Loads assembled for hunting or SD are put thru each step.

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    Thanks guys. I am loading for target shooting and SD Practice - not SD rounds per se. I think I will give it a try without the cleaning and see how it goes.
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    I'm close to Glockman every 5 times ; )
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    Senior Member Array Chevyguy85's Avatar
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    I've yet to clean primer pockets on any of the pistol rounds I've reloaded in 3+ years. They go bang every time and fit every time so haven't done so yet.

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    Member Array medicineball's Avatar
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    Mine come out of the tumbler about 75% clean, so I only clean them further is they look dirty.

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    I clean primer pockets as the mood strikes me which is not very often at all.

    For a load that is assembled for some sort of pure accuracy effort I have taken the effort to clean primer pockets but can't honestly tell the difference in accuracy. For handgun, I've scarcely ever cleaned a primer pocket in 35 years of handloading. I have only a few times for some accuracy .38 Special or .45 ACP effort but I don't shoot well enough to discern the benefit of primer pocket cleaning in handgun cartridges.

    It is gratifying to shoot ammunition in which every possible pain has been taken in assembly to ensure precision accuracy and that may be of more psychological importance than the physical benefits of clean primer pockets.

    Tumbling batches of cases has the added benefit of cleaning primer pockets but I only do that sporadically.
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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    I never have,on crimped in primers on 223 cases I use a Dillon swager before priming,as far as everything else I'm just replacing what I just pushed out,and I reload over 2000 rounds a month.I noticed after several years of using Lee dies in my Dillon press that after I switched to RCBS dies the press ran smoother and cases lined up better with the new dies
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    Member Array Steve261's Avatar
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    In close to 20 years of reloading, the only primer pockets I ever clean are on my hunting rounds, and I shoot several thousand rounds each, of 9mm and .45acp every year.

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    Only on ammo that will be run through one of my target/varmint rifles.

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    VIP Member Array Stevew's Avatar
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    I only clean the primer pockets on rounds that look so dirty that it might obstruct primer seating. Not very often. I tumble my cases with the primer in for two reasons. 1. I deprime and resize at the same time and I prefer to resize clean brass to protect the case and die. 2. I don't like having to pick cleaning media out of flash hole.
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    ^
    I agree; the first step in my reloading process is tumbling with primers still in. I'm more concerned with getting the grit off than in shiny cases. On the rare occasions I break out the Lee pocket scraper it's because I've really run out of things to do. The ground "pet store" walnut whells I use are so small they don't lug the primer hole.

    Back in the day when I used to try hitting quarters at 200 yds with my el cheapo Rem 788 .223 (Not exactly a precision target rifle, but danged accurate!) I took the time to clean the pockets out.
    Retired USAF E-8. Lighten up and enjoy life because:
    Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid... "For What It's Worth" Buffalo Springfield

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