CRIMPED PRIMER POCKETS ON MILITARY CASES

Crimping of primers on military ammunition is to prevent primers from backing or falling out when shot in firearms with poor head space. Once fired military brass in 7.62 NATO, 5.56 NATO, and .30 cal. M2 ball (.30-06) are plentiful. But to reload them takes much effort. Military cases are difficult to de-cap. Full length resizing and de-capping in one step can be a challenge. Many hand loaders will remove the crimped primers and full length resize separately with two different dies. Once done, the crimp has to be removed.
Two basic methods are reaming and swaging.

Reaming involves cutting away metal. It has disadvantages since it can distort the primer pocket and leave it non-uniformed. Reaming is normally done manually with a deburring tool or primer pocket reamer. This is slow tedious work.

Swaging re-forms the entire pocket and results in uniform primer pockets. But the disadvantage is the setup and adjustment time. The RCBS has an excellent tool that must be set up on your reloading press. It’s a bit of a hassle. The Dillon Super Swage 600 is the Cadillac of crimp removers. This dedicated tool does not need to be hooked up to your press. The crimp removal process is very quick. The case goes in, decrimped, and flipped out. You can also attach a spring or rubber band so that the case is flipped out without being touched. However, the Dillon is expensive… about $100. The Dillon works so well that RCBS is now selling their version of a stand-alone swagger called the bench tool. The RCBS is priced a little less than the Dillon and is said to work as well.

At a HHAA meeting a few months ago, GARY CHANG had a plastic grocery bag with some sort of tool. I asked him what it was. He said a Dillon primer pocket swage and added, “You like borrow?” Well I had nearly 1,000 once fired 5.56, about 600 .30 cal ball (.30-06), and bags of 7.62 ball. These have been sitting in a bucket since I was dreading the reloading process. Thanks to GARY, the hard part of removing the crimp from 2,000 primer pockets along with decapping and full length resizing were done in just a few evenings. But now I need to trim the cases… “Hey, GARY! You got an automatic trimmer?”

(And I am not sure I want to return the Dillon.)

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