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Thread: Why I don't uniform primer pockets anymore

  1. #1
    Member Akheloce's Avatar
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    Default Why I don't uniform primer pockets anymore

    So there I was, a new handloader with a generous budget... I read everything I could for weeks before I made my first kit purchase, and accumulated more stuff from there on out. One of the things that seemed necessary for optimum accuracy was a primer pocket uniforming tool (I bought the Redding hand tool). Here I am, now on the 5th and 6th reloadings of .223, and I'm finding that the primers are VERY loose (not so much that they don't hold, but enough where they don't give much resistance when seating them). I then took a bag of brand new Winchester brass, didn't uniform the pocket at all, loaded as usual, and there is NO difference whatsoever in accuracy, or POI. I think that all I did was shorten the life of my brass (that I annealed, neck turned, flash hole uniformed, and sorted by weight). What a waste of time! Just a word of caution for those who want to get the most life out of brass... taking away the support structure around the primer may not be the best move.

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    Member marshall's Avatar
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    Uniforming doesn't remove material from around the primer. It only cuts the pocket to proper depth to insure that your primers are all seated uniformly to the proper depth. This helps to prevent slam fires in semi autos be preventing the bolt from firing a primer that may be slightly above flush. Ideally primers will be .002 below flush.

    Some reloaders don't clean their cutter between pockets. The material that collects around their cutter can gouge the walls of the primer pocket and distort it. Ideally you should wipe off your cutter between pockets so you are only cutting the pocket to depth and not interfering with the side wall clearance.

    Typically loose primer pockets are caused by shooting MAX loads and or improper annealing. Annealing is generally done for restoring brass that gets loaded 10++ times. That is not typical in hunting situations.

    You mentioned 223, I assume an AR and I also assume you are doing full length resizing since you are loading for a semi auto. If so that process alone works your brass very hard and can result in loose pockets.

    Keep up the good brass prep, it's mind therapy and good for you.

    Be the way, the difference in accuracy only shows it's self if you and your weapon have the ability to put the shots in the same hole. Then uniform ignition plays a role in pressure and point of impact.

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    What Marshall said.
    Will agree that uniforming the pockets doesnt seem to help accuracy but I do not go nuts over accuracy in a big game rifle, 1-1.5 MOA makes me smile. Varmit or bench rifles are another matter.


    However it makes me feel better cleaning the pockets and always amazes me that more brass comes off in between firings.
    Tennessee

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    Member Akheloce's Avatar
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    This rifle (and me together) can hold sub moa on a good day, and 1.5 on average. I typically shoot 300 meters with it, from a prone, unsupported position. I figure this is the most realistic indicator of the rifle, the cartridge, and my abilities. I shot a 4.5" group with the uniformed brass, and a 4" (with one flier out to 7"+ ... I do that occasionally) with the lesser prepped brass. I'm pretty sure I have the annealing down right... I use tempilaq, a deep well socket, on a drill, and a MAP gas torch. The heat discoloration stays consistent with other military brass I have. As far as my uniforming method, I hold the tool still while rotating the brass. I give it a twist or two, blow off the shavings from the tool and the pocket, and repeat until the chatter marks are gone in the pocket, and nice concentric tool marks are left, with no more brass coming out. On first seating of a primer on unfired, newly uniformed pockets, they feel a little easier to seat, but not loose by any means. Perhaps I should be either be happy with 5-6 reloadings, or drop pressures down.

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    Why are you annealing?
    Tennessee

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    Member Akheloce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowwolfe View Post
    Why are you annealing?

    I don't necessarily anneal ALL of them, but the ones that have an unknown number of firings, and for awhile I was annealing the new cases for uniform tension.

  7. #7

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    The thing is, taking away the metal isn't going to reduce support on your primers. It's going to make them all as "thin" as the thinnest case in a lot anyway. Even if you never touched the rest of them, that thin or deep one is going to be the weakest of the lot anyway. Not an issue strength-wise for me because I don't push max. But for others it might be a better idea to measure the pockets and dump all but the thickest and live with high primers if necessary.

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    Here's why I DO uniform PPs.

    You only gotta do it once per case.
    The PP Uniformer is the best PP cleaner I've used.
    I never have any problem with high primers, anymore.
    I've never experienced any problems that I know of, from uniforming the PPs.
    I do mine with a drill motor adapter, and it's easy.

    I dunno if it makes any difference in accuracy, but it should make the seating more UNIFORM, and so the case could be made.

    All the Uniformer reely does is square off the bottoms and make them all the same depth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Akheloce View Post
    So there I was, a new handloader with a generous budget... I read everything I could for weeks before I made my first kit purchase, and accumulated more stuff from there on out. One of the things that seemed necessary for optimum accuracy was a primer pocket uniforming tool (I bought the Redding hand tool). Here I am, now on the 5th and 6th reloadings of .223, and I'm finding that the primers are VERY loose (not so much that they don't hold, but enough where they don't give much resistance when seating them). I then took a bag of brand new Winchester brass, didn't uniform the pocket at all, loaded as usual, and there is NO difference whatsoever in accuracy, or POI. I think that all I did was shorten the life of my brass (that I annealed, neck turned, flash hole uniformed, and sorted by weight). What a waste of time! Just a word of caution for those who want to get the most life out of brass... taking away the support structure around the primer may not be the best move.
    Sounds like you loaded them on the outside of the envelope. Not a malfunction of the primer pocket but the operator.
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    I dont have to as I stick to lapua brass

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