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  #1  
Old 04-10-2009, 7:52 AM
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Default Proper way to swage military brass

Calgunners,

Can someone either please explain or point me to a good reference on the proper way to swage military brass? I have a bunch of 5.56 mm that I need to remove the primer crimp from.

TIA,
jwest
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Old 04-10-2009, 8:04 AM
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The absolute best way is with a Dillon Super Swage. A cheaper and more space efficient setup is RCBS' press-mounted swaging tool.

I've never had any luck with the tools that cut the crimp off.

Dillon Super Swage: http://www.dillonprecision.com/#/con...uper_Swage_600
RCBS Swager: http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct...tnumber=447022

(Someone is going to come in and say use a Dillon 1050)
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  #3  
Old 04-10-2009, 8:43 AM
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I have the rcbs swager. I recommend it. It works great, and you'll have $70 left to spend on something else. Like more bullets.
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Old 04-10-2009, 9:07 AM
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Old 04-10-2009, 9:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sza View Post
Someone is going to come in and say use a Dillon 1050


Why have just one 1050 when you can have two?
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Old 04-10-2009, 9:12 AM
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That dillon tool appears to be about 30% to 50% faster than the RCBS deal. You only have to do it once so if there are only a couple of hundred it won't make too much of a difference effort wise but if you have several thousand cases, then the dillon makes more sense. With the RCBC unit you have to be carefull to keep your fingers clear of the ram while raising or find out the hard way what if feels like to get your finger pinched.
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Old 04-10-2009, 9:27 AM
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Default I have the "RCBS"...

I have the "RCBS" press-mounted swaging tool, you have to line up each case by hand, press the handle down pretty hard, then press up on the handle pretty hard to release the case off the sizing die. I have broken one handle on my RCBS Rock Chucker which RCBS replaced free in about a week. I my get the Dillon, looks a lot faster and about less pressure needed to operate. My sell the RCBS set-up, its good for small lots, but I am processing hundreds at a time.
I will sell you my RCBS swaging tool set for 22.00 shipped(Paypal only), I no longer need it, I am doing larger lots of cases now using a freinds Dillon set up.
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Old 04-10-2009, 9:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboAR View Post
I have the "RCBS" press-mounted swaging tool, you have to line up each case by hand, press the handle down pretty hard, then press up on the handle pretty hard to release the case off the sizing die. I have broken one handle on my RCBS Rock Chucker which RCBS replaced free in about a week. I my get the Dillon, looks a lot faster and about less pressure needed to operate. My sell the RCBS set-up, its good for small lots, but I am processing hundreds at a time.
I will sell you my RCBS swaging tool set for 22.00 shipped(Paypal only), I no longer need it, I am doing larger lots of cases now using a freinds Dillon set up.
The pressure on the dillon swaging tool's handle is about what you can push with two fingers.
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Old 04-10-2009, 10:05 AM
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I set the Dillon Super Swage such that I only swage enough of the pocket such that the primer just barely has enough clearance to squeeze.

You can easily take quite a bit of the crimp out of the pocket, but the issue is how long will the pocket last. Primer pockets will loosen quick over time, so I like to start out with as tight a pocket as possible.
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Old 04-10-2009, 7:24 PM
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Thanks for the answers and posting the video Randall.

OK - another question - how much of the crimp is removed - or it is just 'sized' in such a way to seat the new primer correctly.

I didn't see any brass fragments in the video so I assume the crimp is just 'resized' enough to accomodate the new primer.
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Old 04-10-2009, 8:21 PM
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if i could find enough brass i might consider a swager but i barely find 50 scrounging at ranges lately and mostly pmc and remington so the r-p doesnt need any help and a little ream with a counter sink bit takes out most of my problems
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Old 04-12-2009, 9:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bohoki View Post
if i could find enough brass i might consider a swager but i barely find 50 scrounging at ranges lately and mostly pmc and remington so the r-p doesnt need any help and a little ream with a counter sink bit takes out most of my problems
Same thing here.... I may have had 150 - 200 PMC cases, and the old one armed, el cheapo, Lee press wouldn't/couldn't do the job.

I made a hardened punch from a long drill - bought at Sears - then knocked the primers out using a steel bushing as relief. Then I just "counter-sunk" the pocket's swagged-in burrs with a small carbide counter sink, finally I hit the pockets with #17 machinist's drill.

Done... and a perfect fit for sm. rifle primers. PMC cases are nice for reloading too once you fix that swagging problem.

My Note: Given the polishing/tumbling steps and pocket cleaning I don't see where a progressive press is going to save a whole lot of real extra time in rifle reloads - except where it comes to measuring the powder charge before stuffing the bullet into the neck. For my use, 200 - 400 rounds at the range every month, and maybe silencing an occasional yipping coyote, I find a single stage press really suits my needs to make pretty damn good and accurate ammo. I get 1.0" or less groups at 100 yards, which is just fine for me.

I did some PMC cases last night and they just flew threw the resizing die like $_!t through a goose. A fast pre-cleaning of the brass helps too...
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Old 04-12-2009, 9:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Sopranno View Post
Given the polishing/tumbling steps and pocket cleaning I don't see where a progressive press is going to save a whole lot of real extra time in rifle reloads - except where it comes to measuring the powder charge before stuffing the bullet into the neck.
First, cleaning primer pockets is not necessary.
I lube/size/trim on a progressive then I tumble to remove lube.
There's no need to handle a single case during the whole process.
Then the tumbled clean brass goes into my loading press where it gets deprimed again to remove any media from the flash hole, primer pocket gets swaged, primed, charged, seated and crimped.
Again, there's no need to handle a single case during the whole process as it's all automated.

The last thing I do before shooting it is to inspect it all by dropping it into a case gauge.
That's the only time I handle an individual case.
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Old 04-12-2009, 11:02 PM
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I thought this You Tube vid was pretty helpful as you get a very close up look at the process:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHy-T...om=PL&index=23
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Old 04-13-2009, 8:13 AM
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i know you guys swear by your dillion swager, but i just use a little lyman hand reamer $8. not great for your wrist after 200 or so though
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Old 04-13-2009, 9:52 AM
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I purchased L.E. Wilson tools to remove the primer pocket crimp & trim the brass 39 years ago .The case is held in a die which lines the case up with the primer pocket reamer everything is concentric.
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Old 04-13-2009, 10:12 AM
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If you have a drill, get one of these:



Chuck it in there and zip the primer pocket for about a second. Done.
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Old 04-13-2009, 10:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rksimple View Post
If you have a drill, get one of these:



Chuck it in there and zip the primer pocket for about a second. Done.

Bingo!
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Old 04-15-2009, 3:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rksimple View Post
If you have a drill, get one of these:



Chuck it in there and zip the primer pocket for about a second. Done.
Got one of those - got a great drill. I guess my question still remains - are you reaming the crimp out - or just 'pushing' it out concentrically so that a new primer fits well?
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Old 04-15-2009, 4:13 PM
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I'm removing the ring of brass that is the crimp. Only the outer edge of the primer pocket is where the crimp lies. When the crimp is made, a little bit of brass flows into the pocket and over the primer. Some older brass has the kind with 3 punch marks crimping the primer in place. It doesn't really matter how you do it. If you swage it, you're just pushing brass out of the way. If you use the chamfer tool, you're mearly cutting the displaced brass away. I used a Gracey primer pocket uniformer for a while too. Worked pretty well. But the chamfer tool actually works better if removal of the crimp is your goal.
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Old 04-15-2009, 7:47 PM
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i used to use a counter-sink, basically same as the chamfer tool. but i think the pocket reamers are better as there are no flutes cut into the nose, so no issue with reaming too much or too little as you will feel the tool stop reaming when the crimp is gone (unless you really crank the thing over).
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Old 04-17-2009, 1:54 AM
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Calgunners,

Thanks for the great responses - this is a great board!
jwest
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Old 04-17-2009, 1:52 PM
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Not sure what "swage" is as I am knew to reloading but I have been sizing my 5.56 and .223 the same is that bad?
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Old 04-17-2009, 3:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seesm View Post
Not sure what "swage" is as I am knew to reloading but I have been sizing my 5.56 and .223 the same is that bad?
Depends on what you are chambering this in and what you mean by the same - do you mean:

0.223 ==> same as 5.56mm -or-
5.56mm ==> same as 0.223?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swaging
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Old 04-17-2009, 4:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seesm View Post
Not sure what "swage" is as I am knew to reloading but I have been sizing my 5.56 and .223 the same is that bad?
swagging in this context is NOT the same as resizing the brass after firing. We are talking about removing an extremely small lip of metal on the primer pocket, found on many new and once-fired military brass. this "crimp" or "primer pocket crimp" was used to keep primers from popping out and disrupting the internals of a military rifle. there are typically two ways to remove it: 1) swage it which pushes the metal out of the way and allows you to seat a new primer, and 2) ream it, which cuts the crimp out of the primer pocket.

this issue has nothing to do with the regular resizing of the entire brass after firing nor the "crimping" of the case mouth to hold a projectile.
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Old 04-18-2009, 1:08 AM
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AHh yeah some of my once fired 5.56 has the crimp... I guess I have to do some swagging on those shells? Thanks guy!!
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Old 04-18-2009, 6:19 AM
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Swaging is using mechanical force to form metal.

Options are the Dillon swager as mentioned, the RCBS, Lyman, and Hornady hand tools.

Using the Dillon swager has been covered.

For the hand tool types, grab a piece of broken .30 cleaning rod and put the cutter in that. Put the assembly into a drill press at the lowest speed. Push the case against the cutting tool for about a second and then remove. Your crimp is removed via cutting.

The hand tools cut the crimp out. The dies and swaging tool swage it, ie push it back towards the walls of the primer pocket.

For consistency I think the Dillon swager or the various swaging dies are the most consistent.
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Old 04-18-2009, 12:40 PM
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Adam,

Thanks for that clear, concise, update.

I think I get it now, finally!
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