For those of us who load rifle cartridges the phrase “case prep” can seem like foul language. The sizing, trimming, chamfering, deburring and, especially for military brass, the swaging are all steps that we have to do in order to reload for our favorite rifle cartridge. We won’t even go into the primer pocket uniforming, that is best left to those who get all excited over meplat trimming and powder tricklers, but the swaging is something that many of us cannot get around.
Nowadays even pistol shooters have to do some case prep, no not trimming, most pistol shooters don’t need to do that, but we do have to swage pistol cartridges sometimes. The reason is simple; the military calls for primer pockets to be crimped. You’ve seen this, it looks like a little ring around the primer. If you do your due diligence and sort your brass you’ll see the the ring around the outer edge of the primer and you can cull those cases from the batch. The rest of us usually find them when we seat a primer and it is either way too hard to seat or it deforms what was a perfectly nice primer.
Which pistol cartridges could be crimped? The list is pretty short really but the obvious culprits, as previously mentioned, are going to be cartridges that are, or have been, in use by the military. The following list is far from complete but it does cover the common cartridges that you, as a reloader, may encounter only to find crimped in primer pockets.
- 9mm – Used by numerous agencies and branches of the military.
- 45 ACP – Used by the US Army, Marines and various Special Forces.
- 40 S&W – Used by the US Coast Guard.
- 38 Special – Previously used by the US Air Force.
Thankfully the Super Swage 600 comes with large and small swage rods, .22 and .30 caliber backup rods, and a 45 ACP adapter. Rods for 9mm/38 Special and 40 S&W are available to purchase if you need them. The Super Swage 600 pushes the metal that protrudes into the primer pocket back out, returning the pocket to a uniform size that is conducive to the reloading process. This process of putting the metal of the case head back into place is preferred over trimming and removing metal. Not only is it less messy it is also maintains the integrity of the case head.
So, next time you start examining your brass take a minute longer and see if those primer pockets are crimped. If they are, don’t panic, just run them through the Super Swage 600 and enjoy their use just like any other “once fired” brass. There is no reason to throw away this perfectly good brass and there is no reason to risk crushing perfectly good primers with it either.
Instructions for the Super Swage 600 start on page 5 of the Case Preparation Tools & Reloading Accessories Manual, but if you have questions we at Dillon Precision will be glad to help, just give us a call at 800-223-4570 or write to us using this online form.