Consistency Is In Your Cleaning

Carbon Fouling In Primer Pocket

You might think that cleaning Brass has become an OCD with me recently but I can guarantee you that it hasn’t.  I like to ensure that I can obtain the same consistency with every case that I prepare and load.  It is believed that consistency is key to good shooting and that all starts with the fundamentals of firearm and ammunition maintenance.  The old saying a ‘bad workman blames his tools’ is reason enough to put that extra effort into consistent case preparation, consistent powder charges and consistent bullet seating.  As a shooter we have enough variables outside of our control to think about and adjust too on a day out at the range or in the field without the added overhead of those within our control before we leave the reloading bench.

If we can lessen the variables we have control over we should be on the path to successful consistent shooting.

Clean Brass

I clean my brass in my Lyman Tumbler when I return home after a day out shooting.  Once the brass is cleaned, ‘I like it shiny, which can take up to 3 hours in the tumbler’, I turn the case upside down to shake out any cleaning  media from inside and proceed to the next step which is to lube the case shoulder and body before running the case into the RCBS Neck Size Die which completes two steps.  The Neck Size Die simultaneously removes the spent / fired primer with the Primer Removing punch / mandrel and the Button on the mandrel sizes the Case Neck  as it slips in and out of the Neck Size Die Body.

Clean Primer Pocket

Once the primer has been removed / popped, I use my RCBS Primer Pocket wire brush to clean out the burnt carbon by rotating the brush in the Primer Pocket.  Removing the burnt carbon allows for the consistent seating of a new primer, a consistent striking of the primer by the firing pin and a consistent evenly distributed ignition and burning of the primer itself.

Dangers From Badly Seated Primers

A primer that is not fully seated and flush with the Case Head can cause other problems.  Depending on the tolerances of your firearm a loaded round with a protruding primer may not allow you to close the Bolt fully in a ‘Bolt Action’ firearm.  If the Bolt does close you may find it very tight to lock into place, this then could cause inconsistency in your shot placement.  Another danger of a protruding primer could result in the primer igniting the powder and if your firearm has alot of headspace measured from the Bolt Face to the Case Head then this headspace could be enough to allow the primer to blow out of the primer pocket. Resulting in the powder charge burning at high pressures with gases flowing back towards the Bolt and into the Action of the firearm with the potentional to explode and cause physical damage to you the shooter and the firearm.

 A Step To Far, Or Not? 

…there are no shortcuts to successful consistent shooting

I have read online and I have spoken with other shooters who do not focus so much on cleaning the primer pocket or cleaning their brass the way I prefer and they tell me that they achieve good results in shooting without this additional cleaning.  I have thought of taking that approach but my shooting fundamentals and the reading of testimonials from many champion bench rest shooters tell me that there are no shortcuts to successful consistent shooting and it all starts with case and firearm preparation.

Carbon From 50 Primer Pockets












You may not think that there is much burnt carbon in a single Primer Pocket but when you see the carbon from 50 cases brushed out onto a white surface it immediately becomes evident that maybe you should begin to brush out your primer pockets for safety sake if nothing else.

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