'Reloading tips' is going to be a regular series here on Carteach0. Not one to set your calendar by, but every time something worth sharing pops up it will get written up as a tip, along with photos.
Eventually, as enough tips pile up, I'll build a post referencing them all (and updated with each new one) and link it on the sidebar. As a tip is added, I'll note it by date on the sidebar link. Sound like a plan?
In this first tip, an explanation of something unusual I noticed today. While prepping some vintage 8x57mm cases for match loading, I was cleaning primer pockets. Only this activity allowed me to find a problem in two of the cases.
As I turned the pocket cleaner into the primer pockets, I noticed the tool would not fully enter one of the cases. Looking closely with a magnifying glass, I found one side of the base of the pocket was bulged backwards about .015". The primer pocket uniforming tool was hanging up on this bump.
In the 110 cases I prepped, I found two with this issue and set them aside. Considering the cases were made in 1944 and I have reloaded them perhaps eight times, I'm am not upset with the loss of 2% of my cases. They owe me nothing at this point, and as long as there are no indications of incipient separation or cracks I will continue to load them. The bulge into the primer pocket.... that just became another problem I will watch for, and discard the case when I find it.
Cutting apart one of the cases on a diamond saw, it appears the flash hole has been flame cut from the inside. It may have been a poor hit with a de-capping pin, but the brass is not peened around the hole. It's a clean cut, and has thinned the base of the case at that spot while also making the flash hole oval shaped. The thinness of the base is what allowed it to bulge into the primer pocket.
Lesson learned? Getting up close and friendly with every single high pressure rifle case is a good idea. Hand cleaning primer pockets, closely examining necks and bases, watching for anything out of the ordinary... all are good practice. Had I chosen not to clean the primer pockets this cycle I would have missed the weak base and risked a blow out when I fired the next match.
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