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Thread: Winchester Primer Residue

  1. #1
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    Default Winchester Primer Residue

    I clean primer pockets religiously. Having said that, want to mention Winchester factory loaded handgun ammo uses a primer that leaves a primer residue which is very hard and tenaciously sticks to the primer pockets. Often find these primers in cases marked "Winchester" in the larger handgun calibers. These are definitely not the same primers that are sold to reloaders.

    I used to spend time picking and scraping out the primer pockets with dental tools but have now found an easier way to get these primer pockets clean. Decap and soak the cases overnight in a cleaning solution made from half gallon water, dab of dish detergent, half cup of vinegar, and teaspoon of salt. Agitate the cases in the solution for better cleaning. In the morning, rack the cases for drying and save the cleaning solution which can be reused until it appears dirty. Once the cases are dry, the residue will flake out just like the residue found in Winchester primers sold to reloaders.

    I like Winchester cases and like them much more now that I can clean the primer pockets easily.

  2. #2
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    It seemed like a good idea to me, too, at first. Now I ask why bother?
    Unless residue builds up to the point that it prevents the primer from fully seating, something I have never seen even over more than 20 firings in a batch of cases, I see no sense in spending the time.
    When I started reloading over thirty years ago, I used to do it for all my cases after every firing, first with the Lee tool, and then with the little RCBS wire brush, which did a much better job, but I read an article in Rifleman that showed through testing in a dozen different cartridges over many reloadings that it made no measurable difference in accuracy. I wondered about it, so I did a bunch of testing myself in several hangun and rifle cartridges and could see no difference between cases cleaned after every firing and cases not touched through ten loadings. But then, I don't bother with cleaning/polishing cases, either, and neither prevents my most accurate rifle from shooting better than .5MOA out to 400yds. Maybe cleaning them makes a difference for a bench rest shooter, but it sure doesn't make any to me, even at very long ranges.
    I do check new batches of brass to see if the primer pockets are the proper size and depth, and occasionally I will use a uniforming tool when there are problems, but when there are, there are usually other problems with the brass in question also that makes me sort it for practice only.
    "Stand your ground.
    Do not fire unless fired upon.
    But if they mean to have a war let it begin here."
    - Capt. Parker, Lexington Militia, April 19, 1775

  3. #3
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    In spite of the fact that I regularly clean primer pockets, I want to be the first to agree with your philosophy in terms of ammo performance. Can see no difference whether clean or not and probably will never experience a misfire due to not. Will still continue to clean primer pockets only because it's in my nature to do so. We are what we are.

  4. #4
    Dogs Like Him versifier's Avatar
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    I can relate to that. Anyway, it's another opportunity to inspect the case post sizing for neck splits, etc., and that's no bad thing. Have you tried the RCBS brush tool?
    "Stand your ground.
    Do not fire unless fired upon.
    But if they mean to have a war let it begin here."
    - Capt. Parker, Lexington Militia, April 19, 1775

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by versifier
    Have you tried the RCBS brush tool?
    The RCBS brush tool for primer pockets is my primary cleaning implement. Have use one for years and it does a stellar job. Only resorted to dental tools when I ran up against those gol-durned special Winchester primers.

  6. #6
    Great Master d-o-k's Avatar
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    I still use the little lee tool when I remember to clean my primer pockets ! Never cleaned my brass though I just can't see the senceas my brass seems to work fine dirty or Clean


    Dave
    All times wasted wot not spent shootin

  7. #7
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    Don't believe the appearance of brass has much to do with a cartridges' performance, however, clean brass just seems to slide in and out of the sizer die easier and tends not to scratch the interior of the die. Will run my fired brass in walnut media for an hour prior to resizing in hopes of knocking off all the loose hard residue. One of my shooting pards wipes his cases by hand. Talk about a lengthy tedious chore!

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    I've been using Thumler's Tumblers for years to clean my brass.
    Years ago I decapped first and used the tumbler to assist cleaning primer pockets.
    It was much faster than using the RCBS primer pocket brush.

    After then having to clean the media out of 20% of the flash holes I started studying the effects of cleaned vs noncleaned primer pockets.

    I could find no difference in accuracy, velocities or pressures between cases that had clean pockets, dirty pockets or flashholes containing a granule of walnut hull.

    I currently deprime sorted range brass before tumbling simply for inspection.
    However I no longer bother with primer pocket cleaning.
    Practice safe,
    Practice hard,
    Practice often.


    The "Fashion Calibers" seem to come and go but when all is said and done everybody comes back to the 45.
    (Chris Curino-Kimber Mfg Co)

  9. #9
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    Well, it sounds like everyone has a different perspective on cleaning primer pockets. I don't clean them every time either but when I do, I found that putting a brass bristled brush with half the length of the bristles cut off into a Dremel tool lets me thoroughly clean a tray of 50 rounds in about 30 seconds. Been doing it for about 5 years now and have had no ill effects on the brass-definitely no ill effects on me.
    Daveb

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check        

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