Removing military primer crimps


Sep 9, 2005
Feedback: 7 / 0 / 0
Do I need the $85 Dillon tool, or will the $28 dollar Lyman kit thrown in my Rock Chucker do the trick?

I have a boatload of military .223 brass I can't uncrimp, meaning I have all that brass and bags of bullets I can't use. I other eat that loss and buy surplus ammo or invest in a de-crimping tool.

So - what sayeth the board on this subject?

That is EXACTLY what I am trying to decide! Should I get that RCBS tool (short money and I've got a Rock Chucker that leads a lonely life since the Dillon came) or the big-bucks, free-standing Dillon unit?

IF the Lyman works, I'll take the $65 difference and buy a jug of 2230C !
Over time I've tried virtually every technique and tool out there for this purpose, and the RCBS swaging kit wins hands down for effective performance and ease of use.
Scrivener, at the shop we use an older set up to do them. It's mounted in a Lyman Spartan Press, and only does Large size. It's essentially the same as the RCBS tool, but the upside down. You replace the ram of the press. It's obviously a Lyman tool, but no longer made.

We also use the chamfering tool method, with it chucked in a lathe. Very quick, but needs a light touch.

As to the Dillon tool, I've considered one for my own use, but keep balking. They are expensive, and can't do a much better job than what I'm using now.
About a month ago I had to swage out pockets on 600+ rounds of brass. Took just a tad over one hour, using the RCBS swage in a Rockchucker.
Ordered the RCBS swager yesterday. As I have a Rockchucker that does nothing, except for carbide-die sizing of .223, AND the shell holders for .223 and .30-'06, it can be easily be used for removing primer crimps.

The $53 difference bought me an AR mag and 3 competition mag basepads for the race gun. :D
Well, I've got the crimp remover.

Any insights on getting it up and running the right way and avoiding pitfalls in the process?
Scrivener said:
Well, I've got the crimp remover.

Any insights on getting it up and running the right way and avoiding pitfalls in the process?

Start with the die set so it just barely starts to swage the primer pocket, then work in SLOWLY, checking the results as you go. You want to remove just a tiny bit more crimp than the bare minimum you have to to get the primers to seat. Harder to explain than it is to do.
The "die" in this set doesn't do anything by hold the center post, which supports of the web of the case during the swaging process. Swaging occurs by squeezing the head of the case between the swaging button in the primer pocket and the support post bearing down on the web of the case from inside.

The easiest way to set this tool up is to start with a commercial case, whose primer pocket doesn't need swaging. Screw in the "die" and bring it most of the way down. Back off the center post. Now put your commercial case over the swage button and raise the ram to the top, with the case neck started over the center post. Once there, begin lowering the center post until it just makes contact with the web of the case, and hand tighten the lock ring.

Now swap for a mil case. Raise the ram slowly, checking for progress before you get to the top of the stroke. The center post may have to be adjusted a tad, but it is probably pretty close. Finish torquing the lock ring on the center post.
First, thanks to all for their input.

Second, the requested update. The large collar was a tad confusing and the directions that come with the die also cover other products. Once I found the pertinent pages and played with the thing, it is a marvelously simple ejector.

I suspect the Dillon is faster to set up and faster to use. The RCBS die requires you to feel for the rod waaaaaaaay up in the die, which wastes time. The Dillon does not have this defect.

However, the Dillon costs about 3 times as much. Since I'm not loading commercially, the 1 hour it took me to deprime and then decrimp 1 McDonalds milkshake cup's worth of cases (about 500), INCLUDING swapping the deprime/resize die for the decrimping die, is fine with me. I can even listen to tv while I do it.

I haven't actually loaded any of the decrimped cases yet, so I do not have confirmation that 1. the die works and 2. that I did things correctly, but the primer pockets look good.

We'll see.......
If the RCBS tool is adjusted properly, the bottom of the rod is just about equal to the bottom of the die body. You start a case by slipping the neck over the rod, then slide it up and over the button, then stroke the ram. There is no "feel" about it except perhaps with very short pistol cases (which, often as not, do not have crimped primers).
The rod OD is also almost exactly the case ID and does not have a significant chamfer to start the entry. On a Rock Chucker, you can't see the die bottom.
Approach the bottom of the pin with the case tilted at an oblique angle; it will slip over quite easily. You do the whole thing by feel.
Will an arbor press remove milirary primers?

Has anyone used an arbor press to remove the primers from military
brass? If so, what other treatment does the brass need beyond just
removing the primer? Does the primer pocket need to be cleaned

Never having done it I have no clue what I am talking about.


I have used an Arbor Press of sorts, but I generally use my RCBS RockChucker and a Lee Depriming Die. After removing the old primer, the crimp has to be removed. That can be reamed or swaged.
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