Honestly, this is a little bit of an embarrassing guide to write. Most of these tips and tricks are things that I learned first-hand. I hope this guide proves to be handy and at the very least helps whet your appetite for reloading and the shooting sports. If you have questions or if there’s an issue with this guide, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hand priming tool - flipping the primers over
This is another one that is kind of embarrassing to write down. If you have a hand priming tool, it probably has a little flat table attachment that you place the loose primers in. The first couple times I used this tool I made sure to manually flip each of the primers right-side up so that they would go into the case correctly. Then I saw someone on the internet show how you can just lightly shake the tool back and forth and all the primers flip over on their own. Wizardry! Try it, it is pretty fun.
If you are going to reload a common military round like 5.56 or 7.62 x 51, you will most likely run into cartridges with crimped primers. This is just a tiny indentation next to the primer to lock it into the case. It can be a full circle around the primer or sometimes a couple little notches. The primers still pop right out when you run them through the sizing die with a decapping pin, but you do need to remove the crimp in order to get a primer back in there.
The other thing to beware is Boxer versus Berdan brass. This difference is has to do with the flash hole between the primer cup and the rest of the cartridge. Boxer has a single hole in the center and is easily punched out with a standard decapping pin that comes with most dies. Berdan on the other hand has two smaller holes that are off center in the primer cup. A special pin is need to punch these out. Boxer is what you see most of the time, and I’ve only run across a handful of pieces of Berdan brass (although I did break a decapping pin on one, see below).
Do you need a crimp removal tool?
They can be handy if you are processing a huge pile of military 5.56 brass, but if you just have a couple to do you can just use your least favorite pocket knife. I’ve found that the small sheepsfoot blade on a stockman knife works great.
..to be continued