How to Deprime Shell Casings is something that really probably does not deserve its own post. If you cannot figure out how to do it your probably shouldn’t reload your own ammunition. However, I do have a couple things to say:
You Can Deprime in Bulk
I ended up with lots of brass before I started reloading and I wanted to deprime them in anticipation of reloading but I did not have a press. What I did was find a socket that fit the case, and inserted a long finishing nail into the case and into the flash hole. A wack with a hammer drove the primer out. I bent a lot of nails until I decided to ground a larger nail tip down. This is not something I recommend, but it worked for me, and is pretty much the process used by the Lee hand loaders.
Boxer vs Berdan Priming Systems
The only problem I had was with reloading surplus WWI and WWI rifle rounds, sometimes I have Boxer (single flash hole) primed rounds, and other times I had Berdan (double flash hole) primed rounds. Due to the case neck, I never really looked into the rounds to check and I screwed up many Berdan cases. That was no big deal as I couldn’t reload them anyway.
I have, on rare occasion screwed things up (Okay so maybe not so rare) and had to deprime a live primer. Most recently I reloaded a couple hundred .223 and found out I resized them wrong. I prefer to pull the bullet and powder, and just fire the primer so it’s inert, but for pistol rounds I have gently and smoothly pressed the live primer out. Either way I don’t reuse the primer as I want to make sure my rounds are going to fire, and I a worried about damage to the primer anvil.
I Often Use a Lee Handpress
Most of the time I deprime my cases separate from reloading (before cleaning). I like to use a Lee Handpress and a Lee universal decapping die. It is a simple process to with those tools. I can change cases and only have to change shell holders.
This process is one of the few reloading steps I feel comfortable doing while having a distraction in the room. (specifically watching TV, but on occasion this could mean having the wife in the reloading room talking about her day….)
Spent primers are small, and tend to get EVERYWHERE if you’re not careful. Most presses have a small collection cup under the ram that collects the primers. If you keep this clean, you can just dump out the primers every once in a while. A hand press doesn’t do this, and tends to keep the primers in the ram. Either way, your wife will be angry if you leave them in the carpet for her to vacuum up. I have heard you can recycle them, if your patient enough to collect up a LOT of them, but I never have.
Reloading is not hard, especially if you pay attention and get some good advice from a mentor. It’s not something that leads itself to learning on your own, as mistakes can be costly, but this is not rocket science if all you want to do is make some inexpensive target rounds.