homemade primers


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taliv
December 1, 2004, 03:53 PM
i've long thought that i could recreate just about any part of a cartridge myself, with the exception of primers. i mentioned this to my grandfather and was very surprised when he explained how they used to reload primers. (take the anvil out, clean, put new compound in it, which they made from the white parts of match heads, and then reseat the anvil)

has anyone ever reloaded primers? how did you do it?

as a practical matter, primers are so cheap, that even if components were free, it wouldn't be worth my time to reload them. but it's still an interesting subject.

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Mal H
December 1, 2004, 05:21 PM
"as a practical matter, primers are so cheap, that even if components were free, it wouldn't be worth my time to reload them. but it's still an interesting subject."

I agree on both parts - not worth it and interesting. Heck, I've done a lot of things that aren't worth it in the past - that never stopped me.

Unfortunately, the type of matches (strike anywhere) with the white phosphorus tips are hard to find these days. I was able to buy some at a gun show a few months ago, but they aren't generally available in stores.

If you do come across some of those matches, the primers you made with them wouldn't be anywhere near the consistent quality you get from any manufacturer. The risk of fire working with the phosphorus is much higher than working with standard primers.

For those reasons, I really don't think it's worth the try. Although it's still an interesting project.

(Ask me about my bomb made from matches when I was 12 - another time. Many of us would be labeled terrorists today! It was only in the interest of science. Honest!)

griz
December 1, 2004, 09:00 PM
I've wondered the same thing. I've never tried that, but I know if I did I would take a lot of precautions in case of an unexpected flare up. Kind of like when black powder was all there was. It was easy to make so most every place used to have somebody who made it, but they had a lot of turnover because of fatal accidents. :uhoh:

goon
December 2, 2004, 12:04 AM
It is an interesting idea. I found strike anywhere matches at K-mart but I don't think I would want to try your idea. YMMV.

I also did things when I was a kid that would have me in jail already today. What was once simple fun would bring the entire bolivian army down on you today.

The last "experiment" I had was about a month ago. I was recycling some handloads when I accidentally mixed IMR 4320 with Win 748. It resulted in about a half a pound of useless mixed powder.

There I am...
Half a pound of powder that I can't use for anything...
A box of strike anywhere matches...

For about 40 seconds, it looked like a jet engine was burning in my yard. :D

Navy joe
December 2, 2004, 12:26 AM
Yes, i've done this for science, I found it much easier with a Berdan primer, I popped the cup hydraulically, beat out the divot with a flat punch, annealed the cup by heating it with a lighter and dropping it in water and then packed it with tightly tamped matchhead powder. Reseating was easy and it fired too. Probably would work best with blackpowder. So, if I am ever too dumb to stockpile much ammo, I can, with a bullet mould and raw materials thoughtfully stockpiled ;} or found make blackpowder, the bullets, and go shoot my K-31. Interesting to know, maybe i'll make a batch and chrono them.

pumpgunn
December 2, 2004, 08:48 AM
If you were into percussion cap black powder guns there was a die to form your own caps. "Tap-a-Cap" used soda/beer cans to form the cup then you placed
cap gun caps into the formed metal cup to ignite the blackpowder charge. Had to experiment with the
number of caps to place into the formed cup.

Cap gun caps would be easier to use the cutting up
matches. Don't know how they would work in primer cups. :scrutiny:

Reed1911
December 2, 2004, 02:52 PM
Mal H, that science project wouldn't have included a tennis ball would it :what: Been there done that.

Kamicosmos
December 2, 2004, 07:30 PM
I am envisioning the world's tiniest Dent Remover to pull out the firing pin dent.
:)


On a somewhat serious tone....what would you do about the dent? Flatten it out with a tiny little dowel or something?

taliv
December 2, 2004, 08:26 PM
offhand, i'd think that one of the punches and little ball-hammers that are commonly found in gunsmithing kits would work just fine. shouldn't be hard to find a punch that fits inside the primer cup.

if i lost my mind and planned to make thousands of them, i'd probably try to take one of those old paper-hole-puncher things that we used in school back in tha day, and marry it up with some parts from a primer pocket swaging tool.

or, buy a pair of needle-nosed pliers and bend the tip of one towards the other and then beat on it with a hammer til it was mostly round, and file the end flat. then just put your primer in it and squeeze

P95Carry
December 2, 2004, 08:42 PM
Had to do it the once just to prove it worked.!

Took old primer (out of the collection of 1,000's in the tub next to load bench!) - using a mini anvil set it in place and whacked it internally with a suitable size punch - after removing the anvil with tweezers. This removed pin dent.

Mixed up a stiff paste from strike-anywhere match heads ... applied thin layer of paste to inside and allowed to dry overnight. Next day - set anvil in until seated firmly but left some of it proud so seating in a case did the rest. Actually did a batch of several.

Loaded some test 38 spl rounds and fired them off very successfully. I assumed tho that the combustion products of primers made this way would be corrosive and so after use, cleaned the gun (my old snub) as per post-corrosive.

So yeah - it can be done and works ... but PITA and slow!!

taliv
December 2, 2004, 10:10 PM
sweet! thanks a bunch for trying that!

out of curiosity, what did you add to the match heads to make the paste?

P95Carry
December 2, 2004, 10:30 PM
what did you add to the match heads to make the paste? Haha .... honest to goodness -- water!!! That was after crushing of course ... very carefully with a pestle and mortar .. you could tho just scrape of the chunks and then carefully use the back of a spoon against a surface like glass, whatever.

I haven't tried but I guess it might be possible to use alcohol ... and so speed up the drying process.

griz
December 3, 2004, 09:54 AM
Thanks P95 for doing the research for us :)
I've always wondered if it would work, but I guess I was waiting to run out of primers first. :o

gdragon34
December 4, 2004, 04:22 AM
Alcohol and Strike-Anywhere matches would be a great thing to add a lot of friction to.

c_yeager
December 4, 2004, 07:00 AM
Haha .... honest to goodness -- water!!! That was after crushing of course ... very carefully with a pestle and mortar .. you could tho just scrape of the chunks and then carefully use the back of a spoon against a surface like glass, whatever.

Good thinking. This is how I learned how to make blackpowder (in the Cub Scouts believe it or not). I never even thought of making primers like this though. It's a good thing to know just in case one over has to manufacture their own ammunition completely independant of civilization.

On a side note, those same strike anywhere matches fit nicely into the chamber of a .177 cal BB/Pellet gun and make a nifty POP when they hit something solid.

al391-dan
December 4, 2004, 08:29 AM
i had some innocent fun when i was around 13-14 had plastic juice bottle , paper towels, rubber cement and match, Created a homemade flame thrower. I was tryin to smoke out those darn moles as when i stepped on the bottle the air being forced out created a thrust of 7 foot flame. Man good times.

hotwheelz
October 9, 2007, 01:22 AM
OK after 40min of looking here is the info I was looking for thanks guys I know this is an old thread but good info.

taliv
October 9, 2007, 01:42 AM
while i don't think you'll blow up your house playing with a match tip, mal's safety warning is probably worth repeating. if you try this, make sure you reduce your loads to starting levels, as there's really no way to compare these to factory primers.

i've never actually experienced on of those "hang fires" that take 30 seconds to go off, that i keep reading about in the safety briefings, but putting too much homemade primer compound in there seems like a good way to induce one. and pressures could be significantly higher.

Smokey Joe
October 9, 2007, 05:37 AM
It's a good thing to know just in case one over has to manufacture their own ammunition completely independant of civilization.This is why flintlocks were used by the "mountain men" who wandered the Rockies, until long after the percussion firearms became common.

Out in the middle of nowhere, it's hard to buy a couple hundred more percussion caps, but as long as you have gunpowder, you can melt/reuse the bullets, and find the right kind of rock, and be in business.

In a real TEOTWAWKI situation, we'd all go to flintlocks fairly quickly.

GaryL
October 9, 2007, 09:17 PM
i've never actually experienced on of those "hang fires" that take 30 seconds to go off, that i keep reading about in the safety briefings, but putting too much homemade primer compound in there seems like a good way to induce one. and pressures could be significantly higher.I've had hang fires that take a good 5 seconds to go off. That's a very long time. I still have some of that ammo (from the 1920's). If you have an Arg mauser, and want to give it a try.....

taliv
October 9, 2007, 09:31 PM
heh, i'll bet that 5 seconds feels like a lifetime

bobaloo
October 12, 2007, 01:13 PM
Just read an article in an old Handloader magazine written by a guy who was in Manchuria long ago describing how they reloaded. They reloaded primers by using "caps" from cap guns which amazing enough were available and made powder by melting down nitrocellulose movie film, treating it with some chems and using a cheese grater to powder it. He did mention a number of exploding ovens and so forth, but it kept them shooting.

RyanM
October 12, 2007, 01:23 PM
There's a thing called the "Tap-o-Cap" that lets you make your own percussion caps out of toy gun caps and aluminum cans.

I imagine toy gun caps would probably work in centerfire primers as well, as long as you pack a bit of BP at the bottom of the cartridge, to ensure ignition.

MagnumDweeb
June 4, 2009, 04:52 PM
Looking at the toy cap gun bits I've been seeing in the posts. What's to stop one from taking a bunch of these old toy cap gun bits we still see at toy stores, grounding up the insides, and either crushing or mixing up the mixture into something you can put in a primer.

Walkalong
June 4, 2009, 05:12 PM
Match tips are indeed dangerous if you are not careful. I have played around with match heads in my youth. :rolleyes:

Most solvents will work to make a paste which can be manipulated easily. While wet it is pretty safe.

cdmiller
June 4, 2009, 05:30 PM
Posted this over at ammosmith as well, hope it doesn't cause a toy cap shortage :)

Due to my own dwindling primer supply I read up on reloading primers with match heads, various primer chemical compounds, and caught ammosmith's video. Along the way I found a post on using kids ring caps (for cap guns) in large pistol primers. I recently tested some home reloaded small pistol primers using paper roll caps and thought I would share the results. The paper roll caps I used were from Wal Mart, they say Imperial Toy Co. made in Germany on the back and "less than .042 grains of powder".

Pieces parts:
bunch o spent small pistol primers (silver, look like CCI)
old CCI primer tray
precision screwdriver
1/8" lyman steel punch
hammer
1 1/2" steel washer (lying around for securing things to the loading bench)
Lee hand primer
X-Acto knife with curved blade
paper roll caps

Procedure:
Used a precision screwdriver to pop anvils out of primer cups (store in used primer tray).
Scrape out inside of primer cups with precision screwdriver.
Place cups on steel washer (or other flat metal surface) and use punch and hammer to flatten out divot (store in primer tray).
Use X-acto knife to cut centers out of the paper roll caps, I did not peel any paper off.
Place primer cup on washer or other flat metal surface.
Press cut caps into primer cups with steel punch (bang side down).
Use butt end of steel punch to press anvil back into primer cup (don't tap it in or it will go bang).
Load brass as usual with Lee hand prime, (takes less pressure than new primers).

Test:
I first tested empty brass with 1, 2, and 3 paper cap centers in the primers. All went bang and shot some sparks from the barrel (Colt officers model match .38 special :cool:). The single cap primers seemed a bit weak, the 2 cap appeared good and the 3 cap were pretty hot. The 3 cap primers were very tight and sometimes the anvil would not seat back into the primer cup enough to stick making priming the brass a pain.

I loaded 6 light .38's (~3.3 gr Bullseye, 158 gr lead swc) with 1 and 2 cap primers (3 of each) and went to the range. The 2 cap cartridges shot well, chrony showing 760 fps 10 feet out. The 1 cap primers sucked, 1 shot fine, the second didn't feel quite right with maybe a split second hesitation after the initial bang, and the third misfired.

So in all 2 paper roll cap centers per small pistol primer appears to work fine. My guess is they are corrosive so clean well after using. I'm thinking of devising a metal tube to cut the cap centers out with, making the cutting and loading procedure a bit faster. Some type of press to flatten the primer divot would be cool too, rather than banging with a hammer.

redneck2
June 4, 2009, 08:49 PM
Why does the phrase "Hold my beer and watch this" keep popping into my head as I read this?

ants
June 4, 2009, 09:41 PM
Just for laughs, here is the common formula used in modern toy gun caps:

An example of a preferred primer mixture which exhibits the desired safety and sensitivity characteristics is that composition known in the art as "Armstrong's Mixture", as modified by the addition of a gritty substance, such as boron carbide. More specifically, a preferred primer mixture, exclusive of the solvent, may be constituted by the following composition in percentages by weight of: 70 percent potassium chlorate, 19 percent red phosphorus, 3 percent sulphur, 3 percent precipitated chalk, and 5 percent boron carbide.

The boron carbide is to induce friction. Like match heads, toy gun caps do not ignite by percussion but by friction. The carbide dust provides friction.

I burnt my eyelashes and eyebrows at age 14 making Armstrong's mixture using the ingredients listed above (in the High School chem lab, of all places -- we used get away with a lot more than they allow now).

If you use toy gun caps in an experimental setting, be VERY VERY careful. It can still initiate localized ignition while damp with a water solvent, whereupon the heat quickly dessicates the remaining mixture and it all cascades into an explosion right before your very eyes.

Old School 2
October 1, 2009, 12:13 AM
I love this thread, with the recent primer shortage I am enjoying reading this. So, to drop my .02 in, here is a link to making primer compound. http://www.freepatentsonline.com/5492577.html
Hope this helps...

Old School 2
October 1, 2009, 12:33 AM
Oh, PS, after you click on that link, download the pdf, the break down is there.

ants
October 1, 2009, 12:40 AM
I always wondered why someone would go through all this trouble, but not think about making primers out of cap-n-ball percussion caps. Percussion caps are not in short supply, just primers.

The cups can be resized as needed (just like sizing a lead bullet in a tapered die, but smaller). Percussion caps can be bent and squeezed gently, I've done it dozens of times over the last 40 years by accident, none of them went bang. Just don't subject them to impact. Then insert an anvil from an old Boxer primer and seat the assembly in the case.

Lee Roder
October 1, 2009, 01:49 AM
I think ammosmith does this (youtube) but he doesn't actually demonstrate it in live ammo. He just burns a hole in a piece of paper by firing his "primed" case so it's only a "proof of concept". Still interesting though.

GW Staar
October 1, 2009, 02:02 PM
So in all 2 paper roll cap centers per small pistol primer appears to work fine. My guess is they are corrosive so clean well after using. I'm thinking of devising a metal tube to cut the cap centers out with, making the cutting and loading procedure a bit faster. Some type of press to flatten the primer divot would be cool too, rather than banging with a hammer.

For less than $10 you can get a great punch from Tandy.:)

http://www.tandyleatherfactory.com/search/searchresults/3003-00.aspx?feature=Product_15&kw=Punch

For SHTF all this might be more than worthwhile. Saving all your spent primers, buying a year supply of toy rolled caps, and a $10 dollar punch is pretty cheap insurance. Don't forget to put away a little food and water while you're at it.;)

Bush Pilot
October 1, 2009, 06:28 PM
When I go through my cabinet full of primers I'll have to revisit this thread :D

rcmodel
October 1, 2009, 06:29 PM
Don't forget to put away a little food and water while you're at it. And bandages.
Don't forget the bandages!

rc

Duce1
October 1, 2009, 08:58 PM
Do a search on " YOUTUBE " video page there is a guy who has posted a 2 part video on how to do it .

Like someone else has said he used match heads and went through all the steps to do it .

I personally have not tried it but it is good information to know if you really had to do it !

Deavis
October 2, 2009, 03:29 AM
I saw a book at the last gunshow on how to make primers, I wish I had written down the title. The back said it covered everything from cups to compounds. Lead styphnate and azide can be made, you can find the recipe in any decent chemistry book.

rcmodel
October 2, 2009, 12:40 PM
Nitroglycerin can be made at home too.

But that doesn't mean you should try to do it.

rc

jjohnson
October 2, 2009, 02:20 PM
Oh, I think it's great to see so many guys are so interested in this topic without all the attorneys out there freaking out.:scrutiny:

I think a certain amount of this is really good - kind of like doing something like tanning hides. There should always be some of us who remember "the old ways" so we can keep the knowledge alive. :evil:

I'm not in a hurry to make my own primers. Gotta go find some of those matches, though. Where do you get 'em, anyway? Mexico? Canada? :uhoh:

Venado
October 2, 2009, 06:04 PM
I used the match-head method years ago, but instead of making a paste just tamped the match-head powder into the cup, using the match stick, and then inserted the anvil. Don't waste the rest of the match head. The red or blue part will scrape off also, and makes a good substitute for gun powder. I used the home-made primer and powder in a .357 magnum. It shot very well, and made me feel like a black-powder person, because there was a cloud of white smoke. Then if you want to get real crazy, make a glue gun bullet, by putting the hot glue in your bullet mold, which comes right out, and shooting your homemade cartridge.

sonier
October 3, 2009, 12:05 AM
my nearest gun store with primers closed for good. i am out of primers lol so guess what. Also a word of caution, i can see someone shooting a revolver with these, missfire so he shoots again, well the first cartridge could have been hangfired. and now it just shot out of the sid eof your pistol. if i get missfire im gona aim in safe direction, then place it on a block of wood. then go eat a sandwhich come back and keep shooting lol

Roccobro
October 3, 2009, 01:34 AM
Gotta go find some of those matches, though. Where do you get 'em, anyway? Mexico? Canada?

I'm thinking the same thing.

Justin

Oyeboten
October 3, 2009, 02:50 AM
I always used to use 'Strike Anywhere' Matches for lighting the Kitchen Stove Burners or Oven.

Had a little Cast Iron Match Holder on the Wall next to the Stove.


It's an old Gas Stove, and, that's how one does it.

After that '9-11' mischief, all the 'Strike Anywhere' Matches disappeared from Store Shelves, and, I have not seen any since.


Are some of you still able to find them in your areas?


Anyway...I will try finding some US made Cap Gun 'Caps' and see about re-using spent Small Pistol Primers with them, as desribed.


Sounds like fun, definitely...

Beelzy
October 3, 2009, 11:58 AM
Hmm, I'll have to check today, but I believe Strike Anywhere matches are still around
in my parts........I better stock up.

They may become the "new" Primer to have, sadly.

Steve Marshall
October 3, 2009, 04:39 PM
The matches are hard to find. However a local chain market carries in one of the stores. I'd suspect you'd have more luck finding them in farm stores or such. Why not ask Diamond Customer Service where to buy?

Duce1
October 3, 2009, 04:54 PM
The matches can also be found at our favorite store " Walmart " in the camping area they are known as waterproof matches and cost a little more . But heck in a pinch you know where to find them .

sonier
October 3, 2009, 10:09 PM
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! now i got primers to make my annoying antigun neighorbors happier!!!!!!!!!!!! thanks duce hittin up wally word and gona have some fun soon.

orionengnr
October 4, 2009, 12:09 AM
Why does the phrase "Hold my beer and watch this" keep popping into my head as I read this?

Maybe because you have never (yet) experienced a shortage that escalates to desperation?

FWIW, neither have I, but if I ever do...I will be eternally grateful for the info that people like this have devised.

GW Staar
October 4, 2009, 01:17 AM
Quote:
Why does the phrase "Hold my beer and watch this" keep popping into my head as I read this?
Maybe because you have never (yet) experienced a shortage that escalates to desperation?

FWIW, neither have I, but if I ever do...I will be eternally grateful for the info that people like this have devised.


Trouble is, if you ever do, and you don't see it coming, and don't prepare for it, the info may not do much good.

For example, I really didn't think America would vote Obama in. I didn't have a clue that occurrence would make black guns disappear in one November week all over America. Then ammo disappeared in December, reloading equipment in January, and components in February. Maybe I should have, but I didn't see it coming...did you?

That was bad enough, but I remember a single truck strike in the 70's emptied the shelves in every Grocery Store in ONE week. The truckers got their demands and the shelves were full again a few days later. In a grocery store in Vicksburg Mississippi that week, I saw two women duke it out over the last two loaves of bread. Nice town most of the time. (I lived there for a whole three months)

What would happen if Obama Bin Biden, oops, I mean Osama Bin Laden:evil: fired a nuke in the atmosphere over America and caused a huge regional EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) that fried all electronics in the area. No more working trucks, gas pumps, cars, electrical grid...get the picture?

But if you had a 3 month supply of the food you eat daily (buy extra every time you go to the store and rotate to prevent spoilage) and if you started washing and filling every empty fruit or soda pop plastic bottle with pure water....well you might weather the storm a little better.

Might be nice to have a generator and some gasoline on hand so you can cook it.

Can you imagine the attention you'll get when your house is the only one lit up at night? Shivers!:)

But I digress. This was about all important primers wasn't it?;) Primers might be worth more than cash. You could trade primers for food. or bullets, or guns....

Safetychain
October 4, 2009, 02:00 AM
Try Homemade Guns and Homemade Ammo by Ronald B Brown. Among other things nawti, I covers several types primer compounds including the strike anywhere matchheads. It gives detailed instructions on how to do it safely. You can even use the red part of the matchheads as the replacement of gunpowder. He even works up some test loads.

I agree that this would not be normally usefull but.... it is good interesting information. I would not normaly want to make a rifle but I think it is interesting information.

Borg
October 4, 2009, 03:42 AM
Anybody ever thought about using powder from a firecracker?
Make a paste with 99% alcohol, put a daub in the cup and seat the anvil, then put another daub to hold it in place. It does work, altho you need to be careful in seating the primer.
I was young once too. 8^)
Borg

snuffy
October 4, 2009, 12:05 PM
For example, I really didn't think America would vote Obama in. I didn't have a clue that occurrence would make black guns disappear in one November week all over America. Then ammo disappeared in December, reloading equipment in January, and components in February. Maybe I should have, but I didn't see it coming...did you?

Yeah, I did! I always keep a good supply of primers on hand, at least a years worth. As soon as the election fervor heated up about 18 months ago, I knew a damocRAT would be elected. I started buying as many primers as I could afford. Like a sleeve,(5000), of WW LRP at a gun show for $125.00! Another sleeve of federal LP primers became available through a guy that worked at a gunshop that I shoot IPSC with, IIRC they were $115.00! I haven't needed primers all through the latest "shortage". But the local gunshop just got in a bunch of all types and brands, so they're available again. Oh, $34.00/thou.

Bullets? I have enough 30 cal soft points to load 1000 rounds. Same for .223. Powder? I bought several shipments of surplus powder suitable for both calibers to load all the bullets AND primers 3 times over. Then, I also cast boolits for all the calibers I own.


But I digress. This was about all important primers wasn't it? Primers might be worth more than cash. You could trade primers for food. or bullets, or guns....

In a SHTF scenario, you had better KEEP all the ammo you have. Trading it to those that don't have any is a good way for them to take what you have, thereby moving themselves up in the local food chain!

As for the match heads and toy caps for rejuvenating primers, those compounds are extremely corrosive. Guns fired with those primers would have to be cleaned with a water based cleaner right after they were fired.

Now for you survivalists, there's a forum you have to visit.

http://www.frugalsquirrels.com/

Get registered, then take a look at the threads about how-to do most anything with what you have. Ans where to buy what you might need in a total collapse of our society.

If you enjoyed reading about "homemade primers" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!