Brass Primer removal


January 9, 2007, 07:48 PM
Hi, I was just wondering if anyone knows of a way to remove primers from brass casings without the use of a press. Can a punch and hammer do it?

Thank in advance,

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January 9, 2007, 07:53 PM
If you are talking about live primers, fire them first.
I assume you mean fired ones. Yes a punch and hammer can do it. After you get frustrated spending so much time on them you'll want to go buy a press.

January 9, 2007, 08:02 PM
Do you happen to know approx. how much a press costs? I belong to a gun club and I can take any brass that has not been swept up yet and I am on disability and trying to make some extra money. The salvage company told me that they are paying $1.10 or so for brass casings but they have to have the primer removed. If I turn the salvage over it just may pay for my new ammo.

January 9, 2007, 08:07 PM
You can get a Lee Reloader single-stage press and one of their universal decapping dies for about $30. You'll need shell holders too though, one for each caliber you're doing, at about $3 each.

Fu-man Shoe
January 9, 2007, 08:11 PM
That salvage company is trying to give you the shaft.

Brass is worth a *lot* more than 1.10 a pound. Last time
I sold some brass, I got 1.75 a pound, with the primers still
in them.

I'm afraid that salvage company is just trying to lowball
you, and get you to do extra work, so they can have
"cleaner" brass.

Collect up and sell the empty brass, but I wouldn't sell it
to them, without a serious re-negotiation of terms.

January 9, 2007, 08:24 PM
I will check out other salvage companies, this one acted like he was looking it up from a book. some of the primers themselves look to be brass. I wonder if he expects me to remove those primers too. He said "Casings Only". Not a pleasant man but maybe because I am a woman he may thnk he can screw me over.

I will look into the press and fittings as suggested, so far I am having no luck with the punches that I have tried, damn primers aren't budging. lol, I was even thinking about drilling the suckers out.

January 9, 2007, 08:41 PM
As others have said find another salvage company/metal buyer. Ask them what brass is going for and then take it in and sell it. I just sold ¾ bucket of casings with the primers and some mixed brass (old keys, plumbing fixtures, old door locks) 40lbs and received $48.00 cash ($1.20lb). Don’t waste your time removing the primers they’re brass.:cool:

January 9, 2007, 09:11 PM
Thank you very much V-Fib,

I just called this one place because it is only a couple of minutes away and figured with the price of gas if I drove 20-30 miles for another salvage place it would basically eliminate any profit.


January 9, 2007, 09:21 PM
Don’t waste your time removing the primers they’re brass

Primer cups are soft steel I believe, as is the anvil, but most salvage yards don't worry about it. If someone out there knows for sure about the metal used for primers let us know. I am going to test some with a magnet.

January 9, 2007, 09:27 PM
ome of the casings I have the primers look to be brass but there are others that look to be steel, So I don't know:confused:

January 9, 2007, 09:31 PM
I just got my LTC a month ago and already have 2 pistols and 1 revolver. I have basically gone way into debt for this new addiction. I love my revolver.
S & W model 60 2-1/8 barrel. That's my carry, my other's are a .45ACP Ruger and a S & W model 908 9mm. Love my weapons and be damned the person that tries to take them away from me!!!


January 9, 2007, 09:35 PM
That is just a difference in coloring. Betcha they are all steel. I will know after the magnet test.

January 9, 2007, 09:41 PM
Well.. I could not get a magnet to attract any brand of primer. I learned something new. I always assumed they were steel. Must not be.

You know what they say about assuming. It makes an (ASS---U---ME). :eek: :)

What did we bet?.................

January 9, 2007, 09:46 PM
Metallic primers for pistol and rifle are made from brass. The shiny ones have been nickel plated. Whenever you deprime brass, you should always save the spent primers, and when you take in any brass that can't be reloaded and sell it for scrap, also take the spent primers. My recycler likes to see them separate, but then when he weighs what I've brought in, he just pours the coffee can full of spent primers in with the rest of the brass. A coffee can full of spent primers is worth about $25.00 at the current rates.

Shotgun primers are made from steel. I recycle them, too, but only get about .06 cents a pound for them, whereas I'm getting about $1.40 a pound for brass. At least that was about two months ago, but it's probably gone up again by now.

Hope this helps.


January 9, 2007, 10:10 PM
So this jerk I talked to is probably going to rake me over the coals and keep the profit since he quoted $1.10/lb and said I had to remove all primers.

January 9, 2007, 10:55 PM
My first sugestion is, if this is reloadable brass, you should sell it as such on ebay. You will make alot more money that way than you ever will selling it as scrap.

Second sugestion is, a much cheaper way to deprime brass would be to use the decaping system from a classic lee loader. From a current parts list it looks like you could buy the two needed pieces for 5 bucks plus a little for shipping and you would be in business.

The two parts you would want are the, decapper and the decap chamber. I would get the 22 caliber punch which would allow you do decap a variety of calibers. Just make sure that you have the punch in the flash hole before you start pounding with a hammer.

January 10, 2007, 03:13 AM
My suggestion for cheap-n-easy depriming:

1 Lee hand press

1 Lee universal depriming and decapping die

1 package of Lee universal shellholders

While this setup would cost about $45, you will be able to deprime any caliber brass much faster and easier than you could with a hammer and a punch, thereby recouping your cost in volume. Heck, you can do it watching tv.

January 10, 2007, 11:20 AM
This Lee decapper and base tool costs around $3.00

You should be able to find it at a gun shop or ask them to order you one.

They come in two sizes. But the .22-cal will do about everything.

January 10, 2007, 04:31 PM
Thank you all for the info. I bought the Lee Hand Press and all the other stuff last night before I read this forum. I bought exactly what .41Dave has posted links to. The price seemed reasonable. I didn't even think about selling it on E-Bay. Would the brass have to be cleaned to sell it there? I don't have a tumbler or anything like that.
Once agan thank you all!!!

January 10, 2007, 05:05 PM

Separate your brass according to headstamp and sell it on ebay as "range brass" or if you know it to be "once fired" sell it as "once fired." A visual inspection will tell you what's good and what isn't.

Don't try to sell any steel casings or berdan primed (shine light inside, if there's two holes, that's berdan.

You can use a scale and after counting out a hundred in each caliber of the separated brass, weight it to see what it weighs, then from then on you can weight it and just throw in an extra handful to make sure you give them "a little extra"

You don't have to deprime it selling it on ebay, but you can also offer a service or sell brass at a higher price where you charge a bit extra to deprime and clean the brass if you wish. People will often take you up on such a service and you can make some extra money this way. You'd have to buy a tumbler (I recommend a Frankford Arenal tumbler, separator kit and get some crushed walnut shell/lizard bedding from Walmart for around six bucks.

I hope this helps you. I think you'll make more money and have more fun dealing with reloaders than dealing with scrapyards. Though you can take your steel casings and assorted damaged brass and spent primers to the scrapyard and get a bit for it as well.



January 10, 2007, 05:41 PM
Sounds like a good idea. I will definitely look into it! I could put all the different holsters that I bought off of E-Bay that were either wrong fit for my guns or others that were just stupid buys like the ankle holster that I can't figure out how it goes on. You must have to have mighty big legs for this thing to fit and with the weight of the gun you would be dragging the damn thing on the ground!

Thanks for your input, I cut and pasted it to a Word document so that when I go and do this I will know what I am doing.


January 10, 2007, 05:47 PM
I think I am going to head off to the range and shoot me some mean paper targets :D

It certainly gets out any anger that you have. When I leave there, people can cut me off on the road, my dogs can tear apart the house but I come home so destressed it is unbelievable. I LOVE MY GUNS!!!!!


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