Can you safely back out a live primer?


July 2, 2007, 11:40 PM
I grabbed the wrong primers I meant to use Federal large pistol primers in some 45 Auto Rim cases and grabbed Winchester large pistol primers instead. Just sent my 625-JM off for trigger work and frankly, Im not sure the gun will set off any primer but a Federal when it gets back.

So Im wondering - can I safely back out the Winchester primers? If it matters, I have a RCBS rock chucker that Id be using. I have not loaded powder or set a bullet in the cases. I have exactly 32 to fix in some manner.

Thanks in advance for your help/suggestions.

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July 2, 2007, 11:50 PM
Recommended? No.

Possible without losing eyesight or fingers? Oh yes.

Go slow, wear protection (eyes at least) and everything will be fine. I've set off more by accident than I have by trying to back them out.

If for some reason you don't want to try it, spray 'em down with a penetrating oil and decap. Or you can load them in the gun and pop off the primers and then decap as usual. Depends on how comfortable you are.


BTW, try the Win primers. I've had good luck with them in everything but my Brown pistol.

July 2, 2007, 11:51 PM
Short answer is 'yes'. I always wear ear muffs and some sort of safety glasses. But I haven't set one off yet. Usually the primers are re useable, sometimes not.

Why not just run the Winchester primers in the 32 rounds you have already primed? Segregate them and see if they all go off and if there's any difference. I think you'll be disappointed at the lack of difference.

July 3, 2007, 12:19 AM
I agree that the best approach is just to load the rounds and shoot them with the Winchester primers still filling the primer pockets. Like the others, I doubt that you will notice any difference...

But also like previous responses, I agree that it is quite easy to decap live primers (especially in pistol rounds) if you are careful. Push the primer out slowly and make sure that you are wearing good eye protection. I also wear something covering my skin wherever primer parts might blow out if the primer goes off. Having said that, I have removed quite a few primers before and have never had one go off...



July 3, 2007, 01:03 AM
Just load them and shoot them. That way you know in the future whether or not they will work.

July 3, 2007, 10:35 AM
Go slow and should have no problem popping the primer out. I had a primer seat upside down once... that was one I was really slow and careful with. Personally, it seems like a good opportunity to load a few and compare what the difference is if any.

Ranger J
July 3, 2007, 10:36 AM
I have done it a few times with my single stage press. Probably not recommended by manufactures but even if it went off it would be no worse than setting one off while trying to reprime a case with a Lee classic set. Small primers weren't so bad but while it didn't hurt anything, busting a large primer always got my attention. This was one of the reasons I went to the press and a priming tool.

July 3, 2007, 10:56 AM
SR if you don't want to mess with loading those cases why don't you just wait till you get your pistol back and drop your primed cases in the cylinder and fire the primers. That way instead of doing something that could be potentially dangerous you don't have to be careful you can just be safe. Primers are not very expensive.

July 3, 2007, 10:59 AM
I'd load a case with a winchester primer, no lead, no powder and see if you're new gun will set them off before going to all the trouble.

Ed Gallop
July 3, 2007, 11:45 AM
I've had primers discharge when loading with a hand loader and tapping too hard with the punch. It isn't bad at all but the bang made my wife jump a couple inches off the couch and use a 4 letter word she wouldn't normally use. The punch didn't bounce out and the jolt didn't hurt at all. Just a suprising reminder that I needed to slow down and tap more lightly. I wouldn't hesitate tapping the primers out. However, I'd simply discharge the primer first to prevent my wife from using bad words. ;-) The de-primer punch has a pin point. I wouldn't use it to de-prime a live one unless you don't mind the bang. Ed.

July 3, 2007, 12:45 PM
I do it all the time. I put safety glasses on and wear a glove. I've never had one go off.

July 3, 2007, 12:52 PM
Just load and shoot'em. I bet the WLP's will work fine.

The Bushmaster
July 3, 2007, 12:54 PM
I've punched out hundreds of live primers without incident. Just wear eye protection and hearing protection and punch away slowly...Nodda problem...

Carl N. Brown
July 3, 2007, 01:08 PM
For just 32 primers? Load 'em as a seperate batch and
when you shoot 'em compare results against the Federal
primed loads. Write and date the results in your log book.
Chalk it up as an experiment.

July 3, 2007, 01:21 PM
Resize/deprime. It knocks em out fine. Never had one go off. It takes impact to set them off. A nice smooth shove from the decapper won't. :)

July 3, 2007, 01:28 PM
Also done it and lived to tell.
Like they said, go slow and wear eye protection.
You might want to put a bucket or something over your press just to help contain anything but I have also done it a whole lot of times and never set one off.

Carl N. Brown
July 3, 2007, 01:32 PM
I recommend ear and eye protection anytime you reload.
While I have never tried to decap a primed case, I have
managed to detonate a few primers while seating them.
(I make no claims to being perfect.)

Steve C
July 3, 2007, 02:30 PM
I've decapped live primers and loaded good ones in another case without any problems on a single stage press. Just do it slow, wear eye protection. Never had one go off yet.

July 3, 2007, 03:39 PM
Backward primers! Works for wroong primer too!

Backward (or wrong) primers? Take this to heart,
Every ‘loaders done this little brain phart;

Recycle those primer, any ol’ way;
For fowling shots, or just for play;

How to remove? you might ask
Always safety first, on this little task;

No primers to toss, no brass to pitch;
just decap the hole on’at son-of-a-b----


July 3, 2007, 05:10 PM
Thanks to everyone for the replies.

Stoney - you get special recognition for the most humorous/creative!!!

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