Priming - noob question


Boba Fett
October 27, 2009, 08:44 PM
So I finally have all the materials I need to start reloading.

I have a bunch of deprimed cases and what I'm wondering is, can I prime and let set?

In other words, can I prime a few hundred cases and then finish the loading at a later date? Say in a few days at most.

Or does this somehow "damage" the primers by not sealing up the round (i.e. moisture and such).

I figured there was no problem doing it this way, but rather than waste a lot of time and money, I also figured I should just ask to be sure. :D

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October 27, 2009, 08:50 PM
Shouldn't be a problem. Just prime them and put in a Zip-loc bag.

October 27, 2009, 08:53 PM
yup prime em' and keep em in a cool dry place just like loaded ammo

That's what I do when loading single stage. I prep everything so all i have to do is

drop powder

seat bullet


October 27, 2009, 09:09 PM
Mr. Fett -
Loved your movies; always been a big fan. Thanks for asking your question. As the others have said: Not a problem at all. Simply store the cases as you would the unloaded primers... in a cool, dry place where the kids can't eat them.

In truth, most reloaders have ~150 cleaned cases waiting reloading, maybe another ~75 trimmed cases, maybe another ~50 prime cases... all waiting as "work in progress". No one has 75 cases that are always loaded. Everyone has small batches, that are working their way through the production cycle. In that way you never have to do too much and always have ammo to shoot.

Ask any question. We're here to help.

October 27, 2009, 09:18 PM
+1, I almost always have 50 rounds primed and sitting there ready for powder, sometimes for several weeks at a time. Keep em out of the humidity and you'll have no problems at all.

October 27, 2009, 09:25 PM
That's what I've been doing this evening is priming cases. I nearly have a coffee can full of 9mm now.

I have two, gallon size old ice cream containers full of primed 45 cases.

October 27, 2009, 09:28 PM
I agree also but would suggest you store them in a baggy marked with the primer make and type...such as Win/LR/Mag or CCI/SP etc. Obviously you won't load a small primer in a large primered case but if you load many cases and have different makes and types of primers this could be important to you. Remember there are standard, bench rest, magnum, and several other types by each manufacturer available. Be safe!

Boba Fett
November 11, 2009, 12:51 AM
Thanks for all the tips.

I was just curious. How often have you all had primers go off when seating them? Main reason I ask is I was considering doing the hand priming in doors. Obviously wear safety glasses just in case, but should I wear some ear plugs too or not really that loud?

I was trying to find a youtube video of a primer going off to get an idea of the noise and what it looks like. Anyone have any links to such a video?

Thanks again!

November 11, 2009, 09:02 AM
Primers last just as long in brass as they do in a primer box, assuming similar storage conditions. They don't know the difference. I guess if you crushed the primer seating it it may not last as long under adverse conditions, but unless you are being careless priming, I doubt you crushed them.

I have never had a primer go off when priming.

November 11, 2009, 09:09 AM
I was trying to find a youtube video of a primer going off to get an idea of the noise and what it looks like. Anyone have any links to such a video?
Put a primed case in your firearm and have at it. Point it in a safe direction. It's not as loud as a loaded but it is still loud indoors.

November 11, 2009, 09:19 AM
I was just curious. How often have you all had primers go off when seating them? In over 40 years I can't say I've ever had a primer go off when seating them. Primers need to be struck. Pushing them in wont set them off.

November 11, 2009, 11:39 AM
Factory new primed brass is stored in warehouses and shipped all over in bulk cardboard boxes with a plastic bag liner. No special handling or packing is used.

It will not hurt them to prime beforehand and load later as long as you know what they are when it comes time to load them.

BTW: I recently found a coffee can full of primed .38 Spl brass I had squirreled away in the 1970's. They loaded & shot just fine 30 years later.


Mal H
November 11, 2009, 12:08 PM
How often have you all had primers go off when seating them?I have had the same experience as qajaq59 (and just a little bit longer than 40 years) - no primer has ever gone off when seating with a hand or press primer. It's a non-issue.

Now - if you're priming with one of the Lee Classic Reloading tools (the one you hit with a hammer), that's a different thing altogether. If someone using one of those sets of dies hasn't had a primer go off, then they haven't reloaded enough with one. I would set one off about every 100 or so rounds. They were loud and would make your ears ring for a minute or so, but not 22 LR loud, for example.

I have gotten into the habit of wearing safety glasses when reloading no matter what method you use to reload. I would highly recommend that, but ear protection isn't necessary, IMO.

November 11, 2009, 12:23 PM
Pushing them in wont set them off.

I beg to differ. I've set off a few when priming, it has always been in S&B brass in 9mm. No other caliber or brass and only with Winchester primers, never CCI, Federal, or Remington. It is absolutely possible when pushing home primers in very tight pockets with the force necessary to seat them to the proper depth. Swaging takes care of that issue.

The Bushmaster
November 11, 2009, 12:35 PM
Priming all of the various manufacturer's cases (including S&B) I have never had one go off in 25 years. In all that time I have used a Lee Auto Prime II for the job. I've installed them sideways (crushed), upside down, cut them in half and smashed them and not one has gone off. Primers must be struck [not pushed] to go off...

November 11, 2009, 12:57 PM
Something else that's interesting is you can decap a case with a live primer in it, and that won't set it off :D

November 11, 2009, 01:46 PM
My experience is the same as The Bushmaster. All the bobbles never set one off.

Jim H.

November 11, 2009, 01:58 PM
They WILL go off if pushed too hard BUT the only way I have gotten it to happen is on purpose with a hand priming tool (CCI Primer). After about 20k rounds in a Lee LoadMaster I have never had one go off accidently even when they went in wrong.

November 11, 2009, 02:22 PM
These did not go off. Dad blasted supposedly prepped primer pockets. :banghead: :)

November 11, 2009, 03:01 PM
Yeah, I've squished them like Walkalong, and never had any go off.


November 11, 2009, 03:30 PM
I've been reloading since '92 (tens of thousands of pistol and rifle rounds) and NEVER set off a primer in the seating process. I've only used one kind of priming system for a single stage and progressive press and that's the RCBS version found on RockChucker presses and the PiggyBack II. I don't even know how it'd be possible to set off a primer while seating them. Under normal conditions there simply isn't enough pressure given that the primer seater punch (plug) isn't shaped like a firing pin i.e. it reduces the pressure by increasing the contact area with the primer.


November 11, 2009, 03:40 PM
I, too, have never had a primer go off accidentally with thousands of rounds loaded. It is very unlikely to happen. That said, you should still wear eye protection when you handle primers; in my case, it's just my everyday glasses. You can't be too careful.

November 11, 2009, 03:45 PM
"I was just curious. How often have you all had primers go off when seating them?"

Me too! I agree with Walkalong. I've seated some on their side before, and they didn't go bang. And I've decapped live ones before, and they didn't go off. I still wear eye protection when I seat primers, because I believe in Mr. Murphy. But after 40 plus years of doing this, the only time I've ever had one go off was after I squeezed the trigger. And I never had one fail to go off when I did that.

November 11, 2009, 04:05 PM
I ALWAYS wear eye protection during the priming process. I will admit that this is something that I've only been doing for the last year or so. :o I made a post/poll about this very thing a while back and it got me thinking that it just isn't worth the risk. No eyes = no shooting so I wear eye protection when priming AND when shooting ... along with hearing protection when shooting.


November 11, 2009, 04:25 PM
It is very unlikely to happen.

I don't disagree, but it does happen. Load enough rounds and statistically you have a better chance of it happening. No offense, but loading for 25 years or even 40 and not having an event occur is not proof that it doesn't happen. What matters is the volume you reload and the method you use. Hand priming or loading on a single stage for 40 years? Of course you haven't had one go off. Now if you were loading 100k a year for 25 years on a progressive, well, that would be a much better dataset statistically. I hope my point is clear but if not, let me state it again.

I have personal experience and so do others wth primers going off during the seating operation, so it is possible. Wear eye protection and call it a day.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
November 11, 2009, 04:27 PM
I use dedicated Frankford Arsenal Loading Blocks. Each one holds 50 cases.
When I am at a "stage" where I wish to stop, I simply put a clean loading block upside-down over the batch of cases. That way, my cats don't interfere and nothing can accidentally fall into the cases.

I have actually had powder already measured in, say, 30 cases and then decided to stop, so I carefully lay a Loading Block upside-down over the block of 50 cases. I come back later and everything is exactly as I left it.

I have four loading blocks for each caliber I reload and many of the Loading Blocks fit more than one cartridge.

The Bushmaster
November 11, 2009, 04:59 PM
One time, out of curiosity, after installing a primer sidways and crushed even with the case head I loaded it into my Blackhawk and pulled the trigger. It fired......

November 12, 2009, 09:35 AM
I'm sure it happens but so far I've loaded 16k on a Lee Pro 1000 w/ no primers going off. I've had many crushed primers but none exploded. I use primarily CCI primers and a few Winchester.

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