The power of primers


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longdayjake
October 5, 2011, 12:12 PM
So, last night I was loading some .40 for a buddy of mine and accidentally had a primer put in a case that was no good. So, just screwing around I put the case on the floor and smacked it with a hammer. The primer popped and flew about ten feet across the garage and punctured my completely full gallon of bar chain oil. Sadly, I didn't notice it until half of the oil had drained out onto the garage floor. Primers are more powerful than you would think. :(

Be careful guys!

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rcmodel
October 5, 2011, 12:22 PM
Yep!
Many folks don't believe it though, until something bad happens.

I had a friend have to go to the ER and have one cut out from between the bones in the top of his foot.

Some foolishness with drying empty cases in his oven and one of them was primed.
It made it clear across the kitchen and buried itself in his foot while he was setting at the breakfast table reading the morning paper in only his shorts!

rc

JohnM
October 5, 2011, 12:24 PM
Umm, what would possess you to hit a primer with a hammer to see how powerful it was? :confused:

Hondo 60
October 5, 2011, 12:28 PM
Well, just think about it.
In a squib, the primer is powerful enough to overcome the neck tension & crimp to shove the bullet atleast part way into the barrel.

So I agree with longdayjake, please be careful (guys & ladies)

longdayjake
October 5, 2011, 12:31 PM
Umm, what would possess you to hit a primer with a hammer to see how powerful it was?

For the heck of it. Sometimes I wonder if curiosity will kill this cat.

MtnCreek
October 5, 2011, 12:33 PM
Just hearsay, but the rumor at my local gun shop is one of the locals that frequents that shop has a primer stuck in his belly. He was doing something stupid with primers and one launched into his stomach area and remains there to this day.

daorhgih
October 5, 2011, 12:56 PM
Anyone know of Don @ Phoenix Arms in Daleville, IN? I started hand-loading on his single-arm presses, many years ago when he was winding down. I knew very little, but did understand his "inch by inch, anything's a cinch" method, and I also bought EVERYTHING he had for sale in .45ACP. There were two boxes of 100-ea black plastic tubes that just perfectly fit inside the .45ACP hull, used with a primer. Now I need not Pee-&-Moan about no .22-conversion being made for my GLOCK. These black-caps work just fine, although they don't cycle. Just a primer will shoot that black-cap with serious force. Not much noise, but OUCH! a nasty smack. WAY BEYOND paint-ball velocities. Yup, primers ae not toys.

Lazerbeans
October 5, 2011, 07:57 PM
When I primed my brass, I measured the depth of the primers. They were measuring at around .009"-.011". Because most recommendations’ were to have your primer depth around .005", I got to wondering late at night if my bolt action would fire them. I figured surely it will, but I just couldn’t help finding out for sure. So I loaded a primed case into the Remmy and stuck the muzzle into to the carpet to quiet down a bit. Left a perfect black, burnt to the base, circle the size of my barrel. So yea there is some real energy there.

Walkalong
October 5, 2011, 08:18 PM
what would possess you to hit a primer with a hammer to see how powerful it was?You haven't done it? I know I sure have.
For the heck of it. Sometimes I wonder if curiosity will kill this cat.
Although it was curiosity that killed the cat, I was suspect for awhile. :uhoh:

donny640
October 5, 2011, 08:39 PM
Father inlaw taught me to be very careful with primers. I do wear safety glasses and keep the priming tool pointed in a safe direction. Heard a story on here that a primer went off and embedded into the persons leg or arm bone.

Tom488
October 5, 2011, 09:17 PM
Umm, what would possess you to hit a primer with a hammer to see how powerful it was?
http://www.theodoresworld.net/pics/0507/Ibugscartoonmage1.jpg

1SOW
October 5, 2011, 11:02 PM
what would possess you to hit a primer with a hammer to see how powerful it was?


I posted a similar thread some time back.
To get rid of a damaged primer, I do smack them with a 5# hammer. Live primers are too dangerous to 'throw in the trash' or add to my salvage container.

In my original thread, I posted that out of curiosity I put a spp in a metal container and added a touch of flame. The pop was startlingly significant.

I believe primers are the most dangerous component reloaders handle.

SlamFire1
October 5, 2011, 11:11 PM
In this thread, there is a picture of a thumb with chunks missing. The gentleman was seating a blackpowder cap on a M1858 revolver when the cap went off.

http://www.cascity.com/forumhall/index.php/topic,1620.0.html

CHALK22
October 5, 2011, 11:15 PM
I surprised myself one night, by shooting off a primer in the barrel of my XDm. Figured that I shouldn't put a live primer in the brass recycle bin, so I chambered it. Pulled the trigger and bang! I had to run into the house and tell the wife that nobody got hurt. Definitly more than I thought it would be.

Lost Sheep
October 6, 2011, 03:14 AM
I fired off a primer because I was curious how powerful/noisy they are. I did it carefully and intentionally. But I did leave a scorch mark on a piece of cloth I did not intend.

I have a box of Speer plastic bullets. Powered by large pistol primers, these 38 special lightweight slugs travel pretty fast and punch through heavy cardboard very well.

I have see pictures of a steel door noticeably dented by wax bullets powered by only a primer.

Food for thought: The wise learn from their experiences. The wisest learn from the experiences of others.

More food. Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement.

Good luck (or, better yet, don't just trust to luck.)

Lost Sheep

Walkalong
October 6, 2011, 08:45 AM
I believe primers are the most dangerous component reloaders handle.Yep.

gamestalker
October 6, 2011, 08:49 PM
That made me remember my first experience with primers. My wife and I were cooking out, and while the mesquite was still burning down I tossed a 209 primer in the fire thinking it would just go pop. It went pop alright, but blew through the side of the metal grill leaving a hole that looked like a bullet hole. That was 30 something years ago and thankfully was no more eventful than a hole in my grill. So yes, primers punch a good blast and could certainly mame or kill someone.

Strykervet
October 6, 2011, 08:58 PM
They say, the manufacturers, that a 1000ct. brick of primers is equivalent to a hand grenade in power.

mstreddy
October 6, 2011, 09:42 PM
A long time ago, working security, we conducted our room clearing, patrol, etc, force on force training using our old 38 Revolvers with special primed plastic cases. No powder, projectile, etc. But it was still loud and powerful enough to injure if you didn't pay attention to what you were doing. Safety rules included, eye and ear pro, and no shooting at people within 5 feet. To demonstrate the power of just the primer, instructors would shoot through sheets of paper. Nasty ragged, burn/blast holes were the result. We had many scorch marks on the walls and furniture of our training facilities from continued use throughout the year.
Of course this was way before Sim-Munitions and other esoteric tools we have today. It was a lot of fun and provided real weapons handling practice as opposed to paintball guns we used some other times. Even though, those were fun too!
/EM

Jeff H
October 6, 2011, 09:53 PM
I surprised myself one night, by shooting off a primer in the barrel of my XDm. Figured that I shouldn't put a live primer in the brass recycle bin, so I chambered it. Pulled the trigger and bang! I had to run into the house and tell the wife that nobody got hurt. Definitly more than I thought it would be.


and its creative thinking like that that helped develop gluelets. The most fun you can have with a primer, a 45 handgun and a stick of hot glue in your basement.

Eb1
October 6, 2011, 11:05 PM
Just think for a sec.

A Super Colibri is just a 22LR with nothing but primer, and it shoots a 20 grain projectile 500 fps.
Do you really need more evidence?

1SOW
October 7, 2011, 12:23 AM
I surprised myself one night, by shooting off a primer in the barrel of my XDm. Figured that I shouldn't put a live primer in the brass recycle bin, so I chambered it. Pulled the trigger and bang! I had to run into the house and tell the wife that nobody got hurt. Definitly more than I thought it would be.

I had two 9mm cases like that. I hand fed and fired them in my CZ75B. 2/3 of a pistol match later my extractor claw broke off.
Live and learn.

longdayjake
October 7, 2011, 12:55 PM
I had two 9mm cases like that. I hand fed and fired them in my CZ75B. 2/3 of a pistol match later my extractor claw broke off.
Live and learn.

I guess I don't see a connection between a broken extractor and firing primed cases. Am I missing something?

MoreIsLess
October 7, 2011, 01:19 PM
Now that we've read everyones story about what can happen when abusing a live primer, the question is what to do if you have one. I have one that is wedged in the primer pocket sideways because it went down the shute of the Lee AUto Primer feeder the wrong way.

Still trying to decide what to do with it

sixgunner455
October 7, 2011, 01:23 PM
Yeah, me either. Are you saying it's because you hand fed them?

the extractor claw on a CZ is pretty beefy. I'd say you had a bad extractor, rather than that it had anything to do with the primer firing. they get a lot more stress firing live ammo than primer-only cartridges.

sixgunner455
October 7, 2011, 01:24 PM
doesn't a squirt of wd-40 kill them?

68wj
October 7, 2011, 02:18 PM
Now that we've read everyones story about what can happen when abusing a live primer, the question is what to do if you have one. I have one that is wedged in the primer pocket sideways because it went down the shute of the Lee AUto Primer feeder the wrong way.

Still trying to decide what to do with it
Deprime it and "discard in accordance with local regulations"

JohnM
October 7, 2011, 02:25 PM
"discard in accordance with local regulations"

What sort of local regulation do you have that deals with a primer?

FROGO207
October 8, 2011, 07:41 AM
Well when I was around 5 years old I took an old .22 bullet apart. Being like my grandfather and liking a boom caused me to experiment. I "borrowed" my grandfathers old Zippo and lit the small pile of propellant on fire. What no bang?? Then tried to heat the primed case up. Kept burning my fingers on the hot brass.:banghead: So I got a set of long nosed pliers and held the brass, thankfully pointed away from me, and heated it up. I got my bang and the brass flew off the pliers and buried itself in the ceiling above my head.:what: Was my mother ever mad at me. Gramps thought it was funny and said to just do it outside next time:D

Marlin 45 carbine
October 8, 2011, 01:38 PM
I can definitely 'ditto' the post about black powder caps. I've shot bp revolvers for some years. quite fond of them. night fotos will reveal a large 'flash' around the cap when struck by the hammer. I've been pepered a few times with pieces of blown cap.
I've figured myself that the most likely cause of 'flash-overs' on revolvers is poorly or inadequately seated caps letting 'flash' get to the nipple(s)

OldmanFCSA
October 8, 2011, 01:59 PM
Young & Dumb .................

We, as older kids - young adults, use to load 38SPCL cases with a standard pistol primer, put paper punch dots in bottom of case over primer, pour level full of parefin wax, let cool, and shoot at each other while wearing combat gear and face shields. It was great fun until on a fast reload somebody loaded a live duty round. That stopped the game. This was well before paintball - airsoft was available.

No one was hurt by live round, but many went home with serious bruises from being shot where combat gear does not cover. Wax bullets hurt !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

wr400
October 8, 2011, 02:55 PM
my dads group of Cowboy fast draw shooters use primers to fire off the wax bullets they shoot! an they really smack too!

acorn1754
October 8, 2011, 03:34 PM
Primers never cease to amaze me either. I didn't want to dry fire an old Swedish Mauser that I had, so I used the already fired brass I had for it and I had a primer go off even after it had been shot and it made my ears ring a little! I would never have thought that possible till that happened...

Lost Sheep
October 9, 2011, 02:08 AM
doesn't a squirt of wd-40 kill them?
Not 100%. Primers are sealed with a varnish to keep them from being deactivated unintentionally by handling with fingers or collected humidity/condensation. WD-40, Kroil, Motor oil, whatever, can deactivate a primer, sure. But not FOR sure.

Lost Sheep

Hondo 60
October 9, 2011, 02:34 AM
Now that we've read everyones story about what can happen when abusing a live primer, the question is what to do if you have one. I have one that is wedged in the primer pocket sideways because it went down the shute of the Lee AUto Primer feeder the wrong way.

Still trying to decide what to do with it

Use eye & ear protection, then just deprime it.

If it goes off, well you got eye & ear protection on, so no harm done.

If it doesn't go off, then you probably look silly with all that protection. :neener:

TennJed
October 9, 2011, 02:49 AM
The first couple of hundred rounds I loaded with an old Lee Classic Loader Kit for 357....these are the old kits you use a mallet with (no press).

I bought it used from a pawn shop and thought everything was included.....well it is suppose to come with a washer that goes in the priming tool to line everything up.....mine was missing it and I had no idea.

I probably set off 1-2 primers for every 10 rounds I loaded....the first one that went off scared the mess out of me and it was load. Wore muffs after that.

Most of the information I had read on these kits said to expect to set one off every now and then. I thought it was normal....I now understand that a 15% bang rate is not how it is designed

heydawg
October 9, 2011, 05:03 PM
I guess I don't see a connection between a broken extractor and firing primed cases. Am I missing something?
I'm at a loss too. When I shoot a cartridge in the gun, not only does the primer explode, but a much larger quantity of powder explodes to a much higher pressure than primer only.

paulo57509
October 9, 2011, 05:13 PM
I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of one of these.

http://www.speer-bullets.com/products/components/plastic_training_bullets.aspx

1SOW
October 9, 2011, 11:31 PM
I guess I don't see a connection between a broken extractor and firing primed cases. Am I missing something?
On a CZ tilt-bbl pistol action if you "push" a case WITH NO BULLET into the chamber by hand (instead of cycling the action and feeding a cartridge), you're flexing/bending the extractor claw.

Mine broke soon after I did this.

Walkalong
October 10, 2011, 08:42 AM
Same with a 1911.

orionengnr
October 10, 2011, 11:00 PM
but the rumor at my local gun shop is one of the locals that frequents that shop has a primer stuck in his belly.
I'd hate to see his blood lead level, as he has a continually replenishing source.

amlevin
October 11, 2011, 01:44 PM
So, just screwing around I put the case on the floor and smacked it with a hammer.

Did you utter the magic words "Here, hold my beer and watch this"?

For some reason people that do often survive in greater numbers than logic would indicate.

Taroman
October 11, 2011, 01:52 PM
I can testify that WD 40 does NOT kill primers.
Many years ago, I managed to detonate a .50 BMG primer in my shop. I would compare the sound it made to a full house .357 Magnum revolver. Luckily, it was contained and the only injury was ringing in my ears for several days.

rcmodel
October 11, 2011, 03:32 PM
I had a primer go off even after it had been shot and it made my ears ring a little! That right there is simply impossible.
That would be akin to the same stick of Dynamite blowing up twice!

You must have had a primed case somebody had pulled the bullet out of a loaded round that misfired the first time.

Once a primer fires, there is simply no possible way it can fire a second time.

rc

JohnM
October 11, 2011, 04:36 PM
It's gotta be true, it's written on the internet! :D

total recoil
November 13, 2011, 06:16 PM
If you have reloaded ammo for some time, you have probably (like me) used your sizing die and decapper to get rid of bent or flattened LIVE PRIMERS. You just have to be very careful and gently, slowly, push them out.

About 2 years ago I started to reload the 50 BMG for my LAR single shot. Before I had purchased a primer pocket uniformer tool, I succeeded in deforming quite a few 50 caliber primers. They are so big that I was afraid to try pushing them out so I decided to just jettison the brass to the scrap pile.
I placed one of these primed brass on top of the wire screen above my outdoor burning barrel. There was a hot fire under it. I swear it was, like the man said, loud as a 357 magnum shot. The brass flew about 35 feet away and the primer had self ejected the case.

I am a believer! That box of 500 primers is the biggest hand grenade in my house. I am ever so careful in handling them!

northark147
November 14, 2011, 03:13 AM
Quote:
I had a primer go off even after it had been shot and it made my ears ring a little!
That right there is simply impossible.
That would be akin to the same stick of Dynamite blowing up twice!

You must have had a primed case somebody had pulled the bullet out of a loaded round that misfired the first time.

Once a primer fires, there is simply no possible way it can fire a second time.

rc

I don't see how it is possible with center fire, but I wouldn't rule it out as I got one of the best whoopings of my young life over a 22 shell that had been fired. I know noone pulled the bullet out of that 22 except the squirrels head that was being cooked at the time that I for some odd reason decided to load the fired casing back in and pull the trigger. It made a pop.

Lost Sheep
November 15, 2011, 07:34 PM
I would de-prime it just as one does fired casings. It is very rare for a primer to go off from slow, steady pressure. On occasion, I have primed cases with sideways primers and crushed them into the primer pocket beyond recognition. Now, if you put it in a vice and crush it completely flat, I will take no responsibiity, but de-priming has proven to be fairly safe. Wear eye (and eary) protection and if you are really cautious, drape a heavy blanket, canvas or a sheet of plywood between you and your press.

Now, what to do with the live, mangled primer you just deprimed. Don't lose it. Toss into a burn barrel, maintaining safety precautions, of course. Take it to your local neighborhood hazmat disposal facility. But don't count on oil, WC-40 or the like to deactivate it. Primers are well-sealed and, while many may be deactivated by such contaminants, 100% is a long way off. My guidline on unspent primers is that, until they are ground down to powder or fired, they are still dangerous - and the powder is always dangerous chemically and flammably, just less of a projectile hazard.

Depriming is very safe (with minimal extra safety measures over those required for priming). HazMat disposal is usually free for private individuals and small amounts of paints, oils, flammables and explosives. Setting them off in a fire is viable if you are away from anything that might get hurt by the potential shrapnel or pieces of flaming wood, or whatever the fire is made of, flying out. Count the primers going in and the pops coming out. If the flames don't kill it it was probably dead before you threw it in, but better to be sure.

Lost Sheep

45_auto
November 15, 2011, 08:43 PM
I had also always heard that WD40 killed primers.

I had a friend who wanted a dozen 45 Colt dummies to keep on his pistol belt. He wanted them to look real, so I couldn't use fired primers.

I drilled a 3/8" hole in the cases on the side that would be next to the belt to identify them as dummy rounds, then put about 15 fresh primers in a cup of WD40 and let them soak for a week since I didn't want live primers in the cases.

I used one to prime an empty case and tried it in a revolver as a test, it went off fine.

I then loaded and tested the rest of WD40 soaked primers and every one of them worked perfectly.

I ended up using an x-acto knife to pick the anvil and priming compound out of some more un-fired primers so I could use the live-looking empty primer cups in the dummy rounds.

Iron Sight
November 15, 2011, 11:35 PM
Some/Many/Most of us at times have been extremely lucky.

Jasper1573
November 16, 2011, 11:32 PM
In response to MoreIsLess, when I have live primers that I need to remove, I put the case into the reloading press with a decapping die and gently run the decapping pin down and pop the primer out. I suppose if you run it down really fast, you could set off the primer, but I have done this several times and never had an issue...gently as you go.

Yes, I have also popped a primer on the anvil of my shop just to see how big a bang it would make...bigger than I thought.

Clark
November 17, 2011, 02:09 PM
Put a 45 cal Lead ball in the 45acp case with no powder.
If the ball is in the case mouth, there may not be enough power for the ball to exit.
If the ball is down touching the web, there may be enough power to be lethal.

There is more power in a grain of rice.
If the grain of rice is burned by someone throwing a pillow, it may not go far.
If the grain of rice is burned by someone throwing a knife, it may be lethal.

If pigs had wings, they could fly, because they have enough power.

James2
November 17, 2011, 02:59 PM
Now that we've read everyones story about what can happen when abusing a live primer, the question is what to do if you have one. I have one that is wedged in the primer pocket sideways because it went down the shute of the Lee AUto Primer feeder the wrong way.

Still trying to decide what to do with it

I have put primers in upside down and sideways at times. I always put on gloves, eye protection, hearing protection and slowly, carefully decap them. I have not had any go off doing this.

I can't believe how much I have smashed sidewise primers to get them out of a shell holder that didn't have a relief grove in it. Haven't had one go off doing that.

I am not suggesting this is a good practice, just saying I got away with it.

In the case of the upside down primer, if it went off while you were uncapping it, the anvil would come down the ram at a high rate of speed. It could do some bad damage. In the case of the sidewise primer, I can't guess what would happen if it went off while decapping, but it would probably be scary.

Perhaps the best thing to do is spray our mistakes with WD40 which is supposed to deactivate them, then you could safely decap them. (can anyone say for sure that WD40 will deactivate them?)

rcmodel
November 17, 2011, 03:12 PM
I can say for sure I would not count on it, unless you let them soak in WD-40 for a day or so.

I also would not want to get WD-40 residue all over my press & shell holder.

In actual practice, if the primer did not go off when you smashed it in sideways or upside down, it won't go off when you press it back out with the reloading die depriming pin.

Throw a rag over the spent primer cut in the ram and gofer it.
The rag will catch the anvil or cup in the almost unheard of event it does go off.

rc

JohnM
November 17, 2011, 03:20 PM
There's some of you people making too much of a big deal of trying to remove an unfired primer.
I have a really big heavy vise out in the shop.
I've used a long thin tweezers to get a primer down between the jaws so the full force can hit it.
Close the jaws as fast and as hard as I can and - NADA.
I've crushed them totally flat and finally made them pop by striking the vise jaw with a hammer!

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