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How dangerous is a primer?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Lovesbeer99, Jan 6, 2008.

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  1. Lovesbeer99

    Lovesbeer99 Member

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    Ok I lost a primer on the floor in the basement.
    How powerful is this? Would it take off my whole hand or just a few fingers?
    Would I lose a foot of just have a big hole in my heel?

    I looked everywhere and can't find it. I'm thinking I need to do a full vacuum/sweep and hope I get it.

    By the way, it's a CCI 500 Small Pistol primer that I lost.
     
  2. dakotasin

    dakotasin Member

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    if you get it in the vacuum cleaner it will throw the vacuum out of balance when it goes off.

    as for how dangerous it is, don't know, but it sure gets my wife's attention when i fire a primed case in a rifle in the house. makes me laugh, makes her jump.

    the thing is very unlikely to detonate by itself, though. i've crushed the things in the past w/ no consequences.
     
  3. eliphalet

    eliphalet Member

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    They pop pretty good when you vacuum one up and it goes off so try and avoid that if you can. The only danger is if it set the vacuum on fire were my thoughts.
    I got into a few live primers one day mixed with hundreds of fired primers I spilled, several went off going through the vacuum before I shut it off. No damage, I did dump the bag in case of something smoldering, and I did get out a carpet sweeper.
     
  4. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    Does that basment have a concrete floor? If so, just use a hammer and go around and tap the floor with the hammer. You'll find it...:D

    I guess I shouldn't say that...Someone might try that...:what:

    I've lost live primers in my loading room on many an ocassion. I have just sweeped the floor and threw the floor sweepings into my wood burning stove in my den and closed the stove door. They don't make that much noise in there and they can't hurt anything ...:)
     
  5. aka108

    aka108 Member

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    I've sucked up a few with the shop vac. Don't think there is any problem.
     
  6. scrat

    scrat Member

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    take it like a grain of salt. I mean i try to stay cautious. But i have dropped them stepped on them. i have deprimed live ones. Heck i have even deprimed live primers using a lee classic loader. I have had only 2 go off on me. Thats out of thousands and thousands of primers. So as long as the powder and bullets are not around i would not really worry about it. i would find them personally myself just because i want to load them and use them. but not because im worried.
     
  7. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    They might go off if you scuffed your boot-heel on one trying to get it unstuck.
    I have had it happen once or twice.

    Other then a Change of Shorts being necessaary, no other damage occured.

    If you got Rug-Rats, you might want to find it though!

    1224.jpg
    rcmodel
     
  8. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    I believe that Julian Hatcher warned against trying to pick
    the anvil out of a boxer primer with a needle. A boxer primer
    can expel the anvil with enough velocity to put your eye out kid.

    What is startling is to seat a primer in a classic Lee Loader using
    the primer decappiing punch instead of the primer seating rod. That is
    why I developed the habit of decapping all the fired casings first,
    putting the decapping punch back in the box, then neck sizing and
    capping.
     
  9. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    This is very true!
    The only thing that makes stepping on one relatively harmless is because your shoe sole contains the flying cup & anvil!

    1224.jpg
    rcmodel
     
  10. lordgroom

    lordgroom Member

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    I realize this is this demonstrates my poor judgment but I had three primers ignite in my press. I use an RCBS with the APS system so all of the primers are separated. THe primer seating pin was bent, pobably because I was forcing somethings and when I pushed up on the Winchester small pistol Magnum primer I met resistance. I was actually about 18 inches away from the primer when the primer ignited, with 2 others. I was loud, very bright and I nearly soiled my shorts but I am alive and intact.

    I did learn a valuable lesson about using a gentle touch and taking care when the primer does not seat easily.
     
  11. Mal H

    Mal H Administrator

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    None of the above. That is, unless you're planning to go stomping around in your bare feet looking for it! (That reminds me of an ethnic joke - for a different time and a different board. ;) )

    If you happen to step on it with normal shoes, and if it happened to go off (unlikely), I doubt it would cause any noticeable damage to your shoe other than a big sooty mark.

    If you use a shopvac type of vacuum, I don't think there's any danger of injury to you or the vac even if it goes off. It's when the pressure is in a tightly confined space that the danger is highest, and also when the anvil is directed at anyone or thing. The anvil will be expelled at very high velocity if the primer cup is made stationary, and at moderately high velocity if it isn't.

    One caution however - if the primer happens to off inside a vacuum with lots of dust swirling around inside, there is a chance of a larger explosion. I would clean out the vacuum before using it on your search and destroy mission.


    Nothing said above is meant to imply that primers are not dangerous, they are very dangerous especially when quantities of them are involved. But even minimal precautions can take the liklihood of a dangerous situation to practically nil.
     
  12. SDC

    SDC Member

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    I know a fellow who fired the primer in a rifle round by trying to tap it out from the mouth of the case with a nail ground to a point (while he was holding the case in his hand); when the primer fired, the cup went into his hand and travelled under the skin up to the tip of one of his fingers (ring or middle, I can't remember which). They got it out easily enough at the hospital, but it's a demonstration that you don't really want these things firing anywhere near your unprotected body.
     
  13. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Yep!
    A primer cup coming out of a primer pocket is traveling probaly close to 1,000 FPS.
    Were it not for it's very light weight, it would really do some serious damage.

    A friend of mine was drying some empty .38 Special cases in the oven one time.
    One of them had a primer in it, and it went off and stuck the primer cup in the top of his foot deep enough he had to have it cut out.

    Here is what primers & .22 RF cases will do to an 18ga steel furnace duct.
    AmmoFire2.jpg

    AmmoFire3.jpg

    AmmoFire4.jpg

    If a round goes off unconfined, the primer cup, and .22RF, or CF pistol cases are much more dangerous then the bullet itself.

    1224.jpg
    rcmodel
     
  14. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    Now why would someone want to pick the anvil out of a primer cup??? That sounds a bit assinine...
     
  15. Galil5.56

    Galil5.56 Member

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    I set a Fed 209 off as a kid, and after the pop had warm blood dripping off my chin.

    The shredded cup ejected from the rest of the primer, and hit me low in the cheek, leaving a foil like shard about 3/16" deep. I felt absolutely nothing, and until I felt the blood dripping, had no idea I was "hit". I was extremely lucky that day, and have great respect for the power of a lowly primer.
     
  16. ADKWOODSMAN

    ADKWOODSMAN Member

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    Someone I knew hit a primer, resting on a concrete floor, with a hammer. There was a quarter size hole in the floor about one quarter of an inch deep!!!

    Skin and flesh are much softer.
     
  17. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    I knew I shouldn't have said anything about hitting them with a hammer...Someone tried it...:evil:
     
  18. 1911NM

    1911NM Member

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    RCMODEL : "A friend of mine was drying some empty .38 Special cases in the oven one time.
    One of them had a primer in it, and it went off and stuck the primer cup in the top of his foot deep enough he had to have it cut out."

    I have got to know why friend was drying cases with his foot in the oven? :eek:
     
  19. scout26

    scout26 Member

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    Just to be on the safe side, I use a shop vac and put a knee high nylon stocking between sections of the wand. That way any spilled powder and primers don't end up in the bag. Call it a "prefilter". I do mostly shotgun reloading and shotgun primers will kill a regular vacuum cleaner dead while making one helluva mess when it ignites the dust in the bag and that blows up also.

    Mrs Scout was NOT amused.
     
  20. bunnielab

    bunnielab Member

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    I have had a bit of a morbid obsession about primers going off.

    I have access to a metal shop and some day im going to suit up in protective gear and see just what it takes to set one off.

    Totally in the name of science I assure you.
     
  21. Clark

    Clark Member

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    If I push a lead ball all the way into a primed 45acp case to compress the primer.

    Shot in a 1911, it will go through a few layers of cardboard and make a loud bang.
     
  22. evan price

    evan price Member

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    My 2-year-old found my press while I was answering the phone.
    Got back, the primer tray was missing from my Pro-1000.

    WTH?

    Find a trail of primers across the room and into the next. He had been carefully picking them up one by one and sticking them into a little plastic cup and shaking them like a rattle.
     
  23. Sgt.Dusk

    Sgt.Dusk Member

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    small pistol primers are not too powerful.
    When I started reloading and got my lee classic loader I
    got too used to that popping once in a while. Luckily I got myself a Lee auto prime and never since had any pop on me again.
    The worst that can happed (unless it pops near your eyes) is that your fingers get blackened by residue and they may hurt a little.
    Your ears might ring a little too.
     
  24. Phyphor

    Phyphor Member

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    Aren't the metals in a primer ferric?

    Can't you sweep the floor with a cow magnet and capture it?

    Or am I totally off base?
     
  25. Mal H

    Mal H Administrator

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    Off base? Nope, you're completely out of the ball park! ;)

    I can't say all primers are non-ferrous, but most all commercial primers today are and cannot be attracted by a common magnet. They're usually brass, both cup and anvil.
     
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