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How to make your own primers?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by PBinWA, Mar 17, 2009.

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  1. PBinWA

    PBinWA Member

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    So perhaps it has come to the time that we need to know how to make our own primers? I searched around here but nothing jumped out at me.

    Has anyone done this before? Is there any information on the internet regarding home-made primers?

    I understand it would most likely be very dangerous so lets avoid those comments.
     
  2. ~z

    ~z Member

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    If you figure it out, let me know. I'll sell you a bunch of "once fired" primers real cheap!
    ~z
     
  3. MMCSRET

    MMCSRET Member

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    I know of a man in Idaho that has taken a flat tipped punch and straightened out the cup, cut the white ignitor material from a stick match and put it in the cup and reset the anvil. He told me it works every time but is not consistent in ignition because the tip material on the matches is not the same on every match. He tried it on smaller revolver rounds like 32 and 38 with fast smokeless powder.
    He also makes his own black powder for his flint lock hunting rifles.
     
  4. PBinWA

    PBinWA Member

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    I think the cup part is pretty straight-forward. The "alchemy" would be in making the ignition chemical.

    I'm assuming that some form of nitrated compound would have to be made, measured, and placed in the cup.

    I'm on a self-educating/curiosity tangent with this. Assuming a SHTF scenario it wouldn't be long for primers to become even harder to come by. It really would be nice to be able to "home brew" all your own ammo.

    Of course, I'm also hoping curiosity doesn't kill the cat! ;)
     
  5. LightningCrash

    LightningCrash Member

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    See US Army Publication TM 31-210 - Improvised Munitions.


    Potassium Chlorate is somewhat similar to potassium perchlorate in usage, most strike-anywhere matches are tipped with a combination of Potassium Chlorate and some other junk.

    The main thing is not to damage the anvil!
     
  6. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    SO Sorry, but I just can't resist the urge!

    It's a good way to shoot your eye out!
    Or much worse.

    Primer compound is a "detonating" high-explosive, in the truest sense of the word.

    Mixing or making it yourself is right up there with juggling six bottles of nitroglycerin, with rattlesnakes in your pants.

    rc
     
  7. ~z

    ~z Member

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    WOW, that sounds interesting
    ~z
     
  8. PBinWA

    PBinWA Member

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    Thanks LightningCrash!! That's an excellent resource!

    rcmodel - your concern has been noted - Thankyou!
     
  9. snuffy

    snuffy Member

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    http://www.roguesci.org/chemlab/energetics/lead_azide.html

    That's one source of the process to make a lead based primer compound. It's worked wet, while it's wet it is stable/safe. Once dried out, it's very dangerous. Not for the faint of heart!

    The match tips will work, but the resulting primer will be corrosive.
     
  10. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I have seen too many pictures of handless experimentors to want to try to make gunpowder, or priming compound.
     
  11. USSR

    USSR Member

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    Primers are the cheapest part of reloading. If you want to do something that is feasible for the average reloader, then cast your own bullets.

    Don
     
  12. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    Strike-anywhere matches are about as hard to find as primers.

    Intellectual exercise only:
    Potassium chlorate mix would be the way to go from scratch, but very dangerous. Look up "Armstrong's Mixture". Given enough time and energy you can even make you're own chlorate from potassium chloride using electrolysis. Sodium chlorate is used as a weed killer, so that might be useful. Chlorate primers were used thru WWII and have a long life, but they are corrosive. (but they don't rot your brass like mercury fulmanate primers.)

    Not sure why I know this stuff; when I read about it over the years, it seems to stick. :cool:
     
  13. sqlbullet

    sqlbullet Member

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    Following up on USSR.

    Spend your time finding good sources of cheap lead. Refine lead into ingots of known hardness. Sell ingots. Use profit to buy primers.

    Result: Lots of primers and still 10 fingers.

    It takes a significant amount of resource to be able to safely deal with these materials. For many years (hundreds) mfg's of explosives did things a certain way because they had determined empirically that no one was blown up doing it that way. You can correctly infer from that many people were blown up discovering the process.

    Today, large explosive companies spend significant money in scientifically evaluating the available energy budget and sensitivity at any given stage of mfg. It is not feasible to replicate this.

    In the home operation, then, we are left with the empirical process, which, as mentioned before, relies on blowing up occasionally to determine safe parameters.
     
  14. fitz47

    fitz47 Member

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    !!!!! Has the primer shoetage driven us to this?
     
  15. dave from mesa

    dave from mesa Member

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    Just thinking out loud here. Wouldn't you need some kind of license for making explosives?
    Federal prison doesn't turn me on.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2009
  16. Morglan

    Morglan Member

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    USSR & sqlbullet -

    I don't think that cost is the incentive behind the thread.
     
  17. ants

    ants Member

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    According to online resources (which I have not researched thoroughly)...

    You start by nitrating resorcinol, a medical antiseptic (I have no idea where you buy it) with a mixture of nitric and sulfuric acids. This produces a trinitro phenol compound. It is then reacted with weakly basic lead oxide to form the corresponding lead styphnate salt, which forms into crystals.

    But be careful. Lead styphnate can form into two different crystalline forms: a six-sided monohydrate and a small rectangular form. The latter, when formed too long and narrow, is highly susceptable to detonation by weak static electricity from the human body. Touch her and she blows. If you don't know how to reliably form it into the more stable hex crystal, you probably shouldn't even try it at all.

    By the way, lead styphnate is highly toxic. As long as it is held in a copper cup in tiny quantities, it poses no threat. But exposure to larger quantities constitutes immediate hazard to humans.

    Bottom line: Either you blow yourself up by simple static, or you poison yourself through exposure. You choose.

    Maybe flintlock doesn't sound so bad after all.
     
  18. JimJD

    JimJD Member

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    That's an interesting question. It really is.
    But I like my fingers...hands...and the ability to wipe my own arse.
    Oh, and vision is nice too.

    Just kidding around. :D

    Erin Go Bragh!
     
  19. 33rowdy

    33rowdy Member

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    I thought of this in the past. I would do it. But NOT on my own. If I had a pro with me that has done it in the past for a living to teach me...Then I would step up to the plate and do it.
     
  20. marsofold

    marsofold Member

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    Mixing a single gram quantity of potassium chlorate, ground glass, sulfur, and mucilage should be safe enough that even if it went off, it wouldn't really hurt you. I suspect the way to do it would be to mix the mucilage with the sulfur and ground glass first. Then gently mix in the potassium chlorate into the liquid. After drying on the primer anvil, it should be functional. If sodium chlorate is available, then potassium chlorate can be precipitated out by mixing potassium chloride (salt substitute) with it in the correct ratio and filtering the mix through a coffee filter. Would make an interesting experiment. In a single gram quantity.
     
  21. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    Marsofold, I suspect a gram would be a dangerous amount. Certainly enough to deserve respect. (it probably needs a trace of calcium carbonate in there too to counteract acidity from impurities in the sulfur)
     
  22. GaryL

    GaryL Member

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    This right here would be enough to stop me. Opps, *BOOM*. No thanks.
     
  23. PBinWA

    PBinWA Member

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    It looks like Potassium Percholate is available through various sources. Does anyone know exactly what chemicals are used in modern primers?

    Anyone seen the gummy bear in Potassium Chlorate video on YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=txkRCIPSsjM
     
  24. PBinWA

    PBinWA Member

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  25. PTK

    PTK Member

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    I'll state this exactly once - it is against Federal regulations to produce high explosives without a license, and it is also against Federal regulations to make pyrotechnics without a lawful purpose. Reloading ammunition isn't a lawful purpose for pyrotechnics, and certain compositions (KClO3 and sulfur, for example) are legally treated as if you'd just made high explosives.

    If you try to order chemicals that are very obviously going to be made into exploding compositions or explosives, one of two things will happen: the sale will be denied, or the sale will go through and at some point in the future you'll get a knock on the door from a friendly BATFE agent holding a warrant and wanting to see your chemicals.

    Just because we like the topic (firearms and related) doesn't mean we should advocate breaking laws.
     
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